Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 1st May

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (214)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Aston100 says:

    Morning.
    Can anyone kindly confirm if it is possible to pay off an Amex international dollar card using Revolut?

    If not, what would be the method that attracts the lowest foreign currency transaction fee?

    Thanks

    • KBuffett says:

      Should be fine. Send a bank transfer from Rev to Amex

      I am not recommending Rev. They are not a bank and their KYC process is slow if you get flagged

    • Chas says:

      I couldn’t get it to work when I held my IDC 18 months ago, despite others on here reporting that it works. By all means try it, but allow plenty of time – the money always bounced back several days later. In the end I used (transfer)Wise to send the money to Amex’s US account to pay off my balance.

    • the_real_a says:

      Not a year ago – you can only pay AMEX $ from an account that passes along your own name. Revolut and most of the other fintech companies could not accommodate this (it showed as coming form the Revolut slush account and was sent back by AMEX)

      My method was £ to $ in revolut. Transfer $ to UK based HSBC account (Free), and make payment via HSBC to AMEX New York (£4 trasnfer).

      It was at the time the cheapest way to do it.

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      Revolut works fine for me Aston

  • Stu says:

    Good morning,

    It looks like Swiss have been making changes to their winter timetable – I had an email yesterday advising our LHR-SIN in first, booked on Black Friday for late October, is now cancelled. They’ve confirmed a full cash refund.

    Anyone else had similar?

    I have to say given the protracted nature of Covid, we’re just happy to be getting our cash back right now rather than hunting for alternatives, especially as it’s looking less and less likely we’d be able to travel anyway.

    Thoughts?

    • Sam G says:

      They probably aren’t going to be daily, it’s only been a couple of times a week

      But you got lucky IMO, zero chance of a holiday to Singapore this year unless their stance changes rapidly.

      • Stu says:

        Sadly we’d only last week booked onward flights to Bali in biz with KLM. Thankfully I’ll be able to get a travel voucher for €757 (the cost of those) when we cancel, but I’m holding off on that for now as the voucher is only valid for 12 months so I’ll cancel later in the year.

  • Dennis says:

    Not complaining but just got credited 10,000 bonus pts on my Blue British Airways American Express Credit Card for no apparent reason! I downgraded to this card around 6 months ago and I am up to speed on every angle to get extra pts but this was a surprise! I saw on a previous thread that this may have happened to a few others, I wonder if anyone knows more about this?

    • Rob says:

      Friend of mine got this during the week too.

    • Babyg says:

      did you do a large spend in a single amount, that seems to be the trigger, if so how much did you spend?

  • Rupert one says:

    Good morning. I have some concern. It appears that my IHG rewards account was hacked. Points were used for a stay at a hotel in China on New Year’s Eve. This was only discovered by me because I had trouble accessing my account. I spoke to IHG but the person was difficult to understand. The points were replaced. But I don’t recall any notification from IHG or ICO. Has anyone else has this issue? I’m obviously not happy with IHG as I wasn’t informed.

    • Jonathan says:

      Presumably they changed your e-mail address as well so you didn’t get the booking confirmation? If so & you didn’t get a notification of change in contact details to your previous e-mail then that is poor security from IHG & worth a complaint.

      If they did send you an alert (have a search through your e-mails) & their systems weren’t hacked (were you using same password as other accounts?) then it’s not really their fault & by refunding points rapidly they’ve been pretty good.

      Tbh if

      • Rupert one says:

        Thank you. I scrutinised my emails but I received nothing. I have a record of every stay. I have complex passwords for my accounts plus two step verification – my background Is cybercrime investigation. In the meantime I’ve been searching for incidents with IHG. There was a major hack in 2017. I think they haven’t updated their systems. IHG it seems, have not complied with the law. They did have Mickey Mouse security, a 4 number pin. I would suggest everyone checks their account.

    • Andrew says:

      A lesson to check your account more regularly than every 4 months.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        AwardWallet is a powerful tool for this.

      • Rob says:

        AwardWallet ….

      • Rupert one says:

        I don’t want lessons. I would expect FTSE 100 company not only to have good IT security, but to comply with the law.

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          Which law tells them to spend 10m on better security and which law defines ‘better security’?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Unfortunately you (the end user who decides in the email and password to use) are their weakest link.

          You have your points back so I don’t see the need to be so rude about suggestion to keep a track Of what’s happening with your points.

          • Rupert one says:

            Because whoever had access to my account also had access to my personal data. I’m not being rude. I used method of account access as suggested by IHG. If you have an account with IHG, have a look at all the data they have about you. I don’t check points accumulation in an pandemic when I’m not travelling. Telling me to learn a lesson is rather rude. It was just a warning for everyone. Also there are plenty of laws to look after people’s data.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Indeed … they knew your username/email and password.

        • @mkcol says:

          I think you need to reset your expectations of IHG.

    • Andrew M says:

      If you’re still using a four digit numerical password, you should change it to a long, unique and random password. The old four digit numbers are not secure enough.

  • Patrick Cold says:

    Apologies for re-cycling a conversation – I have searched around but cannot quite find what I`m after. I want to put £10k into Vanguard now, the same amount again in about 6 months and build up an investment with similar increments.
    Which funds do people recommend and is there a bendy/revolutionary route to funding? Many thanks.

    • Patrick Cold says:

      I have the HH and IHG and Bearded credit cards. Thanks.

      • Yorkie Aid says:

        It would be impossible to make any meaningful recommendations for investments without knowing your age, investment goals, risk tolerance, time horizon, etc.

        • Patrick Cold says:

          Fair enough! I`m 57, looking to invest for about 10 years. Risk tolerance approx. 8/10.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            OK, well I’ll make a couple of assumptions which you can correct if necessary. You own your own home which either is or will be debt free by the time you retire, you have a decent private pension and that the proposed investments are for supplementary spending in retirement. I’m assuming you’d be investing for capital growth now but might want more income later. You’ve said you’re only moderately tolerant of risk so that rules out more volatile but potentially higher growth investments. My personal recommendation for a core position would be RIT Capital Partners, an investment trust which invests for growth but manages risk to minimise drawdowns in downturns. I also think the UK market is relatively undervalued due to the previous 5 years of uncertainty over Brexit so should now play catch up. For this I have Blackrock Ishares 100 UK Equity Index ETF. I also feel emerging markets have underperformed so have Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust. If you wanted to take on more risk then you might take a view on a particular country. I have done this with two Vietnam funds, Vinacapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund and Vietnam Enterprise Investments Ltd. Finally if you prefer a more diverse mix then AVI Global Trust has been good to me over the last year. I am fairly hands on and spice things up with individual equity and pref stocks. If you want a more hands off approach you can’t really go wrong with RIT Capital Partners over the long term imho. Good luck!

          • Andrew M says:

            @Yorkie, I’ve been a holder of RIT Capital Partners for many years and I’ve been reasonably happy with the performance. The charged are pretty steep though, around 4% per year all in, if I remember correctly. That’s mainly due to double charging on the funds that they outsource. That rate of charges has made me think about selling them.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            @Andrew M I agree RIT’s charges look high but given the compound growth we’ve received over the long term after the charges I don’t worry about them too much. See my comment further down about Mark Slater’s fund.

    • Doug M says:

      Aren’t Vanguard the company that do the funds with the set mix of higher risk, broadly stocks, and lower risk, broadly bonds. So look at the 80/20 one.
      My own approach is to always seek to pay minimum charges and avoid actively managed funds, these are the ones designed to support the lifestyle of others. I like iWeb as an account, then buying ETFs that track an index.

      • Patrick Cold says:

        Yorkie Aid; thank you so much for such a lengthy answer; it is greatly appreciated. Your assumptions are correct but I think that my 8/10 figure regarding risk was misleading. I meant that I am happy with considerable, calculated risk. My principle source of income comes from betting on horses – I am very comfortable assessing those risks but a complete novice as far as the financial markets are concerned. Thanks again.

        • Yorkie Aid says:

          You’re welcome. Well you sound more like me in terms of risk tolerance then 🙂 In that case you might want to spice things up a bit with something like Pershing Square Holdings. To be honest I wouldn’t get too hung up on the whole fees based argument. Yes if you’re just buying a vanilla tracker fund then look for the lowest fees but where active managers are making a big contribution to outsized returns then it’s only fair they’re appropriately compensated.

          • Patrick Cold says:

            Great! I have money with SJP but fancy spicing things up a bit….your ideas are extremely interesting and I shall now do my homework.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            Hope you like what you find. On the charges vs performance front just take a look at something like the Slater Recovery Fund which launched in 2003 at 50p. It’s now up 700% (after charges) compared to the FTSE up around 100%. I’d gladly take the extra 600% and give Mark Slater 1.5% per year to do that for me.

          • Doug M says:

            @Yorkie Aid – It’s all well and good telling us what has outperformed the market, but how do you consistently pick those from the multitude that don’t? My issue with actively managed is that those making a considerable impact in a negative way get inappropriately compensated. How’s that Woodford fella doing.
            Having said this someone making a living from horses clearly has a tolerance for risk.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            @Doug M I totally agree with you that there are some appallingly badly run active managed funds out there. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The biggest problem with the Woodford debacle was actually the structure of the fund not necessarily the investments he picked (only time will tell on that). That’s why I favour the Investment Trust model where a few individual investors losing faith in the manager doesn’t force illiquid investments to be sold into an abyss in order to fund redemptions.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            I’ll come at it from a betting angle. If you do your homework then realise that 99% of actively managed funds underperform the market in the long term
            https://www.ft.com/content/e139d940-977d-11e6-a1dc-bdf38d484582
            …and you have no way of identifying the 1% (past performance won’t do it) – people can say X went up by 5x the market over the last 10 years; but I can tell you last week’s lottery numbers too; they can’t tell you what will do it over the next 10 years.

            Bear in mind that active funds stats are also skewed – underperform early and you simply cease to exist – perform well, even by random variancce, and you survive, so their poor stats are even worse as losers were selectively culled out of them.

            Human nature dictates that people will shout loudly about their investment successes and keep the failures quiet, so people will mention the great outperforming fund they bought, the dog of a fund, not so much.

            So look at this from a horse-racing point of view. Lets say in our crazy world that the market no longer has an overround but in fact has a negative overround in every race (you’re guaranteed a small return if you back every runner). Would you ….
            a) Write a simple script that will back every runner on Betfair and collect your profits
            or
            b) Pay someone else to back horses within this market – who you have no idea whether they have special knowledge and can generate extra +EV or not – to see if you can get beyond the standard return, but they get to keep 70% of the profit whether or not they do better than the bot.
            (because 70% of the profits that’s what a 4% annual fee amounts to on average returns).

            The one part of the equation you can predict with absolute certainty is the costs, so hammering down on annual fees may seem boring but the effect of this is huge, and of course compounds as well. Low-cost ETFs all the way for me.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            So, only 99% of active managed funds underperform the index after charges whereas 100% of passive tracker funds underperform the index after charges. I’ll take my chances thank you 🙂 It’s just horses for courses – to keep the betting theme alive.

        • Erico1875 says:

          If you are happy with risk, try a Crypto copy portfolio on Etoro
          https://www.etoro.com/copyportfolios/cryptoportfolio/stats

          • Patrick Cold says:

            Thank you Erico. Finally, does anyone have any thoughts regarding Scottish Mortgage and/or Ruffer Total Return Fund?

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            Scottish Mortgage has had an amazing run. They’re very technology focussed so I suppose the question you need to ask is whether that kind of performance can be repeated, i.e. will Tesla go up another 700% this year like it did last year considering it’s already “worth” more than the rest of the entire global car industry put together. Somehow I very much doubt it.

          • BuildBackBetter says:

            @Yorkie Aid, SMT sold most of their Tesla positions at the peak. Tesla makes up less than 5% of the portfolio.
            @Patrick Cold, SMT is good bet for very long term, as they fluctuate a lot in the short term and their private equity investments can take time to realise gains.
            No idea about Ruffer. If u r looking for multi asset wealth preservation, look at CGT or PNL.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            @BuildBackBetter Thanks for the correction re SMT and Tesla. I must admit the last time I looked at SMT was last autumn!

          • Patrick Cold says:

            I am most grateful for all of these replies, thank you.

          • Patrick Cold says:

            Savage Squirrel many thanks for all of your advice. Are you able to fund iweb via bendy?

    • Lou says:

      Also piggybacking this conversation, what would you all recommend if you could theoretically maxed out the ISA allowance?

      • Genghis says:

        Invest in GIA

        • Lou says:

          Time to wheel out the Google…

          • Lou says:

            Ah, so basically an ISA but taxable?

          • Lou says:

            What do you pay tax on? Capital gains? Something else?

          • Genghis says:

            Capital gains on gains and income tax on dividends but there are allowances, £12,300 and £2k pa respectively.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            GIA is just an investment account.

            Capital gains only payable after cashing out c£12k profit for the year (doesn’t matter if it’s taken as cash or reinvested)

            I believed there is a £2k personal allowance on share dividends too but I’m not a personal tax expert.

          • Lou says:

            Thank you all! I’ve learned a bunch from you all

        • Joe says:

          Re: £12k tax free withdrawal for CGT.

          Is there atime limit to how quickly you can put the money back into the market? And can you repurchase the same shares for funds?

          • Genghis says:

            Re harvesting capital gains there are the bed and breakfasting rules: you can’t buy same security for 30 days. Easily got round with:
            – Bed and ISA
            – Bed and Pension
            – Bed and Spouse
            – Bed and buy a product tracking the same index, eg sell Vanguard All World, buy Vanguard Developed World + Vanguard Emerging Market, HSBC All World C etc.
            – or Bed and CFD if you must (not really recommended)

  • AJA says:

    The bonus double Nectar Points from the BA/ Sainsbury’s tie up (double base points on all shopping at Sainsbury’s until 19 April) posted to my Nectar account overnight. Transaction backdated to 3 April.

  • JanM says:

    Has anyone here any recent experience with Czech Airlines? I had a flight cancelled last year May and received a voucher that should have been refundable after a year. (Told I had no choice in the matter.) Just checked their website and it looks as if the airline is restructuring. Anyone requiring a refund from before 10 March needs to apply to a municipal court in Prague… Just not sure what to do, but it is a sizable sum of money so I want to pursue it.

    • AJA says:

      How did you pay for the original flights? If on a credit card I’d initiate a s75 claim on the basis that the airline is restructuring due to insolvency. You’ve received a voucher that is no use to you. Alternatively it seems the municipal court allows claims via email but you better get a move on as the deadline is 10 May. More info here:

      https://www.csa.cz/gb-en/reorganization/

      • Jan M says:

        Thanks! Annoyingly I paid with Curve. I think they have a scheme of their own but their response was a boiler plate one about MasterCard chargeback and the need for me to resolve the dispute with the company… I’ll try and escalate it.

  • Jake says:

    QQ. Can an Amex card holder refer someone else for a different Amex card. I am looking to get referred the gold from a business plat holder?

    • Jake says:

      Seen the article now on hfp. Answer is yes.

    • Roger W says:

      Yes. You will have a choice of the cards when you access their link email and open the web page.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.