The new HFP chat thread – Monday 13th 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/2020/04/13/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-13th-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!

What is the cheapest way to buy Avios points? (Avios Redemption University, Lesson 7)
This is the only way left to get an online refund for a British Airways Avios flight

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Comments

  1. Looking to go to Buenos Aires in December as a couple, business class. I have a 2-4-1 voucher. Assuming I value Avios at 1p, the cash equivalent per person cost using a 2-4-1 comes out at £1595 pp, but a straight Avios redemption on Iberia from Madrid + easyJet or BA flights from London comes to £1290 pp, quite significantly cheaper!

    I glad for the 6 month extension of my 2-4-1 (I’ve had it nearly 1 year already) but I’m struggling to find a situation where it actually makes sense to use it.

    • It looks like you’re comparing a nonstop on BA to 2 separate tickets and a connection in MAD, potentially with an overnight stay (the costs of which also need to be considered). How much do you value the simplicity and certainty, and likely shorter travel time, of the BA option? If £300+ per person, then you have your answer. The £ is also less prone to sudden devaluation (assuming one’s expenses are also in £!) than are Avios, such that there is always a benefit to capturing certain value today rather than saving to spend on more expensive future flights. Also, if you are Avios rich but cash poor or liquidity constrained, then spending Avios instead of cash makes sense. Finally, what is the next best use of your Avios, as compared to £? For example, could you save the £ for a nicer hotel or special experience once there, or add another trip? Or, for the speculative and financially sophisticated, spend the Avios invest the money and capture a return to spend on future travel?

      • Thanks, yes lots of factors to consider. In fact, if saving cash is important then booking Iberia would be the best option as the cash component is only £200 per person, while BA Charge around £620 per person.

    • Spursdebs says:

      You can only use 241 on BA metal.

      • Yes, I’m comparing using a 2-4-1 on BA with a normal Avios redemption without a voucher on Iberia.

    • Depends how many avios you have and if you have another use for them.

  2. I have a future travel voucher and want to use it to book flight and possibly hotel for next Easter. I can’t get through to make the booking and speak with someone and I don’t know the value of the voucher, what’s the point of providing a voucher without telling me the value and then not taking calls to makes bookings. If anyone has a number I can get through on please? I am calling from Ireland so don’t think I can use an 0800 number.

    • Is this with BA? What was cancelled, you should know from the original booking how much it cost? If it was a cancelled award seat booking, you can only book another award seat with it.

    • Lady London says:

      You can use Skype for that

  3. I opened a dispute with Amex for my £1326 refund I’ve been waiting for from BA for a month. Amex now want written confirmation that I cancelled the flights but I did it over the phone with You First and never received confirmation except that the booking disappeared from my account. I’ve sent this info in writing to Amex but is it going to cause issues with the dispute? Obviously I have the original email confirmation of the booking and the refunded Avios and companion voucher which are a kind of supporting evidence.

    • Michael C says:

      Anna, I’ve been following your messages as I’m due about GBP 1.5k and also nothing except an original email for one leg saying “we’re considering it” and a couple of “it’s all on the way” phone calls!! Did think ahead to screengrab the cancelled return, as it’s now disappeared from MMB.

      • worth signing up to flyertalk and messaging https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/members/ba-refund-helper.html – offical BA rep, a few friends had had their money back already this way

        • I’ve now done that! As I cancelled by phone I had nothing to screengrab and no confirmation emails have been sent 😢

          • Nick_C says:

            I use Cube ACR on my (Android) phone to record important calls. Perfectly legal for individuals to record calls for their own records (in England & Wales at least, don’t know about the other constituent UK countries).

          • Doug M says:

            You mean contacted Refund Helper on Flyertalk? Because if you do I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

          • Harry T says:

            @Anna
            I recommended contacting BA Refund Helper the other day but think you might have missed it! I got my refunds within a couple of days after messaging him on FlyerTalk.

    • @Anna – same as you – I cancelled over the phone and no email confirmation received. I started the chargeback yesterday – 4 transactions for 2 people on outward journey and 2 people on inward journey. Today the 2 inward transactions show they have been reapplied to my account. The 2 outbound transactions say it is on hold while investigation is in progress. It’s all the same booking reference.

      • Thanks all and yes I’ve messaged the Flyertalk person though I do wonder what he’s getting out of it! His employer can’t be very impressed lol.
        Amex have set up 3 separate disputes for me so now have to send everything 3 times 🙄

  4. Andrew says:

    IHG – I doubt if I’ll be going anway, but my Seattle booking for May has just been cancelled.

    The hotel is switching from Holiday Inn Express to a Fairfield Inn, and Marriott are refusing to honour existing bookings.

    It’s not the first time that a hotel has changed brand between booking and staying (or even changed brand during a stay), but it’s the first time I’ve had a room cancelled because of it.

  5. Spaghetti Town says:

    anyone jumping ship with virgin flying club yet?

    i’ve built up a lovely balance via curve and don’t want to lose them all

    • Lots people transferred for Hilton and transfers are going through fine. But you transfer at a huge loss in value. And after all of this Hilton and hotel offers will be a lot easier to come by than business/first class plane tickets – you’re never going to see a crazy deal on ANA First for example. So if you like me you’re confident Virgin won’t disappear I’d hold tight… Or transfer a few out if you want to mitigate some risk.

      • It’s not a huge loss in value at 2:3 If you factor in 5 nights for a 4 night booking with a lounge and ensure you earn hilton points on a points redemption it’s a pretty even match IMHO.

        My last Virgin to Hilton transfer took 12 days to land safely using WA.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Melia Rewards Gold:
          Benefits include free breakfast for your companion.
          Does this mean you as the gold holder pays for breakfast and you get breakfast free for partner on booking like a 241 breakfast deal?

          • Yes

          • The Original Nick says:

            Unless you are staying in a Melia in Havana as I found out in Febraury. I put a complaint into Melia and they didn’t offer any refund for me paying out in cash only at the buffet breakfast at the hotel. They have offered me an upgrade to a premium room next time I stay there though but it’s not somewhere I’m going go visit every year.

          • The Original Nick. Almost all Cuba Melia Hotels are excluded from the MeliaRewards program. You need to check the porgram’s T&C and check which ones are included/excluded.

        • Peter K says:

          Except that one Hilton does not (usually) have the same value as one FC mile.
          You lose about 50% value transferring to Hilton, about 37.5% if you use the Hilton 5 for 4.
          I really wanted to use my miles for flights but feared the worse so transferred out. My thoughts were that 50% value and peace of mind now was worth more than potential 100% value in the future but worry about 0% value.

        • philco says:

          Really depends on your uses. Also I wouldn’t add status benefits to the value of your points since you get them if you pay cash as well. The 5 for 4 certainly juices returns though. The bottom line for me is the lodging industry is much more competitive with many more options than the airlines so for me taking this risk and sticking to VS makes sense but I can totally see where others would have a different take and I say that as a HIlton Diamond.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        J @ I’ll hold on for now and see what happens.

      • I think this is a mistake. Even if Virgin survives (I think it’s unlikely they will and I think it’s right that they don’t, unless Beardy and Delta either stump up or get wiped out), what is the likelihood of its reward partnerships staying the same? At best Virgin will have a much-reduced network and likely be under state control, which doesn’t make them an appealing partner for ANA. In reality, Virgin will be a distant memory in a few months and your dreams of an ANA redemption will have evaporated. Earn and burn.

    • Lev441 says:

      I transferred out at the end of March, 250k FC to IHG and 300k FC to Hilton and both already arrived in both the accounts. Left about 50k with virgin but didn’t want to leave too much in there as I’m not so hopeful that they’ll make it through…

  6. Anyone had any experience upon what happens to Hilton Gold status when cancelling Amex Plat? Internet searches vary from immediately to rest of the status year – I suspect I may be the former as Hilton LC said my expiry was as long as I had the card.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Rest of status year.
      In my last experience, I got Hilton Gold from Amex plat in Sept.
      I was expecting a downgrade following March but didn’t happen & continued until Mar 20 (then continued to Mar 21) due to C19 changes. 😍

    • Bentoni says:

      I have cancelled my Platinum card last week. As far as I know, my Hilton account shows that “You need 0 nights to retail Gold”. I take it that means I will have the status from 2020 to 2021.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        I picked up Hilton gold via Amex plat approx one year ago (April 2019). Will this likely be extended until 2021 or have i missed the boat?

        • Spaghetti Town says:

          To add: I have since cancelled Amex plat, so shouldn’t be eligible to retain status.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Yes

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          @Bentoni – Yes.
          @Spaghetti Town – if your account shows Gold now then your good to go until Mar 21.

  7. Craig W says:

    Weird one and a bit of scheming going on on my part In order to artificially extend my 2-4-1 voucher…

    Re open jaw 2-4-1 bookings. I understand that the rule is the distance between your arrival and departure airports must be less than either of your actual flights? Does anyone have any experience pushing this to the extreme? I would like to book London-Nice and then return of Johannesburg-London. I already have my one way LHR-JNB booked with another airline for a particular reason but am looking to have the outbound to Nice booked before the voucher expires, as the return is after the expiry date.

    Additionally, can I please confirm if there is a maximum time allowed between the outbound and inbound flights?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    • Won’t work. The “open jaw” has to be the shortest segment. Nice-Jo’burg is further than London-Nice.

      • Craig W says:

        Thanks Stu

        My understanding was different from the below paragraph in one of Rob’s articles. Key word being “either” rather than saying “both”? If not back to the drawing board!

        “It CAN be used on ‘open jaw’ flights, where you return from a different airport, even though these can’t be booked online and require a call to BA. The only rule is that the distance between your arrival and departure airport must be shorter than *either* of the two flights. London – Johannesburg, Cape Town – London is fine. London – Moscow and Madrid – London is not.”

        • Genghis says:

          Confusingly, “either” can mean effectively “or” and “both”. In this case it means “both”.

          • Craig W says:

            Thanks for clarifying. That is a shame. Will have a rethink.

            Can I assume there is no time limit between outbound and inbound? Could even be (say) six months?

  8. Last week I canceled my SPG card. On Sunday I applied for a Blue BA card with a referral from my wife and the decision was deferred. For the first time I was asked for educational qualifications but not professional which I would have thought were more relevant.
    I have just received an email advising me that I have been accepted, which is also different as usually that email arrived well after the card. I foolishly asked for the supplementary card on the application missing out on 1,000 Avios. Has anyone got it for another supplementary?

  9. American becomes the latest US airline to extend 2020 status into 2021 and reduce status qualification thresholds: https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/aadvantage-program-updates.jsp

    • Stuart Evans says:

      This looks like a smart and appropriate move by AA. Let’s hope BA are looking and learning!

      • One disadvantage that BA has compared to the US carriers is that everyone’s status years end at different times, whereas the US carriers all basically run their status years as January to December. BA could, in theory, extend everyone’s status by 12 months, but then they’d face complaints from people whose status year ends next month because people whose status year ends in December would have longer to enjoy it.

  10. Andrew says:

    Following the Cente for Disease Control announcement on 9th April banning passenger cruises (with more than 250 passengers) in US waters for 100 days, Princess Cruises are expecting to make a formal announcement tomorrow (14th April).

    Canada had already banned all cruises from her ports until Mid-July.

    Forget Vouchers, I’ll take a refund thanks… Giving it at least 3 years before I consider getting on a boat. Now I just need BA to cancel my Vancouver flight and get the cash back for it.

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