Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 13th 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 (288)

  • Voltron says:

    Due to the increased plat referrals, I’ve realised once again what a mistake it was cancelling my plat charge last year.

    Not being a big spender (Total spend a year probably 15k), previously used to churn cards and max out *cough cough* 90k self referrals.

    Don’t want to rock the boat now, as previously got monese account closed for too many top-ups, and I don’t do any MS through curve as it seems like too risky if account gets closed and you end up with CIFAS markers etc, it seems the only option left for me is for wife to have a plat charge and just refer me for cards.

    Still seems wise to have 1 plat charge in family, even though fee is excessive, but I think Perks and 90k referrals and occasional rebates make up for it.

    Guess I should have kept my card last year, but I’ll add it to the list of missed opportunities such as not buying bitcoin / tesla shares / keeping pension in default asset fund for years instead of 100% equities whilst young.

    • Andrew says:

      There will be others on here who cancelled too and tell you that you’ve saved £49 a month by cancelling, which is true, so whichever way you played it, it probably evens out. Personally I’m happy I stuck with it, this year we’ve had the £175 credit, plus these 24k referrals now and just yesterday 4x£50 back at Harrods which is free money to me as I would have been spending it anyway. But I don’t think you’ve missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime by cancelling, so don’t beat yourself up too much.

    • Harry T says:

      It costs £575 a year, so I quit when I was ahead eg I’d made thousands from the rebate offers, maxed out referrals, and received a big retention offer (declined for a second offer). I got half the annual fee back too. You have to remember that you can refer people from the Gold card for 12,000 MR at the moment, up to the same 90,000 maximum a year, and that’s a card that’s free in the first year and a quarter of the price of the platinum card from the second year.

      People should only keep the Platinum card if the long term value proposition works for them. I took a hiatus because I couldn’t use any of the travel benefits and I didn’t think any further large [email protected]@ck offers would be coming, due to the long usage period of the last £175 offer and the trajectory of the economy opening up. No point having lounge access when you can’t fly. No point having FHR really when you have Marriott Titanium and Hilton Diamond, with access to discounted healthcare rates or booking through Emyr.

      So I wouldn’t kick yourself if you let the Platinum card go based on a realistic assessment of your own needs and priorities.

      • Andrew says:

        Why did you decline a second retention offer when you can just cancel the next day once the retention points have credited to your account? And you got a retention offer and half the annual fee back or is that the same thing?

        • Harry T says:

          I didn’t get a second retention offer, which is why I cancelled/downgraded. Well, they did give me a year of gold charge for free. I’ll see if they can give me an upgrade bonus if I feel the benefits will be more use later this year.

          By contrast, I’ve had two retention offers on my Gold card, so I’m not sure how the system works.

          • Andrew says:

            Got it – *they* declined a second retention offer and you got the gold card annual fee free.

          • Harry T says:

            Yeah, that’s correct, Andrew. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

        • WaynedP says:

          I read it that Harry T was declined by Amex, not other way around ?

    • Andrew says:

      Is there any evidence of someone having a CIFAS marker applied for MSpend?

      • Rob says:

        I would be shocked if not. The bank has a legal duty to report you if the transactions look suspicious.

        • Genghis says:

          Submitting info to CIFAS is voluntary. SARs are submitted to NCA.

        • jj says:

          MS is not ordinarily fraud. The only CIFAS marker that comes close is ‘misuse of facility’, but that requires a deliberate intent of using the facility for fraudulent purposes.

          MS could be fraud if, for example, a lender was told that money would be used for home improvements but it was actually used to for cash recycling. Representing recycled cash as income from employment could also be fraud.

          But sluicing money between cards and investment products with no misrepresentation or intent to deceive is not fraud. There is no mechanism for reporting that kind of behaviour to CIFAS.

          • Anna says:

            I don’t even think the 2 examples you’ve given would constitute fraud, especially the in first case, unless you decided to leave the country or something similar without paying it back. As long as you repaid any loan or mortgage you might be breaching the bank”s lending conditions but it wouldn’t be a criminal act.

          • jj says:

            Anna – for some reason I can’t reply to your post so I’ll put my response here.

            Intentional misstatement of any facts whilst applying for a financial product is application fraud. I can tell you from the inside that lenders can and do file CIFAS reports where they have been deliberately lied to. Subsequent repayment of the loan does not atone for dishonesty.

          • Anna says:

            What section of the Fraud Act does it come under?

          • Phil says:

            I believe it comes under the “Failure to disclose information” section. If information is requested and is intentionally misrepresented by the applicant, then this can be considered fraud. Insurance companies are far more likely to take action then lenders but, as JJ states, lenders do file CIFAS reports where they have been deliberately lied to.

          • blenz101 says:

            A CIFS Misuse of Facility catergory is generally applied where card terms are breached. MS would come under abuse of the underlying programme for most points cards with MS itself being deceptive.

            If you answer any suspension / KYC honestly you will likey just be shut down possibly with an internal marker. If you attempt to decieve then shutdown with CIFAs marker could be the end result.

          • Track says:

            That would be a lot of power given to clerks who are incentivised ‘to detect fraud’.

            Prosecution can indeed make a case under Failure to disclose information section. CFO have done for some young bankers who took loans for ‘home improvement’ (likely a dropdown choice online form) but used them to boost profits from trading based on privileged information. That misrepresentation charge was coincidental to main charge of insider trading. Just a way of getting at them and beefing up charges.

            That is all similar to “wire fraud” US formulation. They can slap that label on any transaction, without anything factual and give a vague argument about intent to deceive. Eg what if your household member logged in and payed an invoice on your individual account — that will be seen as deception/misuse of facility.

        • Donna says:

          I have worked with CIFAS for many years now and its primary use is for reporting staff members who on the balance of probabilities committed fraud, but there isn’t enough evidence or chance of recovery to initiate criminal proceedings. There needs to be quite a lot of evidence gathered for CIFAS to accept the report in the database. I don’t think MS falls under this category unless there is intent to defraud and evidence of this.

  • Mart says:

    3 days since I added virgin as a travel partner on amex but still pending ,I’m sure it’s been overnight in the past?

    • YC says:

      Make sure ur name (including title) and address matches completely. Like 100%. OH had Mis vs Miss and that caused issues

    • Harry T says:

      In my experience, that means it won’t work and you need to call Amex to get them to link it (Amex chat can also work).

      • Mart says:

        I contacted them on chat and they said the hold up is on virgin end and to contact them

    • Rob says:

      Yes, historically.

  • Blair says:

    T5 current lounge experience? Food served? Consumable within lounge? I’ve not been through LHR since Christmas. FRA has been a joke lately.

    • Chris says:

      No alcohol. Food and soft drinks can be consumed in the lounge

      • Blair says:

        Thanks Chris. Afternoon flight coming but staying at HGI night before so might just be cheeky and go early for breakfast and lunch and work in between.

        • Lady London says:

          Depending on airline try to check your luggage the night before. I’ve been caught not being able to check luggage on the day until, say, 3 hours before the flight but could have checked it the evening before.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            LL Yes good advice we always check our luggage in the night before when staying at the Sofitel the optimum time is around 6pm/6.30pm no queues and up to the Sofitel Lounge after.
            Do boarding card ect same time then Breakfast at Sofitel if First or Business it takes 10 minutes to go through fast track security and passport 5 min later your on the plane
            My partner always panics, but never had to wait, only pilots going through
            Obviously only works on a morning flight (almost all of ours are morning flights)
            Afternoon flight differant then we have to use the Lounge.
            Cant tell you about an evening flight never had one from the UK
            15 Min tops from Sofitel to boarding gate only if your First or Business
            Don’t try it if your economy or plus you wont make it

    • Andrew says:

      Alcohol back mid-May when indoor hospitality is due to return?

  • Anne says:

    Wanted to say thanks to Pete M for his tip on here yesterday re under 50s being able to book vaccination appointments via the NHS site. I wouldn’t have thought to try otherwise but am now booked in for Saturday (at the grand old age of 45). Cheers Pete!

    • mzb says:

      No luck for this 43 yr old. Congratulations Anne!

    • Andrew says:

      BBC reporting that late 40s are now, so you’ll be next mzb

    • Andrew says:

      Booking page confirms it’s open for 45+ now.

      • Anne says:

        Indeed, good to see but equally very grateful for the slight head start thanks to HfP!

    • Sussex bantam says:

      Yes. +1 for this. Myself and a number of friends got booked in last night. Wouldn’t have thought to check without the tip on here !

      • Pete M says:

        Really glad I could help! The more people jabbed, the quicker normality can resume and the more relevant this page becomes again!

        • Matt says:

          More thanks from me. Booked last night after your prompt and got jabbed this morning. Missed out on the website crashing as a result of your help.

  • Robert says:

    The Spectator article reminded me – doesn’t the Economist 18,000 Avios deal normally kick in around this time of year as well?

    • Alex says:

      I really hope it does, as my 3-month subscription is coming to an end in a few weeks. The Economist hasn’t had a decent Avios promo since October last year…

      • Blair says:

        Other schemes’ Economist deals have also been crap. Keep an eye on AerClub as well as BAEC.

        • Rob says:

          The Accor ones can be good – value of points can virtually cover the subscription when on promotion, and of course the points are as good as cash when used for hotels.

    • YC says:

      They are suggesting +30% from economy which is around +£120 return. Good price if true

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Probably +30% on like for like booking terms plus the additional passenger taxes. It’ll be Atleast £200-250

    • MKB says:

      Those head rests would not suit me. They look very uncomfortable, pushing your head about four inches forward from where your upper back is supported. And no wings to stop your head flopping sidewards by the look of it.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        looks like it has winged headrests to me? You can see the folds

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Complementary until they have a viable number to launch a booking class. You certainly wouldn’t grumble if you snagged it as a complementary upgrade would you!

  • xcalx says:

    Just an update on the Amex Plat Bus card offer. The £150 credit is showing on my account following a Paypal transaction.

  • Ben says:

    I remember a couple of weeks ago there was a short coffee discussion, so thought id mention that Costa has a 50p offer on today. Upto 5 coffees.

    • AJA says:

      I think that promo is running over 3 days. Not sure whether it started yesterday or today.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        From today, until thursday. Unsurprisingly, the app crashed multiple times and even the systems at their outlets are quite slow. Wait until word spreads around…

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Ben We had 6 coffees at our local Bognor Costa, 3 in morning 3 in afternoon
      So must be 5 in one go

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