Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 6th July

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Comments (481)

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

  • FatherOfFour says:

    A friend is starting a new business, (bakery) and is struggling to open a business bank account. Declined by Starling and the others have “long delays” for new applications. Does anybody know what is going on, or have any advice please?

    • Peter K says:

      Why doesn’t he open a personal bank account and run the business from there, keeping it separate from his personal bank account(s).

      The bank will soon change it into a business bank account once they realise the fees they are missing out on!

    • JDB says:

      I don’t know where you are located and I don’t know if Metro is any good but they are supposed to be super efficient / quick at opening accounts. Handelsbanken is supposed to be one of the better banks for business accounts as well.

    • Doommonger says:

      I guess the Banks have been loafing around during Covid, if they knock your friend back tell them you are having Naan of it, if not the bank try the toast office.

      I’ll stop now, as I’m on a roll.

      The Doomster

      • Michael C says:

        Even if he’s a late bloomer, he could still apply for a BAAP.

      • Wollhouse says:

        It should be easier to open a currant account! Banks really knead to stop being so difficult

        • ankomonkey says:


          I loved Doomster’s, FatherOfFour’s and Michael C’s gags, but Wollhouse’s ‘currant account’ and ‘knead’ really take the biscuit. I couldn’t have made them any butter myself.

      • ankomonkey says:


    • Toby says:

      I’d encourage him to check out Monzo business banking

      • Ste C says:

        my OH set up a Monzo one in minutes – did have a personal account with them first though

      • Sam G says:

        I’ve got Monzo, took a while but didn’t ask much. The issue with a bakery though might be needing to deposit cash & get change? in which case you’ll want a convenient bricks and mortar option, Metro are quick if there is a branch near you, otherwise Lloyds

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      I’ve used Tide before. Was pretty quick and painless

    • Lev441 says:

      Thoroughly recommend metro bank for business. Open it up at a branch there and then. Was miles ahead in customer service compared to NatWest.

      They are reducing the free number of transactions per month as of September from 50- 30 when holding £6k in the account

    • Maciek says:


    • Dr C says:

      I’d recommend Metro Bank and worth traveling to just open the account if necessary, don’t actually need to visit after opening. I think they are still accepting sole director companies right now and self employed.

    • Redeyedonkey says:

      If you’re genuinely strugging after the mainstream advice below then cashplus business is a prepaid card/bank combo type solution that is available even to business founders/owners with moderate bad credit in the past etc so almost certainy will work out as a stop gap. I used to recommend them to people we declined when I worked at a bank.

    • Andy says:

      I used Tide. Even though we have two existing business accounts with Barclays they and other high street ones aren’t offering new accounts due to Covid..

    • kitten says:

      I believe Ltd Co.’s still OK but suspect anyone self-employed is being evaluated on a personal basis. Reports seem to be the banks and cards suffering losses due to existing customer situations during Covid so personal credit availability has been cut right down? Just a guess – Rob might know what’s really going on.

      If all else fails ask to open a separate “Basic Bank Account” at one of the Big Four or P.O. – I believe there is something about those not being able to be refused.

      Could also be worth checking moneysavingexpert where similar problems are likely to be being discussed

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Worth trying RBS/NatWest for a business account – you get FreeAgent accounting software free with it, handy for a start-up.

  • Clive says:

    Looking to spend some miles:

    Air France has released a nice amount of business class award space between Los Angeles and Pape’ete, French Polynesia between November 2021 and May 2022. Some options for booking include:
    ~64K miles + $223 departing the US (or $285 departing PPT) via Air France Flying Blue
    100K miles + $5.60 departing the US (or ~$52 departing PPT) via Delta SkyMiles
    185K/195K miles + taxes each way via Virgin Atlantic

  • Aaron says:

    Question regarding testing and the PLFs. It appears from information on here that there is no check whether a testing reference on the PLF actually corresponds to the passenger. Not only that but when I came back from an Amber the other week I had D2 and D8 tests with different providers. I could not record this on the form. How do they actually know I’ve done the D8 test? There also didn’t appear to be any connect between my D5 TTR done at Boots and the PLF.

    I’m not going to be breaking any rules but it seems to me that they have no way of really checking if people are doing the tests at all!

    • Oli says:

      As i posted earlier today, the NHS was advised when my D5 TTR came back positive.
      The government can’t check everything I guess, there has to be some level of trust. E.g. they check tax returns on a sample basis

      • fivebobbill says:

        They were only advised because you actually DID the test AND failed it!
        Anybody who pays for test 2/8 nowadays needs their head examined, do the free NHS ones if you are concerned, nobody actually checks the paid for day 2/8 if you don’t do them!

        • Tracey says:

          Doubt you would get on the plane without the code for the tests on your PLF!

          • fivebobbill says:

            Actually I did Tracey, twice! To be fair though, you’re not the only one in here actually believes you need a particular code…

          • Aaron C says:

            I think you would be fine to get on the plane. There appears to be no link between the PLF and the private labs to check if the code you give is kosher or not.

  • Jody says:

    I know Dragon Pass was talked about a while ago. I’m one who had their lounge passes extended until Jan 2022 and up until now they’ve been showing fine. However, I’ve just had an email out of the blue from Dragon Pass saying that my Dufry membership has expired and my passes are no longer valid, but as a gesture of goodwill (!!!) they’ve refunded me! It then goes on to say they’ve extended my Dufry membership, so I can go and buy lounge passes (so why refund the ones I’ve got?).

    Anyway, just in case anyone else thought their passes were safe, keep an eye on your emails.

    • Andy says:

      Because they refunded you passes which cost 10$ at the time of the Dufry promotion, if you try to buy a new one it’s $20+

      • Lady London says:

        Quite surprised Rob did not make headway on this. The last thing I want is a refund. They’ve had the use of my money all this time and they did not have lounges available when I did travel.

      • mr_jetlag says:

        no refund email but my passes have disappeared. Chasing for them to be reinstated as I can actually use them in a few weeks. I have screenshots and an extension email so let’s see.

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Same here, quite annoying ads they were extended to jan 22. Corresponded with them and they say they are refunding them.

  • David says:

    EU261 question:
    Wizzair have canceled a flight three weeks prior to departure and rebooked onto the next flight a week later. Is it clear that they are obligated to rebook onto another carrier for a flight on the original date of departure? Thanks

    • Anna says:

      Where is the flight to and what are the alternative options? I would absolutely say that it’s reasonable to expect re-routing if they are expecting you to move your departure date by a week as it’s highly likely that you have made other travel arrangements (accommodation etc) and may well not be able to get time off work the following week.
      No idea how easy they are to deal with though!

      • stevenhp1987 says:

        WizzAir won’t re-route onto any other airline, ever.

        You’d have to take them to court to enforce your rights if you wanted to.

        I recently had a cancelled WizzAir flight and decided it would be too much faff and paid the extra £100 or so and rebooked it myself… now travelling on the brand new FlyPlay airline this weekend to Iceland…

        • David says:

          Thanks. It’s ltn-tlv, so the other options at this point are all significantly more expensive. They’re offering 120% in credit so might just go with that rather than trying court.

    • Sam G says:

      It’s clearly reasonable and it’s easy enough to get your money back

      1) Just don’t touch the ticket with them, if you get a refund / credit then your rights end
      2) try get something in writing (live chat, twitter etc) that they refuse to rebook you,
      3) book the cheapest direct flight on the day you wanted to fly, keep a screenshot of that
      4) put in a letter before action and then MCOL if they don’t pay for the difference between the two fares per your EU 261 right to reroute
      5) they’ll either settle or it’ll go in your favour in court for the difference + MCOL fee

  • Caroline A says:

    I want to switch to collecting Avios instead of Aadvantage as it’s become more and more difficult to get a decent earning rate in the UK over the years.

    I qualify for both HSBC and Barclays Premier accounts due to my income. Can I get both? Has anyone done this successfully? If so, is one better than the other to have my salary paid into (I would do a SO into the other one).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Blenz101 says:

      HSBC is better if you have international needs.

      Barclays there are reports of closing accounts if you shuttle money in just to meet the salary requirements. HSBC are more relaxed.

      Barclays have ongoing Avios earning via the current account which this site has covered. HSBC is via the credit card only.

  • Mike says:

    Oh I rather liked “flied the first leg”

  • Helen says:

    Just received notification that my reservation at the CP Kings Cross has been cancelled for 17 and 18 July. This is the second time my reservation has been cancelled. What are my rights as rooms are more expensive now ?

    • The cyclist says:

      None at all. Put it down to experience. Try the Great Northern next to the station, small rooms though, and watch out for the beggars that hang around the entrance.

      • Helen says:

        But I was using my points for a weekend in London with my godson. As we need a twin bedded room there are limited options. Annoyed that they’ve only just notified me.

        • Anna says:

          You need @meta to advise on this. There’s nothing like EU261 for hotel bookings, however there may be a breach of contract and if you’re persistent IHG can often be persuaded to make it up to you!

        • meta says:

          Your rights are to be moved to a comparable hotel should you wish. I would remind them of their contractual obligation under UK law (doesn’t matter how you paid) and if they refuse I would then send them a letter before action stating how much it will cost them if you have to rebook yourself. At the same time, I would book a flexible rate at a similar hotel. If they respond by the time of your stay and agree to move you elsewhere, it’s a win without too much fight. If not, then I would stay elsewhere then pursue a claim via MCOL, naming both IHG and the hotel owner (both UK registered companies).

          • meta says:

            You could also write to the hotel owner and IHG press department stating you will make some noise on social media. Be persistent, but firm. An email a day until they respond. It’s not long till the stay. My IHG stay in Amsterdam was cancelled within similar timeframe and they managed to move me to their sister property for the same cost plus thrown in a few extras as an apology/compo.

          • Doommonger says:

            Is it worth the time, the hassle, the heartache, for potentially a sideways move into a Hotel not located where you wanted to be?
            For contributors like yourself and Anna who spend all day on here posting maybe it’s worth it as I’m guessing you guys have the spare time. For me it’s not worth the effort.


          • JDB says:

            Also, it is totally unreasonable and unprofessional that they have waited until now to advise you of the cancellation. Someone on HfP mentioned last week I think that the hotel has been closed for a while as it is being used for quarantine. Less than two weeks notice, reducing your options is unacceptable, so they should, as @meta provide you with something comparable or hopefully better.

          • Anna says:

            At least @meta and I try to be helpful instead of spreading gloom and insulting other readers …

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @doommonger I’d be expecting a move to a comparable hotel AND some compo. The hotels think they can just cancel your stays for a better deal from the government.

            When they decided to take up the governments offer for quick cash didn’t they consider they had reservations to honour.

          • A says:

            @Doomster – takes probably 5 mins a day to email, MCOL about an hour to pull together in total – I think it’s worth pursuing these things to at least try and call hotels on their nonsense when it comes to things like this.

          • Blenz101 says:

            I doubt you have any rights here. There is nothing in law to grant you alternative accommodation.

            You would need to rely on U.K. contract law if you want to try and force the hotel into covering your costs.

            Almost certainly though they will have something like “the hotel is entitled to withdraw from the contract for objectively justifiable reasons” or other force majeure clauses. You will lose on this basis.

            This site has a very odd bias in terms of how disputes with travel companies are best resolved.

          • Lady London says:

            Well said, all.

            Doomey you’re rumbled: we know you really agree with us.

          • Doommonger says:

            @Anna, Insulting other posters? merely pointing out your a prolific poster. Spreading gloom? I direct you to my most excellent puns which I posted after I finished work at 17.01 on this forum. Lighten up, and crack open beer.


          • Blenz101 says:

            @meta I think you misrepresent U.K. contract law by stating that people have some kind of automatic right to an comparable hotel room in the same way as EU261 gives consumers certain rights when it comes to airlines.

            As I said, the hotel/IHG will have terms in the contact about their rights to withdraw from the contact. They will cite this and their offer of a full refund making the customer whole.

            They will be able to cite that the extension to being a quarantine hotel was not expected. Yes they signed up to it but contacts have been extended beyond what anybody would have reasonably expected.

            You risk people incurring MCOL court costs by making out it is a “right” rather than a potentially prolonged battle which claimants are not at all certain to win.

            Far better to speak with the hotel and see what they can do rather than assuming that litigation is going to be the answer to every Covid related cancellation.

      • A says:

        Why do you say “none at all”? This is likely a clear case of breach of contract.

        • Blenz101 says:

          Have you read the contract to know the hotel hasn’t just exercised its right to cancel?

          In any event force majeure will apply given Covid. The hotel will cite it is “requisitioned” and the OP will be out of pocket, wasted considerable time and is still going to have to book a new room anyway.

          Yes the hotel may have signed up to be used as a Covid hotel but the MCOL won’t get into that level of detail.

          • meta says:

            It won’t. It’s a commercial decision to become a quarantine hotel not a government imposed one! Force majeure also does not apply here as it is not outside the control of the hotel. They chose it. Simple as that. Also it has been proven in courts and I believe @Chris Hayes (forgive me if I am mistaken, but there was a recent post), had a similar case where he managed to get booked into a comparable hotel.

            On another note, there are ways to force the hotel to book you elsewhere. I also believe that they will fold at a mere threat of legal action. Hotels don’t have resources to pay for lawyers as much as airlines do.

            To @Doomster if such behaviour is allowed to continue, what will happen is that the hotels won’t even feel obliged to notify you of cancellation. You’ll simply turn up and there won’t be a room for you. And they might not even feel obliged to refund you because well, they feel like they don’t have the contractual obligation. Everyone should be concerned about the derision of consumer rights.

          • meta says:

            @Blenz101 yes, MCOL can go into huge level of detail. The level of detail is set by you as you can provide documents to prove your point. Just upload a document how a hotel signs up to be a quarantine hotel and that’s it.

          • Doommonger says:

            @meta you mean the erosion of consumer rights.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          There is absolutely no force majeure here it’s a commercial decision.

          They’ve signed up for guaranteed occupancy from the government vs their existing booking. Ofcourse they’ve just thought they can cancel on people and most will move on without a whimper (Ie you blenz) others will and should kick up a fuss.

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