Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 21st September

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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.

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Comments (443)

  • Keith says:

    Hi, Just a tip for anyone off to Barbados soon. If the results from your Barbados Airport Arrival PCR are delayed or do not reach you owing to your email address being mis-heard by the registration team for example, make a call to either of these numbers – 536 4385 or 536 4386. It’s the lab that test the Airport PCRs. They were able to check and sort out my results when they were delayed, whereas others on the same flight similarly affected had to have a doctor summoned to conduct a further test, extending their quarantine.

  • Vit says:

    Hello, non-travel related question. Need to switch the energy supplier before price hike next month. Looking at eon, Sainsbury and octopus (seems to be the cheapest suppliers I can find from comparison site). Anyone able to share experience and best way to get points (amex top-up or Nectar/Avios) from any of these? Many TIA!

    • AL says:

      Octopus: allows you to keep a credit balance, can top-up by American Express directly, currently an offer on if you switch with Virgin Points (although you need to keep them as your supplier for quite a while before the points start to trickle in). Octopus might be on shaky ground, and therefore might get swallowed by a Big(ger) Six who might not allow you to top-up by Amex.

      Eon: if it’s Eon Next, I’m with them at the moment. £50 each if you join at They don’t accept Amex. Your rewards-generating Visa/MasterCard will work, though.

      Sainsbury’s: 10,000 Nectar points at the moment for signing up via the Nectar website. They’re in the process of handing their customers over to Eon Next, though.

      • Andrew H says:

        Octopus through the Virgin Red offer are way more expensive than Eon Next who seem to the the cheapest right now.

        • AL says:

          I fixed with Eon Next at 20.65p/kWh, 7.35p/day electricity and 4.54p/kWh, 7.35p/day gas in early September on a two year fixed deal, no exit fee.

          • Polly says:

            Just researching today, am looking at octopus but will look at eon tomorrow. Such a mess right now. All the top comparison sites not offering anything.

    • RobL says:

      With Octopus can top up with Amex.
      £50 referral bonus if you use

    • Rich says:

      Also worth remembering that Amex acceptance is of less value if you have a Santander 123 account. 1% back on Council Tax, 2% on gas/ elec, 3% water. (Still good for hitting targets.)

      There’s a £130 switch bonus on atm, too.

    • Andrew H says:

      Eon Next was the cheapest I could find last night.

      • KBuffett says:

        Can anyone advise what the best thing to do is, for someone who doesn’t really pay much attention to utility bills? Fix or variable?

        • Rui N. says:

          Travel back in time, and get a 3-year fixed from last summer 🙂 at this point it’s very difficult to know what’s really better. One with no exit fees likely a must, so you can switch if prices get back to normal. (Bulb and others pay exit fees at the moment when you change to them, but that might change.)

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Just depends on your usage as some using c£50 of energy per month has a lot more to lose than someone paying £300 pcm

          Personally I like to fix so I know I’m sorted for the year but others like to gamble …

        • JDB says:

          Personally, I have always fixed for the longest possible time and found that it works out best, even if it appears that you pay a small premium at the outset. Usually it is best to do that in the spring – towards the end of or after the northern hemisphere heating season and before the air conditioning season.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          General rule in life is you pay a higher price for certainty. Someone else is taking the hedge for you so quite rightly builds on a profit. Therefore only take fixed/hedged if you need that certainty. Whether that general principle applies right now in the completely dysfunctional and distorted energy market is another matter 🤣

        • AL says:

          My plan of attack for relatives’ accounts that I manage is to compare every two to four weeks until we’re in to early New Year or prices drop right down given market settling.

  • N says:

    Booking a Shangri-La stay via Emyr. Got Jade via Amex Plat. Any other offers, etc that would be worth using or stacking?

    • KBuffett says:

      Is your Jade still valid? Mine has expired and they’ve withdrawn that benefit now. Make sure you book at restaurants for meals and the pool etc in advance. They wouldn’t accommodate us when we stayed until I really made a fuss. There was even a minimum spend at the bar, even for residents.

      • N says:

        That’s all quite ridiculous re meals and pool etc!

        Cant log into my Golden Circle account (have emailed) but my wife’s Jade is still there at least!

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    How do you use the Avis Preferred vouchers? Do you have to call and book or are the voucher codes accepted online? Alternatively do you show them when collecting your car?

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Do you mean the free weekend voucher?

      You book via the link in the email. I always print it off and give them it at collection.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        There was one for a discount, one for an upgrade and another for a free weekend. They’re in my Apple Wallet. I don’t recall any booking links in the original email though

  • Rich says:

    Just had an email from Eurostar. They’re offering double points on Standard tickets, triple on Standard Premier.

    Book by 5/10, travel by 21/3.

    I’m still a bit miffed at them for zero flexibility on points which expired during Covid (and which wouldn’t have expired, but for a cancellation to the SNCF strikes) but I may be travelling in Jan anyway.

    • Rob says:

      Not backdated so I get stuffed on my return trip this week ….

      • Rich says:

        Use their book with confidence to move this week’s booking to a future date (if you will travel again) and make a new booking?

        (If the price is right, which I guess it isn’t.)

  • Harry T says:

    Data point: got through to Virgin Atlantic on the phone this morning at around 11.30am. Was only on hold for 17 mins. Very helpful agent booked my rewards seats on Air France for me.

    • Degsy says:

      That’s good even in normal times. I tried calling y’day and got a message saying 90+ mins wait time; it then cut me off

  • Laura says:

    I accidentally booked BA flights for a weekend that I already have plans so want to change them for the weekend after.

    I booked Economy Basic but when I try and change my flights it only offers me Economy with bags, which I don’t want. The additional fare for economy basic is about £10 but with the bags it’s about £60.

    Is my only option to call? (Joy)

    • TGLoyalty says:

      take an FTV and rebook for correct dates?

      • Laura says:

        I might have to do that, but that still involves trying to call, doesn’t it?

        I’ve tweeted them so hopefully they’ll be a easier solution

        • AL says:

          You should be able to FTV at

          • Sam G says:

            If its a simple return trip this should give you an evoucher in a few mins you can then use to book the correct dates. No calling required!

    • Andrew says:

      Are Economy Basic still available as cash fares for the alternative flights?

      • Laura says:

        Yup, they are, both ways. I just checked because I wanted to see what the difference in fare was

    • Laura says:

      All sorted, thank you all.

      I was worried that if I cancelled I would get a FTV rather than an E-voucher.
      However, my E-voucher came through in about 10 minutes and I rebooked and paid the £6 difference in fare.

      Thanks again!

  • Moktar says:

    I recall seeing a marriott promo code for free breakfast using mastercard/visa in bits couple of weeks back? Tried searching but in vain. Could anyone help please?

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