Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 8th April

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

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Comments (384)

  • Imran says:

    I am a Barclays Premier customer and want a donor account for a switch. Can I open another current account with Barclays (without downgrading my Premier account), and switch that out?

    I am just cautious to do anything dubious with Barclays, considering they have blocked and shut so many people down recently. So any guidance would be gratefully received.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      If it was actually soundproof I could see it being useful for 30-60 min meeting or call etc while out and about / commuting but sounds like hell for anything else.

    • Harry T says:

      I suspect these represent a solid cottaging opportunity.

      • Brian says:

        Depends what you want to do. Wearing a mask inside the pods is compulsory, which rules out certain activities…

      • kitten says:

        Hmmm does anyone remember the rubbish reasons local councils gave for removing public toilets and benches for seating on the streets. Plus why British Telecom said they removed those lovely red phone boxes

      • KBuffett says:

        This is already a thing, pay per minute in Asia

      • David says:

        Harry T – what on earth do you mean 😂

  • Ed says:

    Accepted a retention offer on Amex Gold for 10,000MR if I spend £2500 in three months.

    Does anyone know if the bonus points are awarded at the end of the three months or once I hit the spend threshold?

    Also, does spend on the supplementary cards count?


    • 747_Brat says:

      Bonus is awarded as soon as you hit the bonus. Might take a day or two to show up on your MR account.

      Yes, the spend on supplementary card counts.

    • Anna says:

      Ha – I just called and asked if there was a retention/spend bonus, they said no spend bonus but was I considering closing the card today? I said er, very possibly, the CSA then went away and after a few minutes came back and said I could have 7000 MR points for nothing, basically. Good result 😂

      • Anna says:

        What’s the best use of MR points for hotel transfers? I have enough avios to last me until 2023.

        • memesweeper says:

          If you like their hotels (ie their limited choice) the best value is likely Radisson.

          My last ’no immediate plan’ transfer was to Marriott, not the best value but I like their hotels and they have a massive selection of airline partners.

          Hilton is a safe option — I have enough of their points to last me to 2023 though 🙂

        • Andrew says:

          Safest option is to leave as MR for now until you need them – it’s the ultimate flexibility, especially if there are particular bonuses for transfers or for “burning” them in the future.

        • Harry T says:

          @Anna I would keep the MR where they are until needed for a definite reservation at a hotel. Having said, Marriott Bonvoy offer the most flexibility, as you can transfer on to a lot of airlines, should you decide not to stay at Marriott hotels. I know Rob says there are some sweet spots with Radisson but most of their hotels look quite shit and Bonvoy has some excellent sweet spots at better hotels.

          • Anna says:

            I’m not going to do it immediately as my hotel points balances will depend on which of our summer trips goes ahead (if any)! 2 booked with HH, 1 with Bonvoy points.

        • Rob says:

          Sit and wait until you need somewhere and can pick the best hotel from across Hilton, Marriott and Radisson.

          However, you can argue that going Avios to Nectar, blowing the points at Sainsburys at 0.8p per Amex point and the using the cash saved to pay for a hotel is just as good if not better ….

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          If travelling with both partner and offspring then the MR -> Radisson -> Family Room redemption can provide very solid value.

  • ukgeorge says:

    Sorry for the long post.

    I have a flight booked with Virgin to SA in April which has been cancelled. Virgin is insisting that they are only willing to waive a fair difference if I take a flight prior to 1 June 2021. Given direct flights to SA are banned and Virgin does not have any scheduled flights to SA until 17 May this would not seem to fit in with re-routing at a later date at a passenger’s convenience.

    They make various points to support their position that a fair difference should apply beyond this date:

    1. A fair difference is a seasonal supplement.
    2. From their pdf document, Compensation, and assistance. In the event of denied boarding, flight cancellation or delay.

    “… Or to take an alternative flight to your destination under comparable transport conditions and where seats are available, at a later date. (You will be responsible for any hotel, accommodation, meals or other transport costs should you choose this option). “

    They state that the ‘other transport costs’ refers to fair difference.

    3. They argue that there is nothing in the EC-261 rules which states they cannot charge a fair difference. i.e

    “c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.”

    Perhaps point 3. is somewhat of a grey area. It does not explicitly say that there should be no fair difference but neither does it say they can charge a fair difference.

    There was a parliamentary question to the EU concerning the Re-routing of cancelled flights. Question reference: P-005941/2017

    Where there was a recommendation of certain good practices.

    “The Commission recommends, in the Interpretative guidelines for Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights under point 4.2.(2), certain good practices. One of them is that re-routing should be offered at no additional cost to the passenger, even where passengers are re-routed with another air carrier or on a different transport mode or in a higher class or at a higher fare than the passenger paid for the original service.”

    Are these EU recommendations of good practice in any way normally enforceable? I know the law has been incorporated into UK law and I guess is somewhat untested.

    Any advice on how to proceed much appreciated.

    • Jonathan says:

      Pointless engaging in a back & forth with them as they’ve obviously taken the decision that stonewalling will work out better for them overall.

      Ask them for their final decision in writing & once received write back stating clearly that you are exercising your rights under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 to re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.

      Tell them the dates you want. You may wish to include a comment stating that you know they are selling cash tickets on this date so there is availability.

      Tell them they have 14 days to provide you with what you have requested or you will purchase the tickets yourself & initiate legal proceedings to recover the costs.

      Ensure the letter is headed “notice before action”. I would probably send as recorded delivery but proof of postage is acceptable.

      I would then give them 28 days to respond so you can demonstrate you were being reasonable then buy fully flexible tickets from Virgin or get a reservation with a travel agent who will accept payment close to departure. It’s relatively simple to make a claim through Money Claim Online, you don’t need a lawyer.

      I would personally claim for the cost of flights & postage but others suggest including things such as statutory interest & cost of their time preparing case. These extras may be arguable in court so I favour simplicity.

      I’d expect Virgin to then settle in full prior to a hearing (especially if you’re new booking is with them as it’s essentially no cost to them). If they actually contest I’ll be gobsmacked as it’s an open & shut case with their ridiculous end of June deadline.

      • Ukgeorge says:

        Thanks Jonathan for the detailed reply.

      • Lady London says:

        defo add statutory interest of “8% pa pro rata to your claim up to date of payment “that is your right. Also the small fee for mcol include as it will be refunded when ( not if, but when) you win.

        Dont bother claiming for your time that’s only if you’ve really wasted time. And you’re not going to do that. You’re just going to give them one final chance and then do moneyclaim dot gov dot uk as above.

        Personally I’d pick a date just less than one year since I booked(to avoid arguments about ticket validity which are winnable but tedious). Then go to a proper travel agent like Trailfinders and book whatever ticket they can hold and give you a pro forma invoice for or some other confirmation of cost and put that into your moneyclaim dot gov dot uk. Sadly that type of ticket will be more expensive for them to pay. You might have to pay just a booking fee upfront just include that in your claim.

        Doing as above saves you shelling out and might last long enough for the case to be heard or, more likely, judged remotely or settled if they’ve got any sense.

        Parsing this daily thread all about this is here over and over if you need more.

        Let us know how soon they.fold after your easy formal process makes it clear to them how much more lying and stonewalling you from getting your rights is going to cost them.

        Just to be clear EU261 was incorporated into UK law and supersedes anything less an airline might try to say.

        • Lady London says:

          PS you are free to book with another airline as that right is included if they can’t reroute you. The upcoming cash cost to them to pay your ticket at an public rates on another airline should be even more of a motivator to make them realise how much more it will cost them.

          • meta says:

            Also no need to wait for 28 days after sending the letter. You have already engaged in substantial negotiation/correspondance regarding this. I would give them about 8 days if sending via recorded next day delivery, 10 days if normal post. This gives them a week to respond.This is considered reasonable after receiving final decision.

            The only time I would wait longer if a company was silent (then I’d give them 21 days, not 28 days as this standard legal practice).

        • Ming the Merciless says:

          Interesting comment about 12month ticket validity. I booked with BA at -355 and am now trying to book 10monhs past flight, which wil be close to 600 days past the point of booking. Any tips?

          • kitten says:

            They may argue but IATA rules allow rerouting at a longer date than 12 months from issue of ticket if involuntary. If they cancelled your flight then it counts as involuntary.

            IATA says they can do by endorsing ticket with “INVOL”. It’s also easy enough for then to issue a new ticket if it suits them.

      • Ukgeorge says:

        Thanks everyone. I will update on how I get on.

      • C says:

        Anyone have experience when a travel provider ignores (i.e., does not pay) a judgment against them under MCOL? It’s not a large amount of money, but quite shocking that a large and well-known company has completely ignored the pre-filing correspondence as well as all aspects of the court process to date.

        I have read the instructions online for when the defendant does not pay – just looking for experience of others.

        • Magic Mike says:

          I’ve heard some great bailiff stories… Looking forward to yours!

        • Lady London says:

          They do pay up when bailiffs appear. Bailiffs add ridiculous amounts of cost which the outfit that owes you gets added to what they pay up. I personally think it’s unfair but that seems to be how it works i UK.

          2 scenarios : if they’re actually going bust then even bailiffs wont get your money unless they’re very quick and grab the company’s physical assets before another of the creditors does. You can also get a lien put over their assets but that’s solicitor territory and physical assets surer.

          If they are still able to pay but not paying then making it as publicly shaming as possible seems to be a tactic ie reputational damage. Hence see if the Daily Mail wants to tag along when the bailiffs go to Heathrow to impound their plane etc…

  • Youllnever says:

    Has anyone still not received the WE annual fee waive email? Not sure if I should contact them regarding this.

    • 747_Brat says:

      I have not received the email, but I am a new WE customer. Got the card only last month. So I am not sure if they will waive the fee for me.

      • Reney says:

        My premier appointment is next week, was thinking if the first year is free it would really change the maths for me.

  • Will says:

    Apologies if I’ve missed it but both parent and I have Marriott and BA amex.

    What if any are the current retention offers likely to be?

    • Harry T says:

      No one can say for sure. I’ve heard of an extra point per pound offered for the BAPP. Not heard of a Marriott Bonvoy amex retention offer.

  • Craig says:

    First referral yesterday afternoon, instant approval for Mrs S, 24k in my account today.

  • Nick says:

    Morrison’s has disappeared off airtime rewards. Was planning to hit that that after the Amex Morrison’s disappeared

    • Raveon says:

      Yes sadly, it disappeared without warning. Will be back, but who knows when.

    • Lady London says:

      comes and goes apparently. People have said it disappeared after they used it once.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes disappeared two days after the first time I used it

        Perhaps a coincidence or not

    • Reney says:

      PAW had the end date stated as yesterday, I just assumed that it would be the same for Airtime.

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