Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 25th 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 (570)

  • Distichon says:

    Got the Amex travel £100 off offer. If I book a BA flight with it, I’ll earn avios and tier points like on a direct booking, right? But with hotels, I wouldn’t earn any points or nights?

      • Distichon says:

        Damn, I even had a cursory look at the post, but missed the important paragraph. I’ll blame it on not having had coffee yet at that time. Thanks for pointing me to it, my reading comprehension left a lot to be desired!

        • Reney says:

          on a positive note, Rob probably gets extra clicks if you have to read a post twice 😁

    • Sam G says:

      Yes. Don’t forget you have to deal with Amex for any changes – though this isn’t too bad vs some other OTAs. They can issue their version of an FTV if you needed it (which gives option to “lock in” the credit if you’d book a BA cash flight at some point

      • Distichon says:

        Yeah, I’m generally careful with booking flights third-party, but I heard Amex travel is generally alright, so for £100 I might be willing to take the risk.

        • Andrew says:

          And it’s on all the supps now so you can really go to town on this one.

    • Terri says:

      I booked a fully refundable hotel with Amex Travel using the money back offer. When I needed to cancel and book a different location Amex Travel had its own separate admin fee. Put me off using Amex Travel. Fee wiped out money back and tied me to a 3rd party and their inflexible policies.

  • Britbronco says:

    Does anyone know of the pod parking is running at the moment? It’s available for booking for my travel date in November, but I recall reading a comment the other day about a bus replacement running??

    • Darko says:

      Pods were closed on 15th this month. Twitter says that pods started operating on 22nd. I’m interested to hear firsthand from someone who used the pods recently, as I’m returning thise evening and I’ve parked at thistle.

    • Biki says:

      I drove past yesterday and the pods were running

  • meta says:

    Does anyone know if Hilton Impresario rate with double base points works with current promo so you basically get 4x points?

    • H says:

      @Meta re Hilton promo – yes it does. I recently have used this with a few Impresario bookings.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      The way it works is as follows – assuming you earned 1000 points:
      Base points: 1000 (qualifying)
      Impresario bonus: 1000 (non qualifying)
      Current promo: 1000 (non qualifying)
      Total: 3000

      The base points aren’t actually doubled, so if you combine the impresario rate and the current promo you will get 3x points not 4x

  • Fm says:

    Further to a question on yesterday’s chat, is it possible to convert a BA booking from Amex travel to an FTV? Also, any issues using multiple FTVs in a single booking? Thanks

  • Helen says:

    Could anybody tell me for certain whether the travel insurance included with the AMEX Business Platinum card would cover the expenses of a holiday (not booked for with AMEX) if I tested positive for Covid and so was unable to go please? According to the Covid general terms and conditions it seems that the holiday should have been booked using the AMEX card in order to qualify for the cancellation insurance. However, when signing up I was advised that I was covered for travel insurance even if I did not use the card. It may be just Covid that has changed things.

    • Reney says:

      You should call AXA for certainty.

    • Helen says:

      I contacted AXA travel insurance and received the following answer ‘If you a card holder then yes as long as you have not booked the trip whilst restrictions were in place then would be covered for cancellation if tested positive regardless of how the trip was paid for as your travel insurance is not card dependent on the SB PLAT CHARGE CARD.’

  • Jonny says:

    Hello. Can you use the Gold benefit of forcing reward seat availability by paying double Avios…with Upgrade using Avios?

    This would reduce the base amount for doubling. Thanks.

    • Jonathan says:

      No. Has to be a straight Avios redemption. They also now price off the highest Avios/lowest cash option so almost never worth it anymore.

      • Jonny says:

        @Jonathan – thanks. Could you clarify your second point?

        • Jonathan says:

          When you book an Avios flight you get offered the standard redemption rate that features on all the redemption charts (eg. Zone 1 single off-peak: 4,750 Avios & £17.50) plus some other options with more Avios/less cash & vice versa.

          Historically a GPR for Zone 1 would be 4,750 x 2 + £17.50 but now they use the highest Avios/lowest cash to multiply so for MAN-LHR it would be 9,250 x 2 + £0.50.

          If you value Avios at 1p then you’ve gone from a cost of £112.50 to £185.50. Bad news unless you’re drowning in Avios.

  • Mark says:

    Any crypto experts? Using Binance but I just realized I can’t withdraw to bank account anymore and only to a card (1% fee). Are there any other alternatives?

    • Anuj says:

      Open an account with someone reputable such as gemini (many outward withdrawals are free and lower trading fee if you use gemini active trader instead of the app).
      Then convert your btc to litecoin, then withdraw to gemini (withdrawal fee is much lower if you convert to litecoin). Then once in gemini convert to fiat and withdraw to bank. Gemini is based in UK if I’m not mistaken.

      • John says:

        Remember converting to Litecoin is a chargeable event for CGT – not so much of an issue if immediately converting to GBP

        • JDB says:

          @John – why is it not a chargeable event if you sell your crypto for GBP, but not if you sell it and switch into a different crypto? I have no idea of the answer, but it would be inconsistent with the treatment other assets (and HMRC doesn’t consider crypto to be currency or money).

          • John says:

            Huh? What I was trying to say is that it is chargeable but if you convert BTC to Litecoin then immediately to GBP you won’t make any gain on the Litecoin

            If you hold the Litecoin for a while before changing to GBP, the price will change and you need to record the GBP price at acquisition and work out your theoretical gain/loss on disposal

    • Andreas says:

      I used to use Binance too – moved to Coinbase Pro (far lower fees than the normal Coinbase, and you can assets between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro for free). I’ve heard good things about Kraken as well. Look into all of them (and Gemini, which Anuj has suggested) and take your pick.

      I think I converted my assets to Cardano before transferring them from Binance to Coinbase Pro, as the ADA transaction fees are low, but a lot of different cryptocurrencies have low transaction fees. Avoid transferring as Bitcoin or Ethereum – the network fees are high. Do a test transfer first to make sure your wallet address is typed in correctly

    • memesweeper says:

      send to your crypto.com wallet, transfer to the debit card, spend it (or withdraw from a cash machine)

    • Mr. AC says:

      A lot of people are advising swapping crypto and using a different exchange – but remember that trading is usually at least 0.25% maker / taker fee + whatever the market spread is, and crypto transfers usually have a fee associated with them. So 1% fee might actually be not so bad.
      One thing you could potentially do is find someone who wants to buy crypto among your friends / colleagues and just sell them directly.

  • Ryan says:

    Anyone with recent experience with claiming VAT back on EU holiday purchases? Given that we are no longer an EU member, I don’t see why we cannot claim the relevant VAT back? Any experience with Global Blue?

    • LS says:

      I have not got experience. But – there is a strict operation to be done if you are successful: there will be a minimum value (usually £100 or so), you will need to not have opened the purchase, get the receipt stamped at the airport, and then post it off once back home.
      You will also be liable for VAT/duties on entering the UK. Yes you might get away with it, but fines are high if you are caught, and the limit is only £390, or you have to pay for everything (eg bring a £400 watch in, you must pay VAT and duties on the whole watch).

    • JDB says:

      You can reclaim the EU VAT, but you need to pay the UK VAT if you bring the item(s) back and they exceed your allowance. NI is different of course. Some people may choose not to declare, but obviously there is quite a paper trail and for high value items you will want the receipts for guarantee/insurance purposes. If I understand it correctly if you declare something on arrival you pay UK duty (if applicable) + VAT on the tax inclusive amount and that if you exceed your £390 allowance you pay on the whole lot.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Claimed back VAT from my bulk wine (under the limits!) purchase a few weeks ago via Eurotunnel.

      You don’t get the full VAT back, only part of it. Global Blue charge you hidden fees for receiving the funds and they auto convert to GBP with a markup, naturally.

      I paid €34.61 in VAT and received £18.95 back.

      There are self serve machines you scan your paperwork at to confirm the export.

      • JDB says:

        Where did you buy the wine from to get the right paperwork or can you buy anywhere? We are going at Xmas and plan to stock up to our allowances. Used to get it shipped, but too much aggro for them now.

    • LS says:

      And quick question, related: If i take an item (eg laptop worth £1500) bought in the UK, out of UK and then return, I don’t have to pay VAT do I? Even if over £390? Even if away for 6 months? Obviously used, personal item, and I will have UK receipt if required.

      • JDB says:

        Yes, that’s fine if you have a UK VAT receipt in case anyone asks. Useful to have anyway for valuable items, particularly if it has serial no. etc in case anything happens to it while you are away.

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