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)

  • GillyDee says:

    Any recommendations for hotels in Denver, please? I’d only anticipated needing 1 night in an airport hotel, but a change in the dates of a birding tour means I’ll now need to stay 4 nights. Looking for something reasonably priced and relatively central.

    Thank you

    • DaveL says:

      Also interested (have BA started flying again though?)

    • BJ says:

      Colin may be able to advise even though he very likely stays with family there. Sounds like a good excuse to add a car and take a four day mini tour, or perhaps California Zephyr to Salt Lake City.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Can’t really advise on Denver – though worth seeing the various “mile high” markets on the steps of the Capitol building – and just how accurate they were 159 years ago!
        Elizabeth Hotel in Fort Collins is nice, and Fort Collins is about an hour north of Denver (it’s Main Street was meant to have inspired Disney’s!) There are buses from Denver airport.
        Boulder is a fun town too.

        • Colin MacKinnon says:

          Markers – not markets! Although there are often food trucks outside the Capitol.

      • barnaby100 says:

        I love the Zephyr- wouldn’t stop in SLC though-carry on to SFO.
        I have stayed in Crawford (quirky hotel at the station), train from the airport stops at the hotel.
        The Curtis- (doubletree). Like this one but the rooms are very inconsistent. Good free breakfast for diamond pre covid
        Hilton Garden Inn Denver-Union Station. Next to an electricity station and the walls of the room buzzed
        Crowne Plaza- there was some minor issue and I was surprised to see 50% off the bill at checkout.

      • gillydee says:

        Will have the next 30 days in a car, but the Zephyr sounds interesting. Thanks..

    • Richie says:

      Hampton Inn in the centre can be good.

    • Wollhouse says:

      well, last time i was there was pre-covid… but kimpton was good, quirky, they have free happy hour; upgrades were good; you got bar/drinks vouchers and the restaurant on site was excellent. you’re very well located and it’s walkable to Rioja – which is a definite must for dinner.

  • Norm says:

    Is there any difference (or is it reasonable to assume there will be by Sept next year) between both LHR-HND flights that go out daily (BA0005 vs BA0007)? Wanting to book a couple of CW redemption tickets soon and looking back it appears that BA0005 is almost always gone before 0007, where the schedules aren’t that much different.

    • Dan says:

      Check plane type. I think one is Club Suite the Club World.

      • Andy says:

        The earlier flight is the club suite, or it was when the person I spoke to on the phone persuaded me to book that rather the later flight I usually would!

        Although I’ll be flying out of Haneda to Kyushu so probably won’t make much difference.

      • Rob says:

        You’d be pretty crazy to trust any BA aircraft allocation for next September.

    • Jonathan says:

      BA7 will be brutal from a jet lag perspective. You’ll get on a plane at 11:35 AM U.K. time & land at 23:00 U.K. time just as you’ll want to sleep but it will be 7AM in Japan. You won’t get into your hotel until the afternoon unless you pay for an extra day & you don’t really want to either as you’ll just fall asleep so have to wander round like a zombie.

      At least on BA5 you could get 3-4 hours sleep before you land which whilst not pleasant will give you a fighting chance of staying awake till a reasonable local time & therefore starting to adjust.

      • Jonathan says:

        JAL always have much better times (& service) but obviously no 241. For cash Finnair are sometimes competitive & you can often codeshare onto JAL from Helsinki to Tokyo which normally flies overnight European time.

      • Norm says:

        Wouldn’t it be the opposite? I think all it’d take is staying up very late the night before, getting to the airport ready to collapse, taking a couple of glasses of wine in the lounge, and then passing out as soon as lunch’s been served.

    • BJ says:

      Two points to add to the rest here. If anything goes wrong such that you miss the first departure there is always the later to fall back on, however, anything go wrong with that you may find yourself on JAL. If budget is tight, with the cost of hotels in Tokyo, earlier flight let’s you maximise your stay there and benefit from fuller day on arrival. Always feel it does no harm to consider these things from tge perspective of my long gonec19yo self 🙂

      • meta says:

        Last time I arrived in the morning on Finnair, I could hardly function and the fact that my room was not available till 3pm didn’t help. JAL times are perfect. You arrive around 4pm and can be in your hotel by 6-7pm, have dinner, soak in the view of Tokyo at night from your hotel room or hotel bar/lounge/restaurant then sweet dreams.

        • BJ says:

          In a total reversal of my youth I now find I sleep very easily in the air, perhaps a combination of the flat beds and the noise of the engines. I can sleep most of my flights regardless of time of day so works great for me with morning arrivals, immediately getting me on local time zones.

    • Gavin says:

      I always used to take BA7 into HND but now that BA5 goes to HND too, I’ll probably always aim to take that one in the future due to (hopefully) less brutal jetlag on the first day.

    • Greenpen says:

      Try to fly JL, it is a league and a half better than BA. Alas, can’t use 241 but if not using that then JL all the time. If you have enough miles (or money) then F is divine!

  • Betty Boo says:

    Does anyone have any insight in how to get BA to actually acknowledge the error of their ways and to provide a meaningful response to quite a logical question rather than ‘computer says no’. To cut a long a story short I phoned the Exec Club number to change a booking which couldn’t be done online and endured the guitar music from hell. The first two calls were terminated at 58 minutes the third answered in the 59th minute. These cost me £42 per call so my question to BA was what I considered a simple one. I need some compensation for having to have listened to the same music for two hours of the first two calls. I was being reasonable and letting the third call go. Reasonable as I thought to myself that if I hold on that’s my choice but if you terminate the call that’s not my choice and I have paid £84 to listen to that music over and over again. Having sent a message on twitter, emailed their customer service team the resounding response is tough that’s too bad. I’ve emailed direct to Mr Doyle who hasn’t had the courtesy to reply yet and failing anything more positive happening I’m going to head down to Waterside with a ukelele to serenade them if I don’t get anywhere soon.

    Just wondered if anyone had any more constructive advice than this.

    • JDB says:

      Unfortunately I think the issue lies with your ‘phone provider or the number you are using as the cost of the calls should be negligible. The main BA numbers such as their 0344 ones, should be charged at local rates and even the 0844 ones are only 7p/minute + any access charge. There was an HfP article about this a while back. You won’t get anything out of BA.

      • Betty Boo says:

        Thanks JDB I’ve found that article now. At least I’m not alone and you’re right it was the 0844 number unfortunately from my EE mobile. Just hugely frustrating when there was no other option.

        I’ll get dusting off the Uke

    • BJ says:

      To be fair to BA I have had no problems with them at all with respect to havoc created by pandemic. They have sorted everything. I always have my homework done and various solutions ready in event I could not get my first. Based on comments here I am guessing I just got lucky, and I am anticipating difficulties moving a flight until next October but we will see. Regards the cost of calls there are so many ways to call cheap or free these days. I find it difficult to believe most people have not heard of Skype and at least make an effort to use that. There is an article on HfP that gives all the numbers to call BA. Search what number to call BAbon. Work backwards from that, finding ways to call numbers cheaply that you cannot do so from your carrier.

  • Josh says:

    Hi all,

    Looking to redeem our VA+ vouchers for the first time.

    We are looking at booking 2x cash premium economy and then using both vouchers to upgrade to UC.

    I can see there is UC reward availability. Do we need to book the flights first, then call and upgrade? Or can we do it at the same time?

    Do we need to pay anything additional in fees/taxes when upgrading from PE to UC?


    • Amy C says:

      You’ll have to pay the taxes etc for the UC seat but will use the points of the PE. I called and did the whole thing on the one call.

      • Josu says:

        Sorry what do you mean by points? The premium seats are cash bookings!

        • AndyW says:

          The vouchers work on points or cash bookings. You need to call and do it in one transaction.

  • Jimbob says:

    Conversion of avios to nectar seems to be down , getting a bad gateway response

    • The Canuck says:

      They’re hired the engineers fired from facebook yesterday to do some maintenance

    • BJ says:

      Opening the app and the BA conversion page at the same time has worked for me all times except once when I had difficulties with accessing tge service. But that was more about link issues than gateway errors.

  • His Holyness says:

    Igloo moved to E.On. Do they take Amex? What firms aren’t bust that still take Amex?

    • Rich says:

      Octopus and Bulb do

    • FFoxSake says:

      Octopus definitely do take Amex.

    • Harry T says:


    • Rui N. says:

      “Regular” E.on did not take Amex when I was with then in 2018-19. Maybe E.on Next do? I was also with Igloo, so I’ll also find out!

      • JDB says:

        E.On Next doesn’t take Amex, but the very favourable prices more than make up for that.

        • His Holyness says:

          Aren’t they all at the max price they can be? Why would any of them have varied prices now?

          • RobL says:

            Only applies to the ‘standard rate’. Fixed rates will be higher. May well make sense to choose the standard rate for now.

          • JDB says:

            There was a lot of stuff on here about all these companies earlier in the year, and many people were sensibly advocating fixes and stating the obvious – i.e. tariff over points. The ones that take Amex may have earned some additional points but they have proved expensive. Some like Bulb I think didn’t offer fixes and I think Octopus only has 1 year fixes? As you say now most are at or very close to the cap and then there will be further price rises in April and October next year.

          • RobL says:

            The Cap does not apply to fixed rates which are actually all well in excess of the Cap. The Cap only applies to Standard Variable Rates.

          • JDB says:

            @RobL that is the situation now, but even 2 year fixes were below the cap and my point was really that with the standard rates constantly going up, even a small premium for a fix saves a fortune and that price should always trump points. I can’t pay with Amex, but I am at least £875 ahead from fixing in Y1 and it will be more in Y2. That was the ‘wisdom’ on here pushed by me and many others in March-May.

    • BJ says:

      Scottish Piwer via PayPoint but I absolutely do not recommend them. Had more hassle with them in last 9 months than all other companies combined over previous 35 years.

      • RobL says:

        That was then. This is now.
        Take a look at the Fixed Rates available now. Far in excess of the (new) CAP.
        May well make sense (now) to go for Standard Rate. YMMV.

  • John says:

    Hi there.

    Managed to pick up a deal on Mandarin Dubai @ £450 a night inc breakfast for Jan 2022. Anybody stayed there? Seems a decent price to me

    • Rob says:

      Good reputation – lots of people have moved across from the Four Seasons since a music pumping beach club opened up next to the FS ….

      • John says:

        Thanks Rob. I was suprised the price was as low as it is. FS is 3X price at that time of year

        • HH says:

          Went shortly after opening. It’s everything you’d expect from MO. £450 is good, though I still prefer staying on the Palm. Curious to try the St Regis next time.

          • John says:

            Thanks. Are FS and MO the only 2 in the category of high end in Dubai? I see a lot Jumierah but assume they are a notch down. Any other real top end ones there?

      • KBuffett says:

        You should consider
        One & Only The Palm

        Although I don’t think you will get them at that price point.

        I’ve stayed at the MO Dubai. Rooms are good, lounge is good, roof pool is OK, generally feels a bit cold/soulless. Location was OK for us, but slightly odd and there aren’t any other hotels nearby which is usually the case for beach hotels in Dubai.

        Your decision will also have to be based on where else you’ve previously stayed in Dubai (or other holidays) as that’s what your comparison will be based on.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      Burj al Arab if you like bling.

  • John says:

    Cancelled BA BKK Flights

    Booked October 8th 2020 for Xmas 2020 in Avios 2-4-1 sale. Moved to Feb 2021 and then mid-October 2021 as BA kept cancelling / stopped flying to BKK.
    Called yesterday to reschedule and told I have to fly outbound/inbound within 365 days of original booking date – which is of course by 8th October 2021. And actually before my current scheduled but cancelled flights.
    What are the current BA rules here please?

    • BJ says:

      What you have been informed appears to be policy at the moment. Try another (few) agents in hope of getting lucky. I have similar issues to feal with at the end of the month. My 241 will also expire. I am not optimistic.

    • Ollie says:

      I am in almost the exact same position although was told at the weekend that I had to complete my journey by 1 year on from the outbound flight. Which meant it would have to be moved back by about two weeks as that was how long the trip was planned to be in 2021.
      I did see today that BA was one of the airlines who signed up with the EU to provide promoter refunds and basically actually follow the law when it comes to this, I wonder whether that will have any bearing on this?

    • Thom says:

      Thanks for the data point John.

      I’m in a similar position to you but haven’t yet called BA as my flights are in November. When I do I’ll probably want to move them back by another year so hope BA start being reasonable and following the law before then; I’ll go down the CEDR/MCOL route if need be but would rather not spend my time doing so!

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