Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Maldives in November/December
    AFKAE

    I went in November last year and it was great. There was just one day where it was a bit windy…….typically on our resort change day which messed with the seaplane flight to a certain extent.

    in reply to: Advice on cancelling 2/4/1 booking
    AFKAE

    I cancelled one on MMB last Sunday. Received an email confirming return of voucher, return of points and return of cash-all of which were what I was expecting.

    The voucher and Avios were back instantly and the cash landed yesterday.

    Easy, smooth process and excellent outcome.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Thursday 17th November
    AFKAE

    Just a bit of idle curiosity. I booked my son on a flight with Emirates with a connection in DXB. The connection was 1 hour and he was way down the back of the plane in economy. Do you think there would have been any chance of him making it?

    Changed now to 3 hour connection.

    in reply to: No way to apply
    AFKAE

    I successfully applied for the Avios Plus card, but I can’t see anywhere on the Barclays app to apply for the Premier account. I am talking about the Barclays app and not the Barclaycard app.

    Now I’m retired I don’t meet the criteria for earnings, but happy to try the base account followed by upgrade to Premier route……….if only I could find the way in!

    in reply to: DEL – LHR Virgin Upper of BA club
    AFKAE

    A couple of bits of info on departing Delhi.

    To get in the terminal you’ll need either a paper or electronic copy of your boarding pass.

    Check in is fine.

    Security after check in has some very long lines. If you head all the way to the right (as you face security after check in) there is a business class security lane which has very few people in it and will make life much easier.

    in reply to: DEL – LHR Virgin Upper of BA club
    AFKAE

    I put something on the daily thread on Monday. If the lounge matters to you, VS use the priority pass lounge which I can only describe as an absolute sh1th0le.

    Don’t know what BA do.

    VS herringbone is a bit meh! Crew very good.

    in reply to: Maldives first-timers with teenage girls
    AFKAE

    Well done & hope the palpitations from these midnight calls settled. Sorry can’t answer with first hand experience as going as a family for the first time over Christmas, but I found this thread helpful.
    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/maldives-hotel-recommendation-best-non-points-options/#post-351725
    Good idea to stick to resorts reachable by seaplanes. Would avoid any resorts that require a domestic flight plus speedboat transfer (ie very far from MLE) as BA inbound departs 1145hrs which would sometimes mean needing to check out 3-4am.

    Thanks Gary. That is very helpful indeed. In answer to your point about the midnight palpitations, it was doubly bad because the 2 companion vouchers were on separate accounts, one for me and one for my wife, so we had to make 2 bookings simultaenously and hope that all 4 rewrd flights would be available. As it happened, the outbound flight kept rejecting my attempted booking in Club for me and my younger daughter even though it showed availibility because there is seemingly an issue with BA’s IT systems for working out the tax on children but it let me book us both Premium. On the return, again I booked them both online at midnight this morning and then a very friendly customer service lady this morning was able to upgrade 2 of the returns to Club to match the others and link both legs with the companion vouchers. It took 50 minutes but she was excellent. So we have ended up with 6 out of 8 legs in club and 2 in premium (and nerves shredded all day)

    What I sometimes do is look at the hotels BA are offering on the holidays section of the website. I’ve generally found them to be fairly reliable.

    It tends to be speedboat for destinations that are 1 hour speedboat ride or less and then seaplanes after that. Seaplanes are quite pricey, so worth checking if you’re happy to add that cost to your budget. The experience is great and the seaplane station presents an image of organised chaos-but everything sees to work. Weather is your enemy-if there are any storms/wind around the service gets disrupted pretty quickly.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Monday 14th November
    AFKAE

    I can live without some bottom shelf wine, lukewarm/reheated food, slices of tired processed cheese/ham etc.

    Yes, the food in these lounges is of a very poor quality.

    Flew back from Delhi VS Upper class last Friday. They are using the Priority Pass lounge-total carnage.

    They seem to employ the opposite strategy to Aspire where the lounge is empty and they wont let you in because it’s full.

    At PP Delhi the lounge was rammed – yes certainly sir, come in. Standing room only-microscopic G&T’s.

    I got the Barclaycard Avios plus and that all worked OK. Then I tried for the Premier banking (although I don’t meet the income standard and didn’t want to transfer £100K to Barclays-kinda hoping I could get away with paying £12/month until the bonus hit).

    Failed the in app ID checks and took that as sufficient incentive not to bother with branch checks!

    AFKAE

    Your son should be fine and enjoying himself immensely.

    He’s a regular and has even worked there for a while. In fact if he could get a work permit he’d be there now.

    Just messaged that he’d seen the news and was leaving via Orpen gate anyway.

    AFKAE

    My son is in the Kruger at the moment, he hasn’t mentioned anything. He was on Whatsapp this morning so hopefully going strong still.

    The photo in the news article shows 35Km to Skukuza……he was definitely camping there!

    I’ll add some more info when he’s back, I’m picking him up from LHR on saturday morning.

    in reply to: Chile and Argentina in February or March
    AFKAE

    In addition to the above I would include the Torres del Paine national park and the Perito Moreno glacier.

    You might be planning to do it all yourself, which is great. If you need any in country help I have used Trips South America and found them pretty good.

    in reply to: Barclays Avios Credit Card New Account thread
    AFKAE

    @AFKAE if could calc to see if it’s worth transferring £100k for the 4 month period needed to earn the 100k, then reconsider your portfolio. Depends what your savings are held in, it may be worthwhile.

    Interesting idea. I’m about to move >£100K from Chase instant access to a 1 year bond at around 4%. I hadn’t thought about moving the £100K for just the 4 month period.

    in reply to: Barclays Avios Credit Card New Account thread
    AFKAE

    Hopefully people can discuss here the credit card account opening only. Thanks!

    Taking up the challenge. I applied this morning (I’m not going the whole hog for Premier banking etc), I’m just over 6 months out of a Barclaycard platinum. Used VERY low income levels (retired now and living on pensions/savings), as I’m mainly aiming for the SUB with 25,000 for £3,000 over 3 months. Got £3,300 credit limit which works fine for me. All done directly on the website no further verification requirements.

    I couldn’t get the income for Premier banking, but have loads of savings I could use for the £100K, but I don’t think they have any products that are competitive.

    in reply to: India e-Visa
    AFKAE

    Anybody got any experience of how long it is between the interview and receiving the visa?

    I did mine a couple of months ago and it was pretty quick, 3 days I seem to remember.

    in reply to: Destination advice: Grand Cayman
    AFKAE

    Oh yeah – expect your flight to be cancelled if it hasn’t been already and be prepared to move it a couple of days either side!

    Booked it at 1pm today…….no changes yet 😉

    in reply to: Destination advice: Grand Cayman
    AFKAE

    Beaches – be aware that the place has been suffering very badly from sargassum grass in recent summers so if you want to avoid this stick to the West side. Also the areas of Rum Point and Kaibo aren’t as badly affected. The sea at 7 Mile Beach is divine, clear, calm and shallow so you can just swim and bob around for as long as you want. If you have a car you can explore other nice ones like Smiths Cove and Spotts Bay (Spotts is known for turtle sightings).

    The west side has the most going on but it’s still pretty quiet by European standards, you can always find a quiet spot on the beach, especially in summer which is low season there (but the weather is usually great in May and June). The east end is quieter still – we have a timeshare at Morritt’s Tortuga club but you can rent the units as well – at the moment there are massive bargains via American owners who have loads of spare weeks they couldn’t use during lockdown.

    A good option might be to have a week in the 7MB area and then a second week somewhere quieter – there are a lot of rental properties around Kaibo which is lovely. Also have a look at Rum Point Retreat and Rum Point Residences which I’ve got on my own wish list!

    Restaurants – absolutely any food you can think of and a wide range of budgets catered for. It will depend where you’re staying as to where you’re likely to eat.

    A word of caution – it is jaw-droppingly expensive (though there are plenty of relatively reasonably-priced eateries) so unless money is no object take your own coffee, tea, alcohol and anything else you can fit in your luggage! For comparison, a jar of instant coffee will set you back $10 (everything is generally priced in Cayman dollars, which are currently worth about 90p.) It’s a running joke among timeshare owners to post pictures of supermarket shelves with, say, a box of fishfingers at $12! Although residents don’t pay any income tax, the government does tax everything else to the hilt – so expect a extra charges on top of everything.

    We don’t fish but it is very popular and there’s a guy called Captain Hermann who will take you out fishing and also cook what you catch if you want him to! Stingray City is worth seeing once as the stingrays are absolutely free to come and go but I wouldn’t recommend the dolphin or turtle centres (we have visited the turtle centre a couple of times but I got more and more uncomfortable about seeing the turtles crammed into tiny pools with no room to swim).

    Let us know when you decide where you’re staying.

    Many thanks, that gives me loads to get started. The tip on cost of things is useful, might need to add to the luggage.

    Will deffo let you know what we end up booking.

    in reply to: Destination advice: Grand Cayman
    AFKAE

    It was CS when we went in July.

    I certainly have lots to share but tell me what you particularly like doing to narrow it down a bit! Quiet/busy etc.

    We usually use Andy’s car rental as they are quite flexible about when and where you can pick up and drop off. To make the most of the (long) CW experience we generally stay in a hotel in the 7 Mile Beach/Georgetown area for the first night and collect the car the next day.

    I would say mostly quiet…….but not deathly quiet! I’m just approaching normal retirement age, Mrs AFKAE 2 years younger.

    Eating and drinking is important (not just for biologically staying alive, but for entertainment too!). Any trips you recommend fishing etc would be interesting.

    Beach and swimming both important, but not for spending the whole day on the beach. Bit of sun, bit of a swim and then off for lunch…..that kind of thing 😉

    in reply to: Current wait times after acceptance
    AFKAE

    @AFKAE I wouldn’t pay much attention to the reasons card companies give; for obvious reasons they don’t want to give you specifics if they say anything at all. To the extent they cite Experian, it may relate just to an ID search and things that don’t directly relate to your creditworthiness.

    I’m not sure whether the fact that I was referred by Mrs AFKAE as plat and I’m a BAPP makes things better or worse!! I was hoping to get 24,000 points for the referral and 65,000 for £6K in 6 months on my new plat. If the rejection is confirmed I’ll go for a retention bonus on MrsAFKAE’s plat which is just coming up to renewal.

    in reply to: Current wait times after acceptance
    AFKAE

    Just updating to say we have now had an email with a rejection, 10 days after applying and getting online approval

    I’ve just had that today as well. It blamed Experian credit reference check, so I looked it up 999. Phoned the number on the Amex email rejection and he said it was their internal referencing system. So, I said that’s not what the email says. After a bit of silence he said he would put it back for a review from their approvals team. He said expect to hear in 3-5 days. Let’s see what happens next.

    The Experian ‘number’ is a complete irrelevance/gimmick – credit card companies have their own systems/algorithms/criteria and don’t use the so called credit score. Amex is particularly idiosyncratic, using its own proprietary long term data and factors in such things as household income although that has no effective value if it comes to the crunch (ie collecting bad debts).

    Banks and other credit providers are naturally tightening their lending criteria in light of severe pressures on most household incomes, rapidly rising interest/mortgage rates and the worsening UK and global economic situation that will lead to job losses and defaults. They are also being pressed on this front by the PRA and FCA.

    If you have lots of credit cards with big limits, even if utilisation is very low and they are paid off each month, that’s not good for new applications; it’s a sign of financial weakness, not strength. In this environment, it’s going to be a mistake to be playing around with cards, opening and closing accounts assuming you are sure to get another one.

    I understand your point JDB, however the rejection letter specifically referred to an Experian reference. When I called this transformed into an internal referencing system……who knows.

    in reply to: Current wait times after acceptance
    AFKAE

    Just updating to say we have now had an email with a rejection, 10 days after applying and getting online approval

    I’ve just had that today as well. It blamed Experian credit reference check, so I looked it up 999. Phoned the number on the Amex email rejection and he said it was their internal referencing system. So, I said that’s not what the email says. After a bit of silence he said he would put it back for a review from their approvals team. He said expect to hear in 3-5 days. Let’s see what happens next.

    in reply to: Current wait times after acceptance
    AFKAE

    10 days and waiting for me too.

    Used a referral link – no points posted on that account as yet.

    Approved at point of application – no email received.

    Have contacted Amex who simply state wait another 3-5 business days! No mention of any delays.

    I appreciate that there may be a glut of applications slowing things down but Amex simply need to advise their customers of this if this is the case.

    Far from impressed as I would have liked the card by today at the latest as off travelling Monday morning and benefits would have been utilised.

    That pretty well exactly mirrors my situation too.

    in reply to: Maldives 2 centre holiday – transfer advice!
    AFKAE

    Yes, we did this last November. It would have been a quite long boat ride (and it happened to be quite windy on the day) and the resort recommended going back to Male by seaplane. The second resort was then a shorter speedboat trip from Male.

    At that time we had the added sweat of having to do a covid test to change resort!

    in reply to: St Lucia hotel recommendations
    AFKAE

    We had 2 weeks at Sugar Beach in August 2017. It’s great, for the 2nd week we hired a car so we could get out and about more.
    Booked it as a holiday with BA.

    in reply to: Rome advice please
    AFKAE

    Can I kind of hijack this thread and ask for hotel recommendations?

    Ideally something more central and close to the main attractions.

    Thanks

    I stayed at the Hotel Barberini https://hotelbarberini.com/en/ . It’s a good central location, Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain all close by.

    Price was reasonable on booking.com

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