Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 6th June

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Comments (448)

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  • Jay H says:

    Me and the wife have two separate stashes of around 80K Virgin points and a 2-4-1 voucher. Is it possible to combine our points somehow for a booking?

    • Doogie says:

      I’ve heard on here that Virgin will let you pay your share if it’s an even split like this – I think it’s that each account needs to be travelling and needs to have the points for their own ticket so in your case that should work though you’ll have to call.

    • Rob says:

      Officially no BUT the Virgin call centre will usually do it for you, especially if both are travelling. Ring and see what they can do.

      • ChrisC says:

        You’ll both need to be on the call initially so one can give VS the OK for the other one to access their account and Miles.

    • Chas says:

      Appreciate I’m a day late to reply, so you may not see this but…… When I’ve redeemed like this before I have specifically asked the agent what the rules are: I was told that they can “transfer” points to use against the redemption in multiples of the value needed for the “cheapest” leg.

  • Iain says:

    KLM flights using Virgin miles (long haul) question… apologies if this has been answered or info easily available but can you change flights for a fee?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, same rules as Virgin Atlantic redemptions AFAIK, subject to reward space being there.

      • Iain says:

        Do you happen to know where I could find the t&c’s?

        • Travel Strong says:

          Go through the whole booking process and the full fare conditions are available before you pay.

  • The Lord says:

    Credit where it’s due, BA lounge experience very good in Galleries South yesterday. Was dubious when I read about the table service but super efficient and would say the quality of the food has increased. Flight to Santorini was 30% full, probably less. Very painless experience on the Greek side. Not come across and brits here yet but a lot of Americans. They seem to have got it right with their vaccination = no restrictions policy. Hopefully the UK will follow once everyone 18+ has been offered the vaccine. Great time to travel if you can be bothered with the faff of testing and fortunate enough to be able to work from home on return.

    • Amy C says:

      I have travelled the world pretty extensively and have never come across an airport as chaotic and horrific as Santorini. Been there twice and both times it was horrendous. Last time was 2016 though, hope it’s improved in the years since. I’ve refused to go back purely because of the airport.

      • bafan says:

        Agreed. I flew in on BA and out with Volotea and the staff were so aggressive. I found it hilarious though (it was like watching Airline but in real life) 🤣.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Try Bourgas Airport in Bulgaria! It’s shambolic. You have to wait landside until 60 to 90 mins before your flight because airline is so small! Then the only place to eat is a tiny macdonalds with a large queue or a cheese counter or cafe

    • BJ says:

      I doubt it has much to do with vaccination, I think more likely a combination of being hassle risk averse and health risk averse in that order. I don’t think HfP readers or the popular press are a good indicator of the general public desire to travel overseas right now. What it will take to get them moving I think is just a more settled political response, reliable travel schedules, and simpler and less expensive approaches to any testing, isolation and quarantine (or ideally absence of all three) that is necessary. The great British public isn’t
      traveelling overseas, there is simply too much potential hassle. What I am hearing and seeing all around is that most are content at home and diverting travel funds and extra savings amassed during the pandemic to homd and Ggarden improvements.

      • Yuff says:

        There is a huge amount of hassle currently, I had to complete 2 passenger locator forms yesterday and linking booking references with government website criteria is a complete PITA.
        Mrs yuff is hoping to come back to Mallorca early July, having just spent 9 weeks here and says if it is the same rules it is too much hassle.
        England should thank me for the nice weather 😜 the day I arrived back mar 31st was the last day in the 20s the day I left 29th May it went back into the 20s and it has rained the last 3 days in Mallorca……..oops 🤦🏻‍♂️

    • Harry T says:

      I agree, I think the government should drop all restrictions for people who have been vaccinated. It’s also ludicrous that we have one of the most effective vaccine rollouts in the world but we can’t visit countries with similar infection rates when we know that the vaccines are effective against all variants. There is too much fear around covid now, which is not justified by the actual scientific evidence available. I genuinely think the government desires to force british people into spending money domestically this summer.

      • Brian says:

        There has been too much fear around covid from near the beginning, which is not justified by the actual scientific evidence available – even the government advisers themselves have admitted that.

        • Harry T says:

          I think the justifiable fear early on was the loss of lives among the elderly and vulnerable, with the risk of overwhelming the NHS. Now that we have vaccinated almost all vulnerable groups, I think that fear is not a rational response, on the whole.

        • Paul says:

          139,000 plus dead would probably disagree with you.
          In my view a bit more fear and a lot less of Johnson’s stupidity, heard immunity and stiff upper lip approach may have meant we were clear of Covid now and well on our way to full reopening. His determination to go ahead with the global Britain stupidity trip to Modi and leaving the borders open again, is likely to result in a extension of restrictions at home a a strong desire by many to keep the inhabitants of plague island away from their shores…..for a bit longer.

          • Brian says:

            Oh come on! Surely you’re not naive enough to believe that those 139,000 people would all be happily alive were it not for Covid?

      • ChrisC says:

        They can’t have it both ways and brag about how high the % of people having their jabs is and how wonderful the jabs are at preventing the disease or if you still get it how relativly minor the symptoms are and at the same time keep people locked down.

        • Brian says:

          They can, though, that’s the crazy thing, because the vast majority will simply go along with anything now.

  • Andy says:

    If I have a Virgin Money mortgage is there any way the regular monthly payment can increase my Virgin points ? Thanks

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Rob I know you can use two 241 Vouchers for 4 people 1+3 and two 241s
    But is this just Theory or would it be possible after 1st Sept to use :
    Three 241s for 6 people 1+5 and three 241s ?
    Due to a quirk in the system (extensions ect) for around a few Months I have three vouchers myself and next year Daughter and two boys will be traveling with us Three so would be use full to know for certain.
    We will have 5 Vouchers in total, Partner and her Brother 1 each so can work round it if we need to but 1+ 5 is ideal ?

    • BJ says:

      Doesn’t the 1+3 only apply to new vouchers awarded from 1 September? Even if it applies to existing vouchers I doubt it will be possible online but perhaps over the phone. If they will do it over the phone mixed cabin redempions may then be an issue if you cannot find six seats in CW. I think F would only ever be a pipe dream.

      • A says:

        1+3 possible now and regularly used by many readers of HfP

        • A says:

          Just checked T+Cs and they say max 2 companion vouchers per booking, sorry.

        • BJ says:

          Thanks, missed that detail. Is it available online or only via phone?

      • Chris Heyes says:

        BJ Sorry incorrect 1+3 applies anytime !
        I can find 6 CW Seats off-peak most of the time
        But yes F would be a pipe dream but happy in Club that’s our norm
        Only use F long Haul outwards flight prefer CW back, asleep so F wasted
        The question was for Europe flights

        • BJ says:

          Yes, sorry Chris, just saw the responses from A. If using within Europe you can still do a lot of damage with two vouchers and two normal redemptions if you have the avios, and you’ll still have the other voucher to look forward to. Happy travels!

  • Rich says:

    Just called Amex to cancel my platinum card – not using the benefits and probably won’t be for next 12 months. They’ve offered me 35k points OR paying the fee monthly to stay. I think I’ll take the points. Is nectar the best way to use them now – don’t need the Avios, got enough already.

    • Erico1875 says:

      If you dont need any of the benefits then you would be paying £595 for 35k Avios /56k Nectar points. Double what they are worth

      • Gavin says:

        Only if he keeps the card for a full additional year with no other incentives

        • Andrew says:

          And it £575, not £595

        • Genghis says:

          Or paying a few quid of fees, enough days for points to post and transfer out, for 35k. Then consider cancelling if benefits don’t justify the fee.

    • Benilyn says:

      Whole world outside of Avios and Nectar… Marriott not a bad shout to start

      • Harry T says:

        +1. Bonvoy points confer a lot more flexibility. Don’t forget BA has recently increased the cost of Avios redemptions without even an announcement. Flexible currencies have their value.

    • MilesOnPoint says:

      Do take the 35k points (no obligation to keep card longer term) but do NOT transfer direct to Nectar from Amex MR. If you want Nectar points, transfer to Avios first, then into Nectar from there. You’ll get a better rate of exchange.

      That being said, I’d be tempted to keep points in your Amex MR account for now because of flexible range of options, one being Radisson rewards for hotel stays or transferring to Virgin Atlantic/other airlines for non-Oneworld redemptions.

      • SteveJ says:


        Take the points. Even if you don’t want the card. At minimum take the points, transfer to Avios and then Avios to Nectar. You can still then call again and cancel, they won’t / can’t claw back the points.

    • Anna says:

      If my OH calls Amex and says he happy for them to discuss the card with me, could I then negotiate a retention bonus for him? They’re very unlikely to believe I am him! He’ll either refuse to do the negotiating himself or make a complete hash of it. 😂

      • Mark says:

        One of the few perks of being in a same sex couple! I am both of us when it comes to calling up (with his permission of course) he enjoys the benefits but doesn’t like the hassle

      • Andrew says:

        And many of us got 50k in the last few weeks, not just 35k, so it’s worth the effort.

      • Matty says:

        Yes. My OH gets very flustered speaking on the phone and she often asks me to sit with her or do the talking. Have done it with Amex.

      • BJ says:

        Third party authorisations allow you to do very little. Been down this route with my parents.

        • Anna says:

          Hmm, might have to tell him the shiny metal card will have to go back unless he makes the call! He is still deeply in love with it and uses it whenever he can, transactions for £1.99 and similar keep popping up. I suppose it’s one way of converting one’s partner to Amex spending!

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Anna I sort all my Partners Amex stuff out I just ring answer the security questions Pass phone over to her she says, she’s a bit deaf and I can sort for her
        Easy, I’m the negotiator in our house lol and for her brother as well come to think about it !

      • JDB says:

        You should be proud of your OH if the fibbing to pretend you want to cancel the card to obtain a benefit doesn’t come naturally to him!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Is it a fib? I would have cancelled. £575 is a lot of cash for nil benefits.

      • Tracey says:

        IME foreign call centres are clueless as to whether a first name is male or female. Either that or their equality training means that feel it inappropriate to query.

      • Eligold says:

        I deal with all credit cards and bookings and always get mistaken as female, besides for when I wanna pretend to be one 🤣

      • Polly says:

        Yes, that’s definitely the way to go. I would never let my OH cancel, not a clue how to work that one!

    • BJ says:

      Do you need hotel points? If so you could potential generate a better return on those if used wisely.

    • Reney says:

      I called on my Gold card, I said I wasn’t really getting benefits with no travel and was thinking about options. She basically asked if I wanted to cancel or think some more, and suggested I look at the ARCC. I wouldn’t mind cancelling and resetting the clock anyway but need to move my points out first. Should I have actually pushed to start the cancel process or did I say enough to be offered a retention bonus if there was one? I had basically no spend on the card and only opened for a few months.

      • Aston100 says:

        Ask them if they have any incentives.
        We got 2 * 10k each on our PRG cards when we spoke to the overseas call centre. They had to be nudged towards offering a retention, as otherwise there was a real risk of them carrying through and simply cancelling those cards.
        Our 2 * Plat retention bonuses however were proactive and didn’t need any prompting from us (again overseas call centre).

        • Reney says:

          Thanks Aston, I did ask about incentives but she just told me points could be spent on other places so no travel is not a problem. I will move my points and call again.

  • Kevin says:

    Data point. Called Amex yesterday to get my free BA card upgrade to BAPP. Got it approved instantly and advised that my free BA card has been upgraded and will receive the benefit as BAPP while awaiting the new card to be arrived. The online account also got updated with a black card being shown.

  • Blair says:

    Question re Day 8 testing. Gov.UK says you can be fined for not taking the Day 8 test. Gov.UK also says if you’re in the UK for less than 10 days you must self-isolate during the duration of your UK stay then leave directly. So, if I have this right, I could go to Lisbon for a short weekend hop next weekend, spend weekdays in self-isolation when back in UK, then fly to say Madrid the weekend after for similar short hop, spend weekdays in self-isolation when back in UK, then the weekend after that fly to say Rome? The rules seem to allow it; just not sure how I’d do the Day 8 tests and whether I’d be gathering a trail of fines.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      You would still need to buy a Day 2 & Day 8 package for each trip.

      • Anna says:

        But does the law say you have to buy them, or only take them? Don’t forget it will ultimately come down to the letter of the law, as we have seen with all the rescinded fines during lockdown.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          I think you just need to buy them and provide the reference on your PLF.

      • bafan says:

        I though the law had changed so people only had to buy Day 2 tests now if they were here for less than 5 days or whatever (I’m sure I read that) but I don’t see it on the GOV.UK guidelines. Maybe I did dream it…

    • Anna says:

      If you’re never in the UK on day 8 (until your final return), I can’t see how this could be enforced really. The other PCR tests would end up costing you a fortune though!
      If our Spain trip goes ahead next month, and it’s still amber, I will be very interested to see if there’s any enforcement, though of course I will comply with all the requirements as it’s school holidays and not going to cause any issues apart from for my OH who will need to get a day 5 test to go back to work. But as our trip has cost £700 for flights and £400 for car hire and negligible accommodation costs, (about a quarter of our usual outlay), there’s plenty left in the budget for tests, even though I deeply resent enriching the government’s mates!

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