Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Lakes and Mountains – family holiday August
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Slovenia is an excellent options which I’d highly recommend.

    A few hours drive from Ljubljana (which is an excellent city in it’s own right), you get to Lake Bled. From there, there are also many smaller lakes you can visit.

    Slovenia is very well set up for tourists, relatively quiet compared to the other popular destinations in the summer, and it’s as hot.

    in reply to: Small Luxury Hotels offer
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    @watesc The Gainsborough in Bath is a wonderful hotel. We stayed there on Amex FHR a few years ago and used the £100 credit on a lovely meal in the restaurant.

    Before you book see if there’s any offers via Emyr or the FHR if you have an Amex plat

    in reply to: Chat thread – Wednesday 29th May
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Can anyone confirm that anything below the top status tier is usually meaningless once you’ve booked a Meliá hotel?

    Pretty much this. We’ve stayed at quite a few Melia’s over the last few years, largely because of the 20% discount which stacks pretty well. Luckily I’ve not had any issues so can’t comment on service recovery etc. but no real mention of the status compared to Hilton.

    We have had a few upgrades but that’s because we’ve booked a room with an infant, and when we’ve checked in, they have upgraded us so ‘we have more space with the baby’.

    The value of the status is really in the 20% and I’m pretty happy with that

    in reply to: Has Virgin mangled my name and salutation?
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    All normal. Like you, I was concerned when I first saw this some years ago and called/emailed/messaged etc. and was told it’s just how the system processes it. You’d think they’d put some sort of message saying don’t worry about if your name and salutation are merged.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Thursday 23rd May
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Evening all,

    Any recommendations for a hotels in Newcastle for a weekend stay? Ideally combining with the many AMEX plat/PP offers would be ideal.

    in reply to: Argentina – advice?
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Hi team as per my message above, we’ve now pulled together a tentative itinerary for Argentina in August 2024. Welcome thoughts from seasoned Argentina visitors:

    August 12-16; Buenos Aires. Relaxing, and some of the parks, sites, nice places to eat. Soaking in the city.
    August 16-19; Iguazu. Brazil and Argentina side.
    August 19-23; Buenos Aires. Day trips, museums, more sites/food etc.
    August 23-26; El Calafete. El Chatain, glaciers, some walking/landscapes.

    To be honest, there seems so much to do in BA we’d quite happily stay there the whole time but given we’re travelling so far, we want to try and get at least 3 destinations in.

    The internal flights (BA-Iguazu return and BA-El Calafete return) are costing £800 with bags for 2 adults and 1 infant)

    in reply to: Argentina advice
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Deleted

    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Hi folks,

    Have £70 of credit left (after a lovely meal in Amsterdam) to use this year and we’re off to Paris in a few weeks.

    Any recommendations – am a veggie and would prefer breakfast/lunch over dinner. Alternatively happy to use it for some drinks with a nice view, or cakes/pastries.

    Thanks

    in reply to: Thailand for digital nomads
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    From a few friends of mine who have done this, as well as seeing it for myself, Chiang Mai, specifically seems the place to be for these ‘digital nomad’ sorts. It’s very well set up digital nomads with shared working spaces, serviced apartments/airbnbs etc.

    in reply to: Upper Class with a 2 year old – should I do it?
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    “Are we likely to annoy other travellers? I shouldn’t care but I don’t want to be stressed all the way there when it’s supposed to be a relaxing experience.”

    Dont even worry about other travellers. We travelled recently to DXB on UC with a small kid and were similarly worried. Turned out the worst trouble was a mother of two who put her kids with their dad and was loudly playing a movie on her phone. Spoke to a crew member who quietly told the mother to use the headset.

    Some OAPs will stare at the kids like they have never seen kids before, thinking they are entitled to a lounge like experience. Just ignore them.

    We were also really nervous about other passengers when we took our 5 month old to the US last year. We got some regular head shaking and dirty looks from the OAP couple across the aisle who were on their 40 year wedding anniversary. The baby was a good as gold (and even if she wasn’t, do you think we also want her to be crying all the time?!), whereas the OAP drank about 10 bottles of those mini wines and was demanding the cabin crew regularly bring her more. As we left, she was pushing and shoving and hit into me whilst I was carrying the baby. I said ‘sorry, do you mind?’, to which she slurred back ‘not really, no’. She then proceeded to leave the aircraft, and fell down the seats as she was attempting to take some left behind amenity kits in J.

    in reply to: First holiday with baby
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Here are two recent threads with a lot of good info in them:

    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/travelling-with-infants/

    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/travelling-with-infant-any-further-advice-greatly-received/

    Echo some of the comments above. We’ve done New York (4 months), Ibizia (7 months) and Thailand (10 months). (My wife is a teacher hence we’re making the most of her mat leave)

    My general advice:

    – Baby carriers, and a good high quality breathable one, are worth their weight in gold!
    – Email hotels/excursions etc. ahead to let them know you’re travelling with a baby. You’ll be surprised how accommodating people are
    – Babies are incredibly resilient and will adapt quickly (in fact, our daughter adjusted to the time difference quicker than me in Thailand), at this stage, do what you want to do and the baby will fit around that. As alluded to by other posters above, that will shortly change so make the most of it now!
    – Pack intelligently. You’ll be able to get a lot of stuff at your destination (nappies, bags, wipes etc.) but do identify where you’ll be getting them before you go

    Enjoy it! Travelling with our daughter (esp post 6 months when she’s more alert, trying new food, engaging with people etc.), has been one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of parenthood.

    in reply to: New Argentina rate using UK based credit cards
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    @jumpersforgoalposts – if those are the rates you are being quoted in GBP, that’s probably what you will pay. You can only get the benefit of the MEP rate if the hotel bills you directly in ARS rather than some central billing outside Argentina which might apply on the non-ref rate. I would imagine that the rates you cite already don’t include the VAT. I would note that currently the gap between the central bank rate and MEP is quite narrow but it’s very difficult to predict what it might be in five months time. Ideally you want a price in pesos.

    Thanks, presumably if I’m paying on departure as option B outlines, I can ask to pay in ARS? Then use my credit card to pay that which will do the conversion into GBP?

    Has anyone recently stayed at the Melia Grand Iguazu for a data point?

    in reply to: New Argentina rate using UK based credit cards
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Morning all.

    Thank you for the contributors to this thread, especially @JDB

    We’re going to Argentina in August 2024 for 2.5 weeks and currently working out an itinerary (I’ll share that later and get some thoughts from the hive mind). My question is just to clarify the currency/payment on our hotel in Iguazu.

    So we want to stay at the Melia Grand for 2 nights and when I go through the Melia website (accounting for the current wonder week promotion), I’m getting the following

    A) WONDER WEEK Non-Refundable Pre-paid MeliáRewards Rate GBP 719.17

    B) WONDER WEEK Flexible pay at hotel MeliáRewards GBP 821.12

    Based on this thread, the best rate will be to pay GBP 821.12 at the hotel using my Nationwide Visa 0% card. Am I correct that I’ll then get 21% vat deducted off the bill, and subsequently get the MEP rate back to GBP?

    Many thanks

    in reply to: Booking hotels with infants
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    A useful thread – thanks for starting this, there is some useful stuff in here. Here’s my experience.

    So we’ve been to 10+ hotels since my daughter’s been born (she’s 9 months now) and my experience has been mixed.

    We’ve stayed at 2 Melia’s (one in Spain, one in Thailand). Both were booked in advance for 2 adults and 1 baby (no price different sans baby). I also emailed after to confirm the travel cot. Both upgraded on arrival to bigger rooms ‘so you have space with the baby’. We were super grateful and had very positive experiences.

    Hilton in Thailand was booked with 2 adults and 1 baby. No price difference sands baby, and again, emailed after confirming travel cot. No upgrade here but the room was spacious enough.

    A few other independent/boutique hotels booked through Booking/Hotels charged extra when I added an infant. Some didn’t have specific rooms avaliable (which definitely could have fitted a cot) and some didn’t show any availability at all when I added an infant. With these, I booked and then emailed the hotel directly to mention we had a baby and if they did have a travel cot, that would be appreciated (we were prepared to bed share at these places). They all said they could accommodate the baby with a travel cot for free (despite being chargeable through Booking/Hotels). Both upgraded on arrival ‘for a more comfortable stay with the baby’.

    So to sum up what I do (and intent to do going forward)

    – Check the reviews of hotels to see if they take a baby
    – Check price/room/availability for 2 adult and 1 baby
    – Do the same without the baby
    – Book the cheaper/more convenient room
    – Email after booking to add/confirm cot

    in reply to: Qatar transit at Doha / Al Safwa
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    I did this exact journey last week. We landed at DOH, off the plane and straight into the departures lounge for the flight to BKK. I had the same stopover time and visited the lounge for 30 mins. Would have been longer but wanted to check the airport out as it was my first time there. Incredibly efficient.

    On the way back however was a bit more stressful. Layover was 55 mins. We landed and there was a man with a sign saying those connecting, come with me. We had to do hand luggage security again(!) and then we were escorted at some pace through the airport to the next gate. Only time for a quick 3 min toilet break.

    in reply to: Argentina – advice?
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Out of interest did you have to book over the phone and how much were the charges?

    Yes did this over the phone.

    The first agent said no can do. So I hung up and tried again.

    It worked out as 181k avios and £600 (241 voucher and 1 infant)

    in reply to: Argentina – advice?
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    We’ve booked Argentina for this Summer for 3 weeks too.

    We’ve used avios and 241 in J via the following route

    MAD-EZE
    EZE-MAD-LHR

    Will make my way to Madrid a few days earlier.

    Also, following this thread as we’ve not done any planning yet.

    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    We went to New York with our 6 month old in September and about to go to Thailand (now 10 month old – where does the time go!).

    We did have a few snide comments on the plane ironically from a lady who at the end of the flight was so drunk, she fell over!

    Sounds like you’ve done a lot of planning but my advise is to hold these loosely. You’ll know from travelling that things just happen (delays, cancellations etc.). Also, don’t underestimate how adaptable your baby is, they will just roll with whatever is happening.

    Enjoy!

    in reply to: Parking at Heathrow – Recommendations
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    You can also park at Asda in Hays and Harlington (and then 1 stop step free) to Heathrow. This is what we’ve been doing the last few times with no bother. You can book it through JustPark.

    in reply to: Help me plan my Thailand trip please
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Michael C

    (sorry reported by accident)!

    Thank you very much, Hua Hin is exactly what we’re looking for so we’ll go with that. Thank you to the rest of you with your advice too.

    Finally, in terms of currency, I note on the thread here (and others searching through the forum) that ATMs in Thailand charge for withdraws. My usual strategy of taking my monzo/revolut and taking out cash probably won’t work in that case. Any recommendations for exchanging currency (it’s been years since I’ve actually exchanged any money in the UK due to Monzo/Revolut).

    in reply to: Help me plan my Thailand trip please
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Hi team,

    Jumping in on this post for our family trip to Thailand next month. We’re a family of 3 (2 adults and a 10 month old).

    We’ve booked return flights from LHR to BKK (via DOH) and we’re in the country for 13 nights. Here is our tentative itinerary with some outstanding questions for this community.

    4 nights Bangkok; temples, parks, markets, walking/general tourism. Tours by Tong and hiring a a driver seems like a good approach here (1 full day or 2 half days) – anyone know how I can book or get in touch?

    5 nights Chiang Mai/Pai; seems like a more chilled place, lots of wildlife, walking and exploring. I’d have loved to take the sleeper train as per the messages above but don’t think it’ll work with a 10 month old

    4 nights ???; Any suggestions on how/where to end the trip? We’re flying out of BKK so we’d want to be nearby, and probably spend the night before the flight in Bangkok. We’re not massive beach people but some of the Islands look stunning. Anything that is feasible for a few days? We’re not after super luxury and obviously not into partying etc. with the 10 m/o.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, comments on the above? And any tips for travelling in Thailand with a 10 month old would be welcome!

    in reply to: Black Friday deals?
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts
    in reply to: Iberia out, BA back possible with a 2-4-1?
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    Hi I did this exact routing using a 241.

    I called the BA number to do it but be warned, the first agent I called said it couldn’t be done so hung up and called again.

    in reply to: Amex Platinum Insurance (Pregnancy)
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    I equally found it difficult to get a line/wording in the T&Cs. I used the chat function on Amex who were unable to clarify too.

    To give some context, we booked a trip to New York in June 2022 for Oct 2022 and my wife fell pregnant in July 2022. She had a horrible pregnancy feeling sick pretty much throughout so we cancelled about a week before and we were refunded it all (apart from excess) through Amex Plat. We had a note from the Dr saying she was not fit to fly.

    in reply to: Sense checking my redemption
    jumpersforgoalposts 53 posts

    As you’re using a 241 you have to make the booking via BA but if you select the relevant Iberia flights it should price at 104,000 Avios + £500 for two people.

    You need to make your way to MAD on a separate flight, otherwise you’d be liable for UK APD.

    On the return it is possible to book EZE-MAD-LHR if you prefer to have a connected flight for delay/luggage purposes. The additional cost of Avios + cash should be similar to booking it separately, although I haven’t done this stage myself.

    Assuming availablity exists for your dates (IB only release 2 Business Class per flight) it’s very straightforward to do.

    If availability has been snapped up for one of your dates consider MVD too, as those seats are less popular. Worth a visit in its own right, and easy to get to BsAs (although if travelling elsewhere in Arg, may not be practical.)

    Thanks for your response @scott really useful. I’ve found those flights on BA (MAD to EZE return for those avios). How would I go about booking MAD-EZE, EZE-MAD-LHR. Would I need to call?

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