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The HfP chat thread – Friday 2nd April

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We are running 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.

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Comments (305)

  • Dace says:

    Can anyone confirm if making a payment to Ernie using Bendy with Creationalists underneath. Can anyone confirm if this is one of those transactions that need credit in place before you do it or if it counts as a regular payment?


  • TJ says:

    Very impressed with Express Test Heathrow Drive Through service. Took the test at 2:30pm today and received the Fit to Fly cert 5 hours later.

  • Dace says:

    Does anyone have any experience with Barclays Premier or CitiGold accounts?
    I have investments that qualify me for these accounts, however I am weighing up the benefits. Citi appeals to me owing to the financial management as I have been self investing and earning an average of 15% but would like to get some advice but don’t want to pay the 2k I have been quoted elsewhere for it.

    Could anyone clarify the other benefits they provide/someone could expect and what type of fees are involved in holding an account with them? I am currently with AJ Bell but they are now starting to prove expensive for me owing to the size of my holdings.

    Barclays appeals owing to the Avios rewards but I have had bad experiences with Barclays customer service in the past so I am not sure they would bit annoy me. Furthermore, I am not sure what I am really getting with them other than the opportunity to pay £12 a month for Avios Rewards. Do they still offer the Picturehouse membership?

    Just as a heads up, I am only able to take these accounts owing to my investment portfolio and not my wage so I cannot do both at this moment in time.

    • Genghis says:

      IMO, you should just look to change broker. I thought AJ Bell reasonably priced for exchange traded products? Or do you own OEICs? Have a look at iWeb, Halifax if you must. You’ll likely save a fortune. I was with Barclays premier a few years ago and you won’t be missing out on much.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      I have experience with Citigold. The financial advice is worse than a chocolate fireguard; avoid if you don’t want to be plied with high expense investment products. The “premier” service was ironically the best vs HSBC or Barclays, however I had to pull out entirely when they closed all their physical branches and left me no way to transact USDs other than online. Moved to Barclays which has been mediocre other than the national trust and dining club benefits (both pulled during COVID!)

    • A says:

      The financial advice you get will not be great and probably push you towards products with high fees. 14% is not a bad return and you could possibly minimise your fees instead as genghis advised.

      • Yorkie Aid says:

        If you’ve got more than £50k in an ISA and are largely looking at UK listed investments then ii are hard to beat on overall price. Avoid for international though as FX is extortionate.

        • AnotherUser says:

          If you’ve got £50k+ invested, choose where to go based on price and service – I wouldn’t pay much attention to avios.

          How complex is the advice you need? £2k seems a lot. Worth tracking how much this type of fee is eating into your investments. I ultimately decided that a relatively simple and passive (and low fee) approach would work better for my smaller pots…

          • Mike1 says:

            What would likely be the best broker if I only invest in funds (due to work) and have c.£50k? I’m on HL due to the wide variety of funds but not the cheapest of course.

          • Lady London says:

            If you initially invested in something using an adviser, beware you can be paying fees to that adviser continuously years after making that investment. An adviser fee may well be embedded in your rate.

            Platforms will currently not generally be proactive about checking if you are “still advised” even years later.

            Obvs if you are still taking advice from that adviser, fair enough. But if not could be worth looking into.

            Another of the finance industry’s dirty secrets. I think Rob said he adjusted one of his investments to reflect that advice was no longer being given and it made a huge difference to money he kept.

          • Rob says:

            This was my ex-bank pension which had a 0.75% commission on it. I paid £200 to an advisory firm on an execution only basis to open an identical pension with the same company, so no trail commission to the advisor. For clarity – same pension, same company, same underlying funds, just a lower fee. It saves me £2,000 per year in fees, so about £20k in the 10 years since I did it, and took virtually no time at all.

    • Dace says:

      Thanks everyone for your replies. Most helpful. Especially with the points on Citi and the general experience of Barclays and HSBC. I was thinking of other brokers and will explore again. However, Barclays is running a decent cashback offer £500 for £100k+ and £1000 for £200k+ and 25,000 avios which may still tempt me to try them for a year or two.

      As for brokers, does anyone use II? I think they may be best for me as I am generally buy and hold and iWeb and Halifax do not have a couple of my favourite funds and/or have the share classes I am looking for.

      • AnotherUser says:

        Those Barclays offers are around 0.5-0.75% cashback. Over 1-2 years, the saving in fees with a different broker would likely be very significantly more. I’ve no idea what Barclays’ service is like, but I wouldnt weight that level of cashback at all heavily.

  • APB says:

    I’ve been monitoring IHG redemption rates in the US for September (specifically SF and LA) and they have rocketed over the last 24-48 hours. Anybody noticed any similar trends? Trying to work out if it’s localised demand or a general (hesitate to say the word lest I spread panic) devaluation.

    • Rob says:

      Could be an increase, could be an IT mess. I’d give it a few days.

    • Ikaz says:

      Loads of ups and downs. Intercontinental Maldives now 120,000 per night on nights I am looking at (up 20,000)

      • Aston100 says:

        Revisiting some of my domestic bookings, rates have shot up by at least 50% across various cities in the UK.
        However, the cash prices have come down – quite a lot – in a couple of the cities, to the point where I’m tempted to cancel my reward nights and rebook with cash (I need the points for elsewhere anyway to be honest).

        US hotels that I was looking at 2 days ago seem to have increased their points requirements quite a bit.

        Something seems to be going on.

      • Aston100 says:

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen an IHG hotel above 100k before (not counting Mr & Mrs Smith or Six Senses).

        • Rob says:

          …. and Six Senses Maldives is capped at 100k per night, which means some weird stuff is happening.

    • ChrisC says:

      several comments on this is the early pages of the chat

      Something is going on where some rates have increased by a lot but also some reductions

      • Andrew says:

        IC O2 has come down to only 33k whereas a HIX has gone up to 38k! Very odd fluctuation today, hope it settles.

        • Benilyn says:

          Beth Indigo up too 🥺

        • DJ says:

          I thought I would take another look, but looking at the September (17th) rate for IC O2, 169GBP or 65,000 points. 🙁

          • GERRY says:

            Yes Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv beach is 60k points, previously around the 30 mark, crazy

  • Simon Schus says:

    Hi all 🙂

    Do long-haul Avios bookings usually include the UK domestic connecting flight, even for long-haul RFS?

    I’m looking at MAN-LHR-IAD through in Y.
    – The charges have been lower for LHR-IAD on than for a while for this route, presumably due to Reward Flight Saver.
    – It is ridiculously expensive for a cash fare on the dates I needed (even when adding a return component).

    On, It is coming up at 20,000 GBP274.83 for MAN-LHR-IAD but just 20,000 + GBP195 when it is just LHR-IAD.

    (For contrast, It is GBP274.83 on for both routings).

    I’m fine booking them separate as then I’d probably do business class RFS for MAN-LHR but would have the hassle of collecting and re-checking bags at LHR.

    • Peter K says:

      From what I’ve read here, the domestic transfer tagged on a long haul redemption costs no extra avios but does have an extra cash fee.
      What you’ve put sounds like this is happening.

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