Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 26th July

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (425)

  • Doogie says:

    Tesco Bank to close all current accounts by end of November –
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57973960 I know some on here will still have them for the Clubcard point bonuses etc

    • Ryan says:

      The end of free (almost unlimited) Clubcard points then :((

    • Toaster says:

      That’s a shame but hopefully they will keep the new “Clubcard Pay” available.

    • Rob says:

      Tesco Bank has got strangely aggressive in the savings market again in recent weeks. It is probably linked to this, if they are going to lose a source of free cash from deposits sitting in current accounts, plus linked savings accounts.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Atleast I have one donor account for the switch to Barclays premier now!

    • ChrisC says:

      It’s all very well saying open an account at another bank but what happens if another bank doesn’t want you and your business?

    • Nigel W says:

      Oh no! I best start topping up my Vanguard account as you can earn clubcard points via this way.

      • Genghis says:

        Not sure putting money you wouldn’t (yet) put into the market is worth max 0.375%

    • ChasP says:

      thats a shame but to be fair I only keep it going to use instore/petrol and get double my clubcard points Its always been a secondary account used to keep £3k in there when it offered a decent rate of interest but now only keep £100 in there.
      So its time to surf through the other banks and collect a few intro bonuses

    • Ming the Merciless says:

      Shame. I’ve absolutely abused this product on behalf of family members and myself for the past 5 years or so. £0.96m per account per year.

      I am part of the 12%.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        960k … you really do show no mercy

      • Jonathan says:

        Intrigued as to why 960k/year, was that the points earning limit? As someone who never used them can I ask what the return on that was? Presumably you weren’t paying for many flights!

        • Genghis says:

          £960k a year = 120k cc points a year (30k cc points a quarter cap) = max £3,600 return per acct. Merciless.

      • Jimmy says:

        Im sad its closing too – ever get any issues with security? Im guessing you using Ernie as a friend?

  • Ikaz says:

    I just got my best (theoretical) Marriott Redemption: Turnbury hotel. Rates for this weekend are sky high, I had a 40k voucher for hitting 75 nights last year, and applied a SNA so I am now booked in the Ocean Suite that retails for over £1000 (although I wouldn’t pay anywhere like those prices). Winning!

    • Harry T says:

      It’s a great use of points. I stayed for five nights recently on points but sadly no junior suites or ocean suites were available – all booked! Enjoy your stay.

      Btw, they told me that only continental breakfast was included for elites but there were no breakfast charges on my final bill – I had the cooked breakfast which costs £16 more than the continental.

    • S says:

      hoping for the same in mid August. SNA to Ocean Suite applied and fingers are crossed

    • Gtellez says:

      Enjoy! We stayed in one of the Ocean Suites (Tom Watson Suite) during 3 nights at the end of June and loved it so much! Same good value, applied 2 40k night certificates, 35k points and 3 SNAs, cash rates well over 1k that week. Breakfast is really good, specially the Eggs Benedict/Royals.

  • NP says:

    Looking to make my first reward redemption using a Virgin reward voucher. Can anyone advise if this would work? Looking to fly LHR- BGI, out UC and PE back using the 2-1.5 voucher (I’m red). Is this possible with Virgin, I’ve done this before with BA but that way easy to mix seats on the booking portal. I whatsapped them this morning and have not had a response yet.

    • Mel TS says:

      You might wait a long time for a reply – I’m still waiting for a reply from Thursday about cancelling a reward flight for the end of August. Oh no, I forgot I had a reply yesterday messaged back instantly, and got the ‘we’ll get back to you as soon as we can’ response.
      But yes I think you can do the mixed one, I’m sure I have in the past but had to call them to do it.

      • NP says:

        Ok thanks, I might try and call them first thing tomorrow to if they don’t respond soon

    • Neil Spellings says:

      Should be possible..I’ve mixed PE and UC reward flights in the past although not with the voucher. Will be trying to do the same next year as I now have three vouchers to use!

  • Red Flyer says:

    Anyone used Premair at MAN when flying Iberia? Cannot find a current list of airlines, apart from an old article in 2019 from Rob, but they are not listed on that?

    • Blair says:

      I think you need to choose your package and then there’s a drop down list of participating airlines. It doesn’t specify whether for each airline it is a car to the steps of the plane, or a car to your gate where you’re escorted up the indoor stairs to the gate area where all other passengers are waiting. Also it’s closed; latest I heard was they were mulling a Nov/Dec reopening of Christmas season travel looks likely to pick up.
      https://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/premiair/

      • Red Flyer says:

        Thanks for the link. Flight is Apr 2022 so might hold out for Black Friday as looks like they did a 30% promo back in 2019. 🤞

  • bafan says:

    I’m waiting for the bus at Chania Bus Station and stopped off for a sandwich – the woman kicked me out because I didn’t have the EU Covid Passport. Should I expect more of this? Only eating outside for the week…

    • Anna says:

      You were allowed into the country but not into a sandwich shop?

      • bafan says:

        Quite. I came from Stockholm and entering was a doddle, no issues with UK vaccination certificates either at check in at ARN or here in CHQ. She let me get my food to take out but when I sat down she stormed over with her app out asking for my QR code. When I showed her my NHS one she said I couldn’t stay 🤣. Only waiting for a HER bus so no big deal but interesting experience nonetheless.

        • bafan says:

          Oh and based on discussion in previous days, they were just picking the odd people out to be randomly tested, everyone else was going through as usual. No plane wide testing.

        • HBommie says:

          Can you get the EU QR code?

      • Rob says:

        The EU Covid Passport is likely to be a sticking point for British tourists I think. It basically closes all cultural sites in France and Italy unless the operators are feeling generous and will accept the NHS app.

        • HBommie says:

          Restaurants/bars?

        • BP says:

          Scotland doesn’t even have an NHS app!

        • tim says:

          If you download the German app Corona-Warn, and scan your second NHS QR Code, it will create a new QR code that says EU Covid Pass on it. If all a shop needs is to see the words “EU Covid Pass” this might help. If a shop tries to verify it, using a verify app, it is not verifiable – at the moment – due to NHS not being recognised. However some other countries in EU also have this issue with their QR codes not being recognised. Point is: the German app does say “European Covid Pass” if you can wing it.

          • Blair says:

            Yes, same for the Irish app and the Portuguese app. Both available on UK app store. Scan your NHS QR code and off you go, EU digital covid cert.

          • Pete M says:

            This is very useful, thank you!

          • meta says:

            You can also get a fully functional EU covid pass with the French app. Just scan the UK QR code.

          • ChrisC says:

            Yes I did the German app last week and all the text data is accurate.

            Quite easy to do. I had the German App open on my phone and the NHS on my Ipad as the German app apprently needs to read the original and not screen shot.

            I also read on flyer talk that the NHS digital code issue is beign sorted out if it hasn’t already. It’s not a problem with our QR codes per se but in some of the the EU apps they have the equivalent of the wrong country dialing code which causes problems when it tries to read the NHS QR code.

          • Pablo says:

            What is the name of the French covid pass app please?

          • Tim says:

            The French app is called TousAntiCovid. The problem is that the QR codes are not verifiable yet due to the NHS not being a trusted repository. The way to test this is: download Covidcheck.lu, which is the Luxembourg app to check EU Covid passes. It scans the QR code in the French and German apps but doesn’t verify it. The point is: if you need an app that says “EU Covid Pass” – then great. But they are not verifiable yet – at least from the EU countries I have tried. But some EU countries also have this same issue of verification. So it easier to wing it with an app that says ‘EU Covid Certificate” above the QR code than the NHS app.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Can’t you show the pdf?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Also any reason you can’t take a book of lateral flows from the nhs and take 2 weekly to get into French/Italian restaurants and bars?

    • Peggerz says:

      That Café at Chania bus station was renowned for their tiropita’s too……..

  • Ron says:

    Guernsey update if anyone interested- The Civil Contingencies Authority (CCA) has today decided that pre-travel testing will no longer come into effect on Thursday 29th July 2021. A further announcement will be made tomorrow (27th July), once the CCA has made a final decision on whether any other mitigating measures are required.

  • BJ says:

    What’s hot in New York these days? Looking to book a Thursday to Tuesday next June. My usual strategy of redeeming good value tourist or 4* hotels is not an option as reward prices are simply too high. The value seems to be at the top end of 4* and 5*, they’re not costing that much more. Chelsea preferred but anyplace is really OK. Needs to be Hilton or IHG, I don’t have enough Bonvoy and prefer to sit on MR for Virgin. Similar story in DC but I think I prefer to stay in Alexandria and use the metro anyway.

    • Genghis says:

      My next personal stay will be at Conrad Midtown.

      • BJ says:

        Not yet available for booking next June. Conrad Downtown would work out just over 60k/night with 544 so I’ll have a look at it.

        • Genghis says:

          I stayed in Conrad Downtown a few years ago after a number of weeks staying in another midtown hotel for work when my wife came out. I welcomed the change and liked it overall. Short walk from a number of subway stations. But can’t beat a midtown location IMO.

          • BJ says:

            Cheers, got plenty of time but might lock in one of the IHG options for now and track Conrad Midtown. However based on other higher end Hiltons I doubt price will be competitive, even the Hamptons are 70k. About 8 or 9 years since I was last in NYC so it’ll be good to get back.

    • Blair says:

      For IHG, Crowne Plaza Times Square can be exceptionally good value on points. No price difference in points between standard room and corner TS view room. The 2 ICs are good but points pricing can be a joke and they both have the dreaded/legally contested ‘resort fee’. There’s a clutch of Kimptons worth your time. The Muse prob best located.

    • Blair says:

      DC overfloweth with decent Kimptons though a few lost to the Sonesta reflag. The Kimpton Monaco is in an old post office and historically significant (I assume). As in, it’s not an office block. However I would save my points and splurge on the IC Willard. It’s where the pardoned Thanksgiving turkeys stay. https://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/thanksgiving-travel/turkey-pardoning-corn-cob-dc-willard-intercontinental-hotel

      • BJ says:

        Not a fan of DC myself and my partner not into museums so notcreally sure why we are going except to let him have a look around. Might settle for just the two nights.

        • Andrew says:

          The Pentagon is worth a visit (if it’s open and you manage to secure tickets). The Masonic Hall at Alexandria is interesting too, and the Magic Pants lot are opening their place just outside DC to the public next Spring for the first time in decades prior to it be reconsecrated.

          You’re in Edinburgh aren’t you? The direct flight from EDI to IAD is great, but my preference is to stay in Crystal City and fly into DCA via EWR.

          There is something incredibly civilised about making a short walk to your hotel from the airport (Ok, 10 minutes zig-zagging through the car park and an underpass). I also enjoy walking from Crystal City to DC along the Mt Vernon trail.

          • BJ says:

            Probably going to use Delta into JFK to benefit from the 767 323 seat configuration because if we are going direct from Edinburgh to East Coast then I don’t want to waste miles on premium cabin for which prices don’t work either. Downside is that it pits is between Boston and DC when into one and out the other would be better. Will check what price I can get on.mixed carrier. O’ve stayed Crystal Coty before too, worked well.

        • ChrisC says:

          Tour of Congress is easy to arrange via the visitor centre.

          Walk the National Mall and see all the monumemts – Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, Washington, various wars etc

          Georgetown is worth a wander

          Amaxing views from the roof of the Kennedy Centre

          • BJ says:

            Thanks Chris and everybody else too for feedback. Much appreciated.

  • trader363 says:

    Not sure if anyone has noticed but The House by Elegant Hotels in Barbados is £885/night in peak periods next year and available on Bonvoy – seems like a very good use of points to me!

    Current cash rates are around £450-500 (I’m going this week) and paid 295k for 5 nights

    • YC says:

      Did someone say in previous chats that any of the Elegant Hotels that are on Marriott have been renovated? The House still looks like before

      • Rob says:

        None have AFAIK. If they were done, they would have been rebranded.

        • trader363 says:

          Yup I checked, they haven’t been renovated by Marriott, but the House was renovated in 2017 so fairly recently

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