Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 13th 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 (245)

  • Voltron says:

    With The Economist magazine offer now confirmed, what’s peoples review of the magazine compared to FT / Moneyweek etc?

    • Genghis says:

      Been a regular reader of the Economist / FT for years. I prefer FT. Short snappy articles that I actually read. Economist longer analysis pieces can be interesting but I always found it a chore to get through the entire mag. I signed up to Moneyweek for a free 6 week trial (again) recently. Not really enjoying it, even though Somerset Webb is the editor.

      • Lady London says:

        Hi Genghis, re yesterday other FT gone non functional for me (yahoo blocks large senders even if it’s just a password reset), Twitter app fails to find, web “@g can’t be messaged” looks like some usertypes blocked by some recipients.

    • John says:

      The Economist is such a great read. When I subscribed, I’d learn interesting new things every week.

      Unfortunately it’s so dense and packed so full of content that when my son arrived I had to ditch the subscription! I had way less time for reading, and it just didn’t seem worth it any more.

      But yes, I’d definitely recommend it.

      • Rob says:

        Tend to agree. I now treat it as a ‘treat’ – I usually buy one at the airport to take on holiday and I buy the Christmas double issue. I know I’ll have enough down time then. Although sitting on a sun lounger reading The Economist is potentially not cool …

        • Anna says:

          Just buy a copy of Esquire or whatever it is cool young men read and pop The Economist inside it – problem solved!

        • A says:

          Disagree, the people reading the Economist are probably the ones I want to talk to most over a drink at the bar

          This probably says more about me than anything else

    • Harry T says:

      I prefer the FT to the Economist, after being a subscriber to both for a year. I do very much enjoy the Economist podcasts, which are free!

      • Rimmingtown says:

        I always find Score a great read, back in the day parade was my go to though.

    • Mr. AC says:

      Big fan of The Economist, been a subscriber for 10+ years, way before I learned of the extra Avios incentive. It’s the only publication that seems to actually do their research and talk to experts before writing on complex topics. When they cover stuff that are my area of professional expertise (very niche), they nail it every time.
      Most other publications are on my bad / naughty list for failing that specific test – Forbes, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Guardian, Business Insider, The Telegraph. Even the BBC has disappointed me far to many times.
      FT hasn’t yet disappointed, but I do prefer reading more analytical articles.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Try NYTimes. You might like it.

        • Mr. AC says:

          They are occasionally very good and occasionally entirely unconnected to reality, so too hit and miss for me.
          I was actually a subscriber, but doxing Scott Alexander after a petition of 7500 people specifically asking them not to was the nail in the coffin for me: I can’t give them a cent of my or my employer’s money after that.

      • Lady London says:

        What do you think of the Wall St Journal?

        • Mr. AC says:

          Owned by NewsCorp (Murdoch) which I have an antipathy to due to a number of reasons – as a result I’ve steered clear of WSJ so don’t have an opinion.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      FT used to be very good, but have got more pro-EU and anti-UK and anti-US bias. Not surprising consider long their readers are likely to have second homes in Europe.
      They have even resorted to sensationalising headlines like the recent inflation news. Almost every economist explained that 5% rate is due to base effect and is annualised, but FT still ran the sensational headline.

      • David says:

        Well, I’d say the Economist has got more right wing and unnecessarily political, but each to their own. I guess it depends what your own leanings are in the first place.

  • Eligold says:

    Doing an overnight stay in Greece, 7 people altogether.
    Any cool accommodation ideas near the airport?

    • Anna says:

      Where in Greece, there are quite a few airports … ?

    • Richie says:

      If you are referring to ATHens and don’t have stacks of hotel points, there’s a good option at Rafina.

    • Tomgold says:

      yes, should have said ‘Athens’

  • Yuff says:

    Having experienced the incompetent amber list rules for my wife and daughter this week, here are my observations

    Book the cheapest day 2 and day 8 package
    Book an in person TTR test.

    Do not expect customer service from anyone to explain the rules.
    I got them in person TTR tests with Collinson at east mids airport but you cannot speak with anyone or web chat unless you spend an hour at your computer for when they reply to your message.
    My wife considered asking her 86 year old mother to drive to East Midlands airport to speak with someone as no one could tell me/her whether you need a negative day 2 test to attend an in person TTR test.
    Tracey suggested calling 119 yesterday who were categoric she could attend the test and conformed the call was recorded.
    Even Boots state on their website you cannot attend without a negative day 2 test.
    Of course there is zero on the government website about this.
    The whole thing is a shambles. Obviously designed to stop people going abroad.
    Have to say I cannot think of a more incompetent display in any field of business I have ever come across.
    Albeit no business acting like this would ever survive in the private sector……🤡🤡🤡

    • C says:

      Incompetent management shouldn’t survive in the public sector either, but that’s politics.

    • Andrew says:

      Sounds all quite reasonable to me – people shouldn’t be travelling to/from Amber countries anyway. And I also think you’ll find that those are private sector test providers.

      • Tim says:

        Why on earth shouldn’t people be travelling to amber countries? I already regret asking but maybe I just need the entertainment.

        • Anna says:

          No reason at all while there is no consistency or logic to the traffic light system; it has no credibility.

          • Yuff says:

            Obviously Andrew hasn’t experience the incompetence because he is happy being told what to do whilst industries are crippled by incompetence.
            The whole thing is a farce now, don’t have a problem with delaying June 21st to let vaccine efficacy catch up, but the western world should open up pretty fast as they infrastructure is in place now to combat this.
            Andrew just for you the amber island my wife and daughter were at has a case rate a third of the Uk, and they were having family time together.
            Europe is getting back to normal but you keep your tin hat on if it makes you feel safer

          • Home Tripper says:

            This thing started 1000’s of miles away and so travel has been the main cause of spread since inception for it to have become a pandemic. You might be happy with the risk of travelling right now but the majority of the UK are not and as such just sit back, watch some football with a beer in your own gaff and chill out.
            I usually travel overseas 2-3 times a month for work and have not done so for 15 months now. It will all get back to ‘normal’ again in a few months so it is hardly worth getting hot under the collar until it does and the majority has been vaccinated here and overseas.
            I hope to start travel for work again in Oct and have a personal trip to America booked in May 2022 – compared to real world problems that is not much of a sacrifice to make and wait to then is it?

          • David S says:

            And Euro 2020 is on with fans travelling all over the place

          • David says:

            Yuff, isn’t the fact that the island you’re talking about has a case rate that is a third of the UK kind of the point here which allows their losser restrictions and is why the UK has what it has? I don’t think this benefits your argument, or am I missing something.

          • Yuff says:


            I’d say Mallorca and the Uk are pretty similar now in terms of restrictions, but the Uk case rate is accelerating and Mallorca is stable which is impressive given palma airport currently.
            There has not been much difference all year restriction wise

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          Love it

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Careful Andrew. You’ll soon be accused of virtue signalling and bedwetting.
        How dare you come on a travel blog and tell people to wait another month or two.
        How dare the government try to prioritise domestic economy (and leave big hints if not already clear)

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If the believe that you’ll believe anything

        • Aaron says:

          If you believe that you’ll believe anything. They’re continuing to restrict the domestic economy while keeping (limited) travel open for rich old people (core Tory voters) who can isolate for days at a time.

      • Aaron says:

        If they wanted efficient results they’d mandate the use of the big efficient NHS labs (even if the traveller had to pay). For example when Portugal was green my day 2 test wasn’t resulted for nearly a week so if it had been positive I’d have been spreading it all around while waiting for an small, inefficient, and overwhelmed private lab to report the test.
        Some of these labs aren’t even UKAS accredited!

      • Tomgold says:

        thank you for that. and what if you have to?

    • Gaynor says:

      Flying to ATH on Friday as a fully vaccinated (since April) passenger. Struggling to find out if I need a Fit to Fly PCR test, given that Greece will allow me in without one…will I be able to board the flight at LHR without one?? I am going round in circles with and contacting BA is pretty much impossible at the moment!! Thanks

      • George K says:

        You don’t need a fit to fly test. Just a vaccination certificate that should be generated from your NHS app, that you can also print out (with a QR code). Second vaccination needs to be 14 days before the flight.

        Expect this to be checked both before check-in, and before passport control at Athens

        • Gaynor says:

          Thanks George – still confused though as have finally received a message back from BA stating that all passengers need a fit to fly test…..don’t want to be denied boarding but also loathe to pay for a test I don’t need!!

          • George K says:

            Flew to ATH with BA this month. BA asks you to submit documentation in order for OLCI to open up before your flight. I submitted vaccination certificate and was accepted. If you skip that part, you’ll have it checked at the airport. I think the email alerting me to this came a few days before the flight. You log-in to MMB and there’s an area to upload documents for each passenger under two categories. The first is proof of negative test or vaccination certificate and the second is proof of submission of the PLF.

            Come to think of it, you’re right: It did ask for a negative test in all the prompts, but once you send the vaccination certificate, OLCI should unlock. That’s your proof that it’s all going to be OK. If in doubt, have a copy of the TIMATIC rules for Greece which show exemption for vaccinated travellers and those under 5.

            Have a good trip!

    • Tracey says:

      I would say that legally you can attend the TTR. Whether that releases you from isolation relies on the day 2 test being back (& negative) by the time you get your TTR result.
      It seems that 119 agree you can attend. The TTR provider won’t know whether you have the results of your day 2 test. Understandably they would prefer to know you we’re definitely negative before testing you, but that isn’t a pre requisite.

      • Yuff says:


        That’s what makes the whole system such a farce.
        I couldn’t call 119 as I’m in Mallorca but they were categoric to my wife she could go and she was very impressed with the 119 service.
        Ironically she got her day 2 test results on the way to the test, our daughters arrived about 6 hours after the test, just before their negative TTR results.
        The vaccination and 119 helpline seem to be the only bright lights in this mess from what I can see.
        The most frustrating part is you can’t get an answer from any of the providers, albeit Collinson testing in person were very efficient. I think my wife counted 12 staff and they were the only 2 customers

  • Jonathan says:

    Any easy ways to stop your Jumeirah Sirius points from expiring without visiting one of their properties? TIA

  • David S says:

    Is the Hilton app currently not working? We are currently staying in one, luckily I didn’t opt for the digital key! I was hoping to check in for tomorrow’s hotel but I can’t sign in.

  • Anna says:

    Is anyone else having issues with the Hilton website? I can’t get a price for any hotel, just “may be available” or “unavailable”. Tried a few random dates over the coming year to double check but getting the same results on PC and app.

    • roberto says:

      Not working for me. Tried with and without Vpn. Its a them issue…

    • Sam G says:

      Overnight maintenance? Saturday night US time would be the time to do it. Perhaps putting the points prices up in the Maldvies again!

  • Zana says:

    Would love some advice on how to maximise number of Amex offers when you have multiple Amex cards (all as primary cardholder) – currently, I’m set up using the same login details and I wondered whether that makes a difference on the offers being targeted. Would I get more offers if I set up a separate online account for a new card? I’ve had the latest Amex (the Vitality Health Amex) for 3 weeks now and hasn’t had a single offer on that card. Many thanks!

    • Andrew says:

      I think there is either very little logic to the provision of Amex offers or it would take an Enigma codebreaker to work out what it is. So there’s probably not much advice to what you can do to maximise offers. Some report cards used often get the most offers, others report cards used the least get the most offers. Some report shopping at a retailer gets you an offer in the future there, others report only getting offers where they haven’t shopped.

    • David S says:

      I’ve noticed recently that I have loads of offers on my free BA card but very few on my Platinum card. I’m sure it was previously the opposite!

      • Andrew says:

        Actually yes I’ve noticed a lot more on my BAPP recently but wondered if it was because I’d been using that card more for the 2 extra Avios per £ offer.

    • DT says:

      There’s no trick to getting more offers, anything people say is purely anecdotal, Amex seems to apply no logic to their offer system.

      My wife and I both recently opened our own nectar Amex cards, to take advantage of the plat 24k refer bonus.
      Applied same day, instant approved, cards arrived one day apart.
      Registered to online accounts and then put into a drawer with a plan to cancel them after shop small.
      Both applied and activated same time, both have zero spend.
      Wife’s card has 76 offers, mine has 5.

      • Reney says:

        A very interesting example. For this to be a proper ‘control’ I feel like other information is need. Like how many other primary Amex do you both have, whose primary accounts do most of your household spending go to (i.e household spending pattern) and who reports a higher income on your card application.

        • DT says:

          I have the Plat and BAPP, my wife has a Plat that is soon to be cancelled. All cards are new this year. We spent only enough for the SUB on both our Plats, rest of the household spend goes onto my BAPP.

          But as I mentioned, anything anyone says is purely anecdotal, a sample size of one or two. Reading what people say it does seem totally random. When I got my Plat this year I had a healthy 50+ offers after a couple of weeks of low spend as we were still hitting the SUB on my wife’s Plat. When I took out my BAPP it took around 5-6 weeks to get a decent number of offers on there, whereas my wife’s supplementary to the BAPP got 25+ offers before she had really spent on it!

          Given the timing of when we receieved our Nectar cards and how different the offers are, I would say that there are many many many factors that come into play in regards to when the system will generate offers and it’s not as simple as “spend and it will come”

      • Reney says:

        I should add this has completely disputed claims on here about ‘start spending and offers will appear”.

        I have been using my currently supplementary card for 6 weeks not one offer has appeared so far. Had to get shop small added via chat.

      • Tomgold says:

        my wife’s has 64 and mine has………. ZERO

  • Anna says:

    Heads up re IHG charging in full for flexible hotel stays – I booked 10 nights at the HIE Gibraltar, terms being that only a deposit was required. The hotel immediately charged the full £1300 which annoyed me mainly because I want to use a different card for the final bill! I emailed the hotel and they acknowledged that they are, in fact, only allowed to charge for the first night’s stay as a deposit and have promised to refund the rest.

    • Jody says:

      Very cheeky of them, glad you’re being refunded.

    • Mutley says:

      Gibraltar. It’s a dump, a lot of 1950’s style barrack blocks and old MQ’s. If anyone was transported from 1964 they would feel at home in the pubs there. When I was in the Navy the ships company ran out of things to do three days after docking.

      • Anna says:

        Well we don’t go in pubs, we’re going to visit historical sites, scuba dive, snorkel, dolphin watch, explore the Moorish ruins and hiking trails and try out the newly built Gorham’s cave walkway (site of the last Neanderthal inhabitants of Europe) – are you sure you went to the same place?!

        • Sandra says:

          Anyone ex service, including my OH who is also ex Navy, will probably say the same about Gib. I’ve read all the comments with interest over the last few days and am surprised it’s taken so long for someone to say ‘it’s a dump’, but when it was a huge base and naval dockyard it didn’t have a great deal going for it other than sun and (mostly) grotty pubs. Coming back off a patrol or with a breakdown it was a stopping off point for a run ashore that, apart from the young single guys, no one wanted. I imagine since the demise of the dockyard and the financial loss from that Gib will have had to improve things a lot in order to attract tourism revenue and it will be interesting to revisit for a few days and see how much it might have actually changed, although I still don’t think it’s big enough to warrant more than 3/4 days there. I hope you do enjoy it Anna and find enough to keep you occupied for your stay and then report back. Just watch those apes, I can guarantee they wont have changed & will still be thieving little so & so’s!

          • mutley says:

            As I said about three days worth, I went back after approximately 20 years for work and it was still a dump, each to their own though.

          • Anna says:

            Hi Sandra, it’s funny, on the 3/4 times we’ve been on day trips we’ve always ended up picking a couple of things to do and then saying we’ll go back for longer next time!
            If we actually get there I will make it my mission to find something different to do each day!
            Just waiting to see what fresh torment the government comes up with for tomorrow and the next travel review now 🤦‍♀️

        • Paul says:

          I am not sure that’s correct. There are a lot of Neanderthals here

      • Tony1 says:

        Its a 2 day stay at max. Not unlike Blackpool but in the sun. Best thing to do is get attacked by the monkeys at the top of the rock !

    • Tw33ty says:

      Gib is nice, been a few times on cruise days.
      It’s a bit small, I’m not sure I could spend more than a weekend there at once.
      Let us know what you think of the hie when you go.
      We keep saying we’re going to go to gib for a weekend, but other half wants to stay on the sunbourn, the moored cruise ship come hotel. But I keep telling her we can’t use points 😁
      As soon as the indigo eventually opens on gib, I think I’ll give in.

      • Anna says:

        Is there going to be an Indigo, that would be a very attractive option?
        If it was just me and the OH I would definitely consider the Sunbourn but I feel it might be wasted on teenagers, I’d just be worrying all the time that one of them would fall overboard!

        • Tw33ty says:

          There’s been an indigo in the pipeline for gib for some time, last I heard they even had a site for development off it, but as we know, some don’t always come to fruition. I keep my fingers crossed.

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