Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 18th October

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Comments (472)

  • Simon says:

    Do I need to fill in a passenger locator form and do a day2 test if I travel to Scotland from England, but have arrived in England from France 3 days prior? Or will the England day2 test suffice?

  • BJ says:

    Morning all. How are readers getting BA to reduce prices when adding hotel or car hire to a flight booking to make it a BAH? Every time I try it just adds the hotel or car hire to the basket as a separate item along with the flight and the total cost is always shown as the sum of flight plus hotel components. I search flights first using flights/multi-city option, and select those, then add hotel for first 5 nights and select that. Am I going about this the wrong way? Thanks.

    • Andrew says:

      You need to do the search on the BAH site

      • BJ says:

        Thanks Andrew, gave it a try but no difference. I guess it doesn’t work for every itinerary. I’ll try again later and increase number of hotel nights from 5 to 7.

    • ChrisC says:

      On the BA website front page chose the “flight and hotel” option (or car) and take it from there.

      Don’t start it as a flight only booking and then add a hotel

      If you want the same hotel for the whole trip then just enter airports and dates.and then select detailed flights and hotel when the search results appear.

      If you only want a hotel for part of the trip then select “custom trip” and you then enter the flight and hotel dates etc separately and the select your flights and hotels separately.

      • BJ says:

        This was where I ended up initially @Chris but with no joy. However, went back to that following your comment and messed around with the trip. Like @Elguiri below, I could not get a stay for free, however, some interesting stuff started happening when I dropped the hotel in Miami SB in favour of NYC. For example, adding Hilton TS was returning a 70%+ discount on BAR via Hilton, and adding Luxor LV on top of that was increasing the total by only about £10ppn for 5 nights including a Saturday (resort fees to be applied locally). Clearly I’ll need to explore further 🙂

    • elguiri says:

      When you look at the cost breakdown, it normally shows what discount you get. On a £1000 total flight+hotel cost I was getting anything from zero discount to £250 discount, although it never worked out as a free hotel stay for me, I ended up using companion voucher for flights and got hotel via hotels.com separately.

      • Nick says:

        Can’t believe this isn’t obvious already… but making it a Holiday doesn’t *always* lead to lower prices! Depends on the inventory set-up, ancillary costs, and a whole host of other factors! It’s a great deal when it happens, but won’t always be available.

        • ChrisC says:

          That;s true and people need to cost up all the options.

          I see the main advantage of a BA Hols booking is the only having to pay a deposit rather than the full whack at the moment you book.

          I have some BA Hols bookings that only have one nights hotel included (at the deprting airport the night before)

          For that small additional marginal cost (for something I need anyway) I again get the benefit of paying only a deposot.

          I have a couple of full holiday bookings. Price of flight + Hotel is a significant saving over the cost of booking them individually.

          But one trip next March the cost of separate flight and hotel bookings is slighly cheaper than booking together but doing that I’d have to pay the full of both now rather than just a deposit. So I regard the £20 extra I paid as money well spent.

          • kitten says:

            I wish BA Holidays would price decently for single travellers! Every time I’ve looked it’s been a waste of time

        • BJ says:

          It was sort of obvious but based on comments here over the years I probably got my hopes built up and wanted a little more insight when they were initially dashed 🙂 I’ve never tried BAH before, I generally prefer to keep things unbundled but given BWC and the usual flexibility for cost of deposit I thought I would explore the possibility this time.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Well, I’d argue it is already obvious – but perhaps it isn’t obvious that the big savings tend to be a result of BAH booking a fare bucket you can’t book as flight only so it’s hit and miss

          (The egg sucking lesson not meant for you
          Nick I know you know that!)

      • BJ says:

        I will explore further as I have a complex four week trip with all sorts of possibilities on miles and points. I might still keep it unbundled at the end of the day as this provides for maximum flexibility.

        • Nick says:

          @LL have another look now, you have to dig around but there are actually some pretty decent Hols available for solo travellers at the moment. I did one a few weeks ago and have another booked for Jan. It’s actually the hotels rather than BA that means it’s not normally available – they often charge BAH the same per room regardless of occupants – but some are more flexible themselves in covid than they used to be.

  • Mark says:

    I’m want to go to Norway are there any tests required? What should I see and do while I’m there?

    • Paul says:

      I don’t understand why anyone would ask for advice on testing on this or any other public forum . Why not just check out the FCOD .gov site and Norwegian gov official sites for accurate information.
      When there, I believe Fjords are a thing!

      • Andrew says:

        +1! An instant google search would tell you the answer to that question.

    • Mike says:

      Mark – it strikes me that you haven’t fully exhausted your own research on Norway before reaching out for support

      • Matt says:

        But there are so many questions for which I would consider the generous HfP contributors essential to my research…
        Afraid I have no idea about testing, and regarding activities it does make a big difference if you are planning for summer or winter. Himkok bar in Oslo and Flam railway good for all seasons. Be aware that Flam itself is likely to be completely shut if you get the last train in during the winter. Tromso is one of the best places to head if you want to see the northern lights.

    • Dominic says:

      Not sure if still updated, but wanderlust had a great list of every countries entry requirements (Inc, at the time, their UK status)

    • BJ says:

      Despite all this, let’s not victimise Mark for asking same question X,000 have asked before him in the past few months.

      • Chr says:

        I don’t think anyone is victimising him but he asks a near impossible question.

        Norway’s is a huge country and if he wants an Oslo city in the summer that’s a whole different set of answers than if he wants to tour the fjords on a cruise ship in the spring or visit the artic circle to go dog sledding in winter,

        He’s not said if he’s a museum or more of a wander around town visitor. Is he going alone or will there be a partner and /or kids. All those will generate different responses yet may not be applicable to him.

        I was happy for example to respond to a specific question on Saturday about visiting Toronto and Niagara falls at Christmas because it was very specific as to time and place. If they had said they were visiting in Spring I would have suggested other things for them to do that would be open to visitors.

        People get the best answers when they ask for targeted info and say what they like doing. So many times here and on other blogs I’ve suggested things to do in various cities and got the response “don’t like museums” “don’t like walking” etc

        For some reason “Visit Norway” has appeared on my face book feed over the weekend. I suggests Mark spends sometime on their website to get more of a feel of the country and what’s on offer.

        If he then comes back asking more specific questions then people will be happier to help.

  • LindaP says:

    Morning everyone,

    just an update I did the preserve Companion voucher as per Rob’s suggestion and booked a flight to Vegas in December before the date of my voucher expired. Waited the 24 hours then asked for a FTV and it was my email instantly so all good.

    Lets just hope our remaining flights booked for 2022 all go ahead and we will have the preserved one for 2023. Linda

    • Yuff says:

      I cancelled a booking for one passenger on a 241 on Saturday night for a flight yesterday.
      I now have the voucher back, is there an article I can read about doing this.
      Or do I just need to book a flight and then cancel?
      Do I have to book a return to the destination I want to use it, or is it just a similar Avios cost.
      Flew club suite to Dubai yesterday, flight packed, service was excellent although we had been downgraded due to a change of plane.
      Check in was chaos though

      • Anna says:

        The shortest avios flight will preserve your companion voucher and tie up less avios/cash.

    • Andrew says:

      You don’t need to wait 24 hrs to issue a FTV

      • Mattb says:

        Exactly I booked, cancelled and rebooked new dates past the original voucher expiry all within 45 mins.

    • Anna says:

      Hi LindaP – I’m slightly confused as to why you tied up so much money and avios in a FTV? You know that the voucher doesn’t guarantee you will be able to go to Vegas – you still need award availability for the new dates?

      • LindaP says:

        Hi Anna,

        Yes I know I tried up a lot of money and Avios, but while I had the extra cash and Avios thought I would it that way, also wanted the spend to hit the £5,000 on the BAPP for the extra Avios.

        I know there has to be availability but hopefully there will be by March 2023 or else they will have to refund everything? Linda

        • Anna says:

          Ah, yes that makes sense now – the FTV is valid until September 2023 as well so you have plenty of time to redeem it. It does appear you can also cancel an FTV for the usual £35 pp fee but of course your companion voucher will then have expired. Fingers crossed it becomes a bit easier to get through on the phone next year or they make it possible to redeem the FTV online!

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          There’s a general assumption that they might well refund FTVs as cash in Sept 23, per the regulatory ‘suggestions’ to that effect but actually nobody knows and the assumption is that in the case of ‘banked’ 241s it’ll be the original
          Cash&avios refunded and the 241 will be lost

  • Aaron C says:

    Is there a way to get paper statements on the paid-for Virgin credit card?

    • Gary says:

      Yes tap “more” in the app, select account pref, then select statement pref. A form will need to be filled out to submit the request. They will write back to you to confirm the request in a few days.

  • Simon says:

    Advice kindly sought re Austria, specifically VIE:

    Has anyone had any recent, on the ground experience arriving into VIE?

    From the UK .gov website, double-vaxed citizens — which, in this case, my mother and I are — only need to confirm double-vaxed status: we both have the Covid Pass letter, plus NHS app and QR codes. This seems fine enough, at least from interpretation, but I do get things wrong not I frequently. 😑

    Then, further down the same page, this:

    Demonstrating your COVID-19 status
    Although we understand that the UK’s proof of COVID recovery and vaccination status is being accepted in practice, Austria has not yet officially confirmed this. We therefore recommend that you contact your nearest Austrian embassy for advice on entry requirements. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

    I just wondered if any HFPers had any recent datapoints when arriving into VIE about whether the barcode on the Covid Pass letter, or else the QR code on the NHS app, in practice are acceptable forms of corroboration at VIE?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Roger W says:

      There was talk of requiring nine months since last vaccination for access to Austria although arrival with PCR acceptable. I was keeping an eye on this with plans for skiing but no longer going. The Embassy should have the correct advice.

    • Ukgeorge says:

      I flew into Vienna about 3 weeks ago. I had no issues at all. I showed the Austrian border official my NHS Covid pass on my phone but it wasn’t scanned.

      • Nick says:

        That’s as big an admission from the UK government as you’ll ever get that you’ll be fine. Basically the Austrian authorities have ruled one thing, but enacted completely another on the ground. The FCO can’t give incorrect official advice, so helpfully they’ve said what happens IRL too.

        • Simon says:

          Nick, thank you for this comment. That’s similarly reassuring. (This is my first flight in over two years and my 83-year-old mother will be in tow, too, so I was hoping to avoid any potential issues. This sounds reassuringly promising.)

          Much obliged for your input.

      • Duncan says:

        Was the same NHS Covid pass sufficient for entry to restaurants etc. too?

        • Ukgeorge says:

          I was never asked to see my Covid pass anywhere I went in Vienna but of course your experience may be different.

      • Simon says:

        Great — many thanks indeed, George. Very reassuring!

        Much obliged.

    • GeorgeJ says:

      I flew into Vienna just over a week ago. My vax status was looked at twice before I left the airport and at every hotel cafe and restaurant I went into thereafter(unlike elsewhere in Austria where it is all pretty casual). In all cases the NHS downloaded certificate was fine and no one actually asked to scan it. Note that for the past @ two weeks Vienna has been tightening restrictions and any experience before this will be the old rules.
      However, everything is functioning and the downloaded UK pass is fine.

  • FCP says:

    Has anybody got the Boingo inflight wifi provided that comes with the Virgin + paid card?
    This was a deciding factor for me for the card as i saw it as a decent value add.
    Flown KLM and Etihad and not got it to work on any of 6 flights.

    • Ravi says:

      Did work for me on Virgin (jan 2020) and Etihad (Dec 2019) when flying to India. Not tried recently.

    • Sina says:

      Depends on if provider has deals with Boingo. And by provider I mean the sattelite Internet provider and not airline.

  • Swiss Jim says:

    My Amex cards all have spend £100 get £25 back at Laithwaites. Says it excludes the purchase of gift cards. With similar offers does anyone know if this is true? I think it is possible to track, so probably not worth the risk. Just buy and store the wine.!!

    • Andrew says:

      All offers say this. The key is to check if the same website processes the gift card payment – many will redirect you to a third party, often with a similar look and feel so you need to keep an eye on the address bar. If it’s the same website then you’re fine.

    • Dominic says:

      That’ll stack nicely with my 20% off with bluelightcard!

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