Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: End of Rail Card rate in 2025?
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    long time lurker and first time poster

    Thank you for the useful data point & first post

    in reply to: Couple travelling to Thailand
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    A road trip between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai taking in Pai is also very interesting and the driving is easy if you’re used to driving abroad.

    While I don’t doubt what you are suggesting, I have to ask if that is really something for a first time visit of 15 nights?

    in reply to: Amex Expedia offer
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    I struggled to find anywhere suitable for my next 5 holidays.
    Even the places that were available through the main Expedia sites were not available through that link.

    in reply to: Kuala Lumper
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Luckily there is a master thread for this:

    in reply to: Couple travelling to Thailand
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Phuket, Ko Samui and Krabi will all be similar (but not exactly the same of course!), so with 15 nights to spend in Thailand I would probably try to fit in a few more days in Bangkok, or something like Chiang Mai in place of one of the beach destinations.

    Exactly this.
    More nights in Bangkok.
    Some nights in Chiang Mai.
    Drop one of the beach destinations and reduce the other one to 5 nights.
    So 5/5/5 – Bangkok / Chiang Mai / Phuket or somesuch

    in reply to: Vietnam [MASTER THREAD]
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Thanks for all the tips!

    I’ll look to book with Jadesails for our December trip as we only want to do a day cruise. We are planning to head straight from Ha Long Bay to Ninh Binh after the cruise – is it be easy enough to find a driver at the dock or would you recommend pre-booking with someone?

    This is exactly what I’m doing.
    I have a provisional booking with a guy recommended on Tripadvisor:

    Tuan Chau to Ninh Binh – $85 – 3.5 hours. Private car.
    We’re also doing some tours around Ninh Binh with him for a couple of days and then getting a private car transfer to Hanoi ($60)

    In the end, I booked a couple of tickets on a so called ‘luxury VIP limousine van’.
    It was essentially one of those airport Mercedes people carriers that you often see (but some other manufacturer), with fewer but larger seats.
    Cost around £11 pp from across the road from the Jadesails boat, at some place called ‘Mojito Station’.
    Book it on 12go asia.
    You an specify a number of drop off places in Tam Coc or elsewhere in Ninh Binh.
    Journey time was just over 3 hours, non stop. Let the driver know in advance if you need a toilet break.
    He may also agree to drop you directly at your accommodation so long as it isn’t too far from one of the official drop off places in town.
    They will officially accept 1 large suitcase pp, but didn’t seem to mind taking an additional cabin size bag too.

    Cost us about £21 total for the 2 of us. This compared very nicely with the $85 USD quote for a private transfer.
    I don’t think the van was any slower than a private car.

    in reply to: Vietnam [MASTER THREAD]
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Just completed a 1-cruise in Ha Long Bay using Jadesails. Can definitely recommend as they are one of the only 1-day boats which go to Lan Ha Bay as well. Food was excellent and water/juices were free. VIP transfer really helped with long transfers times. Only 13 people on the boat…tourism really down at the moment although the extent of over tourism is clearly evident with all the plastic floating around the bay.

    So I did this one day cruise with Jadesails.
    Booked through Klook (far cheaper, plus TCB, plus Klook credit, plus able to pay in GBP with Amex).
    Was excellent quality. Boat looked quite new, everything in good condition.
    Food was good, and they take dietary requirements into consideration.
    It should be noted that the number of activities was limited: we went on a boat to some cave / lagoon thing (the ‘Dark & Light cave’), and then we dropped anchor somewhere to give people free time on kayaks or just to swim.
    And that was it. Rest of the time was on the boat, sailing around Lan Ha Bay. We did have some live music and a jacuzzi though.
    Mrs Aston stepped up and attempted ‘Butter’ by BTS and a couple of other indiscernible K Pop tracks. The largely Vietnamese passengers were impressed; I was not.
    By the way, it was definitely 7 hours onboard as advertised: set off at about 10:10 and arrived back around 17:20.

    Highly recommended.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Thursday 13th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Does anyone know which Amex card SUBs you are excluded from (for 2 years or whatever) if you obtain an Amex Nectar card?

    All of them, except Platinum and BAPP. If you have a business you can still get the SUB for one of the amex business cards as well.

    Thanks Pete.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Thursday 13th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Does anyone know which Amex card SUBs you are excluded from (for 2 years or whatever) if you obtain an Amex Nectar card?

    in reply to: Best credit card for spend abroad
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    I currently have the Halifax clarity, which is decent but I find the app isn’t great with notifications straight away/soon after using the card.

    My one and only issue with Halifax Clarity is that they don’t seem to be able to send 2FA by anything other than SMS.
    I have fallen foul of this on almost every lengthy foreign trip, because my last few phones cannot take multiple SIMs and so I swap my UK SIM for a local one.
    Other card providers can manage to send the 2FA via email. Not sure why Halifax cannot do this.

    On the plus side, I always manage to get some compo from Halifax for the inconvenience.

    in reply to: Best credit card for spend abroad
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    booked with Halifax Clarity for s75 reasons. As a sweetener they have a current promotion for me that offers 0.5% cash back.

    Tell me more please.

    Aston100 1,450 posts

    It’s not even a monorail!

    If it’s pulled by cables, shouldn’t it be a funicular or something?

    Aston100 1,450 posts

    When did people start referring to the maglev as ‘the monorail’?

    in reply to: Qatar or Finnair Business from Seoul
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Can’t comment on Qatar. Haven’t flown with them, and would personally avoid them at all costs for purely ethical reasons.

    That’s great.
    Can you tell us about other companies you avoid for ethical reasons?

    in reply to: Qatar or Finnair Business from Seoul
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Will booking Reward Seats give Lounge Access for both airlines?’


    in reply to: Chat thread – Wednesday 12th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts


    I think it was you who said something the other day about the Avis statement credit on Amex cards? (Sorry HfPrs look the same to me).

    Seems I DID actually get a £50 statement credit eventually, for a non UK booking (Turkiye in this case) despite the t&cs stating UK domestic rentals only. This is for the 25% (up to £50) Avis offer on non BA cards.
    It just took several days to credit.
    Top Cashback 8% has tracked too.

    I think you mentioned a 10% Amazon giftcard. I didn’t see this option when I made my booking, but am curious to know if you think this will stack on top of everything else (including the automatic 10% discount for being an Avis Preferred member).

    in reply to: Chat thread – Tuesday 11th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Thanks, but are you sure that stacks with TCB and with the Avis Preferred status discount?
    I was seeing a different price.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Tuesday 11th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    @davefl. I think it was yourself who said Avis pre booking triggers the Amex offer.

    You were right, done a pre book for Madrid next week and its triggers the offer.

    Am I doing it wrong then?
    Booked a car in Turkiye. Payment has gone through. Statement credit not err… credited.
    Of course, the t&cs exclude anything outside the UK, so wondering if certain countries are more likely to slip through than others.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Tuesday 11th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    and also the Avis 10% Amazon cb

    What’s this?

    in reply to: Bali & Lombok
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    OK so I’m looking at 3 – 4 weeks around these parts in summer 2025.
    Interesting accommodation options around Lombok. Found a place on Gili Gede – an entire island that seems to be ‘off the beaten track’ (I hate that phrase).
    Can’t figure out how to get on & off that island via a public ferry or somesuch (don’t want to use the resort boat). Did fancy a daytrip or two to the main island of Lombok.

    Question for people: would you consider getting the relaxed, quiet beach resort part of a holiday out of the way first, before heading off to the noise of Bali and possibly Yogyakarta?
    i.e. beach before city and culture stuff?

    I wouldn’t normally do that, but the flight options for my proposed itinerary suggest doing a beach resort in Lombok first would be most convenient.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Tuesday 11th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Can’t seem to quote anymore.

    Thanks both. We will see if we can get away with a short break in February half term.

    don’t forget the do nothing option.
    Sometimes not worth spending money in order to feel like you got value out of a voucher
    Forcing yourself to go somewhere you might not really have wanted to is probably a case of letting the tail wag the dog, as people like to say around here lately.

    in reply to: Hampton by Hilton Sirkeci or Istanbul Old City
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    I’m happy you aren’t wasting money on one of the high end places in Istanbul that HfPrs seem to recommend.

    Istanbul is a city worth spending all day exploring, everyday. You’ve picked the right locations for that.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Sunday 9th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Who knew there were so many BHX fliers here!

    Reporting for duty!

    in reply to: Japan help please
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    Right, thanks for all the input.
    Having discussed with Mrs Aston, we’ll likely be out most of the day, every day. So it doesn’t make much sense for us to spend shed loads on a city hotel where we’ll only really be around for breakfast and sleeping.
    Because the Conrad represents exceptional value @95k per night (we’ll be given a bay view room they said), I will shortlist that. They confirmed the room is 48 sqm, but I still can’t see how that is possible based off the photos.

    I’ve had a good look at the ‘executive’ double room at the Citadines Shinjuku. Nowhere near as good as the Conrad, however it is 27/28 sqm (above average); the location seems good (walkable to some evening entertainment and a train station); price is 2/3 of the Conrad. If all we need is a large room to sleep in, then this also makes it onto my shortlist, despite being very different to the Conrad.

    I’ve decided to drop the IHG properties since I’m no longer Diamond so will need to cough up for breakfast and unlikely to get an upgrade at such a peak time.

    Thanks again.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Saturday 8th June
    Aston100 1,450 posts

    The toilet roll is excellent and the kettle is small but functional

    Thank you for the report.
    Got luck with the knee.

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