Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 29th June

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Comments (371)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • GJB says:

    Update to my message yesterday about whether Hilton would refund me if I checked out two days early.

    Asked front desk this morning and as I am Diamond and booked through Hilton directly there were no issues. Full refund issued for the unused days. Very pleased!

    • Aston100 says:

      Good result.
      What kind of booking was it?

      • GJB says:

        It was an HONORS DISCOUNT rate, pre-paid in full for a standard Queen room (although upgraded to King Executive through status).

        I was hoping to utilise my Amex £50 back from £200 spend but for some reason it doesn’t appear to have been accepted for this stay.

  • Sam says:

    Hi all, planning a spa day with afternoon tea at the St Pancras hotel. I’m not staying overnight as live close to the hotel but just wondered if you get any loyalty points etc. I think the hotel is part of Marriott and I’m not signed up to any hotel loyalty schemes. No Amex offers on Marriott at the moment on the cards I have. Thanks!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      As far as I know only the ex SPG brands give points when not staying overnight so Renaissance doesn’t earn.

      Worth reading robs hotel loyalty schemes series of articles on the schemes as you can get lots of value back especially if you have an Amex Platinum.

    • Memesweeper says:

      Marriott are offering a sign up bonus for newly joining members who join by invitation. A couple of thousand points each. Ask Rob to invite you. If he can’t ask him for my email address and I will.

  • Olver says:

    Hi guys, bit of a beginner if it comes to the whole Avios and travel hacking game but wanna check if my thinking makes sense 🙂 We recently got a 2-4-1 voucher and have roughly 300K sitting in Avios points and form my searching around this should get us a few nice flights. The bit I am wondering about if it would not be better just convert them over to Nectar points and use the cash for spending and get 0.8p back per point compared to booking flights. Our issue is that we tend to book cheap economy flights but would love to try first class etc if it makes sense. So our Avios would be worth £2400 if converted to Nectar points, but just wondering what kind of flights we could get for it and what roughly the extra cost (taxes etc) would be, so we can compare it against booking economy, any thoughts would be much appreciated!

    • Always_in_the_air says:

      It is almost certainly better to use the avios to buy a ticket from my experience. Not just from a cost perspective, but also from a flexibility perspective and the fact that you get hold baggage.

      I would NOT buy cheap economy with avios and i wouldn’t convert them to then cash in and buy flights, save the avios for a decent long-haul flight in business or first and use the 2-4-1 to take a second person.

      My best recommendation would be to read everything you can find on this site about avios, then make your own conclusions.

    • Phil says:

      It depends how much you would value a Club Suite or First experience over having the cash. It also depends on your destination. You are unlikely to get 2x First Class tickets to Singapore, Maldives, etc. for £2,400. However, if it’s Dubai or New York you are after, then there used to be regular sales of 2x Business class flights with Qatar, Lufty and Swiss for approx. that sum.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I think you need to compare the cost of flights with cash and Avios via 2-4-1 for the places you want to visit on or around the dates you want to go.

      You can get value out flying economy in europe with Avios due to the £35 return RFS taxes but there is very rarely value in booking using Avios for economy long haul flights, unless it’s last min booking.

      • Mikeact says:

        I really don’t understand your question. You and your partner would love to go 1st Class somewhere…then obviously do it. Get on the BA site, 300k Avios, with a 2for1 can take you to many places…you need to do some homework….dummy bookings to get an idea of costs etc.
        If not, then go down to Sainsburys/Argus.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Avoid economy long haul and routes that are very competitive (like london to NYC). Look for routes where BA has almost a monopoly and you can get very good value for avios.

      • Memesweeper says:

        ^^^

        This! Avios prices are set by distance and an imprecise peak/offpeak calendar. Cash prices are highly dynamic by route, date and time. Shortlist the places you want to go, and when you want to go, and see if you are better off with cash or Avios. Bear in mind some routes/dates might get cheaper … but it’s only £35 to cancel if a super cheap fare comes up.

        Another good use of Avios is to upgrade a class from a cash ticket, but this is not compatible with the companion voucher.

    • BJ says:

      This is a no brainer so let’s just strip out all the other feedback you get despite it being very good, and get to the heart of the matter. Which is this – you usually book cheap economy but you would love to try First. That tells me you are never going to try First unless you use these avios and 241. So forget Nectar, forget economy, forget short-haul and get your backside in F or CS when you have the opportunity. If you still want to do it on the cheap then you can, start exINV and return from Asia using open jaw. I don’t thinkbthere is any F availability loaded at the moment due to aircraft uncertainty related to covid so there is no rush to jump soon.

      • Anna says:

        BOS and NYC have a fair bit of F availability for next year, but of course an equipment swap could happen at any time!

      • Mikeact says:

        Absolutely, some people on here need to read Rob’s excellent Avios University series….so annoying to get the same ridiculous questions asked when with a bit of common sense, most answers are covered.

      • kitten says:

        Also remember you don’t have to use your avios on BA flights. You can book quite a few other airlines with noteworthy First or Business. Such as Qatar, Cathay Pacific, Japan Air Lines.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Oliver very hard to give correct advice, but using a 241 long haul in Business your Avios could be worth around £8,000/ £10,000 or even more over paying cash prices. that’s “EACH”
      That’s for Business seats, (very easy to get if savvy)
      A lot more if travelling first although harder to get going forward
      Taxes ect around £2000 mostly less than that for 2 of you
      makes the Nector £2400 small change by comparison
      I should add we “never” travel economy even short haul
      So my opinion is very biased

    • Jenny says:

      I really don’t understand the snarky replies- we were all beginners at this once! A good place to start is the BA App where you can see availability by region very easily by clicking on ‘Reward Flights’ and filtering on business or First. I had a quick look at this autumn and can see you can get 2 x Business returns to Jamaica for 275’000 points (half this with your 2for1 voucher) plus £1124.94 in taxes. Really depends on when and where you want to go, but there are definitely deals to be had. Good luck & enjoy!

      • Mikeact says:

        Not snarky at all….as Rob has said, many times, read his Avios for beginners…..how many more times. Newbies jump in here expecting an immediate answer without doing a bit of research…it’s just laziness.

        • Aston100 says:

          Mikeact – until a proper search facility and forum with sticky threads/FAQ are in place, you have to expect repetitive questions.

          • Mikeact says:

            This site is not meant to replicate the huge FlyerTalk site, where there is of course, an abundance of information, and forum, and run by paid staff. As a nearly, not quite, one man band, you cannot expect Rob to devote time, money and expense to put in place similar features. But it would be helpful if people, new particularly, took time out to read his excellent Avios University series. There will, of course , always be one off difficult questions which can be useful to try and get an answer to on here, but for regular questions, then FT is the place to go. (Or read the series.)
            As Rob is also a regular poster on FT, I don’t know if he would be happy to place a link on here to FT, which would certainly help many on here, as they can then search to their hearts content.

          • Rhys says:

            FT isn’t a useful resource for beginners. There is so much information it can be hard to find what you are looking for – unless you know specifically that it exists and where. It is, however, a great resource.

          • BJ says:

            I don’t consider this an excuse, google plus head for points plus whatever works brilliantly in my experience.

          • John says:

            People still won’t read stickies and FAQs unless you ban new posters from posting until they have read them

      • BJ says:

        I wasn’t being sparky either, I just thought all the feedback would raise more questions than answers for Oliver at a time when there was a single more fundamental question he needed to answer and make a decision on himself. Sure the feedback could inform that decision but the other direction is simpler and less likely to overwhelm.

      • Patrick Cold says:

        This is, of course, how all decent people think.

  • Ben says:

    Anyone know of a way to get from Brazil – UK avoiding the expensive quarantine hotel? Have a member of staff desperate to come back but they can’t afford the price of the UK quarantine hotels…

    • N says:

      10 days in an amber list country

      • N says:

        or green!

        • Ben says:

          Maybe need to rephrase the question.. does anyone know what countries are accepting Brazilians without restrictions on either the amber list or green list? I’ve tried searching but haven’t got anywhere!

          • SteveJ says:

            Thread hijack alert, would similarly be interested to know of Amber or Green countries that accept travellers from India without quarantine for a 10/14 day stop over before returning to UK

          • Rob says:

            Remember that even home quarantine would be better than a Government hotel in the UK. Let’s assume, for eg, that France made you home quarantine whereas the UK made you stay in the Ibis Heathrow. Renting a large villa in France for 10 days to quarantine is clearly better.

          • Lev441 says:

            Not sure how accurate but found this tool

            https://www.trip.com/travel-restrictions-covid-19/europe-iceland/

          • marcw says:

            Maybe Mexico?

    • Aaron C says:

      If they’re vaccinated look at Iceland.

    • Anna says:

      Mexico is possibly accepting visitors from Brazil, which would make it even more of a farce that Brits can’t enter the US, as anyone from Mexico can fly into the US!

      • mzb00 says:

        Mexico is most definitely open to Brazilians. Probably the only (major) country in the world that has never put any restrictions on arrivals since the beginning of the pandemic.

    • Frankie says:

      My friend had this issue recently and went from Brazil to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico for 10 days and then home from Mexico City to Heathrow where there’s a daily BA flight. Puerto Vallarta is gorgeous town and resort by the way.

  • Aston100 says:

    Can anyone suggest the best value method of getting to Bali in Summer 2022 in J.
    Two adults.
    I have a bunch of avios and a couple of companion vouchers.
    Was thinking LHR > SIN on BA using 241, overnight in Singapore and then a LCC to DPS in the morning (Under 3 hours)
    I think this would be 210k avios and something like £1250 in taxes & fees.
    I believe this is better than doing LHR > HKG -180k avios but a good 5 hours or more on a separate ticket HKG > DPS. Unsure if an avios booking with Cathay from HKG to DPS is good value.

    Happy to pay cash and fly with a better airline on one ticket without the need to overnight enroute, but unsure what prices tend to be.
    Perhaps something like £2200pp with QR?
    There is also the possibility of flying outbound from MAN (and possibly BHX) which are easier to get to for me.

    Any thoughts please?
    Also, can anyone who is knowledgeable about Bali kindly confirm that July / August are reasonably dry in that part of Indonesia?

    Thanks.

    • David says:

      KLM do a freedom flight SIN to DPS – it’s usually pretty cheap in business.£316 return

      • Sam G says:

        Yep, this is the best way to get to Bali, the only thing is the times don’t work particularly well if you’re taking BA being an evening flight out and a pretty late flight back, I’d probably do Scoot or SQ.

        The benefit to doing SQ would be they’d send your bags to BA on the way back so you could take a lunchtime flight from Bali, explore Jewel, pop into the city etc and then head back to Changi for a shower & a lounge tour.

        Obviously a bit of risk doing a same day connection but SQ (pre-covid schedule) have plenty of later flights that’d still get you in on time and their operation usually runs like clockwork anyway, very low risk

      • Aston100 says:

        Thanks for the replies thus far.
        I note I can do KLM (MAN or BHX) > AMS > SIN > DPS (and return) on one ticket.
        Also, TK, QR and EK from MAN and BHX.
        All around £2500 for Easter next year, so assuming it’ll be similar for summer 2022.

        These would save on the cost of an overnight in London and car parking, and would also get around the need for a connecting flight from Singapore to Bali (and obviously give an extra night in Indonesia at both ends of the holiday).

        What would you do? still stick with BA & companion voucher plus overnight hotel in SIN plus additional separately ticketed flights SIN > DPS? or pay cash with one of the above airlines and do on one ticket?

        • Sam G says:

          By my calculation it’s still better value – if you value Avios at 1p each then the BA tix cost you ~£3.4k + the other bits vs £5k for cash. But I’d also enjoy the Singapore stopover and prefer to do one long flight down to Asia. Also a shot at getting BA F for not many more Avios. But if the local departure and quickest / least hassle trip down to Indonesia is important to you then that could tip the balance.

          QR would be the way to go if you pay cash – book on BA codes you’d almost be at 600tps for a silver card each

          • Sam G says:

            Worth saying though 5k sounds a bit high, if you’re pretty carrier agnostic I think you’d get Bali closer to £4k if your flexible on dates/ keep an eye out for a while

    • Sam G says:

      Sounds good to me if you want to use the voucher, it’s only 2hrs down from Singapore and plenty of low cost options as you say. If you haven’t been before make sure you take a day or 2 to do the key sites in one direction & whatever you do don’t hunker down in the Changi Crown Plaza even for an overnight, it’s 20 mins into the city in a cheap taxi.

      Scoot were operating a 787 on a morning flight with pretty cheap “ScootPlus” seats which worked out good value if you had bags to take. Who knows for 2022 though!

      July August best time to go weather wise

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      SQ can be competitive sometimes on SIN – DPS, depending on flight timings. I’d prefer it than other LCCs. Otherwise KLM as mentioned above. They fly a 787 and it’s very good.

    • Michael C says:

      Hi Aston, we’re looking at same dates and flight – hope not to coincide with you at midnight -355 ;o)

      Know it’ll be tough for seats, but would like LHR-SIN / HKG-LHR.
      We’re spending some time in SIN but will then hope over to DPS.
      Working our way up through Malaysia in Aug, to arrive in BKK to see friends…but of course, BA has removed the BKK summer flight! So may well tag on HKG at the end.

      For me, Bali is fabulous at any time!

    • J says:

      If you’re not wedded to using your 241 but do want to use Avios (and have plenty), I think you might be able to get the whole thing on one ticket by booking it as a multi-carrier award. Looks like it will come out at something around 180-200k avios per person if I’ve read the chart correctly (https://www.britishairways.com/travel/multi-carrier-avios-costs-zone/public/en_gb).

      Aside from going via HKG with BA/CX, I guess you could do BA to SIN (or BKK if operating) and then MH for SIN-KUL-DPS (assuming you’d have time a stopover in KL or don’t mind the slight backtrack/extra sector).

      Not sure whether that works out better than using your 241 and booking the DPS bit separately. Maybe it depends on whatever value you place on the extra protection of having it all on one ticket 😉

      Obviously also depends on whether SIN is allowing entry/transit by then… (or HKG for that matter – have just seen they’re banning entry from UK from July 1st). Last I looked, SIA, KLM-AF and LH are currently the only airlines allowed to transit Changi, so I suppose booking a cash ticket with one of them would go some way to mitigating that risk.

      Been to Bali quite a few times, including once in mid-July some years ago staying at the Conrad – I recall it being hot and dry at that time, I don’t remember any rain. But keep in mind the weather in the interior (eg Ubud) can be very different to that on the coast, so might depend on where you plan to be (if you’ve never been before, I’d highly recommend getting a driver for a day or two and go exploring, or even split your stay between coast and inland – Bali is amazing if you can get away from the crowds of tourists ;-).

    • Clive says:

      I often go London – Bali and typically go through HKG with an overnight at the Airport Marriott. Typically I book to OW as taxes out of HKG are extremely low.

      Don’t spend all your time on the beach, try a few days in Ubud. Places off the beaten track such as the Alila Manggis can be a great option.

      Klook can be a good option for transfers and day trips.

      • Aston100 says:

        Thanks Clive (and J, Sam and others)

      • J says:

        Alila Manggis is lovely (and the GHA Platinum status that I think was discussed here recently should be good for an upgrade). Also Alila Ubud (especially the pool villas). Bit outside of Ubud but you may find that a good thing if you like peace and quiet 😉 Last time I went they had a deal for (IIRC) 3 nights at each, with transport etc provided between. But tbh Ubud is surrounded by all sorts of hotels and villas, at every price point – plenty to choose from. Sri Ratih would be another to check out – walking distance to the centre and I thought exceptionally good for the price when I was there a few years ago. Might all be very different now of course, sadly.

  • Muhammad Abdullah says:

    Booking LGW BA services seems smart to force a canx, as they’re widely expected to be canx come the winter. That should mean a free rebooking, any date, within ticket validity right?

    • Sam G says:

      Yep. did a couple for summer worked a treat

    • Pauline says:

      Are you restricted to the validity date of a 241 or can you book within 12 months of ticket issue thus extending the 241 date (if BA cancel)?

      • Anna says:

        Ticket issue, so don’t accept a cancellation as this might result in you getting an expired voucher back!

  • Andy D says:

    Jersey or Malta for a four nighter with youngster?

  • Gavin says:

    I got 35k last week, have had the account open for about 2 months.

    • Reney says:

      Can I asked when you called (week day or weekend), did you get the UK team? And what did you need to say? I’m about to make that call.

      • Gavin says:

        I phone midweek during the afternoon. I was connected to someone abroad, but was transferred to the UK team when I said I wanted to cancel. I was offered the 35k points without asking for them.

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