Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 26th 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 (669)

  • Aston100 says:

    Good morning.
    I have stumbled across what seems to be a remarkable fare: BHX to BKK in English school summer holidays with Swiss.
    £1260 per person in business class. Excellent flight times.
    The price is similar with Lufthansa and Austrian but with inferior flight times.

    I am unable to get this price from other English airports, nor can I get it from BHX to any other destinations in South East Asia.
    So I’m unsure what is going on. Perhaps this is an error?

    Have booked directly with Swiss and received my booking confirmation number.

    Appreciate the weather might not be great at this time, but I might use this as a gateway to the region and perhaps look into an LCC to get me to Bali.

    Very happy.

    • John says:

      It’s not so cheap as to be an obvious error. For a long time BA had £1250-ish AMS to BKK, you could use it to go to HKG and other places but had to include BKK somewhere, and AMS was always cheaper than other European origins.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      They had loads of availability for about 100 Les than that a few weeks ago, around the time of the Etihad bus fare. It’s gone up a bit!

      • Sandgrounder says:

        *less, I don’t know what a Les is!

      • Aston100 says:

        “They had loads of availability for about 100 Les than that a few weeks ago”
        From BHX? in peak English school holidays?

    • Andrew says:

      There are Manchester to BKK with Swiss and LH from February through to August for £1250

    • BJ says:

      Why spend 4h on a LCC to Bali when you can spend 1h to Phuket?

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        For beaches, Phuket is good. But if you want a good vacation with sightseeing opportunities and relaxation, with something for everyone, Bali is preferable.

      • Aston100 says:

        BJ, I’m concerned about the weather.
        Keep getting told UK summer is monsoon/wet season in much of Thailand, which would be quite unfortunate if doing a beach holiday in Phuket.
        But yes, Phuket would otherwise be a logical destination.

        • BJ says:

          Legitimate concerns I spent a week in Phuket one summer when the rain rarely stopped, very heavy too. 8n Bali you also have to contend not only with variations in weather but also with burning/smoke.

        • BP says:

          I’ve regularly went to Koh Samui in June and while there may be the odd storm that lasts an hour or two, the weather is always great. Samui in November was a different story – proper Monsoon season but even then we did get 5 days straight of sunshine.

    • Harry T says:

      It’s a good price but very far from an error fare. I’m sure we’ve seen closer to a grand with LH/LX on this route during their own sales too.

      • Lady London says:

        They also do annoying 2for1 sales just like Qatar, which are excellent value if you are 2.

    • Gary says:

      Was looking at this other day. Great prices LHR BKK too and generous ticket terms for little extra. Check Koh Samui weather averages and it’s one of few places that has low rainfall in Thailand. Been twice in Aug and loved it.

    • Andrew says:

      And book through Amex travel and save £100 if you have the offer.

      • Aston100 says:

        “And book through Amex travel and save £100 if you have the offer.”
        Amex Travel had the same itinerary for about £1368 iirc, thus negating the £100 offer.
        I’ve often found Amex Travel prices to be a little bit higher than booking directly.

  • Tarmohamed says:

    Has Emirates quietly discontinued the Skywards Go / Whitelabled “Entertainer” app?

    Any recommendations of cool bags for carrying medication which needs to be stored at 2-8c degrees?

    When we flew in January with Emirates we had access to the Lufthansa Lounge at LHR T2 even though it was an award upgrade from Y to J. Does anyone have any recent experience where the boarding passes get printed to say that there is lounge access? I’m not fussed but will arrive slightly earlier if we do get emirates lounge access as I’ll be visiting the centurion lounge as well..

    • chabuddy geezy says:

      I had a normal redemption and had access. For the DXB lounge I had something like that printed on there but they still let me in, I think it is only partner awards like Alaska that do not have lounge access.

  • Aston100 says:

    Just in case I decide to spend some time in Bangkok next summer, I checked hotel prices and am baffled to see the Conrad starting at £47 / 15k HH per night. The recently opened Kimpton is 20k IHG per night.
    There are hotels lower down those chains going for far more.
    Am I missing something here?

    • John says:

      See flyertalk thread

    • BJ says:

      No, noticed that yesterday too. Conrad is not that great but with that price and free breakfast for status who’s complaining. However, note that all the low rates I had booked in for this year were cancelled by the hotels with no effort to reaccommodate at same rate. DT Ploenchit at 10k/night got cancelled, Novotel Platinum Pratunam cancelled my £16/night stays and suddenly same hotel on same nights became the the most expensive in their portfolio topping Sofitel and Banyan Tree. I’ve also seen a suite at Swissotel Ratchada advertised at under £50/night. The thing is, go ahead and book whatever deal takes your fancy, even if the hotel subsequently plays games with you there are no shortage of good hotels at good rates to replace them.

      • meta says:

        I booked Conrad Suite for £100, hoping they upgrade me to Conrad Premium Suite if I decide to go.

        • BJ says:

          What surprises me is that some of these crazy rates like those at Conrad are still around after reopening was announced. Suggests many share your concerns, and bookings continue to be slow.

    • Talay says:

      Some of us lived in 5* hotels in Bangkok for years for less than $1000 a month.

      Heck, last year I could live in a 5* hotel in Bangkok for $1500 and get breakfast, lounge and laundry.

      Sometimes you only have to ask.

  • bafan says:

    I booked a US domestic flight with Alaska using Avios – BA.com said no checked baggage allowance. Just checked in online and Alaska are honoring the BA Silver 2 free bags allowance. Just a data point in case anyone was curious – I had been prepared to pay $30 for my bag.

    • lumma says:

      I flew American Airlines LHR to JFK when I had silver in basic economy and I should’ve either not has free seat selection (AA rule for basic economy) or no checked bags (BA rule). In the end I got both, although I could only select the main cabin extra seats for free. I would’ve had to pay for the standard seats!

    • Andrew says:

      All One World carriers except for BA give Emerald and Sapphire a free bag on top of the allowance for that ticket – so if it’s 0 then you get 1. Virgin are the same for Flyingclub Gold.

      • Mirp says:

        I’ve booked basic economy as BA Gold/ Silver sometimes I got a free bag sometime I didn’t on AA. I always got the main cabin extra seats for free. (And got upgraded to business once or twice). This was flying LHR-JFK pre pandemic. I was always prepared to go hand baggage only. There use to be a flyer talk thread on the baggage issue.

    • Lyn says:

      Alaska has good customer service. Now that Alaska is part of One World I would have been shocked if you had not had at least one bag free. I think it may just be a case of BA’s IT not knowing what is happening on Alaska’s end.

    • BJ says:

      Domestic Y on AA and Alaska on avios book into HBO fares IIRC what @Lyn told me. J or F redemptions include checked baggage. Not an issue for us as we prefer to travel HBO even on J or F and pay for hotel laundry as the price of travel convenience. Please let us know how your flights go. I booked us on Alaska domestic F DCA- SDO but took Y from SFO-LAS as it was was operated by SkyWest on an E175. HBO dimensions on Alaska are 55cm cabin bag plus laptop bag, purse etc for anybody who’s interested.

      • bafan says:

        Currently in the Alaska lounge! Apparently Emerald / Sapphire have access on all tickets unless earned through AS or AA. Crazy really but I guess it keeps the domestic flight people out.

        • Lyn says:

          This is because Americans are supposed to pay an annual membership fee to their lounges. So only Oneworld status from frequent flyer programmes outside the US count for lounge access for domestic US flights. Which is fine for a lot of the people who comment on HfP.

      • Lyn says:

        BJ, I don’t think so in the case of Alaska. Not sure they even have separate HBO fares per se?

        Now with the AA it’s a different matter, would not be surprised at anything they come up with. However, haven’t personally booked an AA flight with Avios since American introduced HBO fares I don’t think.

  • HH says:

    Reading the Amex UK Referral T&Cs, I’m not seeing the risk of account shut downs for self-referrals. Am I missing something?

    “If you do not comply with these terms, you could lose your bonus and you will be excluded from participating in your Card’s Referral Programme in future.” https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/legal/refer-a-friend/terms-and-conditions.html

    • Blenz101 says:

      In the US Amex clamped down on this and shut down cards, including going back to look at accounts that had done this historically.

      The referral is clearly designed to refer new business and not yourself. Just refer your partner if you don’t want to place your relationship with Amex at risk in the future.

      As those with IHG cards are finding out if a card issuer no longer wants you they can give notice and close your account with no recourse.

    • Amy says:

      Theres no reference to self refs

      • blenz101 says:

        It does say “only friends and family”, that doesn’t mean “you”.

        Given Amex in the US have gone back and closed accounts involved in self referals only an idiot would be made aware of this and still go ahead and do it.

        • CarpalTravel says:

          +1

          I just cannot believe that anyone would be willing to risk it for the sake of a fairly modest gain, yet people keep asking about it on here, obviously seeking some sort of reassurance from the rest of us that everything will be ok.

          It’s clearly not what the referral is designed for and Amex have proven in other territories that they’re fully aware it happens and will take action if so minded. Either do it and accept the risks, or respect the fairly self evident rules.

          • BJ says:

            I’ve not risked it since the day Rob first covered it, and hoping enough time will pass that they will ignore it or lose the records should they clamp down here too.

      • JDB says:

        @Amy Perhaps for most people it is ‘self’ evident? As it isn’t specified you could call to ask if it’s OK to refer children or man’s best ‘friend’?

      • Lady London says:

        There wasn’t an instruction on the microwave not to put hamsters in it either. If anyone remembers the Freddie Starr press coverage.

        The fact that there isn’t an instruction not to do something doesn’t mean you should be doing it.

        • CarpalTravel says:

          My initial thought was very similar, though it didn’t involve a hamster! 😁
          Absence acceptance.

          • CarpalTravel says:

            My characters got filtered out. That was meant to say:
            Absence (does not equal) acceptance.

        • mutley says:

          Never happened, Max Clifford made it up, he was however one of the best Elvis impersonators on the planet, when he decided to take it seriously.

  • s879 says:

    What’s the best way to get discounted Yas theme park tickets? The Entertainer app has been mentioned but we are only there for a few days so doesn’t seem worth the hassle or is it very easy to use. Seen loads of sellers on the usual auction site.

    • Blenz101 says:

      App is easy enough and there is now a 7 day tourist package.

      Those selling via the usual auction site are offering to temporarily add you to their existing account (can have up to 4 families members). This issue with this is that offers can only be used once albeit most 2-4-1s have 3 ‘vouchers’. If the account you are added to has already used the offers you want you are out of luck.

    • Dominic says:

      Stay at the Hilton Yas Island.

      Free tickets.

      • s879 says:

        Thanks, we are but they are saying tickets will be given for just one day so if we go to Ferrari World, then we would need tickets for the Waterpark or do people cover them in one day using the same ticket like the Florida parks hopper?

        • Spurs drive me mad says:

          I didn’t think Ferrari world was that big unless it’s had massive build in last 2 years. Would have thought half a day at most would cover it.

  • Sammy says:

    I have a flight tomorrow and I can see over 8 seats in business still available. I did not use the online bid option to upgrade as it seemed higher than I was prepared to pay. Do people negotiate an offer over the phone or do the customer service reps not have authority. Don’t want to waste my time calling to find I have to try at the airport. Also, at the airport do you try at check in desk or go to the airline counter as in customer service first.

    • Pid says:

      Just do it at the check in desk.

    • ChrisC says:

      Which airline is this?

      VS has a bid system but on the day of the flight the offer is a fixed price. That’s if they are offering on the day – they don’t always.

      Also looking at the seat map means little.there could easily be passengers who haven’t selected seats yet.

  • DJ says:

    Creation IHG card due to be closed in December – Have had the October statement generated yesterday, but the IHG points earned is still not transferred to my IHG account. Anyone else in the same situation? Thanks

    • John says:

      Usually takes 2 days after statement for points to reach my account

      • Char Char says:

        This is not a normal month points usually arrive days ago

      • QFFlyer says:

        No, this month they haven’t even transferred, that’s confirmed on the statement.

    • Si says:

      No points or free night cert yesterday. Going to give them until Friday before I start to throw my toys.

    • lumma says:

      I’ve got my October points posted about a week later than normal. Usually post around the 15th and they hit the account on the 22nd

    • Swiss Jim says:

      My points posted as usual. Even though being closed down.

    • Sprout says:

      It would be interesting to know if everyone is seeing the same issue of points not being transferred or just the select few of us in receipt of “The letter”.
      I currently have points showing as earned in current month (Nov) and an increased balance that has not transferred.
      I received the “The letter”

      • Reney says:

        @Sprout, same here.

      • Sprout says:

        I bit the bullet and phoned them ..
        Apparently there is a delay in posting them. The calculation was made on the 23rd Oct (statement date was 23rd as well) and they will be transferred in “a couple of days”.
        No mention was made of the letter/ account closure etc.

    • FatherOfFour says:

      Yes, have points earned: nnn but then points transferred 0. Points usually post on 22nd for me, but looking back at previous statements, points transferred isn’t 0!

      A couple of people mentioned this in yesterday’s chat and highlighted the terms they will withold; none apply to me, though I did get the letter.

    • Lee says:

      My account also showing transferred points 0, earned points 5900. No points received yet, I had closing down letter

      • Rachel Robinson says:

        I’m wondering if they’re planning to transfer on closure so they don’t find themselves with a massive points deficit when people get refunds.

      • Hilly says:

        Ditto

    • Tw33ty says:

      I put in a complaint with creation so I can take it further about it.
      I received a letter back from creation simply saying they stand by the business decision to close it, but at the end of the letter, they say that I can still earn points on the card up to the closure date.
      My statement was generated the other day, and it says 0 points transferred.
      It would appear that creation themselves don’t really know what’s happening and giving conflicting advice.

    • Alan says:

      I had “the letter” and I’ve had none of my points transferred.

      Also I’ve got a spurious interest charge of £53. Anyone else had anything similar this month?

      • Char Char says:

        I had something stupid like that one month

        • Alan says:

          Ok thanks. Just wondering whether they were trying to retrospectively charge for previous NS& I spend. Just wondering if others in receipt of the letter had been hit with unexpected charges this month. Seems quite the coincidence.

          • Sprout says:

            I believe this is to do with the issue they had 2/3 weeks ago when there was a delay in posting credits to the account.
            CS have told me they are going to review my charge and recalculate it due to 3 payments they processed late.

          • Char Char says:

            I had a random interest fee a few months back which I thought was due to me not paying it off in full by mistake but the interest charge was in excess of the previous months estimated interest so made no sense

    • Craig says:

      No letter for me, points transferred as normal.

      • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

        Ditto on 3 cards this October. All have been used for decent volume of MS via Beardy-Solihull-Che route but never used with Bendy at all. Only points I have not received were the triple points Marriott bonus from 31 May – 31 July but I don’t think I’m going to poke this sleeping bear over 20k of points. I’ll get em back in a couple of months if I’m not in the group being closed down…

    • Craig Vassie says:

      +1. I got the letter. My October points earned are almost 27K, but the October statement shows points transferred as NIL. My October spend was intended to requalify Spire.

    • Char Char says:

      This is completely stupid if they have done this intentionally and I’m sure they will end up paying the price of these petty actions, no way am I being anymore ripped off by these people. I think it’s about time they got some media attention about their practices

    • Anna says:

      Yes – both our statements say xxxxx points earned, 0 points transferred. In my case the free night certificate hasn’t posted either.
      This weeks transactions haven’t gone through yet so it’s not clear if points will continue to accrue or not. I suspect Creation may now have disabled the counting facility. Both our cards being randomly, but not consistently, declined.

    • QFFlyer says:

      Something’s screwed up between 14/10 and 23/10 – my Black statement produced on 14/10 had the points transferred (on 21/10, almost a week later than normal), my white and OH’s black statements were produced on 23/10 and indicate points not transferred.

      I’m sure hoping this is a mistake, but it seems everyone’s in the same boat.

      • rams1981 says:

        this matches my experience. OH’s dashboard online shows the points accrued still so they may well transfer it later but who knows.

      • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

        Two white card statements issued today and both had points credited as normal to IHG – I am NOT in the group that has received the letter…

        • FatherOfFour says:

          Wonder if those of us on the naughty boy/girl list are having points manually processed, hence the delay.

          Ironically, I just had white card declined at an IHG. I had forgotten PIN as mainly used for contactless, or used behind curve when paying in person for car service/ non Amex accepting restaurants! Shame to miss on the dbl points but I can’t really blame creation for me forgetting my PIN.

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.