Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 4th February

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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 (223)

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    How did I miss the HI Ariel becoming a Best Western? When’d that happen?

    • Phil says:

      That’s a shame. Many years ago I tried to put the British Midland crew into that hotel… the Unions nearly had a fit.

    • memesweeper says:

      One day after the Holiday Inn brand standards police arrived 😆

    • Chrism20 says:

      It went to BW along with the Hallmark Hotels last year sometime. An LHR signed up was mentioned on the Best Western documentary during lockdown last year. The hotel itself wasn’t named but it was blatant it was the Ariel.

      If you haven’t seen the documentary it’s still on the All4 platform and hurtles between hilarious and cringeworthy in equal measure. Guaranteed to brighten up your day.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        That’s tonight planned then!

        Jeez, hallmark there’s a brand…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It was pretty interesting tbh

      • Roy says:

        Odd that the documentary is titled _A Very British Hotel Chain._

        I would have thought that Best Western is a very _American_ hotel chain, surely?

  • TheThunderer says:

    Has anybody had problems with Caffe Nero not accepting Nectar vouchers? (Very first world problem I know)

    • ChrisA says:

      I think this offer ended yesterday.

    • Tim says:

      I’ve occasionally had vouchers not work – the Caffè Nero system says it was already redeemed – I complained to Nectar and got a refund of points, but it took ages

    • Crafty says:

      Yes, it’s been problematic for years. I have a less than 50% success rate. You’ll usually get a free coffee out of it, but will have to argue.

  • Tony says:

    There was some commentary yesterday that BA can issue a new ticket to overcome the 355 day ticket validity period associated with rebooking flights…although invariably BA does not offer to do this. Has anyone actually managed to do this and is there something we can quote to BA.

    • Charlieface says:

      I’ve been trying to find the exact wording from IATA. I think it’s in the Ticketing Handbook Chapter 7, but that is not available online. If anyone could quote it, we’d be grateful.

      Basically, the agent is supposed to be endorsing the tickets INVOL, and then override the validity date. The agents are either not trained how to do this, or not authorized.

    • Chris says:

      I haven’t flow the seats but I was able to rebook a ticket from May to late November. It was originally booked in October on the website (1/2 price Avios offer.)

      Website still shows It as ticketed a 5 weeks after changed it.

      The GGL line refused to do it.

    • Ryan says:

      I recently managed to change a first class return to Sydney that was booked in the 50% off sale and with a 2-4-1 from flying April 2021 to late December 2021. They wouldn’t do it over the phone but was able to do it online. Hopefully Australia will be open by then!

  • Roy says:

    When did the Heathrow Ariel rebrand as a Best Western? See photo in this article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/04/airport-hotel-chain-kept-dark-uk-covid-quarantine-plan-best-western

  • Martha says:

    Hi. My new IHG card has stopped working after a few varied uses. Is this usual? Too much too soon? Should I wait or (try) contact CS?
    Thank you

    • Roy says:

      Creation’s fraud prevention systems can be a bit twitchy. I’d call them up.

      • memesweeper says:

        *before* calling make one, last effort to do a chip-and-pin transaction in a bricks and motor retailer for a low amount. If that’s blocked call up CS and discuss why *that* failed.

        • DarrenS says:

          Happened to me when I first got the card. I rand CS service who said it was probably an anti-fraud measure. She couldn’t put me through to the Fraud team as ‘they were all in a meeting’ – seriously. Anyway, I was called back shortly after and advised to use chip and PIN every 3-4 transactions rather than contactless.

    • Aston100 says:

      I’ve had my card blocked a couple of times for apparently fraud prevention reasons.
      No followup call or notification of any kind.
      Had to phone them on both occasions and they would then ask if I genuinely made the purchases in question (one was an airline ticket, and the other was a purchase of some fast food if I recall correctly).

      • Roy says:

        I once had my IHG card declined on a prepaid room at an IHG hotel. No notification from Creation, and reservation summarily cancelled without any notification from either IHG or the hotel.

        In fact, I think it might have been at the Ariel…

    • Steven says:

      I’ve tried a couple of times to get this card but can never get past the eligibility checker for no good reason. I should maybe be a bit relieved as the feedback on this card hasn’t been great at all recently.

  • BLT says:

    A quick question. I have 3 241 Virgin vouchers on my account and want to book my familly of 4 return reward UC seats. I am also BA silver. Is it worth (or has anyone done this?) booking a refundable flight for the status match, then booking the reward seats to avail the full 241 offer (rather than 2 for 1.5 for a non silver/gold member).

  • Wally1976 says:

    Not sure if this has already been discussed but on my Nectar app I’ve got an offer for Sainsbury’s Bank life insurance. It goes up to 25000 for policies of £30 a month or more but I was considering the lower offer of 12000 points for a £5 a month policy. You have to keep the policy for 5 months so basically it’s £25 for £60 worth of points.

    Anyone know how easy these policies are to cancel after 5 months and whether there’s likely to be any problem getting the points? It says “Points are added to your account up to 60 days after 5 months premiums have been paid”.

    • BJ says:

      Simple to cancel, and if you’re 50+ go for the over 50 plan at £5/month for 20k. You can have two per household per rolling year 🙂 Done nicely from this but I suspect the door, like many others, will be closing soon.

      • Wally1976 says:

        Thanks BJ, sounds like a go-er on the life insurance. I’m not over 50, the year in my name is my year of birth (so not too far off)!

        • BJ says:

          Reverse for mine, and would happily trade you my insurance for that decade back 🙂

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Interchange fee – am I the only one thinking businesses should be forced to accept credit cards given there is a cap in place?
    They had a valid reason to avoid taking credit cards earlier. But with the cap in place, is it unreasonable to expect any business that takes debit cards should also be accepting credit cards?
    Its a bit strange Amex hasnt lobbied for this.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      But the reason to not accept them isn’t just about the fee

      The retailer gets stung for any fraud etc too.

      Also cash has other benefits for some which like to evade the tax man.

    • Dr C says:

      Afaik the fees on credit cards are more than debit cards I think it is unreasonable to force everyone to incur fees, if this happened places would just increase their base prices to compensate.

    • Sean says:

      But half of Amex’s cards aren’t credit cards either!

    • jimc says:

      I disagree. At the end of day a business has the right to decide how they take payment , just as the customer then has a right do decide where they’ll choose to shop. A pub for example can decide to take payment only in Pokemon cards if that’s their wish!

      • Anna says:

        Would HMRC accept payment by Pokemon card linked to Curve though?!

        • memesweeper says:

          At the end of the day the only thing you need to pay in sterling are taxes, and court enforced settlements. Everything else is for you to barter with magic beans, if you and the other party want.

        • Chas says:

          Someone is going to start wondering what that is code for…. 😂

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