Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: New Argentina rate using UK based credit cards
    Biki 123 posts

    @Biki – those are quite old rates now! I haven’t come across that gelato place – it’s an odd name as it’s the indigenous people’s name for Easter Island. I think people forget that most people’s heritage is Italian rather than Spanish so gelato, pasta and generally good Italian restaurants abound.

    There’s also a fantastic ice cream place (heladería) in the Belgrano area called Gruta.

    Hi @JDB, yep these rates were from December, but was just trying to give some context for different rates i was getting for exchanging US$, using Chase or using WU to send money to yourself.

    Ah interesting fact about the name, thanks! i was a big fan of the chcolate mint flavour. There were lots of Gelato places, but i found this to be my favourite. They also did hot chocolate with a shot of Cognac which was great too

    in reply to: New Argentina rate using UK based credit cards
    Biki 123 posts

    Am heading down to Argentina in a couple of weeks – staying in Palermo for a few nights (before going on a cruise up to Brazil).

    The hotel is booked – to be paid on arrival – at a cost of about US$1,200. Does anyone have any update on the latest rate that may be charged to my CC? Is a subsequent refund close to the Blue rate still a thing?

    Haven’t made any restaurant reservations as yet – but plan to pay using a CC

    Will take some US$ with me – is it worth changing-up any to Pesos (taxi fares etc) or is everyone currently more-than–happy to take US$?

    Appreciate any latest advice please
    TIA

    current USD$ to Peso is 831, and on Chase it looks around 1,350/£. so US$1,200 would be about £739. But it might be a bit different depending if the above includes tax, which i think will be removed first (or was iwhen we went).

    We used Chase in most places and seemed an ok rate (around 1,165/£ at the time), it doesn’t refund the difference, it just charges the tourist rate straight away, whereas amex does the refund to adjust afterwards.

    We were getting about 1,220/£ by sending ourselves pesos through Western Union. I found that once i downloaded the app and played around with it a few times, but not actually completed a transaction that it offered to waive the fees on the first transaction. so perhaps do this and send yourself a few hundred quid’s worth to use for taxi’s, tips and things that cost less, then put more expensive things on Card.

    We also changed some USD to pesos and it was about 93,000 for US$100. Note that we could only seem to do this in BsAs at a decent rate. in Bariloche and Mendoza, Western Union places wouldn’t exchange US$ cash and the limited places that would were really bad exchanges rates. That’s why we transfered pesos to ourselves instead.

    ATM’s have limited withdrawal amounts and the transaction fees are quite high, so weren’t worthwile.

    Final tip… If you like ice cream and or chocolate, there is a great shop in Bariloche and also in BsAs called Rapanui.

    in reply to: BA Business Club Suite (I think) 777 seat selection
    Biki 123 posts

    Flew on that route in December as it goes on to EZE, and it was club suites.

    We sat in a middle pair both ways, row 5 out and row 2 back. Only slight downside to row 2 is there are no overhead bins in the middle for first 2 rows, apart from that all pretty much equal

    in reply to: British Airways aligning Tier Point years
    Biki 123 posts

    The way i understand the old and new system collection years overlap, I assume there is potentially a way of benefittigng from it, so you get extra status if you were to collectall the points needed for silver or gold between your the end of your old collection year and end of March for the new system (if that makes sense!)

    in reply to: Chat thread – Thursday 1st February
    Biki 123 posts

    BA posted on instagram that they’re introducing new champagnes to First, with a photo of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame. I assume this is replacing LPGS, rather than along side it?

    Biki 123 posts

    I went to Argentina at Christmas for 3 weeks and felt totally safe. We did a ferry to Uruguay for a few days, flew to Bariloche then Mendoza and enjoyed all of it.

    I Also went to Mexico City and then flew down to Oaxaca for a few days last April. A lot of people said how dangerous CDMX is, but we walked around the whole time and didn’t feel unsafe once.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 12th January
    Biki 123 posts

    As well as £5 pasta next weekend, I’d quite like to indulge my new-found passion for Lebanese cuisine – any recommendations not too far from the ICPL? I think it did have a Lebanese restaurant at one time, ironically.

    Knightsbridge has some nice ones, but probably a little more pricey, otherwise edgeware road has some which might be a little cheaper. there’s also the chains like Yalla Yalla dotted about too.

    in reply to: T5 First Lounge charging points
    Biki 123 posts

    Yes, I noticed this when I was in there before Christmas. They also had wireless chargers, but took me a while to find one that would work!

    Most newer laptops will charge through USB-C, but that only helps if you have a USB-C cable I suppose!

    in reply to: Buenos Aires – hotels / recommendations
    Biki 123 posts

    @Biki – glad you had a good time. We used to do Recoleta or Palermo for a few days on arrival and the other on departure, but now just drop by Palermo to eat and have a wander. As Palermo has got so touristy, nearby areas like Villa Crespo, Belgrano and Chacarita are much more interesting and typical of Buenos Aires. PS I’m not surprised Sofitel rates are “better” than PH as they really aren’t comparable!

    Thanks @JDB, and for all your help before the trip too! Yes, I think I would just visit Palermo rather than visit it next time, but was nice to be up that way for a few days when a newbie.

    Absolutely agree about the Sofitel not being coparible with the PH. We looked at staying at the PH but it was 1,100 USD a night, and knowing that we would be out and about most of the time we thought that our money would be best saved for other things.

    in reply to: Buenos Aires – hotels / recommendations
    Biki 123 posts

    I’ve just returned from my trip and stayed at Home hotel in Palermo for the first few nights. It’s a little independant hotel which is walkable, but isn’t too close to the noisy bars. I stayed there for the last few days before the devaluation, so 3 nights were 700 USD, working out at just over £200 total at the time. Has a small pool to get some afternoon sun too.

    For my last couple of nights we stayed at the Sofitel in Recoleta, just down from the PH. Rooms are a little tired, but perfectly fine and decent enough location. The reception area and bar look a bit fresher. We were out most of the time, so was perfectly fine for us and a much better rate than PH etc that it’s near.

    in reply to: Premium Economy- Seat Selection
    Biki 123 posts

    download seat alert by expert flyer to your phone. you can use it to look at what seats are actually already taken or are just blocked for free

    Biki 123 posts

    Call Amex and ask for the PP number, then download the PP app and login

    in reply to: Booking Aerolíneas in local ARS currency
    Biki 123 posts

    I need to make various bookings in Argentina – what is the advice now?

    What kind of bookings, hotels or something else?

    If hotels I think currently it still is best to pay at the hotel, as you will not have to pay the tax. Usually they will tell you the price in USD when you book and then convert into ARS based on that days exchange rate.

    in reply to: Booking Aerolíneas in local ARS currency
    Biki 123 posts

    So is the trick to book in ARS now on the hotel’s website?

    All the hotels I have seen (plus some shows and trips etc) price in US dollars and you only get it converted to ARS when you go to pay. In the hotel we were staying in at the weekend, they kept putting us off paying, I assume as it’d be more beneficial to them if the rate changed before I paid.

    in reply to: Booking Aerolíneas in local ARS currency
    Biki 123 posts

    Typically, we got he ferry to Montevideo from BsAs yesterday, so will have to wait until we get back on Saturday to see how things change.

    Prices were really great for us for the first few days, getting about 3USD/£ for the hotel we had at the weekend.

    in reply to: Booking Aerolíneas in local ARS currency
    Biki 123 posts

    Thanks @JDB I guess we will have to see how things play out over the next few days and keep our fingers crossed…

    At least there is plenty of wine to drown my sorrows if the exchange rate plunges!

    in reply to: Booking Aerolíneas in local ARS currency
    Biki 123 posts

    Hi @JDB we landed yesterday and got 920 ARS to the USD when we exchanged cash and got 1,167 ARS to the £ in a couple of card transactions.

    I only swapped 100 USD yesterday so that I don’t have lots of notes with me, but do you think things will move quickly as in a couple of days, or weeks, making it worth exchanging some more today? I appreciate that you don’t like giving advice, just wondered what your thoughts are.

    Biki 123 posts

    It’s been 2 hours for as long as I can remember (a long time before covid, I’m sure). Around 2021 I think it changed to 4 hours, as I had a flight that moved over 2 hours and was booked before the change but they still wouldn’t budge.

    in reply to: Need to talk shop over lunch next Friday (15/12)
    Biki 123 posts

    The Rosewood? short walk from Chancery Lane.

    in reply to: Turntable for 1 Flying Club point
    Biki 123 posts

    I just managed to order one too, thanks for the heads up!

    in reply to: New reward flights
    Biki 123 posts

    I’ve got a seatspy alert set for around Easter for a mate and I’ve had 2 alerts this week for additional seats in economy, PE and Club, so seems like they pop up relatively often

    in reply to: Booking Aerolíneas in local ARS currency
    Biki 123 posts

    @Biki I wouldn’t count on finding a free ATM or that it will give you the MEP rate. ATM’s can also only dispense very limited amounts of cash, even with the new notes. Clean US$100 bills get you the best exchange rate. Someone else recently also reported getting the MEP rate directly although I think it was with a Visa card. Today the US$ MEP rate is 919 so you get well over 1000 to the £ even after the big haircut the cards take in addition to usual FX fees.

    Hi @JDB thanks as always. I think I’ll take some more USD with me just in case then! Any tips on where is best to exchange?

    in reply to: Booking Aerolíneas in local ARS currency
    Biki 123 posts

    I’ve been in Argentina for the last couple of weeks, paying with credit card where possible. There have been a few cash only occasions, so it’s still necessary to carry bundles of £2 notes around, but all big spending has been possible on card. I made the pleasant discovery that my Nationwide Debit card appears to process cash withdrawals at the MEP rate – my Santander one does not. Cash machines are very variable – charges range from 0 to >5000 pesos, and functionality from broken/empty (frequently) to limited withdrawal amounts (10k or 15k pesos) to working fine.

    The MEP rate is (I think) leading to an increase in prices in touristy areas (Bariloche, El Calafate) – meals would have been rather expensive at the official rate in some places. In places with more local business prices are generally very reasonable.

    All the hotels converted US$ prices to pesos at the standard rate, though our most recent B+B charged my card in US$ (can’t complain as the booking was denominated in $) and added a surprise 15% price increase as a card fee, which I will be taking up with Hotels.com on my return.

    3 out of 4 car hire places used the official rate (Alamo and 2xHertz), 1 (Hertz Bariloche) used a “different” exchange rate that would have been apparently plucked from thin air if I didn’t understand the MEP rate. On a side note, all 3 Hertz locations were appallingly slow to hand over the keys – would avoid at all costs in future.

    Overall the MEP rate makes things a lot more convenient, but I suspect the advantage will be eroded away in a lot of places over time as foreigner prices inflate. Definitely better than obtaining and hauling around bricks of notes.

    Thanks to JDB for the advice on booking via Despegar – all worked fine, even the Jetsmart flight.

    Hi @matt this is really useful, thanks for the update! I fly to BsAs next Friday so I’m just trying to sort a few last min things out.

    Do you happen to remember any of the bank ATM’s that had zero charges, by any chance?

    I am taking some USD cash with me just in case, but would be great to know I can get some cash from an ATM at reasonable exchange with my nationwide card too.

    One point for others info, we booked something online using our chase card last week and rather than getting the normal exchange rate and then a refund, we seem to have just got an exchange rate of 1,000 ARS to the £, which seemed very good rate?

    in reply to: No seats available to select ….
    Biki 123 posts

    If you download seat alerts (by expert flyer) to your phone, you can get a good idea about what is already taken or what is just blocked

    in reply to: Montevideo & Buenos Aires / Iberia or BA??
    Biki 123 posts

    I messaged Buquebus via whatsapp and they offered to call and book over the phone. They wouldn’t take Chse for some reason, but used HSBC visa credit card. I’ve had the email confirmation

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