Bits: HFP and GDPR, new Hilton tour of the McLaren factory, BA Moscow moves

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News in brief:

HFP and the new data protection rules

The new European data protection rules come into force today.

As you know, HFP collects very little directly identifiable data about readers since you do not need to register to use the site.  There are four areas where you may voluntarily choose to provide directly identifiable personal data to us and I thought I would run over how we operate:

Our email list

Some readers prefer to receive HFP articles by email instead of visiting the site directly.  You can read how we, actually Mailchimp, handle your data and your rights regarding it on this page.

We have not asked subscribers to reconfirm their interest as everyone on our list explicitly signed up to receive articles by email in the first place. We have never randomly added reader email addresses to our list.

When you comment on HFP

We have produced a page of information about what data we collect on comments on the site and your rights in relation to the deletion or export of comments you make.  You can read that here.

When you enter a competition

Future competitions will include a statement on how your entry data is treated by Gleam, our Data Processor.  We have never used competition entry data for any other purpose and won’t be starting now.  We are deleting all of the existing entrant data held by Gleam, so we will no longer know if you entered a specific competition back in 2015 or not!  Going forward, entry data will be deleted shortly after a winner has been selected and verified.

When you contact Bon Vivant with a luxury hotel booking enquiry

Our Bon Vivant enquiry page now includes details on how Emyr and ourselves handle your enquiry.

This covers all of the scenarios under which you may provide directly identifiable data to us.

You also provide indirectly identifiable data to us when you use the site, since we are obliged to use various cookies for the site to function.  The ‘legitimate interest’ basis allows us to collect indirect data as long as it is bare minimum required for the smooth operation of the site.

We have made necessary changes where possible to cookie collection.  There will be more to come over the coming weeks as a consensus emerges on what is and is not needed – WordPress is a patchwork quilt of products and we are reliant on a large number of people to update their code.  With WordPress running 25% of global websites there are obviously many people supporting this effort.

We do not, and never have, used indirectly identifiable reader data to build behavioural user profiles or to market for any other purposes.  You do not, for example, see ads for HFP popping up when you visit other websites.

We have also taken this opportunity to add a disclosure to our articles stating that HFP may receive a commission if you make a purchase using a link on the site.

Our full privacy policy can be found here.  You can find this page at any time via the link at the bottom of each page on the desktop / tablet site.

McLaren Technology Centre Woking

New Hilton / McLaren factory tour available

If you missed out in the past, Hilton Honors has arranged another tour of the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.

It is not cheap at 100,000 Hilton Honors points for two people, but if Formula 1 is your thing then I think you’ll find it worthwhile.

The date is Tuesday 10th July.  This is what you get:

“You and your guest will be treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of one of motorsport’s most famous and prestigious facilities. McLaren very rarely open their doors to non-team members, making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience! You will receive refreshments and snacks upon arrival, before an introduction to the McLaren brand, followed by an all-access tour of the McLaren racing facility. After the tour, enjoy a 3-course dinner in one of McLaren’s VIP dining rooms! You will see the most famous cars from McLaren’s illustrious racing history and receive an unparalleled insight into the makings of a modern race team.”

There were four packages remaining as of last night.  You can redeem your points for one here.

Here is a photo from a previous event, where most of the guests were HFP readers!

McLaren Technology Centre lunch

British Airways Moscow flight changes

British Airways has announced that, from 28th October, one of the three daily BA Moscow flights will go to Sheremetyevo International Airport instead of Domodevo International Airport.

The flight will be the 10.15 from Heathrow, which returns as the 18.35 from Sheremetyevo.  The service uses an Airbus A321.

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  1. Sandgrounder says:

    OT: Aols if already mentioned. I had a letter from Tesco Bank yesterday, reminding me that payments to ‘prepaid and virtual cards’ amongst other things will be charged at 3.99% from the 1st. I have the standard credit card. So I suppose it is no longer a sensible option for Revolut or Curve.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Apparently payments to Curve will still be treated as a purchase – the others get charged 3.99%.

    • Mr dee says:

      I believe they are referring to loading a card and storing the value ie prepaid or virtual neither of which Curve does.

      • 6540 is the offending MCC. For 2 days a while ago Curve transactions were accidentally processed with this, which is what triggered the Tesco letters.

  2. Phil Gollings says:

    HFP articles have started appearing on my Facebook timeline.
    I suppose that’s FB scanning my phone rather than HFP ?

    • I am assuming you are following us on FB. We also occasionally promote articles on FB so they may turn up with a ‘Promoted’ logo on them.

  3. Judge says:

    DME = Domodedovo, not Domodevo

  4. AlanC says:

    I remember a good few years back booking a United flight and later the price dropped. I read that if you complained they would refund the difference in vouchers as they wanted to encourage early bookers. I did get a voucher and wondered if any Hotels or Airlines still do this?
    Sorry if asked before.

    • Doesn’t easyJet do that?

      • They do, not sure if you have to be part of the Easyjet ‘flight club’, I am and have done it in the past. Hertz also do this but you can do that online

        • Darren says:

          I’ve received this form EasyJet, not a club member. They have always been very helpful when cancelling/changing due to family medical issues.

  5. David Gardiner says:

    On GDRP “We have not asked subscribers to reconfirm their interest as everyone on our list explicitly signed up to receive articles by email in the first place.” i believe the requirement is to be able to evidence a specific person signing up, that would be evidence of email, ip address, time, date, and specific confirmation that it was the owner of the email (i.e. the person clicks a link in the email sent post sign-up to confirm its them, i.e. to stop people putting other people’s names in).

    I’m not sure you’d been able to provide the required data if challenged.

    The mail chimp angle is interesting but i suspect its the company, rather than provider thats liable.

    Theres alot of confusion out there and i’ve seen companies do it different ways, some have wiped out their mailing lists and forced re-application, some have simply told people to read their updated privacy terms. I think it comes down to if challenged could you provide evidence of positive signup.

    • the real harry1 says:

      My wife’s company decided to wipe one of their databases for email communications from the company as whilst they had a button for customers/ interested people to opt in from the start, it didn’t work properly or at least they couldn’t be sure. They thought it was too messy to get people to opt in again so are starting fresh.

      There was an interesting interview on Radio 4 this morning about 7.45 where the senior person responsible for enforcing compliance with GDPR (and investigating complaints/ levying fines) said businesses should not be too worried about 25th May deadline and 100% compliance at this stage and as long as a business could demonstrate progress towards ‘good/ perfect’ compliance, there would never be a penalty levied in that scenario. She has a staff of 200 (I doubt whether this is their only job responsibility?) – they’re after rogue companies deliberately misusing data, not honest businesses that may have failed to tick some of the GDPR compliance boxes.

      • Anonymous says:

        “And who really cares, apart from a bunch of self-serving European bureaucrats”

        Because I’ve been harassed and bothered by estate agents and loan companies that I never asked for. They send me stupid texts from many different numbers. It took me ages to shake off David Wilson Homes. Absolutely terrible behaviour from them. Why do they think it’s acceptable to bombard my personal phone and email with this tripe all across the country. Such blatant disregard from people’s data deserves to be challenged. Good on these bureaucrats..

    • Keith says:

      And who really cares, apart from a bunch of self-serving European bureaucrats, and IT specialists trying to cash in? Just as with the annoying cookie message on websites, none of this addresses the important stuff. And over regulation just inconveniences many.

      • callum says:

        I care. Because of this legislation I am now removed from countless databases I didn’t even realise/forgot I was a part of.

        The cookie warnings were pointless, this actually changes things.

        • But unless these databases were actually sending you stuff, it doesn’t really matter does it? You have been removed from a list (let’s not call it a database because that overstates the case) you forgot you were on and wasn’t being used for anything.

          It turned out a couple of weeks ago that I could actually see every competition someone had entered on HFP via Gleam. I never even knew we had this data and certainly had no interest in using it for anything. We are now wiping it. It doesn’t change anything.

        • @Rob, it’s fine being on a list that wasn’t being used. But data that is not being used ican be forgotten and could potentially get abused by hackers etc in due course, who then may sell it on, so whilst not getting anything from them, and now unsubscribing makes no apparent difference NOW, it could have some difference in due course.

          There are some good things coming from GDPR – forcing people to clear up data is good – but I think the implementation requirements leave a lot to be desired. Also It’s a bit counter intuitive. On a website I help run, we’ve had to create more data to record WHO we’ve sent a GDPR e-mail to now, and it’s just a massive headache generally, taking up a week of my life!

          I bet mailchimp are rolling around laughing in the piles of cash they’re getting from all these GDPR e-mails going out!

        • Callum says:

          Of course it changes things. That’s less junk emails I get (yes I already unsubscribe from most of them, but some don’t work and some are obstructionist – Etihad being one relevant to this site) and my data is now less vulnerable to theft.

          My data has already been exposed through hacks on multiple companies, minimising the risk of that happening again isn’t a bad thing in my book.

    • MailChimp does indeed have all of that data and uses double opt-in.

      As you would know, it would actually have been illegal for me to email subscribers to ask them to reconfirm, because they only agreed to receive articles from us and not general administrative information. Almost every GDPR email you have had in recent deals is in breach of the original terms under which you agreed to be on their list, amusingly.

      The main upside so far it seems is that My Waitrose has been forced to allow me to opt out their (almost daily) emails without forcefully cancelling my account 🙂

      • Not technically illegal. You are allowed to contact people who you have an active relationship with.. e.g. signed up or logged in or commented on the site etc within a reasonable time period.

      • James Smith says:

        Consent is one of the 6 lawful principles you can rely upon for processing data. It’s reasonable to say that you have a legitimate interest in running such a blog to email administrative tasks.

      • Lady Londonh says:

        ? Mywaitrose has had a comms section for a while that allows you to opt out of their comma. Their emails were driving me nuts too but that is how I got them to stop a while back and kept my account.

    • Andrew says:

      There is indeed a lot of confusion out there, but there always has been.

      Don’t forget to add agency law into the mix too, it might date back to the 1870s but it’s still very relevant today. The ICO has twice found in my favour when a company has shrugged its shoulders and blamed a third party marketing company. A company is responsible for the actions of its agents.

  6. Aliks says:

    The pain point will come when a company is asked to show exactly what information they have on a named individual. If that info doesnt show evidence of informed consent then there could be a problem.
    I suspect it will all be worked out in case law over the next year or so.

  7. Good work on providing a clear statement around what HFP is doing on GDPR. Rob. As a privacy consultant, GDPR has been responsible for most of my flights over the last year!

  8. OT on the first part of an ex Oslo Qatar trip to Australia. Glad we picked the Radisson at the airport as we have woken up to discover my (numpty) husband has taken the wrong bag from the carousel last night. I’m sat in arrivals with a coffee while they take him through to look for it. Fingers crossed ….

    • We had this in Cape Town only it was our bag which was taken by someone else….I hope whoever it was whose bag you took has been reunited with their stuff! The bloke in Cape Town had the temerity to say “‘I’ve been inconvenienced too!” The marvellous woman at lost luggage put him wise. Saying that I hope it’s all sorted and it doesn’t disrupt your trip.

  9. How’s Sheremetyevo since the redevelopment? Aeroexpress makes choice of airports much of a muchness from a convenience perspective but DME was usually more pleasant airside.

    Is the new route expected to have the long-haul Business Class layout?

  10. David says:

    OT: JAL Redemptions

    I am looking to use avios on JAL given the great value it provides.

    However, I am having an issue with finding flights to redeem on through BA. When searching for certain routes I can find flights (TYO-PEK), however on much more common routes (TYO-KIX/ITM) there are none showing.

    Are there any known issues with searching for JAL availability on Is there a work around? Given there are >20 flights from Tokyo to Osaka per day I would expect to see some availability at any point in the next year!

    Thanks for any help.

    • New Card says:

      Are you looking for Business class? AFAIK you can only redeem for Economy class intra-Japan flights. (Also, query if a bullet train might be better from Tokyo to Osaka!)

      • David says:

        We’ve just come back from Japan, and whilst we did some non-Shinkansen routes on dirt cheap redemptions (HND-CTS; CTS-HND-KOJ) where there’s a Shinkansen link I’d take it over the flights for the convenience, calm, and efficiency.

        We made much use of the takkyubin too to make life easier, packing 3-day bags or so and catching up with luggage every few days!

        • David says:

          Only looking for economy tickets which is why I was very confused about there being no Tokyo-Osaka tickets.

          We have done the Shinkansen before, which is fantastic although expensive. 4,500 avios vs. ~£150 makes the redemption attractive for me (if I can find it).

    • I think I saw a thread on FT recently about changes to the way JAL domestic awards are released with OW partners. They are apparently now 60 days out instead of 330 days.

  11. Craig says:

    OT: My eRewards account is linked directly to Avios only, anyone have an idea what will happen when my Avios account closes?

  12. the real harry1 says:

    FYI the Tesco credit card I used to pay for a funds transfer via HIFX—>foreign bank account treated my currency purchase as a purchase not a cash advance. There’s also £25 up for grabs for first time users @ HIFX.

  13. On these McLaren dos, I do not suppose the price will be going back down again …

  14. Tracy says:

    O/T I want to book a marriott 7 day travel package for a trip next july. I need 7 nights in a category 9 hotel. I have the 270k marriott points for the basic package and will have to save more marriott points for the hotel upgrade. I know the Marriott/SPG program is changing massively so my question is should I book it in July or between Aug-Dec or wait until after Jan.

  15. O/T – Does anyone know how much the taxes/fees are redeeming emirates on JetBlue…thanks!

  16. On the subject of cookies.. the website no longer remembers my name and e-mail on the comment form. Is that just me or is it due to cookie/gdpr changes? 🙁

    • This is an issue. WordPress has added a new option whereby a tick box appears in the Comments form saying ‘please remember my name and email’. Tick that and all is well. However …. for some technical reason our ‘theme’ is not showing that. We are updating a bit of software next week which may fix it.

  17. the real harry1 says:

    Somebody should tell those passengers on the cancelled Kiev flights to see Champions League final that they are entitled to re-routing under EC261 and do not have to accept a refund. Given Kiev is at capacity (which is why the flights have been cancelled), they could fly to a nearby airport free of charge ie get it refunded, even if it meant taking World Choice Sports to MCOL. Then hire a car at their own expense to get to Kiev in time for the final tomorrow (possibly own expense but arguable).

    Or find themselves a place on any other carrier to Kiev, even if it meant going A—>B—C to get there.

    Black & white case and definitely winnable.

    • Melvin says:

      @the real harry1
      Are you saying that under EC261, someone is entitled to be flown to another airport AND receive a refund of the original fare?

      I ask because last year, Vueling cancelled my flight to TFS (months is advance) as they had decided to drop that route from their schedule. They offered to fly me to TFN (via BCN) instead. The new outbound flight would have departed within two hours of the original but arrive @TFN well over 7 hours later than the original due to the BCN stopover.
      I am considering taking them to the small claims court for the added expense incurred re-booking with another carrier as they would have failed to get me to the correct destination if I had accepted their offer.

      P.S. the ‘other’ carrier was Monarch so there we was even more expense as I had to book for a third time (with Jet2).

      • the real harry1 says:

        You wouldn’t get both the refund and re-routing. It’s one or the other.

        Not worth pursuing the small claims case as once you accept a refund, it’s case closed. If they just automatically refunded you without your authority, that’s different.

        You could possibly have found an alternative carrier to get you to Tenerife (either airport as they’re not too far apart) within a short period of before or after your original time and if this was clearly more convenient to you than the 7 hrs delayed arrival time, pretty much have forced Vueling to ticket you on that. If they refused, you’d book it yourself then MCOL them afterwards for the cost (again, not expecting to get a refund AND a new ticket, just the cost of the new ticket).

  18. Not a huge variety of airports near Kyiv with flights from London but Warsaw + train would be one of the better options.

    One thing i’ve never been clear on in relation to EC261 and major sporting events is whether an airline could say ‘we’ll fly you to Kyiv as promised if you don’t want a refund – but you’ll have to wait until the next day’ – ie. after the event has taken place.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Under EC261 you as passenger can choose whichever date is more convenient for you for your re-routing flight, ie earlier by a day if you wish. And the reason being attending the final would surely weigh in your favour.

      Don’t forget how the CAA came down in favour of the passenger when Ryanair had that big problem last year and forced them to be very explicit about letting passengers book themselves on competitor airlines.

      Following an intervention from the CAA, Ryanair has confirmed to the UK regulator that it will reroute passengers on other airlines.
      The directive effectively ensures that where there is a significant difference in the time that a re-route can be offered on the airline’s own services, then it would be reasonable to ask them if a re-route could be made on another airline.
      Decisions on rerouting would be dependent of the specific circumstances and the differences in times and frequency of available flights.

      The CAA told, it would be monitoring the situation closely, to ensure that Ryanair is offering the best rerouting options available to the passenger. The CAA has said that if Ryanair does not fulfil its legal obligations, it will consider its next steps which includes enforcement action.

      CAA chief executive Andrew Haines, said:
      “Passengers affected by the disruption caused by Ryanair’s cancelled flights are protected under EU law.
      ‘The welfare of passengers must be the priority for any airline experiencing disruption and we fully expect all EU airlines to meet their obligations regarding passenger rights.’
      “Ryanair is well aware of these passenger rights and we have written to the airline to clarify their legal obligations and seek assurances on how and when they will provide alternative flights with other airlines.”

      • The crucial element you’re missing here is the word ‘reasonable’. Ryanair only had to agree to start rebooking on other carriers in cases where they couldn’t get someone there within one or two days – no one even challenged them on ‘same day’ as they knew it wouldn’t be upheld.

        So in this case, if an airline offered to rebook to Kiev a day later, that would be reasonable (within the bounds of their obligations). Similarly if there’s no availability – if there were no space into Kiev on the same day on another airline, what are they supposed to do?!
        This is where a good travel insurer comes into its own – if you were travelling for an event and missed that event, you’d expect it to pay out. Airlines can’t be the insurer of last resort.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Of course, reasonable. I wouldn’t consider a day later ‘reasonable’ if it meant missing my match & I could arrange an alternative flight to get into Kiev a lot closer to my original arrival time, even if it meant flying to another city and making my way to Kiev by car/ train. Especially with tickets to the European final.

          I’m sure this would play out positively for the Liverpool fans if it came to MCOL.

  19. New Card says:

    I think JAL might be funny about when they load seats onto the system. Comment here from David suggests they only load in 90 days before the flight – but that might have been your comment!

  20. luckyjim says:

    OT: Did anyone ever establish whether the IHG Free Night voucher for 10K spend on the Premium Card is issued upon hitting the 10k spend or at the end of year?
    It is used to be upon hitting the threshold but the Ts & Cs for the latest incarnation of the card seem to indicate it is the end of the card year.

    • It is at the year end, 100% and on purpose.

    • Kathy says:

      End of your card year. Mine turned up yesterday, I hit the spend some time ago!

      I am now trying to decide where to use it! I am unlikely to go anywhere long-haul before it expires next year. Maybe Dublin? Or Budapest? Anyone have suggestions?

      • Similar situation doesn’t fit with any of our booked travel plans – I’m struggling to find a use for mine.

    • luckyjim says:

      Hmm. So another one of those where you effectively need to renew the card to guarantee getting the reward for your previous year’s spending.

      Still, with the extra 10 000 points upon sign up and the voucher (eventually) it is still probably worth the £99 fee.

      Kathy, I find these sort of vouchers are good for turning stopovers into mini-city breaks when I’ve been unable to get direct flights. New York on the way back from Florida for example.

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