Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 16th 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 (439)

  • Scottydogg says:

    My local supermarket says they dont accept Amex because the Merchant fees are too high , i thought this had changed a while ago , and thats why more and more places are accepting Amex ? is this true , or is the supermarket correct ?

    • Harry T says:

      Is it part of a chain? Amex only charges more on its membership rewards and business cards.

    • Ryan says:

      Changes effected four party relationships only Visa = Merchant, Customer, processor and issuer. With Amex they are both processor and issuer so fees are higher than the 0.3% cap. If it’s a Business Amex, fees could be 3-4%

      • Genghis says:

        I thought the argument on the co-brand cards was that BA / Marriott was another party to the relationship hence the 0.3% interchange fee cap?

        That’s not to mean the merchant is paying such low fees!

        • Rob says:

          Correct, as the courts have decided.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Cap on interchange probably doesn’t mean much of a saving for amex as they can play with other fees.

    • Andrew says:

      There’s usually always an Aldi, Lidl or Iceland near your local Farmoods branch if you are prepared to go a bit more upmarket.

      • Lord Doncaster says:

        I think Farmfoods is a tad more salubrious than Lidl to be honest 😂 Fultons is on the lower rungs of the supermarket ladder though

  • FFoxSake says:

    A dyslexic dentist perhaps? Reverse the digits = 2.5%

    • FFoxSake says:

      * meant for the RussellH amex fees thread on previous page

      • RussellH says:

        I do not think so. But I also think (hope) that 5.2% is wrong.
        But I believe that that is fairly typical in the uSA, which explains the huge volume of points that can be earned on their cards!

    • Russ says:

      My (now ex) Cardiologist insisted I paid any credit card fee because he offered the choice of paying by card or cash. Basically it was my own fault for wanting to pay by card. I responded with if his aircraft crashes does it mean it’s his own fault because he could have walked?

      In my defense I was really poorly at the time 🙂

      • Genghis says:

        But cash isn’t fee free either: someone’s time to count, store somewhere safe, time to deposit in bank, who may also charge a fee for depositing cash.

        • ken says:

          was fairly astonished to find that many business accounts charge between 0.7 and 1.1% on cash deposits.

          From experience though, if Dr Forster is getting cash I doubt if its seeing any bank account.

        • John says:

          But saves 10% or so of tax

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Isn’t it illegal to charge more for using a card?

        • MW says:

          It has only been against the law for a few (5?) years or so (business cards excepted). Of course, what those merchants do is accept Debit cards only (hello Bendy!)

  • Imran says:

    Trying to send USD to family in the US through bank transfer. I converted GBP to USD in Revolut, but it is showing a fee for the bank transfer.

    I vaguely remember that the last time I used the Revolut for a bank transfer like this, it was free. Have I missed a memo on the fee from Revolut?

    • Aston100 says:

      What was the amount? I think there are limits based on type of subscription.

      • Imran says:

        Thanks Blenz.
        Aston – I wanted to send $2000 but the charges begin for amount as low as $2, which is the min. amount you can send through Revolut.

    • Blenz101 says:

      You need a premium or above card to get free international transfers.

      Take a look at compare cards on their website to see the differences by package.

    • Sam G says:

      I got caught out by this recently as well, I’m pretty sure it’s new? So revolut is really no use to me now, their service for me has been far worse than Wise especially for large amounts (unspoken limits in bank transfers, account getting locked, payments coming into my account from “currency cloud” instead of my own name causing a review by my UK bank etc)

    • Pablo says:

      Western union is free bank account to bank account but the exchange rate spread is 1.24% so the cost on $2000 is £20

    • Lady London says:

      new raft of Rev fees since about 2 months

      People are using Wise (formerly TransferWise), Midpoint and Fairfx also perhaps depending on the requirement?

      Paypal will allow friends and family payments but you can suddenly find yourself in a world of pain with them if your actions or their repeats are misinterpreted.

      • Lady London says:

        PS Midpoint gives avios, Rob covered in a recent ‘Bits’ article

  • Craig says:

    Someone was asking a few days about Curve rewards, took 27 days for an offer to become payable. Did my usual of using it straight from curve cash to Amazon top up.

  • KS says:

    Can someone please remind me how to link a Amex FHR booking at Ritz Carlton to my Bonvoy account? This is a ‘Pay At Hotel’ booking so I would expect I should be able to add it but doesn’t seem to be the case.

    • Rob says:

      You may need to contact the hotel and get it added.

      • KS says:

        Ah, thanks!

        • Ikaz says:

          With Emyr/virtuoso bookings, I go onto my marriott account and add the booking from there, would that work with FHR?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Should have a Marriott booking number on it but I’ve had to contact the hotel on 1 occasion

          • KS says:

            Yes, that didn’t work. Hotel confirmation number is 12 digits instead of Marriott’s usual 8.

    • David says:

      Mine have always appeared by themselves in my Bonvoy account, I assume from giving my bonvoy number when booking on through the FHR portal. Not done this in over 12 months though, and that option may no longer be there?

  • MCO says:

    A colleague of mine has a residents permit but has been working away. Due to the pandemic and work he hasn’t been back in 23 months now. According to the terms of his Biometric card he needs to be back once every two years to keep his status.

    Coming from a red list country he wants to avoid hotel quarantine so can he technically come for one night? Say land at 6pm and leave the next morning at 10am? Or would he have to pay the £1900 for the hotel quarantine?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      the rules say he has to pay for the whole stay regardless. Only option is 11 days in a none red list and you can then overnight transit without paying for anything other than the pre departure LFD.

      It’s worth checking with the correct border force authority if things have been relaxed with Covid.

    • Blenz101 says:

      In short, no. If he attempts to enter the U.K. then he will be bussed to a quarantine hotel. He could transit in the U.K. provided it is same day and potentially from another airport/port. If this transfer would count for the purposes of his biometric card validity I wouldn’t know. Presumably though if he crosses the U.K. border for the purposes of transit then he will get a passport stamp and would have a case to say he had been back.

      A better option would be to spend time in an amber country where he can freely come in and isolate. This feels like a more legitimate route.

      Also perhaps consider contacting the British embassy in the county he now resides. They may be able to grant a wavier rather than force an unnecessary trip from a red country in the middle of a pandemic.

      • MCO says:

        Apparently no waivers in place so he has to travel. What if he transits? Will he be able to land and then leave on another flight? But he will need to leave the airport and check back in to get an immigration stamp.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It’s not clear if you can transit if you’ve been in a red list country.

          However, if it was possible only a true transit would work and that’s means you stay airside and never actually enter the U.K. so you won’t reset the 24m clock.

          If you mean what if you come indirectly via an amber then you’d be lying on the PLF by not stating you had been in a red list country in the past 10 days and that might not look too good for the residents visa either if you were found out.

          • MCO says:

            No. He doesn’t want to do anything wrong. Just would be a straight flight from a red country and then onto Europe then back to the red country. Three one way tickets.

        • Sam G says:

          There was a discussion about this recently I saw, I think the theory was that the border force would be OK with it but your first airline wouldn’t be if you were on separate tickets.

          The way I’d do it (if I couldn’t get an exception, sounds like the sort of thing there should be one for!) is to book a BA flight with a connection a few hours later on one ticket. They’ll let you into the transit stream at T5 but you can go to the border instead. There the situation can be explained. I imagine you could be stamped in and then escorted back to departures or something . Obviously make sure that they’re admissible into the final destination and they do need to board the flight.

          Just transiting airside doesn’t pass the border so that won’t work. I’m not familiar with how T2 transit/red list arrivals are working if BA doesn’t fly from their origin (I know they aren’t doing much red list)

      • John says:

        British embassies are no longer involved in making visa decisions.

        Being physically present is not relevant. If he is not coming back to the UK to live they will consider that he doesn’t need his resident status any more

    • Ikaz says:

      I don’t know much about this. But it seems like hthey can transit same day in the UK from Red country without quarantine, so you would want to book something like: red country – Heathrow, then Gatwick to third country (needs to be same day), third country back to red country if they want to go directly home

      • Sam G says:

        Yes. this is the interpretation I saw too. But the concern was convincing the originating airline of this, especially if you were just carrying a cheapo ryanair ticket to somewhere random afterwards – it’s an obvious loophole they’ll be scrutinizing I’d have thought

        • Sam G says:

          though you’d imagine (hope) there would be so few people doing this on one day that the border force will take the details of your connection and check you took it and if you didn’t report you to the police, especially if you were carrying a UK passport/ residence permit etc

        • Ikaz says:

          You could indeed face issues with the airline operating the first flight, ideally you would do a lanside connection on the same ticket, but I am not aware of any airlines offering this currently. You would also need to leave enough time between landing on flight to Uk and departing the UK as the transfer could take a long time

      • Blenz101 says:

        This is acceptable and what I originally suggested. It is shown as acceptable on the website.

        I’m aware of people that have flown Red country > CDG > LHR > transfer freely and unchecked landslide by road > Eurostar.

        • Sam G says:

          Interesting . I hope they are following up on your exit otherwise this seems like an obvious loophole to avoid quarantine / tests

          • Ikaz says:

            The only way I see this happening is if people are not declaring that they were in Red country on their UK PLF

          • blenz101 says:

            Well I wouldn’t say it is an obvious loophole. But as the law stands you are allowed into the UK when you have been in a red/amber country in the previous 10 days for the purposes of same day transit direct to your next port of departure.

            In my friends case he was very unlucky and missed his train due to traffic on the M25. Luckily for 30GBP all Eurostar tickets are currently flexible within 7 days of departure.
            He was able to get away a few days later once he had put alternative departure arrangements in place and ultimatley few out. No track and trace contact based on the PLF as I guess his original planned depature meant he wasn’t on any list to call, his hotel wasn’t listed as his address as he was never supposed to be staying and he wasn’t required to buy day 2 & 8 PCR tests for the same reason.

            All very unfortunate 😉

          • Rob says:

            The guy I sat next to on the flight down to Gibraltar today announced at passport control that he had come from a Red country via LHR. That cheered me no end 🙂

    • John says:

      If he has ILR, he needs to live in the UK, not just be physically present for one day every 2 years.

      If he is not making arrangements to return to the UK to live, his status will become invalid shortly.

      • bafan says:

        +1 sounds like he is breaking the rules as is.

      • kitten says:

        Still better if he tries though?

        I could imagine Covid restrictions popping up everywhere like whack-a-mole for the past 16 months, combined with requirement to work away from base internationally and remote stays lengthened because of this, could explain why someone was kept away from their home in the UK. Especially if they were taxable in the UK throughout and had no intention to change this.

        Would strongly suggest he spends a substantial amount of time at his base(s) in the UK soon, though, ideally from early in the first Quarter after the 2 years would expire, before he undertakes other work requirements overseas.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Now, this looks like where Dublin might come in handy!

        There will be no record of him leaving the UK if he goes via Northern Ireland to Dublin and then onwards, so his “overnight” in the UK could well be months and months!

  • ashraj says:

    Has anyone tried the Leading Hotels AMEX credit at the Grove for anything apart from stays?

    Was planning to book a spa day – As its not a stay- will that trigger the cashback ?


  • R says:

    Amex Hyatt Offer

    I’ve just noticed that a new Hyatt Place is opening in the City next month (close to Aldgate East). This hotel is not featured on the list of participating locations for Amex offers – however, all other (UK) Hyatt-branded properties are listed (including one other Hyatt Place in London).

    Do you think that a stay at this new hotel will trigger the offer too? Or is it quite unlikely?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Unlikely as they won’t have the merchant code connected to the offer and you won’t be able to claim as it’s not on the list.

      But YMMV so it’s still worth paying with the card

    • Rob says:

      Unlikely, because Amex doesn’t have the merchant code for the hotel in their system as one which will trigger the cashback.

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