Bits: BA £30 fares, enter our VIP distillery competition, HFP fit and well, WhatsApp

News in brief:

BA European flash sale

British Airways has added 250,000 seats at less than £30 to their current sale.

Until midnight on 19th September you can book flights from Gatwick to Europe in economy for less than £30 (‘hand baggage only’ pricing) on selected routes.

The destinations included are Innsbruck, Turin, Rome, Naples, Salzburg, Porto, Vienna, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Verona, Nuremburg, Faro, Glasgow, Malaga, Nice, Alicante, Genoa, Seville, Geneva, Amsterdam and Venice.

The travel period is 1st October 2017 until 8th July 2018.

The BA sale ends on 29th September but the ‘under £30’ flights are only bookable until midnight on 19th September.

You can find out more on the sale website which is here.

British Airways sale

Don’t forget to enter our VIP distillery competition

If you haven’t entered our Chivas Regal whisky competition yet, there is still time – it closes on Monday.

One reader will win a trip for two to Scotland to visit the Strathisla distillery where Chivas Regal is produced.  Flights or train tickets, hotel, spending money and transfers are all included.

Click here to see all the details and to enter.

Strathisla distillery

HFP now back up and working fine – and how to fix similar issues on your own sites

Apologies for the 12 hour loss of service on Wednesday.  We found a bit of malware on the site – actually, a reader found it – which was swiftly removed, but the cure caused some new problems which took longer to fix.  The source was almost certainly one of a number of site plug-ins I had been testing.

If you run a website, I recommend as a way of fixing any similar issues you may experience.  You can buy a subscription plan for your site but, interestingly, they are happy for you to sign up after you’ve got a problem.  This is how I initially became a customer a couple of years ago.  Once you’ve joined they will immediately assign you a technician to fix whatever problem you have.

The malware issue on Wednesday was fixed by them within 3 hours.  It took a further 10 hours or so for them to repair the site coding damage caused by removing the malware.  If I’m honest they became unresponsive during this time, but the issue was clearly being worked on as everything resolved itself overnight.  My biggest issue with Sucuri is that they do not notify you when they spot an issue with your site during regular scans – when I went onto their site yesterday it was clear that they had flagged up the issue already but not emailed me.

The other feature I recommend, if you use WordPress, is Vaultpress.  This is owned by the company that oversees WordPress and takes regular back-ups of your site.  HFP gets a back-up every hour or so, but you can pay different amounts for a less regular service (Shopper Points only gets a daily back-up).  If you have a problem with your site, you log in to Vaultpress, pick a back-up for any point over the last few months, and with one click it is installed on your server.

If Sucuri had not been able to repair the site code, my Plan B was to cut and paste the last few days of content into a document, reinstall a clean version of the site from earlier in the week and then add back the articles.  I have used Vaultpress three times to restore HFP when I have inadvertently killed the site by tinkering with the code and it has always worked fine.  It usually only takes 15 minutes from breaking the site to having it back up.

WhatsApp sharing

One side effect of the outage was that we had to upgrade our software.  This added the functionality to share HFP articles with your friends via WhatsApp.  You will now see a little WhatsApp button at the bottom of every article, next to the existing Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn buttons, which will allow you to quickly share the link with your friends.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Key lesson, Rob – Don’t try out plugins on a live site 🙁

    • Well it’s not like HFP holds the credit records of 300 million people…

      • We don’t run a parallel testing version. If we change stuff it is always real time which is why you may see things go a bit funny occasionally.

  2. Really appreciate the WhatsApp App.

  3. O/T – does anyone know if the URL link to upgrade an Amex Gold to Platinum still exists?

    • It wasvposted in comments yesterday or day before but I cannot recall which article sorry. Try Barclays first then the bits articles.

    • It exists, yes.

      • Has there been any anecdotal evidence of Amex reacting to folks upgrading and then cancelling Plat shortly after hitting send target?

        ie will it damage their chance of getting another Amex in 6 months time?

        • Wally1976 says:

          No problem as far as I’m aware.

        • Not come across anything. Amex employee when Mrs G was cancelling her SPG card the other day, “See you in 6 months for another sign up bonus, Mrs G”. I’ve had it quite a few times too in the past

        • Done exactly that twice in last 14 months. No issues getting another card. I will be trying again when council tax comes around next March.

  4. That explains why the site is currently unusable on Firefox. The screens up and down like whore’s knickers – I’ve been blaming the Google Ad videos..

    • Hector Grebbell says:

      Chrome does the same thing. right click the ad -> Inspect -> Look up the tree for the highest up iframe that contains the ad space and delete it.

      • I have told Google to kill this ad source but they say it takes 24 hours to filter though and that won’t be until the end of the day.

        Annoyingly there is no way of blocking Google from showing all video ads (which, frankly, seem to be aimed at a different sort of audience to HFP readers anyway). Interestingly they tend to appear in the lower boxes which implies they don’t pay much.

  5. I can see Facebook and Twitter buttons at the bottom of the articles but not Whatsapp ? ☹️

    • That’s the emails. On desktop and mobile you will see it. We don’t have an option to add it to emails.

  6. Hi Rob,

    It’s always best not to get hacked in the first place rather than paying for a recovery service. Make sure you have a strong password on your admin accounts and make sure this password isn’t reused anywhere else. Update your wordpress plugins EVERY day and remove any plugins that you don’t use.

    • We do that, but it doesn’t help when trying to find a new plug-in to do something specific – especially when, as was the case here, it was a rather esoteric thing.

    • No, but I saw that story yesterday. It seems to be more common – pay an author for their established WP plug-in and then inject it with malware.

  7. Hi Rob,

    It’s very interesting and it would actually be great to get a few more insights into running a site like HfP. A separate article somewhere? I am sure a lot of people would find your experience and hints & tips extremely useful.

  8. very much a case of what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger 😉

  9. O/T- my supplementary gold Amex to my wife’s platinum account has turned platinum on-line as of today. any ideas? (It has been gold for the last 10 months, and there is already a supplementary platinum card on the account)

  10. Just released the cash today locked up in the Tesco gift card by buying Amazon gift cards. May have to restock…

  11. I don’t see Tesco on the TGC page… have they run out again?!

    • the real harry1 says:

      you’re right – it disappeared overnight a few days ago as well – bit odd, sounds like they have a defined ‘stock’ to sell through then need to replenish

      the £3 September bonus works on most other purchases eg Ebay – you MUST register first, though

  12. O/T Does anyone know if I can use Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts as a supplementary platinum holder or if it is only the main cardholder who can use it?

    • If the supp has the card registered, then they would be able to log in to the Amex Travel website, see FHR rates and book (I imagine).

      • No, tried that. Error message that the card is not registered for membership rewards so cant book FHR…

        • Just get them to call Amex Plat travel – my folks gave done it before (they have supp card on my account).

    • Not an issue at all. Personally I always prefer booking FHR over the phone as (a) the FHR website is appalling and makes it difficult to work out what the difference is between different room types, (b) the agent can confirm which room categories you won’t be upgraded from – handy if you were considering booking something higher than a base room as less benefit if they won’t upgrade from it and (c) they can sometimes tweak the food credit – eg from one dinner for two to a lunch and dinner for one (sadly they can’t change the type of credit, eg spa to food).

      • Yes, did online chat with amex who confirmed that supplementary card holder can book via phone but not online, seems a bit odd but at least it can be booked

        • TBH you’re not missing much – as I say even as primary cardholder I don’t try and book online. When I was looking at the most recent FHR property it gave me approx 20 room options with no clear difference between them!

  13. Is it possible that the BA promo is over already?