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.

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.

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Comments (248)

  • John says:

    The way things are going…

    (and yes – at the moment – people can fly/sail to Belfast then cross the border, but this might change too)

    • Anna says:

      But in theory someone from Belfast could also travel to Liverpool and back one day, then Dublin and back the next day, making the restrictions all a bit pointless?!

      • John says:

        Yeah, but they’re worried. HSE (health service) portal is still only accepting vaccine appointments for over 40s in ROI (NI has been 18+ since last month).

        It’s a supply issue mainly. If Delta variant takes hold before more adults are vaccinated, lockdown restrictions could return, and they were much harsher than in UK.

  • Andrew says:

    Seems the only IHG at LHR that’s not operating as a quarantine hotel for the foreseeable future is the HIX at T5 – checking for mid September and that’s the only one open for guests.

    • ChrisC says:

      And that’s 4 miles away!

      I’m wondering when IHG will let me know my CP booking for the end of has been cancelled.

      • ChrisC says:

        They must be monitoring this board!

        Just had an email through.

        They would be delighted to cancel my booking without penalty! No offer or suggestions of other hotels though.

        Marvellous except my booking is already fully cancelable!

        • Chrism20 says:

          I’m assume that it’s the CP at T4 which is Arora Group as the wording there is almost identical to the drivel that they are sending out to guests at ICO2.

          I don’t blame them for taking the quarantine cash, however the manner that they have abandoned any responsibility to their guests is shocking.

          • ChrisC says:

            My booking is with the HIE but it’s the same building

            And the signature of the emai; is

            ‘reception supervisor Holiday Inn Express & Croene Plaza London Heathrow – T4’

            And yes no mention of alternative IHG hotels or theirtheor walk policy

            Idon’t particularly blame them for taking the quarentine cash but the communication is awful.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      How in the hell are there so many people arriving from red list countries to require so many quarantine hotels?!

      • meta says:

        I have a booking for early July at CP and they still haven’t cancelled it.

      • kitten says:

        just like hospitals with covid, once they’re in there they stay a long time and they pile up.

  • Ken says:

    Shop Small – List on iPhone app is useless. It’s official!

    On my iPhone Amex app, a local restaurant “The Jovial Sailor, in Ripley, Surrey” is listed as taking part in Shop Small. So, we went there and spent £49. No sign of my £5 cash back. Just checked the iPhone Amex app again and the place is still listed. However, on checking the Shop Small website, that restaurant is not there.

    So, I called Amex. Basically, I was told that if a place is on the list as taking part in Shop Small, this does not necessarily mean that it is actually taking part. So, I asked, “Is the list useless, then”. To my surprise, the response to that question was “Thanks for pointing this out. Is there anything else I can help you with”. I think that means “The list is useless, now please go away”.

    So, I don’t think I’ll bother again with the promotion if you cannot rely on the listing in the app.

    • Andrew says:

      Agree, shop small is a total waste of time, has been the way for a few years now, especially with their zero goodwill to apply credits where the map is wrong or the retailer doesn’t take Amex. And now it’s £15, it’s the final nail in a pointless offer.

    • DT says:

      Shop small, especially this £15 iteration, is just not worth factoring into a decision on where to go spend money. We have saved the offer to our cards and just eat where we want to go eat in the first place, will split the bill payment in half if it is over £30 and if we get shop small credits for it, it’s just a bonus.

    • Harry T says:

      Yeah, Shop Small is just a crapshoot these days. I just visit and shop at the places I like that have previously triggered the shop small offer. I’m not going to make the effort to visit new places that might earn me an extra fiver, if Amex can’t be bothered to ensure their map and system are accurate and robust.

    • Jonathan says:

      Maybe Amex staff are about as sick of Shop Small like we all are when problems like this occur. At no one has said about their accounts being closed due Shop Small abuse lately ! That’s the last thing anyone wants

    • Polly says:


      Hope you split the bill between cards. We did last summer, a couple of times at the Jovial. Love that pub too. Was thinking might pop over there this week for eats, but only if SS is working. It certainly did last summer. We lucked out with EOTHO plus’s SS, so a couple of great meals there.

  • Tracey says:

    I’ve lost where the posts were, but National Trust membership is cheaper in New Zealand, Canada and Scotland than it is in England and all give reciprocal membership.

    • MKB says:

      I took out a lifetime membership via the Scottish NT a few years ago. It has been used extensively this past year. I would recommend it. It’s gift-aidable too iirc.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      NT E&W sites have car parks that read a QR code on the membership card, how does this work if you visit with a Scottish, Can or NZ membership?

  • Matt says:

    Getting 404 error on British Airways E-Rewards link. Anyone have an alternative one for me?

  • Josh says:

    Flying from SFO back home today. Can anyone advise on which lounge we have access to and which we should go with?

    Flying with BA in J
    Have a UK issued Plat Amex
    Have a chase sapphire reserve

    I’m assuming the centurion lounge? Unsure if I can access it as a UK plat card holder and if I can, can I still bring a free guest (wife)?


  • Aston100 says:

    Email from Revolut today contained this text:
    “Because it is important for customers to know this difference, our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), recently wrote to all e-money institutions, asking them to remind customers that their money is protected through “safeguarding”, and not through the Financial Services Competition Scheme (FSCS).”

    Surely that is not what FSCS stands for?
    Unless I’m mistaken, Revolut are so bad, they even get important things wrong in their official email comms.

  • Aston100 says:

    I need to purchase whatever the latest iPhone model that comes out later this year.
    Are there any miles & points opportunities, such as purchasing (Apple store?) gift cards.
    Sorry, I have no interest & knowledge of current Apple tech and where to purchase for the best value.

    • Anuj says:

      If you know for sure you’ll be buying from apple, you can sometimes get Apple store (not itunes although they have those too) on card yard for a discount. I have no idea how many apple store giftcards can be used in one transaction however. There’s also an offer on amex or at least was for Apple. So you could buy a gift card in a store using that.

    • Harry T says:

      I usually find on Black Friday that you can find a contract with Vodafone via a third party broker that is either cheaper than buying the handset outright or equivalent to the RRP but includes all the minutes and data you need. You also get to spread the cost, which can be helpful.

      • Aston100 says:

        Thanks Harry but this needs to be a handset only, for a brand snob to whom anything less than an Apple product would lead to ostracization from their social circle.

    • KBuffett says:

      There is a Regent Street Offer on AmEx Platinum Charge. Spend £120 get £20 back. This can use used at the Apple Store on Regent Street to purchase Apple Store Gift Cards across multiple cards. Do not make the error of buying iTunes gift cards from anywhere.
      You’ve recently missed a similar offer at Selfridges where you could have purchased gift vouchers.
      The other option is trying to get discounted Amazon vouchers and buying from the Apple Store on Amazon (take care to ensure you are not buying from another seller).

      • Aston100 says:

        Thanks KBuffet, but I’m not London based.
        Will keep an eye for Amazon and other relevant vouchers.

        • KBuffett says:

          Do you have access to NHS or Student discount? There are various portals available to buy gift cards at a discount.

        • KBuffett says:

          Also, Curry’s/PCWorld gift cards should be accessible at a discount.

    • Andrew says:

      If you want to burn your Avios you can do so via nectar at Argos.

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