Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 14th 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 (652)

  • aviosnewbie says:

    I had posted this last night, but posting this again now as someone suggested I’ll get more responses in the morning…- Who are the watch collectors amongst us? Planning to buy a Panerai for myself and Rolex for the wife – are there any good dealers in London or ways to maximize points and get the best price? Will it work out cheaper if I fly to Geneva? Thank you!

    • Erico1875 says:

      Clubcard used to partner with Goldsmiths. Possibly still do.I haven’t checked. You could change CC vouchers for 3 to 1 credit

      • aviosnewbie says:

        Just had a look, and the T&Cs contain the following: Your code can be used in store as full or part payment against any full-priced item from the entire range of Goldsmiths product (excluding Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Zenith, IWC, Cartier, Pre-owned watches & All Connected watches) 🙁

    • YC says:

      Is Geneva known to be the cheapest in Europe? I would look at other European countries and weigh up the high tax refund element as well (Spain/Italy) c.15%.

      • Number9 says:

        Oh I’m interested in this buying a watch for Sons big 40 and no idea where is best place.

      • JDB says:

        To the extent that you get a sales tax refund, that is a refund of tax in the purchase country with a view to paying it on arrival in the UK so you aren’t double taxed. Obviously, many won’t declare it on return, but the refund process in many country leaves quite a paper trail. And HMG needs the tax.

    • Mark says:

      Depending on who you work for you may find your employer has a deals and discounts website portal which partners with high street retailers. I am looking at getting an Omega Seamaster and my work has a portal where you can buy Ernest Jones gift cards at 8.5% off which can then be used to buy the watch.

      • aviosnewbie says:

        sounds great! I am unfortunately (or fortunately) self-employed, so don’t have any such deal. How would you feel about splitting the 8.5% if I buy the GCs off you? I can put my email address here or request Rhys to put us in touch.

        • Dan says:

          You can use Perkbox through IPSE if you’re a member. I haven’t looked but will most likely have similar discounts.

        • Fair Dinkum says:

          I have 5.5% off eGiftcards at Ernest Jones (via Edenred) and it *might* stack with a click through from the BA shopping portal (5 avios/£1). I’d do it for the credit card points if no one else has time.

    • rosie keeper says:

      Watch finder will give you discount if buying 2 watches plus they often discount off the online selling price too depending on how long they have had the watch and your payment method

      • Bill says:

        Have a look on chrono24.com

        • Yuff says:

          I would be focusing on the watches themselves rather than maximising the Avios opportunity.
          I bought a Daytona from HNY on Beachamp place Knightsbridge a few years ago who were very good.
          Not sure what type you are looking for but Rolex sports models are pretty good investments but difficult to get hold of.

        • MD says:

          I would second the recommendation for Chrono24, I’ve bought a few watches through them at great prices. Generally an excellent range of both new and second hand options, depending on the rarity of the watch you want. Many of the sellers are reputable, bricks and mortar watch dealers, do your research obv. Used to be easier though as we could also buy from all the European dealers without getting hammered.

          Happy to be corrected by more experienced travellers or people who live in Switzerland, but I found the prices in Geneva airport to be absolutely shocking. Significantly higher than even the RRP in the UK , never mind discounts. Maybe I was missing something, not factoring in some sort of tax reclamation etc, but they were the highest prices I’d seen in Europe for Rolex, Breitling, IWC anyway.

          Dubai is supposed to be pretty cheap, no personal experience.

          UK options then probably best to form a relationship with a local AD as Grant suggests, I’ve read of many people getting good discounts that way, if buying more than one watch particularly. You can find many UK dealers through Chrono24 anyway.

          Did manage to negotiate an excellent deal for an Omega Seamaster through Watches of Switzerland in Heathrow T5 years ago, but who knows what discounts they can offer now, if any 🙁

    • Grant says:

      Depending on which pieces you are interested in, your best bet is to probably find a decent AD local yto you who covers both makers and try to negotiate a discount in person. If this is likely to be the start of a collection then building a relationship with an AD is a good idea, especially if you start to lust after the more sought after pieces – most seem to operate on a ‘kiss enough frogs and you’ll find a prince’ basis.

    • Andrew says:

      And if you’re out of options and just buying from the “high street”, then Harrods is the best place, giving you up to 3% reward points.

    • Degsy says:

      I definitely think you’ll have some scope for negotiating here given the potential value you’re looking at, especially if buying both together.
      I bought my Seamaster duty free at Heathrow airport from Watches of Switzerland about 10 years ago – I know there have been changes recently to duty free rules though, so not sure if that’s still an option?

    • Mark says:

      Depends on what you’re after. But Chrono24 does not have good prices. Obviously a mark-up/margin there for the dealers as Chrono24 fees are hefty. Which Rolex piece are you after?

      Hop on to Europe where you can get 15-18% VAT refund…

      • aviosnewbie says:

        thanks! which country in Europe would be the best for the refund? thinking of a Datejust

      • MD says:

        Not entirely true Mark. Chrono24 used to cheaper when you could easily buy direct from the European dealers. UK dealers are (like everything else in the UK it seems) more expensive certainly, but there are still bargains to had if you search enough.

        The OP can at least use Chrono24 as a first step to identify reputable dealers with the stock he wants, and then buy direct or, better of course, in person in Europe as you suggest for the VAT refund.

        JDB will no doubt be along shortly to condemn us all to eternal hellfire, or something.

        • Mark says:

          Again, it depends on what brands. ADs in other countries discount Cartier or JLC heavily for example, which is why it’s always cheaper from non-UK dealers. Although I imagine you’re paying the import taxes into the UK which even things out…

          Aviosnewbie: Depends on which DJ. These days DJs are hot commodity as well. I got around 17% in Barcelona.

    • Jimmy says:

      I posted yesterday too but trying to find a new Rolex has become nigh on impossible. You will possibly face a waiting list, no discount. It seems the only way to get one is secondhand and pay a premium

  • Tarmohamed says:

    2nd Covid Jab without having to wait 8 weeks… I’m sure I’ve read on here some people have managed to get it at 4 weeks at the walk in centres. Anyone able to confirm? If so, which centres?

    • The Canuck says:

      Definitely possible, Reddit.com/r/getjabbed is your best bet for finding walk in centres

    • Rhys says:

      The smaller local ones tend to be a bit more lenient. Just try it a few times. I imagine right now they’re desperate to jab anyone.

      • Rob says:

        Although we point you to Israel where doing everyone with a 3 week gap has not ended well.

        • Jeff Greene says:

          Has it been confirmed whether it’s the three week gap or just because they were earlier than everyone else and most of Europe hasn’t had time for waning immunity

          • Andrew H says:

            There are a number of studies that suggest immunity lasts longer with a bigger gap.

            The 3 weeks was really only to expedite approval as vaccines tend to be better given further apart; if they’d trialled with a longer gap (say 12 weeks) then vaccine approval would have been delayed by 9 weeks. Getting jabs in to arms ASAP was the priority.

            3 weeks was just after the effect of the first jab kicks in (at about 2 weeks)

            The original AZ trial, where they actually made a mistake and delayed one set of second injections, showed a greater immunity for those who had the second injection delayed (yes, I know Israel is only Pfizer, but the same effect has been reported)

        • davef says:

          My gap between jabs was 14 weeks as there was no supply of Pfizer in my area despite boris saying on the news every day there was plenty to go around.

          So I’m a statistical anomaly and no idea if my second one is effective or not.

  • Tazzy says:

    Is expert Medicals still working ok for day 2 testing on PLF?

    • Beardless Hipster says:

      Yes. Test kits being dispatched quickly but results take 6 days in my experience.

    • Susan says:

      Read something yesterday that England likely to reduce day 2 test to PCR Or antigen so may be worth waiting a few days to book unless urgent.

      • Dominic says:

        I believe this is due for October, rather than now, is it not?

        • Rob says:

          The ‘review’ needs to be done by 1st October – but probably Thursday. No guarantee anything would change before 1st October.

          • Andrew says:

            That’s the most likely scenario is an announcement this week for starting 1 October. They are probably going to avoid annoying people who have arranged return tests already for next week by making it an instant change.

          • Dominic says:

            Interesting; I had anticipated a minor update this week, with a big bang on the 1st. A change for the 1st Oct would work perfectly for me, in any case.

        • Jeff Greene says:

          Also sounds like vaccine passports aren’t actually off the table for the winter, just not in time for 1st October.

          • Tariq says:

            The ever present threat of bedwetting restrictions will remain, much like the nuclear deterrent.

      • Lady London says:

        Why are they bothering? Antigen already accepted to enter the country even though it’s considerably less accurate than PCR. PCR to antigen now at Day 2 will just be a waste of time doing that second test of same type.

  • mr_jetlag says:

    Morning all, also reposting from yesterday: Am potentially in Cancun in November and flying from there to Singapore. Is it possible to transit CUN -> LGW then LHR -> SIN on either a single PNR or separate tickets without having to go into hotel quarantine? Flights will be 6h apart.

    • blenz101 says:

      Yes. You can transit via the UK without hotel quarantine from a red list country. Instructions of how to complete the PFL in this instance are on .gov.uk. You do not need day 2 / 8 tests booked in order to transit.

      You will need to check for yourself if you are going to be able to get into SIN itself. If your SIN flight is cancelled and you find yourself unable to transit then you will need to undertake hotel quarantine on arrival in the UK.

      • Sam G says:

        Cancun won’t run to Gatwick if Mexico is still red list. They’ve been running a weekly flight into Heathrow instead

        • mr_jetlag says:

          Thanks both – my flight is still showing as returning to LGW, but actually flying into LHR would greatly simplify things!

  • Annabel says:

    Morning. Both my flights to Singapore in First ( 2-4-1 booking ) for next month have been cancelled. Booked them at T-355 so October 2020. Is it unlikely now that BA will allow re booking well into 2022 even without Avios availiabilty? I read that they did and now they don’t! Thank you in advance.

    • AJA says:

      Wait a few days and see if you can move the flights in MMB.

      Otherwise phone YouFirst and see what they offer. Your EU/UK261 rights are to be rebooked at a later date convenient to you, rerouted to your destination on or around dates closest to your original flights or go for full refund.

      Note do NOT allow BA to refund and then rebook as you will lose the right to F to J downgrade refund reimbursement . Read chat thread over the weekend for example of how not to do it. Make it clear you want to change existing booking and keep existing PNR.

      According to posts on FT I believe BA’s policy is now to allow either ticket validity up to one year from outbound flight date OR one year from when flight was amended (a flight amendment seems to include phoning up to add the return to a 2-4-1 booking at t-355.)

      If you can’t move flights yourself via MMB I would investigate what you want to do arm yourself with flight numbers and dates etc and then phone BA.

      You have plenty of time if both outbound and inbound have been cancelled so don’t panic or rush into any decisions.

      • Annabel says:

        Thank you so much for your reply. Will do!

        • Polly says:

          Hi Annabel, what dates were you flying. We have F 241 towards the end of Oct, but not yet cancelled? Just asking, as our Villa co keep asking if we want to move dates to 2022.

  • Ming the Merciless says:

    Morning. At Hampton by Hilton (£80 for one night). No hot water – what level of compensation should I look for?

  • QwertyKnowsBest says:

    Anyone with experience of entering Canada under the new rules. Concerned about having to show a quarantine plan (would have to be hotel) in the event of being selected for testing and being positive. Thanks

    • AL says:

      Check yesterday’s chat thread – there was some comment about this and an example quarantine plan that you could fill out, with lots of guidance.

    • bafan says:

      Plan? When I did the ArriveCAN app all it asked me was where I could stay for 2 weeks if needed and I just listed where I was staying as is. I know they have the availability. I didn’t need a “plan” as such. I think people are overegging it (famous last words).

  • YH says:

    Where can I get a PCR test arranged in Jordan? I’ll be flying from AMM to DXB and need a test for entry.

    • blenz101 says:

      Biolabs or Medlabs but there are plenty of other labs available. Almost all public and private hospitals offer testing as well.

    • YC says:

      As an aside, how have you found travelling in Jordan? I read masks are mandatory (even outdoors) which doesn’t sound most pleasant in 30degrees

      • YH says:

        I haven’t arrived in Jordan yet. Will be there in a few weeks – I’ll let you know if I remember!

        Last time I was in DXB it was masks everywhere outdoors as well – got used to it after a day or so, annoying but not the end of the world.

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