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!

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Comments

  1. blenz101 says:

    Interesting article here on what one of the M3 are doing with the downtime.

    https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/travel/watch-etihad-on-why-grounding-a-jet-is-nothing-like-parking-a-car-1.1004830

    “Etihad is using this “downtime” to refresh cabins on its grounded fleet. In the video, staff can be seen checking and repairing seats and in-flight entertainment screens, shampooing cabin carpets and washing and ironing soft furnishings like seat covers.”

    I know cheap labour etc. etc. but from a hygiene aspect and from the passenger experience of feeling like they are getting back onto a new aircraft when they do fly again this has to be a good thing.

    I wonder what BA are doing with their fleet beyond the bare minimum maintenance to allow them to fly again?

  2. Question re Creation – does anyone know how to find/download the App? Either iPhone or Android, I can’t find either, despite the huge banner ad which has been appearing in my account when I log in for the last few weeks.

  3. Still no sign of wine redemptions reappearing on ba.com. maybe Laithwaites’s have pulled the plug?

    • I believe the online wine retailers are running full pelt at the moment, so they can probably get a higher margin by not bothering with BA – and presumably having to take some credit risk on the transfer of miles. They had a freely available £100 off voucher doing the rounds recently – I see the best you seem to get is now £30-£40.

  4. More advice please! I’m thinking of joining IC Ambassador (OH is already a member so we could double our stays). Is $200 or 40k points better value in others’ view? Or is it likely there will be another joining offer in the next few weeks?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s about par. Depends if you have an abundance of points or not.

      Better to wait until you can travel again to sign up? You don’t need to be a member to make amb night booking you just need to be a member/have the cert when you stay.

    • $200/40k points is 0.5c/point, which is around what they’re worth as a baseline, but you can potentially achieve more. I would (and do) pay cash for it. Is joining now a great idea though? Unless you’re planning IC stays in the immediate future, you might as well wait, there might be a better offer.

      As for whether that offer will come along, who knows, but it’s possible, if IHG see a need to attract extra customers once the current dramas are over.

      • I’m anticipating a stampede for award nights when travel re-starts so having the certificate ready and waiting might be helpful. Some hotels are already showing no availability for award nights toward the end of March 2021.

        • Remember hotels don’t always load award inventory a year in advance, especially more popular ones.

          • Really? Macron is talking this weekend about Europe blocking incoming flights until the end of September. This wipes out a lot of potential tourism at a stroke. I’m sure we will see similar blockages elsewhere.

    • Harry T says:

      I paid cash. I’ve been happy with the value I received – used the free weekend night for a Signature Harbour Suite with Club Lounge access at IC Sydney in March (sneaked that holiday in just before the world shut down).

      As IHG points typically worth 0.4-0.5p, it depends whether you think you could leverage the 40k points for more value than that, and what your cash flow situation is.

      • Genghis says:

        “ it depends whether you think you could leverage the 40k points for more value than that”
        Remember the comparator is replacement value. What does it cost these days to buy IHGs through points and money?

        • Genghis says:

          * replacement cost

        • Harry T says:

          @Genghis
          Good point regarding the ceiling of value. Would you pay cash or points for Ambassador if you were buying for the first time?

          • Genghis says:

            It’s much of a muchness for first time purchase. If you have loads of points, I’d pay points.
            I’ve been renewing at the $200 rate to get the 10% back on redemptions and what is it, 15k IHG points. The 10% back is quite valuable to me. However, I’ve not really been using the BOGOF. I question whether to renew every year.

  5. Question – Due to the many flight cancellations that I have made in the last 3 weeks and the subsequent refunds. I not have a (5000) negative Avois balance on my BAPP card. I am looking to cancel this card as I won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits. What happens to the negatives balance when I cancel, does the avois get taken out of my EXEC club balance or does it just get written off?

    • Peter K says:

      It’s written off. Had this before in the free BA card. Closed it with a -4000 ish avios balance.

      Having said that, I wouldn’t do it often or Amex may become interested.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Everyone will get a pass right now as refunds are coming through thick and fast for all sorts of cancelled plans.

    • Harry T says:

      Just cancelled my BAPP with over -8000 balance due to multiple BA refunds. I wasn’t gaming the system – I have my 241 and I now can’t earn any Avios on the card because of this negative balance which isn’t my fault. Amex agent did note I had quite a significant credit balance but didn’t mind.

      • Any idea what happens for a refund on a cancelled BA card? I also used a voucher but I don’t have the BA card now that I booked with.

        • Harry T says:

          You can still log into your old account. You would have to ring Amex when the refund arrives and ask them to send it to your bank account.

        • And a statement will arrive showing the credit. Handy as l had dorgotten a past credit refund. Then live chat them.

    • Daniel says:

      Thanks! Just off the phone with Amex having cancelled the card. The agent did say that the companion voucher voided – is this true? I am not too bothered by it but just wondered. Also what happens, if down the line – I wanted to apply for the card card again – will the negative balance be still there?

  6. pauldb says:

    Sorry if I’ve missed chat about this: has anyone probed at BA’s rebooking flexibility? This will become more relevant when hopefully things re-open: there are still likely to be lots of selective cancellations, especially if Gatwick stays closed.

    The trade website says, under rerouting for a cancelled flight: “Yes – as per standard customer guidelines … For Europe – rebook onto any alternative European BA gateway”. Does that mean you can swap a cancelled flight on to an different route (LGW-AMS -> LHR-LCA)? I doubt it but maybe they are being more flexible than the standard 300 miles policy. Or maybe they have decided they’d rather carry us anywhere at any price than have the seats go empty.

  7. Paul Pogba says:

    Semi interesting opinion piece on dealing with the china virus and the near future of travel down under:

    “This implies that until there is a cure or a vaccine, there will be minimal international tourism, fewer international students, and few migrants. Of course, we are in this world already. Most countries have imposed strict border controls. International air travel has slowed to a trickle.

    We might well impose fewer restrictions on passengers from countries that also successfully eliminate the virus”

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/it-s-worth-a-shot-australia-s-endgame-must-be-total-elimination-of-the-virus-20200412-p54j71.html

    • pauldb says:

      There are very few countries that could even consider making this work. They’ll be some tough choices ahead for tolerating infections and deaths vs restarting the economy. Even for Australia lower domestic activity and passing up international tourism and trade would be really hard to sustain, but they are maybe more built for this than anywhere else since their mining exports will still be in demand.

    • Don’t call it “the china [sic] virus”.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        I don’t usually indulge authoritarianism, incompetence or corruption but if I sleep on it and decide to correct my thinking, what should I refer to the Zika, Ebola, West Nile, Marburg, Hantavirus, East African cassava mosaic, Nipah, Lassa viruses?

        • Given the number of attacks on Chinese nationals that have taken place (and on many people of Asian ethnicity indiscriminately) in the last couple of months, the nuance of your choice of words is especially important in this case.
          However, if you really are comfortable with that level of xenophobia, you should probably capitalise the C and turn the noun into an adjective, so it’s at least grammatically correct.
          On the same note, it’s either “How should I refer to the Zika…..viruses?” or “What should I refer to the Zika … as?”.

      • Im of the opinion that if it originated in china, it definitely can be called the Chinese virus.

        • Nelson says:

          Loads of viruses get mislabeled and later found to not originate from previously thought places. In many cases scientists can’t agree. In any case, it’s been agreed not to refer to virus by origin as this generates xenophobia and serves no other purpose. People who continue to use it in such a way despite this, just arouse suspicion about why they generate hatred in this way. Ignorance is no longer an excuse

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Since it’s been officially named the SAR2 Virus which leads to the COVID19 disease why not stick to one of those

          • Kev 85 says:

            Yep. Just for clarity, I’m not “offended” by anyone calling it the Chinese virus but it does make you seem a bit odd, if it’s got an actual name that everyone knows.

  8. Matthew says:

    Got return flights with BA LHR-FSC (Corsica) for May half term. Hoping they will be cancelled so I can get full refund as I booked it before the £1 cancel feee kicked in. And booked as two one ways so would lose £70 each way in fees.l if cancel myself.

    Surely I’m best just holding out and waiting for them to cancel or is there slim chance of this route still going ahead? I hope not as everything else to do with the holiday has been cancelled!

    Thanks

    • Matthew, assuming this is an Avios booking I’d wait for BA to cancel. I am pretty sure that the flight won’t happen, then you can get everything back (don’t take the e-voucher). On the very slim chance that it still operates you can cancel 24 hours before and pay the £35 per passenger cancellation fee.

  9. memesweeper says:

    OT: lots of phantom availability on seatspy for Virgin Premium to/from India. Is there an alternative half decent way of finding availability for reward flights when one can be flexible with dates?

    • On the Virgin website? Find a date from SeatSpy that looks good then find that on Virgin and click the Flexible option that loads up dates month by month. SeatSpy has been pretty accurate recently tbf.

  10. Hi if Virgin do not get a bail out and do go under what happens to the credit card and the points accrued?

    • memesweeper says:

      Card is issued by Virgin Money / Clydesdale… they’re not at risk AFAIK.

      If the airline goes bust miles might be worth something still … but probably not much.

    • Freddy says:

      Similar to what happened to Thomas Cook gift vouchers when they didn’t get a bail out

    • Genghis says:

      The credit card will stay on and will become something else, perhaps just a generic VM card. Best guess is you might get back pennies on the pound akin to Topbonus

    • ChrisC says:

      Virgin money is a totally separate company from Virgin Atlantic.

      Virgin Group only owns around 15% of VM shares.

    • Andrew says:

      They’ll re-brand as Clydedale.

      Then switch back from a grinning Richard Branson to having Robert Burns on the banknotes. 😉

  11. IHG question.
    Cancelled 2 pre paid bookings, one through the call center and the other with the hotel direct, as call center said they were unable. Both done under confidence guidelines brought in by HQ.
    It’s 4 weeks and nothing back from either.
    Both are New York hotels and given the circumstances I a little reluctant to be chasing immediately.
    Do the refunds get issued by the property involved?, and does anyone have any recent experience they can report back.
    Thanks

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