Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 11th June

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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.

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Comments (341)

  • Louise K says:

    Does anyone know if I take a voucher for a cancelled BAH, I can use this towards a car hire only booking?

  • Ross Parker says:

    Does anyone know a decent ski hotel in the French Alps with good booking flexibility (ideally 100% cancellable up to 7 days out)? Ideally something with half board & decent leisure/wellness.

    While I would like to be optimistic about next winter, I also don’t want to lose six expensive holiday bookings. I managed to get an incredible flexible return ticket for Le Shuttle – £200rtn for a 7 seater, fully flexible – and plan to drive to somewhere in France. Normally I’d do 1-3 different flights per winter to ski in Austria, so don’t know French options so well.

    • Jane says:

      will be watching for answers, we got excellently priced flights to Geneva for February half term but no accommodation booked yet. last year we booked with https://www.belambra.com/ who were OK with the refund, it was agreed within 48 hours of my e-mail but did take a while to come through but I suspect they were dealing with 100’s of requests.

    • Jonathan says:

      Somehow I imagine the decent ski hotels will be slightly reticent to offer good deals with flexibility. They won’t struggle to sell out at short notice if there’s further lockdowns. Presumably the domestic market will also give them some ability to dump capacity last minute if needed.

  • Graeme says:

    I’m looking to move Marriott Bonvoy points from 1 account to another, I’ve seen here a number to call before but never made a note of it. Can someone advise please? TIA.

    • Grant says:

      It was in yesterday’s chat but appreciate that searching isn’t very easy.

      020 3564 6335

  • Matthew says:

    Somewhat O/T but it’s the daily chat thread so here’s my random request for help…Thought the HFP community wouldn’t mind voting for my 6yr old daughters entry! She’s done a video about ‘saving the planet’ for a competition that Octopus (Energy) recently launched for their 5th Bday and the kids with the most likes win. It was written and sung entirely by her, the only thing we did was record it! Not like some of the very ‘choreographed by parents’ entries out there. The rules allow you to share for votes as long as they are not paid. If you don’t mind voting for her we’d both be grateful thank you! 👍

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iRbWq2aRYQM&list=PLZtnMwxAS_7eeTEYlbvIoH8jO64z-aVi6&noapp=1

    For clarity…the prize is a kids mini Tesla and a year’s free energy.

  • Jody says:

    Sorry, another MCOL question.

    It’s been mentioned loads, including on the end of last night’s chat about booking a fully flexible ticket, which you can then charge BA for loss of deposit if you win. I’ve yet to explore any agents that may do this, I know Trailfinders has been mentioned.

    To book fully flexible BA flight tickets in Club World is over £26000, and obviously if you do this as flight only you have to pay the full amount. However, if I do it as a custom trip on BA adding a 1 night airport hotel, I can then buy it with ‘only’ a £3500. Still not brilliant, but we could cover this. It does also say that there is no charge for cancellation with this package, so I assume I could get the full £3500 back.

    Is this an acceptable way of doing things, or do I have to book through somewhere that does flight only? Also, if I do, is it best to still book tickets for a BA flight rather than just the cheapest airline I can find that does fully flex business tickets?

    Many thanks

    • JDB says:

      I don’t know any of the facts of your case, but you should proceed with caution. The reason people talk about fully flexible tickets is that so, if you lose, you can cancel them without loss. However, you do have a duty (as with an insurance) to act reasonably and to mitigate your losses, whatever BA may or may not have done wrong. I do not believe that a court would consider tickets to the tune of £26k remotely reasonable to replace / reroute your trip and if there is any element of doubt in your claim, it may not help your overall case.

      • Jody says:

        I booked flights in business class to Seattle in the 50% off sale and used an Amex companion voucher. The flights have been cancelled by BA. I would like to move them to next year (they were booked as we had an Alaskan cruise booked, however the whole Alaskan cruise season was cancelled, and we have re-booked our cruise for next year), but BA are telling me they can’t book outside of the 12 month validity of the ticket, which would be October. EU261 doesn’t give a timescale and says at passengers convenience, which for us is next year to get to our cruise.

        Obviously I’ve tried changing in MMB and on the app but couldn’t, and have phoned up and been told no.

        I’ve read on here countless times that when it comes to Avios flights, you need to book fully flexible flights for MCOL as they are the only flights that are similar in their conditions to Avios flights. We wouldn’t be covered by book with confidence I don’t think, as outbound next year would be 29th April and inbound 13th May.

        Believe me, I really don’t want to book anything that costs such a ridiculous amount of money, but it seems as if I have to.

        • meta says:

          When was your original flight? I am of the view you don’t need to book anything if your flight is still some time in the future which would mean that MCOL claim process would be finished. I’d just take a screenshot of the prices on the day you submit the claim.

          If the date has already passed or very shortly, then I’d be inclined to book fully flexible, but would reduce liability and purchase as cheap as possible, because there is a slight risk that the claim doesn’t go your way.

          • Jody says:

            Our original outbound flight was due to be today!! Inbound 2 weeks later.

            I honestly would really rather not book flights at all and just say in the claim this is what it would cost. I’m now getting really confused as to whether I can do this or not!

            I will obviously be writing to BA legal department first and asking just to have our flights moved, this of course would be the easiest thing.

            For the poster that said it’s not BAs fault my cruise for cancelled, no it’s not. But it is the reason we needed to be in Seattle, and that reason has now gone, and we’ve made it next year instead. If the legislation says at the customer’s convenience, I’d like to think that is a good reason as to why we want it moved. The Alaska cruise season is May to early September, it’s not like we can go any time.

            There is no avios availability now, certainly for the outbound, so we definitely need BA to move the flights regardless of avios availability, as they should be doing. I absolutely do not want nor need expensive flights, I’m only going on what I’ve read here about them needing to be fully flexible if it’s an avios booking you’re taking to MCOL. In an ideal world BA will just rebook us for next year, but everything I’ve read suggests that won’t happen without going down the MCOL route unfortunately.

            My many questions are because I’ve never done anything like this before, so I do appreciate all replies.

        • JDB says:

          I think you should focus on writing a very clear focussed Letter before Action prior to booking anything, but warning BA that £26k is the potential cost. The purpose of your claim is to put you back in the position you would have been in (not to enrich you) and I think it is quite a stretch to say 75,000 Avios (or whatever you paid) + voucher + c. £1200 taxes/fees = £26k. There are significantly cheaper ways of getting 2 people to Seattle in business class. The 50% sale and ticket validity are slight issues, but the cancellation of your cruise can’t be pinned on BA. Avios tickets are also not strictly comparable to fully flexible tickets in that they require redemption availability vs fully flexible’s last seat availability, so in that sense you are effectively upgrading your ticket. I just think you should be careful as while the circumstances affect you a lot, I don’t think it is a slam dunk case.

          • Genghis says:

            More for discussion than anything else as I’m not sure of the answer, but is how you paid for the original ticket relevant?

            Whether you pay a small amount of money, a lot of money or avios etc, you’re getting a bum on a seat in a particular cabin from A to B. The regs don’t seem to make the distinction of how much you pay and specifically include reward flights. As such, isn’t it more of a consequential loss argument than anything else?

        • JDB says:

          I meant to say also what Meta has said! Given that flights aren’t due for 9/10 months, I certainly wouldn’t rush to book anything super expensive at this stage.

          • meta says:

            This is not what I meant. To illustrate if your originally booked flight is in September then you would have enough time from now till September to make BA rebook you via MCOL without purchasing anything in advance. The costings for the claim are known, i.e. BA just moves you without any additional cost.

            But if your flight is today or next week or in July it wouldn’t be enough time to finish MCOL process.

            You may want to put cost of £26k on the claim if that’s what real cost is, but I would urge you to find the cheapest possible flex ticket which doesn’t have to be on BA and which is convenient.

            Original cost and how you paid as @Genghis says is irrelevant.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      My only view on this is that you need to be in the position you were before any changes.

      Avios flights are not fully flexible by any stretch of the imagination they are refundable for a small fee.

      @JDB the amount or method of payment is pretty irrelevant.

      • meta says:

        EC261 works slightly differently from making you whole as it presents you with several options including reroute/rebooking. Price of the flight is then irrelevant in that case as it can vary between the time you submit the claim and the time the MCOL process finishes.

        However, MCOL requires monetary claim, so you do need to put a price down. This only becomes a problem if your original flight is soon.

        • Jonathan says:

          I would definitely book with BA as it makes the price somewhat academic (& I would be pointing this out in my claim form). You pay BA £26k now & get £26k back leaves BA in same situation as paying £10 now & getting that back later. Kills their argument you’re being unreasonable.

          If you give £20k to Virgin & demand that back then that’s BA paying out £20k in return for Avios tickets with at best £2.5k income. The judge may well feel that’s excessive.

          • Jody says:

            That’s a very good point, thanks Jonathan.

          • ChrisC says:

            Well that rather assumes that you

            (a) have that high a credit card limit

            (b) have that much in the bank to pay off the bill so not paying any interest

            (c) can do without that cash for what would be an extended period.

            (d) willing to hand over even more cash to BA as an interst free loan

            (e) be aware that BWC does not apply after 1st May 2022

          • Memesweeper says:

            +1

            Fully flex on BA can’t really be argued by BA to be “too expensive”.

            There’s also Select and Select Pro which are available through TAs and are closer to the flex offered by Avios and much less expensive.

          • meta says:

            @Jonathan as @ChrisC rightly points out you’re basically giving BA interest free loan. You only need to demonstrate monetary value for MCOL.

            Another suggestion would be to book Avios tickets on the flight. BA couldn’t argue it as it is like for like. If you lose you pay £35 per person to cancel. Obviously there would need to be seats.

          • Lady London says:

            There’s another point hidden there. BA would often prefer to give a more expensive seat of their own than pay even £2500 out in cash to fly you on another airline. Depending of course whether they think they can sell that particular more expensive seat for more.

          • Lady London says:

            I like JDB’s suggestion of pointing out what the cost to provide your rerouting rights as per UK261 (not to replace your ticket – the distinction is important) on BA is looking like ie £26,000.

            You could also helpfully provide some sample fares on, say, LH/AF/KL which will probably come up on generic search engines, noting that as these will require multiple connections they would not be in comparable conditions as provided for in EU261, in addition to potentially exposing you to further restrictions, possible transit refusal at some connections, quarantine and testing regimes if Covid regulations in the future are as now.

            Introduce the £26,000 possibility first as an “anchor” to the range of costs you are asking them to contemplate instead of the less complicated alternative for everyone, of the rerouting on BA you have requested on the later date that will enable you to achieve the purpose of your trip.

            But I do like @JDB’s suggestion very much.

            Let us know how you get on I think they will cave.

  • Definitas says:

    Mrs Definitas received a supplementary BAPP today and, on trying to activate it online, got a pop up message to say it couldn’t be added to here existing online account because supplementary card holders ID has to match. I had a lengthy conversation with Amex (overseas and in Brighton) and the CSA’s both said that supplementary cards can’t added to existing accounts and that a new account ID would have to be created. I have never encountered this problem before and suspect there is an issue with how the new supplementary card has been generated and that IDs don’t match. Has anyone else had a problem adding a new supplementary card to an existing ID where cards held as the main card holder are managed?

    • Travel Strong says:

      Happens all the time at the moment – just click to set up a new account (with a new username) instead of trying to add to an existing account and you’ll be done in 2 mins with no drama.

      • Definitas says:

        That surely cannot be an intended strategy from AMEX. a couple who have 4 cards each and 4 supplementary cards would need 5 online accounts each!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Try waiting until Monday.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Give it a few days, as suggested by TGLoyalty above.

    • DT says:

      This has started happening a lot to us, we have found that waiting a few days to get it added to an existing account always works.

    • WaynedP says:

      I recently added a supp Plat card to my existing acct without any issues whatsoever.

      I did let the card lie around for nearly two weeks before I tried though, as I was unsure if I was going to proceed or cancel the whole thing. But Amex kindly offered a retention award if I stuck around, even though the annual fee hadn’t even had time to post yet.

  • TJ says:

    Stayed overnight at Monkey Island Estate in Bray the other day. It triggered the Amex SLH £100 offer despite being booked via Hyatt (which attracted various benefits including complementary breakfast, early check-in and late check-out).

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Because it’s a SLH property it doesn’t use a different checkout system for stays via Hyatt

      you also get all those benefits just by registering and booking via the SLH website.

    • Rob says:

      How was Monkey Island? Keen to give it a go one weekend, but only because I went there for a conference years ago and am keen to see how it has changed. Hotel itself seemed a little thin on things to do in itself (spa on barge etc).

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I stayed on the island a couple years ago on a nice summers weekend and thought it was nice, rooms are small. As you said little thin on things to do ie keep kids entertained.

        the bar was v expensive for the quality and the restaurant menu was a bit limited. I enjoyed the breakfast though.

        Two years + Covid has probably changed things.

      • TJ says:

        The hotel is very nice, with stunning grounds and a dry floating spa. But no pool or gym. That said, Bray village itself is a gastronomic delight with some of the best (and most expensive) restaurants and gastropubs in the country (I’ve never had a bad meal at the Waterside). And there’s lot of cycling/hiking routes to explore. Plus Bray Lake is now open again and offers paddle boarding, wind surfing, sailing, etc. There’s enough to fill a weekend in short if the weather is good.

        • Rob says:

          Sounds good, thanks. Obviously got the Amex credit which will help, plus can get a chunk of Hyatt points if there minimal rate difference.

    • Kai says:

      Those are standard benefits offered when booking via SLH too. Also you are missing out on saver rate as Hyatt only offers BAR on SLH hotels.

      • TJ says:

        Indeed, you do get saver rates but as a SLH tier 1 member (0-3 nights) you do not get the complimentary breakfast for two. The breakfast was £25 per head which offset any discount. Plus I received some much needed Hyatt points. But definitely worth doing the maths to see which booking route works best.

  • John says:

    Cancelling a Avios booking less than 24 hours from departure.

    I need to make changes to an avios booking less than 24 hours from depature.

    ET band 3.

    What can I get back?
    Can I get a vouvher?.

    • Genghis says:

      If you cancel and request a refund, nothing.
      FTV available until 1 hour before departure IIRC. I’d call to get it processed, personally.

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