Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 30th August

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Comments (498)

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  • TheThunderer says:

    Anybody got any views on where to stay in Venice over Xmas? There’s been plenty of good Venice advice on here in the past but focusing on the summer. Thanks

    • mark2 says:

      Never been at Xmas, but my first choice for Venice is (Hilton) Stucky Molino

    • HBommie says:

      Nice idea, thanks.

      Assuming we can go and Italy doesn’t restrict UK arrivals again.

    • N says:

      The Hilton was great a few winters ago. Venice in the winter is magical.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Not points-friendly, but a stay in the northern fringes of the Cannaregio area was my favourite by far; I’d suggest staying there. Sure you may have to walk a bit to some key attractions and get lost in a few back streets as a result… that’s the most interesting bit. Still a functioning community and you can actually find that rarest of things in Venice … superb reasonably priced food in Osterias that attract a local crowd as well as a few tourists. The difference after eating tinned-tomato-on-pasta for £1000 or so near St Mark’s could not be greater.

    • AJA says:

      Stay on the Lido. Take the vaporetto directly from the airport and use it to cross to St Marks Square or the Arsenal. Hotel Excelsior on the Lido is very nice and has complimentary shuttles to St Marks Square.

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      If money is no object try the Gritti Palace. Stayed there for our 10th wedding anniversary and it was amazing.

  • Ming the Merciless says:

    Morning. Best option for an IHG hotel redemption in Istanbul? Location, facilities etc. I’m spire and would consider buying ambassador

  • Anna says:

    Good morning from very pretty Cala Pi, Mallorca!

    Virgin credit card wisdom? OH retire next spring & we have an extension planned and of course lots of travel (still in school holidays though 😬). I want to maximise sign up and target spends but we will both be inside the Amex 2 year cycle then. Is there an article on HFP (or elsewhere?!) for newbies to the Virgin card? It might be time to diversify our points portfolio a bit as BA is looking less and less likely to increase routes from MAN.

    • Michael C says:

      Café con leche / ensaimadas I hope, Anna! Have a fab time.

      • Anna says:

        Gracias! Mucho cafe con leche and yesterday I introduced my friend’s 5 year old to churros con chocolate for breakfast which he was very impressed with.

      • Scott says:

        Hadn’t heard of those, so looked it up – pork lard? Will make sure I give them a wide berth on my next visit!

    • Anna says:

      I’ve found a HFP article from February but any reader experience, especially with departures from MAN gratefully received.

    • Harry T says:

      Be aware that Virgin like to reject people with a high income, or significantly curtail their points earning with a crappy credit limit. I’ve had to appeal in writing both times I’ve applied for the Virgin card 😂

      • BP says:

        I had a different experience. £20k limit offered.

        • Andrew says:

          You must have been wearing the right football colours when the Clydesdale Staff checked your Facebook or Instagram profile. 😉

        • Harry T says:

          There’s something they don’t like about me then! My credit limits with Amex and HSBC are considerably higher than the ones Virgin have offered me.

        • Babyg says:

          similar experience as BP, have a £15k limit

        • Carol says:

          Me too… issues and £17,500 credit limit

      • Andrew says:

        Only have a £4,000 limit, much lower than on other cards. Can apply (and will) for a higher limit after 6 months.

      • Sean says:

        whilst the lowest limit i have on any card – still happy with £14k

      • DarrenS says:

        I was given a limit of 7.5K initially, then increased this after about 6 months to 12.5 over the phone.

    • Mikeact says:

      @Anna. But I thought you said a few weeks back that you were pretty upset with BA and wouldn’t be using them next year anyway. So Virgin seems your best bet long haul, with your favourite Ryanair locally.

      • Anna says:

        Not inclined to pay for cash flights but I have 600k Avios and several 241s.
        Flying back Friday so we’ll see if Ryanair does good for a 4th time!

    • Mel T says:

      Hi Anna, Both husband and I have the Virgin Reward+ Credit card. We don’t fly more than once a year; I’ve only done one paid flight in the last 4 or 5 years I think it is and I still have 210,000 points. All from CC spend and the shops away site.

    • Yuff says:

      Morning Anna
      What’s the entry requirement for u18s travelling to Spain at the moment? Flying on Saturday
      It says on the Uk website pcr or antigen but is that correct?
      Double vaccinated no testing I gather.
      Amazed how Mallorca have reduced cases 80% since I left in July, mind you they were offering vaccines to anyone over 12 the week we returned to the Uk

      • Anna says:

        Hi Yuff, over 12s need a PCR or LAMP test if not vaccinated within 48 hours of travel.
        I was surprised that where we are at least there’s no enforcement of social distancing unlike when we were in Tenerife, masks (and gloves which are provided) are expected when helping oneself to the buffet in the restaurant but people are packed in like sardines on the beach and round the pool.

        • Rob says:

          Based on last 2 weeks of Mallorca breakfasts:

          Hotel 1 – running buffet but items which are not individually plated are handed to you

          Hotel 2 – no buffet, moved to a la carte

          Hotel 3 – full buffet, no restrictions of any sort

          No distancing restrictions anywhere but very strict on masks indoors, even for kids.

          • HBommie says:

            Similar experience last week, although I noted that the Spanish locals or visitors were more inclined to wear masks outdoors in busy streets and squares.

      • Andrew says:

        The qualification has relaxed – brother’s wife failed PCR test a couple of weeks ago and they had to postpone – but it was for an old infection, and the local support (not national T&T) told me not to take a test within 90 days of my recent positive because of this issue with possibly testing positive long after infection has gone.

        He now says rules have changed, no test needed.

        I’m only concerned about Austria for December (so I can actually ski in 2021). Currently OK with double vaccination, but it’s all going to take off again when schools go back…

    • Simon says:

      Go to Miguels for dinner !! Great fish….. enjoy !

  • Steve says:

    Does anyone have any recent experience of using the NHS covid pass in Germany (for entering restaurants, hotels etc)? There were reports a couple of months ago that it didn’t work, but I haven’t seen anything recently, so I’m wondering if that’s changed.

    • PerkyPat says:

      Friend is there at the moment, he says no problem with the NHS pass.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Just make sure you scan the second dose QR.

    • ChrisA says:

      I didn’t have any problems beyond the fact that most places were unable to scan it – but happy to simply read the info on screen. One place checked my ID as well to match it up with the app.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks everyone – this is reassuring!

      • MJ says:

        You can download their “Luca” app amd upload your NHS QR codes, you can also use Luca to check in to venues. Absolutely no problems at all.

    • PMG says:

      Just to add to what everyone has said, I just used my NHS Letter everywhere (the one without the QR Code).
      Meant that there was never any awkwardness about it the QR code not working etc.

      Got everywhere into everywhere I wanted 🙂

  • Graham says:

    Hi there,

    On the off chance anyone is familiar with COVID testing in Vancouver/North Vancouver – any recommendations for the return to UK lateral flow test? Cheapest I’ve found so far is about C$129.

    It’s for my partner’s mother hence why there isn’t one of the home delivered kits away.

  • TheInsiderFly says:

    Morning all. Was planning to delay triggering my BAPP 241 until 1st Sep due to the rules change. But OH has accidentally just tipped us over the limit with some transactions yesterday. Does anyone know if there’s a way to ‘delay’ pending transactions from being confirmed or are we doomed?

    • AJA says:

      Oh dear . No way to do so other than to return items for refund but that assumes the refund hits before 1 Sep. You might find voucher is issued before refund hits.

    • Peter K says:

      I nearly had the same disaster yesterday but it was an online shop and I was able to amend it! Unless you cancel the purchase before it bills then I think you are doomed sorry.

    • TheInsiderFly says:

      Oh balls. Divorce it is.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You might get lucky as transactions take a couple days to clear and it’s a BH today.

    • Babyg says:

      say you lost your card? transactions will get cancelled?

    • Ls says:

      Points get added to your Amex total the day after transactions formally post. I don’t know if this is also the case for working out £10k spend.
      Amex don’t seem to recognise U.K. bank holidays. But if it’s an online shop they may not formally charge until tomorrow anyway given the BH.

    • SteveW says:

      Had the same thing recently. Having only just (2 months before) triggered my 241, I didn’t want her to trigger hers yet but despite a succinct briefing when off to buy curtain material, the triggering occurred! Even more sick with the new changes coming up.

  • ash says:

    Mainly to Harry T as I know you visited seville recently but anyone else know a cheap reliable place to get covid test for return home? P. S thanks Harry T for the advice on not using the suite nights upgrade at the hotel Alfonso, upgrade to exec suite on arival Mrs A is very happy 😊

    • James says:

      For “test to return” we’ve been using the Chronomics self-test kit. Incredibly simple & quick, no video call, just upload pic and you get your certificate pretty much instantly. £22.40 using BA discount, no need to be flying BA.

      • Conor Megaw says:

        Any advice on ordering the Chronomics tests.
        I don’t want to be caught out by them only delivering them a few days before I travel but me being away from home with work

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Stuck in a date a week before you actually travel? Same advice for ordering any tests.

        • Paul says:

          I highly recommend them. The return test results were confirmed in about 30 seconds

    • Harry T says:

      Nice work, I think that may be even nicer than the suite I got 😂. I’m afraid I went straight to Madrid from Seville, so I don’t have any advice regarding local sources for tests. I hope you enjoy your stay though!

  • PerkyPat says:

    Anyone got any info about testing in Poland for returning to UK?

    • John says:

      Partner got a quick lateral flow test at Poznań departures a few weeks ago… lots of advice to arrive early etc, but there was no queue (then).

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