Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 23rd January

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

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Comments (247)

  • gary says:

    Good idea this! I wonder if anyone has any knowledge re BA flights to Dubai. I have an avoid 2-4-1 booking going out on 2 February and back on 13 February. It is clear i won’t be able to go on this trip but I am trying to judge if there is any chance BA will cancel, which would allow me to get the full refund endnote pay the 2x £35 admin fee.

    I am on the A350 which is now the only flight running that day. BA seem to have reduced from 3 a while ago, to two recently and now to one. To me it looks like they won’t be cancelling but anyone with inside or better knowledge please share. Cheers

    • Anna says:

      I can’t imagine there will be many human passengers on the flight but if it’s a cargo service it may well still go. You’ve obviously got until much nearer the time to cancel or ask for a FTV if BA shows no signs of pulling it.

      • gary says:

        Thanks Anna

        I have another question that i am sure someone here will be able to answer:

        I am looking to book a redemption flight to Singapore from LHR next February and hoping to use a 2-4-1 voucher and Avios. There appears to be 2 flights per day with BA, one is a 777 and the other a 787. My question is whether it is possible to establish whether the 777 will have the new Business Club Suite seats or be the old now very outdated config? I know this will be clear after booking but is it possible to find out before booking?

        I appreciate that whatever is booked now is subject to changes before the actual travel dates- assuming that travel is OK in February 2022!

        cheers

        • ChrisC says:

          It used to be the case you could do a dummy booking and get as far as the seat map to select seats before actually paying so that was one way of checking.

          But I don’t recall SIN being mentioned as a club suite route in the past. That’s not to say it won’t / can’t be but it’s pot luck.

        • Anna says:

          I’m not assuming anything right now, not even that BA planes will be flying anywhere!

    • BP says:

      Dubai is still open and nobody stops you at the UK airports. You could choose to still travel and quarantine on your return.

      • The real John says:

        It’s not leaving that is the problem but on returning there is a non-zero chance of being questioned about your trip at immigration (and you have to be truthful on your locator form).

  • TimM says:

    Is it possible to use Avios to upgrade from economy with Qatar?

  • LST says:

    Has anyone ever had any joy in asking Marriott for 25k Bonvoy to be added to their account rather than the one UK night up to 25k certificate? I spend a lot on the card but almost never use the certificate.
    Thanks

  • Hotelier says:

    Is the Nectar Amex card included in Shop Small? Was looking back to below from this year’s promo and not sure if it was missed but I believe all personal cards are listed besides Nectar ..even Vitality’s card is there.

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/06/15/american-express-shop-small-2020/

    • Andrew says:

      Shop Small is open to all personal cards

      • Hotelier says:

        Thanks! Hopefully we get another summer run this year, wishful thinking.

        • Jonathan says:

          It depends how things will economically and the time. We might get another one when this current lockdown ends, but given how bad January has been, I doubt it’ll end anytime soon

    • Chef says:

      I used shop small on my Nectar recently

  • Cat says:

    A bit late to the party here, but fab news about the Nectar-Avios partnership!
    ION – I’m about to grit my teeth and cancel my hotel bookings (again) for my Easter holiday break. Does anybody else delay and delay doing this because they just can’t face cancelling yet another trip?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, same, I’ve got IC Singapore booked for late April for a bargain price on points when they did that promo/error last summer on dynamic pricing – but I can’t face cancelling yet, even though Singapore will be about the last place on earth (along with NZ) to reopen their doors to tourism, probably into 2022!

      • Cat says:

        Mine’s a reduced version of the Indonesia trip I had planned last summer – Bali, Nusa Penida, the Gili islands then a couple of days in Singapore (I went with the Pan Pacific after a lengthy recommendations thread on HfP sometime last year!), I was supposed to be flying in Cathay F again.
        🙁
        If the IC was a real bargain, is it worth seeing if you can change the date of your booking to a year later?

        • Andrew says:

          I’m also booked in CX First with Avios. Guess I’ll just be cashing them out at Sainsbury’s now 🙁

      • meta says:

        Same here. At the moment, I can’t bring myself to cancel Japan trip in April. I will probably also have to cancel Maldives as a back-up too.
        When I eventually cancel, I tend to book something immediately after, even if it is just a hotel booking on points. It helps as I am then dreaming about some other trip.

        • meta says:

          @Andrew I also have two nights on points at IC Singapore in their Heritage Suite and two nights on Amb rate for £267 tagged at the end of Japan trip in April. I am not sure they’ll let me move that as I think they had inadvertently allowed suites on points bookings.

          • Andrew says:

            I’m in the same room type – looks wonderful – just like RaffIes. But I think that’s right, if you make a date amend it will be whatever the standard points rate is then. I guess emailing the hotel directly might get some good will to move without additional points required – might try nearer the time.

        • Cat says:

          Hopefully, in a couple of months I’ll be able to book my Maldives trip for Easter 2022 – I’ve finally hit the magic 760,000 needed for the Conrad, and will be taking one of my friends.
          That’s what I’ll think about when I hit cancel @meta.

      • Phil says:

        We stayed in the IC Singapore in 2019… lovely hotel and nice lounge. Wish we were there now!

        • Michael C says:

          Totally agree – IC lounge gorgeous, as are Heritage Suites…but as is PanPac lounge (for Cat). Only real lounge competition is RC, with its insane food & drink offer, plus (in our case), kids are allowed in!

      • Crafty says:

        Yes, only just brought myself to cancel 6 nights at IC Danang in April for 38k points per night. Gutting to have to do!

    • ChrisC says:

      I basically cancel as soon as I know I can’t go – especially if the flights been cancelled.

      I think it’s just polite. Especially if it’s a points booking and they could make a points room available to someone else.

      I actually spent a couple of hours last night checking to see if the points or cash rates had gone down for my IHG bookings later in the year and managed to same myself some points and cash. Also cancelled some points bookings in favour of cash to use the points to get a better return rate.

      • Cat says:

        You’re right. I’ve done it.
        Gutted though!

        • Anna says:

          I’m holding out for Easter until at least after Feb half term! Avios flights which may be cancelled by BA and (refundable) cash hotel bookings so I’m nor depriving anyone of anything by hanging onto them for a few more weeks. I’ve also booked a few nights in London for Easter in case domestic travel is allowed but not international. For my poor OH it’s Easter or nothing till August as it’s so difficult for him to get leave, made even more difficult this year by the frankly insane decision to go ahead with the G7 and climate summits!

          • Cat says:

            I’ve cancelled the hotels, but am holding on to the flights, in case the flights are cancelled (they’re also redemptions).

            Will have to get my thinking cap on for a possible staycation at Easter – I’m wary of planning anything hiking related after attempting Offa’s Dyke in April 2018 – which was basically still winter, and was just the most hideous camping and hiking experience ever!

            That sucks Anna. I sympathise with all who struggle to get leave when they want.

    • Andrew says:

      And after all these cancellations, I’ve decided it’s a waste of time, energy and disappointment to keep booking things. So apart from a flight to New York for £260 with virgin so I can get the Gold status match, I’m going booking-free, cold turkey until there’s more certainty.

      • Anna says:

        I know exactly where you’re coming from Andrew but I can’t help remembering that we paid £1200 for a week in a “lodge” (i.e. glorified caravan) in rainy Northumberland last July because UK holiday companies knew they had a captive audience by the beginning of the summer! If domestic travel is all we’re getting this year, I want at least a week in an IC or Kimpton with no cooking duties 🤣

        • Richardyorkshire says:

          Exactly Anna, my Scotland trip cost a bludy fortune. Almost as much as my five star hotel in the canaries for a fortnight that we stayed in last October.

          I think I”ok just sit and wait.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    The Seychelles has fully reopened (no quarantine) to people who are vaccinated and have a PCR test within 72 hours of arrival

    https://www.secretflying.com/posts/seychelles-reopens-with-no-quarantine-rules-for-vaccinated-tourists/

    • E says:

      Hope they do a vaccine passport or something in the UK. Otherwise can’t see how you can prove you’re vaccinated. My Dad has been vaccinated but he’s only got his appointment letter which could easily be recreated in Word.

      • Andrew says:

        They won’t. Antibody test which you pay for is all you can expect.

        • meta says:

          You can ask for a letter from your GP. I enquired with my GP.

          • Andrew says:

            Let’s hope that’s sufficient “certification” – after all you could just type up a letter from your doctor yourself – not like the immigration officer in the Seychelles is going to phone them surgery to verify.

          • Jonathan says:

            I imagine you’ll have to pay for that though (which is fair enough).

          • meta says:

            @Jonathan It would be free and they might be able to put a stamp on the letter. However, I imagine once they have too many requests (almost certain in a few months), they will start charging.

          • John says:

            GP’s should be dealing with patients who are ill not having their time abused by people wanting to go on holiday !

          • Andrew says:

            I agree, I don’t think GPs will want to be doing this every time someone wants to go on holiday and I can’t see countries accepting a letter from a GP as being official enough. So either there needs to be an official certificate system or countries need to stick to negative testing.

          • ChrisC says:

            @meta

            As a former GP practice manager I can say it certainly wouldn’t be free to produce a letter saying you had had the vaccination.

            Such letters aren’t part of the GP contract with the NHS so would be a chargable, private servive.

            Same with airlines needing ‘fit to fly’ letters or certificates.

          • Number9 says:

            I already have to pay £35 for a letter from GP regarding my controlled drugs. I don’t expect it for free and I wouldn’t expect a vaccine letter to be free either. As for GP should only be treating sick people they won’t turn down a chance to make a few extra £.

          • John says:

            @No9. In these times colleagues and I fine to continue treating sick people – happy to turn down your extra £

          • Rob says:

            My old GP spent part of the day doing NHS and the other half charging £165 per half hour appointment for private patients. Sure he would have happily knocked out a letter for a few quid.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Of course they should charge. If they could do it as a chargeable service within the NHS so that it fairly remunerated their time AND had a little extra into the NHS so that a few 1000 letters funded the next surgery/service upgrade then so much the better.
            Of couse this would produce political screams of privatising the NHS … from people who somehow have not noticed that significant areas of NHS care have involved the patient visiting a private subcontractor and paying a charge, and this has been the case for over 70 years without the world ending.

          • Number9 says:

            @john … you’re talking to the wrong person and clearly have never met my useless surgery. They couldn’t even be bothered to see my Mum who was dying, they couldn’t even get the info right to the Coroner! Please don’t virtue signal to me you’re wasting your time.

          • kitten says:

            @Number9 I’m sorry to hear this. You have done very well under the circumstances and it’s clear you braved all sorts of things to look after your Mum. I am sure she knew this and was proud of you.

            Y

      • Anna says:

        Pointless though, if you’re travelling with children.

        • meta says:

          Children are obviously exempted from all rules including PCR test.

          • Anna says:

            I’m speaking generally about vaccination. It’s pointless demanding proof of vaccination for adults if they’re travelling with unvaccinated children. Some countries require PCR tests for children over a certain age – I’ve seen 6 and 12 stated by some.

          • meta says:

            @ Andrew @John that’s why I think they’ll start charging as soon. Nice little earner for what is basically just change a few details on the standard letter.

          • Andrew says:

            Yeah I guess a secretary will prepare all the letters and the doctor will just scrawl on a stack of them at the end of the day. The concern would be going to a country that requires this and then them saying it’s not official enough when you get there, especially if some countries are issuing certificates.

          • Optimus Prime says:

            I don’t understand why they’re exempt. Children contract and spread the virus. Isn’t that the reason schools are closed?

          • kitten says:

            I have never, ever understood why children are exempt. They are walking virus carriers and super-spreaders.

            That’s not to underestimate the difficulties with very young children though, e.g. trying to fit a mask to a recalcitrant 2-year-old.

    • Andrew says:

      Maybe some sort of official stamp would be required on the letter then – I can’t see a regular letter being sufficiently official enough to satisfy. And what these countries are failing to realise is that being vaccinated doesn’t make you safe to enter – safe for you not to get sick but not safe for their citizens not to be infected by you.

      • meta says:

        Seychelles plans to vaccinate all their small population by mid-March. They already have enough vaccine to do so.

        • Anna says:

          What about their children?

        • Andrew says:

          Then it’s odd that they care if we are vaccinated or not if their citizens are immune.

          • meta says:

            It’s not you can still transmit and you can catch it again. We also don’t know about the effects of mutations yet, don’t know how long immunisation lasts, etc. So this will be the temporary measure, it might change later once we know more. Obviously the opening up is not for everyone, only category 1&2 countries and UK is not one of them.

          • Lyn says:

            A visitor who is already vaccinated is much less likely to need to visit a hospital or take up other precious local resources.

      • meta says:

        @Andrew I think Seychelles requires you to upload the proof when applying for passenger locator code. So it is manually checked. Iceland requires proof to be uploaded online and then it’s checked by Chief Epidemologist office before you’re issued with entry permission.

        • Andrew says:

          That all sounds a bit more official and certified before travel which is reassuring – I could just see you turning up with a doctor’s note and them turning you away. And as it’s checked in advance it means it’s not open to fraud which is good.

      • kitten says:

        EU is looking at bringing back the standard yellow vaccination book-type thing we all used ro carry around.

  • Definitas says:

    I have a 2-4-1 booking LHR-ORD in Apr 21. We will not be travelling (gutted because it was a 50% Avios discount in F) and, based on recent schedules, it is unlikely that BA will cancel. My problem is that the 2-4-1 expires in October 21 (having been extended by 6 months) and we already have a second booking in June and one in October so fitting in another trip would be difficult. If I were to cancel and request an FTV do both the outbound and inbound legs have to be flown by Apr 22? Do I have any other options that I am not seeing? TIA for any advice

    • Anna says:

      Yes all travel currently has to be completed by the end of April but at this rate there may be an extension on this!

  • Tw33ty says:

    If its anything like the lloyds bank rakuten offer for club lloyds benifit this year, it won’t be up to much.

    • 747_Brat says:

      haha…I am still struggling to find a good movie to rent with my Club Lloyds Rakuten code.
      Any suggestions? 🙂

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