Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 22nd 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 (360)

  • Den says:

    Looking a yesterdays chat thread – it seems to be getting more like the Daily Mail/Guardian comments section! I preferred it when I looked at this each day to escape the politics!

    • Mike says:

      I haven’t looked but I would not expect to see too many Guardian readers in here…

      • Tiff says:

        Why not, Mike?

        • Andrew says:

          Well, in the olden days “The Graudian” was the paper of choice for teachers and college lecturers – people who enjoyed extended paid summer holidays and travelled far and wide.

          These days it’s just the followers of smug Monbiot and Jones who read it to be lectured about how bad people are. And they all abhor any non-essential travel.

          (Anyone else have to double check which Jones it is? I can never remember which side is Alex and which side is Owen)

          • Mouse says:

            Top notch trolling Andrew

          • Harry T says:

            I find the Guardian a decent source of news reporting and investigative journalism, if you stick to the broadly “fact based” stuff. However, some of the opinion pieces and woke manifestos masquerading as news are irritating if your politics are rather centrist like mine.

          • RussellH says:

            No idea who Alex Jones is. Owen Jones writes regularly for the Guardian. Do not often read him much any more, though – most of the time I find him neither interesting (which is essential in a columnist) nor insightful, nor even coming up with sensible ideas.

            Much the same for George Monbiot these days too.
            On the other hand, both are probably necessary, and if their effect is for some people to realise that other columnists are talking sense, then that is all to the good.

      • memesweeper says:


      • Phil says:

        Guardian has the best Football section of any daily newspaper. Plus it’s always fun reading articles with spelling mistakes in them!!!

    • Harry T says:

      You must have missed the comment scrapping about Brexit from 2016 onwards… 😂

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Kinda depressing how people throw hate at each other in here some days. I’m sure we used to all understand that others had different views and ‘agree to disagree’

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Im trying to find a cheap premium economy cash fares with VS to any destination at this rate. However fares are pretty steep over 1K plus for many different time periods/destinations. know of any current sweet spots at the minute?

    • Andrew says:

      Why are you so set on VS Premium Economy but not bothered where it’s going?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I haven’t looked, but TLV is probably the cheapest, NYC and BOS not far behind. SFO probably the cheapest per mile flown. All should be doable under £1k.

  • The Lord says:

    What do we reckon today, any positive news on travel? Seems like schools in 2 weeks with the promise of more to come if the numbers allow

    • Andrew says:

      Yes that’s exactly all we will hear today. Schools dates and the parameters for what will need to be met for the opening up of other things but with no dates attached at this stage. And travel will be the last priority for the government to unlock – possibly from August once that 31 July vaccination date is met.

    • Andrew says:

      The positive news was all adults to be done by 31st July (end of week 30). That means the second jag completed by 23rd October (end of week 42).

      So at the start of week 43 (English October Half term), approximately 39/42nds will be as protected as they can be.

      • The Lord says:

        Do the travel restrictions have to be voted again by parliament? I just can’t see Tory MPs voting to ban international travel if there is barely anyone in or going into hospital with covid

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          Depends on the new variants which might mutate to resist the vaccine

        • Blair says:

          Presumably it’ll all be wrapped up in a package – extend the package or don’t. Little prospect of segregating out travel from other measures. The public will however take their lead from hospital/death figures and find a way to travel regardless if said figures continue down.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      The Lord Yes What do we reckon today, any positive news on travel?
      trains are running lol

  • Annie says:

    Morning. Have most people cancelled their paid seat spy subscription? I got a flight alert from my free reward flight finder account 9 hours before the paid seatspy one yesterday. 🤔 thank you

  • Chris says:

    Morning all. I’m buying an apartment in Dubai and need to pay 10% to secure it. It’s secured once the funds hits their account. Apparently most people pay this by credit card (!). If I use my (GBP denominated) Amex for this i’m taking a 2.99% whack albeit earning Membership Reward points.

    Does anyone have any good suggestions for something cost effective and quick. If there’s a clever way to earn MR points or Avios too, even better but not essential. The payment would be around £50k to AED. Thank you so much in advance!

    • Anon says:

      Use bendy

    • Tracey says:

      Sometimes the best rate wins over earning miles, particularly for large sums. Try transferwise.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Speak to Amex – they can get a good rate and probably can give some points too.

    • KBuffett says:

      Firstly, and I don’t mean to sound cause you any problems, but most people in the know suggest buying in Dubai is not a good idea. It’s like second hand cars, the new one are always more desirable and very few second hand cars appreciate in value. This was explained to me by a very senior advisor to Abu Dhabi Royalty. The construction is also not meant to last the test of time.

      In answer to your question, Rob mentioned something about an AmEx foreign exchange service, I pretty sure there’s an article on it somewhere. I’m sure someone will be along soon to advise in more detail.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Depend if you’re into for a good time or a long time 🙂

      • Chris says:

        Haha thanks – to be honest, I actually agree! I’ve spent a lot of time there for work (nothing to do with Instagram i’m pleased to report) and developer quality is very mixed, then there’s the never ending supply issue.

        What swings it the way of buying for me is the maths – versus renting the same unit over a five year period, I could buy the property, lose 30% on it’s value and still be in the same position. Sale prices have been declining for most of the last 5 years, so the entry point is decent. Still a risk, but better than paying single cheque annual rent for 5 years and potentially needing to relocate after 12 months.

        • KBuffett says:

          Best of luck Chris. I don’t know anything about the Dubai property market, other than the advice I received and I shared with you.
          Out of interest; if I were to turn up in Dubai, holiday for a month and start looking for a job, what are my chances of getting of succeeding? Thinking about packing it in here and turning up there! I don’t need the money, but it would be nice to not eat into savings and live a decent life. Educated and successful on business here. I hear it’s saturated out there, but are there skills other than manual labour that are lacking there? TIA

          • Chris says:

            Hard for me to say. I have my own firm (events aimed at family offices). Family offices have generally done well from the market conditions the past year or so, so that’s stable, but that’s a really small niche. A lot of expats have left Dubai, especially those in the travel field. I find it one of the easiest places to show up, meet people, and build relationships. Hotel / apartment prices are cheap presently so it wouldn’t be a costly experiment. And the weather presently is lovely (and the influencers a bit fewer than at December!). Best of luck if you go ahead!

  • Anon says:

    Word is flights are resuming in August. Will we get another bank holiday for the economy?

    • Craig says:

      Fly out to help out?

    • Andrew says:

      Flights never stopped

      • Anon says:

        Red lists to be scrapped by then perhaps, can you imagine school kids isolating in these shabby govt approved hotels after a summer holiday and skipping their lessons?

        • Andrew says:

          That’s an interesting point…

          Will parents be taken to court by local authorities in England if their children aren’t in school because they are in Government quarantine?

          • Anna says:

            After the past 12 months I think fining or taking parents to court is going to be very low down on the priority list. Saying this as someone whose child has 99% per cent attendance in normal times, by the way!

    • The Lord says:

      Seems odd that we could go away last summer but can’t this summer? I imagine that now the focus is not going to be on R and cases but rather hospitalisations that we might get closer to acceptable levels a lot quicker than expected. Once the 50+ group are vaccinated then hospitalisations should plummet regardless of cases

    • Harry T says:

      I hope we get another bank holiday but flights haven’t stopped at any point. I also can’t really see the government banning summer holidays when they will have vaccinated the majority of adult the population, and certainly anyone who would die of covid, by the end of July. Especially considering the seasonal pattern of the virus and the fact that summer travel was allowed last year when we didn’t have vaccines!

      • The Lord says:

        My thoughts too. Instead of being illegal to go away a change to discouraged to go away?

        • Mummy55 says:

          We may be allowed out of the country but it depends on other countries letting us in!!!

          • Lord Doncaster says:

            Exactly…although things could move quickly either way, assuming covid numbers and lack or emergence of variants

  • Andrew says:

    According to BBC, trips out of your local area will be likely be allowed from 29 March but overnight stays will not be permitted. Seems they don’t want an Easter holidays domestic tourism surge.

    • Tiff says:

      Not this again. Trips outside of your local area are not illegal (at least in England).

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It doesn’t really matter what the law is when every Politian, newspaper and news channel is lambasting people for leaving their ‘local’ area and police are still giving out fines for breaking ‘the spirit’ of the lockdown what ever the hell that means legally.

        • Anna says:

          All those fines seem to get rescinded if challenged! There has been a notable shift to police acknowledging that people aren’t breaking the law by leaving their neighbourhood to exercise, which is a good thing as it will reduce the burden on the (currently overloaded) courts from people challenging fines. If the government wants people to stay local, it should (and could) legislate for it. And that’s from a retired cop!

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Trips out of local areas never stopped did they? Lol.

      • Michael C says:

        I was looking into National Trust visits, and saw people had been fined for travelling 25 miles to do the same.

        • Andrew says:

          That was Derbyshire Police though wasn’t it?

          People had driven a good 10 minutes from Staffordshire and crossed the border into Derbyshire to walk in the grounds.

          On the other hand, if you live in Scotland, you could potentially drive for 6 hours and not leave your local authority area.

        • Anna says:

          They’ll have been rescinded, see above!

  • Yolo says:

    Great news. My partner has been invited to get a vaccine, hope she gets the Pfizer one.

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