The new HFP chat thread – Wednesday 8th April

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We have decided to run this new daily chat thread on Head for Points.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the defacto repository for random comments and questions.  It is unlikely that the news flow will be so big over the next few weeks that we will need many ‘Bits’ articles, however.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are stuck at home self-isolating, we want the HFP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as its keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

By default, HFP shows the last page of comments under the article.  If you want to see the first page of comments and read them all from beginning to end in order, click here: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/04/08/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-wednesday-8th-april/comment-page-1 The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

We will continue to monitor how this is working:

we could potentially split it into a daily travel and non-travel chat thread

we may install some basic forum software

we may start suggesting potential topics for daily discussion

Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

How to upgrade British Airways flights with Avios points (Avios Redemption University, Lesson 3)
Coronavirus: Airlines allowed to defer €1.1 billion in European air traffic control fees

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Comments

  1. Waddle says:

    Data point follow up:
    My Hilton points have appeared from Virgin. Initiated the transfer late in the evening of 27 March, and was probably not processed until the next day. By my calculations that’s 10 full days after processing before appearing.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Same for me too. Confirmed request 27/3 and points arrived in my account overnight.

    • Ian M says:

      Happy to confirm the same, transfer made on 26th March have now landed in my Hilton account.

      • Blindman says:

        How did you request them?

        I have sent Text and Whats app messages but have had no reply for over 36hrs now.

        Hanging on the phone now.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          I did mine via text. Took about 24hrs for a human to respond and then it was all done in a matter of minutes.

          • Blindman says:

            Ha!
            Replied to an email from Virgin about another matter and the CS agent then rang me.

            At the same time another VS agent answered my mobile, which had been on hold for 50 minutes.

            Talk about London buses….

            Initiated the transfer quickly, today.

            Now to sit and wait.

    • Mac D says:

      I did on the 28th but no miles

    • thehornets says:

      Did mine on 24th March, Hilton points not received yet.

    • I initiated my transfer on 23rd March, they left my account quickly.
      Still no sign of them! I don’t know what’s taking so long!

    • Peter K says:

      Hmmm. Strange.
      My transfer went through on 22nd, arrived last Thursday.
      Mrs K’s left her Virgin account on 23rd, but we didn’t reply to the dodgy looking email asking for more information until the 27th, still not arrived. May have to chase tomorrow if don’t arrive today.
      Thank you for the data point.

    • Wally1976 says:

      Good to know some people’s points are hitting Hilton accounts. I requested on 28th March, confirmed by text on 29th March but not hit Hilton account yet.

  2. Still no refund on my Holiday Inn Chicago stay, cancelled on the website on 19th March

  3. Nate1309 says:

    BA flights to NYC were cancelled, was a 241 voucher in club. Used the workaround to request refund. Money has hit my bank account but still no sign of the Avios or voucher. It’s been over 3 weeks now. What have others experiences been on the voucher and Avios coming back?

    • I had to chase up Avios and voucher for one of my bookings (still waiting for cash on 2 out of 3). The 2nd time I called You First they refunded the Avios and voucher manually.

  4. 2nd AA employee dies from Covid19, hundreds ill with it. I expect that this will lead to further flights being cancelled.

    • Your link is dead and please don’t use url shorteners in the comments! People should know where they are clicking to.

    • Doug M says:

      The first was late March. He was 65 and with underlying health issue according to businessinsider. Obviously sad, but not really out of the ordinary with the general population.

      • Millions of people have some kind of “underlying health issue” though, nearly 1/3 of the UK population are obese. This isn’t just a threat to a few people with underlying health issues, it’s a big risk to millions of people (and then there’s the healthy, able people who have suffered complications).

        • Doug M says:

          Yes, all of which are true in the general population, and not limited to flight crew.

          • So why play it down then?

          • Yes, but a higher viral load puts you at a far greater risk of a cytokine storm. That’s likely one of the reasons that a high proportion of the fatalities amongst the young and otherwise healthy, have been healthcare workers. Their exposure to the virus is greater.
            It’s likely that cabin crew will be in a similar position.

          • Doug M says:

            @J Not playing it down, just offering what was reported. You seem to have read a lot into that.

            @Cat Time will tell, at the moment there’s a lot of assumption in many of these things.

        • Nick_C says:

          Not really. The mortality rate is believed to be about 1%. Left to spread freely, it would probably kill 400k in the UK before herd immunity was established.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The modellers thought 250k, not taking into account that many of them would have been part of the c11k that die every week in the UK.

            Fact is no one has any real idea of the spread and the mortality rate YET. There are studies on going which will hopefully uncover some meaningful data into how prevalent it really is in society and what % of the population have already had it / may be in contact with it.

          • Yes, but neither figure really takes into account the people who will die from the completely over-run health service being unable to treat them properly. There are fewer cars on the road, but there are still car accidents. People are still having strokes and heart attacks. Cancers are still spreading through lymphatic systems, but the NHS is a little more busy than usual. If any of those affect you in the coming months (while we wait for 60% of the population to catch the virus and become immune, or while we wait for a vaccine), you are likely to receive a lower standard of care than you would otherwise have had. The death rates from other causes will likely go up too, as a result of coronavirus.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Cat I believe they did take the health service being over run into account in both of those numbers.

            400-500k was before everyone was told to wash hands/not shake hands etc. 250k was with some mitigation (wash hands/no touching, self isolation for 7 days if you have symptoms, shielding for most venerable for 12 weeks, stay away from pubs/bars/restaurants) then far lower numbers from the measures we have in place now as the curve would be flattened and the hospitals would increase capacity with additional capacity from the private sector deal and the nightingale field hospitals.

          • The Imperial model (the Ferguson version), had those deaths over a relatively short time frame (2.5 months), so if you are arguing that they didn’t count people who where going to die anyway, then that only reduces the number by 20%.

            They also didn’t count the additional deaths (often know as indirect deaths) from the NHS being simply overwhelmed. Have a stroke ? Tough luck. Getting Chemo ? Unlucky.

          • Harry T says:

            People are still receiving emergency diagnosis and treatment appropriately, in my experience. If you crash your car or have a stroke, the NHS will be on its usual form. It’s the patients with chronic illnesses that aren’t being managed optimally that I am worried about.

  5. Tommy says:

    So (maybe stupidly) I took a Future Travel Voucher for Redemption flights in Club to LAX as they are for my wedding/honeymoon which we’ve now postponed until 2021. Am I right in thinking that the overseas Executive Club contact centres are now only working to the GMT restrictions so I won’t be able to re-book my flights at 1am on T-355?

    • Doubt it. Why would a US call centre be working UK hours?

      • Tommy says:

        Great thanks I thought that would be the sensible approach by BA but when you view the Executive Club contact details the BA website has a message across the top about the GMT time regardless of which country you have it set to so thought I would ask.

  6. Stu N says:

    Re. Amex Plat insurance

    In case it’s of interest to anyone, had US domestics booked as part of a longer trip to US in March Trip was cancelled due to US entry ban being extended to UK.

    We managed to get refunds for our BA Holiday (flight/ car) and hotels were flexible or refunded (Marriott), but internal flights (booked separately) were non-refundable.

    Submitted an online claim with all the supporting docs on 25 March, it was agreed on 3 April and had the money today, net of £50 excess. Overall a good and fairly swift result.

  7. Lufthansa starting a permanent cull:

    Germanwings to be closed and 40 aircraft disposed off.

    Maybe Stelios is right about EasyJet’s order book?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52209591

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I believe I mentioned this weeks ago. Lots of companies will be bringing out their dead and blaming COVID19.

      Closing their budget airline seems bizarre if it was making profit as it’s highly likely holiday traffic will be first to recover. Business Traffic is probably off the cards for many businesses for a number of months, ours cut back massively as soon as China went into lockdown.

      • Genghis says:

        It’s really nice actually being at home, spending time with my son. He took his first proper steps outside yesterday in our garden. Under normal circumstances I’d have been away with travel back tomorrow.

        • That’s lovely! Yes, a lot to be grateful for. My time with my teenager is less fraught for not having to drag him out of bed for school at 7 am – he seems a lot happier getting up at 9 and settling down to his work on the computer. I’m interested to know how Cat is getting on!

        • Awww, congratulations Genghis, it must have been amazing to see the little warlord taking his first steps! I’m happy you were home to see that. Batten down the hatches now, there’ll be no stopping him!
          Anna – still going a little bit mad stuck at home with no garden, no hills to climb and far too many people outside to want to pavement dodge my way to the nearest small, flat, unexciting park. Still trying to keep my students’ spirits up with daft stories from the internet (Tim from the cowboy museum, Nick Heath commentating on real life, and the astrophysicist with the magnets have all featured, and I’m all ears for new suggestions), and I’m actually pleasantly impressed by the effort one or two of my sixth formers put into their exponential modelling and log graphs coronavirus projects that I set last week. It’s nice having some time to edit my massive backlog of photos from recent holidays, but I’d give my left arm right now for a couple of hours of playtime with my gorgeous nieces. Ideally while on a beach in the Seychelles, where I’m supposed to be right now!
          Is your teenager coping OK without seeing his friends?

      • I’m not sure on that assessment, the last thing you really want is loads of people making unnecessary trips on holiday while there is a risk of spreading a virus, they will likely be out more in public potentially spreading the virus again.

        Business travel on the other hand could be straight to a hotel, meetings in controlled environment with masks and distancing well implemented.

        I’m with lufty here, possibly years for air travel to return to “normal”

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Everyone needs to come to the realisation the virus is not going away will now need to be managed.

          Cutting off tourism would kill many small economies for months/years if not forever.

          • Isn’t the hope that it will be ‘managed’ by use of a vaccine? Clearly if it takes 18 months to develop that’s not realistic but IF it can be done in the next 1-2 then the game changes completely

          • TGLoyalty says:

            for the most vulnerable perhaps but I would personally would not be injecting myself with anything that was developed over 1-2 months of testing.

          • marcw says:

            Vaccine, lol. History has taught us that development of vaccines takes years if not decades. There´s no guarantee that a vaccine is going to be effective, neither. There´s a nice feline coronavirus vaccine, BUT the efficacy is close to zero. Well, you may think about “what the hell is this bloke talking about feline coronavirus”. Reality is, scientists, pharmaceuticals and vets have tried to develop a vaccine for this disease for decades (virus is the same family as SARS-Cov2)… In a parallel world, it´s a hint how developing a human vaccine against SARS-Cov2 could end: nil.

      • marcw says:

        Germanwing was closing anyways. They flew just some domestic random flights. They had 6 flights. Pretty much all old germanwing production was transferred to eurowings already.

    • They only ever seemed to promote Eurowings anyway and two LCC subsidiaries didn’t make much sense.

    • memesweeper says:

      Looks like there will be some second hand A380s hitting the market soon then:

      https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2020/04/07/lufthansa-to-permanently-retire-selected-a380-a340-and-b747-aircraft/

      … and I guess these won’t be the early ones to face a very early retirement. It’s a bit niche, but I wonder if any will have the ‘right’ engines for BA to be interested in picking them up (eventually)?

      • I doubt BA is interested in adding more large expensive aircraft to its fleet at a time when most of its fleet is grounded! Not to mention that it costs $45 million to refit the cabin!

        • memesweeper says:

          I’m ever the optimist 🙂

          and with no third runway Heathrow will be one of the most sensible places to deploy A380s for another decade or so.

          • The trouble is the A380 is only money-making if every flight has high load factors. Even Emirates has found that out. Otherwise it is much more efficient to fly twin-engined aircraft like the A350 or 787. The A380 also requires airports to be able to handle it with gates that can service both upper and lower decks. I think very few airlines will be likely to purchase any second hand A380s.

  8. Anyone have decent insight into AA cancellation/change rules? I have LGA-MIA-BON-MIA-JFK booked for 16/24 May. AA has changed the times by a couple of hours (but not cancelled). Is that enough to request a cash refund (rather than a voucher). Their website isn’t clear and I’d rather not clog up Their phone lines unless absolutely necessary. Thanks in advance

    • Doug M says:

      Broadly speaking AA allow cancellation with a change of 60 minutes or more. I believe this relates to any flight in a single booking, not just departure and arrival. Once any flight meets the criteria the whole thing can be cancelled.
      I’d call and ask, let them cancel it if the agent agrees, and then you can do the refund request at prefunds.aa.com – with AA the cancellation and refund are separate processes.

    • Doug M says:

      Correction, that maybe 120 minutes.

  9. Deenesh says:

    Morning all. After some advice. I have just had my holiday with TUI cancelled for May (in the process of trying to get refunded). Looking to book a trip with Virgin Holidays instead. I have ~200,000 points and thinking of using these to part pay the cost of the holiday (3000 points = £18 discount I believe).
    I KNOW these aren’t the best value for money BUT with current family/job situation it is our best option to get them used. My question is, given the precarious position of Virgin Atlantic, if I book a holiday with VH and use all miles right away to part pay and VS go bust will they revoke my “part payment” with miles or since it was already done I will be fine? I can’t seem to find any info on how this would work. Any advice appreciated.

    • I think you are fine. Note that VA and VH are the same company, so if one goes bust the other will go bust too. However, ATOL regulations means that you would be bailed out for your holiday. The fact you part-paid in miles shouldn’t make a difference in my view.

      • Deenesh says:

        Thanks for your help, Rob.

      • Deenesh says:

        Off the top of your head do you know if we can use mine and my partners miles to part-pay? Account not linked as we don’t have VS status. Or will they only let the lead passenger use their miles to part pay?

        • If you do it by phone and you are both travelling it may be possible (of course, whether you can get through is a different question). Call centre is generally flexible on these things.

  10. BlueHorizonuk says:

    This is a once in a generation event that the travel industry is going to use to do everything they want but were afraid to do. Things like cancel orders, change T&Cs for crew, pilots etc, cancel routes, downgrade service and meals etc etc

    Everything and anything is on the table and there is nothing anyone can do to stop them.

    • Nick_C says:

      The travel industry has been doing most of those things for the last twenty years.

  11. Geoff says:

    Is Waitrose rejoining Virgin Flying Club as a earning partner?
    When HFP broke the news that Waitrose were leaving Virgin last month the Waitrose page on Virgin said Waitrose was no longer a partner.
    This morning it says that Virgin points are temporarily unavailable from Waitrose but that Virgin hoped they would be available again soon.

    • Nick_C says:

      No supermarket needs to run any sort of promotion right now. When life eventually returns to normal, supermarket promotions will return.

      • Lady London says:

        +1. Coupons and offers have practically dried up. My ‘local’ level shop only ever participated in a limited selection of offers compared to hypermarkets of the same chain. Probably because they figured they’ve got a captive local market. Now they’ve got “this branch is not participating” on every offer.

        Supermarket bosses are apparently rubbing their hands with glee.

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