Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 7th June

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

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Comments (435)

  • Stu N says:

    Spend £250/ £50 back at Malmaison has appeared on my Platinum card – runs to 7 Sept. Might be useful for a city break later in the summer…

  • Josh says:

    Please can I have recommendations for a platform that will accept transfer in from a shares ISA currently held with EQi? I think this is called an ‘in specie’ transfer.
    On average I do about 10 trades per year. I do set up more, but the prices don’t match what I am after.
    Also welcome any referral code to be used.

    • mark2 says:

      I use Interactive Investor. If you register here first and then open an account and transfer in at least £10,000 you will not pay any fees for the first year and I will get £100 (not sure how this could work). They are good and I have used Curve to load although not recently.

      • Genghis says:

        Didn’t ii buy Eqi earlier this year? Is OP’s account transferring to ii anyway?

    • Genghis says:

      Look at the monevator broker table for potential options. Look on their websites to see if they offer the products you wish to transfer in-specie. Open an account and then call them up to discuss an in-specie transfer.

      Where you do depends on size of holdings (fixed fee vs variable “ad valorem” charging) and what you hold (eg ETF vs OEICs), some brokers only accept their own products etc. iWeb is a good cheap option for just about everything ISA / GIA only wise at least, £5 a trade, that’s it. But DYOR.

  • PK says:

    IHG white card blocked for the third time in a month. No MS, genuine transactions. They are taking the p!$$ now! 😡

    • kitten says:

      please tell us what is their excuse when you contact them to complain

  • R says:

    Hilton – booking with someone else’s credit card

    What do I need in order to book a room with someone else’s credit card (planning to use my mother’s card as she has the £50 cash back offer). She is happy to give it to me as she never really uses that card but I am guessing that I will need some proof/etc.

    • Anna says:

      You could try editing the card details in your account but they might still want to see the physical card at check in.
      Otherwise, call your mum at checkout and let her pay them over the phone? If you explain why they’ll probably be fine about it.

      • lumma says:

        Getting someone to pay over the phone where you’re there in person should be a massive red flag to anyone in the hospitality industry and they should say no.

    • SteveJ says:

      Simply take her card with you. At check IN ask to pay £200 on “this card”. Simply pop it in their machine and enter the pin. Job done. Then give another card for the rest of the bill / incidentals. Done exactly the same myself, no issues.

      • The motorist says:

        Exactly what SteveJ said.
        Paid early on at the front desk during the stay, using 3 different cards (£200 for each of the first 2 cards and the balance against the 3rd one (the one used to make the initial booking)). The cards had different names on them.
        Wanted to avoid any issues at check-out as I was conscious they might automatically charge the full amount against the card used to make the initial booking, hence got the payments out of the way early on.

    • John says:

      Download Hilton app. Check in on phone. Use Digital Key – Bluetooth enabled – to select room, open door.

      Haven’t gone near Hilton reception on last 20+ visits. Problem solved.

      • Lord Doncaster says:

        You haven’t been to the Doubletree Harrogate then. Tried Digital Key there (to bypass the one hour check-in queue) and the door refused to open.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      R I swap my Cards about all the time on Hilton log-in
      I use my Partners Card and her Brothers Card as well depending on which has offers on or which I want to hit a spend target on
      Never had a problem even when obvious not my name on card

    • R says:

      Thank you for your replies guys! Much appreciated

  • Anna says:

    A friend of mine and her family need to be in London for 2 days in July. Trains are over £100 return off peak and driving would eat up a lot of the time she has. There is loads of avios availability from MAN to LHR but she is not a BAEC member. How quickly could she set up an account and find enough avios for 5 flights (36k?) Obviously I don’t want to fall foul of BA’s Ts and Cs by booking her flights from my account although I have 700k avios!

    • Anna says:

      4 flights, sorry! Her, her mum and 2 kids.

      • KBuffett says:

        Setting up an account is worthwhile, instant.
        Procuring the Avios…..depends. There are quite a few fast paying merchants on the BA Shopping Portal. But it’s not an insignificant number of Avios that are required.

        • Anna says:

          I know, and it’s not even as though there’s a transfer facility like with HH points or I would happily donate her some from my stash!
          Is it possible to book separate flights for “friends and family” members on a BA account or only the HHA members? I’ve booked for friends in the past but only when I was travelling as well.

    • John says:

      I don’t know about the flights, although IMO flying is madness unless you’re *really* price sensitive, and the cost is substantially cheaper than taking the train. I can’t see how it works out much quicker or more convenient, plus you have the carbon emissions.

      Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that train ticket releases have been all over the shop lately. Do check the specific details on the Avanti website to make sure that Advance tickets for your dates have been released. I travelled up to Manchester last weekend and the timetable (along with advance tickets) for the return journey was only released a week in advance. Until that point, the ticketing websites were all showing expensive open returns only.

      • Anna says:

        She is really price sensitive and 9k avios plus £25 pp would be hugely cheaper than the other options currently! I will advise her to keep checking the trains, though she will need to travel from PRE – how much did you end up paying in the end? Of course the advantage with the trains is that the two children will be half fares so the best option would be for rail fares to start coming down!

        She hardly ever goes anywhere and has promised her son a birthday weekend in London (and booked a non-refundable hotel 😥). Her carbon emissions are probably some of the lowest in the country!

        • Andrew says:

          Don’t forget to keep an eye on fares from Wigan and Warrington too. Sometimes you can get a good value split fare.

          • Lord Doncaster says:

            Yes – this! Take a look at splitting the ticket and also look at other stops on the way down. If they don’t mind a slower train the stopper would probably cheaper (London North Western?)

        • Laura says:

          Might be worth her getting a family and friends rail card too, to save some money on the train fares. I think you can get them with Tesco vouchers for a saving too

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Anna Avanti pre-coved had a offer on Preston–Euston £100 1st Class up to 2 Adults and up two six Children single though so another £100 back to Preston
          used it a lot (at least 1 Adult and 1 Child as to travel)
          tickets go quick, but I always got them soon as released lol
          I remember it was £50 pleb class same offer though never travelled pleb when 1st available lol
          Certainly worth a ring to see if/when back on ?
          Was only from Preston so if you put Blackburn in it wouldn’t show up I found it by accident when travelling from Euston to Preston

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Would she be eligible for an Amex SUB? Though not sure if the points would be available right on time to book the flights. Is she travelling in late July?

    • Babyg says:

      you can book for friends and family.. its permitted.. you will need to create a household account, and then you can add family and friends.. they dont need to be at the same address

      With a Family and Friends list you can spend your Household Avios on more people who are important to you, who don’t live at the same address as you. You can also make cash and reward flight bookings for them more quickly because their personal details will be filled in for you, note friends don’t need to be members of the BAEC.

      • Anna says:

        I’ve got all that, I’m just nervous as I’ve heard of people getting their accounts locked for booking flights for people they are not travelling with!

        • Sandra says:

          Has she got a friends & family railcard? You can get one almost immediately for £10 of Tesco vouchers (it’s still on the 3 x list) and that will knock around 25% off the fare. I would also keep checking as train fares are all over at the moment – my daughter looking to travel home first week of July from Glasgow and last week fares were ridiculous, I looked last night and the cheapest single was down to £17 on a Saturday (with 16 – 25 railcard)!

    • Aston100 says:

      I presume car hire was too pricey / inconvenient?

    • AJA says:

      When in July? 36k avios in less than 4 weeks seems a tall order unless she is able to take advantage of some Amex sign up bonus. Also what ages are the children? According to a quick search adult economy flights in July on BA are about £130 which is cheaper than buying the Avios. It would be cheaper still for children under the age of 11.

      Could you add her to your friends and family list and book? Trouble is you can’t charge her for the reward flights as that is against the T&Cs.

      Does she have a nectar account which she could use to convert to Avios? She could then use Avios and part-pay to reduce the cost. Or use a combination of transferring NP and straightforward buying Avios from BA.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks all – I’ve offered her the option of going on my friends & family list and I’ll cover the avios & cash cost. She’s had a really tough 12 months (self-employed but not eligible for any covid support) so I’m more than happy to do this for her as long as it doesn’t breach any Ts and Cs!
        Sandra – thanks, we’ll keep checking the trains as well.

        • Tom says:

          This is exactly what the household account is for. You won’t get in any trouble with BA. Just don’t be buying flights for different friends every month!

        • Stu N says:

          If you add your friends to your F&F list, book tickets for them and pay with your own card you’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s exactly why the option exists.

          The people who had accounts locked were up to something – generally “selling” Avios tickets and they got caught out because they were doing it on a regular basis for lots of different people.

        • AJA says:

          That’s a very nice gesture Anna. 🙂

        • PerkyPat says:

          Have you tried splitting the train ticket? EG Manchester-Crewe, Crewe-Euston(assuming its Manchester you are travelling from). Sometimes works, most often for me on XCountry.

        • David D says:

          Advance train fares are only being released around the 4 to 6 week mark on Avanti at the moment once they have the schedule and upcoming rail maintenance uploaded. If the travel is inside this point in time then it is unlikely that the tickets will drop in price. Also, to check if booking for 1 or 2 people is lower priced as there may be fewer advance fares available to purchase. Lastly, if going from a local station like Accrington (for example) sometimes long distance fares will not show advance fares, which my local station permanently has, so I have to select a different station nearby which is one stop longer or shorter depending on the connections.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      You could get an enhanced referal offer for gold (32k ) spend 3k so net 35k, then you’ve only got to earn a few thousand extra to cover the cost

      If she doesn’t spend that much, could look at putting your spend through a sub card of hers?

    • Ken says:

      Look at Avanti site as well as Trainline.
      2 x Advance singles usually available for less than £50 per leg when released.
      Get a friends & family railcard (£10 with Tesco vouchers).
      A third off adult and 60% off kids fares.
      Even without split tickets (Wigan, Warrington, Crewe), easy to get it down to less than £50 a head with kids.

      Flying seems utter madness from both a time, experience and environmental point of view

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Anna You wouldn’t fall foul of t&c if you don’t profit from the booking
      Wow only 700k Avios we are in the millions but there are 3 of us playing the Game lol could get my Sainsburys shopping for rest of my life lol x

  • Symon says:

    Spurred on by a comment from yesterday’s chat thread, I was wondering what is going on with the Plat card? You can no longer upgrade to it online and with the BAPP price rise it’s looking a little superfluous. Anyone know if a refresh is on the horizon?

    • Rob says:

      Nothing we’ve heard of. I would expect Gold next as they need to roll the metal card out.

      • Manny_D says:

        Any rumblings of a refresh of the Gold Card?

        • AJA says:

          Amex are currently advertising the Gold card on tv with a specific plug for the Deliveroo credit. That would be a bit sneaky to then refresh it assuming the advertising campaign gets them a batch of fresh customers unless it had some further enhancements.

  • Benilyn says:

    Hi – could someone share the trick to transfer out of HSBC Currency Account again with least cost, I had it saved down somewhere but can’t find it.

    So far I am seeing $6 charge to transfer to my Revolut USD account. Is there a cheaper way?

  • Maciek says:

    Do AmEx travel bookings on QR show on the statement as Qatar or as AmEx? I’d like to use the 100 off 500 spend offer on ex-EU, but it only works if charged in GBP. Someone said on FlyerTalk that apparently AmEx route works, but I’m looking for more data points 😉

    • Andrew M says:

      Couldn’t you make the booking by phone with Qatar and ask them to charge in GBP? I’d be surprised if an Amex Travel booking triggered a Qatar offer but I don’t have any personal experience.

    • Aston100 says:

      MacieK – A couple of years ago, I booked QR CDG > BKK through Amex Travel.
      Did not show up as Qatar on my Amex card statement. Pretty sure it came up as Amex Travel Services TLS UK (or something like that).

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