Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 3rd March

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Comments (292)

  • DT says:

    Managed to bag a 241 redemption for LHR-SYD in CW one way. This cost 165,000 Avios and £991.06 in taxes for peak dates. I was expecting the points cost to be 150,000 for peak dates in CW.
    Have some redemptions increased in cost recently?
    I of course booked it anyway as 15,000 more than expected was negligible compared to actually finding the seats, just wondering if I’d gotten my expected cost wrong or if redemption costs had gone up

    • Talay says:

      Is that in the new dent BA club seats or in the atrocious 8 across coffins ?

      • 1ATL says:

        What difference does it make? What the seat map shows today will probably look very different to what the actual flight seat map will look like as travel date approaches. By then who knows how many aircraft will be Club Suite configured and if BA will be flying to SYD at all. Granted it may not be the most private of business classes but the classic Club World flat bed is still a comfortable way to fly, especially for a couple and offers excellent freedom in leg space…. unlike the new Club Suites.

        • Andrew says:

          Shame about the poor service regardless of the seat design. For that price in Avios and “taxes” I would just buy a cash ticket with Qatar Airways and also bag 600 tier points.

          • John says:

            I wonder when QR will be offering J from LHR to SYD for £1250 per pax again.

            Thanks to BA I don’t care about tier points until 2023.

          • Rob says:

            When Australia lets QR run full aircraft rather than just 30 passengers per flight.

          • DT says:

            QR cash ticket to SYD is £7500 for two at the moment, for me personally that’s not comparable to £990, but you do you.

          • kitten says:

            +1

        • Erico1875 says:

          Yes for a couple, the middle 2 seats are fine

      • DT says:

        Is the Avios price different depending on what seat I get? Otherwise I fail to see the relevance to my question

        • John says:

          I don’t think Erico1875 was answering your question.

          • DT says:

            @John That was directed at Talay, I forgot the comments chain a little weird sometimes!

      • Bazza says:

        Leave him be. He just “bagged” some business class seats(even if they are a bit rubbish) . We are just lucky he didn’t “snag” or “blag” them!

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Lovely to see everyone has woken ok up the wrong side of the bed and decided to tell you why you’ll have a horrible time!

      I can’t answer you question (though, neither did they) but congratulations on snagging seats and have a great time!

      • DT says:

        Thanks Chris! Headed back to Aus for my brother in law’s wedding so needed a specific date, couldn’t believe it was available as a redemption!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I thought it was 125k and 150k one way.

      Just give BA a call and see if it’s correct vs the chart if it’s not they should just refund the excess avios.

      Some of the other comments are bizarre the CW seat is anything but a coffin. In fact the suite is far more coffin like.

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy the trip no matter what seat you end up on 🙂

      • DT says:

        1ATL explains below how I ended up paying 165k which makes sense. I was half asleep when I spotted the seats so probably didn’t pay enough attention!

        I’m just glad it was my mistake and not a sign of increasing redemption pricing

        • TGLoyalty says:

          One of the symptoms of the reply function not working properly I didn’t clock there was more on the subject.

          15k is a small price to pay. Enjoy your trip

        • The real John says:

          On the plus side if the lounges are back to normal I think you have more time there rather than rushing back to the plane

    • babyg says:

      sounds like you did LHR-SIN+SIN-SYD, not LHR-SIN hence the price uplift, its much easier to find the former.

  • 1ATL says:

    If you book the BA15 as a thru service LHR-SYD it prices out as 150000 Avios + £ 472.32 per person in taxes, fees and charges.

    If you book the BA11 LHR-SIN connecting to BA15 SIN-SYD it prices out as 165000 Avios + £ 495.53 per person in taxes, fees and charges.

    This is because it’s adding together the redemption avios rate of LHR-SIN and SIN-DYD as it involves 2 connecting flights. The key to get the lower Avios amount is to book the thru service.

    • DT says:

      Thanks 1ATL, I thought I did book through LHR to SYD but it looks like I didn’t look carefully enough. Probably my fault for looking at redemptions in the middle of the night toilet break!

  • Baji Nahid says:

    The virgin status match customer service has been very very poor. I am not sure who is running the email/form side of this but its just inaccuracies one after another. Heck even their auto reply email regarding the status match was incorrect.

    • Andrew says:

      I found it to be seamless, efficient and helpful. Was very impressed that I was upgraded within hours of me emailing them and also responded immediately to questions I had about benefits.

    • DT says:

      This went through extremely quickly for me and they were really good with response times

    • avstar says:

      it has slowed down massively in the last week. also it seems they are very much aware of ppl trying to game the status match

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Game it in what way?

        Virgin can give everyone on HfP silver/gold but it doesn’t really make any difference to their bottom line unless they actually fly

        • Andrew says:

          Yeah I wasn’t sure how this could be gamed either. I guess it’s only if you wanted the status to use with AF/KLM/SQ rather than actually fly Virgin or Delta, but would think that’s not many people.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Yes, please enlighten us all how the VA status match can be gamed as you say.
          You send in your proof & they review your info & either accept or decline?

      • avstar says:

        Maybe game was the wrong word….

        VA CS i spoke to mentioned that people were booking the latest flight possible in 2022, putting the status match (commencing month of flight) in the hope it would be matched within hours/24hrs and then cancelling said flight within the 24hr cancellation period for a full refund – despite them specifically disqualifying this in status matchT&C.

        match to gold only came through after 36hrs, much later than i was expecting given some of the commentary here

      • Rob says:

        Doubt they care. If you buy a Virgin economy ticket because you now get lounge access, they will be happy.

        • Andrew says:

          Certainly pushed me to book a flight with them and I’ve not flown with them in about 10 years. Once I’ve been reminded how nice the Clubhouse is and the onboard service, maybe I’ll be back for more.

          • David wakelin says:

            Same here – will be nice to enjoy the Gold perks for a year but unlikely I will qualify for Silver in year two !!

    • Alan says:

      I put my wife’s through on the 27 and the upgrade was confirmed next morning. Maybe it’s just pot luck who picks it up. I recall someone posting they were rejected because they didn’t like the colour of the name on a screenshot.

  • Talay says:

    I have been collecting Avios via the BAPP and the family has been using the 241 each year but our need for the 241 is coming to an end as the child grows up. I have zero use for a 241 and each year mine goes unused, save for an occasional EU trip. It is the necessity for me to fly that restricts it.

    So I am looking at where better perhaps to redirect £250k+ per annum of Amex spend ? At present, my non Amex spend goes onto a legacy Marriot card. I should probably look at that but the Lufthansa Diners card combo has gone now so where else ?

    I’m not getting full value out of hotel redemptions and to be honest, on my regular flight routes, LON-BKK / LON-SIN, I have found far better value simply buying into mostly Etihad and sometimes Qatar and with Etihad, just converting the Business Connect and regular points back into Visa cards. I cannot see my needing many luxury hotels going forward either as I have homes where I live in Asia.

    BAPP and Marriott were just simple choices but surely I can do better and leverage my spending to better effect ?

    • John says:

      Do you qualify for a Singapore amex/other card?

      • Talay says:

        Singapore Amex ?

        Qualify ? as in financially ? I guess unless some stupidly high barrier but no residency in Singapore.

    • Harry T says:

      You’ve been putting 250k of annual spending just through a BAPP? Why not put 15k through a gold card each year and earn an additional 10,000 points bonus? You could also spend 25k on a Marriott card and get the free night.

    • Jonathan says:

      The Lufthansa Miles and More card(s) have been closed to new applicants since the end of last year, all current cards will stop working very soon, Rob estimated in his article I think the 3rd/4th April.

      There should be a new Miles and More credit card launched by the summer time, but that could be as late as September. The best thing to do with Miles and More credit cards is keep on eye on the articles here on HfP

    • memesweeper says:

      My ‘keeper’ Amex card is the Marriott. I find the hotels are generally good, redemption availability good, the card gives me a leg-up on status and if I need to I can cash-out to various airline schemes.

      BAPP is unlikely to be worth it without using a 2-4-1. You can get an enhanced Avios rate by spending on Gold up to the first 15k, and on Nectar by converting Nectar to Avios.

      If I spent as much as you I’d be inclined to keep the Marriott for most spend — enough on Marriott to ensure you always have a balance sufficient for four nights somewhere you might really want to go (400k and the world’s your oyster). Take out Gold to get to 15k and enjoy a few money off offers on the way, when it clocks past 15k get the Nectar and push spend through that to top up your Avios account. Cancel the Gold after the bonus lands, keep up the Nectar, reapply for Gold after Nectar fee arrives, cancel the Nectar rinse and repeat. The Gold MR balance can feed Avios or (inefficiently) Marriott too. Your fees will drop to about £100/year, with 2/3 cards on the go you’ll easily make that back on offers.

    • High Grade says:

      Hi Talay, I would go for the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard. It has a generous points per £ earnings rate. HSBC points convert to BA, Ethiad or Singapore. Annual fee is £195 and you have to be a premier customer too. it’s one of my favourite cards as it gives lounge access for free with the card, worldwide annual travel insurance and lots of options for the points you earn. Generous sign up bonus too.

      • Talay says:

        Used to be premier with HSBC but we “fell out” when I was on their trading floor and refused to sanction a trading strategy 🙂

        Conversion to BA is the same as BAPP I suspect, Etihad redemptions on points are wildly higher than yesteryear, so much so that whilst it my main carrier, I simply convert their points to a Visa card. Also long on Eithad Travel Bank – might regret that !

        Singapore is an option I guess but hard redemptions and no real way to extend validity – though I appreciate you would not convert until you needed to. I’m also just not a fan of 12+2 if going into BKK (or anywhere) and I hate the reverse coming back transiting through an EU airport, though I will to get the ticket for half price 🙂

        I will look at your suggestions again, thanks.

        I just wish the regular Amex would give 1.5 per £1 and not just a single !

  • Mycity says:

    Having issues paying Brighton using Beardy linked to Curve Metal all day yesterday and now this morning, is it being blocked by Beardy? All other transactions going through ok.

    • The real John says:

      My Curve is working on all “normal” transactions but it won’t let me do any “funny” transactions, tried several underlying cards.

      • Rob says:

        I paid some VAT this morning with no issues. (Well, no issue except having to use my old home address rather than the current one to get a validation!)

  • Ross says:

    Expresstest PCR Timing advice please.

    We arrive in Corfu on 28 May at 1700 local time. Flying BA.

    Expresstest offers PCR Tests 10:00-17:50.

    Trying to decide if we have the PCR Test on
    25 May at 17:50 or 26 May at 10:00

    Concerned that 25 May, if there’s any delay to our flights PCR could become invalid.

    Concerned that testing on 26 May, if results take the full 48hr then we could be waiting to Check In without the Results. Any delay beyond 48hrs and we’ll miss our flight.

    Also, aware that currently Expresstest aren’t testing many, whereas I imagine a spike in test numbers in May, which could result in delay.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I used it when they were still busy and the test came back with 24hrs.

      • Ross says:

        Thanks. Last August/September, I’m guessing?

        Just quite concerned about timing.

        • kitten says:

          26th
          they note your flight time

          aren’t govts requiring pcr tests 72 hrs before departure time not arrival time?

          • Ross says:

            “performed up to 72 hours before their entry to Greece.”
            https://travel.gov.gr/#/

            Anyone else had any issues with ExpressTest?
            Remain concerned that testing on 26 May, if results take the full 48hr then we could be waiting to Check In without the Results. Any delay beyond 48hrs and we’ll miss our flight.

            Thank you

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      I used Express test twice at Edinburgh Airport in December. Tests taken late afternoon, results by 1pm next day.
      So I would go for the 10am one.
      If you get the earlier one, and the flight is delayed, there are some good pdf editors out there!
      Used one for our daughter because her middle name was missing a letter and found it really hard to get a hold of Express Test at the weekend (they were quick during the week). Of course, minutes after I edited it, they finally sent the corrected one!

      • Ross says:

        Perfect, thanks very much.

        Think I’ll go with the 26th at 10am, as per everyone’s recommendations.

  • KS says:

    Does anyone else think it’s a bit odd that the Avios to Nectar conversion still doesn’t work on the Nectar app? Must be two or three weeks now. Seems a long time for a technical issue to (not) be resolved. May try to call but apparently it’s a 15 min+ wait time. Annoying!

    • Andrew says:

      And then a 10 day wait for the points. Annoying indeed.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      App has logged me out this morning too which is irritating

    • Rob says:

      I’ve never installed 2FA on a website from scratch but I am guessing it is not a quick job, because the authorisation code may come from the other site – eg if I use ba.com to move from Nectar to Avios, it is nectar.com that sends the 2FA message and creates the authorisation even though I am transacting on ba.com. This sounds complex to me.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        +1

        It is why 2FA isn’t as common as it should be

        • memesweeper says:

          … and this is why you shouldn’t leave out implementing it until you have to — it’s non-trivial.

          For any new web site or system you’d be mad not to buy-in the user management as a service or module, any of which will support 2FA. I have no doubt BA’s user DB will be home grown and probably awful.

  • Craig says:

    Any recent experience with Seat Spy and Reward Flight Finder? About to start looking for next year.

    • Anna says:

      RFF are currently sending me seat notifications – I’ve only checked with BA a couple of times but it seemed to tally with what was showing on RFF. RFF seemed not to be showing correct peak/off peak though when I last looked. Also their “explore” feature isn’t working properly (you can’t currently search for a specific cabin) but apparently they are looking at this. I gave up on SeatSpy some time ago!

    • Doc says:

      Agree with Anna. Gave up on seatspy. RFF seems to show availability correctly although peak and off peak dates are incorrectly displayed.

    • Rob says:

      Watch this space ….

      • Craig says:

        Doesn’t help me today!! 14 Day trial with RFF it is then?

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