Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 22nd January

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We have decided to run this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (252)

  • Will says:

    Everyone sleeping in after yesterday’s blockbuster?

  • Nick says:

    Anyone know if Curve Metal linked to a Virgin Atlantic Rewards + MasterCard can be used to fund an ISA? Is this permitted and, if so, is it recognised by the Virgin Money Bank as a purchase or a cash advance which would trigger interest and a fee?

  • KBuffett says:

    I’ve got a few vouchers from Waitrose, spend £60 get £12 off. Any suggestions of what I can buy to make good use of them and walk in and out relatively quickly?

    • Andrew says:

      Couple of bottles of champagne?

      • KBuffett says:

        Nice idea. I’ve got six vouchers!

        • Crafty says:

          All valid at the same time?

          • KBuffett says:

            Yes, strangely. I’ve noticed that when we stop shopping at Waitrose, they start sending better and better vouchers, up to 20% off (spend £60, get £12 off). All six vouchers are valid until 7th Feb (I’ve had them for a couple of week). I also have the Amex Plat offer of spend £175, get £175 back.
            I’m trying to think of a clever way on converting this into something, perhaps like Netflix or Amazon vouchers. Not sure if Waitrose sell them? Also, it would probably involve buying something and then returning it without a receipt for gift vouchers. It’s more of a challenge than anything else!

          • Andrew says:

            Waitrose don’t sell third party gift cards.

          • kitten says:

            KBuffett I’ve found with Waitrose, it’s best to spend either a lot or very little.

            Once you start spending in the middle it seems you don’t get the offers. Kind of makes sense.

    • Louise K says:

      Champs is a good idea.

      I had £12 off £60 back in Nov, no vouchers in December and this month it’s £6 off £60.

      • GaryE says:

        Historically Waitrose do not send out vouchers for December. We had £12 off £60 in Nov, and £7 off £70 this month. Don’t intend using this month’s vouchers and I expect they will up the offer for February!

  • The real John says:

    Regarding Nectar.

    As I used to internally account for an Avios at 0.6p, the effect of this partnership is that my redemptions have suddenly become more “expensive”.

    Short-haul off-peak 4000 avios + £17.50 used to be £41.50, now £49.50.

    50% avios sale redemption HKG-LHR in J 37500 avios + £35 used to be £260, now £335. Not that I’ll get to take this flight.

    • Andrew says:

      Agreed. For a solo traveller – Avios use for flights no longer works – you’d be paying more for an Avios flight when you factor in the 0.8p/Avios, the taxes/charges and the 0.8p/Avios earned back for a cash ticket. Perhaps we will finally see the 2for1 change to a 2×50% off voucher.

  • FFoxSake says:

    BA cancelled my Club Europe out and return Sofia flights in March. Tickets were booked in Oct20 sale. Is it now possible for me to pick my own replacements via MMB via the app or online for any peak summer dates/prices I choose?
    Sorry, never done this before and don’t want to mess it up!

    • Andrew says:

      You need to call them but yes you can select any dates up to a year from ticketing (not a year from now or from the booked travel date) and award availability doesn’t need to be there – but the agent on the phone might need some prompting on that as the initial response might be computer says no.

      • FFoxSake says:

        Knew I forgot something… these were cash tickets not Avios. Any need to call?

      • PaulW says:

        You may be able to change the dates online if the same booking class is available. If not you need to call and hope you get an agent who knows the rules! I have this pain this week. One booking fine. The other I needed to call and got an ill informed handler. Twitter team resolving.

    • Gavin says:

      Yes, it should be bit in my case it wouldn’t work online so I had to phone them. You can change it to any dates within a year of when you booked it.

  • Mike says:

    Anyone actually planning for holidays on Easter bank holiday weekend? Flights are not that cheap anymore so means people have been booking! Wonder which is the ‘lowest’ risk destination in Europe of the trip actually going ahead…

    • Andrew says:

      ZERO chance on any restrictions being lifted by Easter. Last week they were saying after Easter, now they are saying summer. We might see some things opening (shops perhaps) and schools going back after Easter but they will want to avoid an Easter super-spreader so anything being lifted will be after that at the very earliest.

    • Tracey says:

      Lowest risk I would guess at Gibraltar, though past performance is never a guarantee…

      • kitten says:

        Gibraltar now in Schengen though so will probably be forced to block non-EU/non-Schengen?

        Wondering if this will also apply to Ireland. I never understood the ‘Irish backstop’ question

    • James Vickers says:

      I think some travel will be possible in April but it will likely revert to the situation where the options are certain long haul destinations and as for Europe possibly just Gibraltar

    • Travel Strong says:

      At the moment i’m just hoping the UK bookings i’ve made for easter will happen!

      • Rob says:

        I’m stil sitting on a California road trip for Easter, rearranged from last Easter. Not looking hugely hopeful!

    • Nick says:

      Prices rising doesn’t necessarily mean people are booking… it could just mean that Rev Man are chancing their arm at pricing!

  • Stephen says:

    Any more news on Barclaycard Hilton selectively applying points? My next statement is not due until 2nd Feb but I have a HMRC bill that I was looking to pay

    • The Urbanite says:

      Too early to tell for sure but it is a possibility they’ve added 9399 to the list of points exempt MCCs.

      • Aaron says:

        Unfortunately one of the unlucky ones – but seems others are still getting points as normal.

        It’s odd however as the points applied is not based on non “9399” spend so could be a very reduced rate or something else is applying.

  • BS says:

    With the new avios value at 0.8p/avios, my main aim will be converting 150,000 avios to a new macbook via nectar/argos. Choosing a flight I could otherwise buy for c. £1500 (which earns avios and doesnt need further ‘taxes’) just doesnt appeal

    • Andrew says:

      Note that you can only redeem £200 at a time at Argos so you will need to buy from Argos via eBay (or another retailer on eBay).

      • Rob says:

        Or your partner buys it in Argos and you buy it off them on eBay on a £1 listing fee day …

        • Andrew says:

          How does the seller get their money I wonder – still via PayPal? Do they still have to pay the PayPal fee?

        • Travel Strong says:

          Ebay now allow you to get the funds direct to your back, without paypal. Relatively recent change. And a significant one.

        • Travel Strong says:

          … bank*

          • WaynedP says:

            Cue e-Bay next in the hackers’ firing line. Just consider all those tempting bank account details now that the protection of PayPal interface is gone for those who choose to trust eBay’s IT resilience.

        • Alex says:

          What stops you doing this with anything? £1 day you buy a £1500 mug off your wife which is in your kitchen cabinet. You now have hard cash pulled out from your avios/nectar points

    • NC says:

      Maximum Argos nectar redemption is 40k nectar points = £200, FYI.

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