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.

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Comments (252)

  • Paul says:

    In a sign that Australia really is living in a bubble I have just had a 5 night booking at the IC Sydney cancelled by the hotel!! I had booked from the 29th Dec to 2nd Jan Club room guaranteed by credit card.

    The hotel say it a glitch. I suspect the rate at just over £350 a night was too low for them

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Challenge them and if they don’t reinstate your booking complain to IHG head office

      • kitten says:

        please let us know the outcome

      • Aston100 says:

        Has anyone ever had any success with IHG head office?
        They have always been useless in my experience for everything ranging from the best price guarantee scheme through to a Crowne Plaza asking me to pay them via bank transfer.

        • BP says:

          Yes. Booked a Beachfront Pool Villa @ IC Samui on points. The hotel downgraded me before arrival. Head office told them to sort it out. On arrival they wanted to charge me. It was late when I arrived so I just handed over my card and said I’ll sort it the next day. Head office again got involved and I got an apology and confirmation from the hotel that there would be no room charge.

          • Aston100 says:

            BP, glad you got a result.
            Do you mind sharing the phone number or email address you used, just in case I’ve been talking to the wrong team?

        • Anna says:

          What happened with the CP request, Aston100? As I recall it sounded distinctly dodgy!

    • Harry T says:

      That’s not even a good rate for IC Sydney though…

      • Harry T says:

        Though I suppose they are peak dates! Looking in the app, the IC Sydney isn’t even coming up for those dates. Why not just book the Darling Harbour Crowne Plaza with points, as it’s only 30k a night for your dates?

        • Harry T says:

          Getting almost 1p a point at the Crowne Plaza as it is 30k vs £248 a night for the flexible rate. The IC Sydney has a nice club lounge and good views but, unless they have done a refurb, the hard product is tired. They are also not very generous with Ambassadors at all, offering no upgrades or early check in.

          • h2d says:

            If you have IC Club access it is one of the better options in the CBD – great views and altogether good service/lounge offerings. I prefer it for example to the Shangri-la and prefer the location to Darling Harbour/Park etc. The PH is hands down the best option in the city though

          • Harry T says:

            @h2d I stayed in the Ic Sydney last year using my Ambassador free weekend night and had a suite with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The staff in the club lounge were very good and we enjoyed the view. The hotel really needs a refurb though and I didn’t feel I was well treated as IC Ambassador.

    • John says:

      You may well get to stay at the IC for your 14 day quarantine which is not going away this year.

  • Sandra says:

    Just updated my BA app & a message came up saying good news you can now use multiple e vouchers to pay for flight bookings, you can upload a maximum of 4 e vouchers to the app to pay for your booking. Is this something new?

  • Ross says:

    Anyone booking flights/holidays to take advantage of current sales – if so, what are you booking?

  • Chris K says:

    A bit early to panic, but I have Cyprus booked for mid-May using a Lloyds voucher.

    Anyone know how they are handling Lloyds voucher bookings (booked through Avios phone) if the flight isn’t cancelled, please?

    • Ammar says:

      They offered to cancel and get avios back but forfeit the taxes paid already or to change the date (free of charge), but pay any difference in fare (Eg avios for peak/off peak). I think they may have offered a date i could call back by to re-book so did not do it straight away.
      I did the latter (rebooked a date in Sept) in hope!

      • Chris K says:

        Thank you, reassuring! Would be happy to date change instead if my optimism back when I booked in the autumn was indeed misplaced!

  • Jtz says:

    Does anyone have experience with the farfetch 120 off 600 offer, do they take one payment or separate payments as each item is dispatched differently?

  • Phil says:

    IC Ambassador Membership Query – My Ambassador membership expires at the end of this month and based on the current circumstances I’d usually be inclined to let it lapse and reapply when travel becomes more of a reality.

    However, I have a two-week redemption booked for the IC Mauritius in May, which has been upgraded from the Standard Room to the Presidential Duplex (they’ve also comp’d All Inclusive due to issues with a previous booking).

    At present I would say it is 50/50 at best that we’ll make it to Mauritius in May but I’m nervous about the consequences on this reservation should I allow Ambassador to lapse. Will it flag in the hotel’s reservation system? Could it trigger an auto downgrade? If so, I’d be inclined just to pay for the renewal.

    Any insights or thoughts welcome.

    • Genghis says:

      Are you eligible for a free extension? I’ve extended for 6 months – v easy to do – and this covers my trips to Amsterdam, and Lisbon / Estoril: assuming they go ahead.

      “b. To be eligible for a six (6) month extension, individual must have an active Ambassador membership that is in its second or greater consecutive membership year, and must not have redeemed a six month extension in the past. Ambassador members whose membership has expired are not eligible for this extension. Eligible Ambassador members may request this benefit once per lifetime. If a member elects to use this offer, their Ambassador membership will extend for an additional six months beyond when it would have otherwise expired. This is a one-time offer per member and once the extension is applied to their account, this action is considered final and is not reversible.”

      • QFFlyer says:

        +1, I’ve done the same, and this covers me for all my current IC bookings. I’ll then revisit whether or not to continue or just let it lapse and maybe pick it up again later.

        • Genghis says:

          There’s no 10% rebate anymore, right? So might as well just let it lapse and pick it up as and when you need it. I don’t think IHG have thought this through properly.

      • Phil says:

        Thanks Genghis, my last voucher was extended by 6 months automatically which appeared to have the effect of extending my membership by 6 months at the time. So I suspect I won’t be entitled to the above. However, you don’t ask… you don’t get. So will give it a go.

        • Genghis says:

          This is separate to any COVID extension.

          • Phil W says:

            Thanks Genghis, you are absolutely right. IHG extended my Ambassador membership for 6 months on request. Great advice.

        • ChrisC says:

          The other way around! Membership was extended and the weekend voucher- if you still had one – was extended as part of that.

          If you ask for the 2 / 6 month membership extension it only extends your membership and not an unused voucher.

          • Sarah says:

            My membership is due to expire on 28 Feb as is AMB reward night. We had booking for Kimpton London in Feb but they cancelled it for obvious reasons. Will IHG extend membership and voucher further as we haven’t been able to use it?

  • xcalx says:

    Amex Chargeback

    I have been in a dispute with JL&P since early December. Initially I was refunded the money from Amex and the dispute moved to in progress. Today my account shows.

    “Status Detail
    We have completed our investigation. Please refer to the communication we sent.”

    They must have sent communication by snail mail as no email redeived.
    Is this the end of the matter or can JL&P have the dispute reopened. I have half a mind to report JL&P to the retail ombudsman for the way they handled the problem.

    • xcalx says:

      Should have mentioned case now closed.

    • ChrisC says:

      I’d wait until you get the communication. Are you certain your refund has been or will be clawed back?

      I googled ‘retail ombudsman’ and it’s only an arbitration service (like CEDR provides for BA) and not a regulator and only deals with companies who are its members.

      It can’t apply sanctions or give damages over and above what your claim is for I.e. the price of the goods involved.

      • xcalx says:

        Thanks. I still have the £949 that Amex have refunded in my account, don’t want to withdraw until I know it’s finished.
        The status bar of the claim has moved from in progress to closed. I received a letter from Amex yesterday that was dated the 11th, so it looks like a 10 day lag with the mail. I guess I will have to be patient. I just want to purchase a new TV that works.

        • kitten says:

          closed is normally final.
          Call them and I’m sure they will tell you that.

        • John says:

          Just withdraw it, if th

        • John says:

          If John Lewis submits the charge again it will just go on your next statement and then you call amex to dispute it again.

        • John says:

          I had a very bad experience with amex refunds, amex initially did a charge back for the full amount even though they told me they would do a partial charge back. I then sorted it with the retailer separately and told amex. 3 months later amex recharged the transaction. 3 months after that the section 75 team asked me for further information. Anyway got £200 compo from amex for all the hassle

  • CB says:


    Am thinking of transferring lots of AMEX MR points to Emirates to use for flights to Dubai over Easter.

    Does anyone know Emirates’ cancellation policy for reward flights and will my MR points then be stuck in Emirates?

    • Rob says:

      Your points will be stuck with Emirates.

      Two things you need to know:
      * Emirates transfers from Amex are INSTANT
      * Emirates opens up huge amounts of availability and it moves around day to day

      When we were returning from Dubai the other week I was checking a couple of times a day for 4 seats to London on a Sunday and it moved around constantly. Eventually we got 4 x Business on the day we wanted and were able to avoid going via Manchester.

      Whilst this is always a risky thing to say, I would be fairly confident – as long as you are not tied to one specific day and could if necessary use Manchester or elsewhere – of waiting until the last minute to book.

      Of course, if you go to Dubai on a regular basis then being stuck with the miles would be less of an issue and so you could move now.

      • Harry T says:

        @Rob would you consider transferring MR to Emirates Skywards to be a good use of points? I’m trying to find a decent redemption pathway to Dubai or Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. My BA 241 is tied up in a half price Avios sale booking to Japan.

        • Rob says:

          90,000 return in Business + modest taxes, assuming there is saver availability.

          But Singapore Airlines would be 52,000? return to Dubai from the UK.

          Massive availability risk over the Grand Prix weekend anyway so too difficult to call. Even Avios to Doha on Qatar might be safer given the large number of daily flights on various airlines from Doha to the UAE.

          • Harry T says:

            @Rob thanks, I’ll look at SQ redemptions. The main issue right now is they keep changing the dates of the Grand Prix… We are staying in W Abu Dhabi after redeeming for the 2020 GP based on the HFP article. They let us move our stay so we have the old rate of 120k Bonvoy for five nights baked in.

    • Andrew says:

      Exceedingly unlikely that non-essential travel will be available over Easter btw.

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