Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

  • iaink 18 posts

    It’s Probably because I’m competing with you guys, but I had tickets in my hands tonight, but by the time payment had gone through (because card company wanted to send me a text to confirm etc) they’d gone. Any suggestions on speeding up the payment process (card is already saved)? Are some suppliers quicker than others? I’ve got amex, santander and barclaycard plus some debit cards.

    meta 1,470 posts

    Use Amex and out ba.com on safe payments list when you book your first ticket. It won’t be asking for any secure codes or the like. However, you were probably beaten by someone who called in as agents are quicker.

    Tracy 315 posts

    It’s also worth checking back after 1am too. I lost track of time last night, I know rookie mistake, and checked for flights at 1.05am. The 4 business class seats were gone. Kept checking for a bit and 2 seats popped back up at 1.30am so I quickly nabbed them…this was the return flight not the outward bound. Mine was probably easier to get as I’ll be returning home before Sakura…
    On a separate note, hotel prices in Japan are high!! I had a trip booked in 2020 (damn covid) and the prices then seem so cheap in comparison to now 🙁

    Aston100 1,449 posts

    Use Amex and out ba.com on safe payments list when you book your first ticket. It won’t be asking for any secure codes or the like. However, you were probably beaten by someone who called in as agents are quicker.

    Given the million and one questions asked by agents before they even attempt to look for flights, I can’t see how they would be quicker than someone (who has done this before) trying to book online.
    What am I missing?

    Guernsey Globetrotter 614 posts

    Use Amex and out ba.com on safe payments list when you book your first ticket. It won’t be asking for any secure codes or the like. However, you were probably beaten by someone who called in as agents are quicker.

    Given the million and one questions asked by agents before they even attempt to look for flights, I can’t see how they would be quicker than someone (who has done this before) trying to book online.
    What am I missing?


    @Aston100
    I understand that people call well in advance of the ticket release time so they can go through all the agent’s questions and then the agent is free to reserve the tickets as soon as they appear in the system. An agent can ‘hold’ the tickets while they then complete the payment formalities and so you’d have to be very fast on the draw to complete the whole process online before they do that simple step – to this extent the system is weighted against the individual!

    Aston100 1,449 posts

    Use Amex and out ba.com on safe payments list when you book your first ticket. It won’t be asking for any secure codes or the like. However, you were probably beaten by someone who called in as agents are quicker.

    Given the million and one questions asked by agents before they even attempt to look for flights, I can’t see how they would be quicker than someone (who has done this before) trying to book online.
    What am I missing?



    @Aston100
    I understand that people call well in advance of the ticket release time so they can go through all the agent’s questions and then the agent is free to reserve the tickets as soon as they appear in the system. An agent can ‘hold’ the tickets while they then complete the payment formalities and so you’d have to be very fast on the draw to complete the whole process online before they do that simple step – to this extent the system is weighted against the individual!

    You’re absolutely right. I forgot about the t-minus 10 minutes phone calls.
    Do agents really just sit there twiddling their thumbs waiting for your tickets to go live? I’ve spoken to some right dragons who I cannot imagine being flexible with their time.

    Reney 791 posts

    When I booked my inbound flight I was about 3 mins too early the kind agent told me he is not allow to sit idol so effectively directed to me to ask him to look for some hotels for me whilst we wait since I already had the outbound. Maybe try this?

    Aston100 1,449 posts

    When I booked my inbound flight I was about 3 mins too early the kind agent told me he is not allow to sit idol so effectively directed to me to ask him to look for some hotels for me whilst we wait since I already had the outbound. Maybe try this?

    Interesting.
    BTW, what number did you dial?

    Mouse 190 posts

    It’s also worth checking back after 1am too. I lost track of time last night, I know rookie mistake, and checked for flights at 1.05am. The 4 business class seats were gone. Kept checking for a bit and 2 seats popped back up at 1.30am so I quickly nabbed them…this was the return flight not the outward bound. Mine was probably easier to get as I’ll be returning home before Sakura…
    On a separate note, hotel prices in Japan are high!! I had a trip booked in 2020 (damn covid) and the prices then seem so cheap in comparison to now 🙁

    I have also experienced the seats reappearing thing recently

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    I’ve noticed them appearing at 1.30 am once or twice, I think there can be a slight delay in them being released rather than them coming and going. I always advise to keep refreshing a search for at least 30 mins before giving up.

    totestornot123 50 posts

    So as a test run, I stayed up until 1am to see the flights being released which happened bang on 1am. I wanted to see how long it would take me to get to the final confirmation page. I didn’t submit as I wasn’t sure if I could cancel for free (and what would happen to my 2v1 voucher). In less then 1 min, all the 4 business class seats were unavailable, the 2 PE seats were gone at 1.05am.

    I’m in 2 minds about ringing the call centre vs trying to book it myself online. May try the latter once or twice and then try ringing if still unsuccessful. We are trying to book on the days where BA fly at midday from LHR.

    Reney 791 posts

    When I booked my inbound flight I was about 3 mins too early the kind agent told me he is not allow to sit idol so effectively directed to me to ask him to look for some hotels for me whilst we wait since I already had the outbound. Maybe try this?

    Interesting.
    BTW, what number did you dial?

    It was a year ago, think it was the US number.

    Reney 791 posts

    So as a test run, I stayed up until 1am to see the flights being released which happened bang on 1am. I wanted to see how long it would take me to get to the final confirmation page. I didn’t submit as I wasn’t sure if I could cancel for free (and what would happen to my 2v1 voucher). In less then 1 min, all the 4 business class seats were unavailable, the 2 PE seats were gone at 1.05am.

    I’m in 2 minds about ringing the call centre vs trying to book it myself online. May try the latter once or twice and then try ringing if still unsuccessful. We are trying to book on the days where BA fly at midday from LHR.

    Have you hung out in the 241 thread yet. For Japan I think you pretty much had to call, unless your wifi is very fast and have saved your payment method. Also if your dates are pretty fixed, and if I recall that 11.50 flight is only every other day I think you have to be pretty lucky. I mean you could always do both, wait on the phone and book online and see which wins.

    Awentford 18 posts

    Agents can hold the flights as soon as they come live so they reserve them in a couple seconds of coming live whereas booking online takes at least a minute or 2 before they’re yours.

    Agents will then take 15-20 minutes to book them ime, but it doesn’t matter as they’ve held them for you.

    Karin@headforpoints 8 posts

    Am I understanding this right – I can book LHR to Tokyo on Iberia using my BA 241/avios? I’ve looked at Iberia and I can’t see how this works – sorry I’m probably being thick – it’s a whole new world of madness I wasn’t prepared for trying to sort Tokyo flights for next Spring

    ed_fly 235 posts

    Am I understanding this right – I can book LHR to Tokyo on Iberia using my BA 241/avios? I’ve looked at Iberia and I can’t see how this works – sorry I’m probably being thick – it’s a whole new world of madness I wasn’t prepared for trying to sort Tokyo flights for next Spring

    hi Karin, given the range of questions you’re posing, I’d genuinely suggest you read some of the HFP reference guides here – https://www.headforpoints.com/category/avios-redemption-university/. The hfp team have created a range of excellent articles explaining all the various options and permutations of maximising avios redemptions and how to use a 241 etc.

    In short you can use a 241 on Iberia. You’d have to travel via Madrid. Which results in further considerations. Doing it all on one ticket, or two tickets which may be cheaper, but have added risk.

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    You can use the 241 on Iberia but need to book via BA.com. You can’t use the 241 on any other website, so if there’s no availability showing, you’re not going to get the seats at that time.
    As suggested, it would be really helpful to read the relevant articles before jumping in at the deep end again!

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2024/01/08/where-does-iberia-fly-long-haul/

    Karin@headforpoints 8 posts

    Thanks – I’ve read the articles – very useful – and I’ll be sure not to jump in at the deep end again – or at all!

    totestornot123 50 posts

    I have been through the entirety of that thread! I don’t think its clear cut though as many posters booked online at the stroke of midnight too.

    I do have payment card saved, on the safe list (on AMEX), passenger details filled in. I think I could get the booking done in about 30 seconds tops, whether that is faster then the call centre agents I don’t know.

    Worst case if we cannot get that later flight, I would try for the earlier morning flight. Flexible of around plus or minus 5/6 days.

    Have you hung out in the 241 thread yet. For Japan I think you pretty much had to call, unless your wifi is very fast and have saved your payment method. Also if your dates are pretty fixed, and if I recall that 11.50 flight is only every other day I think you have to be pretty lucky. I mean you could always do both, wait on the phone and book online and see which wins.

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    What’s not clear cut? The time the flights are released changed with the move to BST at the weekend.

    totestornot123 50 posts

    What’s not clear cut? The time the flights are released changed with the move to BST at the weekend.

    I meant as in whether its possible to only guarantee CW by ringing bang on T355 (midnight or 1am as it is now) or its possible to book yourself super quick online (assuming all details are pre filled).

    Going to try tonight for the first time 2 tickets to HND in CW, wish me luck! I may actually try calling at around 12.45 and also be ready to book myself online. What are the chances I nab all 4 seats lol

    Biki 122 posts

    What’s not clear cut? The time the flights are released changed with the move to BST at the weekend.

    I meant as in whether its possible to only guarantee CW by ringing bang on T355 (midnight or 1am as it is now) or its possible to book yourself super quick online (assuming all details are pre filled).

    Going to try tonight for the first time 2 tickets to HND in CW, wish me luck! I may actually try calling at around 12.45 and also be ready to book myself online. What are the chances I nab all 4 seats lol

    I booked flights to Tokyo online in October and had no problem getting club seats each way. As long as you have payment details saved, passengers already on your profile, BA on AmEx safe list etc, then it can be done very quickly. I don’t think I have ever failed to get them at midnight GMT

    NorthernLass 8,246 posts

    @totestornot123, there are threads and articles examining the merits of each method in depth, e.g.

    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/booking-return-leg-with-companion-voucher/

    zio 266 posts

    @totestornot123 There is no guarantee!

    BA fires the starting pistol at t-355 but even the best prepared avios athlete may not win the prize.

    Good luck for tonight.

    totestornot123 50 posts

    Thanks guys, will let you know how I got on. Interestingly, I called the USA BAEC number earlier, just to make sure my Skype was working, and the agent I was speaking to was based in India! So I guess even ringing the USA number doesn’t ensure you will get an agent from USA.

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