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)

  • JP-MCO says:

    Have BA removed the ‘change’ option from Avios booking on I went on there this morning to change the date/time of a flight and it’s vanished leaving me with only the ‘Cancel’ option. Kind of frustrating that they’re forcing people to pick up the phone where they then tell you they have reduced staffing levels and can’t speak to you!

  • Laura says:


    Any offers for reducing the price of tickets for SS Great Britain in Bristol? It doesn’t appear to be part of Tesco Clubcard or National Rail 2 for 1 and not sure where else to check!

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Yeh, look at it from the other side of the river. Completely free

      • Laura says:

        hahaha, I think my grandad actually wants to go on it! Let’s see

    • Peter K says:

      Ha ha ha. I just spent a while trying to work out what SS was short for.
      Shop small.
      Six senses.
      Then realised it was about the steam ship 😂
      I’ve been reading the comments on this site for too long!

  • HAK says:

    Off topic:

    Anyone know where is a good place to park outside London for a couple of days and nip on a train/bus to get into the centre (around Mayfair)? Thinking that Oxford would be a good bet as they have a direct bus service and a train (if I am feeling rich).


    • Grant says:

      I used Just Park last week to find a space next door to Staines railway station – £15 for 3 days parking and then £10 for the train to Waterloo in 30 mins.

    • Laura says:

      Stanmore station car back isn’t too expensive, at the end of the Jubilee line

      Depends if you are just wanting a car park or somewhere to stay as well! If the latter, probably not Stanmore!

    • Sam G says:

      There is the new(ish) Oxford Parkway station and then the Chiltern train goes into Marylebone twice an hour. Depends where you are coming from though as to where is going to be convenient!

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      I definitely wouldn’t get the bus from Oxford. Free parking within 5 minutes of tube stations does exist if you know where to look (e.g. from Northfields if approaching from west); although you can probably get a driveway near most tube outstations for £5/day so probably better to do that if leaving the car overnight

    • Tim says:

      Where would you park in Oxford though? Probably easier to park in London…

      • HAK says:

        There is a big park and ride just on the outskirts (well, sort of on the outskirt around headington?)

        Thanks for the suggestions guys. Will look into the options.

        • Sam G says:

          Thornhill you are thinking of. But if you’re doing Oxford then better to do Oxford Parkway and take the train in as that’ll be much quicker – IIRC it’s £12 for 3 days parking

    • Mattb says:

      We park at Richmond athletic stadium using just park, a quick train to Waterloo and a few tube stops from mayfair

    • John says:

      Free parking around Barnes station

    • Dave says:

      Amersham tube/Chiltern

      Gerrards Cross-Chiltern

    • Michael C says:

      Westfield Shep. Bush is 15 pounds for 24 hours: far cheaper than multiple trains to Oxford!

    • Andy D says:

      Where are you coming from? From Yorkshire, I use Luton Airport Parkway for this,

    • Sididdly says:

      Depends were you are coming from but Ickenham is great. Right off the end of the M40 and Picadilly line into central London. It costs £5.50 a day or £3 a day at weekends. A nice area, car park has plenty of spaces and feels secure.

    • Bill says:

      Thameside Promenade car park in Reading is free after 5PM and during the weekends. Only 65 spaces, but it’s never been full when I’ve visited.

  • Rupert says:

    Have the black BA card – purchased a flight which was refunded same day (couldn’t upgrade) however room me over the £10k spend. The 2-4-1 voucher unfortunately is now in my account ( was holding off until September) however still have the countdown on the card to the voucher. Will they send the new voucher when I actually go over 10k or is it done and should look at downgrading card or cancelling.

    • Harry T says:

      If the voucher is in your account, then I reckon it’s safe.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You only get one voucher regardless of what the counter says.

    • Toby says:

      It’s done. I had a somewhat situation where Finnair billed me twice for a flight then refunded the error charge a few days later. This took me over the trigger for the voucher, which I wasn’t best pleased about.

      I asked Amex to remove the voucher (as I wanted to trigger it later). They said there was nothing that could be done at all, and to ignore the counter which had reappeared. So I downgraded and moved on!

  • Bigmaggot says:

    Just tried to pay Solihull with beardy using the app before terms change, it said failed but then turned to successful. Did it fail or did it succeed? Showing as pending on beardy!

    • John says:

      You’ll find out in a few days

    • Jonathan says:

      Failed I reckon. Beardy seems to be bouncing the usual suspects since 1st August including Government Services. They appear as pending on Beardy App but then drop off & aren’t charged.

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      Hmmm… that would be a shame. As a last hurrah I decided to buy some Virgin points today with the 70% bonus and paid for them on my Solihull and then cleared that balance via Beardy for one final double dip – fingers crossed 🙂

  • Chris says:

    Anyone else having problems accessing their Barclaycard online account? I’ve tried multiple devices across multiple accounts and constantly receive the same “Sorry there’s been a problem with out system” error

    Not sure when I first tried but I think it was about a week ago

    • KBuffett says:

      Yes, I had this problem persistently. I had to launch a complaint for the problem to eventually be resolved as regular operatives did not resolve. Once the complaint was launched, the resolution was fairly swift (around 2-3 days). I also received around £50 compensation.
      I think the issue lies around them trying to merge the Barclaycard app with the Barclays app.

    • Peter K says:

      I’ve not had a problem this week.

  • Pete M says:

    So one place BA is still paying for an external lounge is Berlin. Not much has changed since my review after it opened and it’s still eerily quiet, but there is (sort of) food now!

    • Blair says:

      I think Amex Plat holders now get into the Lufthansa BER lounge. Only when flying Lufthansa Group though so no use with BA or the orange one

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Morning all.
    A question re premier bank accounts in the UK. Currently with HSBC Premier but service on a long slow slide. I like the Elite Mastercard offering but little else. Any recommendations? Are Barclays any good?

    • Sam G says:

      Depends what you are looking for service wise?

      I have Barclays, HSBC and Santander premium offerings, haven’t had to engage much but I’ve found Santander very helpful in arranging a no-notice large cash withdrawal, printing and stamping statements for mortgages etc. You can get a few quid back on your DDs too. HSBC are quite inflexible with these things I find even for Premier. Barclays no experience outside of their self-service offering yet. I don’t buy financial products from banks so can’t comment on that

    • HH says:

      HSBC’s is premier in name only. At least with Barclays, having a dedicated Premier Manager has actually proved useful to get things sorted for me.

      • Rob says:

        To be fair, it is free (although Barclays Premier is free too, of course) and you get what you pay for. If you earn £75k then it would be foolish NOT to sign up for a premier / premium banking service as long as there is no monthly charge but don’t expect much.

        And, to be even fairer, HSBC isn’t making any money off you if all you have is a current account where £75k goes in and them promptly goes out to mortgage / car payment / non-HSBC savings account.

        • KBuffett says:

          I’ve found Barclays excellent, as long as you make an effort to engage with your Premier Manager. I’ve had their mobile numbers for over 10 years and they do resolve things and cater for special requests like keeping large cash withdrawals ready etc. Believe me, Barclays make no money from me.

          • KBuffett says:

            The other good thing about Barclays Premier, is that once you know your Premier Manager, they can vouch for your identity, so you don’t need to go through security checks all the time.

          • Rob says:

            HSBC’s biggest problem is the £25k online withdrawal limit, and the unwillingness of the call centre to override this and force you to go into a branch. Even Jade customers are stuck with £25k per day, and the app is just £10k per day.

        • Triath5 says:

          Why would it be foolish NOT to sign up for a Premier account if you comply with thresholds? If it’s free and not much value to be had from it, what else is the incentive apart from bragging rights to a ‘premier account’? Anecdotally I’ve heard HSBC and Barclays are notoriously old-school and difficult to deal with.

          Why wouldn’t I just continue with a challenger bank / Revolut / Starling-type account?

          • Jonathan says:

            Free travel insurance (that is better than Amex Plat in my experience) for you & family?

            Access to WE MasterCard.

            U.K. call centres.

            Not earth shattering but defo worth more than the £0 cost.

          • Sam G says:

            Access to the points earning MC (HSBC) for me and able to pop into the branch and get certified statements (Santander – needed for mortgage applications in my experience with several recently) or cash on the odd occasion it’s required. Got Barclays for the Avios & voucher.

            I’m nervous about their trigger happy blocking / AML reports coming out of the challenger banks – Monzo were in the BBC again this week about it. Santander I’ve moved £100ks due to relocation / house sales/purchases recently without any issue (@Rob they let you do £100k pd online)

            I’m happily using a Monzo business account and it’s all good so far though and I imagine for most they’ll do the job just fine

          • Triath5 says:

            All fair points – guess I will open one up if that’s the case. Have a question on the quickest way of doing this…

            Just looking at requirements, think the easiest route is: “1. Income and product
            Have an individual annual income of at least £75,000 and 1 of the following with HSBC UK: a mortgage, an investment, life insurance or a protection product.”

            Question: ‘an investment’ would constitute what? Can I just open a trading account with them and invest the minimum? Looks like £100.

            Though a further set of restrictions apply to opening a trading account: “You can invest in one of our ready-made portfolios if: you’ve got an HSBC current account or savings account (excludes Online Bonus Saver and Fixed-rate Saver)”. I’m remote currently so would try to open something online…not sure if this would be enough?

            Final question, would doing all of the above drag my credit score down? Should I space this out over a period of time or do it at pace?


          • Rob says:

            I meant vs having a standard HSBC etc account. If you’re in Central London then the bigger HSBC branches with dedicated HSBC Premier service areas are surprisingly plush.

            In truth the real value comes higher up the value chain – if you need a £2m mortgage but your base salary is only £100k + bonus, for example, a Premier relationship manager can probably make a difference in getting it through.

          • John says:

            Revolut isn’t a bank and when they don’t like you they will screw you over worse than hsbc

          • KBuffett says:

            Revolut isn’t a bank.

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