Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • SRF. 48 posts

    IC Crete did look a gamble. You can win on those but equally it’s not worth the risk at the moment. Also, at time when we’d be look to go, it probably wouldn’t be that warm. Pleasant, but not warm.

    I completely agree with your comments re. the “actual cost” of the trip and not just my focus on the cash component. Although I’m all about trying to squeeze every penny out of every point, sometimes when it comes down to it, I can pay my mortgage and buy nappies with the remaining cash in the bank, whereas i can’t with avios or IHG points.

    I’m sitting on about 400k of avios and in the olden days when it was just my wife and I, they would have used on First or Business flights for our one or two trips a year. Today though, the additional avios and taxes would be wasted on us and it’s more about getting somewhere of quality for as little financial output as possible. It’s the same game but with new objectives.

    Due to Covid, children and illness, we haven’t been anywhere since 2019. Last year I had to cancel 3 attempted holidays. Maybe this one, could be the one that finally gets us back on a plane!!

    SRF. 48 posts

    Thank you for all your input. ICFC still seems like very solid choice. Although a dirty word on this site, all 4 of us (2 adults, 1 x 3y’old and a baby) could fly “Economy” for £310 & 155,000 avios return. If can agree a hotel upgrade for ~£700, that’s a family of 4 having a 5* 5-6 night holiday in Dubai for £1k-ish… That’s really not bad going.

    I will look at the IC Crete though, and although that doesn’t seem to have opened yetz, maybe could get opening deal (?)

    SRF. 48 posts

    I’ve actually been to the Doha IC (only time in the middle east). Got the biggest upgrade will we ever get there…

    Had 2 points nights booked there in 2019. I was only IHG Gold due to my Creation White Card. Got to hotel about 8am and asked if we could stay by pool until check in that afternoon. About 11am they come find us and say room is ready. We’d been bumped from the basic entry room the the apex Royal Suite with full privileges!! 200sqm room with 3 bathroom and a sauna (!) all to ourselves. There was a Moto GP on at the time and lots of race teams in hotel. Maybe that was only room they had left

    I hope they offer you the same experience. 🙂

    SRF. 48 posts

    Hi there,

    Looking to go Oct – Dec this year. It will be my final year [ever] as diamond so looking to get all I can from my final remaining IHG points as otherwise I’ll just end up spending them 35k a time in HIExpresses just off UK motorways on uninspiring journeys

    in reply to: Booking hotels with infants
    SRF. 48 posts

    My Daughter has just turned 3 so have had a good amount of experience with this over past couple years.

    My tried and tested method is to book a points redemption and then email hotel and casually ask for a cheeky upgrade (while slipping in that I’m Diamond Ambassador) to a room that would have a little more space for a travel cot (now an inflatable bed thing) and from there you can see how the hotel wants to play it. Sometimes they say no probs or sometimes they say they can upgrade for a fee (which is then a lottery, as to if they remember to charge you or not when checking in/out).

    We’ve never really had an issue and quite often, if they know you’re arriving with a baby/toddler, hotels are usually pretty good at accommodating that and maybe give a branded teddy or similar – which always gets a smile.

    If I’ve ever agreed a fee, I’ve never paid up front. Firstly, they may forget to charge you for the upgrade. Secondly, a cashback deal you can use may appear on your amex before the stay. And thirdly and most importantly, you can usually cancel a points stay up to the day before without penalty, which can be very useful when your kid is suddenly taken ill and you’re in A&E when you’re meant to be packing and have to cancel the trip.

    P.s. only stayed in the Glasgow Kimpton once. We arrived during a fire alarm with all staff and guests out on the road. Once back in (only 5 mins later) they upgraded us to a lovely suite and gave us high-tea for the [minimal] inconvenience, so may be worth wafting a candle beneath a smoke alarm when first arrive 🙂

    in reply to: Birthday bonus! Get 3,000 points
    SRF. 48 posts

    Don’t forget your Costa app too (and I think also Nero app). Usually a free slice of cake or similar for your birthday

    in reply to: New Voco hotel & spa, handy for LGW
    SRF. 48 posts

    In fairness, a cheap Sunday night is prob the best time to stay, especially if can get good use of the facilities. I think I’d be much happier there for an evening and leisurely morning compared to being camped out at the side of the M23 trying hard to kill time until my afternoon flight

    in reply to: New Voco hotel & spa, handy for LGW
    SRF. 48 posts

    Know it well. Local to my parents and even my brother got married there. Nice hotel but summer weekends are somewhat of a wedding conveyor belt and def wouldn’t consider it a Gatwick launchpad if you literally want somewhere to spend the night before a flight

    in reply to: IHG Diamond status and Ambassador
    SRF. 48 posts

    Sent email to Ambassador@ihg.com

    In under 1hr, had a succesful reply and my expiry date know showing 31/12/24

    Winner!

    in reply to: IHG Diamond status and Ambassador
    SRF. 48 posts

    I paid cash too.

    Got this from their chat function (I just said the expiry show in my app had changed and asked to be reinstated – didn’t mention Ambassador):

    I have checked your account and our record shows that your stay activity from 2022, you did not meet the required qualifying points or qualifying nights to maintain your Diamond Elite status for 2023

    I am sorry for the confusion, however, you are showing that the expiry date of your diamond elite status as 31 December 2023 because the year end migration is not completed yet. As soon as the system completes the migration, it will show the correct status. right now it is still showing your status as diamond elite, but once the migration is comple [end of message]

    in reply to: IHG Diamond status and Ambassador
    SRF. 48 posts

    I joined Ambassador in june and has been 31/12/23 since then.

    Just checked again and now 31/12/22…

    SRF. 48 posts

    When staying at Doha IC on cheap points rate for 2 nights (prob 5 years ago), wife and I got upgraded to their largest “Royal Suite” even though I was only Gold at time.

    There was a local Moto GP race and hotel was full with race teams. Wife and I got there very early (maybe 8am). Receptionist obviously said room wasn’t ready but we asked if could leave bags behind reception and stay by pool for the morning. A hour later, receptionist comes to find us and says ‘we do actually have a room you could use straight away. Bags have already been taken up’

    From memory, 220sm. Even had its’ own sauna in one of the 3 bathrooms.

    Everything is luck of the drawer with upgrades but smiles can often be a good start 🙂

    (Having since found out IHG pay the hotel full room rate if hotel is 95% full, I have wondered if hotel was playing a bigger game by giving away their biggest room to first eligible person, but who cares when you’re the beneficiary and sitting in the lounge eating free breakfast and food all day. They even comp’ed all our food)

    in reply to: 1st Round Heineken Cup Rugby tickets for 11 points
    SRF. 48 posts

    Tickets for London Irish this Sunday (1pm KO) available for 1,000point

    in reply to: Intercontinental Estoril for toddler?
    SRF. 48 posts

    I was starting to think that. When the local attraction that is most touted is a casino, it doesn’t scream icecream and dirty nappies.

    Was just trying to find somewhere new.

    Very annoyingly had to cancel my trip the Dubai Festival City IC in couple weeks, which seemed to tick a lot of the boxes, so now looking somewhere [probably in europe] for few months time.

    IC and IHG are very city-centric though while we’re trying to find a family-friendly beach. (IHG and Avios are only points/status I have)

    in reply to: Intercontinental Estoril for toddler?
    SRF. 48 posts

    Thank you for replies.

    I skim read it, but Froggee’s account looks like bit of an epic – crammed with info and humour. May have to wait until tonight until can read properly.

    This same person who wrote the delightful account of Family trip to the Edinburgh Tattoo or similar?

    I seem to remember something about Kitkats but may be completely unrelated!?

    in reply to: Cliveden Mr & Mrs Smith
    SRF. 48 posts

    I’m there in 2 weeks [on points]. Sadly the lowest grade room but made it nice and clear it’s for our anniversary in case they want to throw us some charity 🙂

    Hi if you go to the 1st floor in the main house and turn right and right again that’s where the butler’s pantry is and you can pour yourself a glass of wine etc and sit out on the balcony terrace if the weather’s nice, no one asked us which room we were in at anytime we made a visit as it wasn’t manned accept when they were stocking up!! For your info when we stayed they told us everyone seemed to be there on a birthday!!

    Nice tip. I’ll pack my wedding cert in case need proof. Wife’s birthday is week later so that info may get an airing too

    in reply to: Cliveden Mr & Mrs Smith
    SRF. 48 posts

    I’m there in 2 weeks [on points]. Sadly the lowest grade room but made it nice and clear it’s for our anniversary in case they want to throw us some charity 🙂

    in reply to: E-upgrade offers on redemption bookings
    SRF. 48 posts

    Emailed ICFC but said couldn’t confirm the offer prior to arrival. Said would honour price for each night but dependant on suite availability on arrival day. My offer is £90pn but to upgrade prior to arrival is nearly £260pn (although current price difference is £350pn).

    Stay isn’t for a while so will leave it for now, but will keep an eye on developments and then catch up with them a couple weeks before stay.

    in reply to: E-upgrade offers on redemption bookings
    SRF. 48 posts

    I stayed there earlier this year with a toddler and a baby, so here are some tangential thoughts:

    Unless things have changed recently, lounge access at IC DFC is incredibly valuable if you have children. Children aren’t allowed in the lounge for the evening happy hour (rest of the day is fine). Instead, you are given access to the very substantial buffet dinner at the Anise restaurant (including a drinks package). It is basically an upgrade to half-board.

    I found the staff on the reservations email inbox (Reservation.DFC@ihg.com) weren’t particularly useful.

    With a small child, as you say useful to have the extra space for them to run around or for them to sleep whilst you can hang out in another room. I paid cash for a basic suite (they have changed the categories since) and was upgraded (Spire Ambassador at the time) to their enormous top-tier suite. Got to be in it to win it… I asked to see the suite I actually booked whilst I was there, the suites are spacious, with great views of the creek and city. My son loved watching the boats, cars and trains go by.

    If you’re staying in 2022, the F&B outlets (including the ones next door at the Crowne Plaza – you can cross-charge) are giving 30% off to Ambassadors.

    The adjacent shopping mall has fairly spectacular light shows in the evening – you can walk over or watch from the hotel – and there is a playground out on the other side of the fountains. The mall is massive, directly connected to the hotel, and has everything you could need – don’t worry about packing nappies for example.

    Excellent. That seals it. I’ll email hotel.

    I think it was your promotion of the ICFC that first brought the hotel to my attention as toddler friendly.

    I am basically replicating your trip 🙂

    SRF. 48 posts

    Just booked myself 3 nights at IC Champs-Elysees for final days of Tour de France.

    Would have gone for the Le Grand but the Sunday night (final day of race) is 100k points.

    Is it worth staying Le Grand for 2 nights and then swapping to Champs for final night? Equally could do all 3 nights at Kimpton for 45kpn?

    in reply to: Mr & Mrs Smith credit card redemption
    SRF. 48 posts

    I’m looking at using my IHG free night voucher to stay at the Cliveden in the Lady Astor suite next April. The room would be £2095 so making good value from my card fee. I’ve been reading reviews about the hotel and it seems to be a really mixed bag but lots of mentions about service charges. Appreciate there’s a National Trust fee (£18) to pay, there appears to be a 12.5% service charge on everything, plus the Cliveden website alludes to a 5% discretionary charge (not sure if this means based on the cash price for the room but potentially ~£100) and while the Astor Suite gives free access to the Butler’s pantry, many reviews says that anything brought to your room (eg milk for some tea) comes with a £10 tray fee each time. Just wondered if anyone has stayed and can tell me what to expect?

    I’m not stingy but I’ve recent dropped working days at work and I’m paying a lot of money to go back to university and change careers so the trip is a treat but looks like it might be a very expensive one with all the fees. Sometimes frustrates me that very expensive hotels, particularly in the UK and US, don’t see their rates should be enough to include extras (how can a £2000 room fee not include breakfast when it’s free at a Holiday Inn Express) as to be honest the service is often no better than a much cheaper hotel- I’ll stop ranting!

    I’ve got an email voucher for a free day at a Nat Trust property (earnt through Daily Mail codes). If I use it for Cliveden house on arrival date of my 1-night stay, people think that will dodge the £18 NT charge??

    in reply to: InterContinental hotels in Tokyo – best option?
    SRF. 48 posts

    I stayed in ANA Intercontinental Tokyo about 10 years ago as a tourist. From memory it was a very nice hotel. The draw was it was next to nothing but near to everything – due to very close proximity to an underground station which meant you could easily use the tube, JR and shinkansen.

    Also, anecdotally, it was the receptionist at this hotel that told me about the IHG loyalty scheme – having booked on Expedia – and ultimately started me on this whole points and air miles whirlwind.

    I owe a lot to that man who I think was mainly trying to practice his english 🙂

    in reply to: Mr & Mrs Smith credit card redemption
    SRF. 48 posts

    Yes, it’s an IHG bug.

    Before booking whatever you’re looking at, see if Cliveden has any suites available ….

    I’ve got a classic room booked at Cliveden for 97k points (for my wedding anniversary night). Seen many mixed reviews of the “quality” once past how impressive the building is. I’m still not certain if wise use of points or not. Room is now £600pn but price doesn’t always equal quality – however – would probably be my only ever chance to stay in venue like this.

    It’s coming up to the cancellation deadline so I need to be decisive.

    Thoughts…?

    in reply to: Palazzo Diamond Elite upgrades
    SRF. 48 posts

    Dangle the carrot before you let them have a bite 🙂

    in reply to: Palazzo Diamond Elite upgrades
    SRF. 48 posts

    $50 under the counter worked a treat in Treasure Island a few years back.

    You can only ask if any nicer rooms available and they can only say no. Nothing to lose

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