Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • Niall

    Iberia serve pretty decent Cava and Lufthansa do (or did pre-Covid) very pleasant Sekt. I’d take both over the cheap champagne that BA serve in Club Europe.

    What’s the decent cava served by Iberia? It’s been pretty awful stuff whenever I’ve flown with them.

    I think BA should get some credit here. It may be lower end champagne but it is still certainly a step up from eg Iberia in my experience.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Sunday 22nd January
    Niall

    Can I please ask if you are BA Gold and booking Economy seats, do BA automatically block out the seat next to you?
    My wife and I are flying (she has no status) and would be good to have 3 seats. Should I then book the middle? Really really don’t want to end up in the middle seat though if the plane fills up!

    Yes and no. Yes theoretical seating blocks the seat next to golds. No, once under airport control closer to flight time agents can put people in those seats.

    Put yourself in the aisle this will keep the B or E blocked, wife in in the window. Don’t get upset if someone is between you and doesn’t want to move. The further forward you do this, or exit row seats the less likely that seat stays empty.

    I’d say I’m about 50/50 on empty seat next to me.

    The real answer to this if it matters to you is Club Europe and the empty middle seat.

    Just to add my experience, I’ve been getting the empty seat beside me a good bit more than 50/50 recently. That is generally as a solo traveller too. If you do book your wife in the window (or aisle) and you in the middle, I would expect you to get a better rate. This is my preferred strategy because if I were with someone else I’d prefer to be beside each other rather than have someone in the middle.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 20th January
    Niall

    Hi all, checking into a flight on Iberia for tomorrow where we fly LHR to Madrid at 11:25. It as given us the option to upgrade to business for £91 for both of us.
    We have access to the lounges anyway, but just wondering if the in flight experience is worth that price for both us?

    Many thanks
    Rich

    Assuming you’re silver there’s no benefits on the ground. You would get better food and drink, an empty middle seat. You may also get extra tier points (40 vs 5-10 for economy) and Avios if the original fare is a cash fare, not 100% sure on whether upgrade offers give this on IB but they do on BA.

    Only you can decide if that’s worth £45 a head, personally if I needed TPs and was confident they would be awarded I would do it, otherwise it’s a decent amount to spend in Madrid.

    Assuming they’re talking about an Iberia flight and checking in on Iberia etc, you do not get additional tier points for such cash upgrades unfortunately.

    We have a five digit booking ref with Iberia for a mixed BA/IB this obs won’t work with BA website which needs a six digit booking ref for seats etc, any suggestions?

    You’re just asking for seat selection for BA Silver (which should be free)? If so the trick which has been mentioned and seems to work is just selecting the seats on Iberia after you have ensured your exec club number is in. It will suggest you have to pay but after you select the seat if you close out before paying you’ll see it’s still retained your selection.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 20th January
    Niall

    We have a five digit booking ref with Iberia for a mixed BA/IB this obs won’t work with BA website which needs a six digit booking ref for seats etc, any suggestions?

    For seat selection for BA Silver? If so the trick which seems to work is selecting the seats on IB after you have made sure your exec club number is added. It will suggest there is a cost but after you select the seat if you close before this you will see that your seat selection has remained.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 20th January
    Niall

    Hi all, checking into a flight on Iberia for tomorrow where we fly LHR to Madrid at 11:25. It as given us the option to upgrade to business for £91 for both of us.
    We have access to the lounges anyway, but just wondering if the in flight experience is worth that price for both us?

    Many thanks
    Rich

    Assuming you’re silver there’s no benefits on the ground. You would get better food and drink, an empty middle seat. You may also get extra tier points (40 vs 5-10 for economy) and Avios if the original fare is a cash fare, not 100% sure on whether upgrade offers give this on IB but they do on BA.

    Only you can decide if that’s worth £45 a head, personally if I needed TPs and was confident they would be awarded I would do it, otherwise it’s a decent amount to spend in Madrid.

    Assuming they’re talking about an Iberia flight and checking in on Iberia etc, you do not get additional tier points for such cash upgrades unfortunately.

    in reply to: Melia points discount
    Niall

    The earnings rate for Melia gold is 13 point per USD/EUR spent but applied to the spend before tax. So probably 46,000 is a good guess but I’d hope a little more depending on where/which hotel and therefore the rate pre tax.

    How many people in each room and is it the Level Pool access room?

    P.S. you can reach MeliaRewards Platinum by earning sufficient points in a year, you’re likely to be at least very close after this if it was in the same year as your 4,600 stay!

    in reply to: Melia points discount
    Niall

    There isn’t really enough detail here to check properly but a check for 10 random days (10-20 August) in a deluxe room for 2 bed and breakfast, it was £2,255.88 in the app (5% discount in the app)or £2,100.88 when using 46,000 points. That makes this a poor use of points even with the big MeliáRewards devaluation.

    in reply to: Chat thread – Wednesday 18th January
    Niall

    If ticket includes a checked bag (E.g. Avios redemption), but one does not know when checking in at T-24h whether one will have a checked bag (E.g. for OH!) I’m guessing it is best to choose “1 bag” and then not take one than the other way round?
    Does one need to then cancel it – if so how?
    This way round presumably does not cause a security alert.

    Unless something has changed, for BA flights and checking in through the app, I get an option for ‘Not Sure’ for number of bags.

    in reply to: Melia points expiry?
    Niall

    No idea where on the new site, but it’s in the app under my profile. However, it’s also 12 months from your last stay/earning.

    in reply to: Check in hand luggage always available?
    Niall

    Thanks. I may start asking if I can check in even when not offered just to get a sense on if I can rely on it. I usually book non HBO when there is a chance I’ll want a same day change, and not so much for the baggage. The problem adding bags is that it costs a lot more to add late. While it’s 20 quid to add at the time of booking it is 70 to add now on a flight to Tenerife (£80 at the airport).

    in reply to: Meliá Rewards
    Niall

    12 month expiry is normal for MeliáRewards. It is also about the worst expiry time limit of a hotel loyalty scheme, so in that way I guess not normal. They did at least stop expiry during covid so I expect you’ve had over 12 months really but would have to check the dates that applied.

    No idea on the reclaim process, so hope someone who has seen it will chime in. In general to email/contact MeliáRewards you should go to the missing points claim page on their site. There is no point talking to the helpline who know nothing about MeliáRewards and are generally pretty bad.

    There was a big devaluation earlier this year though, so at least if you have lost them you have lost something worth a lot less than it was worth a year ago!

    in reply to: Credit of Finnair flights to BAEC
    Niall

    Recent experience was 5 days and this was consistent with the latest I saw in flyer talk.

    in reply to: Melia 20% off codes available?
    Niall

    Hey just doing some research into Platinum Amex and I think this benefit could be worth the entire membership fee for me! Can someone that’s used it confirm a couple things for me…

    Are you able to book directly through melia site?
    If so, is it valid on the prepayment rates or just the flexible rates?
    Can I combine with melia rewards points?

    Thanks for your advice in advance 🙏

    I think you mean the benefit of 3×20% off codes that comes with your MeliáRewards account. Be advised that the birthday voucher (usually allowing you to chose 20% off) comes even with free/no status MeliáRewards accounts, so if this is for one big booking you might not need to get an Amex platinum just for that. If you do need 3x uses then you can get the platinum and cancel quickly after for the pro rata refund of the fee. Or get a supplementary card temporarily if you have any kind family/friends for that.

    The 20% off terms will tell you it applies to cash and cash/points bookings I think, but it will apply to points rates even as well IF they’re under the dynamic pricing and not at the fixed price. So basically try and see. But see other posts on how poor MeliaRewards points have become.

    Yes, it works with booking direct on Melia’s site and to either flexible or prepaid rates. However, you’d be crazy to book on their site because the app offers a 5% discount booking there which does stack/combine with the 20% discount.

    in reply to: Melia 20% off codes available?
    Niall

    Melia technology is full of glitches! I have to say that while generally the agents know nothing of the MeliáRewards program and can be super unhelpful, the sales guys are usually pretty great. One of them gave me her direct Melia email address a couple of years ago and now I just do all bookings through her. She’s helped out moving covid bookings and when my 20% voucher code disappeared too soon due to dodgy Melia IT. If anyone wants her email, I’m sure Rob can put us in touch.

    in reply to: Where to credit BA Flights – alternatives to BAEC
    Niall

    For utilising your BA status, while crediting points to another program, I know other people do it, so I’m sure it’s fine. I’m sure e.g. seat selection will remain if you add Exec club number then change it later. Also you’ll probably get through the first wing and into the lounge at Heathrow with no issue with showing your card and asking them not to add it to the booking. I think I even read there are two spaces for frequent flyer numbers in the background, one for status benefits and the other for earnings. I just don’t have practical experience of this myself, and imagine it is something which is messed up / overwritten by desk agents a lot and which could cause issues in airports with non BA staff and lounges especially. Hopefully someone will come along and give their experience with it.

    For your purposes, it’s still necessary to understand what type of flying you do to see how quickly or well you’d build up a useable quantity of miles/points. Alaska miles definitely have the better sweet spots, but perhaps not for long. You would also be likely to earn more for long haul discount BA business class flights. Topping up would likely be more expensive to get to a useable level with Alaska vs American. Plus with accumulating American points on hotel bookings, when you buy points in that process they count for status.

    One example for you… If you fly one return trip to New York in a discounted (R) fare then each way you would earn for the 3,458 mile trip 150% x 3,458 = 5,187 avios plus 3,458 status/tier bonus (100% of base miles as BA Gold). Which is 8,645 each way or 17,290 avios return.

    Alaska give 250% of the miles without status/tier bonus. So you’ll earn the same number of miles with them for this trip even without Alaska status. Get up to 20,000 elite qualifying miles with Alaska (that trip would give you a little over 10,000) and you’ll start to get status/tier bonuses too. But you would need to find time to do a couple of Alaska operate flights.

    With American Airlines you’d get 150% of miles flown = 10,374 miles. Earn elite status and you’ll start to get those bonuses, but it will be hard to get to Alaska level and Alaska miles are probably worth more. Elite status will be easier to achieve though.

    Will be different with different fare types of course, but Alaska wins fairly consistently. First class especially credited to Alaska is great! A UK – US flight in first will get you enough miles to do something great with (or at least very close) as well as enough miles to start earning tier/status bonuses.

    in reply to: Where to credit BA Flights – alternatives to BAEC
    Niall

    I respectfully disagree with yonasl’s comment. Once you have attained Gold, it can absolutely be beneficial to start building miles/points in another program. Not just for diversifying but also just that American Airlines and Alaska miles for example are super useful!

    It is the status based bonuses which especially make doing this complicated (i.e. if I get a 100% bonus on base miles as BA Gold, why start fresh in AA where I’ll get no status bonus and earn far fewer points?) Fortunately, the announcement that BA will move to Avios earnings based on net ticket cost in 2023 means there are likely many trips for people which would be more beneficial to credit to another program even with BA status bonuses. So silver linings! Getting ahead of it and being ready for that now, especially if you intend to switch programs could be very sensible indeed.

    The additional pain will be that of getting your BA Gold status benefits while crediting to this other FFP (e.g. benefits of priority check-in, priority boarding, free seat selection, lounge access, priority on wait lists and for upgrades etc). I know people do it, but I can imagine it being painful at times.

    A comparison across programs now is especially difficult given that BA’s avios earnings is going to change in 2023 but we don’t know when and exactly how. I think it is reasonable to assume it will be roughly the same as Iberia’s implementation. However, the ‘when’ is fairly vital especially as there have been comments suggesting BA would honour the old earnings rates for bookings made prior to the date this change comes in. If the timing was right and you know your travel plans well in advance, it could mean that this change in earnings wouldn’t be noticed by you for some time (perhaps into 2024). Additionally, there is risk in other programs too. For example, Alaska Mileage Plan is widely expected to have a big devaluation coming based on the phenomenal value you can get from some of their original/older partner redemptions now vs the charts for new partners, as well as their entry to Oneworld. They have pre-announced redemption chart changes will come in this year, so we should know soon enough.

    My question for you is why do you want to do this? If it’s just to build up some miles of a different ‘currency’ but not to chase status in another program it is probably simpler. However, even still, you need to consider whether or not you are likely to attain status in that other program because of the status bonuses which are offered (e.g. even just considering flights with BA, you get status bonuses credit from those with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines but not with Qatar Airways).

    When someone asked Rob which SkyTeam program to join, his answer was that it is never an easy answer because you need to factor:

    *how it rewards in the specific ticket class you fly, on the routes you fly
    *whether you value the ability to top-up via credit card spend etc
    *how long status lasts when you earn it
    *what the cost of redemptions are (and which carriers have surcharges added)
    *whether you value the ability to book redemptions online
    *cancellation policy on redemptions
    *whether a scheme has better reward availability for its own elites, and whether you value that

    etc etc

    Flyertalk too has a ‘Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join?’ thread which similarly asks you a list of standard questions to be able to answer.

    If you can answer some of these questions and provide more background, I’m sure you can get a good answer here. Based on the length of my answer which isn’t touching the sides of how complex this is, I don’t think a few posts of peoples comments on this will give a great answer without further detail on your travel pattern.

    In the meantime, it is American Airlines and Alaska Airlines which are most interesting to me (and for my circumstances). Alaska Airlines, even with the uncertainly over where the program is heading (devaluation) is great and it’s a great time to be thinking about it because their membership year is the calendar year. If you hold out for their announcement/new redemption charts you can know if it will be worthwhile to switch crediting in January. The issue for status chasing is that they require that you fly a number of segments marketed and operated by Alaska (6 for MVP Gold which is Sapphire/BA Silver and 12 for MVP Gold 75K which is Emerald/BA Gold). American Airlines less generous cabin bonus for the cheaper BA business fares sucks as it’s the same as for premium economy, but the ability to get status from spend on hotels is interesting.

    in reply to: Where to credit BA Flights – alternatives to BAEC
    Niall

    Hi TJ,

    I respectfully disagree with yonasl’s comment. Once you have attained Gold, it can absolutely be beneficial to start building miles/points in another program. Not just for diversifying but also just that American Airlines and Alaska miles for example are super useful!

    It is the status based bonuses which especially make doing this complicated (i.e. if I get a 100% bonus on base miles as BA Gold, why start fresh in AA where I’ll get no status bonus and earn far fewer points?) Fortunately, the announcement that BA will move to Avios earnings based on net ticket cost in 2023 means there are likely many trips for people which would be more beneficial to credit to another program even with BA status bonuses. So silver linings! Getting ahead of it and being ready for that now, especially if you intend to switch programs could be very sensible indeed.

    The additional pain will be that of getting your BA Gold status benefits while crediting to this other FFP (e.g. benefits of priority check-in, priority boarding, free seat selection, lounge access, priority on wait lists and for upgrades etc). I know people do it, but I can imagine it being painful at times.

    A comparison across programs now is especially difficult given that BA’s avios earnings is going to change in 2023 but we don’t know when and exactly how. I think it is reasonable to assume it will be roughly the same as Iberia’s implementation. However, the ‘when’ is fairly vital especially as there have been comments suggesting BA would honour the old earnings rates for bookings made prior to the date this change comes in. If the timing was right and you know your travel plans well in advance, it could mean that this change in earnings wouldn’t be noticed by you for some time (perhaps into 2024). Additionally, there is risk in other programs too. For example, Alaska Mileage Plan is widely expected to have a big devaluation coming based on the phenomenal value you can get from some of their original/older partner redemptions now vs the charts for new partners, as well as their entry to Oneworld. They have pre-announced redemption changes will come in this year, so we should know soon enough.

    My question for you is why do you want to do this? If it’s just to build up some miles of a different ‘currency’ but not to chase status in another program it is probably simpler. However, even still, you need to consider whether or not you are likely to attain status in that other program because of the status bonuses which are offered (e.g. even just considering flights with BA, you get status bonuses credit from those with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines but not with Qatar Airways).

    When someone asked Rob which SkyTeam program to join, his answer was that it is never an easy answer because you need to factor:

    *how it rewards in the specific ticket class you fly, on the routes you fly
    *whether you value the ability to top-up via credit card spend etc
    *how long status lasts when you earn it
    *what the cost of redemptions are (and which carriers have surcharges added)
    *whether you value the ability to book redemptions online
    *cancellation policy on redemptions
    *whether a scheme has better reward availability for its own elites, and whether you value that

    etc etc

    Flyertalk too has a ‘Which Frequent Flyer Program to Join?’ thread which similarly asks you a list of standard questions to be able to answer.

    If you can answer some of these questions and provide more background, I’m sure you can get a good answer here. Based on the length of my answer which isn’t touching the sides of how complex this is, I don’t think a few posts of peoples comments on this will give a great answer without further detail on your travel pattern.

    In the meantime, it is American Airlines and Alaska Airlines which are most interesting to me/for my circumstances. Alaska Airlines, even with the uncertainly over where the program is heading (devaluation) is great and it’s a great time to be thinking about it because their membership year is the calendar year. If you hold out for their announcement/new redemption charts you can know if it will be worthwhile to switch crediting in January. The issue for status chasing is that they require that you fly a number of segments marketed and operated by Alaska (6 for MVP Gold which is Sapphire/BA Silver and 12 for MVP Gold 75K which is Emerald/BA Gold). American Airlines less generous cabin bonus for the cheaper BA business fares sucks as it’s the same as for premium economy, but the ability to get status from spend on hotels is interesting.

    in reply to: MAN …. OMG
    Niall

    Lol… https://insideflyer.co.uk/2022/11/is-manchester-really-the-worst-airport-in-the-uk/

    I think the most shocking thing about that article is that Insideflyer still exists.

    What’s wrong with it?

    in reply to: BA eVoucher reminder tool launched
    Niall

    Interesting… they still list an e-voucher that I have already used and flown with several months ago.
    Bank error in my favour?

    Sorry to bring back an old thread, but I’m curious now FFoxSake (or anyone in a similar situation). Was it a case of bank error in your favour?

    Niall

    Thanks Lady London!

    EasyJet (automated) email today says as expected that it wasn’t over 3 hours delay. Hopefully @JDM will weigh in, but if not, will send a Letter Before Action. Thank you!!

    in reply to: Melia 20% off codes available?
    Niall

    35% is just a sale rate. Melia sales happen quite a bit and are often not genuine. But the good news is yes the 20% code stacks with any sale rate. It also stacks with the in app 5% discount (got just for using the app), so do use the app!

    in reply to: BA Holidays Double Points offer – MASTER THREAD
    Niall

    Anyone got any recent experience of how long it takes BA to credit missing tier points when they mess up? My holiday which ended 11 Sept had only half the points post. BA not answering emails, wondering how long they are taking these days to fix issues with automatic posting.

    Do you mean only half the points because you have not received the ‘double’ points or are they half the normal TP? If its the first one then they have 30 days I believe to add them

    Sorry I meant half of the bonus points (80 of 160). The normal 160 tier points (return to Catania in club Europe) posted fine. It has been 42 days and the bonus points for a later trip have now posted.

    Anyway, anyone with any recent issues like this have examples of how long it has taken BA to resolve?

    in reply to: BA Holidays Double Points offer – MASTER THREAD
    Niall

    Anyone got any recent experience of how long it takes BA to credit missing tier points when they mess up? My holiday which ended 11 Sept had only half the points post. BA not answering emails, wondering how long they are taking these days to fix issues with automatic posting.

    in reply to: BA Holidays Double Points offer – MASTER THREAD
    Niall

    Quick question for clarification.

    I’ve booked a trip to Bangkok & Phuket. My wife didn’t like the hotels on offer in Bangkok so we booked that separately. We have, however, booked 9 nights hotel in Phuket.

    Reading the T&Cs I thought this would qualify for the double points but a lot of posts on here say it doesn’t.

    Can someone confirm?

    Thanks

    It should based on the T&Cs now it should. They had previously said had to be the whole trip in an older version of this deal.

    in reply to: Melia Gift Cards
    Niall

    It’s actually the same system as they always had, but the with a few differences:
    – There seem to be fewer rooms available for standard redemption rates.
    – Standard redemption rates have gone significantly higher.
    – There is more variation on what the standard rate is, with it now seeming to be based on the specific hotel. Previously for example all Gran Melia standard rates were the same, but not anymore.

    When the standard rate for eg Gran Melia Palacio de los Duques is 61,538 points (€307.69/£267.58 if buying points today), there aren’t really any dates it seems worthwhile to use points when you realise you can’t use your 20% off on those points rates and that you earn points when you pay cash rates.

    In 2020 Rob got points at £2.92 per 1000. Buying with Melia costs €5/£4.35 today. So that Palacio de los Duques room would cost £179.69 at the old gift card prices instead of the £267.58 today. So there could be value if they offer them again but the old standard rate for room only was 28,000 ie £81.76 in gift cards!

    So maybe for some slightly worthwhile, but nowhere even close to what it was I’m afraid.

    Edit: I should mention the new rates came in mostly in May with some hotels losing it slightly earlier and others weirdly having rooms at the old rates for a while after on random dates (Melia White House and Palacio de Isora in Tenerife are examples), so it makes sense if you got good value a few months ago.

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