Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 14th October

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Comments (454)

  • Degsy says:

    DP: recently purchased event tickets via Marriott Moments. Based on the face value of the ticket, I’ve received approx 0.56p per point, which I’m happy with. The seats look pretty decent as well. (This was a straight purchase rather than auction format.)

  • Gtellez says:

    Does Anyone have recent experience if the Amex Marriott offer (spend £200, save £50) is cumulative? I want to book two nights at Marriott Preston and the cheapest rate is prepaid (although with free cancellation until the day before) and just below £200, but with one dinner at the hotel I would get more that £200 spent. Do you know if they really charge you in advance? Thanks!

    • meta says:

      Prepaid rate is usually charged in advance (at the latest on the day of the stay), but yes it’s cumulative.

      • Gtellez says:

        Great, then I’ll book that rate since it is like 40 cheaper than the flexible rate, thanks!

  • Lyn says:

    A question re the PLF form for a transit through Heathrow. Could someone who has used the form for an under 24 hour overnight transit at LHR please be kind enough to let me know what to expect?

    Sorry if this sounds like repetition. I asked question a couple of weeks ago about how to fill in the PLF without a mobile phone number (answer – OK) and whether day 2 tests are needed for transit (answer – no).

    Now I have actually filled out the form as far as it will let me since it is more than since 48 hours before our flight. I was surprised that it only offered the options of either “Stay in the UK” or “Change flights in the UK within 24 hours, without going through UK border control”. I expected to see an option for an overnight but under 24 hour transit. Hence my question of what to expect. I would be grateful for any advice. Thanks

    • Bill says:

      I haven’t yet done this process I will be doing so next week.

      This is from

      If you will be transiting landside through England you need to do the following when you complete your passenger locator form.

      select ‘Stay in the UK’ under the Your travel plans section
      reply ‘I will be travelling for an exempt reason’ to the question about whether you are required to self-isolate on arrival
      select the Exemption options, and then select ‘Transit Exemption’
      This includes if you are transiting onto the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. You may need to show evidence of onward travel and where you will be staying at the border .

      • K says:

        I can confirm this is the correct way. We did it before and was asked where we are travelling to and when. Border Force did not ask us to show tickets

      • Lyn says:

        Brilliant, thank you very much Bill and K.

        I think a helpful person had given me this exact link last time and I stupidly couldn’t find it again. This trip is stressful enough with BA’s route and flight cancellations and pre-travel covid tests, so anything that lessens the stress is very welcome indeed!

  • GillyDee says:

    Newbie Platinum question – going on a nature tour where you can pay the deposit, but not the balance, on an Amex. Would I be covered by the Amex Plat travel insurance?

    • Ste C says:

      I would say yes. I have had them payout on flights when the company didnt take Amex. Medical is always covered though

      • meta says:

        You can pay on any Amex. Doesn’t have to be Plat. I prefer to pay on an Amex credit card, rather than Plat as that gives me more protection.

    • Sukes says:

      Yes I have had Amex Plat insurance payout for Thai island trip where accommodation providers where cash only and Amex accepted this verbally (flights were paid on Amex). I would however email AXA in advance to get written assurance your cover is valid in your circumstances and take screenshots of any online payments to show Amex payment was not an option. Just as a reminder the travel disruption cover etc is dependent on having paid on Amex. The medical cover part of the insurance is automatic on holding the card and is not dependent on its use. I have had to argue this with AXA and talk them through the T&Cs on the phone in the past as their agents aren’t always up to speed on this distinction.

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Off to Algarve. Looking for two days (Sun and Mon) after a week in an apartment.

    IHG has Holiday Inn – looks OK and is about £50 a night. Crowne Plaza is dearer and says there is building work nearby.

    Pine Cliffs – read the HfP reviews – is £150 a night, so might get the £100 off £400 Amex after a dinner or two.

    So: do you as an Amex Bonvoy gold get any decent upgrades at Pine Cliffs, or is it worth using Emyr and booking a higher grade room to get the $100 credit from him plus the Amex.

    Or should I just hope for an upgrade to sea view at the HI – we are both Spire Elite – since we normally eat out (never really been resort people!)

    • Lee says:

      Don’t think Pine Cliffs is on that list for £100 off

      • meta says:

        Yes, as a rule of thumb – Portugal, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, any country further east are never on any of the Amex offers lists. Or anything outside Europe. In the past they did run a promo for Hilton US hotels.

    • ankomonkey says:

      The Holiday Inn Algarve is on a really nice beach, but is a very basic hotel with a small swimming pool and little else. It is clean and fine as long as you don’t arrive expecting anything special at all.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Thanks. Looks like HI then – happy with a basic room and go out to the beach etc

    • Harry T says:

      I didn’t think Pine Cliffs was anywhere near good enough to be flagged as a Luxury Collection – it’s kind of a rubbish Sheraton. I was Gold and staying on a STARS rate via Emyr when I visited for a single night in 2020 – I did not receive a proper upgrade or a late checkout.

  • David says:

    Anyone else having difficulty registering for the Marriott Global promotion?

    A Note About This Promotion
    We’re sorry, but there was an error in directing you to this promotion.

    The reason for this error could be:

    You’re trying to access a miles promotion and are a points-earner, or vice versa
    You are not eligible for this promotion
    This promotion has expired

    My earning preference is set to Marriott points

    • paulm says:

      Yes happens regularly. Contact them and they will register you, Twitter is good for that if you use it

  • Gavin says:

    How’s everyone doing in the Nectar Christmas challenge?

    I’ve almost achieved what feels like a high target of 3000 points for Sainsbury’s shopping, have booked a £1.20 train ticket, and currently deciding what I need from Argos.

    I have been easily getting 1000 bonus points per shop with the offers, which are all things I bit each week. Not used my nectar prices yet as don’t like the smartshop device and there hasn’t been anything I need to buy so far.

    The only question is what I can use the nectar points for beyond converting to Avios. Usually went for Double Up.

    • Crafty says:

      Nectar Prices is an absolute car crash. Did they even test it with customers?

      • Scott says:

        Works for me, although so much easier if you could just scan your Nectar card.
        Not easy scanning and packing with a basket, with your phone in your hand in order to try to remember what’s included, and/or what bonus offers you have 😉

        Did forget to press “checkout” on the scanner the other day, scanned the QR code on the tills and then had to get someone to cancel it and re-scan every item. Pain in the proverbial.

        Few random items I’ll never buy on there, and a few I’ll only buy if I have bonus points on them.

      • Doug M says:

        I don’t mind Smartshop but I won’t use my phone because of connectivity, the devices are fine. Many of the Sainsbury’s buildings effectively block mobile signals meaning the phone is ineffective. They claim to offer ‘Free’ WiFi, but it’s not free as it requires a lot of personal data that both has value, and you may not want to pass on to them/O2, I certainly didn’t want to.

    • Craig says:

      Thanks for the nudge, just bought a children’s ticket on TPE for £1.30. It’s been going well for me too. Totally agree on Nectar Prices, I have a midweek delivery pass, works out at 50p a delivery or thereabouts. Getting the odd substitution but generally replaced with a higher value item and a voucher for the difference. Why would I go into store when I don’t need to? No incentive at all.

      • Andrew says:

        So you spent £1.30 on a train ticket to get £2.50 back? Doesn’t seem a good use of time for £1.20 gain.

      • markpeterborough says:

        My £1.20 train ticket paid out 500 nectar, and those 500 nectar stacked up and counted towards my spending target , earning me 100 more and taking me half way to a further 150.

    • Scott says:

      Completed all my targets a few days ago (bar the Esso and Argos ones, and need 2 more shops out of 6 that will be completed tomorrow). Very easy what with all the bonus points for spending a few £ on selected shopping items once a week.

      I’m just converting to Avios every month as it’s the best option for me.

      Esso isn’t worth the effort for 100 points. Assuming I put some petrol in, it would cost me as much, if not more than the points are worth.
      Argos, never shop there. 99.99999% of the time, and item that may be slightly of interest isn’t available within hours of me. 100 points isn’t encouraging me to randomly buy something either.

      Next months offers seem to be “spend £5 on beauty products”. Might be able to buy shampoo or something to do that.
      Pipers crisps are easy, especially if they’re on offer.
      Union Coffee. Never bought that in my life (might have had that in a BA lounge?)
      3 shops should be easy, unless they’re for £30+ a time.

    • Youllnever says:

      Just need to do the Esso one this Sunday and I’m all done until the new challenges come out on November 15.

      • Craig says:

        As far as I can tell there’s no minimum spend for Esso apart from the pump limitation? Might just splash and dash.

        • Youllnever says:

          There’s a £1 minimum spend I believe. Was actually just planning on going into the Esso store and buying something cheap there.

    • Andrew says:

      I’ve had the marketing invitation for the Christmas Challenge, but the tile hasn’t appeared on my App yet.

    • AJA says:

      I’m 2/3 of the way to my second 150NP target so have netted 150 points so far in addition to the bonus 580NP from smart shop and nectar prices worked well for 4 items this week saving me over £5 off the price on items I buy anyway. Not a bad return for £32 spent.

      Haven’t bothered with the train bonus but I see people buying a child’s ticket for £1.43 seems to trigger it, not sure that is worth it since 500NP is £2.50 so you gain just over £1. May trigger the Esso bonus if the price of petrol is decent (it usually isn’t).

      Am only 1 out of 6 Sainsbury’s shops so far but will do that easily enough by the end of Nov to trigger that bonus.

      • Gavin says:

        Sounds like I’m not missing out much on nectar prices.

        I need to do Esso as well, am taking a trip on Sunday so will fill up when I pass one. The beauty offer excludes shower gel but looks like haircare and skin care stuff (Bulldog for example) should be included. Won’t be able to do the Union coffee one – only drink instant as don’t have a machine and the offer is on beans.

      • Scott says:

        Well, the 500 points for a £1.xx ticket is around 310 Avios, so a good return there.
        Even better if it triggers another bonus.

    • Andrew H says:

      Nectar Christmas challenge? Not on my app or the Nectar website…

  • PL says:

    Anyone used randox pcr fit to fly home test for travel to s Africa?? Thanks for replies

    • jj says:

      Random took four days to issue me with a reference number for my PLF this week, by which time I had already flown. They are refusing to reimburse me on the grounds that their test kits are non-refundable under any circumstances and time is not of the essence in providing tests.

      If you’re lucky, Randox may be OK. If you need the test to fly, I would use a provider who resolves problems in less than 4 days.

    • Tracey says:

      Nationwide Pathology are cheaper, more reliable and use RM priority boxes rather than Randox drop boxes.

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