Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Difficulty transferring Radisson points
    bungalow 178 posts

    I was having the same problem as @tracey and its telling me my BAEC number is in the wrong format. I called the customer service helpline and they transferred them for me straight away ( +44 2830640900). it was all pretty painless. i was told “there website was still updating ” was the reason for the formatting error being received. mmmmhh????

    Just to save anyone from a long time wasting hold…

    I’ve decided to end my Radisson journey and just called them on the number above to transfer a small remaining Radisson balance to BA. The number above no longer deals with this, and when you finally get through they give you another number to call.
    +44 2031960494 is now the number to deal with this, took just a few minutes when I finally got there.

    in reply to: Marriott Bonvoy eGiftCard
    bungalow 178 posts

    I just bought $3k using curve metal, backed with Avios+. Surprised when i got a message later saying I’d earnt cashback – 1% for marriott spend on curve. So no FX fee and 1% cashback!

    I’m gutted! I had no idea that Marriott was one of the Curve cashback retailers!
    I put quite a bit of money into Marriott via curve too, and I’m stuck with 1% back on a 5 quid screwdriver at Argos or B&Q! 🙁
    It looks like you are unable to change your 6 cashback retailers at Curve as well, so losing out big time here, unless someone has a get-around…?

    in reply to: Marriott Bonvoy eGiftCard
    bungalow 178 posts

    * Something else just struck me when re-reading above.

    Does anyone think this purchase will count towards my Curve Fronted £3k limit !!!

    in reply to: Marriott Bonvoy eGiftCard
    bungalow 178 posts

    Remember that with the gift card you don’t get the 6x points on the purchase with the Bonvoy Amex, like you would if using it on a cash stay. I think using it with the Chase Card does work (bonus points trigger) but that’s a US thing.

    The potential catch is that FD staff may not be au fait with GCs, so it’s a good idea to let them know beforehand (eg a day before you’re checking out) and give yourself enough time when checking out for them to deal with processing it. Mentioning it when you check in is probably a good idea also.

    Someone might claim that gift cards aren’t applicable at their hotel. That’s almost certainly BS but you’ll have to be prepared to escalate it if they claim they can’t be used (most likely just a lazy clerk who doesn’t want the hassle of inputting it into the system).

    Thanks for this.

    Almost all of my Marriott stays are abroad, some Europe, but mostly Far East or Middle East, so don’t usually pay with my Bonvoy card as the FX all but cancels out the extra points benefit. I always pay with my Curve linked to Hilton B’card to both mitigate the exchange rate hit and at the same time collect Hilton points – which I’ll also use to buy the gift card.
    I guess if the gift card is then issued in USD and presented at check out there will also be a further hit on hotel exchange rates? However I’m thinking that as the AED seems to follow the USD it shouldn’t hurt too much in the UAE. Or is that just wishful thinking…

    in reply to: Marriott Bonvoy eGiftCard
    bungalow 178 posts

    Thanks for the replies folks.

    Sorry to bring this back to the top again, but I’m about to commit a sizeable sum to this and thought I’d try a final reach out to a few more experienced travellers in here first. I keep thinking there must be a catch here somewhere, but if I can reassure myself that the only downside to this is the USD purchase hit then I’m gonna buy myself an early Christmas present.

    in reply to: Dubai questions
    bungalow 178 posts

    Some really great tips and advice here – thank you. The app will be hugely beneficial for us.

    After doing quite a lot of research today on hotels, both Marriott and Hilton, I think I’ve decided on Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah. Seems to tick all the boxes are reviewers score them highly.

    I’ll probably pay cash though as the rates seem decent. 5 nights is costing me just under £1500 including taxes, whereas the points would be 280k. I’m not sure if the points rate includes the taxes, but I like to get over 1p a point, regardless of the listed base value. Although I’m kinda new to Hilton points so maybe I’m overly optimistic.

    I think I rejected this one because of reports of a really loud beach club/DJ either on site or next door? It may well appeal to teenagers but I like my sleep too much these days!

    Remember Hilton reward nights should be exempt from “resort” fees!

    2 buildings down left of the hotel facing beach, towards the palm entrance, forgot to mention it and forget the name of the place. I heard it too and I was top right side of hotel so couldn’t be any further away, went on until 4am some nights!
    I actually thought it was coming from within the hotel the first few nights and got up to check.
    Best you can do is ask NOT to be put in a room on the left hand side of the hotel – facing beach.
    To be clear though it definitely didn’t spoil my stay and wouldn’t stop me going back.

    * You’re quoted a 20 dirham per night fee (4 quid) in your reservation, but I haven’t been charged it for 4 or 5 years now, by either Hilton or Marriott…

    in reply to: Dubai questions
    bungalow 178 posts

    Ohh @NorthernLass I will be keen to hear all about your adventures.

    I’m in two minds about changing the hotel to the Conrad, or Hilton Walk. Due to location, lack of status recognition and lounge access. Not sure what to do!

    All other things being equal – the Hilton Walk’s location wins by a long way, especially for first timers. There is a lot to do along “The Walk”, and it is also convenient to get taxis from there to other areas.

    We stayed at the WA but havent been back as it is a hassle to get off the Palm to explore elsewhere. The Conrad looks like it is in the business area a fair way from the “action”.

    “The Walk” is way overpriced for what you get, the points price is the same as the Waldorf! I’ve stayed there. Rooms are stuck in a time warp, lounge is a joke, and the lifts are an absolute nightmare given it’s also a huge residents block. You are paying top dollar for location alone.
    Plus, there are only so many times you can walk up and down that street !

    in reply to: Dubai questions
    bungalow 178 posts

    When I started collecting hotel points I went with Marriott initially because the Bonvoy card seemed a good way of collecting points. I do like Marriott and they treat me well. But now I’ve been given Diamond Hilton, I’m noticing their properties are cheaper and their promotions seem much more generous than Marriott. I want to build my experience with Hilton and see how upgrades go. Marriott are very accommodating with upgrades as Titanium.

    As for where we will be in Dubai, my guess is all over the place lol. Looking at prices for Hilton, it may make more sense to spend cash if not going with original choice of WA.

    I stayed at the new Hilton Palm last November on a 5for4 points for 240,000, and as Diamond was upgraded to one of the only 20 or so sea view one-bed suites on the hotel wings, it was fabulous! I think the price has gone up to 70,000 per night (280,000) now though so the same price as the Conrad, but less that the WA.
    The Hilton Palm is very well located (for a palm hotel), it’s right at the entrance to the Palm, so a short taxi ride to get on and off – or use the monorail. It also face JBR, and the big wheel, so great views and sun all day (although they are building on an island directly in front of the hotel which partially blocks the wheel view). Huge pool area and direct beachfront access if you prefer the sea.
    There is a lengthy garden/relaxation area across the street behind the accommodation blocks, with a nice walk which lead you directly to the huge Nakheel Mall, if that’s your thing.
    The hotel has an abundance of restaurants and an on-site Mcgettigans.
    As Diamond we were given access to the exec lounge on our visit, but it isn’t the biggest lounge in the world and the talk back then was about maybe limiting access to Suite paying guests only, so that’s something you may want to check on before booking if you do decide to go there.
    Food was hit and miss in the lounge, although they do a hot entree from one of the restaurants each evening, and drinks service can be slow. There are a few high seats at the small bar if you prefer.

    I am also a huge fan of the Conrad btw, but on balance I think this may tick more boxes for you given the location, as Conrad is way back towards the airport by the World Trade Centre.

    I would go back to Hilton Palm in a heartbeat, assuming they don’t limit the lounge access – as yorkshireRich can attest, I also like to get in there early and leave late 🙂

    in reply to: Curve changes from November 10th
    bungalow 178 posts

    I wonder how many people rely exclusively on Curve for their travel insurance? I doubt it’s very many. I also doubt the removal of the benefit and/or the timing are for reasons as “cunning” as you suggest. I seriously doubt it was planned or known about in September when they made the other changes. I would think there has been some disagreement with the underwriters, probably about price.

    I do. I exclusively use Curve Travel Insurance and turned down other insurances because I assumed I’d have it when I renewed in September. This is a material downgrade. Cashback doesn’t even come close to covering that cost (unless it’s extended to something useful like BA)

    I also use Curve Travel Insurance exclusively, and have done since I gave up Amex Plat pre pandemic.
    I’ve been debating the pros and cons of keeping the metal card after the recent changes and price increase, but the loss of travel insurance will be a bridge too far for me.

    in reply to: Cruise lines have changed ports due to conflict.
    bungalow 178 posts

    You should have full travel insurance from the time of booking. Sir Bani Yas is a great place although hardly comparable to the other ports.

    For the first time ever I find myself disagreeing with blenz101!

    I did back to back cruises around the Gulf with RCCL just before the pandemic hit, and Sir Bani Yas was on both itineraries. The first stop we couldn’t even get ashore, there is/was no ship pier so had to tender, but the sea was deemed too rough even though it looked awfully calm to me – maybe there was worse weather in the forecast.
    Anyway, second week we actually made it to the island, and what a disappointment it was. Unless you are prepared to pay for a tour around the worlds most unlikely safari park, there is/was nothing whatsoever to do other than lie on a sunbed and look back at the ship wishing you had never gotten off!

    I’d be genuinely intrigued blenz to find out what you thought was so great about it !

    in reply to: Is Qatar Airways business worth this premium?
    bungalow 178 posts

    Qatar First and Business passengers have a separate entrance at Doha airport, you don’t even see any other passengers, certainly that was my experience from my First flight to Oman. Greeted at kerbside by a porter where luggage is taken and you are escorted to private room check and passport control – with a welcome drink! Thereafter private security, then escorted to the Al Safwa lounge. Haven’t flown out of Doha on Qatar Business yet but I would hope that it might be something similar but on a slightly less grandiose scale.
    I remember thinking I could get quite used to this 🙂

    in reply to: Is Qatar Airways business worth this premium?
    bungalow 178 posts

    I flew Qatar Doha to Muscat a year ago, and as Rob says in First, there was no Business class, but no First seating either, all First passengers were seated in… Business Class! And yes access to Al Safwa.
    However the flight was only an hour or so, and no amenity kits were offered.
    The flights cost £88 plus 21,000 avios each, not much more than economy, and well worth it for the airport private check in experience and access to Al Safwa, seats, boarding etc.
    Bear in mind though, if it is indeed a First flight, I believe Al Safwa is currently closed for refurbishment.

    in reply to: Upgrade from Gold to Platinum
    bungalow 178 posts

    thank you

    in reply to: Upgrade from Gold to Platinum
    bungalow 178 posts

    Can somebody just clarify for me please.
    I have just had the Gold to Plat upgrade offer appear in my Amex offers, the 75k – 100k points one.
    I’ve never taken up one of these upgrade offers before, so please, if I decide to go for it, the £650 fee – I assume I then get a pro rata refund/credit on my Gold card fee, which has still over 6 months to run until renewal?

    in reply to: Platinum no longer automatic Lounge access ?
    bungalow 178 posts

    I stayed in JW Singapore as Platinum for 1 night before covid hit, arriving at the hotel directly from a cruise ship around 8am and they showed me straight to the lounge for breakfast! Someone came up to the lounge about an hour later with keys to my room – and a very nice upgrade.
    I also got a 6pm checkout next day, and was allowed to access the lounge again before departing for my flight home later that night. So got 2 full days in Singapore for one nights points booking.
    Very nice hotel by the way, we loved it and look forward to going back, just across the street from Raffles.
    I’d be very disappointed if they had removed lounge access, which I don’t think they are allowed to do – unless they have rebranded as a “resort”?
    The new Marriott on the Palm Dubai calls itself a resort, and I hear they don’t give automatic lounge access to Platinum.

    in reply to: NHS discount code for Bonvoy
    bungalow 178 posts

    Used it myself in the past, but I thought it ended ages ago…

    in reply to: British Airways lounge access in Dubai
    bungalow 178 posts

    Thanks for the update @bungalow. I’m doing the short DXB-DOH next month (in QR economy but as BA Silver) so presumably will be able to access the same lounge? Our flight isn’t till 11 pm so hoping for maximum lounge time will be very useful after checking out of our hotel.

    I think you’ll need to check what times it’ll be open on your night of departure NL, I think it only opens to accommodate BA flights, ie my flight was at 01.05, so the lounge looked like it had only just opened when I arrived at it around 22.30. That being the case you would have missed it if your flight departed 11pm that night.
    I think it varies, have a look at which BA UK flights and at what time they are departing DXB on your departure night.

    in reply to: British Airways lounge access in Dubai
    bungalow 178 posts

    Ok, I started so I’ll finish!
    Just back from Dubai and thought I’d update you on the BA lounge access at DXB.
    I took on board all of the comments above, thank you, then, mindful that I’d be flying home on a 787 and not the A380 = less club seats, decided to make my way to DXB early in the hope of gaining access to the BA Lounge.
    Flight was scheduled for 01.05, and when I arrived at DXB around 21.30 the check in was still closed. However when I saw another passenger elect to stand at the club line access rope I decided to join him, so was 2nd in line when the check in opened at 22.00, so around 3hrs before departure.
    On checking in, without asking, I was told I had access to and given directions to the BA Lounge (simply flying club, I’m a lowly BA Blue). Go through to the Duty Free area and one floor above.
    Probably took about 25 minutes to pass through all the security and immigration, but once through I went straight to the BA Lounge – hello sir, welcome, and shown right in (no mention of the dreaded Marhaba!).
    There was only one other person in the lounge!
    The lounge is indeed quite compact, but very clean, quiet, and comfortable, with decent hot/cold food and drinks selections. As mentioned above there is also a First/Gold (I presume) side lounge, I didn’t get to see in, but those with access were escorted through a fairly anonymous looking door by the staff. Not so private, I could hear their conversations through a very thin partition wall.
    Anyway, now that we had gained access and claimed our seats I was free to go explore the shops and duty free area at my leisure.
    The lounge never filled, it got busier yes, but never to the levels some say they had experienced in previous comments. That said, I don’t know if the door staff turned some away, but there was always available seating right up to the staff announcing that the gate had opened and we should proceed to boarding (gate only about 5 minutes walk).
    So there you go, maybe I was just lucky, but much ado about nothing in the end.
    Oh, and the 787 club experience was like night and day compared to the A380!
    Thanks again to all for the advice.

    in reply to: UAE place to kill time and spend a £200 Amex credit
    bungalow 178 posts

    thanks for the VOIP info – I know WhatsApp wasn’t working for me on my trip at the end of September.

    You need to use a VPN, then it works fine

    in reply to: UAE place to kill time and spend a £200 Amex credit
    bungalow 178 posts

    Wouldn’t it be more interesting to go to Ras Al Khaimah or Sharjah rather than staying in Dubai or even going to Abu Dhabi?

    The Waldorf RAK is currently closed for refurbishment, and the all inclusive Hilton, although very nicely set, can be an absolute zoo at the weekends!
    I’ve also been in and had a look at most of the hotels on Marjan Island, and none of them really struck me as somewhere you would go to “relax by the pool”!

    in reply to: UAE place to kill time and spend a £200 Amex credit
    bungalow 178 posts

    This is so subjective. Is £200 your accommodation budget and if not what are you willing to spend? Do you need one night or two?

    I was thinking two or three hundred £ a night should secure something decent. My other nights will be with a Marriott/IHG/Hilton hotel somewhere near Business Bay as that’s the area I’m working in (yet to decide which one). I could just bolt the Amex credit on to my other stay and remain in the same place, but that seems like a wasted opportunity to see something else.

    The thought of driving in Dubai quite frankly does nothing for me at all. Amazed there aren’t way more accidents. Good luck with that!

    I’ve driven in a few developing countries, and was planning a drive to Abu Dhabi for sure… unless that’s madness?

    I’m just back from Dubai, and stayed in the JW Marriott Marquis my last 3 days, it’s in Business Bay of course.
    Entry rooms came in at around £250 a night, but if you have status (I’m Marriott Platinum) you should be able to get a decent upgrade if the hotel isn’t full. I was able to negotiate an upgrade to a one bed corner suite (£550pn). I say negotiate, as they told me the hotel was full at check in and were putting me into an Executive room, however I countered that I had just done a dummy booking in the Marriott app which showed corner suites for sale, and after a quick huddle with one of the suits a corner suite became available.
    There was enough space and furniture in there for a full office meeting!
    The hotel also has a sizeable pool, and a much larger (and quieter) lounging area adjacent to it.
    Internet was fine as I streamed a couple of live football games.
    Good executive lounge, plenty of food and drink in the evenings, but if you are getting the lounge for free you are not allowed breakfast at the main buffet.
    Driving? Every taxi driver I spoke to said the roads were getting more congested by the day, and to avoid road transit between 3pm and 7pm if possible. With the price of taxis being so cheap I wouldn’t entertain a car anyways, you can get from downtown Dubai to downtown Abu Dhabi for about 60 – 70 quid, and it takes about 90 minutes.

    Just to add, Conrad Dubai is a favourite of mine if you have Hilton status, its just 10 minutes down the road from Business Bay if you prefer, similar facilities to all of the above, but a lovely and very relaxing pool area. Can be expensive though depending on dates as it’s right opposite the World Trade Centre.

    in reply to: Transit experience at Amsterdam
    bungalow 178 posts

    Never had any issues getting through, but one piece of advice I will give. If you do leave yourself extra time between flights to transfer, stay well away from that Carlsberg Lounge… awful place, total and utter waste of a lounge pass!

    in reply to: British Airways lounge access in Dubai
    bungalow 178 posts

    Thanks for the replies folks, sadly confirms my initial fears.
    It’s bad enough struggling to find a seat and edible food, but the prospect of doing it for a few hours around midnight when you’re knackered and just want to go home and have a kip.
    And yes Tony, the queue was out the door the last time I went to that Marhaba lounge too, took me 20 minutes to get in, then once around the corner I was sorry I even bothered. Definitely one of the most wasteful uses of a priority pass ever (other than Minsk- which is out on a level all on its own!).

    Bottom line, when they’re charging over £3k for a flight you’d like to think you could get a seat at the airport.

    I may have a look at the Ahlan.

    Thanks again folks

    in reply to: British Airways lounge access in Dubai
    bungalow 178 posts

    Oh just to add, we’re home on a 787, so we’re not looking at a couple of hundred business passengers like the A380!

    in reply to: $150/£100 credit for Conrad/LXR/WA stays
    bungalow 178 posts

    I have had this offer a number of times, and have always found that the rate you pay is indeed hugely inflated, and doesn’t even cover the £100

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