Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 1st December

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (488)

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Three Hilton diamonds, three separate bookings for the same hotel on the same dates. One booked the cheapest room, the other booked a slightly better room and the other booked a junior suite (there’s still better suites that are showing as available).

    The only one in this group who got the upgrade in advance email was the one who booked the cheapest room. So far the other two have not been notified of any upgrades.

    • Jonathan says:

      Not surprising at all considering the cheapest room will be the easiest & least revenue sacrificing for the hotel to upgrade.

      There’s no way properties will encourage or allow people to deliberately book eg. category below suite & consistently get a massive upgrade regardless of T&C’s. Hilton will do nothing as room for sale doesn’t mean room available same as BA routinely oversell PE cabin & rely then upgrade to J to accommodate passengers.

      • meta says:

        @Jonathan Please re-read. Booking a junior suite to get a 1-bed suite is not a category below suite.

        This automatic upgrade things is a total marketing gimmick and it’s being proven every day.

        • Jonathan says:

          That’s why I prefaced the comment with “eg”. My point was in general you will get less guaranteed upgrades as you move up the room categories & especially when it’s a big jump like executive room to junior suite or junior suite to proper suite.

          Like any “enhancement” in the loyalty game it’s a reduction in perks. Hotels will happily upgrade from standard to a superior/executive room which is the same but on a higher floor with a Nespresso machine. They won’t hand out automatic upgrades to anything that restricts their ability to extract cash from a paying punter or reward someone who regularly stays in that hotel.

          Obviously you can ask at check in & they may upgrade at that point as they’ll have a firmer idea on occupancy/availability.

    • John says:

      Generally need 50% of suites unsold before will be auto upgraded into them

  • Alex J says:

    I have an Amex Plat which obviously has pretty good travel insurance cover, but it doesn’t cover my pre-existing (low risk but high impact if anything goes wrong) medical condition. Is there an insurance option somewhere that will allow me to just cover a single medical condition, or alternatively, just travel medical insurance without any other part of travel insurance like delays/cancellations/theft?

    I’ve tried searching for this to no avail, but I’m not sure if it doesn’t exist at all or if I’m going about looking the wrong way.

    • Alex J says:

      Realistically the medical expenses part will be by far the most expensive thing to insure, so I’m not sure how much it matters, but if this can’t be resolved I will probably cancel my Plat soon:
      – travel insurance potentially useless for me if I have to double up
      – third-party lounge visits are few and far between these days because of less travel and restricted lounge hours (closed at Stansted at 5pm last week when the entire post-security concourse was packed)
      – less points on spending than than the VS visa / BA Amex
      – hotel statuses are a decent benefit but I still have Hilton Gold from the grandfathered credit card

    • Tracey says:

      I have medical insurance with my NatWest bank account, premium paid for pre existing. Their covid cover for anything other than getting covid while away is week, so I want a second policy that doesn’t have medical cover, but covers countries turning red etc. Theoretically it should be cheap without the med cover but I can’t seem to find it.

    • Lady London says:

      Staysure are good for medical conditions if you declare them. Always check on voldesites before purchasing.

  • david says:

    Had Halifax reject my S75 refund from not being able to fly Air Asia flight (April 2020 Lombok-KUL £140). Air Asia are completely unreachable on twitter, facebook and chatbot. I reckon I will try to complain again and push the S75 more strongly but does anyone know from there where I could go? is there some form of aviation complaints commission? Or county court? that I could use as threats. Thank you.

    • Aston100 says:

      Oddly, Halifax were fine with a chargeback against Air Asia last year when the airline cancelled our flight but wouldn’t give a refund.

      I agree it is very difficult to get hold of air asia these days. I had a problem with seat selection and it took them about ten days to respond and action via email.
      I used: [email protected]

    • Blenz101 says:

      Why were you unable to fly? Why was the s75 rejected? I presume the ticket being a LCC is only flexible only in terms voucher or date change. My guess is your s75 claim was correctly rejected.

      You can try your travel insurance if the reason you didn’t fly was an insured event.

    • Jonathan says:

      You can always now go to the ombudsman, since you’ve received a response that didn’t go in your favour. Hopefully you’ll get some better luck with them !

      • Pete M says:

        Good luck with CEDR or MCOL for an airline that has nothing to do with the UK…

    • John says:

      S75 makes Halifax liable for providing the flight when the original provider was unable to, so you could MCOL them – but you should exhaust their complaints process and go through the financial ombudsman first.

      Of course this only applies if the flight did not operate, and not because you were not allowed entry by the respective governments in order to take the flight.

    • Jack says:

      AirAsia were silent when it came to refunding cancelled flights from March 2020. I did s75 with Halifax who were slow, I sent documents which were ignored, and basically got nowhere despite constant chasing. In the end I used MCOL against Halifax. They never replied so I won by default. I never got anything from AirAsia (sometimes get a random email saying they are still looking at my refund…)

      • Jack says:

        To be clear the flights never operated (I checked on Flightradar24)

        • Polly says:

          We are the same. KUL DPS, no refund, claimed credit, but now, not even honouring that. So will claim it from Lloyds, as we didn’t make it to DPS this time either. Long since cancelled that card…

          • Sam G says:

            I had a not particularly cheap Air Asia flight cancelled. Insurance & (Singapore, so no S75) CC didn’t want to know as Air Asia have given travel credit. Bit useless for those that live in the UK but decided to just let it go, was the only thing I lost out on over many trips I had planned (besides a few Bali ferry tickets which they’ve offered for me to use whenever I’m there again but they need that money more than I do anyway!)

          • QFFlyer says:

            @Sam G same issue with Aussie credit cards – I’ve learned that using UK credit cards for bookings like that can actually be worth sacrificing the miles/points for the sake of S75!

          • Sam G says:

            Yes indeed. I did usually try to remember to use my Santander Zero but sadly this time failed!

      • david says:

        Thank you all for your help. I will do this Jack.

  • Asim says:

    I’m trying to book a one-way Flight from USA to UK. However, I might later need to cancel it for a voucher.

    Is there a way to pay in GBP, rather than USD BA.com defaults to, as after I cancel, as I’m far more likely to be able to use a GBP voucher later, than a USD one.

    • John says:

      You can use BA evouchers in any currency to pay for a flight in a different currency. It will be converted at the prevailing IATA exchange rate.

      However if you use multiple evouchers to pay for a booking all the vouchers must be in the same currency.

      You can easily convert the currency of an evoucher by booking a flight in the desired currency then immediately vouchering it. But requires a bit of searching to find a flight at the right price, or injecting more cash.

    • KP says:

      Or you can call BA and they should be able to price it in GBP for you if that’s your preference.

  • Paul Pogba says:

    Telegraph: Sage pushes for PCR tests pre-departure and on day 8 for returning travellers and a return to predeparture testing

    • meta says:

      It’s not now. If you’re going to quote, quote accurately. According to leaked document, SAGE asked for pre-departure testing and day 8 PCR with isolation until day 8 (day 5 test to release). Government decided that it should be day 2 only.

  • HH says:

    I’m hoping to fly to Mauritius for my 30th later this month, and I had arranged a meal out with my family in London on the same day I fly back to LHR. Is there any way I can still legally do this i.e. book a ‘Day 2’ PCR test that would return results in a matter of hours from landing?

  • Jody says:

    I appreciate some of you will find this a completely stupid question, so apologies in advance! However, it’s something I’ve not done before, so not really got a clue.

    Would like to buy some shares (Carnival Corporation to be precise). I understand that the freetradeapp is pretty good for this, and likely to be the cheapest in terms of additional costs?

    The perhaps stupid question I’ve got is, do you pay the amount that the shares are selling for at the exact moment you make the transaction? Or is it when the payment goes through? Or even something else?!

    Looking to buy 100 shares, and want them purely as it entitles me to onboard credit when sailing on various cruise lines. They’re also a pretty low price at the moment.

    Thanks for any tips!

    • Rhys says:

      There’s a few different places – although I’m not sure how many stocks Freetrade has (last I looked it was less than Trading212, for example).
      Both have referral programs so let me know if you want one (gets you a free share worth “up to” £100/£200 I believe).

      • Ali says:

        Longtime supporter of this site however it seems the mods are allowed to solicit personal referrals to people who haven’t asked for them – but the one I posted yesterday to try and help someone that asked about an enhanced amex platinum bonus got deleted. I thought one reply per request was within the rules and spirit of the site but if that’s not the case I’d be v grateful for clarity so I do not break them in future either as a reply to this or by email. Cheers

        • Rob says:

          Amex does not allow the public sharing of referrals and any such requests or posting will be deleted.

      • Jody says:

        Rhys, you were first, so yes please to the referral code to Freetrade.

        Thanks for everyone else’s advice, especially to John for the detailed explanation.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Carnival is on Freetrade, just looked. Let me know if you’d like my referral code

    • Alex B says:

      Before you buy them for travel perks make sure you can get them as nominee holder, as most UK Brokers will hold your shares in a nominee account (so all shares will be held in the name of ABC broker, who will then know the entitletements) as opposed to individual shareholders appearing on the shareholder register.

      • EwanG says:

        I was going to suggest this however it looks as though you send in evidence of the broker holding into Carnival in order to get your benefits, so having them in a broker nominee should not be an issue!

    • John says:

      “Amount that the shares are selling for at the exact moment” is not exactly how it works.

      Every share has several market makers and they will have various prices they are willing to sell the shares to you for, but you need something called Level 2 access to see this info. The live share price you see on Google is just the price of the last reported trade, it will not necessarily be the price you can get at that moment. Other sites tend to show trades with a 15 minute delay.

      When you want to buy, you deposit some money into a broker (such as freetrade) and then you place an order for something like 100 shares or £1000 worth of shares.

      With most brokers, you’d then get a price quote which you have 15 seconds to accept or decline. If you accept, the money is taken, technically the transaction goes through 2 working days later.

      I don’t have freetrade so I don’t know if they do this, they may just do a “market order” where you tell them you want to buy 100 shares, then they will just give you whatever the next market maker offers without a chance for you to decline. In a relatively liquid share like Carnival the price rarely changes suddenly so it won’t be too bad, but in an illiquid share where there are very few trades per day, you may end up paying a lot more than you thought.

      You can also do a “limit order” where you tell the broker the highest price you are willing to pay, then you wait until a market maker decides to offer that price. (However someone else’s broker could get there first and the market maker may only have a set amount of shares they want to sell you at that price, so you aren’t guaranteed to get it even if someone else does. Though won’t happen for only 100 shares).

    • xcalx says:

      How strange, I was looking to buy 100 Royal Caribbean shares to get the OBC on 7 cruises I have booked between now and Easter.

  • BlueHorizonUK says:

    how can you combine the last two? Isn’t it one or the other as you need to click through.

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