Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 23rd 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 (413)

  • MCO says:

    Looking for suggestions on a hotel that is quite central to the Mayfair area in London. Travelling with kids so we want to be back at the hotel a few times a day to give them a rest.

    Was looking at the Conrad but they pulled the buy 2 get 1 free rate over the weekend.

    Any others that would work with Amex cash back and Emyr? Hilton Hyde park is a good 30 mins walk so that is probably out.

    • Rob says:

      Conrad is quite a trot to Mayfair.

      Few options: The May Fair (obvs) which is Radisson Rewards, Rocco Forte / Browns, InterCon Park Lane, Hilton Park Lane, Sheraton Grand Piccadilly (which is great), The Ritz, Biltmore (Hilton LXR brand), Marriott’s at Park Lane / Grosvenor House / Grosvenor Square.

      • MCO says:

        Thanks Rob.

        Anyone with Raddsion rewards account know how many points a night the family room at the Mayfair is?

      • Lady London says:

        Sofitel St James’s Square?

        Accor has an offer prob worth about 20% off currently and the hotel location is very close

    • BJ says:

      HI London Mayfair will work with the new amex offer today. Obviously not as good as likes of Conrad but tgey have family rooms I think and others with two double beds. Green Park tube and park itself just round tge corner so good for young kids.

      • Rob says:

        It would if it hadn’t been demolished, I agree 🙂

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Future Starwood capital 1Hotel.

          They just purchased Renaissance site in Manchester which will become treehouse Manchester.

        • BJ says:

          LOL, missed that little detail.

      • Sandra says:

        Out of interest has the HI Mayfair improved? We stayed a few years ago and have never been back, the room was tired and breakfast was totally chaotic and awful and the staff were useless. At the time our children were younger and it had big 2 double bedded rooms which was really the only thing going for it.

        • Sandra says:

          Ignore, just seen Robs reply – best thing for it in my opinion!

          • BJ says:

            It felt very 80s but location compensated for that and IIRC it was only 20-25k/night. Never stayed again after they put the price up.

          • Rob says:

            Rooms were huge and, as mentioned elsewhere, you often got 2 x double beds so great for a family of four. You would have got a smaller room at The Ritz across the road.

    • Mouse says:

      The Westbury is very nice too (Marriott), great service

      • Rob says:

        I would have mentioned that too, if it wasn’t shut for 3 years 🙂

    • BP says:

      Marriott Park Lane is exceptional. Even better if you qualify for the HJH healthcare rates.

  • Martin Short says:

    Any LNER or similar train points opportunities please?

    • BJ says:

      5% amex, £5 for using app for first time.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      You have the likes of train line via BA online, usually 1 point per £. However LNER have there own scheme which pays fairly well so not really worth it as you are sacrificing a fair chunk of cash rebates

  • Jack says:

    BA just cancelled our 7am flight back from Inverness to Heathrow on Monday, and offered a 3.30pm flight instead. Presumably we can claim EC261 compensation for this, this isn’t extraordinary circumstances, and really inconvenient as we now need to take another day off work. The flight looked reasonably full as well.

    • Jonathan says:

      You can claim but they won’t pay out without MCOL (which you may well not win). It seems that Covid exemption is still accepted for commercial cancellation.

    • roberto says:

      Nope, they citing Covid as everything… I pushed back and got nowhere recently for the same.

      On expert flyer it was noted as Covid too.

      YMMV of course but be prepared for more of the same.

    • BJ says:

      Easyjet an option at the moment? Ask them to pay the sleeper the night before? Train to Dyce and flight from Aberdeen?

      • Andrew says:

        Sleeper train is cancelled for a few weeks due to strike action, I think.

    • Ls says:

      I would claim via CEDR. Nothing financially lost in claiming unlike MCOL.

    • Jack says:

      Thanks all, I will try. Easyjet not got much earlier options, but might check out the sleeper. It’s just really strange, the flight on the Sunday night is still going (and my understanding was the crew remained at Inverness). It seems to me they just consolidated the Monday flights as the cabin now looks very busy.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      I think as it is an internal flight with no Scottish restrictions for London (AFAIK) you could probably win the argument that it is an operational or financially motivated cancellation nothing to do with Covid. Argument would need to be centered around flights either side still operating.

      That said it won’t be easy… is it really worth it?

      • Jack says:

        I think I take the point above that CEDR might be better as not risking anything then. It is just really annoying, we are staying at the Courtyard Marriott next to the Airport and now will be twiddling our thumbs a bit having already handed back the car rental, plus a day when I needed to be at work.

      • Doug M says:

        Surely every Covid cancellation is financial?

        • Super Secret Stuff says:

          Yes in a way, they don’t want to loose money. But in this situation I would say the onus is on them to prove they aren’t trying to load 2 flight into 1 for commercial reasons

          • Lady London says:

            Don’t waste your time claiming. We all know they have consolidated 2 flights for load reasons and cleverly chosen to keep the flight running that they would have had to pay passengers’ hotel nights on if cancelled – instead they’ve cancelled the probably busier 0700 used by people to go to work.

            You are completely right it is a cynic cancellation by BA to load the costs of them wanting to save money onto passengers. But right now BA will get away with it.

            I’d move my whole trip to a different time or would make them transport me the evening before. Neither satisfactory I know. But beats sitting around at the airport after being turfed out of the hotel just so BA can save money by wasting your time and depriving you of a day’s earnings/holiday allowance.

    • Sam G says:

      I was going to suggest going to Aberdeen and staying there instead – BA would switch you to the early flight from there FOC. But there aren’t any trains on Sunday due to a strike, so you’d only be able to do it if you could swap your car to drop at Aberdeen as well

      IMO you won’t get anywhere with EC261 unfortunately – they’ll just blame COVID (which is kind of is related to, overall they need to cut as many flights as possible to survive)

  • Josh says:

    Did I make this up or is there a booking tactic utilising the BA 241 using an open jaw leg that is long into the future to use for an additional holiday?

    • M says:

      Hmm as in, you fly from London to, say, New York in July and “come back” from, say, Boston 6 months later?

      • meta says:

        You didn’t make this up. I’ve been doing it for a few years. Fly BA, then another airline to come back, fly another airline then BA to come back and you could even nest in another 241. If interested in Asian destinations, it will be very cheap from September.

        • Josh says:

          Thanks Meta,

          I guess my question is..what’s the real benefits of this? Aren’t one way cash fares == or higher than return?

          Is it purely to stack 241’s over the course of a longer period of time or is there another trick?

          Thanks!

          • meta says:

            The benefit is that other airlines don’t have fake surchages like BA, so overall you save money as you only pay APD from UK on other airlines or minimal taxea coming back.

            It works well for Asia or South America. You can save between £500-750 overall. You can also mix and match to fly to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore on the other trip. For me another benefit is being able to avoid BA on part of the trip.

            However the introduction of new type vouchers will mean that there won’t be any surcharges even on BA. Though I still have so many old vouchers that this probably will kick in from late 2023/2024.

          • Josh says:

            Thanks for the clarification. I imagine this only works best on departure from low tax airports like HKG? (Unsure who else?)..

            Now if only there was an easy way to find a list of airports that are within the target destination that meet the open jaw policy

            also stupid Q..but why would the Sept changes impact this? Is it so we can do things like TYO – LHR , LHR – SFO?

          • meta says:

            @Josh
            Works well for South America and Asia, yes. GC Map is your best source for distance calculator.

            Regarding how you can benefit – 2 x 241 bookings HKG-LHR-HKG or TYO-LHR-TYO are nested. It remains to be seen if TYO-LHR, LHR-SFO will work. If so, then even better.

  • BJ says:

    Anybody heard any rumours of BA launching a direct flight to Phuket?

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      No but I would love one! There is usually some good deals you can find for branded hotels too…

      • BJ says:

        That gossip is apparently circulating on the island, wondering if it’s just that or if there is some basis to it. Perhaps Rob could sound out some BA contacts.

        • meta says:

          What’s the latest? I read recently that the plan is to put a tracking device on you plus testing galore…

        • Sam G says:

          I think some of it stems from a lot of the “sandbox” material referencing BA but that’s actually just the codeshare with Qatar

          Wouldn’t be surprised if they did give it a go for winter a couple of times a week, BA holidays has hotels contracted there already. My only worry is the 787s are quite premium heavy and the 777s a bit too big.

          Perhaps they could operate LHR-Phuket-Singapore, the Singapore flight carries mainly cargo currently whilst the borders are virtually closed and that wouldn’t mind the quick stopover

          • Super Secret Stuff says:

            A lot of affordable luxury hotels in Phuket, a lot of bang for your buck. If premium is priced accordingly it would probably be tempting for a lot of luxury travelers or people going on honeymoons etc.

            That said I have no research to back it up… just my opinion

          • BJ says:

            I’m a bit concerned QR might be using their shareholding to control BA to East Asia in general and Thailand in particular. KUL is gone and last time I checked BA had not loaded Thailand for summer 2022. I hope this is just Covid and not QR. Before covid QR had six destination in Thailand so obviously not much in their interest to have BA flying direct to BKK.

          • Sam G says:

            I think even pre-COVID BA wasn’t planning to operate Bangkok in the summer

            The problem with these long routes is with the huge amount of indirect and competing options BA can’t command the yield on long haul routes to justify sending the plane vs sending it to the US and back twice in the same flight time. With business travel to the US likely to remain depressed in at least W21 there may be chance for a leisure Asia route to run. But long haul has a longer booking lead time so they’d need to schedule it in soon!

    • Richie says:

      That’s a long sector, fingers crossed it won’t be operated by a B777.

    • Michael C says:

      Not heard them, BJ, but I’m v happy to help spread them!

    • Wollhouse says:

      KLM flight attendant confirmed they were doing this. Said, it would be a mini stop in KL, don’t get off plane, then onto Phuket for sandbox, said similar was expected for Koh Samui. Currently (if vaccinated) you have to stay on Phuket for 14 days but are free to go anywhere, then you can travel anywhere in Thailand. If not vaccinated, it’s back to Bangkok for an ASQ quarantine for 14 days. At the moment, I’d be delighted if BA had any flights as it’s still showing codeshares so I’m still fighting to get my 241 flight rescheduled!

      • Wollhouse says:

        Sorry, to clarify, your strategy if non vaccinated is 14 days in an ASQ, not “back to bkk” after Phuket 😉

  • Definitas says:

    I’ve been trying to preempt the US opening and to book departure PCR tests for the end of July but tried 3 providers, including Boots but not go beyond 4 weeks. Has anyone used a national service (not London centric) that books further out?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You only need an LFD test for USA

      There is tonnes of capacity now why bother pre booking a PCR test weeks out.

  • Anuj says:

    Has anyone tried to spend Shangri-La Points at the shard restaurants recently ? Noticed on the website that if you’re jade, the shard is excluded from the $1.25 per point value and it’s just $1 per point.

  • Anna says:

    If anyone’s considering Cancun for July/August there seems to be a decent amount of avios availability in PE and J at the moment.

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