Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 19th March

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Comments (303)

  • John says:

    Airtime ‘surge’ referral reward this weekend (£5). If anyone wants to sign up, here’s a code: APLQGNJT

  • The Lord says:

    Positive news on getting back to normal. Lots of Avios availability to LA in September for those interested

  • S says:

    Just looking for ideas/inspiration. I have 176k Amex points, 63k Avios and a 241 voucher. Thinking Asia/Africa/Middle East ideally for end of this year Don’t mind if points are used for hotels or flights.

    With that allocation, what would you guys do based on your own preferences? Any ideas would be great thanks.

    • AJA says:

      I am hoping to go to Tel Aviv / Jerusalem after my Avios booking last July got canned due to Covid. Nice thing about that route is that they seem to put on 3 flights a day using either the A350 or do First Class on the 777 or 789. Although the third flight is on the A321 as well which isn’t nearly as good. Just noticed that you mentioned year end. I want to go mid year ie summer. Not sure how nice Israel is in December.

      • S says:

        Thanks for that. I have been to Israel/Jerusalem in November and whilst the weather isn’t good the history and location more than makes up for that!

        To be fair I’m pretty flexible with travel plans right now so looking at pretty much anytime rather than just end of year but would be nice to get some sun during that time of year.

    • BJ says:

      Zone 7 destination in F or J with the 241. Has to be BA metal. IMO the main advantage of F is that if your are downgraded you are almost certainly flying CW with a claim for compo. CW can get downgraded to WTP or worse. Return from HKG or even HND can save you cash. So to can departures from INV if you can make that work for you.

      • S says:

        Thanks for the idea and good shout regarding any potential downgrade.

        Thailand plan to reduce quarantine to 7 days for vaccinated travellers so looking closely at how things unfold there.

        • AndyC says:

          Thailand aiming for zero quarantine by beginning of October.

          • S says:

            Even better. I’m hopeful more options open up as vaccine rollout in other countries pick up.

        • BJ says:

          In that case out to BKK, back from HKG. Avios redemption between the pair is a sweet spot. First choice would be Sri Lankan or Jordainian in longhaul J, second choice Cathay regional J. Hot seat on Air Asia fir pennies also a good option if you want to save avios. Note that there is no F cabin to BKK.

          • The real John says:

            HKG unlikely to be open to tourists in 2021

          • david says:

            And don’t forget the emirates game changer first from BKK to HKG £410 for the best first there is.

    • Harry T says:

      Cape Town is arguably one of the best uses of Avios and a 241. Just be aware it’s a competitive route for redemptions, so routing into JNB may be better. The hotels are very cheap. If you end up going in October, I’ll buy you a beverage!

      • Aston100 says:

        Do you honestly feel SA will be open and/or safe to visit by October without quarantine issues on returning home?
        Feels optimistic to me given talk of the SA strain and alleged weakness of AZ vaccine towards that.

        • Harry T says:

          From a personal safety point of view, I am unconcerned, as I’ve had two doses of Pfizer, previously had a covid infection that resulted in trivial symptoms, and I’m young and in good shape (not the standard “usually fit and well” person shown in the newspapers with a BMI of 40).

          But you probably meant safety in terms of finances – I have got it booked as a BA holiday, which has already been moved. I’ve only paid £350 deposit which I can take as a voucher. The flights are £1000 J returns booked in the flash 747 sale, so I’m trying to keep them alive.

          I think we will be allowed into SA in October. The UK may choose to impose quarantine on people returning from
          SA, but the whole adult population should be vaccinated by then and cases will almost certainly be low in the UK, so perhaps it will be okay.

          I suspect some of the flights will be cancelled again and I’ll try to move them. But I’m cautiously optimistic about October.

          • The real John says:

            But the government is so scared of variants that hotel quarantine may still be in place

        • WaynedP says:

          I’m keeping a close eye on SA developments, as I need to get there this year, but 10 day Heathrow hotel quarantine at £1,750 + test costs & limitations to doing my day job properly while quarantined are all big obstacles.

          Officially, SA govt aims to vaccinate 67% of the population (mostly in urban and tourist areas) by the end of this year. Will that be achieved ? If so, will it be enough to persuade UK govt to remove SA from any red list requiring quarantine ? Honestly don’t know.

          What I can report is that Phase 1 (1.2m frontline health care workers) of SA vaccination programme is happening, according to a handful of doctors that I went to uni with. They’ve all received the one-shot J&J vaccine in the past 4 weeks since the programme started, but stats still show only 15% of Phase 1 target population vaccinated by yesterday. Unless rate of vaccination triples, target start for Phase 2 (old age home residents, essential workers & 60+) of around mid-May risks being missed.

          Will be monitoring closely, but I fear that travelling from UK to SA and back in 2021 is likely to come with significant impediments, much like last year.

      • S says:

        Haha thanks for the offer!

        We had tentative plans last year to fly to JNB for a safari at Kruger and then get an Avios flight on Comair to CPT but of course everything went to pot. I think Comair has been rescued now which is great.

        Since you are travelling there in October I’m guessing you have been keeping up with the restriction side of things? How are things looking there in terms of planning ahead?

        • Blindman says:

          I’m optimistically going to Kruger in September.

          A lot of things can change in the next 5 months, so I’m not panicking yet.

          Everything is cancellable for free up to 30 days out so I’m not taking too much notice of the situation re Covd at present.

          • WaynedP says:

            Hope you get to Kruger, Blindman. It is operating and enormously safe once you get there (as you’ll know if you’ve been before). Everything’s either in a car with your own family, or open air back at base camp.

            But that won’t prevent enforced & costly quarantine on return to UK if SA still on some red list.

            It would drive me nuts to go from the bushveld to a 20m sq hotel room for 10 days, so I’ve recently cancelled my May 2021 Kruger trip (carried over from May 2020) and given up on my bushveld fix until 2022 earliest.

        • Harry T says:

          I’m not monitoring the situation closely as I suspect the circumstances will be very different by October, one way or another. As it’s a BA holiday (flights and car hire), I will start monitoring more closely around a month or two out.

      • BJ says:

        But Cape Town and SA itself is operated IMO.

    • memesweeper says:


      A fabulous country with lots to see and do. Great weather at that time of year. Lower risk of COVID related troubles than many other places.

      BA in Business with the companion voucher… sadly on a short haul pane… or go nuts and take the much nicer Royal Jordanian plane.

      A few nice Marriotts in Jordan to spend your remaining points on.

      Can’t go wrong.

  • TicknBash says:

    Personally we’d always try to come back HKG-LHR.
    Lower avios and taxes as compared to BKK or SIN and good availability.

    Cathay’s lounge is the best in OneWorld alliance in my opinion.

  • DAJ says:

    With Tees Valley and Darlington on the up (Freeport and Treasury move to name but a few) along with the complete overhaul of Teesside Airport, do you feel that BA may be interested in opening a route to LHR? Taking into account the drive for a greater number domestic routes I personally feel that the demand may well be there and on a selfish level, it would be great for the region after the decimation of routes out of the airport over the last several years.

    We can live in hope!

    • Harry T says:

      Doubt it. They are pulling a lot of flights from MAN, which is probably a far more lucrative and substantial market.

      • Stagger Lee says:

        Indeed. As well as the Manchester reductions, they pulled out of Leeds-Bradford completely so can’t see any way they would be interested in Teesside.

    • BJ says:

      No, freeports will be a gimmick anyway.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      In the long term, maybe.

  • Connor says:

    Yes, not everybody gets it.

  • Harry T says:

    FYI British Airways seem to be cancelling a lot of flights from and to Florence in May and June.

    • Rhys says:

      Yep they’ve cancelled mine!

      • Harry T says:

        Sorry to hear that, Rhys. I actually wanted mine cancelled because it’s for a wedding I can no longer attend. Hopefully they don’t cancel my other Florence flights in July and September! Hope you managed to get a refund or reroute. I called and got straight through.

    • MarkH says:

      Cancelled my flight to Brindisi in June which is quite handy as the wedding I was meant to be attending has been postponed (again).
      Just need easyJet to cancel the inbound flight now…

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