Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 2nd August

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

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

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Comments (431)

  • Cherry says:

    Can anyone help me with the process of booking two one-way flights with Avios with an Amex 2-4-1 voucher? I’m looking to book outbound to NYC in July 2022 and inbound from Boston in August 2022. I can’t seem to do this online so any help would be great – I’m sure there are some pitfalls that I need to avoid.

    • Blenz101 says:

      You can book the outbound online but will need to call to add the return leg.

    • Stu N says:

      You will need to book outbound now – you can do this online, just book a single, and add the return by phone when it becomes available. Flights only go on sale 355 days in advance so August won’t be released yet.

    • MW says:

      You cannot do open-jaws online. You need to book outbound now as suggested and phone them up to add the return, or just phone to book the entire trip if the return is available.

      As it’s not possible to book this online, there won’t be a extra charge on the phone.

  • EDA says:

    Someone mentioned in an earlier thread they got a Coutts account without having £1m in assets or a 500k salary.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience? How do you go about opening the account?

    • JDB says:

      It is best to telephone them. If you don’t meet the criteria today, they will take a view about your personal/family prospects! Bear in mind that if you have less than £250k of assets with them, the quarterly banking fee is £225, which reduces to £0 over £500k. Basically, they are trying to be a Swiss style ‘private bank’ so don’t want to be a bank for current accounts unless you are borrowing or investing with them. They are particularly good for large, ‘non standard’ mortgages.

    • Andrew says:

      Apply here:-

      jobs.coutts.com

    • Andrew M says:

      Are there any points earning opportunities with Coutts? I notice their credit card has some kind of reward scheme attached to it and gives lounge access via Lounge Key.

    • Steve says:

      Hi,

      I am actually a Private Banker at Coutts – more than happy to have a chat with you or anyone on HFP about this.

      Happy for Rob to connect us via email.

  • Alan S says:

    About to log my MCOL against BA and confusing myself at the last & probably most important hurdle…

    Flights were cancelled, BA refused to re-route to a suitable date and still have my Avios/taxes paid.

    Am I only claiming for the cost of the new ticket on another carrier?

    or…

    Am I claiming for the cost of the new ticket on another carrier and a refund of my Avios/taxes paid?

    Plus court fees/interest etc of course.

    Think I’ve tied myself up in knots on this…

    • Ls says:

      New ticket. Plus any duty of care/hotels/sustainable if applicable. If cancelled within 2 weeks, and for economic reasons (not because of government rules changing) I would ask for EC261 cancellation compo as well.
      Remember interest on top. It is good practice to send a letter before action detailing the full breakdown of costs prior to starting action (to give BA a full chance of settling out of court).

      • Alan S says:

        Thanks LS.

        • George K says:

          I’m about to start the process myself. Any idea where should the letter before action should go to? Should it be a physical letter sent to a specific address? Or using the customer service form? Or simply reply to the stream of ping-pong emails from BA refusing to pay a penny?

          Dreading it already…

          • Alan S says:

            Hi George.

            I went with email/webform correspondence with the customer service team rejecting my re-route option and offering wholly unsuitable solutions. Then sent a physical recorded letter to the Customer Service Team at the PO Box in Uxbridge. They responded in 3 days, so it was obviously the right place.

            FT has a good thread with advice on MCOL claims etc.

  • Wally1976 says:

    Data point – just phoned Amex to cancel the Platinum card I’ve had 3 months or so. I told them I wasn’t getting value from the travel benefits at the moment.

    They went through the initial process to cancel then offered me 35k points to keep it 😁. No conditions except they would like me to “engage” with the card and make use of the concierge facility and other benefits etc. They were really bigging up the concierge (anyone here used it?).

    • Ian says:

      I’m London based and use it fairly regularly. They’ve never managed to make any restaurant reservation availability magically appear compared with what could be booked online anyway. But if a booking line is closed, for example, they’re good at having someone call as soon as it reopens the next day so I can just forget about it until the confirmation comes through. There are perks with some restaurants too – e.g. free cocktail or champagne for 6.

      Friends of mine use them for event ticket bookings as well.

      Also very handy making reservations for holidays where there might be a language barrier – they pass it on to the Platinum teams in other countries (very handy for a Japan trip a few years ago).

      • YC says:

        When I checked 2 months ago, they would not book restaurants for me due to data issues, apparently its new. Also, they did not have any restaurant perks as that has been turned off due to the pandemic…. = Useless for restaurants. Events is a good shout

      • Wally1976 says:

        Useful information Ian, thanks. I suspect the concierge service is of very limited use to us as a Midlands based relatively low income family! Might be useful on our occasional visits to London but not worth keeping the card for that.

    • MW says:

      What did they tell you about the concierge service?

      Every time I called them, they couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. I have read all these articles praising the (US) concierge service and clearly we haven’t got anything close to it in the UK.

      • Sam G says:

        even the US one has apparently gone down hill

        They once got me a table at Duck and Waffle but otherwise pretty useless, I asked for some ideas for Milan restaurants and they were awful and took a couple of days for example. Definitely not worth keeping the card for IMO

      • Wally1976 says:

        They said it was great for restaurant bookings, theatre tickets, flights, hotels…

        They also said there’d be some new offers coming along that would be exclusive to the Platinum card. Also implied that if I spent more on the card I would get more offers. Not sure how true any of this is!

        • MW says:

          Interesting… From what I have heard, all these (with the possible exception of theatre tickets) is basically the same stuff that you can do yourself.

          As in, with the exception of really niche and very expensive partners, the availability is the same as if you were to book it directly without any additional benefits.

          I understand they will also “help you” (whatever that means) source expensive items, but mostly watches £5k+; again, not sure who uses that service!

        • MW says:

          Funnily enough, when looking for Wimbledon tickets, I gave them a call thinking they might have some fancier tickets for Plat cardholders. I was told they can source Deb seats for around £4k.

          I kindly told them I can find them myself for around £1k if I wanted to… You can probably tell I really don’t get this “service”.

          • Kevin C says:

            Worth noting that Platinum Events has started up again and now has an app for booking them.

          • Rob says:

            Does it? News to me.

            Some of the events on the September list looked pretty good. Not free, but generally in the ‘general public couldn’t buy this’ category.

    • Reney says:

      Thanks for sharing, was wondering what the latest news on this was.

    • the_real_a says:

      The concierge is utter rubbish. It takes longer to wait on hold and then give all your details than it does to phone up the place and make a reservation/order yourself. Apparently they can get you “in” at restaurants that are fully booked, but there have never been any restaurants participating near where i want to eat.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    I’m in Madrid now I thought I’d share some experiences.
    Flew from Bologna – lounge available to Iberia business class and status passengers. BA cancelled the contract with this lounge last November so my BA gold gets me in flying Iberia and not BA!
    Fast track needed as security was ridiculously busy. It stretched from the normal queuing area right to the other end of the building. Fast track had me through in minutes.
    Priority boarding was a mess. The TV screen said priority left, regular boarding right. The signs on the entrance to the queue had priority on the right and regular boarding to the left. They started boarding the left queue first (which was the longest) then when they realised the queues had got mixed up then switched to the right queue. There must have been a computer issue as they weren’t scanning boarding passes but instead noted down seat numbers. Flight left about 35 minutes late. You don’t need tests or vaccination evidence to go to Spain from Italy but you do need to fill in the Spanish PLF (SpTH) although this is not checked prior to departure, it is checked on arrival but anyone who hasn’t filled it in can do so in Madrid

  • QwertyKnowsBest says:

    Would be in interested to hear of experience using switching service to Barclays current (avios), positive? negative?

    Also, anyone aware of what happens re linked accounts with switching service, so some fintechs/banks open an account based on you linking to your current account, do the new account details get passed on to these linked accounts? Barclays messaging useless, could not answer this question.

    Thanks

  • Gormlesstraveller says:

    A fraudster has made a Deliveroo purchase using my Revolut account. What’s interesting is that it was on a single-use virtual card, and I had not even viewed the details for that card.

    Am I right in thinking that Deliveroo doesn’t do name/address verification?

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I’m surprised how little address verification goes on. I’ve used my BA Amex booking flights and put my Italian address as my billing address and it still goes through (but it’s a UK Amex tied to a UK address) so I tried a booking with just random text as my address and that also worked

      • Tom says:

        Amex doesn’t do address verification full stop.

        • idrive says:

          but in my experience, i could not use a card in someone else’s name on my deliveroo account.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            You can. You just put your name regardless of what it says on the card.

    • WaynedP says:

      Had interesting similar experience on a Barclaycard that I use exclusively for balance transfers. No online or contactless purchases, it lives in a drawer at home, yet two small amount Deliveroo transactions (£12-£15) appeared a couple of days apart.

      Picked it up on my weekly online check and flagged as suspicious transactions via Barclaycard website.

      They quickly acknowledged (my transaction history of exclusively balance transfers was plain evidence) apologised, reversed transactions and sent me a replacement card. Quite impressed, but still no idea how fraudsters managed to get my details from a card that doesn’t travel and only has online (no physical postal) statements/interaction.

    • the_real_a says:

      Im now on my third fraudulent Lloyd’s deliveroo charge in 3 years. Apparently its common knowledge in the industry, that they set up fake pop up restaurants that may or may not make any food. The CC numbers are random generations until they find a match so its unlikely there is any address matching. The IP of the offender was in Germany. Since one of my cards had never been used other than to activate it in the post office chip and pin this seems likely.

    • Rory says:

      I’ve been doing alot of work with Stripe recently (not for them, but using their platform). Come to realise that the only address info used is a Postcode, and even then it’s a sometimes, or something close.

  • MQ says:

    Has anyone received the Barclays premier account sign up bonus yet? Should have received 25000 avios after 4 months of an account switch but cant see anything in my account yet.

    • Sam G says:

      according to FT some people are seeing it updated in the “avios earnt” total in their Barclays app so should hit their BA account soon. Mine doesn’t though

    • Craig says:

      Mine is showing in my Barclays app but hasn’t hit BA yet. Hopefully tomorrow.

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