Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Best Marriott Bonvoy hotel in Sydney?
    FlyingPtarmigan

    This is very much depends on what you want.

    I agree with the above, but would add that I like hotels with good gyms. And the Marriott gym is absolutely fantastic if you lift weights 🙂

    in reply to: New £300 Platinum dining credit July 2022
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Have no plans to be anywhere outside the UK that is currently on the International list for the Dining Offer. However have family living in Toronto who could benefit from this offer. Do you know if cardholder and card have to be physically present for this offer to work – or could I contact the restaurant and ask them to credit their bill with the equivalent of £150 in Canadian$ directly onto my Amex card ?? I understand that I will fall for the exchange rate charges.

    If the restaurant will play ball, it would work.

    You need to be careful that you don’t fall foul of anti-fraud “velocity checks”. Most restaurants will be considered as venues where they are expecting the cardmember to be present at the time of the transaction – so a transaction at a restaurant in London followed an hour later by a transaction in a restaurant in Toronto has a good chance of being potential fraud.

    in reply to: Mortgage overpayments
    FlyingPtarmigan

    At the age of 60, Colin’s friend may well have accrued the maximum number of years service their pension scheme anyway. In which case, one option would be to opt out of the pension scheme. Their salary would then be frozen at today’s salary and uprated at CPI. They wouldn’t accrue any more service, but even without maximum accrual they may be better off opting out.

    The local government scheme also has a very funky “Rule of 85” that means that “Member’s whose age plus scheme membership (in whole years) equals 85 may be able to take their pension before their Normal Pension Age, without it being reduced for early payment.”

    in reply to: Multiple cards on Apple Pay?
    FlyingPtarmigan

    You can add cards directly from the Apple Wallet.

    in reply to: Points booking for two rooms
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Two bookings is definitely the way to go and I’ve done before with no issues.

    in reply to: New Domes hotel opening in June…
    FlyingPtarmigan

    I hadn’t spotted the other Aulus property.

    I am hopefully booked in and will, no doubt, report back.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Whilst most people here will do so, just a note to say that it’s worth checking your points for this property – mine were out by a factor of four.

    The property spend also doesn’t register correctly for the AMEX Bonvoy card and has posted at normal spend rate of 2 per £, rather than the enhanced spend rate of 6 per £. I suspect that this is because it’s a new property.

    in reply to: Earning/Transferring points quickly
    FlyingPtarmigan

    The last time that happened to me I phoned up to make the booking and they waived the points.

    You can now also buy points when you make the booking, although the minimum is likely 1,000.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Just a quick question ( flying out 29th), is the full board limited to Turquoise and Velaa and only during meal times? Example – could I have a lunch and go by for a cocktail later during opening hours. And non alcoholic beverages like juices, smoothies, were they also limited to being consumed it the restaurants or there is more flexibility regarding non alcoholic items

    Full board covers Turquoise and Velaa, but not certain weekly special events like the weekly BBQ at Turquoise, for which you get a $50 credit.

    The portions at Velaa were big enough without the need for a free flow BBQ.

    You also get a $50 credit at Tabemasu for dinner, although I don’t know what happens with drinks if you go that route. We went to Tabemasu once – it’s overpriced unless you come from somewhere with limited access to Japanese food 😉

    You only get one shot at a dining venue per meal slot and only one venue – ie you can’t eat around. So no going away and coming back.

    In truth that didn’t present any problems for us as we tend to shift our eating to 10:00 / 15:00 / 20:00 in resorts as it means we can do an early activity when it’s cooler and avoid kids in the evening.

    Velaa “closes” at 17:00 and reopens at 18:00, but we’d sometimes have lunch and move on to the lounge area chairs and the staff were happy to keep serving us.

    It’s worth saying that the full board plus drinks options only showed limited wine by the glass and cocktail options. in practice, we found that we could have anything on the All Inclusive drinks list. I’d just suggest you do it / try it rather than asking – the one time we asked nearly sent the server into a flat spin!

    We found that being polite and generally “nice” (which we are anyway) paid dividends as a good proportion of the other guests weren’t polite. On two occasions we were found a table when the people in front of us were turned away.

    There are weekly Elite drinks at 17:30 on Thursdays.

    Do email in advance and book a table at Velaa for the first couple of nights.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Would a 10 day stay be too long at this resort, or would the food etc get boring?

    We went for 10 days and the menu was fine.

    in reply to: Post new Amex statement credit offers here!
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Also, spend £100 get £10 for Regent’s Street / St James’s on my BAPP.

    in reply to: Post new Amex statement credit offers here!
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Spend £250 get £50 back across a range of stores on Regent St and St James’s on my Platinum card. Includes Apple.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Mrs_Fussy – the photos really don’t do the room justice. The only things I could criticise the room for is a strange lack of drawer space in the wall-in wardrobe and the rather strange choice of saloon doors.

    As a data point, we spent around £3.8k between two adults across the Full Board Plus supplement; additional evening cocktails and activities – a mixology class, three snorkelling trip and a SUP lesson. The activities were well run and good value (IMV).

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    I’ve bitten the bullet and cashed out for St Regis – purely based on the fact that its nightly cash rate is nothing I could ever afford, let alone splashing out for five nights. If I ever go back to the Maldives after that, Le Meridien’s cash rates are just about do-able with judicious saving…

    Good arrows.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Was chatting to a lifetime Titanium member (dear god, how many nights of your life IS that?) earlier who has stayed at both St Regis in the Maldives. “Better, but not three times the points better”.

    He has been told that redemption rates here are going up 20k points per night from 29th.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Does anyone know how this resort compares with JW Marriott?

    You might try asking on the Flyertalk thread as there are people there who have done both.

    I looked at the JW when booking – the overwater villas are bigger (huge) and much more spaced out.

    But they were double the points.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    How did you get there? Redemption ex eu etc?

    Redemption – 305k points for 10 days including the 5 for 4

    I was lucky enough to pick up BA redemption flights as well – although only after having booked economy for cash, which is now tied up in an e-voucher.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    Kids club. Check.

    Good reports from the parents doing the mixology class with us. Lots of focus on marine biology. Very international because of the client base. The guy who did our mixology class runs a mocktail session for the older children as part of kids club.

    Zero construction materials.

    Oodles of beach. Lots of sun beds. Zero competition for them.

    Sea plane transfer rather than speed boat – around 35 minutes.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    I’m Platinum, which they pro-actively reached out to acknowledge pre-arrival with an email.

    Breakfast offered or $30 USD off a daily meal plan:
    – half board $95 (no beverages)
    – full board plus $155 (limited range of alcoholic served with meals plus soft drinks from the minibar)
    – all inclusive $230 (wider range of alcoholic drinks available any time plus anything in the minibar)

    Take $30 off above prices if status gives you a free breakfast.

    The alcohol includes a selection of beer, wine by the glass, spirits and cocktails. A big enough selection with full board, but a bigger selection with all inclusive.

    We’ve taken the full board plus option as we only tend to have the odd beer between meals. Whilst in principle we’re only supposed to have a choice of one colour wine per outlet, staff seem to be pragmatic about the wine all costing the same anyway – so seem to be happy to pour anything that’s available by the glass.

    There is a very good thread on Flyertalk with links to menus, etc and chatter there is that they are very good at offering upgrades.

    Probably for the first time ever, I pro-actively reached out to ask them not to upgrade me as the booked sunrise overwater villa and the Flyertalk consensus is that the sunrise side has calmer water and better afternoon shade, which I’d agree with.

    They referenced my email at check in and have made a standing offer that we can ask to move to sunset or a beach villa if they have one when we ask, which I think is pretty reasonable.

    Most of the beach villas seem to have a limited view as they have foliage in front of them. The GM told us that the foliage was a conscious choice as Middle Eastern and Russian clients tend to choose that room type and value the privacy.

    The very useful Flyertalk thread is at
    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marriott-marriott-bonvoy/1997085-le-meridien-maldives-resort-thilamaafushi-maldives-master-thread-72.html

    We ate at their signature Japanese restaurant on the first night, which was underwhelming for the price. And ate late off a buffet on the second night, which is never a good move. But the food off the a la carte options other than that has been excellent.

    in reply to: Le Meridien Maldives
    FlyingPtarmigan

    First time to the Maldives – so can’t do a comparison in that respect, but have comparison is against Sugar Beach and Hotel Chocolat in St Lucia and (what was) the St Regis and the two Lux hotels in Mauritus.

    The St Regis was the previous holder of the best (holiday) room award (before it went downhill and got demoted to JW).

    The overwater villas are bigger than they look in the PR photos and very well designed with the exception of a frustrating lack of drawer space.

    Service levels and facility quality is very good – helped by the fact that it’s all brand new. Particularly well thought out gym with something for everyone – you could do a good CrossFit workout through to sitting mindlessly on a bike.

    The pools are disappointing if you’re into swimming laps.

    I haven’t been wowed by the food. But I’ve only been here two nights.

    I’m sure other Marriott properties in the Maldives might be “nicer” in some dimensions, but it’s hard to see how double the points per night would get you double the value. If that makes sense.

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