Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 27th March

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (285)

  • M says:

    What’s a good period in between applications for current accounts and credit cards?

    I switched a current account in October, applied for a credit card in November and switched a current account in February.

    Is it okay to apply for another credit card (different provider) now? How often is too often? 😉 I know this is not an exact science, but maybe someone has some positive or negative experience.


    • Jonathan says:

      There’s a general rule of not applying for too many loans within a short period of time, as to lenders this might be a warning sign that you’re desperate for money, they can’t see how much you’ve got in savings, and just because someone’s got a good credit history and owns their own house mortgage free, doesn’t mean that they won’t rack up a huge amount of debt that they afford to repay, or would be very difficult for the lenders to recoup any debts

    • TicknBash says:

      I’d leave it at least 6 months between credit applications – or at least that’s what I’m doing.
      My logic is that in credit report there’s a section under ‘credit applications’ that measures applications in the last 6 months.
      But how credit scores are calculated is almost like finding the meaning of life….

    • Genghis says:

      You’re fine unless you’re going to remortgage next month too. I used to do prob 8-9 credit applications a year, similar for wife. We’ve never been rejected for credit and get best deals.

      • Jonathan says:

        How many do you cancel? You most also have very good credit ratings and a small safe (or something similar) for all these cards!

        • Genghis says:

          This was back in my churning days. Get card, spend on it, refer, points out, sometimes all within a week. Getting Amex, MBNA cards etc.

          Now probably only make 3-4 credit applications a year.

          “Credit rating” on all the places excellent and available credit now pushing six figures.

          Point is – it’s not something to seriously worry about.

          • Jonathan says:

            I said credit rating when I meant credit score, my bad. Both nearly amount to same thing

          • Genghis says:

            The use of inverted commas was more the fact that these are just opinions based on some set of data. What matters of course is how the credit providers score you based on the data set.

      • TicknBash says:

        Do u cancel your old cards or keep them ?

    • The real John says:

      You could do 5 credit card applications at exactly the same time and then wait 6 months. Although this is an American strategy, it seemed to work for me over here, when there were 5 CCs worth applying for.

      It isn’t a “science” at all, every lender has different criteria, some may even want to attract “desperate” people.

  • Amy says:

    My Barclays Premier account has been blocked for making 2 cash deposits in last 2 weeks. They were not massive cash transactions and were below £1000 each time.

    Reports here seemed to suggest that Barclays doesn’t like it when you pay money in and out, and now they don’t seem to like cash transactions too. How are we supposed to fund our accounts then? It looks like the Premier banking is run by absolute knuckleheads.

    Any suggestions how do I get my money back?

    • TicknBash says:

      Cash deposits are more sensitive with all banks generally.

      Banks shouldn’t have any rights in confiscating your funds but they’ll probably need to satisfy themselves that it’s not ‘proceeds of crime’ or money laundering – not that I’m suggesting you are.

    • kitten says:

      Is your account with them quite new @Amy?

      I am struggling to see why these amounts are unreasonable.

      • Amy says:

        Yes, it is a new account opened at the beginning of the month mainly for the Avios upgrade voucher.

        I was thinking of moving my banking across from Santander Select, but now I won’t.

        • kitten says:

          I think your account being new is the reason then. Those amounts are tiny.

          I will take a bet that Barclays has some kind of checker wanting to see first 1 (or 2) transactions ‘in’ in the account having to be incoming from another UK account. Might be a flag that needs to be satisfied to allow later cash inputs (which the flag having been previously satisfied, would have their own alert trigger limit of, say, up to £2k or £5k), or could just be for 30/60/90 days any cash deposit will be flagged.

          Heavyhanded of Barclays. But from them, not surprising.

      • JDB says:

        They aren’t unreasonable, but how on earth does one end up with c.£1k cash to deposit? I would think that for personal customers it is quite unusual.

        • lumma says:

          Sell something for £1000 to someone who pays cash?

        • Andrew says:

          It’s perfectly reasonable!

          I guess you haven’t been doing shopping for elderly neighbours and family during Covid. I feel like I’ve been running a book for the provvy over the last year.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Easy especially if you’re a director of a business that handles cash.

          It’s free to pay cash wages/dividends into your personal banking vs a fee for business banking.

          • Track says:

            Uh, they make fuss when you point out that you can handle cash/funds for the business under the director’s loan to or from the company arrangement.

        • Mummy55 says:

          Why? A lot of older people still use cash for lots of transactions. As far as I know it’s still legal to use cash (just).🤑

    • Nadeshka says:

      I’m really surprised by all these comments of people getting accounts frozen.
      Given the account is targeted at people with salaries of £75k+ why is transferring £5k/£10k in suspicious?
      I regularly do FP of this sort of amount from my other current accounts to cover the bills coming out of our Barclays account and never had an issue. I would have thought it’s pretty standard activity especially as we approach end of the tax year etc?

      • Rob says:

        These are likely to be transactions where the money goes in and out to either the same account or to an account in the name of the same person. Most self-employed people have a similar pattern to the one you describe so it won’t be unusual to them.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Exactly. Bonkers from Barclays.

        • Blenz101 says:

          I don’t think we ever get the full picture here. If this was a widespread problem then MSE and similar would be all over this but it just doesn’t really come up in their forums which is where I would expect to see it.

          Banks will be extra cautious at the moment as one risk factor will be the remote opening of accounts without being able to see any new customer in branch.

          Barclays just don’t allow you to play games, no transferring in and out of your own account to ‘trick’ minimum income requirements etc. Any MS will also be flagged sooner or later.

          Paying in cash shouldn’t be a problem unless the bank had KYC concerns. Only the bank will know the red flags triggered here but certainly not typical given the lack of similar reports online. These reports do only seem to crop up on site which has its own phrasebook relating to maximising points earns from financial institutions.

  • Amy says:

    Not sure why my comment was deleted. Asking for help again:

    My Barclays Premier account has been blocked for making 2 cash deposits in last 2 weeks. They were not massive cash transactions and were below £1000 each time.

    Reports here seemed to suggest that Barclays doesn’t like it when you pay money in and out, and now they don’t seem to like cash transactions too. How are we supposed to fund our accounts then?

    Any suggestions how do I get my money back?

    • BS says:

      These are reasonable questions, and one that would seriously question why you would choose a bank that blocks your account for doing basic account activity.
      I would contact Barclays, to hurry the process along. They will ask where the money came from and why you were using cash. Be absolutely honest to both, even if the reasons may be MS or other.
      These stories have utterly put me off Barclays. I was considering moving my HSBC premier. I absolutely shall not be now.
      Rob: please do not delete these posts. It is important the readership sees any issues with the accounts you are advertising.

    • The real John says:

      It wasn’t deleted, probably needed to be manually approved.

      You just have to wait until Barclays completes their investigation.

      Thanks for reporting this.

  • Russ says:

    Just come back from shopping at Waitrose and rather pleased to see they’re now selling travel items again i.e. adaptors, mozzy spray etc. Ah….. it seems like only yesterday we were all smirking at pictures of travelers wearing water dispensers on their heads….

  • Jonathan says:

    Does anyone know if you can pay your credit card statement using bendy blue without incurring any fees at all ? This is without using an underlying credit card, and using a debit card instead.

    I’m trying to look at ways to only use bendy when it’s necessary since things like refunds, suppliers not delivering can make things quite messy when you use an intermediary

    • James says:

      I’m struggling to understand the logic in your question. What do you think a debit card underlying curve would be any easier to resolve things like refunds than a credit card?

      • James says:

        * Why do you…?

        • lumma says:

          The only reason I can think of would be if you wanted to pay off the same credit card from multiple bank accounts without having to put in different numbers each time.

  • Green Plastic says:

    Hi all. Just received my free night voucher on the IHG premium card as it’s my year anniversary. First time I’ve done this – I’m just looking at redemptions on the IHG app but it seems no matter what dates or destinations I enter, the IC hotels say ‘no reward nights available’. Also the other hotels that DO have availability display a price eg. 5000 points + £54, when surely these should all be free seeing as I’m using the voucher. I’ve definitely selected my free night voucher before searching for hotels so not sure what’s happening.

    What am I doing wrong / missing?!

    • lumma says:

      Are you searching for more than one night? I think the free night has to be booked on its own.

      • Green Plastic says:

        No just the one!

        • Anna says:

          Just checking – are you going into your account and using the “Redeem” facility where your voucher is, rather than starting from the hotel search? An ordinary search won’t show free nights, only cash and points, you need to select that you’re using your voucher to start with.
          This is the only reason I can think of for why it’s not working. Hotels usually have free nights available even when they’re not offering points stays so you should see something.

          • Anna says:

            I know you said you’re using your voucher but it’s not clear whether you’re actually selecting it as an option from the drop down box which might not throw up the results you’re looking for!

          • Green Plastic says:

            Hey Anna, yes that’s what I’m doing… Scratching my head on this one! Would it make any difference me having a child on the booking?

          • Claire says:

            Does your room accommodate 2 adults and a child. Redemptions are for standard rooms so that might be your issue. We are using ours for IC O2, hoping to see genesis in oct as it will just be me and husband. Dont think we could have booked if our daughter was with us.

          • Sandra says:

            Having a child plus adults is probably the issue. Best to search with just adults and see what comes up – option with 2 doubles/sofa bed etc then after you’ve booked email/call hotel or note child in message box (but there’s a character limit) when you book. U12 usually free anyway sharing room.

          • Anna says:

            Yes – as Claire says most free nights only apply to standard 2 person bookings. Hotels will usually add a rollaway bed (sometimes with an extra charge), if you contact them after you make the booking, or will sometimes even upgrade you to a bigger room.

          • Green Plastic says:

            Will take off the child and see what happens!

          • Green Plastic says:

            Taking my child off has fixed the issue (thanks!) Now I have a second question… No matter what dates I put in, I can’t seem to find free night availability at The George in Edinburgh? But works every time if I try the IC at Park Lane for example. Is there something quirky about The George?!

  • Mco says:

    Sold my house and want to place the money somewhere till I buy another one. This could take 6 months to 1 year. Have read a lot of people talking about Bonds on here and also the possibility of earning miles from it too. I am a newbie to this. Can someone explain? Do I need to get a “bendy” to do this via “beardy” 🙂 But then via beardy there is a cap on it due to the limit I guess?

    How long do I need to leave my money in there?

    • Steve says:

      Go via Bendy, using Beardy or Solihull, your choice (or both). Use your house sale proceeds to pay down Beardy. I know Solihull does not cap your monthly spend, so you can pay off in month and pay Ernie again and again (within the Solihull limit and Bendy daily limits). Though if this is a house sale and significant sums then pushing this all via Beardy or Solihull likely to flag on their end, so you’ll need to do it slowly, not sure how practical this route is for you.

      Ernie doesn’t like you withdrawing immediately, but if you’re genuinely talking 6 to 12 months then that is fine.

      • Mco says:

        Thing is I can’t say how long it would be. Could be 1 month to 1 year. Will there be issues withdrawing after 1-4 months? Is it 50k limit per person?

        • CH says:

          “Bonds” cap is 50k. But they also have other savings products, albeit with miserable interest amounts.
          Don’t have an answer for your other question though.

        • Jonathan says:

          If it’s genuine then you’ll be fine. They may query 50k in & then straight out the next month but won’t have any problem with you if you show it’s a house sale & purchase.

          Obviously 50k in & out every month is a different ball game. Someone on here says they get away with those numbers but plenty haven’t.

          • Mco says:

            Thank you for your replies. Just out of interest is there any other cards that work with this as I don’t really have much use with solihull and beardy is capped.

          • Garry says:

            is it possible to pay off one card using bendy, then switch the underlining to another card in the app and pay that off

        • Reney says:

          Others to advice, does HSBC premier card work for Ernie and bendy combo?

    • Steve says:

      If you want miles not many other options. I.e. has to be MC or V to work with Bendy.

  • DZOO says:

    Points a bonus but not main criteria – anyone know of a good site for booking villas (looking at Mykonos specifically but interested generally) at the higher price points.

    A Google search will throw up lots of independent sites which in themselves seem to be local aggregators – so you can also find some properties on Hotels / booking [dot] com. Finding it hard to judge on reviews etc so hoping there is a reliable site with all in cleaning / transportation services – seems a bit fragmented / hit and miss otherwise. Thanks in advance.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Marriott and onefine stay bath reasonable options and good properties are available on both

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