Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 25th 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 (363)

  • Chas says:

    Thoughts on Manchester hotels please: I need to book a room for the night before the Manchester Marathon, and having left it late in the day availability is somewhat limited. To be within walking distance of the start / finish in Old Trafford, I think my options are: HI in MediaCity for £165 pn (!), Marriott’s AC Hotel Salford Quays at £284pn or Hilton Deansgate at £173. My inclination is to go for the Hilton despite it being the furthest away of the 3 (30 mins walking distance?) as being Gold will get free breakfast. Am I missing any other obvious options?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Id rather pitch up a tent in a car park than pay AC Salford quays £284 a night!

      Deansgate is the one to go for if you don’t mind a nice walk to warm you up for the marathon.

      • Chas says:

        My thoughts exactly about the AC (and to be honest about the HI at that price too!). 30 min stroll there is fine, but wouldn’t have wanted any longer. Good to see everyone’s comments confirming that Hilton Deansgate is the one to go for.

    • JonD says:

      Hilton Deansgate is beside the tram with Old Trafford only being a few stops away so not too far away.

      There is also a HIX in Salford Quays, which is pretty close to Media City.

      • Chas says:

        The HIX seems fully booked that night. Perhaps not surprisingly given it’s proximity to the start.

    • Rich says:

      As above, I’d use the Hilton deansgate. It’s an easy walk to old Trafford or the tram stop is right outside

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Chas Good Luck, is it the Piccadilly Marathon, or just the Manchester one ?
      50 years ago when I did the local marathons, there was loads back then
      I did them all
      Chas you do not want free breakfast “no way”
      even strolling round you “WILL” need a toilet

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Chas added Pasta and early to bed if a serious runner
        “no Alcohol”
        Enjoy the pasta party’s if your not (not sure they still do the party’s I never went to the pre-race ones, but the after race ones I could tell stories lol

        • Chas says:

          Thanks Chris – just the normal one on 10 Oct. Re breakfast – would agree if you’re referring to a full English, but it will be convenient to grab some porridge and a banana. Definitely no pasta party for me – I can’t think of anything worse.

          I am a serious runner (but not as serious as you were back in the day), but I don’t expect to take this one too seriously – it will be nice to do a shorter race for a change! And so I will definitely have a beer or two the night before. There have been plenty of times I’ve had a beer mid race too…..

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Chas A beer mid-race I’m impressed or maybe think your mad lol
            If you want to improve every Marathon is a serious Marathon
            Try 6min mile pace every mile though if you can manage that your ready for the next upward step.
            The next upward step is hard though, more training more miles be careful of injuries
            week before the race I was shattered, 3mile Monday, rest Tuesday, 5mile Wednesday peak Sat/Sun (jog Fri if race was Sunday
            Again good luck wherever you aim to finish
            24mile + Is good for stamina, I made sure one a week always faded in those training sessions, but was pushing past my limit

          • Chas says:

            6 min miles is my 5k pace, so definitely not on the agenda for a Marathon! I tend to focus on ultra distances – I had a 50 mile race with 9,000 feet of elevation 2 weeks ago, and have a 24-hour race next weekend, which I’m hoping to do well at. “Improvement” for me is generally more about going further and for longer (and having more fun) than it is about going faster. I suspect that for the Manchester Maraton I’ll just aim for a sub-4 which is a chatty-pace for my mate and I. But if I get some speedwork in over the summer I might aim for something closer to sub-3.5.

            In terms of beer mid race: there’s a local 12 hour race which my mate and I turned into our own self-styled beer ultra: it takes place around a 4-mile trail loop, and every lap we had a beer from a different country as part of a “world beer tour”. We managed 12 laps, 12 different beers each, and 48 miles. None of the other competitors were drinking, but everyone was getting gregarious pleasure from the journey we were going on! And then there’s the Liege beer marathon in Belgium – 16 aid stations, each serving a different Belgian beer… That was a LOT of fun when I went pre-covid.

    • Dave says:

      You may be better staying in Altrincham and getting the tram in.

      • Chas says:

        Thanks Dave. I’ve had a quick look (at Hilton, IHG and Marriott) and can’t see any hotels in Altrincham – is there somewhere you would recommend I look at?

        • Dave says:

          The Best Western is okay. Cresta Court. If you are looking for IHG Hilton etc. have you tried the airport hotels?

          • Chas says:

            Thanks Dave. I briefly considered the airport hotels, and they are much cheaper, but would rather the convenience of being closer to the start. There’s always plenty of stuff going on the morning of an event, and adding extra hassle of a longer journey time (plus extra contingency) never really appeals. I’ll check out the BW and transport from there though.

    • Dave says:

      The HI in Manchester City Centre is good and a little cheaper (and by a tram stop).

      Slightly cheaper that I would recommend Motel One and Innside by Melia. (ditto)

  • BiNks says:

    Regarding the recent article for new IHG members booking two nights and receiving 40k points. How long after the stay are the points applied to the account?

  • RTS says:

    The gravy train that is using the Virgin CC with Curve seems to be over. The latest set of TCs seems to suggest that this might be considered a cash advance?

    • BP says:

      Is Curve specifically referenced?

      • Rob says:


      • RTS says:

        Nope this is the change… Any thoughts?

        Cash Advances
        We’re updating the definition of a Cash Advance. This still includes cash you withdraw using your credit card and buying foreign currency or traveller’s cheques – but we’ve made it clear that a Cash Advance also includes:

        gambling transactions and spread betting.
        international money transfers.
        paying off other borrowing (like making a payment towards a loan or mortgage or using your card to pay another credit card instead of doing a Balance Transfer).
        adding money to a prepaid card, virtual card or e-money account.
        investment activity – this includes binary trading, share trading and adding money to an investment account

    • Travel Strong says:

      At worst, paying solihul with virgin may no longer be an option, nor topping up savings/isa/investment accounts. But as per TG’s comment – NSI via curve could still survive. Nothing is guaranteed though, all depends on how the IT behaves – i’ll be testing it with small amounts to see after August 5th.

      • Paulh says:

        …. August 5th — is this the date the new terms and conditions come into effect?… been using beardy to feed the seagulls for a while now

        • BP says:

          I haven’t had any notification from Virgin about these changes. I got notified of current account changes

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Is it only the BA executive club line that can cancel BA AVIOS booked flights? A BA CS agent just refused to cancel last night.

    • Pete M says:

      I believe so, the regular line have claimed to “not have access” to me.

    • Anna says:

      I did it via Twitter a few weeks ago. They take a few hours to respond each time but it got the job done without an hour on hold listening to the Flower Duet!

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Thanks Anna, just msg Twitter instead.

      • Geoffrey Lambert says:

        Anna, what BA twitter account did you msg. Need to cancel flights for August.

  • michael says:


    I want to refer my wife for an Amex Gold Card.
    I already have an Amex gold business and Black Premier BA Card.
    I want to get the Amex gold personal card in her name at same shared addres.
    Question – she will receive 20k or so membership rewards points, possibly more – but key question is… can I convert/send these to my own AVIOS exec club in MY name – not hers…. Im 20k short of the points balance i need for flights Im booking next month and this would sort that out. If not I’ll just have to buy them…

    • Anna says:

      She could transfer her sign up bonus to BAEC and if you have a household account you can then use them to book a flight as the system takes points from all linked accounts. I think a couple of people have mentioned being told sign up bonuses are taking 90 days or more to post by Amex (not my recent experience though) so you may need to consider that.
      The sign up bonus will be stated on your account, these vary and are targeted at the moment.

      • michael says:

        Thanks Anna.

        Does she need to create a BAEC account, or could she just transfer it directly to my own?

        • Anna says:

          She needs to open her own BAEC account, you can only transfer MR points to an account with exactly the same details. You can them merge the BA accounts into a household account.

    • Rob says:

      No, but she can put them into her own Avios account, merge it into a Household Account with you and then you can spend them.

  • michael says:

    Cheers Rob and Anna,

    Will do this now, much appreciated.

    On booking the flights… I want to leave on 1st July 2022 and return on 24th July 2022.
    I have a companion voucher
    Does this mean I cant actually book the entire return flight until 355 days before the homeleg on 24th July i.e. 4th Aug 2021?

    If so this is quite scary – the risk that the outbound flights might all be gone by then as they will have been on the market for 3 weeks.

    • Anna says:

      This is a very common issue on here. Where are you going? If it’s a RFS destination you can book it as 2 singles when they are released with no problem other than extra charges if you then cancel, however for long haul there can be issues with taxes so it depends on the circumstances.

      • michael says:

        Flying from belfast via london into shangai and out of tokyo

        I had no idea you could book it as two singles – with only one companion voucher!? I can definitely do this, would be great. How does this work…

        I book the first leg Belfast to Shanghai – using my companion voucher
        3 weeks later flights from Tokyo to Belfast released
        How do I book these when I’ve already used my companion voucher as per above?

        Sorry for questions – I genuinely have spent 3,000,000 hours on HFP trying to find out these things but because it was an open jaw flight I thought I was restricted to having to phone at 1 minute past midnight and book both legs at once….

        Thanks a million for any and all help with this

      • Mikeact says:

        We rarely book round trips with BA Avios, invariably one ways. Even N America can be done creativity re. costs.

        • kitten says:

          OW from Nth America? I take it your workround is “not on BA” then?

    • MattB says:

      Book the outbound immediately online with 241 voucher then call up to add return when dates allow.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      michael Book the outbound flight soon as it becomes available but let them know you want a return added as soon as that’s available
      Keep a very close eye on return date(355)
      Helps if you are a little flexible with return date ie day before/after just in case
      but we do it all the time never had a problem but we travel off-peak

      • michael says:

        Thanks a million MattB and Chris – this is great news 🙂

  • Axel says:

    Quick question. Logan Air have rescheduled our Newquay – Edinburgh flight 3 hours earlier in August.

    They are saying we must take flight and won’t refund. Whats our next step with them, as earlier flight not possible for us?
    We have HSBC card travel insurance and paid with Amex.

    • Anna says:

      Depends what the booking conditions were as to what they class as a reasonable time change.

    • Harry T says:

      Has the flight number changed? I think it’s hard to argue that a three hour change is significant for a domestic flight.

    • Ls says:

      3 hours is not significant. You have no recourse (beyond asking nicely). Otherwise you could cancel and get the tax minus an admin fee back.
      Certainly in these times you need to be able to factor in uncertainty, or recognise you will lose money if things change.

      • kitten says:

        I think it’s significant if it’s moved earlier. You might not physically be able to get there as early as that timing would require. Later they might juuuust get away with 3hrs even though it’s a bit unreasonable if they insist.

    • George K says:

      Did you say you paid Loganair with Amex? When we booked a month ago, that was not an option…! And from what I can tell, it still isn’t. Curious as you did it!

  • N says:

    How long should I wait before applying for a Bonvoy card?

    (following up Wednesday’s posts suggesting I shouldn’t apply on that day!)

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