Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 5th October

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

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Comments (602)

  • aviosnewbie says:

    Good morning HFP fam! I need to be in Dubai in Feb, and although I’ve been tracking daily, Avios availability for our family of 3 hasn’t opened up. So we’re thinking of visiting another country in the Middle East for 2-3 days and then heading to Dubai. I see availability to: Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar.

    We haven’t been to any of these: so where would you go for 3nights? Considering cheap and quick flights to Dubai (any way to redeem avios for that sector?), covid (and general) safety, good hotels, things to do….not fussed about exactly what to do, but will be good to just see a new place! Thanks so much

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Doha, Qatar. Avios flights should be available too but not sure what value they offer compared to cash.

      • John says:

        Cash on QR very expensive, EK is in no hurry to resume the route preferring to dump it on flydubai which is the low cost option but no avios obv

        Not much to do in Doha – souk, art museum and look at the new trains and stations if you like infrastructure, 3 nights too long unless just want to stay in hotel and don’t really care where

        • Andrew says:

          There’s also the newish Museum of Qatar which is excellent and also countless malls of a similar standard to Dubai. The Ritz Carlton Sharq Village is an excellent hotel if you want a good pool and private beach and be centrally located.

    • Blenz101 says:

      Jordan is an amazing place, full of history. 3 days will give you a flavour of what is on offer and you should be able to get a swim in the dead sea + spa and visit Petra in that time. Lots more on offer though plus cheap when you visit.

      Doha is just smaller Dubai.

      • YC says:

        +1 Jordan but 3 days is tight but doable with petra a 3hr drive each way. Car and driver is very reasonable at around £100 for a 3hr drive. Also u can use avios on RJ

        • meta says:

          Depends on when in February for Petra/Jordan. If the last week of February it can be okayish. However, beware that Petra can be closed due to heavy rain and January and February are the coldest months!

        • Paul Milligan says:

          Drive yourself in Jordan. Perfectly safe, Get a local SIM card at the airport, pop inyour phone and use Waze app. Brilliant for driving around Amman.

          Cars at the airport tend to be a battered looking but we had a week of self driving with no issues.

      • Memesweeper says:

        +1 for Jordan. Stay as long as possible, it’s fab.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Anything to Abu Dhabi as its just over an hour in a taxi to Dubai.

      • Rob says:

        Doha is the obvious answer because you can use Avios to fly across. Kuwait and Bahrain not exactly known for fun. Jordan has a good rap and, again, you can use Avios on RJ to get to DXB.

        However … if/when the A380 is confirmed on Dubai I would expect a lot of Avios seats to appear so perhaps set up a SeatSpy alert.

        • Yuff says:

          Our flight at Easter, 2022, is on a 380

        • JM says:

          Rough guess at an ETA for the extra A380 availability starting to show… if confirnmed? Days or weeks?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Is Oman an option? Or has BA pulled all muscat flights?

  • Oli says:

    I was using Curve for purchases abroad before they introduced the £500 FX-fee free limit. Which FX fee free card are people using now?

    • Blenz101 says:


    • Mark says:

      I’m using Chase for FX free and 1% CB for a year whilst we wait and see what new cards appear.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Virgin inside the EEA, then Revolut or Starling.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Moved to my Horizon for non EU spend. Will use my new Virgin for that.

    • Cloud says:

      What about Currensea? Not sure if Currensea or Revolut offer better rates?

      • Rob says:

        Currensea is the interbank rate plus 0.5% (or the interbank rate direct if you pay £25) which is about the same as an FX-free card using the Mastercard rate.

        Virgin is best for transactions in the Eurozone – no fee (Visa/Mastercard rate) plus miles.

  • DZOO says:

    Redeeming Hyatt points in Dubai – does anyone know whether resort fees + taxes are charged on top of the relevant number of points (currently insufficient so I need to buy more in the promo but until I do not able to click-through for the “final price”) – it’s on the margins so will make it not economically viable if so. TIA

    • Blenz101 says:

      I don’t do Hyatt points but isn’t the point of these fees that they are paid directly to the hotel on checkout rather than going to the brand.

      In Dubai the tourist occupancy tax must be paid direct to the hotel on arrival/checkout which is about 20AED per night – this won’t be covered by points.

      In terms of what other taxes, VAT is 5% and there could be 7% municipality fees depending on location. Should give you a feel.

      I’ve never known resort fees in Dubai but someone more familiar with Hyatt and it’s point scheme I’m sure will be along.

      • Rob says:

        Hyatt waives for elites, not sure about everyone else. Hilton waives resort fees on ALL redemptions.

        However, no resort fees in Dubai. The tourist tax is compulsory and the VAT / service is obviously nil (20% of nil is nil).

        • fivebobbill says:

          My last 2 trips to Dubai were all points stays, and I wasn’t charged the tourist tax at any of my hotels. That was last year in Hilton JBR and Sheraton Grand, and last month in Conrad Dubai and Grosvenor House. This despite being clearly quoted on all booking correspondence that it would be 20 Dirhams a night.
          No idea why, I have been billed it in the more distant past so not complaining, but that’s my last 4 hotels now which seems fairly consistent…

    • JDB says:

      Hyatt doesn’t charge resort fees on points only redemptions.

  • Swiss Jim says:

    I need to get an airport transfer Naples Airport to Sorrento (family of 4). And later return. Any recommendations? Thanks.

    • Eoc says:

      I used Naples Airport transfers for a group of 8 and they were efficient and fairly priced. Even charged no extra for a couple of hours stop en route at Herculaneum then another for lunch

  • Maciek says:

    Does anybody know about requirements for transfer in Japan (Haneda)? Timatic doesn’t help much – says airside transit (up to 72 hours!) is permitted but doesn’t mention anything about covid tests.

  • Andrew says:

    Amex offer for Amazon on BAPP – 5 extra Avios per £ spent each time up to a total of 1000 Avios.

    • Ian M says:

      Thanks, I have the same offer but on the personal platinum card.

    • Iain says:

      Not on my BAPP 🙁

    • Memesweeper says:

      My thinking is then the optimum spend is £200?

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Not on either of our BAPP or PlatBus (no shock there). Disappointing. 🙁

    • Jordan D says:

      On both BAPP and Personal Plat for me. Will also stack with some other spend offers, I guess.

      • CarpalTravel says:

        I’d love to know what criteria they apply to how they distribute these offers. Cannot be arbitrary.

        • Roy says:

          Actually, it can be arbitrary, due to A/B testing. Put customers into one of two groups at random – one group gets the offer, the other doesn’t. Measure whether there is any difference in card usage behaviour between the two groups, and use that to inform decisions about future offers…

        • Aston100 says:

          Not on any of the cards players 1 & 2 possess.
          Quite surprised.

    • Rui N. says:

      On my Gold. Not on BAPP or Nectar.

  • Swiss Jim says:

    I’ve been re-reading covid rules for Italy. It seems a 12 year old (who doesn’t meet the fully vaccinated condition) is required to have a Green Pass to use hotel swimming pool, enter restaurants, etc. And that the Green Pass is only valid for 48 hours. So for a 8 day holiday, they would need to get tested 4 times. Does anyone have experienced of that – is that right? Are the tests easy to obtain, expensive etc?

    • Andrew says:

      Probably best to choose an easier destination in Europe – Spain you don’t even need a test to enter the country and certainly no green pass requirements.

      • Anna says:

        The 12 year old would need a test to enter Spain but after that yes, no further requirement.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      In my region tests are capped at pharmacies at €15 and will generate the codes you need for a green pass.

      I think the easiest way for visitors to Italy to display the green pass is in the Immuni app (this is their contact tracing app) you will be texted or emailed a code you enter in this app.

      Other places can charge more for tests so you’d likely pay more at the airport and different regions might cap the fee at pharmacies at different levels.

      I was so glad to be in the UK for a bit at the end of September. I find the current Italian green pass rules over the top and it was nice to have some normality. It did feel like things were almost normal again in the UK. Will it last, I don’t know?

      Hotel restaurants (if you are a guest) are exempt from the green pass rules as is checking into the hotel itself. You are right about the hotel pool/gym but I’ve not used those facilities in a hotel since this rule come in so don’t know how strict this is enforced.

      If you eat outside or in the hotel you might not need to be fully covered by the green pass. It depends what else you’re doing. If you’re spending time outdoors you might be able to take a break from the testing and concentrate dates when you go to indoor venues towards the beginning or end of your trip.

      It’s worth mentioning that even if you need to go inside to order you don’t need the green pass if you’re sitting outside, it’s only sitting inside that requires that pass.

      If you want continuous green pass coverage try and arrange a block of appointments at the pharmacy rather than having to book them on the day.

      • SwissJim says:

        Thanks, that’s really helpful. I must say I am thinking now is not the time to go to Italy. Love the country, maybe just wait a little bit longer and re-route somewhere else for now…

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I agree especially with your 12 year old.

          Spain doesn’t have this and southern Spain is a lovely spot for some winter sun.

          Anywhere with these passes for normal day to day activities is off my list.

          • Jeff Greene says:

            “ Anywhere with these passes for normal day to day activities is off my list.”

            Me too.

            I’m not going to go anywhere with such authoritarian governments.

            On an unrelated note, can you offer some more detail on what there is to do in Doha as mentioned in your post above?

          • Rob says:

            The French one, once you’ve set it up, is not bother at all. Download the app, scan BOTH of your UK vaccination bar codes (don’t make my mistake!) and you’re done as a vaccinated adult. Only take a few seconds for it to be scanned at a restaurant or cafe.

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            @Rob, what happens if you don’t scan both?

            I scanned both on our recent trip to France but only showed the second one when venues requested it (which was few and far between! No hotels even bothered).

          • Rob says:

            You don’t get two, you get one. This is why it is confusing.

            You scan one NHS vaccination code, you get a French QR code. You think you’re done. You’re not. You need to scan your 2nd NHS code and then your French QR code is replaced by a different one – and this one will actually let you into places.

            The problem is that you scan your first code and you get a message saying ‘well done, that worked’ and a QR code pops up. You think you’re done. You then walk into a cafe and get thrown out.

          • Roy says:

            I thought you *only* need to scan the second dose barcode?

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            Not quite.

            You just need to scan the QR code for the second jab. It then gives you the “you’re fully vaccinated” message.

            You show the 2nd jab QR code.

            If you scan both, like me, you just have both QR codes in the app and then get moaned at by a restaurant when you accidently click on the first jab and the computer says no!

      • Doug says:

        Can you not use the UK vaccination record from NHS?

        • Polly says:

          Yes, we just showed our nhs letter with both jab codes everywhere. Really good compliance in France too. Masks everywhere, even outdoor markets.

    • Harry T says:

      Just go to Spain or Greece lol. Countries that actually welcome tourists and want them to have enjoyable holiday this year. Italy and France have just created a hostile environment.

    • Harry T says:

      For Paris, I just scanned my second dose QR code. That allowed the French app to work for entry to all bars, tourist attractions and restaurants etc.

  • James says:

    Thanks to all who pushed me away from upgrading to First from CW the other day at a cost of £1370 PP. Just arrived at MLE and bagged us an upgrade for £360 PP at the desk!

    • Anna says:

      Result! Enjoy.

    • Andrew says:

      I hope they’ve had time to load enough food and Champagne for the extra F passengers taking the upgrade.

      • James says:

        You’d think they would carry extra for such instances? Either way, I’m happy with the upgrade!

        • John says:

          Tell us when you get back…

          • James says:

            Hello from seat 1A! All meals available with intolerances catered for, cabin crew are setting up our beds in row 2 as we speak. A grand total of 12 pax onboard. Delighted so far!

        • Polly says:

          Enjoy, a real treat. Boy, we are really missing our F 241s…driving to France is about the beat we can manage atm.

    • Michael C says:

      Great to know, James – have a goodie!

    • Harry T says:

      Nice work, it’s always worth asking at the airport!

    • Aston100 says:

      Great result!
      Let us know how it went after you get back.

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