Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 11th September

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

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Comments (481)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Marie says:

    Suggestions for luxury but teen friendly hotel in Istanbul for next summer please?
    First time in city so clueless ! Thanks

    • Dominic says:

      Hilton Bosphorus. There’s also a Conrad, but probably less ‘teen friendly’.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      Not sure what constitutes teen friendly but if they’re looking for some nightlife beyond just the historic tourist attractions then maybe somewhere in Beşiktaş would suit. W, Shangri-La, Conrad & Four Seasons are in that area and it’s still easy to get to the tourist sites via tram, but with the benefit of being in a youthful lively area. Also could use the ferry from Beşiktaş to go exploring from too.

      Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace area) is dead at night and generally touristy so would avoid there.

      The IC is in Taksim Square…basically just near big shopping areas if that’s what they want.

    • Harry T says:

      Surely any decent hotel is teen friendly?! I’ve not stayed but there are a multitude of very nice hotels on offer, including Four Seasons and St Regis. I imagine they would be delighted to accommodation a teenager!

    • Michael C says:

      W? Not my personal cup of tea, but in a very buzzy part of Beşiktaş.
      Also depends on teens: the historic Pera Palace is gorgeous, and right on the edge of the main shopping street.

    • Can says:

      I second Hilton Bosporus, too. Especially the rooms with a view

  • Swiss Jim says:

    Am I right that in theory I can top up my paypal balance using Amex? If yes, I’m clearly pretty dim as can’t work out how. Unless it can’t be done via the App just main site? Aware of the downsides but thinking of a friends and family transfer.

    • John says:

      I don’t think you can top up your balance with a card, but you can do a personal transfer from Amex with no fees on either side

    • Jonathan says:

      Your Amex is added under ‘Bank accounts and cards’ in PayPal settings?

      You can’t then top up PayPal but you just use your Amex card as the source when you do a friend’s and family transfer.

  • James says:

    I’m in the probably rare situation on here of never having held an Amex in my life – have been holding off due to recently applying for a new mortgage, but that’s going through so I’m ready to join the game!

    Thinking of applying for the Plat given the enhanced sign-up bonus – with buying furniture etc for my new house I shouldn’t have an issue meeting the spend requirement. Sadly I’m a single player at the moment so no opportunity for player 1-player 2 referrals (and thus 241s of little use) – have of course read Rob’s excellent article about application order to maximise sign-up bonuses but don’t think I can really benefit as don’t want to risk Amex’s wrath as a brand new customer by self-referring.

    Anyone see any flaws in my logic?

    Have been reading the comments and articles on here for ages so thanks for all the guidance!

    • SteveJ says:

      Get the Nectar or Marriott first if you think you can hit the spend given your upcoming high spend (though do check the places take Amex). Otherwise Plat followed by BAPP is the best path.

    • KP says:

      Welcome to the points life and I hope you have a fun ride !!

      Furniture is a great way to hit your target spends, that’s what I did

    • Jimbob says:

      Just be aware that some mortgage companies do a repeat credit check just before exchange.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Adding to this, if anything by way of a hiccup changes anything you might get a check again too – in our case even a 2k reduction in the sale price caused a new check!

        • Peter K says:

          Absolutely agree with this. Get the mortgage fully sorted first before getting a card, but just in principle. Had more than one mortgage advisor warn us that companies can do a last minute credit check just before releasing the funds.

  • John says:


    I have a € and $ balance, I want to make a € purchase but not enough euros.

    Converting my $ to € manually will be at the currencycloud exchange rate plus 0.5% as it’s a weekend.

    But if I just spend in €, will the $ be converted automatically and also at a 0.5% markup, or at the visa exchange rate with no markup?

    • Roy says:

      It will be converted by revolut at the revolut rate (with weekend markup if appropriate).

      Note that, unless it’s changed, revolut will not mix currencies for a single purchase. So if you don’t have enough euros for the purchase, it will try to take the *entire* purchase from your dollar balance (thus converting more that you were expecting it to).

      If you don’t have enough dollars to allow it to be taken entirely from you dollar balance, then I think the transaction will be declined.

    • BigSi says:

      you are on the hook for the .5% whatever you do, the best way to minimise it is to transfer as much as you need from $ to € (on top of what you already have in €) and you will only pay the .5% on that transfer.

  • MilesOnPoint says:


    Had anyone travelled to Austria recently? Vaccinated tourists no longer need to quarantine or pre-entry test but what are the best options for test to get back to UK?

    Prob going to use Randox (£43) for day 2 once back in UK but not sure whether local options in Vienna will be recognised by UK PLF for flight back to London?

    • MilesOnPoint says:

      *Has anyone travelled to Austria recently?

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      The UK (when they check) are happy with my lateral flow test conducted at Bologna Airport. I’ve used that many times in the past year.

      I don’t see it being any different in Austria. A local test will be fine. Vienna Airport do lateral flow tests for €25. There might be cheaper options in the city too.

    • Harry T says:

      Unsure on best local options, but any rapid antigen test that produces a certificate that is compliant with the Gov guidelines will be acceptable.

      • MilesOnPoint says:

        Thanks both. Might speak to hotel concierge about local pharmacy options then 👍🏻

  • Aston100 says:

    I mentioned the other day that PFP energy went out of business.
    Today, customers have been moved to British Gas.
    You could overpay PFP using a credit card and withdraw elsewhere. I suspect this won’t be a possibility with British Gas.

    • EwanG says:

      Britis Gas unlikely to be particularly competitive (I speak with experience of being moved to them when Simplicity ceased trading). Can move away from BG and your credit will be repaid however best to wait until supply starts with BG. I’m still waiting for the administrators to repay my remaining credit balance.

  • EDA says:

    Does anyone know how many Amex points I get for referring someone from a Platinum card?

  • Kevin says:

    Is Paris Le Grand any good? Got 3 nights at St Honore and trying to use my IHG free night to book another night within paris due to IHG free night no longer can be booked beyond 12 months 🙁

    • Lyn says:

      Personally we like it very much because of the wonderful staff who somehow manage to make it feel like a home-away-from-home despite being a luxury hotel. Fingers crossed most of them have survived the long Covid closure.

      It is an ideal location, walking distance or a single bus journey to so many of the museums and places we visit. But then so is the St Honore if that’s the hotel across the street?

      We also the style and decoration but not everyone seems to. Some of the rooms are apparently small, although we’ve never stayed in one of those, even with just Platinum (prior to Spire and Ambassador).

      I think it is good value for a free night, especially now their points rate has gone up to 100K.

      Rob has done a review I think, and has promised another one after the Club Lounge opens, which it looks like it has at the beginning of September.

      • Kevin says:

        Agreed free night is good to be used instead of 100k point or £390 especially i dont think south east asia IC hotel would have that value when i going to travel early of next year, if allowed

    • Rob says:

      I am there in a week or so. Probably their flagship globally although standard rooms are small. Just been refurbed. Great location.

      • Michael C says:

        Although obviously not on the same level, has anyone been to the CP République since its refurb, or in fact ever?!
        Doesn’t look “lovely”, but fairly-priced spacious club rooms (2 adults, 1 kid), 6 mins direct metro from GdNord, and strolling distance from Canal St Martin, looks ok!

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