Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Any news re Japan re-opening, please?
    Gavin454

    From 14th March, the daily entry cap (for non-tourism entries) will increase to 7,000 plus some amount of students on top of that.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/03/09/national/higher-entry-cap-foreign-students/

    Taro Kono today said they expect to accept 10,000 students per week, which they expect will clear the backlog of 100,000 students awaiting entry by the end of May (10 weeks at 10,000 per week).

    From todays comments it sounds like they are intending to keep the post-March 14th cap on arrivals until at least the end of May. Otherwise, the backlog of students would be cleared somewhat in advance of that. It’s a ridiculously low entry cap, and I don’t hear much positive news coming from the Japanese government regarding any further reopening.

    In 2019, Japan accepted an average of around 87,600 tourist entries per day and around 52,000 entries of Japanese nationals per day. Approximately 140,000 entries per day in total. So they are currently accepting only around 5% of the pre-COVID total.

    Personally I’m hoping to go to Japan in January 2023 and I don’t feel particularly optimistic about my chances.

    in reply to: Existing customers can now switch
    Gavin454

    Why on earth would you want to switch from your Hilton Barclaycard for just 5,000 Avios and pay £20 a month for the privilege? Total Madness!

    It’s not for the signup bonus, it’s so I can earn Avios points instead of Hilton points.

    Eg. £10k monthly spend = 20k Hilton points, or 10k / 15k Avios depending on which card.

    The Avios are much more useful for me (usually for flights, but have the useful nectar cashout route too) and represent better value per £ spent on the card, plus I’ll get a useful upgrade voucher too.

    in reply to: Existing customers can now switch
    Gavin454

    Still no cards available for me to switch to from my Hilton card.

    I gather this means I am not eligible for the new Avios card (for reasons unknown). It seems my best course of action is to keep my Hilton card until if/when it gets discontinued, as if I cancel it now and wait 6 months, I’ll likely not be eligible to sign up for the new card. When I’m forced to close my Hilton card, then the 6 months clock will start and I can attempt to sign up for the Avios card when the time comes.

    in reply to: Existing customers can now switch
    Gavin454

    Where is the option supposed to be?

    I cant see anything in the app.

    From the main page, at the bottom of the screen click “more” -> “manage accounts” -> “barclaycard” -> “change to a different card”

    This is on the Android App, not sure if the same on iPhone.

    in reply to: Existing customers can now switch
    Gavin454

    Still no option to switch for me.
    Rob did say that Barclaycard said that we should all have the option to swap today so fingers crossed for all those still sandboxed…

    I also still have “no options available”

    in reply to: Lounges in T5 when flying Club Europe
    Gavin454

    If I’m at the airport a bit early, even if I know I’m probably departing from A gates, I often go to the lounge in B gates especially if the airport is busy. The B lounge always seems to be peaceful and quiet, and has a good amount of seats with views of the outside. If your flight is departing from A gates, you then need to walk back along the passageway at level -4 (not the train)

    in reply to: How long do statement credits take? Data points
    Gavin454

    I find them unreliable during the past year or two. The “100% back on £200 for restaurant spend”, I had my first credit within 2 days. The second credit didn’t appear after 6 weeks, and I had to threaten to make a complaint in order to get them to manually credit it. I was considering cancelling the card, so didn’t want to wait until 90 days past the offer end date for them to investigate.

    A few months ago, my Morrisons 10% back credits took 3-4 weeks to credit.

    More recently, Harvey Nichols was credited within a couple of days.

    in reply to: Thailand Test & Go
    Gavin454

    Here’s an archive link for the above article:

    https://archive.is/3nY6B

    Sounds awful!

    in reply to: Finally giving up on BA
    Gavin454

    I ended up cancelling, though I’ve been sent a Future Travel Voucher: “Simply call us when you’re ready to book a flight…”

    Simply???

    And the email neglects to say what the value of the voucher is, and the Avios haven’t hit my account, yet.

    I was expecting an eVoucher, which I’ve used in the past, online.

    You won’t get an evoucher, because your booking includes both cash and avios. Unfortunately they will both stay inside the voucher until you phone up to apply them to a new booking (the avios won’t be going back to your account)

    in reply to: AirPortr free trial (but sadly quite limited….)
    Gavin454

    Out of the few BAEC members eligible, the one’s who 1) know about this offer, 2) want to try this service, 3) are flying on one of those three dates, 4) are taking luggage with them, and 5) live in the right area… I imagine they could probably be counted on one hand.

    in reply to: How long will BA’s flexible booking policy last?
    Gavin454

    It will be a shame if they don’t extend it for long haul flights in particular. For example, Japan remains closed and is not indicating to be opening to tourism anytime soon. I want to go next winter, but I won’t book anything in advance unless either Japan fully reopens to tourism, or book with confidence is extended.

    in reply to: Thailand Test & Go
    Gavin454

    It’s a really unattractive proposition for tourists.

    Apart from the hassle and expense of sorting out the Thailand Pass and booking day 1 and 5 quarantine and testing packages, Thailand has some of the most strict treatment and isolation rules of any country currently “open for tourism” if you’re unfortunate enough to test positive as a tourist or be identified as a close contact.

    There’s 2 opportunities to be forced into a hospital/hospitel (quarantine hotel with treatment facilities) for 10 days. The stress of not knowing what’s going on and being totally out of control over what happens to you, having unnecessary treatments pushed on you, being confined to your room for 10 days. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the first 5 days of my holiday because I’d essentially be self-isolating to reduce the chance of a positive day 5 test. Not to mention the national policy of having to wear a mask everywhere indoors and outdoors, which must be quite unpleasant in hot and humid Thailand.

    Meanwhile, for vaccinated travellers, Cambodia simply requires a rapid test to be done on landing. The Philippines only requires a test before you depart for the country, nothing on arrival.

    in reply to: UK to Switzerland travel now VERY easy
    Gavin454

    What’s the on the ground situation with vaccine passports and NHS app?

    I needed to show my vaccine proof in order to check in to my hotel, and to enter restaurants (not checked at any other time).

    I loaded my most recent certificate onto the Swiss app because it’s much easier/quicker to open than the NHS app and works offline.

    in reply to: Sean Doyle apology email!
    Gavin454

    There used to online cancellation/changes options right until May 2020. (albeit March-May via workaround published here). Just remove the piece of IT code that blocks the online options or add it back whatever is easier. I am sure it wouldn’t take long given that they turned it off almost overnight.

    Exactly, some of these problems are self-inflicted.

    I helped to clog up the call centre queue for far too long last week because I wanted to do a free cancellation within 24 hours of booking. This was possible online before the pandemic, and would have taken less than a minute.

    In the end, I actually couldn’t get through, so gave up and ended up taking the flight rather than a more convenient option that had become available. I could have got a FTV but I didn’t want 1) the hassle of having to call to redeem it in the future since it was an Avios booking and/or 2) BA holding onto my Avios and cash for months/years. Plus, just on principle BA advertise free refunds for 24 hours, so I am entitled to a full refund.

    Surely allowing people to do more things online, including things that were possible for many years pre-2020, is the answer rather than hiring more call centre staff and continuing forcing people to call (presumably to avoid paying out refunds etc)?

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
    in reply to: Iceland for 4 days – any tips?
    Gavin454

    I went in December 2014 for a trip of 3 nights. Perhaps prices have gone up since then – it was expensive, but not THAT expensive – we stayed in a fairly basic but nice hotel (Reykjavik Residence Hotel) including breakfast for £100/night. I’ve had greater price shock in Switzerland.

    We were there for a short time, and did an organised Golden Circle group tour one day, made our own way to the Blue Lagoon, viewed the Northern Lights from a recommended area on the outskirts of the city accessible by public transport – can’t remember where but it was next to the coast and a lighthouse! (saw an amazing strong display), and had 1 day seeing things around the city. It was a fantastic short break.

    Gavin454

    Bring back online cancellation option for Avios bookings with immediate refund of Avios and cash too. they deliberately removed at the start of pandemic to annoyance of everyone, but memory is short and people only seem to be interested in redeeming FTVs these days.

    Exactly this.

    Refund functionality is still much-reduced compared to before the pandemic. It used to be calculated online as you clicked through the refund process, shown on the page, and then automatically refunded (Avios instantly, and cash usually back to your card the next day). You could process all refunds this way, and full refunds of Avios flights + fees if refunded <24 hours could be done online in the same way too.

    Now, you either need to phone (virtually impossible at times) or fill in a form which sends it off to be done manually, which takes ages, and you have no advance confirmation of what refund is due.

    Why are they still forcing people to use overloaded call centres when they could just revert the IT back to the pre-pandemic automatic refund process which needs much less staff oversight?

    in reply to: BA Verifly app – is it rubbish?
    Gavin454

    I’ve used it several times and it’s always worked fine, and has saved a lot of time and hassle at the airport.

    The one time I didn’t use it due to a very last minute booking, I sorely wished I had been able to, because the agent almost didn’t let me check-in due to being unsure about the details of my Chronomics fit to fly certificate (took about 30 minutes and a long call to a supervisor!). Verifly would have avoided any of that hassle, and additionally there are Verifly fast-track lanes in T5 which were moving much quicker than the normal queues and would have saved another 40 minutes.

    in reply to: Are Amazon Day 2 covid tests still available?
    Gavin454

    Amazon don’t seem to be in stock at the moment. Notice on the selling page:

    Out of Stock Notice: Global demand for test kit components is high and we are working hard with our suppliers to make this product available again.

    Gavin454

    I had a credit not track for an eligible restaurant in mid-November.

    Was fobbed off twice by chat saying I must wait until 90 days after offer end, and that it’s not possible to add the credit manually due to system limitations.

    Second time I asked to raise a complaint (on the basis that I want to cancel the card, and I would be forced to pay 3+ months extra card fees before getting the credit I’m owed), and then the agent almost immediately manually added the credit.

    I’m not sure why they put up resistance at first, it doesn’t reflect good customer service for such an expensive card. Strange that a system limitation suddenly doesn’t exist when I’m about to make a complaint.

    in reply to: Ex-EU fares
    Gavin454

    I used ex-EU deals many times between 2014 and 2019, but would be hesitant to book or fly them at the moment due to uncertainty about COVID restrictions, testing, cancellations, refunds, doing B2B flights etc. Even before COVID I found them a little stressful (but definitely still worth it) due to the huge consequences of missing the first flight of the itinerary!

    I’ve had Gold/Silver status since 2014 on the back of ex-EU deals, so I’ll be glad to continue flying them once international travel gets a bit more predictable.

    I took the day 2 PCR at the Sofitel around 1.30pm yesterday (Wednesday). It was quite busy but didn’t have to queue more than a few minutes, lots of booths set up for self sample collection.

    Got the result by email around 2.30am this morning.

    So, about 13 hours in total.

    Gavin454

    My Morrison’s credits took about 4 weeks on my Platinum card, and I’m still awaiting a restaurant credit from the 100% back offer after 5 weeks. Annoying because I want to cancel the card and don’t want to wait the 90 days after offer end (end of March!). Already contacted CS once and was told to wait.

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