Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Which Bogota airport lounge?
    cinereus 161 posts

    The options are with Iberia are LATAM or El Dorado. LATAM is a better one in my opinion.

    With Priority Pass (not Platinum card) you can access Copa Club and The Lounge plus also the ones available via Iberia. I haven’t been to Copa or The Lounge, so can’t comment.

    Thanks. Maybe I’ll have to check them all out…

    in reply to: Priority Pass lounge entry idea
    cinereus 161 posts

    I was in Plaza Premium in Edinburgh yesterday, around 4pm, and there were about 10 people in – full capacity is probably 100. This is Amex Plat and not Priority Pass of course.

    My wife had no trouble getting into PP T2 the week before Christmas either.

    I don’t travel through Edinburgh frequently. How different is that to previously?

    in reply to: Priority Pass lounge entry idea
    cinereus 161 posts

    Has there been any noticeable change in access to UK lounges with PP in the last six months or is it still as bad as ever?

    in reply to: Headphones for Virgin (& BA for that matter)
    cinereus 161 posts

    Any 3.5 mm bluetooth adapter will work as will any 3.5 mm jack headphones.

    Must have been at least a decade where this has been the case…

    The ‎Sony WH-1000XM4 are probably my recommended for mid-range decent noise-cancelled over ears.

    cinereus 161 posts

    Are they any use for buying tickets for you when presale links go live and you’re otherwise occupied?

    What about negotiating restaurant bookings for slots that aren’t booked out but require local contacts or language skills?

    in reply to: Impossible to book IB Avios redemptions?
    cinereus 161 posts

    Well it turns out BA wasn’t much easier. Long time on hold on the Silver line then the agent couldn’t book it either.

    They didn’t seem to understand the difference between Blue and Economy on IB because it’s not shown to BA.
    And they were very very insistent that their understanding of Avios redemptions was correct despite making multiple straightforward error.
    They managed to price it up incorrectly three times before I gave up.

    After a wasted morning I just booked online in the end.

    in reply to: Impossible to book IB Avios redemptions?
    cinereus 161 posts

    Are you able to try booking the IB flight with BA instead? As far as I recall the surcharges on Avios redemptions have been equalized now, irrespective which site handles the booking.

    Great shout, completely forgot that!

    in reply to: Nectar auto-convert
    cinereus 161 posts

    Still hasn’t worked three days later. And now Avios site isn’t letting me even set it up again.

    in reply to: New £300 Platinum dining credit July 2022
    cinereus 161 posts

    If I apply for a Plat card now will I get the £150 before the end of the year as well as the £150 after and be able to cancel in Jan?

    in reply to: Combine Avios is currently unavailable
    cinereus 161 posts

    I have now called BA six times and been cut off within 30 seconds of getting through every single time.

    in reply to: How quickly can you rack up points in the US?
    cinereus 161 posts

    You don’t need to be a U.S. resident or have a tax number to apply for a U.S. credit card. With Amex Global Transfer all you need is an address in the U.S. to post your card to and a U.S. phone number. This is how most overseas people start entering the U.S. credit card game, including me.

    So the thread finally delivers 🙂

    So I can get any US Amex via this route?

    in reply to: How quickly can you rack up points in the US?
    cinereus 161 posts

    I went to the US as a student and was able to open a bank account without a SSN – a bank on campus “knew” how to do it.
    Only got my SSN when I got a small job at the university – got paid $300 and opened the world of credit cards and earned me millions of points, so probably the best paid job I’ve ever got! But you can also get a TIN if you don’t have a right for a SSN, and for credit cards they are the same. But to do it from the UK will be quite a stretch.

    How did you get a job on a student visa?

    To all the naysayers, I’m sure this is solvable. It just might take a bit of work…

    in reply to: How quickly can you rack up points in the US?
    cinereus 161 posts

    I think you’re taking the points game a little too serious

    Not really. I’ve done similar things in other countries. If you get your paperwork in order you can make a decent salary travelling to a new country for 6 months and get a free holiday thrown in.

    How do students open a bank account without a SSN? It might not be immediately obvious, but there must be a way to expedite this…?

    in reply to: Nectar auto-convert
    cinereus 161 posts

    Auto-convert didn’t go through today as expected.

    Have called BAEC who say it’s not that problem. Have spoken to multiple managers at Nectar who don’t even realise thst there’s a difference between auto convert and manual let alone the timescale or the day auto convert is meant to happen and no luck getting them to do a manual override conversion.

    Any ideas who to call or speak to in order to convert a few extra Nectar to Avios with a deadline in mind?

    in reply to: Nectar auto-convert
    cinereus 161 posts

    Why not cancel the auto convert and do a manual convert instead?

    As I said, I’ve maxed out my monthly convert.

    Argos purchases usually take a month to credit your nectar account. They aren’t an instantaneous post.

    I thought I wouldn’t need to spell it out, but I’m not talking about earning nectar!

    By my understanding of the OP, they have more than 21k nectar currently, but only want to convert 13k avios. However manual conversion is not possible any more until next month, and auto convert will do more than that.

    So buy something at Argos (paying with nectar!!) to reduce the nectar balance to 21k. Auto convert that, then refund the item when you want the nectar points back. Not sure if this works. Ebay doesn’t because you can’t refund to nectar. Sainsburys may work too but you have to buy the item today, as nectar gets deducted one day after for sainsburys purchases.

    I have six figures of Nectar, I don’t think there’s enough I could buy at Argos to get it down to 21k.

    I would be up for buying something to return if there’s any way to credit Nectar fast enough but I doubt there’s anywhere I can easily get 13,000 Nectar in one day.

    Does anyone know about the time frame for auto convert if I can’t reduce the amount somehow?

    Also, is auto convert asymmetric? ie does it always start with 25k of the currency converted from? Or does it always convert up to 25k Avios equivalent?

    cinereus 161 posts

    I’ve got away with it before but not sure if that’s official policy.

    cinereus 161 posts

    You can’t book an Avios open jaw on, so wouldn’t be surprised if it also wasn’t possible on and would require a phonecall.

    Probably simpler to book two one-ways unless you really need a return. Iberia doesn’t apply the bonkers surcharges that can be an issue with BA, so no cost benefit in booking a return (although does offer some advantages re cancellation.)

    Thanks. Is it possible to book the following over the phone:

    LGW-MAD cash
    MAD-BOG-LGW Avios

    all as one ticket? I want this specifically because there’s only 2 hours between arriving at MAD and the flight to BOG so don’t want to lose my flight if there’s a delay or issue with the LGW-MAD leg…

    in reply to: Low tax/fee flights to Colombia
    cinereus 161 posts

    Just a shame as obviously much more pleasant to get the train to CDG or AMS than fly to MAD.

    Alas this isn’t true. AMS is experiencing dire problems with staffing at the moment, the queues are legendary. It’s an expensive and fairly long train ride on Eurostar. CDG makes more sense to take the train, but the airport experience again isn’t great, you’ll have to fly AF which is only ‘good’ in La Premiere and the Eurostar fare these days rivals the HEX for most expensive rail service in the world per mile, unless you book half a lifetime ahead.

    With respect, I’ve taken Eurostar a few times recently and stand by my original statement. I also object to taking short-haul flights when a reasonable rail alternative exists even if it’s much more expensive.

    Yes, it’s virtually impossible. I’ve always booked via a sales office via email (and found Madrid very helpful with a refund matter)

    You can check the availability on

    Thanks but still had zero luck. Both London and Madrid sales offices have point blank refused to even look up the flights let alone book them.

    I’m starting to think M&S partner redemptions are simply impossible.

    in reply to: Virgin Atlantic Customer Centre inaudible?
    cinereus 161 posts

    I redialled about 10 times with exactly the same issue every time. Still occurring now for me…

    (5) If issues are identified with particular permutations, make sure staff are informed about this so the troubleshooting doesn’t need to start again at week 0 for every other customer with the same issue.

    in reply to: Low tax/fee flights to Colombia
    cinereus 161 posts

    Turkish charge you the same as a cash ticket so you can check ITA Matrix for a one way flight, was around €50 earlier this year

    KLM/AF I had only looked coming back from Colombia but it was very last minute so they were releasing seats around 85k miles and the T&F was reasonable coming in that direction

    Thanks, I’ll check Turkish though I had zero luck on the phone getting them to even admit the flights exist.

    KLM and AF were the roughly same fees for me in both directions when I looked: £220-250 so more than double IB.

    in reply to: Low tax/fee flights to Colombia
    cinereus 161 posts

    MAD-BOG with IB is 85,000 and £225 return.
    42,500 each way and £111.30 out £134.90 back.

    Perhaps that’s as good as I’m going to get without a fuel dump…

    Just a shame as obviously much more pleasant to get the train to CDG or AMS than fly to MAD.

    in reply to: Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Vietnam)
    cinereus 161 posts

    I’m going to agree with posters above. HCMC is a bland shiny city with no soul, Hanoi is where you’ll get down and gritty with life and people.

    Sure it doesn’t have as good a high-end dining scene, but I’d heavily favour Hanoi.

    in reply to: Any recommendations for Quito?
    cinereus 161 posts

    If you want something Quito then stay in historic district. There’s a few good art museums including the House-Museum Guayasamín and it’s worth a trip up the teleferico.

    in reply to: Chile and Argentina in February or March
    cinereus 161 posts

    I have had trips to Chile planned, but cancelled due to Covid. Now I am considering a 3-week tour in February 2024. Probably into Buenos Aires, and return from Santiago (or vice versa). Probably Club on BA.
    How would you spend 3 weeks?
    My thoughts are both capitals, Atacama, Wine areas, Lake District / Bariloche – but I would welcome advice, particularly from people who have been there.
    I accept that we will need to take some internal flights, but I do not want to do too many of them.
    – Vineyards near Santiago or near Mendoza?
    – Lake District, or Patagonia, or both?
    – Any coastal resorts, or “not special enough”?
    – Feb / March, or November?

    Bariloche and Patagonia are different beasts. It’s really not worth venturing into Patagonia proper if you only have 3 weeks total. Maybe if you had three weeks just for that.

    The only coastal place I would visit is Valparaíso.

    Absolutely avoid Calafate and the glacier there – it’s a massive tourist trap. If you want to see glaciers then Bahia de los Tempanos is far and away your best option. If not that then Glacier Grey.

    Couldn’t disagree more with people saying Santiago has little to keep you there. Almost as good a dining scene as BA, incredible music and theatre scene, lots of nice underground events if you keep your finger on the pulse.

    Agree with Michael C that you could spend 3 weeks in BA alone and barely scratch the surface. 3 days is a crying shame.

    Mendoza is better than Santiago for vineyards but other have also made some good suggestions.

    Make sure you have a dolar blue plan, WU is usually the way to go.

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