Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 21st February

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We have decided to run this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (200)

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  • Matthew says:

    Harry – you mentioned yesterday you got a good deal via Emyr for Domes of Elounda. When are you going out of interest? And the extras you’ve got as part of your deal was that because you’ve already been in touch to say you have Titanium status? Lastly what room category did you book? Just wondering what expectations I should have when I go. I’ve been twice before and had a modest upgrade – mainly better view but last time we were showered with extra gifts throughout the whole stay which were very welcome. Thanks

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Emyr’s extras are for all his customers and not related to status.

      There are the. some additional extras that domes offer titanium members regardless of how you booked, details on flyertalk.

      It’s worth sending Emyr an email if you’re looking at a cash stay.

      • Matthew says:

        Thanks. I have booked with Emyr and a few extras that Rob highlighted the other week are included which is great. Just wondered if I’d get anything on top for being Plat but perhaps not…

        • AndyW says:

          What are the cancellation terms, if you don’t mind me asking. Was thinking of dropping an email across but won’t waste his or my time if it’s not completely flexible

          • Matthew says:

            50% deposit required 30 days from stay. Remaining 50% required at hotel. No cancellation fee is charged for cancellations received 14 days prior to the arrival date.

        • AndyW says:

          Thank you

    • Harry T says:

      The extra Titanium benefits are based on accounts on the wiki for the Flyertalk thread about Domes of Elounda. I am unsure if Platinums receive similar benefits.

      I booked the first week of October – staying in a Premium Suite Garden View (I’m assuming I can talk myself into something better due to my status and general charisma, but the base room looks totally satisfactory). I’ll copy and paste the details of the extra stuff that’s included by booking via Emyr (this is from the confirmation email sent by the hotel):

      “ Payment policy:
      A deposit of 50% of the total amount should be arranged 30 days prior guests arrival (2 September )
      Remaining balance should be arranged upon arrival at the hotel.

      Cancellation policy:
      No cancellation fee is charged for cancellations received 14 days prior to the arrival date.
      100% of the total due will be charged for cancellations received within 13 – 0 days prior to the clients’ arrival date.
      Early departure or non-show will be charged 100% of the total of the non-used or remaining overnights of the reservation. Name changes, date changes or duration changes within the cancellation period, are considered cancellations and are subject to the above mentioned TCs

      Occupancy tax 4 euros per room , per day will be paid by guests on departure’s date

      Added values:
      One head & shoulder massage / per booking / per stay
      One complimentary 3 course lunch / per booking / per stay

      Stars Added Values:
      Daily Complimentary breakfast
      Early Check In (on arrival / upon availability)
      Late Check Out (on departure / upon availability)
      Complimentary WiFi
      Welcome amenity & GM note welcoming guest
      100$ Resort credit”

      So the “added values” bit and the more flexible cancellation and deposit policy is what Emyr is offering exclusively (definitely a better cancellation policy that paying up front and not being able to get a refund like bookings via Marriott directly). The STARS package is what you get for any booking through Emyr or another preferred partner who has access to STARS rates at participating properties. The STARS package is particularly good for RC and EDITION because elites don’t usually get breakfast at those.

      • Harry T says:

        Titanium benefits as described on flyertalk:
        “ Titanium benefits are generous (as at August 2020):

        Complimentary Breakfast in our Restaurant (Tholos) throughout your stay (When booking on redemption stay)
        One Complimentary Dinner in our Restaurant (Blend or their choice on check-in), drinks excluded
        Spa thermae Facilities (per Adult, per stay – was a 20 minute back massage)
        VIP Check-in over a signature aperitif overlooking the famous UNESCO protected islet of Spinalonga
        1000 bonus points (in addition to any normal bonus), posts about 5-7 days later
        Then the usual: Complimentary Upgrade (upon availability); Late Check-Out (upon request, upon availability).”

    • Harry T says:

      What extra gifts did you get last time? I’ve never stayed but I’m very keen to visit as the hotel has a good reputation on here and it looks like a gem. My Mum is a frequent Crete visitor and tells me the area is fantastic too (I’ve been there once many moons ago).

      • Matthew says:

        Great thanks for the info. I’m 99% certain you’ll get upgraded from the garden view as I have every time when I was just Gold. A sea view of Spinalonga is fab. Not sure whether extra gifts were because we were putting a lot of spend on our room but over the course of the week last time we had 3 bottles of wine, 2 cocktails, spa therapy, lunch, kids sweet hamper, free desserts from ‘core’ as well as the usual treats like upgrade, checkin cocktail etc. Our family love it there so we are going half term in Oct but I think you’ll have much better weather than us.

        • meta says:

          Does Elounda have HLS (Haute Living Style) rooms like some other Domes properties?

          At Domes Zeen this summer, as Plat I was upgraded to HLS room from base room which meant half board throughout the stay (you can choose between dinner or lunch and change it every day), free minibar (first full free, then 8 items per day), welcome gift, mid-stay amenity, departure gift, access to HLS lounge with free drinks and snacks throughout the day plus extras by the beach or pool. They also threw in a free dinner including drinks at the top restaurant in Chania and paid for all the transport. They also showered us with free aperitifs for dinner. Really good deal for 250 euros a night.

          • Matthew says:

            Wow, impressive upgrade. Yes Elounda has HL too. Never experienced it but sounds good.

          • Rob says:

            It does, but it was only nominally open when we were there in October (ie they had cut it as far as I think they could without being legally liable to give refunds). A very, very small amount of food which you were forbidden from serving yourself, and with members of staff generally being absent so you couldn’t get anything at all.

            We should have a full review of Zeen at some point. Sinead went for a couple of days last Autumn but we thought we’d save the review until post lockdown. It got half-written and then the baby turned up 🙂

          • meta says:

            @Matthew @Rob thanks for confirming
            Complete opposite of Domes Zeen also at the end of October! We had way too much food. I am looking for a plan B if South America trip is off in October. I’ll probably stick with Zeen, although the private pool was way too cold and not heated.

        • Harry T says:

          @Matthew thanks, hope you have a good trip. I’m probably going to try Miramare too so will report back.

          • Matthew says:

            Great, you too. Yes I’m keen to try the others but I think they are adults only resorts so wouldn’t work for us….until we can offload the kids at the in-laws when restrictions are lifted! Perhaps an ideal excuse to celebrate a big Bday??!!

          • Harry T says:

            Yeah, Miramare and a few of the others are adults only, which appeals to me and the other half when we want a more tranquil holiday.

            If you are looking for adults only, the Castillo Hotel Son Vida in Palma started only letting adults stay this year. We are booked for July (fingers crossed) so I’ll let you know if it would make a decent getaway for the adults in your household 😊

  • Nigel Hamilton says:

    Hi, I’ve got a conundrum which I haven’t found an answer for. Planning to take the family (of 5)next summer for a special trip to the US or Canada to celebrate my daughter’s GCSEs – they’ve never flown outside of Europe before. By the time I can book, ill have about 150,000 avios and 2 Amex 2 for 1 vouchers. So can’t do business both ways. Would I be better off booking business one way and economy return for 4 (using both vouchers) and a cash economy ticket or booking 2 business returns, 3 cash economy tickets and saving a 2 for 1 voucher. Either way, I’ll be sitting in economy both ways so my wife and kids all get a seat in business in one direction!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I think you’ll have an issue with booking 4 seats using 2×2-4-1 in different cabins. Not sure if the call centre can get around that but usually you must all be in the same cabin on each leg so all in business one way and all in eco the other.

      Have you considered PE return for all?

      Or waiting to see what the cash fares are like when USA finally opens up because I think they’ll be dirt cheap. 5 cash seats in PE with upgrade to avios one/both ways?

      • Nigel Hamilton says:

        Hi, thanks for the reply. I hadn’t thought about the upgrade option, so will take a look at that. If I took the first option would go 4x business one way and 4x economy the other so I think that would work with the 2-4-1’s. But I’d understood redeeming for economy tickets was not really worth it? Is this still the case if economy one way?

        • Alex says:

          Redeeming for economy is rarely worth it, you ALL need to travel in the same cabin if using 241’s. I would personally look to do economy out, a day flight to the US/Canada is fine. Go business back on a night flight and get some sleep(especially if you’re looking at west coast).

        • Lyn says:

          Redeeming for economy can also be worth it if there is a special reason, like needing a 1-way booking or for flexibility to change dates.

          It might also be worth it in this case to be able to book different classes in each direction. You would have to look at the cost of the total trip in avios and also taxes etc. to see if it is worthwhile.

          Business one-way and economy seems more fitting for a special celebration than premium economy both ways.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        My first thought was that with two 2-for-1s in play then, assuming you can get reward availability for 4 allowing you to use both vouchers (a big if, although less so if you’re flexible on destination), then this may be one of the few times that buying points makes sense because it will bring both vouchers into play for business class both ways, particularly if – as is likely – decent offers for purchase of Avios crop up. This of course depends on the cost of Avios purchase, as well as both Avios and cash prices in multiple cabins across multiple destinations so you’ll have some maths to do.

        Failing that, the daily chat thread has plenty of ideas how to boost balances faster than you thought possible 😉 .

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Nectar is a good boost atm. 7-8 avios /£ with the offers beats my old clubcard earnings.

          • Nigel H says:

            Thanks to all for the helpful responses. Definite food for thought and some useful tips. Will try and work things out in advance on a trip I’m not intending to take and use the info.

    • Steve says:

      Often the flights out to the States are day time and the returns are red eye / overnight. So might be better to have the economy on the outbound and business for the return?

  • Ben says:

    is there an easy way of finding out how many Avios you paid for a flight redemption, rather than trawling through the transaction history (or looking it up)?

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Email receipt?

    • AJA says:

      Are you the same Ben who asked the Avios lhr to corfu question at 12:14 earlier today? Did you see my replies on page 2?

      • Ben says:

        Yes I am. Whilst I appreciate your rely on don’t think you answered this question on how you find out. Cheers!

        • AJA says:

          You can search the transactions on your BAEC account and filter by redemptions. That will how much Avios in total you spent but it won’t give you a breakdown by outbound and inbound. Nor will it show the booking reference but it will give you the date of booking the redemption flight. So if you know that date should be able to work out which transaction you’re querying.

          Otherwise search for the original booking email. It should give the breakdown of how much you paid.

          Or use reward flight finder as I originally suggested.

  • EvilGazebo says:

    Has anyone redeemed a Virgin CC reward voucher for a Clubhouse lounge pass? I’ve got a voucher that expires in March & not going to be travelling anytime soon. Just wondered if I could get some value from the lounge pass. My question is whether it can only be booked for a specific flight / is exchanged for another voucher valid for a specified amount of time / (too much to hope for) is exchanged for an undated pass?

    • Tom1 says:

      Have you checked if the voucher has been extended?
      Mine all have – without knowing – until I called and checked. Last time I called I got through pretty quickly.

  • AnotherUser says:

    How basic/luxury a booking is Emyr able to help with? Getting some UK breaks booked, and looking at things like a few nights/couple of hundred £s at the Hilton Glasgow

    • Rob says:

      It needs to be a brand which offers special incentives to luxury travel agents. Hilton doesn’t usually cut it although feel free to email and he will let you know. He can, for example, do you a deal at the Hotel Indigo via IHG’s Lifestyle Collection (search for our article on this).

      Order value is not really an issue. He knows most people try him out with something small and simple, and are likely to return with something complex and more expensive if it goes well.

    • Harry T says:

      If it’s a Hilton hotel, it’s worth checking to see if it participates in Impressario – if so, Emyr can get you a special deal. With Hilton, that does seem to mostly be Conrad and Waldorf Astoria though. If in doubt, ask! He may have some other suggestions that could work for you too.

      • AnotherUser says:

        Thanks – will drop him an email 🙂 Not wedded to Hilton – just that they had good prices at the time.

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Is it true that you have to call up now to transfer AVIOS to nectar now?

  • Jonny says:

    Was due to fly to Barbados in April on an Avios booking with 2-4-1. BA have today cancelled this flight. Rang them up to re-schedule at Xmas and they have stated that because there is no Avios seat availability in December then they can’t rebook. I asked if they can open up 2x seats on the requested flight and they said they can’t do that. I explained that they had done exactly that on another booking (to Johannesburg) and the guy said that they have changed their policy, or rather they have reverted back to their non-enhanced policy. I asked them when this had happened and he said he didn’t have that information. I tried calling again and spoke to a different call centre person but they stuck to the same story as the first person. Am I being fobbed off here, or has anyone else experienced this recently? Any thoughts on how to progress?

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