Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 12th July

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Comments (291)

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  • Tarmohamed says:

    Some observations from yesterday’s thread….

    I agree with Rob’s comment about we et other countries train their healthcare staff and we aggressively go and recruit them. I senior person I personally know at an NHS trust is in charge of recruiting and prior to Covid, regularly making trips to India, South Africa and Philippines to recruit nurses and health care assistants.

    Also on a similar note, the NHS has had for some time agreements with private hospitals such as BMI to provide healthcare to NHS patients. It’s usually a matter of your GP knowing where to refer you so that you get seen to in a timely manner. What I’ve also noticed is GP’s usually just refer you to the nearest specialist rather than outside of the area.

    For several years I was in the cycle of being referred to Barnet / Brent hospitals until I realised that I can specifically request my GP to refer me hospitals outside of the local area which have a better team for the speciality needed.

    A lot can be done to help the NHS but personally I feel every industry is seeing the worst of it. I just hope things don’t get more worst before getting better.

    • ChrisC says:

      The reasons we go abroad are

      1. We don’t train enough of our own clinical staff in the first place.

      2.We don’t do enough to retain those staff to stay in the NHS for the long term.,

      And clinical staff includes people like physics, pharmacists, radiographers etc etc and. It just a doctors and nurses,

      • Rhys says:

        The way NHS management treat frontline staff is shocking. My friends and family (many of whom are nurses) often come back with stories that frankly would be shocking if they happened in the private sector.

        It’s a miracle anyone wants to work there, to be honest.

        • Oz_Traveller says:

          Having worked on both frontline healthcare and management the recruitment and retention issues are widespread, including allied healthcare professionals and paramedics. For instance a third of Paramedics working in London are Aussies (2020/21). Healthcare professionals working in the independent sector receive higher pay, and are allowed to manage their hours, albeit benefits aren’t as great. Without international recruitment and the independent sector the NHS would fall over. It’s a shame, but it’s reality.
          In terms of management, there are some abysmal managers in the NHS, which undoubtedly has an affect on retention, however it’s easier to promote/ sideways promote then to performance manage out of the organisation….. I could write all day about this topic 😉

        • Jonathan says:

          As a clinician in the NHS I still find the core, patient facing elements of the job very satisfying but entirely agree with the comment about management. There are far too many low quality middle managers who think their role is to sit in meetings talking “strategy” rather than supporting the frontline in delivery.

          Fortunately I’m senior enough that I can essentially bypass them & deal with the execs who are normally ok but if you’re junior then it can be a nightmare. As is often the case with poor managers they rule by fear/bullying rather than leading by example & earning respect.

        • C F Frost says:

          The NHS is furnished with tiers and tiers of management for whom the relevant and necessary experience are both wanting. It is their cost and ruthless inefficiency that is the saddest part. But enough of that. ‘Front line’ is the stuff of trenches, and killing , and of facing an enemy. Run a Google image search (Front Line, not frontline or else you’ll get a flea and tick killer for pets) and you’ll see what I mean. Our patients deserve better than to be equated with an enemy force. Patient-facing is better and more accurate.

          But keep up the good work. This site is an antidote to working in an NHS that is still wonderful.

          • Matt says:

            To my mind the problem is that for doctors, nurses, physios etc the vast majority of the jobs are in the NHS, so most of the good people will end up working there (unless they’re sensible/lucky enough to be able to emigrate). For admin and managerial roles the NHS is competing against huge numbers of other employers but still paying sub par wages and providing limited job satisfaction – we end up largely with those who can’t get a better job elsewhere. HR is normally the best example of how bad hospital admin/management is – competence is rare.

    • Blenz101 says:

      Isn’t going abroad just more efficient? The staff are trained in countries with significantly lower cost bases and ultimately will be paid a significantly higher salary in the UK which will allow them to generally support family back home.

      The UK is competing for these staff with other countries, not lease the Middle East where wages and treatment for those from the sub-continent will be far lower (a registered nurse could well take home just £1k per month for a 6 day week with 10+ hour shifts). UK trained healthcare professionals conversely look at places like Canada and Australia to improve the quality of their life and prospects.

      Rightly or wrongly there is an international market for healthcare professionals and recruiting in this way in the UK keeps the cost down for the taxpayer. It is the same across many industries, salaries are set by what the market will take.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        It depends whether you think financial remittances back to the developing world are sufficient compensation to a country that has invested in training doctors only for them to disappear without providing any healthcare benefit to their home country. The doctor or nurse can only practice full time in one country so our gain is anothers loss.

        • Blenz101 says:

          That only stacks up if the training was being provided by the public sector which in the developing world is extremely rare.

          Courses are offered by the private sector (in English) with the understanding of the student that their training will be recognised internationally and they will be able to provide a good life for their family in the future.

        • John says:

          Not strictly true – I once met a doctor who would work 3 days in London then fly to India and work the weekend, he was kind of crazy but he did rack up the points and miles.

          I suppose it doesn’t count as “full time” in both countries though

  • ChrisC says:

    Bit of help with a BA Holiday booking please.

    In the early hours I finally booked, after much research, a carefully put together BA holiday booking for November.

    Everything was fine and I double checked every flight, time and cabin and then paid.

    BUT when the booking came through to my BAEC account and email one of the legs had been changed from Business to Economy, it’s JFK to LAX so not just a short hop! Plus they charged me full whack and not to mention the loss of TPs and Avios

    I’ve replicated the booking and taken screen shots of every stage showing it’s Business on that leg right the way through to the payment screen.

    What’s also galling is the replicated booking is now €279 / £ 239 cheaper!

    So if other people have had this issue how amenable were to BA correcting it in the first place (and more importantly charging the lower fare).

    I really don’t want to cancel and take an FTV only to then wait for it to co e through to be able to use and call to use it.


    • John says:

      Don’t ftvs take only a few hours to arrive

      • Anna says:

        My last two have arrived the same day. It would be relatively easy to cancel and re-book then apply the voucher, as you don’t have to call in this case, you just reply to the email containing your voucher details with your new booking reference. You get a confirmation email straight away and the booking appears adjusted after a few days.

        • ChrisC says:

          The issue isn’t the voucher it’s the fact that between pressing pay and the confirmation they changes a leg from business to economy.

          • Anna says:

            The issues you cited with the FTV aren’t actually issues though, and I’m not sure what other options you have, unless you call BA holidays and ask them to look into it. Personally I’ve never been able to book a BA holiday with mixed cabins but other people on here have said it’s possible.

          • ChrisC says:

            I never selected mixed cabins!

            Every cabin I selected was Business yet one turned out to be economy. Between hitting pay and the confirmation action coming through.

            Yes I’m going to call BA Hols to discuss them but I thought I’d ask on here to see if anyone else had the same issue,

            The FTV is NOT the issue, the cabin switch – caused by BA – is.

          • John says:

            Right but you’ll have to call anyway to sort out the cabin discrepancy. Getting the FTV is to rebook at the cheaper rate?

          • Louise K says:

            This nearly happened to me too when I was booking the cheap ex PAR to Hawaii flights.

            I only picked it up just before the payment page and difficult to see.

          • Jonathan says:

            Are you sure it said business for all legs? You need I class availability on the Transcon sector otherwise it bumps you to economy automatically & this is in relatively short supply at the moment.

            You should be able to get a free trial membership of ExpertFlyer which will show the fare bucket availability for each leg. I suspect there may only be 1 “I” seat available & if there are 2 passengers it will bump you down.

            You should be able to call BAH, it’s much easier to get through to them than the standard CS. They will be able to change with no fees & reprice at current fares. Any difference will come as an FTV.

    • Mouse says:

      Just call them instead of messing around on here!

    • ChrisBCN says:

      No such thing as business class between JFK/LAX… different types of economy and domestic first only.

      • Lyn says:

        I think this may be the problem. Presumably your flights would on American?

        I think they treat JFK/LAX direct flights as a separate type of “Transcontinental First Class” with Flagship lounge access, rather than the one normal First Class domestic flights which would be the equivalent of business class flights.

        If you look at the BA calculator for earning tier points and avios for AA flights from JFK to LAX they distinguish between Business and First (as well as various economy options). I don’t know if this is significant.

      • Track says:


        At least pre-Covid, we had both transcon First and Business on JFK-LAX on AA.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Very quiet on here today, I wonder why 🤣

    • BP says:

      Football’s gone to Rome perhaps?

    • BJ says:

      Everybody is busy booking their Indian hostel tours.

      • BP says:

        I would be if I had a Tesco CC. Unfortunately I don’t 🙁

        • meta says:

          Sadly, I am out of the country and didn’t take my CC, so need to wait for my partner to come back home this evening to send me the number. Hopefully it won’t be pulled that soon.

    • Memesweeper says:


  • Andrew says:

    To quote W.H.Auden: “For nothing now can ever come to any good”

    • Andrew says:

      On the plus side, no sign of a return of Betty after the Amex expired on Friday!

    • Swiss Jim says:

      At least we can sing Three Lions for a bit longer now…

      • Harrier25 says:

        Yes, the World Cup 2022 is coming home!🙄

      • Anthony says:

        58 years of hurt!

        • TJones says:

          Surely the “hurt” didn’t start the day after the 1966 final. I would put the start date at 1970, perhaps, so currently standing at “only” 51 years.

  • Ant says:

    Just booked flights into Mykonos & out of Santorini. Any suggestions for Accomodation? Budget £100-150 range

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Are you island hopping in between? It is very difficult to get high seaon Mykonos or caldera side of Santorini for less than €200 per night, certainly booking late.
      We are doing this itinerary end of this month

    • Harry T says:

      Yes, stay there in January 😂

    • Richie says:

      One night on Santorini was enough for me. Consider spending more time on islands between the two.

    • Blenz101 says:

      I think you are going to need to up your budget by £50 a night for Mykonos. I’m staying over a in a couple of weeks and anything reasonable was at least £200+ per night particularly if you want to be near the old town and the benefit of a pool.

      I booked about a month before travel, last time I looked the week we. are staying has already gone up a further £500 for our dates. Would highly recommend booking early. should give you a good feel as you can sort by date and may even be able to use the Tesco CC deal or at least get 10% of your outlay back.

      Also, take a look at some of the trip advisor reviews – apparently €80 is not that unusual for two loungers and a parasol on the beach depending on where you go.

    • OP says:

      Take a ferry to a smaller/cheaper island – plenty of options, Syros, Paros, Naxos, Milos… – though lots of good options are already booked up here too.

  • Oz_Traveller says:

    – Hilton Honors Complaints Process –
    Hi all, I recently hired a car through Hilton Honors (Alamo) and part of the agreement hiring through Hilton is that I should be awarded 18k points. I have only been issued 6k points. I have raised this 3 times (over 3 weeks) with Hilton Honors and I am still waiting for an acknowledgment of my query, which is now becoming a complaint.

    How can I escalate this, and has anyone else had similar issues with the awarding of points through 3 party agreements?


  • Dave says:

    I’ve got flights booked to Germany for August and an Airbnb just over the border in Austria. Flights can be cancelled for an FTV and the Airbnb a few days before if Austria don’t let us in.

    In case we can’t go to Austria, I’m considering booking a back up Airbnb plan for Germany. None of the options are cancellable so I’ve been holding off for now.

    My question is around my Amex Plat travel insurance. If I booked an Airbnb on an Amex card today would I be covered for the Airbnb if Covid restrictions came in for UK travellers to Germany or Germany was placed on the red list? In normal times that is what I’d think my travel insurance was for but I know I’ve read here that travel insurance isn’t covering everything it usually does at the moment.

    • Dave says:

      Got my answer from Amex. Foreign office advice is that travel to Germany is only allowed for essential purposes, a holiday isn’t essential so I’m not covered for my holiday.

      • Anna says:

        Odd that FCDO advice has changed for Spain where infection rate is much higher but not Germany?!

        • Rhys says:

          Surely inconsistent government advice is par for the course now….

          • Dave says:

            Ha very true! So are they updating the advice on the 19th July for everywhere? it’s all so confusing (probably deliberately so!)

          • Anna says:

            True, and the cynic in me imagines that more ministers will be going to Marbella and Mallorca for their holidays than Berlin and Bavaria!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Dave thats the government “advice” to not travel to amber countries

            FCDO advice is completely different and based upon the travel situation which isn’t just about COVID rates but ease of entry/exit etc

          • Dave says:

            Thanks @TGLoyalty, it’s all a bit confusing. The reply Amex gave me was:

            “Germany is currently on the UK amber list and the FCDO advices against all but essential travel to GERMANY –So if your trip is not essential and is a holiday then normal coverage will be in place as per card and policy terms and conditions BUT no COVID coverage as not on an essential trip.”

            So i guess I’m not covered if Germany was suddenly placed on red list or if they tightened their entry restrictions

  • Chrism20 says:

    Interesting planning permission going into Blackpool Council for some kind of hybrid Hotel Indigo which will have a mixture or regular and extended stay rooms a la Staybridge Suites.

    Planning permission has already been provided for just over 100 rooms but they are looking for permission for around another 50.

    Work has also started on the Holiday Inn in Blackpool and the steel frame of the building is now partially in place.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Intriguing, might finally have a decent points earning option in Blackpool! Usually for work I stay at the Village, which is nice but not rewarding in any way and very isolated

      • John says:

        Blackpool Hampton is OK and away from the worst areas

        • Super Secret Stuff says:

          It never seemed that good to me, no pools or gym which is nice to do every now again. The village is much nicer but last time I went no rewards scheme, think this has changed slightly now. Only problem is it is like a country estate hence why it is isolated

          Good pool and Gym, spa and hot tub etc. Really is nice particularly if by yourself or you just want to run away and hide from colleagues! I joke, I normally get drunk in the bar with them hahaha

          • Chrism20 says:

            Yes the village or the DeVere as it’s still known locally is probably the best in the area

          • Cabal Of Rabid Baboons says:

            The Village (De Vere) Blackpool is opposite one of the finest parks in the UK

    • Anna says:

      Apparently there is an Eric von Daniken theme park in the works as well, the mind boggles:

      • Chrism20 says:

        Apparently the chariots of the gods name is getting a rethink. I can’t understand why

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