Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 20th October

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Comments (468)

  • Natasha says:

    Will there be an Amex small shop this winter? I know they did one earlier this year which was unusual

    • Dubious says:

      Not sure if this is a useful forecast for UK Amex cards, but they are running a Shop Small in Singapore at the moment (for Singapore issues Amex). It is rather pants though – $3 off for $10 spend up to a maximum of 5 times.

      Better than nothing but so far have failed to find any eligible shops in my area…only seems to have big established retailers like Burger King and Uniqlo, yet not all stores in the country.

      Details aside, the fact that it’s rolled out here I would expect it to return in the UK too.

      • Barnaby100 says:

        How open is Singapore? We have redemption flights booked for Christmas and email from BA says we can fly. Non of the usual hotels are open.Don’t want to travel if there is nowhere to stay and nowhere open

        • Sam G says:

          It should improve quite a bit by Xmas but the hotel situation isn’t ideal – quite a few of the big ones are quarantine hotels and those that are left get packed out with staycationers at the weekend but pool, gym slots etc all limited.

          Otherwise dining and attractions are open but capacity limited. No music or alcohol service after 10.30pm which is a dampener depending on your plans!

          Personally I’m planning to leave Singapore a while longer (all my friends are coming this way instead!)

          • Polly says:

            Hi Sam
            We are on a VTL Nov 18th seems like the W was ok to book. Lots of admin pre flights tho. Was hoping we could get into Malaysia whilst there, but obviously not going to happen. Happy to hang out in Sentosa for a couple of weeks tho and some nights in the city. Just hope it comes off, applying for the visa this week, let’s see.
            Worse still is we have HKG for end Jan, sounds hopeless!

          • Sam G says:

            The W has a big pool area so that is a good choice for more of a “holiday” vibe & I imagine during the week quite flexible with pool slots etc but check carefully on the rules there, see if you can book weekends in advance before you arrive etc. The beaches aren’t life changing but nice enough.

            It’s very close row of OK restaurants which are cheaper / more varied than the W offerings – worth checking out the “eatigo” app for discounts at those. Capella is nice for a fancy dinner on Sentosa There is also a Cold Storage supermarket for drinks and snacks

            Hopefully it’s just the 2 of you as they’ve just extended the restrictions on restaurant dining another month – max 2 per party, no music & no alcohol after 10.30pm

            Download the Grab and Gojek app for taxis / private hire cars on and off Sentosa – it’s a slog on public transport. they are pretty cheap in Singapore. You could consider buying a tourist sim at the airport – I believe you’ll see a stand selling these before passport control

        • Dubious says:

          Others have already replied so I won’t repeat what others have said, but I would add that you also have to be careful to manage expectations. I did a couple of staycations downtown mid-way through the pandemic last year and one of the hotels had made a sone noticeable cuts backs and the service realigned to the tastes of the local stationers. This included things like crying children running around the hotel Club lounge without complaint.

          However, I did another Staycation earlier this year in Sentosa (different chain) and it was far more pleasant and relaxing. The weekdays were quite empty so pool bookings were easy – only the weekends were problematic.

          It is still possible to get local pints in bars but you may need a snack.

        • Dubious says:

          Others have already replied so I won’t repeat what others have said, but I would add that you also have to be careful to manage expectations. I did a couple of staycations downtown mid-way through the pandemic last year and one of the hotels had made a some noticeable cut backs as well as realigning the service to the tastes of the local stationers. This included things like crying children running around the hotel Club lounge without intervention.

          However, I did another Staycation earlier this year in Sentosa (different chain) and it was far more pleasant and relaxing. I also had an extended stay at a mid range hotel for other reasons a few months ago and found it quite enjoyable. The weekdays were quite empty so pool bookings were easy – only the weekends were problematic. The biggest hassle is having to specify a time slot rather than being able to have a leisurely and flexible day.

          I would therefore suggest scheduling your relax-at-the-hotel days to weekdays, as well as avoiding the local school holiday weeks/fortnights.

          It is still possible to get local pints in bars but you may need buy a snack with them to turn them into a ‘meal’.
          Plenty of attractions are open an running as usual though – just need to keep your mask on.

          • Dubious says:

            PS. The beaches on Sentosa had a similar book-a-timeslot-in-advance rule at weekends earlier this year (weekdays outside of school holidays were free and easy).
            I suspect that will be the case when the latest alert phase gets reviewed at the end of this week.

            Other public parks are open, but no BBQs or camping allowed. Doubt this affects tourists much.

      • Andrew says:

        Those are hardly small shops they have chosen, so possibly a different promotion to Shop Small?

    • Jpa says:

      I would suspect it will be back but likely to be the same rules as the summer £5 off £15, 5 times per card.

    • Jonathan says:

      I personally don’t bother entertaining Amex Shop Small anymore, their list is often heavily out of date, I’ve been to some places listed on there and they won’t touch Amex, the minimum spend requirement has also gone up 50%

    • Red Flyer says:

      The shop small bashing on here makes me laugh – people will drive miles to save 5p a litre yet dismiss an easy £5 off here and there???

      • David says:

        Agree, quite pathetic really.

        • Niall says:

          When did we get to the stage when so often people in comments here feel it necessary and worthwhile to criticise others, using words like ‘pathetic’. It really would be nice if people felt it ok to express their opinions in a more polite and constructive way.

      • John says:

        It’s not the same people.

        I don’t drive out of my way to save 5p/L and I also don’t bother with shop small as I’ve never found anything I wanted to buy.

      • Char Char says:

        Strange assumption to assume that the people that drive to save 5p per litre are the same ones bashing shop small.

      • Dubious says:

        Who is bashing – I thought it’s just people reminiscing?

    • NP says:

      On the website FAQS for businesses, it says “The Shop Small Offer will run again this Winter. Look out for updates with more information soon.” No date yet though

  • Anna says:

    Good morning. What are your thoughts on Hong Kong opening up by June next year?

    • Sam G says:

      It’ll be one of the last places in the world potentially as their focus is opening to China who want to maintain COVID zero. I’d be happy booking most places in Asia for next summer except HK/China

      • AFKAE says:

        Hi SamG what’s your view on Malaysia? I’ve got a plan for mid April to early May next year. At the moment it’s just flights to SIN, but I have got an itinerary to launch if it’s possible.

        • Sam G says:

          Definitely on the way – interstate travel is open and quarantine shortened for vaccinated travelers- their vaccination rate is very high! The tricky bit is via SIN currently (not possible to transit separate tickets or enter SIN from Malaysia on the way back without quarantine) but there is huge desire to get Singapore-Malaysia travel up and running again so i’d be pretty confident about your trip.

        • J says:

          I saw some talk the other day of Malaysia re-opening to fully vaccinated business travellers initially, so presumably tourists may follow after that. I believe the borders have already reopened to Malaysians wanting to go abroad on holiday, but not yet to foreigners coming in (with a few exceptions, but not yet tourism). Quarantine requirements have been reduced. Langkawi recently reopened as a ‘travel bubble’ for domestic tourism, and there was some talk about doing a Phuket-style sandbox there for international visitors, with onward travel around Malaysia allowed after x days there – not sure how far that’s progressed though. Barring any sudden resurgence in cases, I suspect it might not be too long before the country starts opening up fully, at least for the fully-vaccinated (if not vaccinated, forget it – the government has an active policy of ‘making life difficult’ for those who refuse to get vaccinated). My guess would be December, so with any luck you’ll be ok for April/May. No promises though 😉

    • John says:

      Technically Hong Kong is “open” to tourists from most countries as long as they hotel quarantine for 14 days first, and things are pretty open once that’s done.

      But you have to spend 21 days outside the UK and other high case count countries first. If UK cases remain high all the way to next summer, even if they relax it to 7 days you would still need to stay out of the UK for 3 weeks first

  • Gtellez says:

    I have never booked a KLM/Air France reward flight with Virgin points, reading a HFP article from Aug, my understanding is that can be only booked by phone, am I right? Is there at least the possibility to check somewhere online the availability to avoid a long call just to be said that there isn’t any availability? I checked KLM website and it seems that they use dynamic pricing, so not very useful. Thanks!

    • mzb says:

      Never booked either but have certainly searched for availability online on the VS site. It does show KL/AF flight, so suspect can be booked as well.

    • Mart says:

      You can check availability and book online in my experience it will let you book the lowest possible mileage fares only, so if you look on KLM and see the lowest mileage allowance for a route then try and find it on virgin you should be able book ,good luck!

      • Gtellez says:

        Thanks, I’ll try later with FB first, since every date I try with Virgin says that there isn’t availability.

    • Harry T says:

      You can see the availability via the Virgin Atlantic app or website. Searching on Flying Blue will not show you the same inventory, as more seats are open to FB customers than to VS. In my experience, booking online via VS fails every time at the final payment stage, so you need to ring them or book via WhatsApp.

      • AL says:

        This. IME, I have found that calling is a great way to book – one particularly memorable tier point run, I had chosen a four airport run around Europe. When I called to book, the CSA asked if I was doing a tier point run and instead pointed me at a cheaper and faster run which I ended up going on instead. It pays to call at times, but of course, YMMV!

  • Chrism20 says:

    My 50 Avios bonus for the initial BPMe conversion has posted overnight.

  • Paul says:

    So plague island again faced with soaring Covid infections, hospitalisations, deaths and a new variant.

    The highest in Europe, often 10 times worse than our neighbours and at levels that can no longer simply be put down to extensive testing or the way we count!

    Some Schools closing early for half term, others banning assemblies. Meanwhile 1.5 million vaccine appointments missed and SAGE meeting once a month as no one has cared for a while!

    How long before either the world closes us off or we have to introduce domestic restrictions again?

    What is it about English exceptionalism that makes a nation behave in such an uncaring and irresponsible manner?

    • Gruntfuttock says:

      Light blue touch paper time. I’ll pop back about 3pm to catch up with other things. 🙄

      • Gruntfuttock says:

        Looked in at 3pm as planned, smouldering ruins not In evidence after blue touch paper lit, just the usual happy to and fro-ing of opinions. Same time tomorrow? 👍

    • mradey says:


      Time to move on Paul.

    • Andrew says:

      Masks indoors will be back in a few weeks along with WFH order – hybrid working will have to wait.

    • The Hunter says:


    • Amy C says:

      Already happening possibly. I’m due to fly to Morocco on Monday so checked TA this morning to read reports that as of tonight Morocco is no longer allowing flights from UK, Netherlands and Germany. Can’t find anything in mainstream press yet but it was a tweet made late last night from the CEO of Air Arabia.

    • SteveJ says:

      Stopped reading at Plague Island. Save it for the Daily Mail comments section.

      • Anna says:

        I don’t think you’ll find many comments about “English exceptionalism” in the DM!
        It will be interesting to see how Scotland fares compared with England over the coming weeks as masks are still obligatory indoors there.

      • David says:

        Yeah, keep burying your head in the sand, Steve.

    • barnaby100 says:

      Which schools are closing early?Lets have some facts-a full list
      Not sure many even started assemblies-so no news there

    • BJ says:

      Mostly down to the schools. Same now happening in England as in Scotland after schools returned. Cases since fell steadily in Scotland and will do so in England. Herd immunity now seems to be a factor. Cases in Scotland were typically always dominated by Glasgow, Inverclyde, Renfrew and Lanarkshire. However, Glasgow, Inverclyde and Edinburgh comprising the most populace areas of Scotland now all have the lowest rates excepting five local authorities that are predominantly islands or very rural. Control needs clearly relates to, and should be driven by the capacity of the NHS to cope. Drawing meaningful comparisons with other nations is difficult unless there are clearly differences of an order of magnitude. In such cases legitimate questions need to be asked of our authorities. Despite that they will likely get off the hook for 100,000+ deaths on the back of the perceived success of a vaccine program which, despite being unquestionably beneficial, now lags that of some of our neighbours.

      • Anna says:

        Have to say it’s hard to understand how wearing a mask on entering a restaurant helps when you’re then packed in like sardines as was the case in the Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh at the weekend (not my first choice for eating but my friend wanted to add to her collection of their logo glasses!).

        • Froggee says:

          You don’t need to eat there to go to the gift shop! I have had to tolerate this fetish for some time and still remember the look on the tour guide’s face in Rio when he asked if there was anything specific we wanted to do and my wife said “go Hard Rock Cafe shop please”.

          • Anna says:

            She wanted to get it “free” with her cocktail! It’s fun to look at the pictures and memorabilia and it’s right across the road from The George so I wasn’t really bothered.

        • Andrew says:

          I’m actually selecting travel destinations based on mask rules – I don’t want to spend my holiday wearing a mask, so I’m avoiding places where you have to.

        • BJ says:

          Gave up trying to figure it out too, much too complicated.

      • David says:

        Cases are rising in all age brackets, BJ. And deaths. Not just down to schools.

    • captaindave says:

      are you here all week Paul ?

    • Andrew says:

      What utter nonsense as usual. You’re clearly not based in the UK as you seem to have a no concept of the difference between the nations that make up this island and refer to all residents as “English”.

      Some schools went back from from their week’s October holiday on *Monday* as usual.

    • Lee says:

      Not total nonsense. I could see countries starting red list UK soon just based on our figures. Really don’t want to cancel my New year Dubai trip yet again, but who knows …

      • BJ says:

        Many countries having come round to basing their risk assessment and policy implementation already, it would be very unfortunate if they were to revert back to less useful data.

        • Lee says:

          CDC has just moved Singapore to Level 4 with very High Level of COVID-19 so avoid travel to Singapore

    • happeemonkee says:

      Spot on Paul. I was recently in Italy and Spain with masks worn in all indoor venues/shops/public transport. But hey, we’re England so we don’t need to do that!!

      • David says:

        Indeed. English/British exceptionlism at its finest, as evidenced here by the know all know nothing comments from the usual suspects.

      • Polly says:

        Same in France, even outside at markets

    • Andy says:

      The delay in vaccinating teenagers was always likely to make the Autumn a shit show

      If we’d have done in July like our EU neighbours then they’d have some immunity by the time they went back but no the Government decided to F around and find out what happens when you start mixing 100’s of unvaccinated people with no restrictions

      • Char Char says:

        Far too many assumptions!

        • Andy says:

          By who?

          Data shows group with highest infection rate is 0-19 years olds i.e. the group we only decided to start vaccinating properly in Sept

          Next highest group is the 40-59 year olds who are probably those 0-19 year old parents

          Nearly 10% (209,000) of secondary schools kids were absent with covid last week

    • Aston100 says:

      There does seem to be a massive reluctance to wear masks or social distance in England or to take any precautions at all for that matter.
      Was so much stricter in Wales during late summer when I was there.
      My flights to/from Morocco were filled with people standing and chatting in the aisle, without masks and with no care for their unmasked proximity to other passengers.
      On the return flight, two cabin crew had their masks pulled down for the last couple of hours. When I challenged them, they said “we don’t need to wear masks, but you do”.

      I am struggling to think what is the main reason for England being so much worse in regards to Covid stats than many other countries. The only thing I can think of is the ‘cant be arsed’ attitude on display everywhere.

      • John says:

        Mainly delays in vaccinating children so school spread, and possibly waning immunity as we vaccinated a lot of people with AZ from January to March. AZ seems to wane more than Pfizer after 6 months.

        EU countries vaccinated the bulk of people a few months later on average.

        Israel also vaccinated early (with Pfizer) and they had a big spike through September, but they’ve now done 3rd doses, not sure how 3rd doses are going in the UK.

        • Aston100 says:

          That is quite interesting John.

        • Andy says:

          Groups with highest infection rates are 0-19 and 40-59

          The 0-19 group has very low vaccination rates as the Gov delayed vaccinating them, and the 40-59 are probably their parents

          The 40-59 group are mostly 4 (?) months max out from their second dose so it’s probably too early to pin it on waning vaccinations particularly as there’s not the same infection rise in the 60+ group

        • Mike says:

          Problem with vaccinating children is are you doing it for their benefit or others? Is it fair for them to take a risk (which worse case is probably long covid, as there are very, very few deaths at that age) or say actually their risks outweigh the benefits for them personally….

          I say this as someone vaccinated, with a teenage son who got vaccinated because his mother is high risk and it would get the university off his back.

          • David says:

            What exactly is the risk you’re worried about, Mike?
            Do you have the same opinion for other vaccinations for children?

      • Char Char says:

        The whole testing to find cases should be stopped, its just giving the media and ‘chiefs’ fuel to demand lockdowns when the severity of the current variants is far from its peak.

  • Sarah says:

    No travel related but exchange rate/fee related. I am due to get share proceeds paid to me in USD. I am in UK. Would I be best to give revolut bank details or is there a better way?

    • SteveJ says:

      Had the same, I have Wise (TransferWise) details, converted within Wise to GBP before taking out. Trust them more than Revolut with large sums.

      • Froggee says:

        I’d be fine with either for now. Both well capitalised. You might have more chance of Revolut compliance department having a sniff so if you couldn’t tolerate the money being tied up for a bit, Wise is probably safer.

        • Andy says:

          Had $3,000 go missing in Revolut for a couple months until I chased it and a friend had $30,000+ go missing for a while… suggests there’s something not right somewhere in their systems

  • SteveJ says:

    Data point, monthly IHG points from Creation STILL haven’t posted for me (white card, on the chopping block for Dec).

    Usually post on statement date. Recent posting dates have been 15-Jun, 15-Jul, 16-Aug, 14-Sep.

    • Anna says:

      Is anyone else affected? I wonder if Creation are now playing hardball and denying all benefits post sending out the letters. Both our statement dates are the 23rd so I’ll obviously monitor it and take screenshots of the account pages before then.

      • Rui N. says:

        Well, my statement only closes over the weekend, so don’t know yet. But damn me if I’ll let go of the 72 points I’ve earned this month! FOS, MCOL, International Court of Justice, they’ll experience the full wrath of the law!

      • QFFlyer says:

        Wouldn’t think so, since that would definitely be against their own T&Cs. My statement says the points have been sent, same as usual, so they should appear eventually.

    • BJ says:

      I think I’ll afford myself the pleasure a calling creation to cancel today.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      As soon as I got the letter I locked my card in the app and put it in the drawer.

      • Anna says:

        Why? I’m going for at least another night at the Kimpton Seafire on mine before it closes!

        • BJ says:

          I only had white. It is linked to curve and it seems zi only ever did one transaction for £400 to NS&I. For that they are closing my account. I bailed on this game early this year when things just started getting noisy. I put everything through HH.

      • BJ says:

        I was contemplating a complaint but decided to let it go.

    • H says:

      Same (white card + letter). I wonder if it’s related to their payment IT issues from last week. I am planning to complain if they don’t hit my account by end of the week

    • Dave says:

      I can’t be the only one who has actually increased their ms since receiving the letter.
      If my white card is getting closed anyway, I may as well make the most of it while I’ve still got it!
      Just hope those points post!

    • John says:

      No letter for me, used Curve but no MS, my points post on the 22nd or 23rd of the month so we’ll see.

    • QFFlyer says:

      Yeah same here. It’s happened before, but it’s rare (statement usually 14-16th of each month, points on same or next day). Last November my statement was 12/11 points 25/11. IHG doesn’t go back any further, so can’t see if/when it’s happened before.

  • Jason says:

    Anyone else still waiting for there virgin points this month? Statement was 14th Oct and points still not arrived

    • Ryan B says:

      Yeah. Mine usually post around the 11th and no sign of them yet.

    • Reney says:

      my statement date is 17th, my points have arrived as a line item on my activities. Per other comments, the total has not been updated to reflect that. Have you checked your activity or are you just looking at your total via say award wallet.

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