Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 21st 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 (440)

  • aviosnewbie says:

    Has anyone booked a hotel from lastminute.com? I made 2 separate reservations for a Dubai hotel last night, and when I just called up the hotel (Address Downtown, Dubai) to ask them to combine the reservations, they’re saying they don’t see my reservation and cannot track the confirmation number. So I called lastminute.com and they’re saying the hotel has confirmed the booking and are asking that the hotel should send me an email that the booking cannot be found. Has anyone else faced such a situation? I’d have thought lastminute.com were a large, reputable OTA.

    • meta says:

      OTAs usually don’t send information to hotels until closer to the stay. They have certain amount of block bookings. The hotel can’t see it until then.

      I’d never book a hotel with OTA during global pandemic. Only book direct. If the price is cheaper with OTA, call/email the hotel and negotiate to match the price or maybe even lower than OTA. They will 100% match it at least as that means they don’t have to pay the commission!

      • BP says:

        I keep hearing people say call hotels and get a better price. This has never worked for me. Do people actually have success with this?

        • Amy C says:

          I did. Only done it once last month at The Great Northern at Kings Cross. Online rate £220, got it for £135 by ringing!

          • George K says:

            How does it work in terms of payment? Do you give full details over the phone and get a typical email confirmation? Curious as to what the ‘Rate Details’ show then, compared to the one found online…

        • JDB says:

          Yes, we do this systematically and almost always get better prices, cancellation terms, benefits/inclusions and guaranteed upgrades with no status. It works as a new guest but even better as a repeat guest. Advance research on the hotel pricing policies and how they price/structure packages helps.

          • Pete M says:

            I think it generally works, but sometimes depends on the staff you get. Some just don’t care – when mentioning to a reservations agent at a German hotel I could get a better price on booking.com they told me to go and book there then…!

          • John says:

            I actually asked when I was at a hotel and they told me to book online

        • AJA says:

          I have found that first time around I tend to book with Expedia but if I go back then I call or email the hotel directly and get a better result, such as breakfast included for the Expedia non breakfast rate. At Iberostar hotels as a returning customer I automatically get a 20% discount off the non-refundable rate but with free cancellation and breakfast. That said this was pre-covid. Haven’t booked since. Also i use Expedia if I book a package ie Hotel and car or hotel and flight as that usually beats booking separately. Again not booked since covid so not sure if I will do it again.

      • Blenz101 says:

        The Address also have a decent loyalty scheme which would be a bonus on top if you are a regular.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      You can also book a local taxi using minicabit. It gives you options for executive cars for a small premium.

    • ken says:

      “I’d have thought lastminute.com were a large, reputable OTA.”

      There’s your problem, right there

    • Crafty says:

      In my experience, Lastminute could be considered about the furthest company I know from “reputable”.

  • slonik says:

    Morning, can anyone recommend a reliable but not overpriced taxi firm for getting to the airport? I would normally use an uber, but they seem really slow to come these days…

    • Spurs drive me mad says:

      Think people will need just a little more info like what airport where are you travelling from basic stuff!

      • slonik says:

        Sorry, very London-centric of me! To LCY (from London).

        • Spurs drive me mad says:

          Why not use the train? That’s the only way I’ve ever used to get to LCY but that was travelling with hand luggage only not sure I’d fancy it with big cases.

          • KP says:

            Tube + DLR is the most convenient way of getting there. Unless you’re taking so much luggage which you cant shlep across the city

        • ChrisC says:

          Ah London that small village where everyone knows each other and people leave their front doors open and children gaily play in the streets.

          Where in London???

          • KP says:

            Well the OP say London. If I type London in google maps and get directions to LCY…. I can get there by public transport.

            If OP wants help he needs to be more specific isnt it

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Addison Lee has always been reliable for me, when pre-booked. On the higher side price wise.

    • Sarah says:

      You could try Wheely, although they’ve been a little unreliable with City airport recently, as I think drivers are reluctant to go there when they’re unlikely to get a fare back. It’s actually very simple by tube/DLR if you don’t have much luggage.

      You can also try Bolt as an alternative to Uber, although it’s pretty much the same drivers. Best bet might be to contact a minicab company local to where you’ll be travelling from.

      • CH says:

        I recommend finding a reliable local minicab company. The pricing will likely be competitive with Uber (I used to use one that was sometimes cheaper, as they didn’t have surge pricing), and the service much better. Much more reliable with pre-booking as well.

        • AJA says:

          +1 for a local taxi firm. If you use them even occasionally you tend to get to know them and they know you and repeat business always helps keep costs down.

          But for LCY I would use the tube / DLR, I tend to only travel with one expanding cabin sized bag anyway, even long haul, as I vacuum seal clothing in those instances, amazing how much you can pack in. Then for return ask to borrow room cleaners vacuum cleaner or expand the bag and check it in.

    • Jonathan says:

      If you’re flying from LCY, you probably won’t be taking too much luggage with you, so like a lot of people have already mentioned, Tube is probably best all-rounder bet

    • Marina says:

      Addison Lee use platinum card to pay get £10 credit. You get one £10 credit per month if you use.

    • Sam G says:

      haven’t used them for a while but I used to use BA Transfer (not related to BA) a lot. Also used https://www.britanniaairportcars.co.uk/ for a pick up at Harwich (in the middle of lockdown late on a Saturday night with cats and I was super late!) and they were extremely helpful so thumbs on from me

    • Mark says:

      Meadway have always been my favourite. Reasonably priced and reliable. (Although maybe with platinum Addison Lee credit that will change)
      0208455 4444

    • SteveJ says:

      Bolt. Often same cars and drivers and Uber, far lower price. Plentiful supply in Central London, more limited on outskirts.

  • Richard says:

    I have a BAPP and my partner has a supplementary card. We both received the Conran Shop ‘20% off one transaction offer’ and saved to our cards. We’re furnishing a new house so this was a big one for us! We rang through two transactions in store (both close to the credit limit, paying down the account in between) to make the most of it. They were for slightly different amounts so that we could track the redemption of both offers.

    Within a couple of days, both cards showed the offer as having been redeemed and, within a couple further days, the 20% credit for the principal cardholder’s Amex Offer showed up on the account. However, nearly 2 weeks on, the credit for the supplementary cardholder hasn’t showed up on the account.

    Logging into Amex as the supplementary cardholder, the offer is showing up as redeemed and has the “You saved £X” line on the “Savings” tab which is the right figure for the correct amount for the supplementary card transaction. Just no sign of the credit actually hitting the account itself!

    What’s the collective HFP wisdom on this – do supplementary card Amex Offer credits take much longer to filter through to the primary cardholder’s account? Or should I be speaking to Amex? It’s a four-figure credit so I don’t want this one to slip through the cracks…

    Thanks!

    • Grimz says:

      I would go on the chat and tell them that the credit hasn’t appeared. They will probably say it can take 90days to show on your account but at least you will have logged it with them and in my experience this speeds things up.

    • meta says:

      It can take a while for some credits to appear, I had them credit even after two months.

      • Gustavo says:

        Yeah usually if it doesn’t show in a few days I just create a reminder on my phone for 90 days to remember to follow up.

  • Brian Leworthy says:

    Have you any idea when the US is likely to give further details in relation to the vaccination status for under 18s entering the country?
    I need to pay a non refundable balance on a villa I am renting over Christmas by tomorrow so slightly worried.

    • marcw says:

      press said they will share that information on the 25th.

    • Fazzy Bear says:

      I got my jab early by ringing a local surgery (have no underlying issues). You could try to expedite the process for the under 18s by ringing a surgery and they may give you a cancellation slot so you essentially hedge your bet.

      • Jonathan says:

        Single jab won’t be recognised as vaccinated by the US so you’re relying on an exemption from vaccine requirements for U18’s.

        • Anna says:

          There’s going to have to be a change in government policy to allow under 18s to get the second dose. I saw a new study the other day saying that the benefits of 2 jabs for children do actually outweigh the risks so hopefully some MP will want to take their teenagers to America and have a word with Boris!

  • David says:

    There is an Amex 100 off 400 pound spend offer – I have 3 bookings with Amex travel but they are showing as pending on my account ( they were booked before the offer). Do I need to rebook them to get the 100 off or will the offer work once they go from pending to charged ?

    • meta says:

      Save the offer now. It might go through. If not you can always rebook later.

  • AndreasJ says:

    Hi, I fly back to UK on Saturday 23rd October, I’m fully vaccinated: do I need to take a day 2 PCR test or will Antigen suffice? I know that the new rule is from 24th October onwards, but if I need to test ‘on or before day 2’ of my arrival then that will be after 24th October… Thanks all

  • Tom H says:

    I was hoping someone might be able to provide some advice. I completely appreciate this may have been discussed previously but I’ve not stumbled upon an answer.

    We have reward flights booked for next year using a companion voucher. Sadly I wasn’t able to secure seats in J, but have alerts set up. A few weeks ago one of those alerts pinged with availability in J a couple of days either side of our existing flights and I decided to jump on them. Except… I couldn’t. The existing flights give no option to change online, only cancellation with a future travel voucher. Prior to Covid it would have been a simple call to BA, but trying various options each time the call was ended with a message that they literally couldn’t take my call right now.

    Is this just the new BA experience? Is there anything I can do to try and secure amended flights quickly if/when availability comes back? (Unsurprisingly the J flights I wanted went within about an hour).

    Thanks!

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Don’t you get the voucher immediately? Use that to rebook online?

      • Tom H says:

        I was nervous to cancel for a voucher because it wasn’t clear to me (1) that the voucher is issued straight away, and (2) what the interplay between the companion voucher and the future travel voucher is. I don’t want to lose the companion voucher (which I want to apply to J seats) and lock-in the FTV against the cancelled WTP seats only.

    • Anna says:

      Your companion voucher would be locked into a FTV and you have to call to redeem these so you’re in a bind right now, like the rest of us!
      The other option would be to call BA to cancel your booking for £35pp to release your avios/cash/241, as again they have made this disgracefully difficult. You’d also be relying on more availability to appear for your route as well.

    • Rob says:

      Need to call. Had an identical issue recently, luckily got through in 30 mins at 8am as Gold.

  • meta says:

    Data point: Got through to the Avios team to use up the remaining two vouchers in 5 minutes at 9:30am this morning. Everything sorted in 10 minutes.

    • Doug M says:

      Likewise yesterday for me, a couple of minutes top. Did ask about extending Lloyds again but they said 31st Oct was it.

      • Mikeact says:

        Did you happen to ask any ‘what if’ questions ? cancellations on either side eg….do you lose the voucher or can it be carried forward within the 12 month ticket validity..etc ?

    • Grimz says:

      Hi Meta, Would be interested in your reply to yesterdays chat on page 7. I am not letting BA off on that one if they refuse to book me a year from date of outbound flight!

      • meta says:

        Just contact legal department at Waterside. You must not ask for a refund at all,m. I’d book something fully refundable though just in case you have to go down MCOL/CEDR route.

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