Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 16th 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 (365)

  • IF1 says:

    Potentially a very stupid question but Avila to nectar auto conversion… how many avios is transferred weekly? Is it the maximum by default?

  • Jaime says:

    Have a significant amount in credit on my BA card due to refunds from BA and consequently a large negative avios balance. Any suggestions on how to move the cash to mitigate the negative avios balance? No upcoming big expenses in the short term.
    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Hugo says:

      You can move the cash to your bank account – what you do won’t effect your avíos as they have already been deducted when the refunds were made

    • Dave says:

      Cancel the card before the refund hits. You can then get the balance credited to your bank account.

  • Lady London says:

    on the face of it 100% EU261 MCOL should be successful.

    You don’t say where it departed from. Compo depends on distance you can check flyertalk or google sounds like about 300 euros depending km length of flight (see gcmap).

    Weather delays to incoming flight claimed by airline as exceptional circ’s are irrelevant. The weather delay has to affect your own flight for airline to claim this. So if your plane was sat on tarmac blocked from taking off due weather – a clue would be general airport announcements about the weather or airport screens showing lots of other flights not taking off and if in particular, other airlines flying similar routes are also not taking off. If the delay is because the incoming flight is late for any reason including weather then airline cant claim exc circs for your flight.

    Crew being out of hours and bizarre meandering via Italy is also airline’s fault. Did anyone get on in Italy even if no one got off? sounds like they might have combined flights.

    As your wait was over 2 hours on ground airline is liable for refreshments / snack (duty of care) if you have receipts – does not sound like they provided anything.

    So looks like you’ve been fobbed off by Easyjet and have an excellent claim. All uncertainty would be removed if you could access the officially filed reason for your flight delay logged against your own flight number. I think expertflyer gives this to paid subscribers but prob other ways. But if other airlines were not delayed and no aircraft was there for you and announcements by Easyjet referred to waiting for incoming aircraft I would say your case is made.

    I’m guessing they did the jaunt via Italy also to avoid having to provide hotel for a planeload overnight – delays and denial netting overall lower cost to them.

    Only you can decide the morality of claiming for a flight that did not cost a lot.

    • Lady London says:

      *above for Aston100.
      Once again Wordpress loses the link to the comment being replied to in about 30 seconds 🙁

    • Aston100 says:

      Thanks Lady London.
      The flight was from Turkey.
      No one got on at Malpensa other than the new crew.
      I don’t recall delays to other flights, and in fact there was ab Easyjet flight crossing to MAN that left on time
      I can’t say for sure that the LGW and the MAN flights actually originated from those airports, so it may be possible that weather problems may not affect both planes.

      I’ll look into mcol then.
      Do I need to give Easyjet another opportunity? I know they are taking forever to respond these days and someone I know is convinced they are ignoring him.

      Thanks

      • Aston100 says:

        ***and in fact there was an Easyjet flight to MAN that left on time.

        No ability to retrospectively edit a post

      • ChrisC says:

        I think you do need to give Easyjet one more chance to respond and you should specifically ask for the reason(s) for the delay and then decide what to do after they get back to you.

        And if based on what they respond you do want to take them to MCOL then a ‘letter before action’ to their legal not customer service dept giving them one last chance to pay up before you do start the process.

        You don’t want to pay for MCOL then discover that it really was weather that caused the main part of the delay meaning you would lose your case and your fee.

        Remember the length and causes of delays to flights can be parsed down to the individual reasons and a facial delay of 5 hours could be allocated to say 3 hours weather delay and 2 hours to easy jet meaning no payout because the easyjet delay didn’t reach the EU261 time frame. The details are important.

  • BJ says:

    @Lady London, what are you reading these days? I decided to follow @Cat’s suggestion and try Nesbo. Opted for The Kingdom and will start it this weekend.

    • kitten says:

      Hi BJ, being skint right now I am driven by the Amazon Kindle Daily cheap list! so I too followed @Cat suggestion got in 2 or 3 £1 Nesbo’s recently to have ready.

      @Anna recommended Mark Dawson for the British Jack Reacher. I obeyed, and have hoovered up about 12 of those for £1 each. Also 3 or 4 of the Beatrix Rose ones which @Anna recommended. Still to read them.

      Will buy Lee Child Jack Reacher other 16 or so I haven’t read, as paper books via various hotel points programs and BA e-shopping portals. That will keep my hotel points alive and BA ticking over till spending again.

      Reading a few John Sandford – really like those including the Virgil Flowers series.

      Hoovering up the recent Michael Connollys every time they come up cheap – usually every 2 months there’s one on the Amazon daily deals.

      I know you suggested Karin Slaughter @BJ I tried (twice) but she’s too bloodthirsty for me.

      All the above are “can’t put down” once I start and stopping me doing other essential things. So now reading Stella Rimington Liz Carlyle books. These are interesting – very human characters – and I can put them down when needed to do tasks that are getting urgent.

      Just as well I’ve read lots of Andy McNab(big fan) and Chris Ryan. Otherwise they would be keeping me from stuff I should be doing too. Sue Grafton all read too (Kinsey) – Sad she didn’t make it to Z.

      Which other authors else should I be looking out for?

      PS Now that they’re on Kindle I’m also re-reading Leslie Charteris’s The Saint series.

      • Callum says:

        I don’t know how good you are with computers, but if you’re skint there are workarounds to get the free library eBooks onto a Kindle.

        I use one called Calibre, but it may be a bit confusing if you aren’t good with them.

        • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

          Try Jeffrey Deaver, a superb author.

          • kitten says:

            Ta @CORB. Are the Jeffrey Deavers not a little bloodthirsty though? I’m only a little kitten…

          • kitten says:

            @BJ I did look at Tom Thorne when you mentioned but tell me it isn’t a little violent and bloodthirsty?

            I do remember the Winds of War TV series (Herman Wouk) esp the poignant bits at the end… I will try to look at the books when the sad Covid stories in the world are less.

        • kitten says:

          Thanks @Callum is this via Libby or Overdrive or one of the other Library services?

          I have used the magazine ones (Pressreader from BA, Readly free Lidl app trial). But haven’t looked into getting books via library-sponsored app yet. Any tips?

          (my business is computer based but have to wait to replace equipment so mostly on mobile now)

          • Callum says:

            I haven’t done it for a few months but I think I’ve done it with both. Overdrive definitely.

            There will be guides online, but the basic premise is you download the ebook to your PC, convert using Calibre to a Kindle format (you may need something called “DeDRM”) then transfer it across. I’m not aware of a way to do it without the PC.

          • Callum says:

            It’s a bit controversial as it also gets rid of the 3 week borrowing restriction, but it’s not my intention (I just want it on the eReader) so I don’t feel bad about it!

          • kitten says:

            Aha. Thanks a lot @Callum. I will note for when I get around to trying Overdrive. GetiPlayer used to have that advantage for iPlayer!

            I hope your back gets a breather to recover. With all that’s going on in your environment I’m guessing that’s where your body is loading stress. I used to go to a gym and hang by my feet like a bat off the chinning bars when mine got bad, letting gravity start the stretch helped a lot.

          • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

            They’re no more violent than a Jack Reacher , Bosch or a David Baldachi, they’re superbly written. The Lincoln Rhyme series are especially good

          • Callum says:

            Thanks, I’m certainly missing the gym right now!

            Yeah it was a falling patient at work (I’ve never been able to follow the “just let them fall – protect yourself” policy!). Luckily I had a 5 day gap between shifts so hopefully it should be OK before I’m next in.

          • kitten says:

            The way to catch them is to turn your back. Best if it’s 2 of you then less chance they slip as you turn around after you kind of ‘catch’ them. You will still lose some though.

      • BJ says:

        That’s a massive volume of reading 🙂 I’ll look into Dawson. You’ll find the early Reacher books much better than the recent ones, plots were better. I hear you on Slaughter, definitely gruesome but I started so just kept going. I am convinced the first 2 or 3 disturbed my sleep! Don’t know what it is with female thriller writers, they all seem to be trying to outdo each other in the gory stakes. I don’t know if you saw my suggestion to Anna to try Mark Billingham Tom Thorne series? A more edgy and complex series of plots and characters that you might expect of British thrillers than you find in contemporary American fiction. I like a lot Herman Wouk, read them all but might do so again. Hope financial situation improves soon.

        • Harry T says:

          Agree early Reacher books are much better. Thank you to whoever pointed out that the Michael Connelly Haller books were on sale for one pound each on amazon kindle store – purchased all of them and gf will read them too (I’ve read most).

        • Chris Heyes says:

          BJ i read all the John Grisham books (read all) not at all gory, but a brilliant writer
          been a couple of films made from the books (films not good) they alter scrips to what they think we should like, But all his books bar one have been top notch
          Worth a read if you’ve not tried him

          • Number9 says:

            Films of books are always a disappointment to me, I love Jack Reacher/lee Childs he’s written as a man mountain, an imposing man someone you wouldn’t mess with in the films he’s played by … Tom Cruise.

      • Sarah says:

        I would recommend Nicci French books

        • kitten says:

          Thanks Sarah

          • BJ says:

            @Kitten, Winds of War and War and Remembrance are great. So too are The Hope and The Glory and the Caine Mutiny. However, given the other books you like you might find the lines of The Lions Game, Plum Island etc more up your street. I’ve only read two Thorne books so far. Nowhere near as gory as Slaughter but more gritty and realistic than American fiction. If you want just get the first one to try before investing in any others. It’s more Rebhs, Talgarth than Reacher.

  • BJ says:

    Martin Lewis is going to have some explaining to do. MSE making a big song and dance about the avios-nectar trick to convert 20k MR points from PRG into £184 to spend at Sainsbury’s … he really should read HfP 🙂

    Also, they missed the Virgin 15k offer.

    • Rob says:

      Just saw that. Apparently ‘it is still new so he is still looking for evidence that it works’ 🙂

    • Andrew says:

      How does he get to £184? Isn’t 20,000 MR £160 at Sainsbury’s?

    • kitten says:

      now we know why BA pulled the plug?

      MSE and HUK do have a certain killing power don’t they. Maybe we need an obvious code for Nectar if anything remains usable for the future.

      The MR push prob comes from MSE’s new owners?

      • BJ says:

        I imaging BA and Sainsbury’s have been haggling over this for days already. It never ceases to amaze me that major players in loyalty schemes still manage to shoot themselves in the foot despite numerous hard lessons in the past. Shaping up as a very exciting February so far 🙂

        • Andrew says:

          Really shows the appetite for travel at the moment too that people are cashing in their Avios and MR in their droves for a loaf of bread at Sainsbury’s. Let’s hope they have put this 10 rule in to slow things but not stop it completely.

          • kitten says:

            Let’s hope with all this quantitative easing (aka printing money) we won’t see people cashing in wheelbarrows of cash in their droves to buy a loaf of bread in a couple of years.

          • BJ says:

            That might inevitably result in something very nectaresque which would no fun at all.

        • Harry T says:

          What have you been up to with Nectar then, BJ?

          • BJ says:

            Mostly collecting: applied for another over 50 and another credit card but passed on Viking. Transferred the 1600 x3 to avios but I since learned that I will not be eligible for the bonus on one of them if their systems screen properly. Decided against moving avios, prospect of exciting travels in 2022 won out over fruit and veg at Sainsbury’s. Might split shoppibetween both Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

        • kitten says:

          @BJ I could hear you cackling all the way from Scotland when the Nectar-Avios thing came out. You weren’t seen for about 36 hours probably recovering from laughing so much.

          • BJ says:

            It was the outcome I expected, O simply couldn’t see Waitrose or M&S appealing to BA. When the nature of the partnership became apparent it was quite sobering. A decision had to be made whether to jeep avios or break up HHA and transfer the. Ultimately I decided to keep avios.

      • Track says:

        This should be profitable to BA, since AMEX is buying Avios at close to 0.9-1p first.

        Then a customer redeems for 0.8p.

        However, AMEX Avios likely coming from a pre-paid pool (cash in past earnings) whereas Nectar redemptions are cash out the door.

    • Harry T says:

      I love Martin and highly respect him but he does kill the golden goose a lot. I remember Rob saying his emails probably helped murder six month Amex churning.

      • Rob says:

        IAG probably does OK here …. they probably get 0.9p to 1p from Amex so if they go straight out to Nectar at 0.8p they make a few quid.

        • BJ says:

          But didn’t they sell a massive bunch to amex at a discount or am I confusing that with something else?

        • Track says:

          Except one trick, Rob.

          AMEX Avios likely coming from a pre-paid pool (cash in past earnings) whereas Nectar redemptions are cash out the door.

      • kitten says:

        exactly Harry T. MSE great site really has improved the quality of life for the masses in UK.

        But a light code for things really, really helps.

        Nothing we could have done about Nectar though as it was a major launch as big as Tesco and avios back in the day and had to be covered.

  • Callum says:

    No Julian,

    You’ll notice that I’ve disagreed with many people on here with regards to Covid restrictions etc. It is YOU specifically I have a major problem with because you’re incredibly arrogant yet completely devoid of the intelligence required to back it up. Your rants are generally utter drivel, how many times today alone have you had to be corrected for the most simple things (you couldn’t even locate the list of Costco membership professions!)?

    Your posts are full of insults and “vicious attacks” over the most mundane, boring things (like someone not including an M&S logo on an email!), so cry me a river. Your continual snotty remarks and undermining of both my profession and personal character deserve it.

    I’m sure Rob wouldn’t appreciate this full blown argument continuing, so I will end this discussion by repeating what I have already told you. I am NOT relying on “statistics from the mainstream media” (not that you’ve remotely demonstrated how they’re inaccurate), I PERSONALLY SEE the people taking up vast swathes of hospital capacity suffering the horrific effects of this disease and I’ve had to clean more dead bodies than I wish to count (though, as you love to shout, yes many of them would have died in the next few years anyway – I however still think their life matters).

    It is real, it is incredibly distressing to watch and it is diverting scarce resources away from ALL aspects of medical care, including cancer care. Goodbye.

    • Callum says:

      Sorry, this is once again a reply to a comment on the previous page that I’ve messed up!

    • Harry T says:

      100% behind you on this, Callum. I wouldn’t waste your energy on certain people, as they seem to delight in being provocative and finding an audience.

      • BJ says:

        I don’t think Julian is intentionally provocative… no rabid baboons in sight 🙂

        • Ashish says:

          Please no racism

          • BJ says:

            That wasn’t a racist comment, it referred back to a comment Harry made about our elected representatives. Sorry if you took offense, none was intended.

    • Aston100 says:

      Callum, don’t let the provocation get to you.
      I can empathise with your situation.

      • Sandra says:

        I find it quite concerning that a simple email from Amex about which supermarkets you can use your card at can trigger such a diverse range of rants from missing off M & S/Waitrose to Costco to STI’s etc etc and, whilst I am no way defending or agreeing with the person, if they were a friend of mine I would have worries about their mental health. Most of us are finding it difficult in this 3rd lockdown and sometimes stress has to find a way out.

  • Kevin D says:

    How long does it take Argos nectar points to post to Nectar account?
    Opened Nectar account on Saturday
    Linked it to my online Argos account right away and bought something
    Collected it from Argos in Sainsburys on Sunday
    Still not showing
    Is this normal? Or am I getting over excited for my first Nectar points to arrive?

  • RB says:

    Currently have a Barclays Premier account (although the rewards have greatly diminished since opening). Is it likely that the Avios offer that’s expected will be open to existing customers (or if it’s worth moving banking elsewhere for the foreseeable and potentially transferring back at a later date)?

    • Rob says:

      It’s not clear if the Avios for ‘day to day’ stuff will be restricted to clients who open an Avios package or if they are rolled out to everyone.

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