Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 2nd September

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (438)

  • BJ says:

    Nectar offers on app that are probably open to all:
    1. 12,000 points for switching to Saibsbury’s Energy.
    2. Win up to 100,000 Nectar points every time you buy petrol at Esso through 26 October.

    • Andrew H says:

      There’s also a bonus 250 avios the first time you convert (I think 2000) Nectar points. I’ve already got the bonus but wondering if it works converting Avios to Nectar then back again?

      • BJ says:

        No idea, not showing for me. I would guess not, evidence from earlier promotions suggest they are tracking movements between the two partners quite well with few, if any, eligibility errors. I am down to just 13 offers, the least for a long time.

        • Andrew H says:

          It’s not under offers but in the “don’t miss out” section on the home page. The section lists their 5 partners.

          Take your points sky high

          Get your Nectar points to take you further by converting them into Avios before your book. Just link your Nectar and British Airways Executive Club accounts to get started.

          Converting for the first time? Do it by 27 September to grab yourself 250 bonus Avios when you exchange at least 2,000 points!**

          Top-tip: turn on auto-conversion to collect points automatically.

          • BJ says:

            Thanks. Doubt it’ll work tbh, I already converted more than once. But I’ll convert 2000 anyway.

    • John says:

      The bonus points for buying my grocery items on offer didn’t post yesterday.

      • BJ says:

        Never had that. Call Sainsbury’s, they may add some and the points may still arrive regardless.

        • John says:

          Well, just got a notification 30 hours after doing the shop (in person not online) and the bonus points have arrived.

      • Mike says:

        Only happened to me once since switching to Sainsburys – I contacted them (Nectar) by on line chat – soon sorted

  • davef says:

    Moral dilemma question for a hotel rate –

    Marriot has 2 package room rates at exactly the same price
    1. Business rate – Inc parking, breakfast and 20% off laundry service
    2. Couples rate – Inc parking, breakfast, bottle of wine on arrival, 2 drinks vouchers for the rooftop bar and room upgrade if available.

    Solo traveller, what would you do, knowing that hotels in this country require passport/ID for each person to register your arrival so I can’t say the missus is away shopping etc while I check in.

    Would you:

    A. Book a room for 1 on the couples rate and hope for the best.
    B. book a room for 2 and say she couldnt come on the trip due to sickness
    C. Another reason?

    • Amy C says:

      A. Do they’re all require that? I checked into a hotel last month and wasn’t asked for either.

      • davef says:

        Yes, legal requirement to register with police within 7 days of arrival/hotels do it for you etc. One of those countries.

    • Can says:

      B. “They” call it a couples rate.
      What would you choose if I call the deals as 1. laundry rate and 2. drink rate for up to 2 people.

    • Andrew Mc says:

      Well, morally, it makes no difference. Either you book a rate you’re actually eligible for (morally fine, and beyond reproach), or you don’t (arguably morally bankrupt, irrespective of the option chosen 🙂).

      • Anna says:

        Arguably is it not marginally better for the hotel as davef will (presumably) only be eating one breakfast? So he actually loses out under the couples rate (though obviously it’s still a better deal than the other rate)?

    • John says:

      B

    • BJ says:

      Love it! Let’s put it this way: never in my life when travelling solo have I ever booked a room for one., and never have I been refused benefits for two. When checking in you say absolutely nothing at all. If you are asked about the other guest you just say they are travelling independently and they will register later on arrival. No need to divulge any further details. In my experience it is very rare that they bother asking. Even in Soviet-era Russia I had no issues with this (they were always snooping in my room and bags when out though). I avoided booking for one as you often get allocated rubbish reasons, and when I was working it was often useful to arrange an early meeting with colleagues who usually appreciated the free breakfast.

      • Andrew H says:

        Are single rooms ever cheaper in hotels used for business travel? I’ve always booked a double room whilst on business – who wants the possibility of a single bed if they can help it?. Having said that when solo skiing, rooms are cheaper for one and often are single beds. But then I’m paying, so…

        • John says:

          Yes, frequently. Always book Hiltons for 1 to see if they have an extra charge for double occupancy as being a member entitles you to second guest free (unless the rate includes meals).

        • BJ says:

          The rates were often higher if you searched for one guest in the past, because the assumption was business traveller. I don’t know about these days. Where hotels had single rooms they would sometimes highlight them as such and these were cheaper. I arrived once at Thistle Euston I think it was with a room booked for two. When they saw I was alone they tried to put me in a cupboard with a single bed but I was having none of it.

          • JDB says:

            We have, perhaps rather optimistically, been booking hotels in South Africa and there seems to be a huge difference in price between 1 person or 2, even at places that aren’t all inclusive safari type lodges. Can’t recall seeing this elsewhere for a long time.

        • davef says:

          Bizarrely this ‘couples’ rate is only available on a king room with a large bed. It’s not available on their twin bed or suites.

        • Rob says:

          Hilton Brighton offered me a single bed last night, not that the minor saving over a double is likely to swing it for anyone.

          • Brighton Belle says:

            I’ve stayed in those single bed rooms. It felt like being 5 again. The things we do for mattress runs😩

          • KBuffett says:

            Is this a nice property?

          • Rob says:

            Not really, but if you have status it is a decent bet. Would be well down the list for a romantic weekend.

          • John says:

            If alone I always book the single as pretty much guaranteed to be upgraded as diamond. If hotel isn’t able to upgrade, the rate for all rooms would be astronomical anyway and I wouldn’t be staying there

          • swifty says:

            ohh so that was your McLaren I saw parked in front of it yesterday! Knew it Rob

      • Lady London says:

        Couples rate.
        After all you might get lucky

        I book for 2 always. Same reasons as BJ.
        Seeing you arrive alone as a female IME 50% of hotels will still try to fob you off with a $hitty room. Unless it”s a cookie cutter business hotel like HIX. Even had it done by the odd Hampton.

        • davef says:

          Lol ok Lady L, fancy a night in Sarajevo?

          Same happens to solo males as well – I remember 4 nights in the Cairo Hilton staring at the wall of a shopping centre and the air con unit and many other places too.

    • OpaWoody says:

      What’s in a name?
      Would you be concerned if they were described as
      Option 1 – “Dirty Laundry Rate”
      Option 2 – “Romance Rate”

      What do the Ts&Cs say?
      Option 1 – do they require you to be staying on business to get the rate?
      Option 2 – do they require 2 people to checkin? Do they define what a couple is?

    • Pangolin says:

      As a Hilton Diamond I book for two as I always travel with my pet giraffe.

    • Kevin says:

      You could be couple (2 person) during your stay if luckily met someone on the day or catching up high school friends 😀

  • Track says:

    These new BA cards — AMEX is making a joke on subscription bonuses.

    More clearly, AMEX throws in big headline numbers “40,000 Avios” “60,000 Membership Rewards” well-knowing only a tiny group of current clients is eligible.

    If a business has travel expenses and owners inclined to collected points, there is 100% probability they already have a business AMEX.

    • Andrew H says:

      Many people signing up could be like me – a one man business who will use the card solely or near solely for personal use. I’m tempted having just stopped my personal BAPP. I have a limited company – but they won’t be bothered who pays the bills monthly.

      But like you, not really sure what their game is.

      Choice now – Platinum personal Amex (65000 points, plus other benefits that I may not get great use out of in first year) for £575, or this BA business one. Cheaper, more Avios per £ but less flexible usage – I may well want Virgin points – and a more onerous spend rate/month for the bonus, though I have £4,500 outstanding QM2 fare for next year I can bring forward…

      Choices.. two months to decide.

      • JDB says:

        Andrew H, I’m sure you are not alone in doing this, but as personal use of the business card is not permitted, I wouldn’t be alluding to it in a public forum. Amex seems to turn a blind eye to a lot of stuff but mixing personal & business is something they can get a bit funny about. Having said that, I know there have been some offers on the business card that most would struggle to get signed off as an expense.

    • Anna says:

      Smacks of desperation. They should be aware that getting and keeping customers would be easier if people weren’t now waiting 2 years to apply. It would be interesting to know whether they have gained or lost financially from that change in the rules.

      • Andrew H says:

        BA sold a huge number of AVIOS to Amex last year to help fund them through COVID, presumably at a rate favourable to AMex. Wondering if this is Amex trying to use these (to them) cut price Avios to get cash coming in and to buy some new custom?

      • BJ says:

        They’re not wanting two years, they’re waiting two days then calling up to demand retention bonuses that exceed the SUB!

      • JDB says:

        What I struggle to understand is why they spend so much showering ‘new’ customers with bonuses rather than creating some longer term incentives to get people to keep their cards. If the current huge bonuses relate to panic re Chase, I can’t see how that helps or is it just the last fling before moving to US once in a lifetime SUB? The business sense of what they are doing escapes me.

        • BJ says:

          @JDB, you don’t think the retention offers, referral bonuses and amex offers are sufficient incentive for long term customers? What have you found that is better? How long have you been an amex customer already?

          • JDB says:

            I have been an Amex customer for c.35 years, but have never asked for a retention bonus, because I have no intention of cancelling my cards and as you know I don’t want to lie to Amex to pretend that I do want to cancel and the same goes for my wife. The fact that so many on here seem to want to cancel, churn etc suggests they think they are better off doing this (despite the bonuses/offers/referrals etc) which costs Amex money, takes up call centre time etc. They might be better having regular loyalty bonuses for longer term retention.

        • AL says:

          Have been a cardmember with a free supp on AmEx Gold since ‘15 – worth calling for a retention bonus?

    • Andrew says:

      After the last 18 months there’s a high chance that businesses did not renew their corporate credit cards at the annual review.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Good point. No wonder Amex is aggressively pushing out business cards.

  • Allan says:

    No comments option on the BA Business card article for some reason.
    Can you refer for this card?

    • Andrew H says:

      Good point. You can refer for any Amex can’t you?

      • Allan says:

        The BA Business one doesn’t seem to show up when you pick on a referral link from business gold. Business gold and plat do though.

      • Rob says:

        You can’t refer to this. Use our link and keep Rhys employed 🙂

    • Rob says:

      No referrals.

      Comments were accidentally locked, now unlocked.

  • DZOO says:

    Best way to avoid being a no-show? Do you just call and say you won’t be on the flight / do you need some form of written acknowledgment to be on the safe side?

    Return Oct 21 flight in 241 booking has been cancelled with 15 Sep 21 outbound almost definitely running. Want to rebook outbound on latest date possible (14 Sep 22) so can’t do so before 15 Sep.

    Thanks.

    • ChrisC says:

      I’d use the live chat and get them to put a note in the booking to say since the return has been cancelled your exercising your rebooking rights and will contact them at a later date.

      Then save the chat as your confirmation that you contacted them.

    • Toby says:

      I’ve had lots of experience with this as BA seems to cancel everything I book. You need to call and say words to the effect of: “You’ve cancelled my flight and offered new ones which I do not accept. Please note this on my booking”

      They will probably initially fob you off saying take a voucher. You then need to insist they note it on the booking so you’re not shown as a no show. If the agent refuses HUACA.

      What the agent needs to do is move you to a “dummy booking” on the same route and then you can can in to tell them the actual flights you want when you’re ready.

      You’ll know they’ve noted it correctly if it shows on your MMB with a big CANCELLED on the flight details.

      • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

        Well, I’ve phoned YouFirst 3 times and agents say not possible to to do anything with the first flight. I have asked for a note on the booking that we will rebook when dates come in range, but it’s like talking to a brick wall. If we don’t show up for our first leg = lose the lot, even though BA cancelled the LH leg. It’s SO frustrating. Agent even said the supervisor wouldn’t speak to me as ” it’s not a value call” ( this morning at 8 am)

      • Track says:

        How is that possible if BA cancels one leg, but keeps other legs and slaps you with no show?

        Take them straight to small claims court for that practice.

        • Jill ( Kinkell) says:

          God knows. The rubbish that the CS agents gave spouted is a disgrace. I’m contemplating my next move.

    • DZOO says:

      Thanks both

      • pauldb says:

        Though isn’t 14/9/22 going to be the last date for your inbound, not your outbound.

        • ChrisC says:

          Policy is a rebooked outbound has to be within a year of the date of the cancelled flight it’s replacing.

          The return leg has to be within a year of the new outbound.

  • Steve says:

    Expert Medicals Day 2 test turned up on day 6, and I’d already left the UK on another trip on day 5. Can I use the same reference number again on the passenger locator form and take it as the day 2 test for this trip? I’m guessing the answer is yes, unless they somehow check for reuse of numbers (from comments here they don’t seem to check that the numbers actually correspond to tests, so presumably this is unlikely?).

    • Oli says:

      I had bought a D2+D8 with Randox in June and did not user the D8 as tested positive in the TTT. Last week I decided to use the leftover D8 test to do my D2 test when travelling back from an amber country (I am vaccinated) and put the same reference number as in June. No issues at all.
      D8 results also came back normally even if I had purchased the kit 3 months earlier.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I’m doing that today. If anything bad happens I’ll be sure to report it here, if all goes fine I’ll probably forget.

      I did take a test when the booked one didn’t turn up in time, although it was one of the free NHS ones.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      It’s fine.

      I’ve done this before no problems. It’s not your fault it arrived late.

      They don’t even bother asking you for anything anymore.

  • Dave says:

    Looking at a Porto hotel after SSDV…

    Noticed there’s a new Hilton, good location, pool, 36,000 HH points. Would also get free breakfast as a Gold.

    Looking a better option than the IC for 56,000 IHG points, which doesn’t have a pool or free brekkie.

    • AL says:

      Is this the Curio? I was looking at stay from 4-8 Oct and it was “coming soon” for those dates – wonder if it opens later in year…

      Either way, was disappointed with Porto hotel choices so will be watching this comment with interest 👀

      • Dave says:

        No it’s a proper Hilton – https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/opogahi-hilton-porto-gaia/

        The Curio looks a little too far away from the action for me.

        • meta says:

          Yes, it’s a new hotel. It will open soon. It’s closer to the waterfront in Gaia than Boeira Garden Curio (which I’d avoid – explained in chat last week). I passed by the new Hilton Gaia as we had a dinner at Enoteca 17.56. They were doing soft works inside, so I went in and they let me look at the lobby (impressive!). However, I wouldn’t stay at that hotel as it just opened.

          Unless you want to be in Gaia on the other side of the river, stick with IC Porto. Best service, nice rooms. It’s also close to all major sights if you’ve never been to Porto.

          • meta says:

            IC Porto will give you a special breakfast rate for Ambassadors of 18 euros instead of 25. It’s an excellent breakfast as you can choose from one hot dish plus buffet which is really great and miles better quality than Boeira Gardens for example.

            Talking of SSDV – don’t expect points for F&B spend. IHG CS told me that they are not fully participating in IHG Rewards. Seems silly given that they present all the benefits at check-in as elite benefits.

  • Tazzy says:

    Any experience of prenetics test to return? I’m flying back from Spain with Easyet

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Take the test. Send photo. Get certificate.

      Only annoying thing is the liquid tends to be empty (broken). We take spares from the NHS kits.

      Flown back from Spain twice with ryanair using it.

    • ankomonkey says:

      Have used twice this year to return to UK – no problems so far!

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.