Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 20th 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 (447)

  • Chris says:

    I may need to wash a red list trip in Doha in a few weeks. I can work from the hotel but need one i will be /comfortable/ working in.

    Can any one recommend a hotel with rock solid/ blisteringly fast internet and a comfortable desk /chair to work from.

  • Happeemonkee says:

    Has anyone settled Solihull with beardy lately and incurred a cash transaction fee? Have an £8000 bill to settle

    • Harry T says:

      Just do a small test transaction. There’s no guarantee the experience of other people will match your own, I’m afraid.

    • Mike79 says:

      I was charged a cash advance fee on my beardy account for paying Brighton via bendy a couple of days ago.

      • Lawro says:

        @Mike79 – did this post alongside the transaction itself or on your statement?

        • Mike79 says:

          It posted at the same time as the transaction on the app but as a separate line. Looks to be 5% too.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            I have had the opposite experience paying Solihull with Beardy this week. Small transaction first no charges, second one is still showing pending at the moment but my available credit is indicating no charges are imminent. Guess I will only know for sure when the statement is generated. Would be a nasty surprise if it’s 5% though. Ouch!

          • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

            +1 The Beardy to Solihull route still seems fine for me too.
            AFAIK the previously mentioned Beardy/Bendy for Brighton has always, at least in recent times, been subject to a cash advance charge. Che is the route for fee-free payment of Brighton – topping-up Che is fee free via Solihull and then you can double-dip by settling Solihull via Beardy. No need for Bendy involvement at all 🙂

          • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

            Data point update – my Beardy August statement arrived after my previous post. No interest or cash advance charges applied, even with multiple Solihull payments made post August 5th totalling around 10k. Also received bonus points @ 1.5 per £ over and above the monthly cap for my purchase of Beardy miles so quite happy with that outcome 🙂

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      Thank you for sharing GG, that’s brilliant news. Looks like I can sweat Beardy a bit more before my statement then! 🙂

  • FFoxSake says:

    If a flight is showing on the IAG cargo site does that definitively mean it won’t be cancelled?

    I’m hoping LHR-SOF on 3rd Sept will be cancelled (so I can rebook for later) but it’s listed on there currently.

    Any other tips to see a possible cancellation?

  • BJ says:

    Nope, not risking it.

  • Dr C says:

    IC Rome not opening until April 2022, any bookings before this will be cancelled but it can’t be done online right now, so have a load of points tied up for no reason, has anyone managed to get their cancelled?

    • Harry T says:

      Why not wait for the hotel to contact you? They may offer to move you elsewhere or move your stay for free.

    • Anna says:

      Have you actually tried to cancel? I’ve had a couple of bookings at other properties where I’ve had this message but have been able to cancel and get points refunded by the usual route.
      Failing that, email or call IHG.

      • meta says:

        For IC Rome – the website now says April 2022, but the app says June 2022. I am waiting until they contact me. Why would you cancel? The hotel was originally planned to be opened in January then March. I think they are just removing booking possibility until they are more certain so as not have to deal with too many refunds. They might open in March in the end. So I’d wait until they contact you.

    • Lady London says:

      I’d call IHG and ask them to cancel and extract the points since the hotel is closed.

      Reports on here are that IHG has been a bit passive in resolving issues recently but surely they can do that much.

  • Gavin says:

    I’m meant to be going to Texas for my 40th; mid-October; catch the F1 in Austin while we’re out there. Booked Avios 355 days out.

    Figured the US (and Texas in particular) would be a great option given the politics around masks, covid, etc – but I can’t see where the move to reopen the borders comes from now (Democrat or Republican)… it’s not going to happen, is it?

    Any thoughts on the best strategy (ie FTV and cancel – or hold out and hope BA cancels the flights?)

    • Harry T says:

      Covid situation is only going to get worse in the USA, I reckon. They seem very preoccupied with dosing the same people over and over again, whilst the virus fills ICUs with the recalcitrant anti-vax crew. The USA missed the window to reopen this summer when the virus looked more under control. I can’t imagine them opening up in autumn/winter if the domestic situation deteriorates (which looks likely – hard to predict this virus though).

      In terms of your flights, I would wait for BA to cancel one or more legs. If you booked with Avios, you can cancel any time up to 24 hours before and receive a refund of Avios and taxes, minus £35pp cancellation fee. I wouldn’t take an FTV unless you used a 241 voucher that is soon to expire, and you want to extend its lifespan. Taking an FTV limits your options and often requires a phone call to BA to use it – not always easy to get through on the phone either. If BA cancel your flights, then you can either take a full refund or move your flights for free to another date up to a year from your original planned departure date, under existing BA policy (of course your rights are not constrained in such a manner, due to EC261, but it’s easier to go with the fairly generous policy if it doesn’t completely ruin your plans).

      And don’t forget that all the above speculation could be wrong and the US could well be open in October and the virus could be squashed.

      TL;DR: don’t cancel now and don’t take an FTV for Avios flights. Wait and see what happens. BA cancelling will give you better options than voluntarily cancelling.

      • Harry T says:

        According to the Bloomberg email this morning, 90% of Texas ICU beds are filled. I don’t know how that compares to their usual situation, but perhaps doesn’t bode well.

        • Andrew says:

          According to the Washington Post yesterday, some US medics are now refusing to see unvaccinated individuals.

          Also for those who have US sim cards, in the paper today, a mass data breach at T-Mobile USA.

    • Anna says:

      No need to do anything yet. There’s a very slim chance the US may re-open to UK visitors by October but you have until very close to the flight to make a decision.
      We had a great time in Texas about 25 years ago, went to San Antonio and the Alamo, crossed the border into Mexico and enjoyed the endless open roads and incredible clear night skies. We stayed with a family friend so got a real insider view, including being invited to a town fete where the top raffle prize was a shotgun!

    • James says:

      I wouldn’t do anything to cancel yet to be honest, I think there is a chance of some sort of travel by October. It depends on how the delta wave goes. Canada have obviously given a nice timeline etc for people about their reopening but I reckon the USA will be a short notice thing when it happens

    • N says:

      Rumours of a there being a second F1 race at COTA this year

    • SteveW says:

      This made me smile. A friend, who’s a mad keen motor racing fan, went to Austin a few years ago and found it so hot watching the race in the open air that he went into a hotel and sat in the lounge with a cool beer and watched the race on a huge tv.

    • RussC says:

      Hope you do make it Gavin. COTA is great – been to all F1 races there that Lewis has won. Heat not usually a problem in October – indeed can be quite cool early morning. Family in Austin so pre-Covid went 2/3 times a year. Airport expanding rapidly (as is Austin) but AA lounge is rubbish – BA ( F & CW ) passengers get free food & drinks served from the bar. Booked to fly there for Christmas – flights just retimed by BA, so live in hope but 241 flights cancelled 4 times so far! Have either rebooked or taken cash/Avios refund. If flexible on dates usually good Avios availability on LHR -AUS route.

  • David D says:

    Just seen an email from BAEC – “For this weekend only, save big with your Avios” This weekend only.
    The offer entitles Eligible Members to receive a discount of £5 per person on a return flight in exchange for 250 Avios, a discount of £18 in exchange for 900 Avios, a discount of £32 in exchange for 1600 Avios, a discount of £56 in exchange for 2,800 Avios, a discount of £80 for 4,000 Avios or a maximum discount of £100 for 5,000 Avios. If a Member is booking a one-way flight, the discounts per person will be as follows: £5 discount for 250 Avios, £9 discount for 450 Avios, £16 discount for 800 Avios, £28 discount for 1,400 Avios, £40 discount for 2,000 Avios, or a maximum discount of £50 for 2,500 Avios.

    • BJ says:

      Actually a good promo given most travel is to Europe anyway.

      • Amy C says:

        Is it good? I dismissed it as poor but I’m no expert. Not done a part avios booking yet.

    • Andrew says:

      How do FTVs work on these cash+ avios bookings – is the FTV for the value of the full price flight or is it held as a cash+avios voucher?

      • Sukes says:

        Cash+Avios in a FTV (rather than an eVoucher). Have to phone BA to use FTV whereas an eVoucher can be applied online when booking.

        • Rob says:

          Are you sure? I thought you got the full cash value of the original ticket as an eVoucher? This deal would let you sell Avios to BA for 2p for future use.

          • Andrew says:

            Interesting! The plot thickens!

          • Andrew says:

            According to BA website FAQs:

            If you used Avios points to pay for part of your booking, will you be able to get a voucher?

            Yes. You will receive a voucher which will equate to the full value of the original booking (cash & Avios combined) and can be redeemed against future bookings. Please note you will not be refunded any Avios points related to the original booking.

          • Rob says:

            So I’m right then. Could be handy for some ….

  • Craig says:

    2000 Virgin points just appeared from Tesco, I think this is the bonus for switching on auto-convert?

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