Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 25th 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.

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Comments (274)

  • Andrew says:

    MBNA

    Been into check to see if there are any fresh MBNA offers, and it’s giving me the message:-

    “Choose an account for your Everyday Offers payments

    According to our records, the account you’ve chosen for your Everyday Offers payments has been closed. You have another account which can be used for Everyday Offers.”

    There’s a mini unreadable drop down and lots of “???/xxx/properties???”

    Anyone else getting the same message?

  • Travel Strong says:

    Just cancelled my BAPP. They are still offering the 1 extra avios per £ offer to prevent cancellation (but doesn’t do it for me).
    (and still pushing the fear of voucher cancellations / offering downgrade to free card – but also not for me as will refer from partners gold when I want to apply for BAPP again).

    • kgm says:

      I have 2 companion vouchers in my account if I cancel my BAPP and downgrades to the normal card can I keep them?

      • Aston100 says:

        Yes. The companion vouchers can’t be clawed back.

      • Darren says:

        You don’t need any Amex cards to keep the vouchers, but when you use them you need to pay the taxes and fees with an Amex card, which could be a partners.

  • Graeme says:

    OT, queries re SIPP since bendy not working with AJB with any of my underlying CC anymore.
    1. Save me opening accounts on off chance, any other SIPPs work with bendy and beardy or are all blocked due to MCC codes?
    2. Other option I was thinking, could take out a Rev account and topup via IHG or beardy, then Rev to AJB. Any known issues with thia? Anyone do this to pay into SIPP? Or will that get me quickly shut down. TIA

    • Genghis says:

      I’d choose your SIPP provider based on overall costs over many years, not the ability to earn a few quid in points (which are a bonus).

      • Graeme says:

        Thanks John and agreed Genghis. I always look at costs first. I was thinking I could pay in Feb/March then April for next tax year and transfer to my preferred provider.

    • The real John says:

      Vanguard works.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      +1 to Genghis. Don’t forget that the effects of fees and charges compounds over time – e.g. a charge of £100 for switching may not seem a lot, but for a 25yo they’ve lost £100 that could have gone into their pot, AND THE 40 YEARS OF COMPOUNDING RETURNS ON THAT £100. Which might typically be around £1500 lost out of the end pot. Points pale into insignificance.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Getting a bit abstract here but if the points earn you a £150 hotel then, in theory, as long as the £150 winds up invested you could still come out in too there.

        But human nature probably means it doesn’t

    • Doug M says:

      I agree with comments about provider based on service and overall costs not any one off bonus. I have a pension with AJB and am really happy with them. I should say I invest in shares and ETFs. The only thing I really dislike about AJB is that once you begin drawdown, they don’t separate the amounts between untouched and drawdown, you have to ask for valuation. This lack of separation also means you can’t adopt a different investment strategy between the drawdown amount and the untouched pension.

  • Mark says:

    About to cancel my Amex Plat and will need to destroy the cards…but now they are metal I assume a pair of normal scissors wont make the cut (pardon the pun), any suggestions on how best to destroy these?

    • DT says:

      You can send it back to Amex and they will destroy it for you. Last time I did this I spoke to them via chat in the app to get the details

    • AJA says:

      A hacksaw?

      • dezbez says:

        Melt it down? Surely it must be platinum, right! 🤔

        • AJA says:

          You’d need a pretty hot oven to do that since the melting point of platinum is 1,768 °C. And if it was actually platinum the card itself would be worth over USD800 at the current price of USD32 per gram!

    • The real John says:

      I’ve kept every card I have for my grandchildren to sell on ebay or whatever people will use in the future. I recently sold my great grandparents’ passports from the early 1900s for a reasonable amount…. also 2kg of UK train tickets to a collector….

      • 747_Brat says:

        @The real John
        I also don’t destroy cards and like to collect them! 🙂

      • Jamie says:

        You sound a true delight. The phrase ‘knows the price of everything and the value of nothing comes to mind.

        • Gruntfuttock says:

          Bit harsh. I know exactly the value of the bus tickets I ebayed last year, £13.43. 😅🎟️👍

      • Rui N. says:

        I also save all my credit/debit cards! Have quite the collection from when I used to live in the US! And yes, I brought them with me when I move to the UK.

      • George K says:

        I also have kept every card I’ve ever gotten (as a responsible adult) besides duplicates. Not just credit cards, but store, airline and hotel cards. As the world moves away from tangible displays of status, I feel that these will be a lovely reminder to look back on in about 10-20 years’ time. And yes, one for the kid to pore over and marvel at the perceived uselessness of them all.

    • Ghosty says:

      Use it as an ice scrapper on your car windscreen

      • Phil says:

        You joke, but I saw some old dear trying to scrape her car window with a clipboard yesterday. Was sorely tempted to jump out the my car and offer up the Amex Plat. Then her son (I assume) came out of the house shaking his head with a proper ice scraper.

    • Chris says:

      Hold onto it in case you get a chance to use the Eurostar lounges. They only look at the card and expiry date and have no way of validating that it’s not a cancelled card.
      I even have a spare old Amex Plat with just my surname on it (no initials, no title) so my mother/brother etc can use it.

  • Radiata says:

    FT reports “Mastercard to increase fees for UK purchases from EU” (https://www.ft.com/content/39f553a0-00c5-48ad-a8ee-0b9fd75554b0).

    Sad news for many businesses I suspect and hope the UK gov legislate to limit. Scope for improved card sign up bonuses in the interim perhaps.

    • JonD says:

      UK government may be quite happy if costs of buying from abroad increase as it should make purchasing through UK companies more attractive.

      • The real John says:

        They’ve already increased the costs by 50% because of the VAT shambles. The EU store perhaps should be removing their local VAT or whatever, plus they are meant to register with HMRC or something like that. I haven’t got my head around it yet, but the fact is people are currently ending up having to pay 50% more than the headline price or refuse delivery.

        • Tim says:

          Nonsense. Prior to January 1st, imports from outside the EU above £15 were charged VAT, duty and fees. EU imports at any price level were charged VAT. Now, the level has been increased to £135 across the board. So, order from U.S, or anywhere else in the world, and as long as the item is less than £135, and as long as the seller has registered for VAT with HMRC, there are no other fees to pay. It increases competition. For items above £135 from the EU, there is a 2% fee on top of VAT, plus a typical £10 courier handling fee. But you won’t be charged VAT at point of sale. That is the trade-off – but the 2% fee can often be outweighed in currency movements. As for VAT being collected locally, and complaints by EU companies they need to register for VAT with HMRC, this is European wide initiative, delayed by 6 months or so. Paying 50% more is wide off the mark.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Amazon planning to move their invoicing location from Lux to UK

    • Youllnever says:

      Points multiplier for reward cards on EU purchases maybe?

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Well its a foreign transaction (as in euros), so you already get more points

        This is just opportunistic way of boosting profits

    • bafan says:

      Brexit means Brexit etc etc. All of these things were forecasted and the majority of people didn’t care so – it’s basically Brexit Tax. Which people voted for.

  • Claire says:

    Hi, I have some questions regarding an upcoming flight with BA.

    The flight is LHR to Dubai March 17th, booked in the half price Avios sale.

    1) what are the chances of this flight going and the FO advice being removed so that I can go? (I know this will be just opinion but I value yours)

    2) are BA charging £35 per person canx fee atm?

    3) if I chose to rebook for a future date would they honour the sale Avios price?

    Thanks for any help you can give 🙂

    • ChrisW says:

      I would not expect travel restrictions to be relaxed before Easter.

    • The real John says:

      I don’t think leisure trips will be allowed by then, however the flight may still operate for non-leisure trips.

      If the flight is cancelled by BA you can get a full refund with no fees. It is reported that if you rebook for travel by 30 June they are honouring the sale price, beyond that you will have to fork over the extra avios.

      If the flight is not cancelled by BA then you can either FTV it and rebook when you are ready, or pay £35 per person for a refund.

    • AJA says:

      1. Chances are flight will still go due to cargo. Chances are slim to nil FCO advice will change to allow you to travel
      2. Yes BA still charge £35 if you cancel. Nil if BA cancel.
      3. Extra Avios due for future dates if you make changes. If BA cancel you can change to a future date that does not need award seat availability limited to within one year from date of booking.

      • Ghosty says:

        If BA cancel and you rebook a future date does that create a ‘ new booking date’
        Example: if I want to rebook further than 1 year past original booking, can I rebook next available on same route which is still highly likely to be cancelled, thus then rebooking 1 year from new booking date.
        The risk is losing the full refund and paying the £35 cancel fee if rebooked flight is not cancelled by BA.

        • Claire says:

          Thanks everyone. I can cancel up to 24 hours before, when are BA likely to cancel? I’m guessing I should leave it until the last moment I can as I am better off if they cancel? Thanks

          • Anna says:

            Hi Claire, I’m exactly the same, 2 weeks after you! I’m going to wait until 5 days or so before travel, unless some ruling comes out that all foreign travel is definitely going to be illegal during our holiday dates! I really don’t want to lose the half price avios element so am wondering, if BA cancels, how much chance I have of them agreeing without a fight to move it to October half term or the week before Xmas and just take my teenager as OH won’t be able to get leave then.

        • Aliks says:

          If you stay on the same PNR then BA will try to argue there is a 365 rule. They are not correct, but you will likely have to take it to arbitration to change things.

          If you get a new PNR then likely you are OK.

    • BS says:

      3) If you change to same date in the on-peak (or off-peak) band, no extra avios payable. I changed a sale flight I had in the summer to a get-me-home-now flight the following evening, and I was allowed to change it for free with no extra avios payable. You can do this online. Saved me £££ vs having to pay cash for a flight

      • Anna says:

        So far I’ve not been able to make online changes where there’s a domestic leg included in my itinerary – has anyone else been able to do this?

    • Andrew says:

      Agree with others unfortunately, leisure travel is set to get harder, not easier over the coming few months. Possibly by the autumn, travel might be an option so maybe see if you can change to then.

    • Darren says:

      If it’s not a direct flight any cancellation on the connections would give you the option to move it without any extra fees, it doesn’t have to be the main flight.
      There have been reports of CSA giving rebooking up to the end of June, but many have received rebooking in Oct, Nov and beyond.

  • Vit says:

    Claiming Avios from Bicester virtual shopping question please.

    I am about to send off the receipt and info to claim the avios from Bicester. Current rate I have seen on their website is 5 avios for every £4 spent. Any special promotion out there I should be aware of? Just to make sure I am not missing out anything on offer.

    Cheers,
    Vit

    • Andrew says:

      I wasn’t aware of the promotion when I claimed – in fact I wasn’t even sure if they would still honour the Avios. But they responded within 24 hours confirming the Avios had been applied and it had a double Avios promotion included – so 10 per £4 spent.

  • Chris says:

    I’ve got two BA flights over next few months that have disrupted or cancelled.

    I thought the rule was you could move to any other day within 12 months of original booking date but for one of my bookings just via manage my booking i’m able to select dates 12 months from now? Is this a quirk online or am incorrect about the re-booking window?

    Trying to figure it out cos my other booking is for Seoul and as there’s no future flights on that route the online system is no use. Trying to figure out what my options are before calling up

    • Anna says:

      Let us know if you manage the online change!
      Re Seoul, if BA has cancelled this, you are technically entitled to re-routing under EU261, however obviously it would depend on there being an alternative which would comply with any entry requirements etc for it to be of any use to you.

    • Vit says:

      I think the MMB date does show the availability date 12 months from now but once you try to book, it will come up as (Error
      The date you have chosen is more than 365 days from the original date of booking. Please choose an earlier date and try again.).

      Though would be great if you manage to rebook online 12 months from NOW. I am not able to do so with mine.

    • AJA says:

      I suspect it’s a quirk online but it would be interesting to see if it allows you to go all the way to selecting a new date. You could just try. Worst case it stops and doesn’t complete.

      • Alex says:

        I had a ticket to Sydney under the 50% avios sale (long shot but anyway) and amex voucher. I called and was told had to be done within 1 year of booking. But online I was able to rebook for December despite this being longer than the BA ‘validity’ claim (which is simply their policy and not EC261 policy). It wouldn’t let me select all the dates but it did let me select the ones I wanted in December, even if that seems pretty unlikely too. Zero logic to the dates it would let me select and those that it wouldn’t. So definitely worth trying.

        • Ian says:

          Interesting. How did you change your flight? We also have Sydney flights that are cancelled but no option to change online for us, just reference to calling up. Is there a special link?

          • Alex says:

            Yes on the disruption page instead there was an option “Rebooking” I think. So as soon as I clicked on Manage My Booking I was presented with a few options (voucher etc.) in the new website format. Didn’t appear on some other bookings, but strangely did for this.

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