Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 25th November

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 (512)

  • David says:

    Hi folks just flying over Las Vegas in a Virgin A350.

  • Mark says:

    How will HSBC notify you if you don’t maintain the minimum balance for Premier? My salary dosent get credited to the Premier account anymore so I suspect a matter of time before it gets downgraded, and hopefully I won’t incur a fee?

    • Mark says:

      And if that happens, does my HSBC WEMC get cancelled too?

      • Dave says:

        They don’t. Pretty sure the review team got made redundant

      • Polly says:

        No, they won’t cancel that easily. But why don’t you set up a direct debit from your receiving bank over to hsbc premier day after payday? Mine has often dropped by 10k for a few weeks, but never had a word from them.

    • Harry T says:

      There’s no minimum balance you need to maintain in the account. But why not get your salary paid into the account each month?

      • Gareth says:

        There is a minimum balance depending on qualification route- 50k savings regardless of income level or investments is one route

        • Nigel W says:

          I’ve honestly had less than 50k at HSBC for years now and I have never had them query about my Premier ‘membership’.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      Ignoring the Avios credit card (HSBC) or the Avios subscription (Barclays), how do people with these “Premier” accounts feel they compare to banks with decent customer service and app like First Direct?

      • High Grade says:

        I’ve been HSBC premier for years. I think they are great. Huge difference in service between standard and premier in my opinion. I suspect First Direct may be better. They alway win the customer service/satisfaction awards.
        I really like my WE Mastercard from HSBC too. I tend to transfer into Avios and generally wait until August for the 25% bonus. Means I get 1.25 Avios per £1 for a non Amex card. I think that’s hard to beat at the moment.

      • JonnyFly says:

        I had to do two identical transactions (a £ Sterling payment that exceeded the app/website daily transfer limit) from both First Direct and HSBC Premier.

        The First Direct one was helpfully handled by the first call taker – without a CHAPS fee (as the agent said it wasn’t possible to do online) – and the call was complete in six minutes.

        After a wait to be answered, HSBC said they had to transfer me to another department. They wanted a fee (£15-20 I think, can’t remember the exact sum) for exactly the same activity/amount. Wasn’t very helpful.

        After 20 mins I ended the call and did two consecutive-day online transfers which were under the limit as a workaround. There was nothing premier about the HSBC service.

        Only wish FirstDirect would offer a WE Mastercard.

      • Benilyn says:

        @PP – have HSBC and Barclays Premier, same crap service and slow systems… no real difference…

      • Rob says:

        My view of HSBC Premier is that I wouldn’t pay for it if they tried to charge me, but if you earn enough to qualify for it then you may as well switch to it, or a similar service. It would be a bit like having a BA Gold card but insisting on using the standard check-in desks, standard security lines and not bothering with the lounge.

        • Paul Pogba says:

          Barclays looks like a higher income targeted Avios subscription and HSBC free travel insurance and an option on a credit card. If you drill it down to best bank account its hard to tell if they’re any better than alternatives, it sounds like not much. Last tax year I qualify for Barclays on income (but may not this year due to the IR35 changes) and could qualify for HSBC if I shift my savings around. I’m just weighing up whether it’s worth the faff – especially given I’m slipping into poverty (!) and may not qualify for Barclays for long.

          Cheers everyone for the comments.

  • aviosnewbie says:

    My sister was flying EWR-LHR yesterday on United, and 3hrs into the flight, the pilot announced a navigation systems failure and turned around back to New York (so 6hrs of flying just to be back). After the obvious panic amongst passengers, they landed in NY and left on another flight after 3 hrs, and that also got delayed by over an hour. So in all, it was more than 17-18hrs of travel time! The passengers received nothing in NY other than a sandwich and a refund of the wifi fees they’d paid on the original flight. Is there a case for compensation here? It was also a very harrowing experience and she tells me several passengers broke down after the navigation failure was announced. Panic can be quite contagious in such situations.

    • marcw says:

      There’s no formal compensation, as United is not an UK/EU airline.
      However, I’d suggest to contact the airline anyway, as they may offer miles, voucher,…

      • Lyn says:

        Yes, unfortunately since United is a non-EU/UK airline, EU261 rules doesn’t apply to their flights to Europe. They only on their flights from Europe.

        It is still definitely worth contacting United to see what they can offer, since it was so obviously their problem and was a traumatic experience for your sister. although it is unlikely to be as generous as EU261.

    • ChrisC says:

      Check the UA board on flyer talk. Sure to be a thread about it there.

    • Ty says:

      If you press them enough they might end up giving you a $100 voucher, best advice is to never fly United

  • Boi says:

    *breaking news* creation has issued me with £99 fee refund. I *did not* complain at all. My fee was taken in August. Hubby who’s renewal is in January has not been refunded.

    • Alex says:

      I’ve had the same £99 refund appear this morning to. My fee was originally charged before I got the cancellation letter. Haven’t complained either yet as I was waiting to see what happened.

      • Jamjaw says:

        “Further to our notification that we are closing your account on the 3rd December 2021, we are pleased to tell you that we’ve refunded your annual fee of £99 and you’ll be able to see this amount as a ‘annual fee credit’ on your statement.

        What will happen next?

        If you’re not planning to spend the £99 between now and 3rd December 2021 when your account closes, don’t worry, you do not need to take any action or contact us. We will arrange to get this sum back to you.

        Yours sincerely”

    • SteveJ says:

      Interesting news, were you both recipients of the card closure letter?

    • Paul says:

      Me too! Fee taken in August and refunded yesterday. I did complain and the last day for resolution is today. Still haven’t heard anything from them

      • Boi says:

        Atleast you complained Paul. I never complained since I received the letter. I wanted to wait and see what happens on Dec 3 or shortly after

        • Paul says:

          No refund here, membership fee paid in March! Maybe it’s time I get around to sending my complaint.

          • Boi says:

            I don’t think the complaint is what gets you the refund (I did not complain). It is probably based on anniversary year or they are doing it in batches 🤷‍♀️

      • High Grade says:

        +1. £99 fee refunded. Renewal in August.

    • Lady London says:

      They still need to provide pro rata refunds for every single month that someone whose account was unilaterally closed by them, had money taken for. The calculation won’t require whole months. So they owe you (number of days closed early)/365*£99 refund. Plus try for 8% pa interest for any time they take past closure to refund – after all in a lot of cases they’ve knowingly given the 60 days notice of closure so have had time to prepare this.

      That’s Round 1 won. Creation have realised it’s gonna get them a lot of noise and a lot of admin time processing demands for fees refunds so will refund now. If anyone is owed more than that, don’t worry if they refunded £99 but you got to use, say 2 months, rhe value of that 2 months can’t be deducted from your other claims unless you specifically agreed to this.

      Your other clains being any free night you’d earned even if you’d earned it early. And for me, given Creation’s nastiness, the partially accrued points or value of them towards the 10k required.

      1 item required to be settled to cardholders down (though many of you will have to chase still, I suspect), 2 to go with Creation.

      Muppets.

    • Char Char says:

      Mine was similar date so I hope for a refund for this Saga to come close to ending, but I fear the acceptance of fee refund is going to be cancelling off any claim to the free night voucher if the £10k has been spent.

      • Dave says:

        So both me and my wife complained at the same time. My card fee was taken in July, hers in October. Just checked and she’s been refunded the card fee although i haven’t. Maybe someone at Creation finally realised they had no leg at all to stand on taking an annual fee after notifying people they were closing their account..

      • Lady London says:

        No Char Char see above and my other comment. The fee is for the use of the card (plenty are chargeable here and in other countries). Even if they refund the fee you’re still entitled to all the benefits accrued while the card is available for you to use.

        IMV even partially accrued benefits should also be paid out pro rata in the case of a unilateral closure by Creation unless customer has abused etc. IMV Creation should be prepared to state what abuse, or pay up (and I know there’s a clause that implies they don’t have to state but for fairness if they make the choice not to state in what way they deem card terms to have been broken etc then they should pay the benefits – which will be a lot simpler for them as less arguments possible if they settle contract obligations (ie meet promises of the card) in full, or better

    • BrianS says:

      Just checked and received mine also for fee taken in October. To be honest thats me done with it now, can’t be bothered to chase the voucher for 10k spend. Biggest issue for me was the fee and thats been refunded.

      • BrianS says:

        OH also refunded, fee taken in August and received free night at that point. Interesting….

      • Sam says:

        Same here. Got plenty of benefits from the card over past few years, time to move on

      • Mark says:

        The voucher, though, is likely to be worth a lot more than the annual fee. Personally I will be pushing for a reasonable value on the earned voucher, unless they award it, having spent the money. I otherwise could have put that spend through something like a Virgin card and earned a upgrade/2for1 voucher instead.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Eagerly awaiting the response from our resident Solihull experts David and JDB.

      My understanding was the regulator was well aware of all their intended actions.

      • David says:

        I’ve never commented on the fee, but simply suggested why they MIGHT not be posting points and the free night. But whatever, at least you get top marks for the continued snering.
        Yam yam and all that.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          My take is that none of the 2k will have their IHG account closed for reasons related to this card

          Solihull’s finest credit institution will come to its senses because their current stance of throwing their toys out of the pram is unlikely to be inline with the reality of what they are allowed to do under a Section 14 (of their terms) cancellation.

      • Tariq says:

        Looks like JDB is busy processing all those refunds 🤣

    • Jamjaw says:

      I also got my refund today – having put my complaint in yesterday. Account now in credit- helpful…!

    • Chas says:

      I’m gutted by this – my £99 was taken in October. I’d had the letter, and have been busy putting spend through the card trying to earn my free night voucher quickly. I’m £1k away now, and had planned on spending the remaining amount in the next few days. I bet Creation will now try and use this as a reason for not giving us our vouchers for this year – “you’ve not paid a fee, you’re not entitled to the voucher”….

      • Rui N. says:

        You can tell them you do not accept the reimbursement if you think that will make your case stronger.

        • Chas says:

          Good idea. I’ll hit the spend first, and then call them. I might even overpay the balance by £99…

    • Peggerz says:

      FYI, I spoke with an agent recently as the £99 fee had just been added with less than a month until closure. I was offered that fee back and immediate closure of the account. As I’m willing to give Creation a fight over the night I’d earned for £10k spent with – in my opinion – no MS and the points on my card that I’m still due, I declined the offer as I think it will be returned in any case and I want Creation to close the account not me. I have not used the card since my year has reset.
      I also put in a complaint re my treatment.
      I have a use for the nights accom in Asia in 2022 so it has a decent value to me. I do think Creation have messed up here and am willing to keep this going for a while.

    • john browell says:

      Same here, just had the same email and the refund shows in my online account. I had written a complaint letter. I’m not missing any points; everything transferred before I stopped using the card after their announcement, so only missing the opportunity to earn the free night on the back of spending.

  • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

    Good morning all from Manchester, what a wonderful breakfast the Escape lounge in T1 offer.

  • Shaw West says:

    No meaningful Black Friday deals for BA or Virgin this year. Duh!

    • Andrew says:

      Black Friday isn’t really a thing in the U.K. anymore. It was a flash on the pan for a few years so we can go back to how things were c8 years ago before Amazon decided that we needed BF here too.

    • ChrisC says:

      Well (a) it’s not Friday yet and (b) it’s not compulsory for a business to have a sale.

    • Jonathan says:

      According to BA’s Instagram you need to “Get Ready for the Real Deal this Friday” so they are obviously planning something.

      I thought everyone was well aware by now that 90+% of BF deals are anything but though.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      Its not Friday yet but of the eleven BA flights (destinations in German, Italy, Canada) I’m tracking the prices have increased by an average 8.6% on the previous seven days.

  • MW says:

    Flying via FRA today (LH J, no Star Alliance status) transferring between Z and B gates. Any lounge advice for a 3hr layover?

    I have Platinum/PP also but looks like all LH lounges in B will be shut by then…

    I Seem to remember you have to re-clear security and passport control between those terminals so lounging in Z/A may not be as relaxing…

    • Shaw West says:

      You can access the Senator Lounge if you flying J and have Amex Platinum

      • MW says:

        Yup but it shuts at 2pm supposedly and my flight lands late afternoon

      • John says:

        @Shaw I managed to access a FRA Senator lounge using this route but there was quite a bit of confusion at the door (the outer door, even before reception). In the end I was told the system would not grant access with my boarding pass, but that an exception would be made because I was insistent. LH J, no status, Amex Plat.

        • MW says:

          I am there now, so despite their listed closing time, it’s clearly opened. The outside checkpoint only wanted to see my vaccination certificate.

          The inside one scanned my boarding pass (J) and I had my Platinum card in hand which was not asked for… Go figure…

  • aviosnewbie says:

    Someone had posted about getting booster vaccines at a walk-in. Is that only after 6months from the 2nd dose? We’re going to LA on 22 Dec, and my 6months ends on 25 Dec. For added peace of mind, I’d love to get the booster around 18 Dec. So is 5 months & 22 days ok, and where in London can I get the booster?

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Why not book an appointment for the 26th or later so you have a place. Then go to a chemist or walk in centre and say can I have it early, here’s my booking etc. I know someone who did that recently. And I guess if the first place doesn’t work, try another.

    • Yuff says:

      I tried last week and they said 182 days after 2nd jab but they would go to 180 days.
      The earliest I could have it was 22nd Nov but I was leaving the Uk on 20th Nov, even then they still would not give it to me.
      I have an appointment booked on the 8th December through the website.
      I’m sure someone will give it to you early, by then, if they have stock.

      • Polly says:

        Yuff
        Where are you headed to, or already at? I had mine 1 month before we left for Sin. If we go next year anywhere, will probably wait til l come back to have the annual booster. After this weeks events.

    • AK says:

      I would try and get the booster at least 14 days before your flight. We are being much more flexible than when the booster program initially started

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      @aviosnewbie – I would try the NHS online booking site in a couple of days time. I was able to do this 5 months after my 2nd shot earlier this month. I was expecting to be offered appointments for a month later but to my surprise I had a choice of dates for just a few days later. No questions asked at the appointment either.

    • Chas says:

      My sister is a GP and has shared with me the official advice that has been shared with her practice and the jab clinic she regularly works at; it says that clinics may bring boosters forward to a minimum of 5 months, where [….] an individual presents opportunistically at a clinic. So you’ve nothing to lose other than a bit of time queuing if your local clinic won’t abide by that guidance.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment

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.