Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 15th September

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Comments (418)

  • Mikeact says:

    Sign of things to come ?

    Two U.S. Airlines Now Award Cryptocurrency Instead Of Miles.

    Two U.S. airlines – one small regional airline, and another long haul low cost carrier startup – have joined forces to launch a cryptocurrency that passengers will earn instead of frequent flyer miles.

    Ravn Alaska serves small cities in Alaska from its base in Anchorage, flying Dash-8 turboprops. It filed bankruptcy during the pandemic, but is flying again and its passengers can earn miles with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

    Ravn, however, is also starting a new transpacific long haul airline called Northern Pacific Airways etc.etc.

    I’ll let Rob pick this one up if anybody is interested

  • Magic Mike says:

    My Mozzies double dip of Amex 10% CB + Beardy points (transaction on 9th Sept) has resulted in an email from Virgin for the points even before the CB has posted on my Amex account…

    Shops Away even recognised the transaction even though I only added the card about an hour before the purchase, not the 24h before theoretically required.

    C’mon Brighton, you can do better than that…

    • KZ says:

      How can you double dip beardy and Brighton?

      • Magic Mike says:

        VS’s shopping portal has/had a (targeted?) offer for instore spend at Morrisons, I had 6 points per £. Also 10% offer on Amex.

        Some triple dipped with Airtime Rewards/Perks at Work. (my PAW doesn’t support instore)

    • Andrew H says:

      Haven’t had any Mozzers on SA yet, though I did use Curve and that may be the problem

      Mozzers is also on AR at the moment @10%

      Used a VA+ card direct today and am hoping for a double dip… (last day of SA)

      All this Mozzers promotion – are they trying to increase turnover given that they are an acquistion target. Not sure it would make much difference…

  • Lee says:

    Looking to try and get to the USA for Christmas!

    It is not looking likely that the borders will be open, therefore we need to spend 14 days (or is it nights & how is it calculated) in another country?

    Any suggestions on the best way to do this?

    Ideally I would want to perhaps book a flight with a 14 day (or night) stopover somewhere and then direct back to the UK from Miami.

    Thoughts welcomed!

    • AL says:

      In short, anywhere non-Schengen (so, that’s most, but not all, of the EU, plus some others), the UK and Ireland can’t be visited in the fourteen days prior. If we assume the US stays Amber on the UK lists, then coming back should be a doddle (bit of an issue of an issue if it goes red because then you’ll be in those government-run quarantine hotels, but I would doubt the US would go red given we’re trying to curry favour with it).

      So, the full list (I think) of countries to avoid is…

      Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

      I’ve seen people do the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands. Mexico is popular. Someone on here mentioned Morocco the other day. Have a look what Best Fare Finder has on offer for some inspiration.

    • Mike says:

      It is calculated as the 14 full days prior to arriving at the USA border. The nights are irrelevant. Also note that you cannot transit through any of the banned countries. We spent 14 full days in Bermuda — not cheap but quite a paradise!

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I’m based in Italy currently, then I discovered Croatia which is nearby and in the EU is actually NOT in Schengen so can enter the US freely. One issue is that the direct flights from there seem to be seasonal.

      For me being in the same time zone as I am currently for the 14 days (as I’ll be working those days) is an advantage because then I don’t have to do remote meetings at weird times in the morning or evening.

      So after some discussion yesterday I think my best option is to:
      1. Stay in Croatia for 14 days
      2. Fly Qatar ZAG-DOH-MIA
      3. Book return into Milan (as they don’t fly to Bologna)

      Why Qatar? From what I read they seem to have a very generous book with confidence scheme (please let me know if there’s any hidden issues), if you choose a voucher you get 10% more back, but you can also opt for a full refund. Avios and TP nice too. According to the BA points calculator DOH-MIA is one of the few 160 TP routes.

      Therefore if in the unlikely event Biden opens up I can take my originally booked flights on BA and cancel the QR ones, same if Biden closes down further and I can no longer take the trip I can refund these flights.

      As well as being in the same timezone for me, waiting it out in Croatia means if anything changes in the 14 days getting home will be easy. If I spent the 14 days in Mexico, Turkey, UAE, Qatar or somewhere else and then the US decides to block them while you’re over there, getting home is more difficult, particularly if they are also on your red list.

      • davefl says:

        I looked at this route last night. Delta and Utd fly direct Dubrovnik to JFK/EWR but they finish at the end of the 1st week in Oct

    • GeorgeJ says:

      Mexico is the obvious one since the air border has never been closed throughout the pandemic and even the supposedly closed land border has stacks of exemptions. There is currently a fair bit of availability popping up on avios at the end of the year.
      The only issue you might have is insurance since Mexico is currently red (though this might change). I am booked for November but keeping it flexible with avios bookings.
      As others have said, it is really only Schengen, UK and Ireland which are restricted so you can go via just about anywhere that takes your fancy. However Mexico has never restricted access from anywhere right through the pandemic and are unlikely to start now.

      • Zanderblue says:

        Travel insurance validity is not affected by country colour, but rather by Foreign office travel advice. Even when Mexico was amber the advice from FCO was “all but essential”, and it was this that invalidated insurance.
        Having said that, it is only UK provided insurance that will be invalidated. We spent 15 days in Mexico last month and we’re able to buy pretty good cover online from a broker based in USA.

    • Definitas says:

      We are going to Canada for 2 weeks before flying on to the US and then eventually back to the UK. Bear in mind that the 14 days have to be 14 complete days so departure day from UK doesn’t count and so the earliest you can travel into the US is day 16 after departure from the UK.

    • Zanderblue says:

      We’ve entered US recently after 15 days in Mexico. Pretty painless really………

  • Mikeact says:

    Google….and this one I like..

    Don’t want to sit next to a lap infant on a long flight? Book your trip on Japan Airlines and pay attention to where babies are seated. Keep monitoring the seat map as your travel date approaches, in case and young children are added to the flight and change seats accordingly.

    • Rob says:

      “Don’t want to sit next to a white supremacist on a long flight? Book your trip on Japan Airlines and pay attention to where white supremacists are seated, based on what we can find about them for their social media profiles. Keep monitoring the seat map as your travel date approaches, in case any white supremacists are added to the flight and change seats accordingly.”

      “Don’t want to sit next to a Jehovah’s Witness on a long flight? Book your trip on Japan Airlines and pay attention to where Jehovah’s Witnesses are seated, based on what we can find about them for their social media profiles. Keep monitoring the seat map as your travel date approaches, in case any Jehovah’s Witnesses are added to the flight and change seats accordingly.”

      Bit of a wormhole you don’t necessarily want to go down …

      • davefl says:

        After being physically (yes really) and audibly assaulted by babies and young children on many flights I wholeheartedly support JAL on this.

        My worst ever was a man in a middle seat with a baby on his lap I had window and the kid kicked me, spat water all over me and generally made my life hell on a 4 hour flight from Dalaman. Completely full, flight crew wouldnt do anything to resolve.

      • Mikeact says:

        Baby’s, infants…..totally different to your categories.

      • BSI1978 says:

        Strange 2 individuals/categories to pick to try and make this point; which I don’t think you’ve made at all well Rob.

      • Memesweeper says:

        … and a hostage to fortune when there’s a last minute operational change to seating. Madness.

      • Linda says:

        Don’t want to sit next to a screaming infant for your 10 hour night flight etc., etc., You wouldn’t know if they were white supremacists or Jehovah’s Witnesses but you could
        be reasonably sure that they won’t be bawling in your ear forever.

        • Rob says:

          I know how to screen out screaming infants though 🙂 I seem to have a harder time shutting up a Jehovah’s Witness ….

  • Roger says:

    BA flight upgrade using Avios

    I keep getting this error

    Sorry, this fare has now sold out. Don’t worry, we haven’t charged you anything. Please start again to view flights and see our updated fares.

    Would customer service be able to upgrade my booking?

    • AL says:

      Worth a shot. If you have ExpertFlyer, see if there’s any availability in the reward buckets.

  • Kai says:

    SSDV question – unfortunately I don’t drive so have to use public transport from/to Porto. If I have an evening flight from Porto, is it safe for me to checkout on the day and presumably take the train to Porto and then the airport? Thanks in advance.

    • Nick says:

      Even if you could drive, taking the train is a good idea (albeit not as quick!), it is incredibly scenic.

    • Rich says:

      The train is from Regua, 5km away. You can see train times and buy tickets if you want at cp,pt.

      Looks like trains every 1-2 hours, so no problem. Metro to the airport from Sao Bento.

      • Rui N. says:

        No, metro to the airport is from Campanhã (violet line), not from São Bento (yellow line). All trains from Régua stops at Campanhã, so no problem.

  • David says:

    Any thoughts on Hilton Reading? Working in the area and need a bed for a couple of nights, but it seems suspiciously cheap and has variable reviews on Tripadvisor.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I’ve stayed there a few times, last time March 2020 and never had any issues. No lounge though, but all the rooms I’ve stayed in have been in perfect condition. If you want to walk into the centre of Reading it’s a bit of a distance but a quick drive/taxi.

      First time I booked (diamond) got a junior suite, subsequent upgrades pretty much to the slightly better room category.

      They also use the Hilton in app chat that not all hotels do so useful if you need to ask for something during (or before) your stay.

    • Allan says:

      Was there last week. Food and restaurant service not great but the rooms are good. Breakfast was ok.
      Zero recognition for diamond status – not even at check in desk although hotel was fully booked that night.

    • David says:

      Thanks both !

    • Gavin says:

      It is good value, I spent 17 consecutive nights there in December 2020 as I was between houses. Rooms are in good condition, it’s about 10-12 years old but feels newer. Service was ok although I stayed there during a period of limited service.

    • VerdantBacon says:

      Stayed in the suite here for two weeks last year during one of the lockdowns. Nice rooms, property doesn’t have much in terms of extras but is pleasant enough. Definitely expected much worse when I saw it was an older property.

  • Manya says:

    Staying at the Lalit for one night this weekend. Cheapest rate was offered via Amex travel £224.

    I see that my Amex card offers a spend £300 get £100 back offer with SLH. Question is whether the offer will trigger if I keep my above booking and meet the £300 threshold with additional bar/resto spend? Meaning that I do not book via slh website.

    I’d rather do this than book a more expensive room via the SLH website.

    • YC says:

      Yes works – Just charge everything to the room and pay at check out.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, will do. How does Amex know how you booked? As long as you settle the restaurant bill via a charge to your room and pay at reception on check-out, of course.

    • Neil Spellings says:

      I did this at Luton Hoo last week. Had a comped night from the SLH key worker competition last year but spend £300 on clay pigeon shooting and a nice dinner. £100 back from Amex after a few days.

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