Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 27th September

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Comments (472)

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  • Baji Nahid says:

    A bit confused here, stayed at an holiday inn where the fire alarm went off at night 8 times during the night. I have been given compensation but have to make a selection of either, 20000 IHG points or my last nights rate which is £54.

    Any suggestions on what you may find is the best option and why? Im currently stumped at what to pick!

    • Blenz101 says:

      Points have more value in theory at around 0.4p per point if used wisely for a hotel stay, there is no value in converting them to airline miles or shopping vouchers.

      Personally I would take the cash, it has the ultimate flexibility in where you can use it and you can top it up to buy just about anything so you don’t just have to use it on another hotel stay.

      If your stay didn’t include breakfast and they are going to comp you the night you could also ask if that is going to include a breakfast, this may help you feel like you are getting further value from the ‘free night’ by adding another £10/15 of value.

      • Tariq says:

        Agree with all of this. I think Rob would say take the cash, unless you have immediate plans to use the points and get better value out of them.

    • John says:

      Would take the points if I had a stay to book now for 20k that cost more than £60

      • meta says:

        I’d push back. Not enough compensation in my opinion. You need extra for the lack of sleep. In addition to the points back at Indigo Bath, I got all F&B comped plus a free upgrade to a suite on the next stay.

        • BJ says:

          +1, the cash or points is not a true reflection of the loss in this case. For a single disturbance probably yes but not for multiple times in one night. Possibly as for both or a free night certificate to be used at any hotel if IHG got involved?

        • blenz101 says:

          Would depend if the alarm went of between 10pm and 11pm eight times or if it was going off every hour of the night though surely? I don’t think a free breakfast would have been an unreasonable ask but it sounds like this stay has already happned.

          Indigo is also supposed to be ’boutique’ and are individually owned, they have far more reason to ensure guest satisfaction than a holiday inn where people are expecting a cookie cutter experience which tends to mean service recovery levels to match.

          • meta says:

            It is very clear from @Baji post it was during the night. Points, plus free breakfast possibly, but I’d also ask either another night free at the same hotel on the next visit. I’d also ask them what procedures they will put in place so that this doesn’t happen again. You’re doing this not only for yourself, but for the next guest as well!

            Also it doesn’t matter what type of the hotel it is. This is basic. You book a hotel to have a good night sleep.

          • BJ says:

            Hopefully Baji can give us more details, including name of the hotel 🙂 Always interested to know which have dodgy alarms, but based on recent comments the problem might have been caused by an HfP reader with dodgy morals.

          • blenz101 says:

            I don’t know what time he goes to bed. 10.30pm is night time. It would still be annoying to be out of your room and in the car park at 10pm or 11pm. But more annoying to be out repeatedly at 2am, 3am and 4am. He was also using past tense “stayed” rather than “staying at” or “due to check out of” so assumed the stay seemed over. I can’t see any hotel comping food and beverages that were not consumed during the stay.

            Most hotels would offer a space available upgrade against a future booking if asked for even the most minor issue with a stay.

            In my opinon the hotel type clearly matters in the level of service you can expect. A full refund of the affected night seems reasonable from a 4* chain, Premier Inn would do the same and points wouldn’t even come into play.

    • BJ says:

      No brained, take the points because we are always looking for them sooner or later, you could not buy 20k points for £54 even in a 100% sale, and because there is a lot of outsize value floating around in IHG redemptions at the moment, both absolutely in relation to rates and relatively in relation to competition. For example yesterday I was seeing IC Mark Hopkins for 40k while Hampton was 82k Hiltilton upwards on same dates. As always depends on personal need for cash versus points.

      • Jonathan says:

        For context, Mark Hopkins is a tired 4*. Ignore the IC branding!

        • BJ says:

          Thanks, was shopping around the points options. My usual go to hotel in San Francisco was the independent Chancellor Hotel on Union Square. Admittedly, tired too unless it has been refurbished in the past decade since I was working in California. Loved this hotel despite that and I clearly wasn’t alone as it was so popular. Might just pay out for old times sake and see if the rubber ducks have changed 🙂

        • Oh! Matron! says:

          Had to stay here for two weeks for work a couple of years ago. In a word: Tired.

        • Barnaby100 says:

          But great staff and service

    • Aston100 says:

      Oh no, was Mutley staying there I wonder?

  • Tariq says:

    Harvey Nichols and Selfridges back on Amex offers this morning.

    • Andrew says:

      Note that Selfridges is online only.

    • Gareth says:

      My offers are 50 back from 250 for selfridges and 30 back from 300 for HN. It doesn’t seem that long ago when they used to be similar back but spend was only 150!

      • Andrew says:

        Yes same, certainly a lot less generous. And the current Harrods offer is only 10% back up to £50, ie spend £500, get £50

      • BJ says:

        Even better than that, Spend £100 get £30 back on both in the good old days IIRC.

    • Harry T says:

      Awful offers this time, though! Amex have been disappointing of late.

    • Josh says:

      Are we able to get this by purchasing a gift card for the value? I.e. £250 of Selfridges?

      • Andrew says:

        No, as it’s only online and Selfridges sell their gift cards via a third party online. Harvey Nics is fine to buy a gift card online though.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        You can purchase something online and return it Instore for a GC

        • HH says:

          Have you tried this at Selfridges? I’ve done it at other retailers, but reading the Selfridges refund rules they don’t mention refunding a card purchase to gift card, but guess it’s worth a try…

          • KBuffett says:

            They don’t she an issue refunding to gift card as they are keeping your money…..

          • TGLoyalty says:

            yes I’ve done it a number of times. just tell them you’re going to buy something else.

      • Rob says:

        Instore it works. May not work online if gift cards are processed by a 3rd party.

    • The Streets says:

      Just seen 2x Marriott Bonvoy offers on the same.card: £100 off a £400 spend and £50 off a £200 hoping they will activate at the same time

      • TGLoyalty says:

        They won’t because the properties under both offer are different (only overlap is a Sheraton near Heathrow)

        • Paul says:

          On the subject of statement credit offers, do you think we will see a return of the spend £10+ to receive £5 in December’s Shop Small, or is the spend £15+ threshold we saw in Summer the new norm?

          • JSemity says:

            difficult to say, my hunch is we’ll get the return of £10+ threshold but wouldn’t be surprised if it stays at £15+. It’s pretty useless at £15+ imo

        • Paul says:

          …and I think it’s a mistake, meant to feature in just the one list.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Probably but it’s on the list so would stack. But unless you have a specific reason (we once stayed pre a nearby wedding and it did the job for late arrival and early departure) I can’t see anyone spending £400.

  • Mike says:

    Anyone know is there an App / website which monitors which petrol stations currently have fuel

    • Andrew says:

      Everything will be back to normal in a few days because everyone has spent the weekend filling their tanks, so demand will be lower than even normal levels.

      • Anna says:

        +1, it’s not like toilet roll, there’s only so much fuel you can get in a tank!

        • Mike says:

          Well I do have two 25 litre fuel Jerry cans too

        • Mike says:

          Oh and Anna don’t mention loo roll – we are still getting through the 500 rolls bought last year ( at the time thought tummy upset was going to be a Covid side effect) ! Don’t worry the Jerry cans of diesel are not in the same place as the remaining loo roll !!!

      • Jeff Greene says:

        We don’t know if “everyone” has spent the weekend filling up though. Loads won’t have because they didn’t want to queue up for an hour with panicking morons

      • ankomonkey says:

        Around where I live the petrol stations were restricting to £35 purchases – not enough to fill many tanks, so the fun re-starts next weekend!

      • Andrew H says:

        Demand will drop, but as the average amount of fuel in tanks will have increased there could be an issue with running down of fuel at refineries and depots.

        Eg, take 30million cars and each one now has an average of 5 litres more in their tanks, the relative level at refineries/storage will now be 150million litres lower. Were stocks enough to cover that? has production been increased to maintain stock levels

    • blenz101 says:

      Given this happens once every 10 years nobody is going to spend time building and app or website.

      Join your local street whatsapp chat / local Facebook groups / Reddit for your region and ask the question.

    • AL says:

      Oil companies will look to keep motorway service stations up and running – more tank storage for fuel (notoriously difficult to store) and faster throughout. Yes, prices will be higher (154p on the M25 yesterday) but it’s that or a queue at your local supermarket.

      Many queues I’ve seen are at supermarkets. People want their Clubcard points. Avoid conventional wisdom and go collect Avios instead at Big Oil-branded forecourts. This gives you the option of filling up at a supermarket (Tesco or Sainsbury’s) or using BP and converting. Higher prices but you’ll get Avios (if you convert) and won’t waste time and pence queuing up.

      You might find updates with lack of fuel, too – not used it since they made it registration required.

  • Venturelog says:

    I’ll be travelling to the Schengen area for the first time since becoming non-EU. Has anyone experienced a change in immigration, like asking further questions about purpose of travel, hotel and return flights? I’m flying in to Copenhagen. Thank you

    • Graham Walsh says:

      When we went to Ibiza last week, fiancé is on a British passport and I’m Irish. I was directed to Egates and straight through, she had to queue up and get her passport stamped. Only a few minutes extra.

    • Graham says:

      I flew into Tenerife last week. Passport stamped but very quick and efficient. I was through quicker than I was back here at LHR connections.

      • Anna says:

        TFS was pretty efficient but not as quick as MAN when we returned! We were though passport control and collecting our car from the Hilton in 15 minutes!

    • John says:

      When I used my Australian passport to enter Schengen (before covid) the Romance countries ever asked any questions, and the Germanic countries only asked things like how long are you staying

    • Lyn says:

      It looks as UK is currently an Orange country for entry into Denmark. If you are fully vaccinated they are unlikely to ask many questions for a short tourist visit. However, if you aren’t, you would have to provide evidence of a “worthy purpose” to visit Denmark.

    • Lou says:

      Apart from waiting for a long time in a queue and a passport stamp, nothing different

    • MD says:

      Just back from Crete. Very efficient arrival at Heraklion, no queue, no questions and the border agent barely glanced at my UK passport, and didn’t stamp it. Possibly should have paid more attention to this (too much champagne in Club!) because it caused great consternation on departure. Agent not used to the new rules, I guess.

      Passport control is right by the non Schengen gates in Heraklion and I could see my flight was already boarding. No queue. My partner (EU passport) sailed through. The border agent leafed carefully through my passport. Glared at me and asked me when I arrived. She called over a colleague, who called over another one. All glaring at me and very serious. Demanded to see my outbound ticket, had the BA app to hand thankfully. Took my phone inside the booth and talked Greek for what was probably only 5 minutes but felt longer. I tried to make light of the situation and said I could use my Irish passport if that would be easier (I’m dual nationality but definitely used my UK passport to enter, as that was the one I’d used for the Greek PLF). Didn’t appear to go down well. More talk. Eventually I think they decided the equivalent of “meh, not our problem” as there was much shrugging, she stamped it and let me go, with a departing glare. Made the flight easily enough.

      No big deal at the end of the day, but I was the most stressed I’ve been at a passport gate since the good old days of US border agents in their prime.

      • KBuffett says:

        Did you get out before the earthquake?

      • John says:

        Why on earth didn’t you just use Irish passport for the whole trip?

        • MD says:

          Laziness and force of habit tbh. Certainly learnt that lesson!

          • Anna says:

            How would using an Irish passport help? Wouldn’t you be in the same position as Ireland is also outside the Schengen area?

      • John says:

        Also Americans and Australians etc have had to deal with EU border guards not bothering to stamp on entry for many years, worst offenders were Italians and French, not really a problem if visiting only that country but a lot of trouble if later exiting Germany or Netherlands

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Do report back, I’m flying to CPH shortly. I was asked nothing in Iceland, but needed to give an address on arrival in Latvia.

  • Karl says:

    Has anyone ever stayed at Lingfield Marriott during a concert? Any idea what the view of the band is like from the bar area/racecourse-side balconies?

    • Lloyd says:

      Not too bad in my opinion. But what seems good for one person may feel bad for the next, so really it’s horses for courses.

    • NSL says:

      View is good in the main, assuming you get the right balcony. The property spans quite a wide area so it might not be perfect depending on which room you get.

      Bar area will be a good view irrespective of room.

  • Louie says:

    @ChrisBCN (or anyone else!) – how did you get on with the Priority Pass lounges at Gatwick yesterday. My sister will be there on Friday morning so it would be handy to let her know what they are like. She’s somewhat jaded about PP through Amex though given we’ve been turned away from several (mainly Stansted) pre Covid though.

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      I was at Gatwick north terminal yesterday on the way back to the rock after a lovely weekend at the Chelsea Flower Show. Only Aspire and No.1 Lounges open in the PP portfolio. As Aspire closed at 12.45 and we didn’t get there til 2 we tried No.1. These opening times apparently change from October 1st though.
      We didn’t pre-book as originally hadn’t thought we’d have time for a lounge and so had to wait – originally they said ‘come back in half-hour’ but we sat on the sofas in the entrance, one person left, and they let us in after only a few minutes.
      Lounge is table service only for food. F&B offering was generally underwhelming.
      Tea and coffee is self-serve. Bar was manned (one person only) and serving a limit choice of drinks – e.g. sparkling wine (not even prosecco) and bottled Heineken as only beer choice (nothing on tap).
      Wait staff seemed to be two students and the way they were operating it may well have been their first day! One dropped an entire tray of glasses off the bar and the other got our food order wrong and then never came back to clear table (or offer the promised dessert). The blurb at the top of the menu said “We’ve designed this stylish menu for you to enjoy as we all start to emerge from these challenging times” but the food was an ‘all day breakfast’ which rather stretched the definition of “stylish” for us, particularly as we’d basically had the same but much better at the Draycott in Chelsea in the morning!
      Finally, the floor where we sat by the windows was filthy and didn’t look like it had been swept all day.
      Overall not great and I certainly wouldn’t have been happy if I’d paid for a one-off visit to get this experience…

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Hey Louie, they were all closed by 3pm yesterday, but I noticed times were changing in coming days. The priority pass app seemed pretty accurate with what was said on the doors, so I think some will be open. Can’t comment on which will be best though.

    • Louie says:

      Thank you both 🙂

  • Louie says:

    Another Priority Pass question – how long are the welcome packs taking to arrive once you sign up for Platinum / take out a supp? Travelling on Wednesday having had the Plat for at least a week and no sign so far….

  • Paul says:

    Can anyone recommend any exceptional SLH properties in Europe? I have a free night to use with them by the year end.

    • Jen T says:

      Arctic Bath, The Nimb and Ett Hem are the best in Scandinavia – you’d certainly get good value, although Ett Hem’s F&B is expensive with nearby options limited. The Nimb is in central Copenhagen so you can eat/drink affordably elsewhere if required. I also highly recommend Les Sources de Caudalie for a relaxing weekend in Bordeaux – beautiful hotel in a great location (the 2 Michelin star restaurant is fantastic too if you enjoy fine dining). Otherwise, the NOBU hotels are good to use a free night voucher. Were you thinking of a particular country?

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