Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 4th August

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

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Comments (314)

  • illuminatus says:

    What’s the best way to convert around €1.5M to £ using a good FX rate? Despite being an ancient customer, will not trust Revolut with that kind of money… does anyone have hands-on experience with similar amounts through Wise?

    Since it’s to buy a property in London, does anyone know good solicitors who can accept € to their account, and then sort it out using a good rate?

    • John says:

      Interactive brokers

      • Yorkie Aid says:

        +1 for IB

      • Rob says:

        Midpoint will give you Avios and if you speak to them, for that sort of sum, I think you’d get a deal on either the Avios or the rate. Say we sent you. Email me if you want a direct contaxt.

        • illuminatus says:

          Hi Rob, yes, please provide a direct contact, will gladly confirm you referred if I proceed with them.

          • Rob says:

            Sent you an email

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            Seriously, on that amount of FX IB are going to crush ANY deal you’d get from a currency broker. Probably by thousands.

    • Blair says:

      As a follow up question, is illuminatus married or single? Would be awful to rattle around that new London house all alone.

      • BP says:

        It’s London. A house at that price may barely fit 2 people.

      • John says:

        It’s probably 100 years old and only big enough for 1 person.

      • Mike says:

        I don’t think €1.5M buys you a property in London that is big enough to “rattlr around in” – although it would in Doncaster

        • Rob says:

          £1.2m would get you 600 sq ft / 60 sq m in Chelsea / S Ken, so about the size of a double garage.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Would you really buy a London property cash rather than leverage the 1.5m EUR …

          • Rob says:

            You are better renting – that £1.2m property will be £2,500 per month to rent. Just to cover the stamp duty would take 5 years and prices in West London have been falling for 3-4 years now, over 20% down from their peak.

          • Triath5 says:

            Comment directed to @TGLoyalty:

            Honest question – how would you approach it? Would you take 20% of that lump sum as a down payment, and invest the rest in some index fund outside an ISA? That way you minimise any potential further downfall in prices mentioned by Rob but also potential play gains in the market (though still exposed to tax)?

            Genuinely curious as the property market these days is so insanely overvalued (and continues rising…) that I’m a crossroads myself.

          • illuminatus says:

            Yes, fortunately this is not all the money at hand, so the total should buy something cosy in Clapham/Wandsworth.

            Don’t agree with renting logic though – while it’s true that property is about 20% down on 2014 peak, it looks like the bottom level (see charts in Coutts prime property index), so a good moment to jump at it, and the exodus from London has been priced in already.

            Email received, thank you Rob.

          • Rob says:

            If you’re going to live in, yes. The snag is when you marry in 5 years time and get somewhere bigger, then 5 years later have a kid and get somewhere even bigger, then 5 years later have another kid and need somewhere even bigger still, then 5 years later you decide to move out. The stamp duty x 4 will have killed you by that point …

        • Gavin says:

          About 1500 sqft around the Balham / Clapham area

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Or, if you want to live in a built up area, buy a top-spec top-location townhouse in York for that money. View of the Minster or the river perhaps? World-level historic and beautiful, routinely wins quality-of-life surveys, air you can breath, and walk to the station (walk everywhere if you want – it’s compact enough) for direct non-stop trains to central London in under 2 hours.

          • HBommie says:

            The Wimbledon property being offered in a charity lottery is quoted as £3.5m. Looks nice.

          • John says:

            That would sound appealing if the trains went to Heathrow in 2 hours.

    • KBuffett says:

      I think Amex have two different arms that offer FX. One (or perhaps both) offer MR points and negotiable rates.

      I certainly wouldn’t leave the FX for a solicitor to sort out.

      In addition, be particularly careful about the money flow and ensure everything is as simple and traceable as possible. Solicitors are very touchy about money laundering regs and many just say no if things are too complicated for them.

      Good luck!

  • Tariq says:

    Not seen it mentioned before, and it may not be the best offer, but noticed that the Amex app is plastered in inline promo messages today:

    Collinson – book your COVID-19 travel test – 20% off by using code AMEX20 at checkout

    • Andyf says:

      Useful are there any other discounts out there for day two green arrivals?

  • berneslai says:

    Extending an Amex 2-4-1 voucher. We’ve got two 2-4-1 vouchers linked to our BA household account (one expires May 2022, another June 2022). What’s the best method to extend? Do I pay the £140 in Avios cancellation fees or are there flights known to be cancelled to avoid the charge? An example of what to do here would be great.

    • John says:

      FTV

      • berneslai says:

        So, I think, book two random flights (1 for each 2-4-1), cancel immediately and pay £140 and then use the FTV and vouchers with new expiry? Sorry for being dumb but I can’t always get my head around all the moving parts.

        • Louie says:

          It’s £140 to cancel and get your money and Avios back, not to get a FTV. No financial penalty for taking a FTV.

          So book random flights and then cancel for FTVs. The 2-4-1 plus whatever you pay in cash and Avios will then be in the FTV.

          • WaynedP says:

            Yes, exactly that, as there’s no cost to you. You don’t lose £140, but you do lose some of the flexibility of the companion voucher once it’s tied up in a FTV.

            Hence Rob’s advice about hanging on as long as possible before putting this plan into action.

            With BWC now extended, that means you can afford to sit back and do nothing right up to the expiry dates of both your companion vouchers.

        • Rob says:

          You don’t pay £140. Cancelling for an FTV is free.

          • berneslai says:

            Thanks all. I can’t sit back and wait for expiry as I’m at +355 of a flight that I want to book so need to generate an FTV now so that I can use a 2-4-1 that (currently) expires before the proposed outbound flight date.

  • Mike says:

    Good Morning everyone, I have flown to Athens using a 2 for 1 reward flight however want to change the return leg and come back from somewhere else in Europe, is this possible? As I’ve already flown the outbound can I change this?

    • Rob says:

      I think as long as you remain in the same Avios pricing zone you are fine.

  • Gibbsy says:

    Good morning all,

    We had flights to Vancouver (241 in club) for my brothers wedding cancelled twice. The last rebooking was for mid May but obviously sadly this didn’t happen.

    Based on the 8th July update from Ba – could we expect to be able to rebook these flights again using the date of the most recently cancelled flights? I.e. to move them to mid April 2022 with no fuss?

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • ChrisC says:

      Did you take an FTV when the May flight was cancelled?

      If so the new policy does not apply to you.

      • Gibbsy says:

        Thanks for the reply. No I took nothing – despite them pushing me.

        Sounds like we’re good to go for next year then?

        • ChrisC says:

          Should be yes.

          Remember that the new ooutbound has to be rebooked for within a year of the date of the outbound flight that was cancelled.

  • Blair says:

    Curve IHG 10% offer. Is this targeted? I do not see it.

    • Crafty says:

      Well then yes. I don’t have it either.

      • Blair says:

        I’m too lazy to do anything about it. Perhaps the person who gets excitable about BA lounge access at outstations could pursue on our behalf.

        • Mike says:

          Blair – Ditto, however I am too lazy to do anything about anything ever !!

  • meta says:

    Be careful and double check what type of antigen test is acceptable at your destination. Some countries only recognise professionally administered antigen test, so Qured would be grey area.

  • SteveKicks says:

    ProjectScreen works well, cheaper than Qured and doesn’t require a video call

    Use the Virgin/Delta link to get the cheapest prices

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