Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 18th October

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (472)

  • AndyW says:

    Cancelled an avios booking today that I had booked a seat on with avios (when they were running that half price deal). When the cancellation went through I got a receipt for ‘cancellation of paid seat’ email, and sure enough the avios have come back. A surprise to me, thought seat reservations were non refundable if you cancelled the booking?

  • Ian M says:

    Good afternoon, Marriott Ambassador Service – anyone know the best number to call them? I seem to remember their was a number for the Ambassador Service based in Ireland, but I don’t seem to be able to find it now

  • Scott says:

    Might be a silly question, but haven’t left the UK since last year. Going to pop over to DUB from LHR, and was wondering what the procedure is.
    I.e. upload proof of both vaccinations up to 72hrs beforehand / just have the NHS handy; Verifly (not 100% sure what this is as haven’t needed to use it); digital and printouts of Irish PLF.

    • Stu N says:

      You just need to complete your Irish Passenger Locator form and you will will need proof of vaccination for indoor hospitality. Dead simple.

      Verifly was a total waste of time.

      • Paul says:

        +1, I diligently completed Verifly, but they didn’t look at it, wanted to see the Irish PLF separately. Remember Ireland is in the common travel area so you won’t get any covid docs checked on return to the UK.

  • Sukes says:

    Melia Q. Anyone know whether Melia Gold issued with Amex Plat upgrades to Melia Plat after achieving just the night/stay/pt difference between Gold & Plat levels? Or do you have to start from scratch to achieve Melia Plat status? Thks

    • Niall says:

      I know from experience that you have to do the full nights/stays/points I’m afraid and not just the difference between gold and platinum. Points redemptions do count towards the qualifying nights though, and if you download the Melia app there is a handy counter to show how your progressing. There are little quirks that aren’t documented and may not be on purpose – like two rooms booked on your account (even if for someone else) counting towards the nights. Good luck.

      • Sukes says:

        Super Niall Thks for the response. I’ve always found Melia IT to be glitchy to say the least so I’ll look out for these quirks.

    • Rob says:

      From scratch. Same will all the hotel statuses via Amex.

  • Sina says:

    Arrived in Phuket, Sandbox – so well organised, I was out of airport in less than 20 mins! (Doing registration, health check, immigration, and PCR!)

    Currently staying in InterContinental Phuket, such a beautiful hotel and such a friendly and useful staff!

    Was upgraded to a Lagoon Villa, fruit plate, sweets, tea, in room when I got in!

    Club lounge offers breakfast, all day snacks, 2-4 afternoon tea (including a full menu, sanwich, etc.) and evening cocktails!

    Any advice on what to do, where to go, restaurants, etc.?

    • Aston100 says:

      Nice, what room did you originally pay for?

      • Sina says:

        It was just a one category upgrade, but because the room above this didn’t have jacuzzi, I didn’t even ask about upgrades above.

    • Wollhouse says:

      Hi Sina – did you have direct flights or transit?? and if transit, did they accept on a separate booking if you collect and recheck luggage without leaving the airport? also how was the vax check? last time we came through Bangkok, the chap next to me had what looked like the back of a matchbook scribble, whilst we had a very thorough check! one of us was vax overseas so it doesn’t show up on NHS app, so no QR code. She’s a nervous traveller and its a long way to go if they’re going to not accept her piece of paper. but we’re keen to get back under the samui sandbox scheme. i’m VERY jealous…..enjoy

      • Sina says:

        I flew indirect via SQ, but the luggage was checked in all the way, so not sure about that.

        But I was told that in SIN we have to stay in a separate hold area until our transit (by SQ staff in LHR) But it wasn’t the case, we were given wristbands to go anywhere we want in the airport, including SQ lounge or others!

        The thoughroly checked all documents twice, once by health authorities and once by Immigration (not including SQ staff in LHR) and we were both vaxxed and had NHS letters (no QR code, just a barcode)

        • S says:

          We hired a car and basically visited a different beach everyday. Mai Khao, Bang Tao and Surin aswell the “hidden” Banana beaches were all nice to visit towards the northwestern side.

          What’s the process like for entering Phuket via Sandbox?

          • Sina says:

            Simple, have visa or. Be exempt, apply for COE, have tickets, hotel booking, be double vaxxed and book two PCR tests for arrival and day 6.

        • Wollhouse says:

          Thanks- so should be ok with printouts then. But sounds like I can’t use a 241 as there’s no BA tin to Samui. Have a lovely time. I know the locals will be very happy to see you- it’s been very difficult without tourists.

  • Eoc says:

    Data Points: Madeira. Avoid any thought of a manual transmission hire car. I lost count of the number of times I drove up 1 in 3 slopes with no warning- and thanked my stars I had an automatic. Secondly don’t waste time looking for a lounge on the way out. BA don’t offer one and PP directs you to the TAP facility. Both” temporarily” closed because of guess what… Bit of a sweaty terminal so don’t turn up 2 hours early for the flight. VeriFLY got me thru check in in 2 minutes max.

  • Aston100 says:

    Got an email from NHS test & trace service with an opening wording of:
    “NHS Test and Trace has identified you as a contact of someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19”
    We’ve recently returned from abroad.
    My travel partner also received this same email.
    We don’t know anyone who may have named us as contacts.

    Anyone able to shed some light?
    I don’t intend to respond to the email, and will await a phone call as stated in the email.

    • SteveJ says:

      Surely that’d just be off the flight manifest?

      • Aston100 says:

        Well I did wonder if it is just a misleading message trying to tell me that someone on my flight tested positive on their day 2 PCR.

        • SteveJ says:

          I’m sure that’s just the generic message. Being on the same flight likely makes you “a contact”

    • zark says:

      We have been through this stuff as well.
      Came back on Eurostar along with 700? others and 3 days later got the same email ( UK PLF’s submitted prior to travel -hence the connection).
      Followed the link and soon discovered that unless we were fully vaccinated had to isolate for 10 days from date of ‘contact’ which , working backwards was self-evidently the Eurostar trip (they obfiscate about when,where & who).
      Filled in the stuff they wanted and surprise, surprise , confirmed that as we are fully vaccinated, do not need to panic and self-isolate, but asked to take a PCR NHS test.
      Given that the PLF was the source of the email and that it also contains our fully vaccinated details, they could have avoided stressing honest people.
      But that would have made thir job completely redundant…

      Note that if you do not respond on line you will start getting phone calls from some bureaucrat with threats. Happened to us the previous time.
      They have to be doing something and exercising their power over us….

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Threat about what exactly? You don’t actually have to pick up their phone call nor fill in their forms and as you’re fully vaccinated you don’t need to isolate. Taking the PCR test is just a recommendation and a pretty useless one since it just means you’re not positive YET. It doesn’t mean you won’t be the day after.

        Ofcourse it’s good to know about contact as it may mean you take NHS LFTs more often / do things a little different for a few days.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      “ We’ve recently returned from abroad.”

      So someone within a few seats of yours has had a positive day 2 test.

  • KZ says:

    Hello all,

    Happy to report that following an appeal, I have been approved for the VA Plus CC. I have two questions:
    1. Is it possible to add a supplementary cardholder, and
    2. How do you increase the credit limit? I hear it requires 6 months, after which, will they adjust your credit limit in proportion to your spending history? Has virgin money requested for further documents such as proof of income?

    • Bearing up says:

      Hi KZ,
      I applied for the VA+ cc about a month ago and recd it within a week or so, with supp card for my wife.
      The limit issued was £7.6k. I rang them up and stated it was of no use to me as my 1st payment would be £7k and, of course, I’d lose out on the points limitation. Additionally I wished it to replace my tesco card which had a 12k limit.
      The lady explained she couldn’t increase the limit and I’d have to wait 6 months. Said I wasn’t happy, not a good start etc, so she confirmed she’d refer to their credit team.
      A few days later my limit was increased to 12k and it operates just fine!
      I know others have had different experiences but it can be done. Good luck.
      The lady expla8ned I’d have t9 wait but

    • AL says:

      Call up and ask for a supp.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.