Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 6th 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 (309)

  • Aston100 says:

    IHG: How do you guys handle breakfast when booking a stay with points?
    For cash rates, I note that many properties allow adding breakfast at decent prices (e.g. typically £9 per day (total for both guests) at Hotel Indigo properties), but obviously no such option when using points.
    When I’ve enquired prior to booking, I get quoted anything from £11pp through to £25pp depending on the property, which is significantly more expensive, and makes me want to just go and eat outside of the hotel.

    Is there anything I’m missing here? Is there truly no way to get a discounted rate on breakfast when booking a reward night stay at IHG properties?

    • Kai says:

      Correct

    • Blair says:

      Seems to be the case. I’ve haggled successfully in the past, calling in advance, gasping at the price and saying I’ll go to a corner café unless they want that money instead. Some properties outside UK and US do however include breakfast on award bookings – treasure these!

    • BJ says:

      I share your frustration, why I stay Hilton most of the time and I redeem IHG points mainly on HIX and Staybridge. At other IHG brands I often offer them £5pp which as you say you can get often enough for adding to a cash booking. So far, zero hotels have accepted 😀 No loss for me, there is often somewhere nearby I can get cooked to order for that price and I dislike buffets anyway (no, not you @KBuffet).

    • Genghis says:

      We eat out

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Agree or order in. I’d rather have a McDonald’s muffin over the slop some hotels offer for £10-25 each.

      • Rob says:

        My wife won’t allow that, so it needs to be factored into my calculations when decided how to book. Probably why we’re still sitting on 700k IHG across the family and never seem to run them down 🙂

        Even my attempts to blow a pile in Dubai over Christmas got ruined due to a 30,000 points compensation payment for lack of upgrades and the bonus points.

        • Aston100 says:

          If IHG are determined not to offer free breakfast for status members, perhaps they should consider allowing points to be used to pay for breakfast? 2.5k – 5k points (per person per meal) feels about right to me.

          • Harrier25 says:

            You used to be able to exchange points for breakfast vouchers many moons ago on the IHG website. I don’t understand why they don’t change their breakfast policy. There must be many more people, like me, who will opt to stay at a nearby Hilton property rather than an IHG property just because of the free breakfast. Of course, more often than not, the Hilton property is usually better anyway.

    • BP says:

      I’ve seen the eStandbyUpgrades system offer breakfast at a few places. I think Kimpton London for £15

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I never see estandby offers for IHG properties.

        • Anna says:

          It’s an odd one – from what I can tell, the lower your status the more likely you are to get the standby upgrades. I got them as Platinum but not when I joined Ambassador. I did ask IHG about it and they said you should get the upgrades as Ambassador anyway! This is clearly rubbish as you definitely don’t get everything that pops up as an upgrade option. That said, a couple of offers did pop up for the Xmas stays we booked as Ambassadors but I assumed that was because hotels were desperate for extra cash and they were cancelled anyway so we never got to try the system out!

    • Andrew says:

      CP usually give lounge access to Spire as the welcome amenity, so you can have breakfast there if you’re at a CP. And most times at IC as AMB I’m given free breakfast.

      • Harrier25 says:

        Yes, the Crowne Plaza lounge breakfast is fine as long as your happy with Weetabix, fruit and machine coffee 🥺

        • Andrew says:

          Always a selection of hot options and the continental items at the ones I’ve been to.

          • Harrier25 says:

            Definitely not in Chester, Stratford upon Avon, Marlow & London Kings Cross. You’ve obviously been luckier than me!

          • Harrier25 says:

            ….unless you class toast & porridge as hot items! 😕

    • Harry T says:

      I stay at Marriott and Hilton hotels that give free breakfast with my status 😊. But seriously, a lot of hotels overcharge for breakfast if it’s not included. If I’m staying at a hotel that doesn’t give free breakfast to elites (EDITION for example) or in a chain that doesn’t give real elite benefits (IHG), I often go and find somewhere that offers a decent brunch, unless the hotel offers an excellent breakfast. Tbh, in places like Amsterdam and London, you can often get better breakfast or brunch a short walk from your hotel anyway, unless you are staying somewhere with a very good breakfast offering. On the flip side, last time I stayed in Melbourne, I booked the HIX on points (Grand Prix weekend so cash rates crazy everywhere) but didn’t eat the included breakfast because there was much better food elsewhere.

      • kitten says:

        I do not understand this obsession with eating breakfast in the hotel.

        • Rob says:

          It’s a treat – assuming your don’t have a multi-course cooked breakfast at home.

    • Dubious says:

      Sometimes I bring my own Breakfast with me the night before. Certainly can save running back up to the room to brush my teeth afterwards.

  • Sam says:

    Hi all, I recall there was some mention of a new Waitrose/JL loyalty scheme..has there been any update? Waitrose fruit and veg can’t be beaten in terms of quality but getting tired of doing my shop there with no meaningful loyalty points..esp with the new Nectar/Avios tie up!

    • BJ says:

      Support your local independent greengrocer if you have one. Sometimes even the headline prices are higher they often throw in extra or discount for regulars. You also avoid the prepackaged tricks supermarkets play.

  • Blair says:

    Emirates Skywards 30% bonus – Any data points on recent Skywards value on redemption? I generally use them for the Biz to F upgrade at (at most) 39,000. IIRC bigger bonus was offered last summer.

  • Number9 says:

    Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on Iberia last night. I’ve ended up booking BA to Rio as 3 award seats came available this morning, going to stay night at airport hotel then get first flight out to Iguazu Falls for 2 nights. Then flights to Buenos Aries for 1 night before we board ship. Going to book Iberia for return flight home, Assuming we can travel of course, but everything booked on easy to cancel basis.

    • BJ says:

      That’s fab Debs. If you haven’t been to Rio before I highly recommend you spend a couple of days there. However, worth visiting only for the experience of flying into the city.

      • Number9 says:

        Thanks BJ it’s a choice of spending couple of nights in Rio or going to the falls …. falls won.
        I won’t get the chance again to visit Iguazu so it was an easy choice really.

    • Tracey says:

      Iguazu is amazing, far better than Rio IMHO.
      The airport hotel at Rio is awful though!

      • Number9 says:

        I thought for the money it would be Tracey lol but flight gets in at 8pm first flight out at 7.15am doesn’t seem worth going anywhere else.

    • Lev441 says:

      Iguazú is a worthy detour… you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you do both sides of the falls!

  • Blair says:

    Lockdown hotel question – you must work from home if you can. You can stay in a hotel if travelling for work purposes. So what about staying in a hotel in your home town because you can’t work from home due to construction at home? Anyone got any experience of dealing with hotel front desks? Jobsworths or not bothered?

    • Tarmohamed says:

      They’re not bothered.

      • Brian W says:

        Exactly, I stayed in 3 different Hilton’s this week for work. First two emailed in advance asking for me to simply reply to confirm the stays were ‘for work’, the third said they had emailed me asking for this the day before I checked in (they hadn’t), I just gave her my business card at checkin and she was happy. They’re just covering their backside and really not bothered.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There are a number of reasons why you are allowed to stay at hotels.

      Being asked if it’s “Essential business trip” is nonsense.

      Visiting your bubble
      Volunteering
      Unable to return home
      Self isolating
      And many more valid reasons other than just fancy a night away for leisure.

      Hotel will just ask you for the reason and perhaps in writing.

      • Gavin says:

        Just get a proforma letter from your work stating you’re travelling for work. Hotels only want something in case they’re audited / visited by cops.

    • Darren S says:

      I stayed at the Hampton Leeds on a day rate and had to complete a form which included a list of authorised Industries to select. I chose Food supply, which is correct. I was not asked for proof.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Which is nonsense really as there’s no list of “allowed” jobs.

        Like I said you’ll be asked and you might be asked for an email / sign a disclaimer for audit/cops (which will never happen)

  • BJ says:

    OT @Peggerz … enjoy, I’m sure you know what I mean 🙂

    • Peggerz says:

      Thanks BJ.
      It’s been a good day. I hope you raised a glass too. 🏉

  • Stephen says:

    Hi all – if booking a multi-leg trip through qatar airways that includes a ba long haul on one leg, is it possible to book premium economy? Qatar website doesnt appear to let you. Wondered if a phone call was needed? Thanks

    • Andrew says:

      You would certainly need to call as QR not normally market premium economy as they don’t have it on their metal – their call centre might allow this multi-cabin multi-segment booking but possibly just need you to decide economy or business for the whole trip.

  • mutley says:

    For anyone interested Hackett are now offering an additional 10% discount on the 50% sale.

    • Harrier25 says:

      So just overpriced now then, rather than ridiculously overpriced! 😄

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks, I actually submitted my order again as a new order to take advantage of the extra 10% off. Can return the more expensive order.

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