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.

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Comments (223)

  • QRA says:

    BA have cancelled my LHR-SIN flight in late March, I plan to rearrange for back end of this year, as it was First tickets with 50% avios sale and 241 and so a refund is not preferable. I understand from reading comments that this should be possible? Also, I have an avios Cathay flight BKK-SIN that was to connect to my return flight from SIN-LHR, this is still scheduled. Will I be able to cancel this without the £35 penalty as I will no longer be in SE Asia due to the BA cancellation? Appreciate any advice. Thanks

    • AJA says:

      You should be able to move the LHR-SIN-LHR booking to later in the year without having reward seat availability. I suspect that you will have to pay the £35 penalty to cancel the BKK-SIN booking as that sounds like it is a separate PNR. You should be able to cancel it for free by exchanging it for a Future Travel Voucher instead if that helps and then try using the FTV to book the flight again to match your moved First flight. You will however have to have reward seat availability when you come to book. Phone YouFirst and they should be able to handle all of this for you.

    • Andrew says:

      If the Cathay flights are on a separate booking then unless they are cancelled too then you’ll be needing to pay the £35.

  • Dace says:

    Does Curve Metal allow to deposit with AJ Bell?

  • Alexis says:

    Any workaround for us new Sainsbury’s customers to get 1600 nectar points before the 14th Feb to trigger the bonus? Not enough offers at the moment.

    • AJA says:

      Transfer Amex MR points to Nectar?

      • Rich says:

        Doesn’t work I don’t think.

        1600 MR > 1600 Nectar > 1000+500 Avios. You lose 100 Avios/ MRs.

        (Double points in Sainsbury’s might make up for this If you spend a lot)

        • AJA says:

          No it doesn’t if you’re transferring 1,600 MR to Nectar as you could just transfer them to BAEC instead and get 1,600 Avios. But if you already have 600 Nectar points then transferring 1,000 MR to Nectar gets you the required 1,600 points to transfer to BA giving you the 500 bonus Avios effectively meaning 600 Nectar points equals 500 Avios instead of 375 which works out as a bonus of 125. That’s better than nothing especially as it also gives you the double nectar points at Sainsbury’s until 19 April.

        • A says:

          Hold those avios in your account until expiry of the promotion (it is mentioned in the T&Cs that you can’t just transfer back), and then move the 1000 avios back to Nectar (@1.6), leaving you with 1600 Nectar, + 500 avios, + whatever bonus you get in Sainsbury’s.

  • Phil says:

    HSBC Premier CC (Free) – has anybody successfully triggered the 10% Expedia Hotels Discount and, if so how? Did you get a Coupon Code? I’ve registered for Expedia Gold using the link but I don’t seem to be able to trigger the discount and the process outlined here:


    • KP says:

      10% off selected hotels for HSBC Premier Customers!
      I did make a booking for a hotel in Ibiza and I truly got 10% with HSBC Expedia link against guest login without suing a code.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Potentially going to need a hotel at the O2 in September to see Bring Me The Horizon. Any reccomendations on reasonably priced but nice hotels?

    I have IHG Gold and Best Western Gold (lol)

    • Phil says:

      The InterContinental O2 is often fairly reasonably priced if you get in early for a reservation. I’ve always enjoyed my stays there. I’ve sometimes used the Crowne Plaza Docklands, which is also convenient due to the Emirates Cable Car directly over to the O2. The Crowne Plaza is decent but the O2 is better and sometimes the prices aren’t significantly different.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Both are about £150, not exactly cheap but then again it is london…

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Personally I’d pay extra to be at the IC 02. Parking is £25 for residents.

          • Super Secret Stuff says:

            We’ll be using the train and tube so not really an issue

          • Super Secret Stuff says:

            Although I do have enough points for it 🤔

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Then even better greenwich tube is very nearby

            If the difference was £17 and I was on the doorstep vs across the river Id rather pay £17 as getting across isn’t quick.

          • Super Secret Stuff says:

            @TG it’s £186 for the IC and Crowne plaza is about £150

          • BJ says:

            @Super, take the boat then, it’s much more fun.

    • dezbez says:

      Radisson Blu Providence Wharf on the other side of the river is very nice. Only stayed through work though so not sure of prices.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        £133 per night with a free room upgrade, decent. Thank you!

    • Chrism20 says:

      Also worth taking a look at Holiday Inn/Staybridge Stratford and the Holiday Inn Express Royal Docks which are both pretty much on the door step of Stratford & Canning Town stations respectively and only minutes from North Greenwich on the tube.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Kind of want to avoid the tube on a Sunday night but I’ll keep it in mind thanks

    • Stagger Lee says:

      Make sure you book a refundable rate as I doubt gig of that size will be back by September.

      I’m supposed to be seeing Rammstein in June and my hotel booking is non refundable. The gig was originally scheduled for 2020 and same hotel room was refundable but when the gig was moved to 2021 the hotel weren’t booking that far ahead. When they did make rooms available they didn’t put any flexible rates on sale. Cheeky gits.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        It’s operating at half capacity so I assume lot of screens etc.

        Doesn’t surprise me about the hotel, good commercial strategy lol. Bad customer service tho

  • Gtellez says:

    What happens if I refund a flight that I paid in USD with my BA Amex card? At the time of booking (March 2020) the pound was much weaker than now; so, will I get the amount I paid in GBP or will I receive less according to the actual exchange rate? What about the 3% fee I originally paid, will it be refunded?

    • AJA says:

      BA will refund the price paid in USD which will convert to GBP at the current FX rate used by Amex. You will not get the 3% fee back either as that was charged by Amex and not BA.

      • Tariq says:

        Indeed, you win some, you lose some. Made a bit of cash last year from USD refunds which netted off the 3% and some, but this time around have ended up a couple of quid down on a £230 value refund.

      • Genghis says:

        IME the exchange fee is refunded.

        • AJA says:

          Thanks Genghis. I never knew that. Presumably Amex refunds that?

          • Genghis says:

            Yes. Say on Day 0 exchange rate is 1.4. Then moves on day 30 to 1.5.

            Spend $140 = £100 + 3% = £103 charged.

            Refund $140 on day 30:
            $140 = £93.33 + 3% = £96.13 refunded.

            Not had many Amex international refunds but this is how they’ve processed IME.

    • Jonny O says:

      You will be refunded in USD and AMex will automatically convert this to GBP on the day. as you noted, given the movement in xchange rates over the recent past and with a stronger GBP/USD rate, the amount you will ultimately receive converted back to GBP will be less than what you paid last year. The 3% xchange fee will not be refunded. In fact, they will probably charge you another 3% to process the conversion from USD back to GBP. This is the downside of purchasing in a foreign currency with a non local credit card. The xchange rate risk (which can be positive or negative) is entirely yours.

      • Gtellez says:

        Thanks! It was due to really good offer with flights to bogota with Iberia (due to the VPN I was using it was priced in USD but I didn’t want to loose the offer)… I’ve been moving it several times… but this time I think I’ll just cancel it, so I’ll have around 70 pounds lost… well you can’t always win!

        • Stagger Lee says:

          and maybe get a card that doesn’t charge for payments in other currencies? I have a Halifax Clarity* specifically for overseas spend.

          *other cards are available

  • Travel Strong says:

    New GIB routes from Eastern Airways, who have been a pleasure to fly with previously.

    Southampton to Gibraltar from 24th May.
    Birmingham to Gibraltar from 28th May.

  • Craig says:

    So, BA has not yet cancelled our holiday to the Seychelles, departing 31st March and returning on 9th April. The flights are still bookable. Given the noises from the islands, looks like we will be able to get in, just not sure if we’ll be allowed to leave the UK! Starting to get excited but also thinking that Boris will kill off any escapism for Easter.

    • Andrew says:

      You’ll hear more from the PM later this month about the roadmap to relaxing restrictions which may include details about travel – but if the opposition have their way we will be fully closed until the early summer for all travel. Time will tell which way it goes.

    • Anna says:

      Infection risks aside, this is interesting because the current regulations expire on March 31st and as Andrew says it remains to be seen what rules will replace them.
      It’s a few weeks yet so you’ve got time to consider the options.

      • Yuff says:

        I have 4 flights in F, on BA to Dubai, at the beginning of April, all direct BA flights have disappeared until about the 19th April, so I suspect I’ll get an email at some stage telling me the flight is cancelled.

        • Anna says:

          Just been notified that our Good Friday flights are cancelled!

          • Yuff says:

            Just had the email that 2 of the seats have been cancelled.
            Assume my wife will get her email imminently.
            I assume I can re-book for October half term and don’t need Avios availability?

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