Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 15th 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 (243)

  • Aston100 says:

    Good news: due to the civil war in Africa, the African government wants to deposit a million dollars into my account for safe keeping. I need to temporarily give them ten thousand dollars in order to facilitate the transfer.
    I was wondering what would be the most efficient way to gain miles or points from this unique opportunity.
    Thanks.

    • TimM says:

      The first time I had one of those was over 20 years ago. Then they only asked for my bank details to deposit the funds, which I happily gave them. Anyone is welcome to pay funds into my bank account. Then they wanted money for the ‘bank fees’. It appears these scammers fees have gone up in the intervening years.

      • SteveJ says:

        Clarkson once made the mistake of thinking nothing untoward could happen by providing his bank details, as you say, happy for anyone to pay money IN.

        Then the public made him realise that it’s very easy to set up Charity Donation direct debits up with someone’s bank account details, he soon saw the error of his ways once his account was being hit with a £500 direct debit!

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7174760.stm

        • BJ says:

          Talking of JC, did anybody see Who Wants to be a Millionaire last night? He was asked by a contestant to help him with a q5uestion regarding TV game shows and their hosts. He claimed ignorance saying that he could not help. I found this so hard to believe. I would have thought most of these presenters would be very clued up on the other game shows and their presenters.

          • ChrisC says:

            If this was in the game play itself then JC shouldn’t help!

          • BJ says:

            He should because since he took over as host one of the lifelines is to ask him. He is supposed to answer honestly. Covered in various papers today.

    • Gruntfuttock says:

      That’s a coincidence, so did I! I’ve got my accountant working on it, mainly to examine the Ts & Cs. He’s not happy about the term ‘safekeeping’.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      That is good news – perhaps to your question, let the people dealing with the matter help with that too? I assume that if you give them your Avios credentials too they could handle the whole thing for you?

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      This will turn into a very long thread concerning which African countries accept Curve.

      • Gruntfuttock says:

        Indeed. Not forgetting retention offers. My money’s on Chad – my accountant isn’t answering his phone but I’m sure he’d agree.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Only logical explanation for not answering phone is that he is busy filling his boots – you’re missing out already just by posting on here, get that info posted and as you’re already behind the curve get the passport, birth certificate and driving licence copies sent over now before they ask for them to save time later

    • Ryan Gill says:

      Personally, if a country can be shown to be making very little effort to degrade its scamming communities, I would think it reasonable that we use resources such as the army and attack those responsible for being such pests to their western targets.

    • Nicky says:

      Funnily enough I was informed that I had won the WhatsApp lottery of $1 mil this week: obviously I don’t want to pay tax on it and I too was wondering if they would convert them into Avios miles for me

      • Anna says:

        I’ve been selected to inherit $12 million from a wealthy benefactor. That said, it’s not nearly as worrying as my ongoing email hacking saga!

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      If it’s a civil war scenario then clearly you need to get the Revolutionaries involved somehow Aston!

  • aviosnewbie says:

    Hi HfP fam, has anyone travelled long haul recently with a toddler? We’re booked for the Bahamas next week, and it’ll be our first flight after 18 months! Outbound CW, return WTP and staying at the Four Seasons. So hoping to avoid crowds and possible covid infection points – but looking at the delta variant spread and increasing numbers from the US, I am debating if this is a good idea. We’re double vaccinated of course, but there’s that worry about having a toddler in tow and if/then scenarios about if Bahamas is put in the red list while we’re there, etc etc…. All bookings are fully refundable, but I need to cancel the hotel booking latest by tomorrow evening. So I’ll appreciate if someone who’s travelled long haul recently with a toddler can chime in about how safe it felt, and if there are any experiences about caribbean travels! thank you! I’m really looking forward to traveling, but in two minds at the same time

    • Crafty says:

      There was a horror story posted on here about testing positive for Covid in Barbados. Hopefully that would not happen to you, but it is worth considering what all scenarios would look like in your chosen destination.

      • Ted80 says:

        Do you have a link to this (or know when was posted)? I can’t find and I’m off there shortly…

        • Rob says:

          This was it:

          “Just be aware “it is very unlikely to be you” can be you. This is an extract from a friend who is currently in enforced isolation: “we were quarantined on arrival as someone near us had tested positive for COVID at the airport. My daughter then tested positive for COVID 3 days later. She was immediately subject to Barbados’s draconian directives, and detained by the state. I was allowed to accompany her as she is 15. We were separated from the rest of our family, picked up by the military in biohazard suits, and driven to a medical facility (Harrison’s Point). It was an old naval base, and pretty unpleasant – we shared dirty showers with 30+ others, had to “sleep” on rubber-sheeted beds without air con in high heat, with tannoys and floodlighting at night, a wire fenced exercise yard and inedible food. We were there for 3 days although people are usually there much longer. After my daughter suffered extreme panic attacks we were moved to a private isolation facility in a hotel – we are still locked in and detained by the state and separated from the rest of the family, but now in an appropriate setting at our expense. We will be released in a few days, after 14 days in quarantine and isolation.”

    • John Caribbean says:

      So what’s the question? Are you worried about the toddler getting covid and screwing up the holiday? Or is it just generally “am I wise going to the Bahamas”?

      • aviosnewbie says:

        it’s generally about “am I wise going to the Bahamas (or indeed any long haul holiday destination)” at this stage – I know it’s relative and depends on everybody’s risk tolerance, but I’m just looking for what people are thinking on HfP. And what happens if we somehow catch covid there or in the outbound flight… thanks!

        • Anna says:

          You need to find out from an official source – what is Bahamas policy for visitors who test positive, would your insurance cover extra accommodation if you had to isolate away from your hotel or beyond the end of your trip (also for covid-related medical expenses if necessary)?

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      I tried to book long haul with a toddler a while ago but honestly it was a train wreck. He kept typing in all the wrong boxes, we had juice on the keyboard and sticky fingerprints over the trackpad and I swear to god he wasn’t even trying to put the passport numbers in correctly…

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve not heard of a toddler being infected with Covid, and you will be well protected by being vaccinated. In terms of the risks of travel, I haven’t flown to the Bahamas but I’ve done more flying than most during covid – I think it’s fairly safe to fly at the moment, particularly with all the extra testing and vaccination requirements for actually getting on a plane. The air circulation systems on planes apparently also make them safer and you’ll be relatively distanced in club world. Plus I assume you’ll be doing a lot of dining outdoors etc over there? Personally I’d urge you to have a well deserved holiday and accept the small risks of disruption or infection. Bahamas unlikely to be added to the red list IMO but we’ve all been wrong before.

      TL;DR no travel is risk free during covid but I’d go for it if I were you.

      • Harry T says:

        But yes, worth looking into what happens if you test positive over there. If you can afford a delay to getting home/extend your stay though, I shouldn’t imagine it’s too much of an issue. And you also have to get tested to be positive, so the main point of drama would be your predeparture lateral flow test for returning to the UK, I assume?

        Having checked the FCDO just now, your main issue is this: “ The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of The Bahamas based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.” This probably does invalidate most travel insurance so it’s worth looking into specialised covid related travel insurance – battleface has been mentioned favourably across here and flyertalk.

        • Harry T says:

          You also need a predeparture test, apparently, plus: “Travellers who are staying in The Bahamas more than four nights/five days will be required to take a rapid antigen test and complete daily health questionnaires. More details are available at the Ministry of Tourism’s website.”

          • Anna says:

            I think a lot of that stuff isn’t required if you’re vaccinated, but the FCDO advice would make it a non-starter for me when our current insurance will cover us to go to numerous other places without taking out an extra covid policy.

          • aviosnewbie says:

            Thanks so much Harry and Anna.

            Regarding travel insurance, I think we’re sorted because as per the new Bahamas process, we need to apply for their Travel Health Visa (which is to upload our NHS vaccination certificate) on the govt website. And they also offer a mandatory covid travel insurance policy while applying.

            In terms of my work/business, I can afford to delay on the way back just in case covid hits. But I don’t know what happens to my Avios booking…will have to figure that out.

            We’ll also be spending a lot of time outdoors, and in any case don’t think we’ll leave the resort at all. Which is why decided to splurge a bit and get the Four Seasons so it’s less crowded and (hopefully) better cleaned. I’m getting inclined to go with Harry’s advice 🙂

        • Reney says:

          For interest: I called Axa (amex plat) to ask what is the cover level if I catch Covid on holiday, not sick but can’t travel home for 14 days. I was most worried about hotel costs. The lady came back and said £300 all in covered under the mis flight section. I said it was too low, I would have to sleep in a hostel in Paris sharing a room with others and not self isolating for that budget. She went away to check again. Came back to tell me £150 per person per day all in up to 10 days under the delay travel part of the medical cover.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        It came as a surprise to me, but children do die of covid.
        https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/14/world/asia/indonesia-children-covid-deaths.html

        • Rob says:

          They do, but it’s about 1 in 1,000,000. Risk of (non fatal) heart issues with the vaccine is about 1 in 20,000 IIRC. Hence the difficult debate.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            It’s an interesting ethical debate; and with Covid death in children so rare, largely centres on the frequency and severity of long-term effects after Covid infection, which is still not well understood, of course – we know they are rare, but more common than death, and potentially severely life-affecting at that age. Also, is protecting those around you to some degree a benefit to yourself that justifies taking on some level of risk? It’s a finely balanced judgement and unfortunately the internet is full of screaming polarised answers.

            The last similar debate was around HPV vaccination for boys. Although it does have some protective effects against some rare conditions for boys, the strongest protective effect is in reducing future female sexual partners’ risk of cervical cancer. I’d argue that your partner not dying of this is a self-evidently beneficial, but it’s clearly more tenuous than direct personal benefit (it assumes future lifestyle for a start), so it’s reasonable to demand a higher benefit/risk ratio in return. An informed debate about Covid vaccines for children would look similar.

  • Steven says:

    Good morning all, looking for recommendations please on best places to stay for first family trip to London. Family of 4 with kids who are 5 + 8. Looking likely to be around the end of October. Have Gold status with Hilton, Mariott and Radisson. Ideally somewhere located close to the typical tourist attractions. Budget reasonably flexible. Many thanks in advance.

    • Blair says:

      Marriott Gold and Radisson Gold won’t be deciding factors. So focusing on Hilton, the Hilton London Bridge is (relatively) new and well located transport-wise. Many connecting rooms too. The breakfast at present is quite rigid though: a set menu of hot or cold options and little deviation possible. Doubletree Tower of London tends to be cheaper but rooms quite basic and bathrooms tiny. The other Doubletrees – by Holborn, Victoria and Oxford St – are IMO well past caring and cruising along based on location alone. Breakfasts particularly bad at these. If your budget could go up, there’s Conrad St James and LXR Biltmore at the other end of the scale.

    • Grant says:

      I used the Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge for similar a few weeks ago. One bed suite with the kids on the sofa bed. Hotel was fine but nothing special and breakfast was a bit of a shambles. Decent pool and easy to book slots. Location is ideal.

      If I were doing it again I’d think about Conrad St James via Emyr. They’re well set up with interconnecting rooms for families, or a two bed suite if you’re feeling flush.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Park Plaza is indeed ideally located and decent family room options – with a semi-separated area for the children, so that, unlike most mid-market central London hotels (IME), interconnecting rooms for a family of 4 would not be necessary.

        Never experienced breakfast there but it’s worth noting that if you take the 2 minute 200m walk to Lower Marsh, then the 2nd shop on the left is Barbarella’s – an old-fashioned greasy spoon that does what it says on the tin (you know your kids will love it) while various more healthy or “artisan” options are only steps further, so no way would I choose the hotel breakfast.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          One interesting thing there was that the rooms were remarkably quiet despite the hotel being largely surrounded by a significant road. Modern soundproofing and glazing certainly helps, but I wonder if its overhanging design bounces sound back down rather than it travelling up the side of the building. Any acoustic experts in HfP?

        • Gavin says:

          Barbarella’s is very good greasy spoon fare, ate there last month when up in London

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Park plaza Westminster is good and we have a nice family room (2xdouble) at Marriott county hall for later in the year

      Former CP ( now DT?) Kensington great too for location and good room options

    • Chris says:

      Not in the centre but Doubletree Docklands has suitable rooms, nice views, good breakfast, easy parking (free outside) and a good boat trip in to town from the hotel.

    • Anna says:

      I think a lot of that stuff isn’t required if you’re vaccinated, but the FCDO advice would make it a non-starter for me when our current insurance will cover us to go to numerous other places without taking out an extra covid policy.

    • Steven says:

      Many thanks all, I will have a look at your suggestions.

      Rob – tried looking but can’t find any Hilton near Camden market coming up in the search? Nearest one seems to be London Euston, maybe it’s that one?

      • Rob says:

        Sorry, meant Holiday Inn Camden.

        Hilton Park Lane has rooms with 2 double beds, I’ve seen them as redemptions in the past. Hotel is a bit worn but Hyde Park view rooms do have a wow factor.

  • Kevin B says:

    DP: Ordered antigen tests from Chronomics last Saturday ready for travel early tomorrow. They have supposedly been in transit since Thursday. Nothing has been delivered. Now having to do drive-thru at Heathrow this morning and will have to find local tests while on holiday! Cheapest is not always the best. One to avoid!

  • Mouse says:

    @Kbuffett, which restaurant did you choose yesterday?

    • KBuffett says:

      We went to Tredwells, which was perfect for us. It wasn’t too busy, not too loud. Great service and not too poncy and we really liked the food.
      Thanks for all recommendations, especially @Jen T.
      It will be great when the HfP forum is launched as it would be much easier to continue such conversations.

      We are looking for a great Italian for tonight if anyone has recommendations. Has anyone been to Forty Dean Street or Il Pampero?

      • iSub says:

        I was in Manteca recently and it was great – on the edge of Soho

      • Mouse says:

        I don’t know either of those but I would highly recommend Bocca di Lupo in Soho

  • Tracey says:

    Expert medical have removed the £7.99 postage fee, making their tests only £28. Probably the cheapest available (other than those that require you to pick up from an odd location rarely open).
    Hat tip to Facebook group ‘covid 19 travel test help and advice’

    • Tracey says:

      Should have added these are for day2 tests when you arrive back in the UK from your travels.

    • Anna says:

      Thanks Tracey, I need one for later this month. Surprising though!

      • Anna says:

        Just wondering whether to order a few more now, do we think a) they will still be required by the end of the year and b) Expert Medicals will still be an approved provider?!

        • Jonathan says:

          A) yes B) 50:50.
          I’d imagine the end of the summer holidays will result in a clear out among some of the weaker testing firms. If I was buying more than 4 weeks in advance I’d stick to firms like Randox.

    • bafan says:

      How are they doing it so much cheaper? I did my test with them and it worked great BTW, just curious.

  • George K says:

    Trying to figure out if there’s anything nefarious going on behind the fact that a booking fails to display the member’s Exec Club number and ‘Rewards for this booking’ under MMB on BA.com… They both show as N/A, but you can see them once you go into each flight independently (and they show on the app).

    Booking was via BA Holidays.

    • Anna says:

      I don’t know if the BA website is just generally rubbish at the moment. I have tried several times to change my email address in my account after my usual email was hacked and just keep getting a message that there’s a technical issue and it can’t be done.

  • Anna says:

    Planning a weekend in Edinburgh in Oct with a friend using her IC Ambassador certificate. Booked a few months ago but when I re-checked the pricing, The George is now not accepting free night bookings that weekend, so I’m just wondering if they will try and cancel our stay?! I’ve emailed them but no response so far.

    • David says:

      Why would you even think they would do that?

      • Anna says:

        Because of previous issues during the pandemic widely reported here!

        • David says:

          The IC is not quarrentine hotel and although was closed during the largest ‘wave’ is well and truly back open, has been for some time and there is almost zero risk of this changing in the foreseeable future, if at all.
          My point really being, I think you are worrying for nothing over using of the voucher.

    • Pete M says:

      This seems an unwise thing to be asking?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There are alway a limited number of amb nights bookable for each property.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks TG, that would explain it then. There were a lot of shenanigans reported at The George previously so I’m not relying on anything.

        Peter M, I haven’t asked them directly , the email was about needing a twin rather than a double (in case they didn’t realise this when hopefully applying the Ambassador upgrade), but if they were going to cancel the booking I assume it would be indicated in the eventual response!

        • Char Char says:

          Well I think last time the hotel was closed hence the issues rather than them being funny with bookings.

          • Anna says:

            They repeatedly refused to rebook people who had booked on good rates then ramped up both cash and avios prices when they re-opened. There was also a long period when they failed to offer points or free night certificate stays. My friend prefers it for the location over the Kimpton though and it does look very nice!

    • Tracy says:

      I’ve just this week booked a Sat night at the George in September using IHG credit card free night….

    • Peggerz says:

      I think it’s to do with the limit on certificate nights at the IC George rather than anything nefarious. October is a surprisingly popular month to visit Edinburgh and the hotel does seem to be busy atm, so on balance I wouldn’t fret.

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