Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 27th 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 (308)

  • DenisO says:

    Now that the Tesco/Avios relationship is over I am looking for the best non-Amex credit card to use instead of Tesco card (when Amex not accepted) to generate Nectar points (to convert to Avios) ?

    I use a BA Amex Premium Plus Card whenever possible (to earn Avios and 241 vouchers).

    I have been using a Tesco Credit card when Amex not accepted – to generate Tesco Clubcard points to convert to Avios.

    This has been very successful with trips to Australia, Caribbean and Europe (Business and First) in recent years.

    I don’t have a HSBC Bank account so the HSBC Card is not an option.

    Which card would you suggest ?

    Any advice welcomed …

    • Jonathan says:

      For non HSBC premier Visa/MasterCards, there’s virtually no options available apart from the Sainsbury’s credit card range. But like Rob said the other day, it’s earning rate is terrible, 1 point per £5 spent, and like Tesco credit cards, Sainsbury’s credit cards round down per transaction, so a £9 transaction immediately followed by a £1 transaction will only give 1 point.

    • Stagger Lee says:

      There are a couple of Nat West Reward Cards where you can cinvert the rewards to Avios. You do need to have a Nat West account though

      • Jonathan says:

        I’ve checked their website and it doesn’t say anything about being able to earn Avios (directly or indirectly) with NatWest credit cards. Plus they’re not mentioned at all on the articles on what the best credit card options are when Amex can’t be used.

        If anyone knows NatWest credit card rewards are like and how they compete with competitors please enlighten us

  • Rui N. says:

    Although the “monthly limit” on my blue Curve dissapeared from the app, it appears that I have reached it… it seems to be £45k, all transactions now being declined. Anyone experiencing something similar?

    • Rui N. says:

      Well, I’ve now read the previous page, and maybe the problem is the underlying IHG card… I shall try again tomorrow!

  • Martha says:

    Anyone can suggest which platform to sign up and use to buy and hold a one £4000 worth of shares? If they are equal are there any ones I can get a promo or use a card route for rewards?
    Thank you very much

    • Anuj says:

      You haven’t mentioned what share however both trading 212 (referral link below) and Freetrade offer no fees and trading 212 has a free ISA too.
      If the company you want to buy isn’t on the above too, then x-o are quite cheap at £6 per trade and no ongoing fees.

  • James. says:

    My Saga continues. I have still not received 2 vouchers (separate accounts) from Virgin for credit card spend. The spend was reached back in October. My card anniversary is January so am now into my next year period. Looks like I am going to have to call them to find out where it is.

    • Carol says:

      I had a very quick response of about 5 minutes when I whatsapped them on 03448747747

    • idrive says:

      Mine did not show on VA account (and still does not), I asked CS via text and they confirmed it was booked on the account at approximately the end of period date.
      I had received an email confirming i reached the required spent, at the same time VA offered the £40 discount for renewal back in autumn.

      • Jonathan says:

        Does anyone else have any experience of Virgin offering a discount or extra perks if you threaten to cancel your premium card with them ?

        I’ve seen previous comments here in the past, that someone who accidentally starts another year gets turned down for a refund, and then essentially have to keep it open for another year and swallow the fee

        • Travel Strong says:

          Don’t expect Amex style retention from Virgin Money – they are not in that game at all.

          Virgin marketing may have issued sign up incentives in the past, but thats where it ends. From point of application onwards you are appealing to be accepted, appealing for a reasonable credit limit, and dealing with a team that have no interest in retention and offer none of the excellent customer service that amex phone agents are renowned for.

          Be cautious of quitting the Virgin premium card if you are thinking of churning. New applications generally have terrible credit limits (and points cap at the credit limit).
          If you do leave, cancel at month 11 just in case the 2nd year fee is taken early.

          • dezbez says:

            I recently (successfully) re-applied for the Virgin Reward+ card after a 9 month break – like you say I was expecting a low limit of say £3-4K but remarkably they gave me £17,600…

  • Oh! Matron! says:

    I’m looking for a way to get Avios / Nectar points to Apple Gift Cards

    The Mac Mini I want isn’t sold at Argos, but is at Apple. so my suggestion is Avios > Nectar to eBay Credit to Apple Gift Card

    However, whilst ebay is awash with iTunes gift cards, there’s just a smattering of Apple Gift Cards

    So, any suggestions? Thanks in advance

    • Anuj says:

      Surely the model you want is stocked on eBay itself ? And depending on how you feel, something sold as opened but brand new will still have warranty and can save hundreds on electronic purchases.

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        You’d think so, but no.

        • kitten says:

          is it one of the models sold by carphone or perhaps one of the mobile networks? their vouchers are certainly sold on ebay. I’m not sure if all of those would block crossover to eqpt for their use.

          I take it the obvious JL voucher idea doesn’t work or JL doesn’t stock it?

      • kitten says:

        Have spent a bit of time in past month looking at just such purchases on ebay and it’s amazing what some sellers will claim is Open Box.

    • idrive says:

      so basically, what is the best way to buy a new Apple device by combining both Plat rebate and nectar route?

      • Sina says:

        Do you have access to Student (through Unidays, beans, etc?) or Employee portals? (Perks, Xexec?) both will get you 10% off, excluding iPhones.

        • idrive says:

          i may have but i was specifically looking at a new phone, can it be done via JLP mixing card and GCs bought via Waitrose?

          • Sina says:

            You could get it from JLP using gift cards but note most online retailers are out of stock for most new iPhones.

    • Andrew says:

      The Currys Ebay store?

      • idrive says:

        what do you mean exactly? to buy from currys on ebay? you mentioned that as it is not subject to the £200 limit that Argos got?

        • Andrew says:

          You’re not comparing like with like.

          When you spend Nectar points at Argos, it’s a direct spend and they allow you to spend 40,000 Nectar points per transaction.

          When you buy Ebay vouchers with Nectar points, the maximum voucher value is £200 from 40,000 Nectar points.

          According to the T&Cs though:-

          “You can use more than one voucher at checkout.”

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        Normally not a bad place for discounts, but the 16GB Mac Mini appears to be only stocked by Apple themselves. I’ll keep searching 🙂

    • kitten says:

      are iTunes gift cards not accepted for the entire Apple ecosystem including hardware? I thought they were but am not an i-person.

      Apple has ‘shop in shops’ in some places including, IIRC, Selfridges and pretty sure Harrods. When I bought stuff at Carphone Warehouse a while back ISTR I was surprised I got a Carphone receipt and not a Selfridges so Apple may still be Apple at certain types of retail outlets (Bicester?) if you can use the center’s voucher somehow inputting NP to that?

  • Bam says:

    I have a BA Future Travel Voucher I would like to use before the 30/04/22 cutoff – I am looking at ways to spend this, should I not be able make new holiday or flight bookings before this time. Can I use this for just Hotel bookings through BA or is there anything else apart from flights / holidays I can spend this on (I have Singapore air flight vouchers and 2-4-1 flights I need to use as well)

  • Globetrotter says:

    Is anyone aware of any further automatic extensions of Amex Companion Vouchers since the last lot of auto extensions in October 2020 for vouchers due to expire by 31/3/21? I have a Companion Voucher due to expire in April 2021 and wondered if any of those have been extended? Thx.

    • Rob says:

      Not heard anything.

    • Sandra says:

      Guess you mean 241 – I have one due to expire early April but so far nothing. For the flexibility of not being locked in to a travel companion I am going to hang on to it for a bit longer then if no extension I will book a UK flight and cancel for a voucher to extend until 2022.

      • robman says:

        Sandra, how will you retain the benefits of the 241 (to fly anywhere in the BA network), by booking a UK flight and then cancelling. Wouldn’t the voucher value only be equivalent to the UK flight value and therefore not able to be used further afield (e.g. USA)?

  • DT says:

    Had the opposite problem, waitrose credit went through next day but deliveroo took two days longer even though both were done on the same day

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