Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Sunday 19th April

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Sorry for the delay in getting the Sunday chat thread live!

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/2020/04/19/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-sunday-19th-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!

Comments (129)

  • Berneslai says:

    What’s the best number to ring at the moment to book flights with Avios? I need to use 2 companion vouchers.

  • Andrew says:

    Such fun with OptionTown & BA.

    So my Easter domextic OptionTown Carnet booking with BA was cancelled, I went through the process and requested a Voucher (there wasn’t an option to recredit my carnet). Like everyone else, I’ve been issued with a Voucher to be used over the phone with the BA call centre.

    All the usual hacks to determine the value don’t work.

    BA have now advised that they won’t tell me the value of the voucher they issued, I’ll have to ask OptionTown (who take a week to respond to messages).

    It’ utterly bizarre. When I phone up BA to make the booking, will they have to rely on me being honest and telling them how much to deduct from my trip?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I may be being dim but isn’t the “value” of your ticket the exact same terms as your carnet but you now have 12m to use it?

      • Andrew says:

        If that was the case, then surely they’d just recredit the carnet?

        As it stands, according to the rules, I can use the value against a BA holiday.

        • Andy says:

          I read online that BA is “coding” these vouchers so that they can be used online. Might take a couple of weeks.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Because OptionTown and BA are two different entities? OptionTown Sell flight passes for lots of airlines aswell so effectively a travel agent like any other?

          Haven’t Optiontown ‘bought’ your flight from BA? So all BA can only give you one of their vouchers to take the flight at a later date or It would be up to optiontown to get a refund and put it back in your carnet wouldn’t it?

          • Rob says:

            Technically your credit card is charged by BA for the flights and OptionTown charge their fee separately. Not sure what this means for responsibility though.

    • Lady London says:

      At this point I think I would play hardball and demand a pro rata refund in cash of every remaining flight on the carnet.

      Based on the fact that no flights are currently being offered and so the value of the voucher is now zero to you because you needed that freedom to take flights in march-may. They haven’t filled what you bought and they can’t offer anything that does so you want a full pro rata refund of all unused flights right now.l

  • Paul says:

    I cancelled a Hilton 1 night stay at the Doubletree Tower Bridge in early May about 3 weeks ago using their online form and still have not had confirmation or a refund – should I chase or are they taking this long to process currently?

    • Anna says:

      Try online chat on the Hilton website. I used it to cancel a stay and had the money back within 3 days.

    • Craig says:

      Five weeks and counting for me.

    • Gavin says:

      Contact the hotel directly if possible. I had my stay (Hilton Helsinki Strand) refunded within 10 minutes of emailing them. Back on card in a couple of days.

  • Doug M says:

    Elect a populist buffoon and it’s of little importance much of the time. Something big happens and you need leadership, they’re found wanting.

    • Chris K says:

      Yeh I’ve no doubt old Jezza would have won the “moral argument” against Coronavirus 😁

      • Doug M says:

        Would probably have been reasoned and willing to listen to expert advice. But if it suits your agenda to believe the Boris myth then good for you. Lucky the NHS have that extra £350 million each week right now isn’t it.

        • Andy says:

          I didn’t realise how many Corbyn luvvies read HfP…

        • Charlieface says:

          I don’t believe the BoJo myth any more than I believe the Jezza myth

        • Doug M says:

          Andy. If you criticise BoJo you’re a Corbyn luvvie? A very odd approach. We have a gov led by Boris, it’s fair game to judge his and the govs performance. If all you have to offer in rebuttal are fantasy remarks about Corbyn I assume you can’t defend Boris’s performance and therefore go straight to deflecting from the issue.

        • Andy says:

          Does your twitter page have the ubiquitous FBPE tag on it?

        • Kev 85 says:

          “ Andy. If you criticise BoJo you’re a Corbyn luvvie?”

          Exactly. I’m no fan of Corbyn but any criticism of the government seems to be met with “what about x” from brown tongued individuals.

      • J says:

        Corbyn isn’t PM so he’s not relevant. Although I think he probably would have deferred to experts earlier if he was. Boris Johnson and his govt though are guilty of criminal negligence, no doubt about that.

        • No lockdown for me says:

          About the only criticism that stacks up is not ordering more PPE early enough – if NHS staff refuse to work if they don’t have proper PPE – and who would blame them? – then yes, pretty poor negligence by the Govt. You can’t blame them for (say) not imposing lockdown sooner, that was always going to be a metter of judgement, not black & white, right or wrong.

          Right now there is a tussle between those (in Govt) who want lockdown to continue for another few weeks (to protect the NHS from overload) & those who want a phased relaxing of lockdown rules in the UK. I’m in the latter camp as more people are going to die & suffer badly from the economic effects of lockdown than would ever die of coronavirus if lockdown continues for much longer.

        • Andy says:

          PPE has a long lag time between order and delivery at the best of times. Most of it is manufactured in China and they had huge demand during winter. There’s only so much you can order when the rest of the world needs it really.

          NHS administration departments are their usual lumbering selves however, following EU procurement rules.

        • J says:

          What EU procurement rules are you on about? Sounds like utter nonsense. EU countries like Germany are right now making the UK look like a developing country/banana republic.

        • Lady London says:

          The NHS clearly needs to implement risk management strategy within procurement. Basically they need to do what investment managers do and not put all their supply of related items to one supplier, or to suppliers all located in China, etc

          It sounds like they need better materials management too. No manufacturer would make money if they didn’t manage stock so it was available when needed but didn’t become obsolete.

          As with the BBC, it’s time for a reckoning and clearing out the layers of nonperforming management instead of the taxpayer being asked to contribute more all the time when frustrated people inside those organizations know so much money is being wasted put into them.

          If the Germans can do it why can’t we?

          What is NJS Supply chain actually doing?

        • J says:

          Germany haven’t had to endure years of policy driven by ideology instead of practicalities; that is austerity and Brexit. Great piece in the usually pro Tory Sunday Times today…

        • Cat says:

          Not enough PPE, not enough ventilators, not enough tests, not closing schools early enough, lockdown happened later than it should have, very little in the way of screening for people returning to this country, setting dreadful examples to the whole country by shaking hands with people on COVID-19 wards and going to watch the rugby, and that ridiculous herd immunity nonsense.

          There’s plenty to blame Boris for, not least of which is not knowing his own limitations.

        • No lockdown for me says:

          Sounds like they want you back in school teaching all the GCSE/ A-level students again by May 11th
          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8233761/Traffic-light-lockdown-schools-weeks.html

        • Cat says:

          Possibly, but I tend to doubt the veracity of any news broken by the Daily Fail.

        • J says:

          I did Rob, some sound advice 🙂

        • Lady London says:

          Opening the schools again will bring back the rise in infections and hospitalisations 10-21 days later.

          While I know having to educate remotely must be very very stressful for you and your colleagues @Cat.

          I would far prefer to see a reopening of businesses first.
          Starting with workers under 50 returning.
          After 21 days, if hospitalisations don’t increase, then allow workers under 65 or so to return.
          Consider schools reopening at this time.
          After a further 21 days consider how long those over 70 and other risk groups should continue to self-isolate.
          Children as shoppers of bugs and spreaders, if schools were open, are the main risk.

          But it’s hard to imagine the country carrying on without allowing those groups least affected to work and businesses to open again on a basis that protects workers that employers will oblige to attend.

        • Cat says:

          I completely agree @LadyLondon.
          While teaching from home is a pain, kids absolutely are silent little superspreaders. Your plan is actually a very sensible one.

  • laineyling says:

    Hi
    I am trying to book an open jaw with BA for next March, i have already book the outbound so need add the inbound. I had been hoping by now that the call centres would have calmed down, but guess the Indian lockdown is having a major impact on capacity. Does anyone have any ideas of when is a good time to call as I am being cut off?

    Best regards

    • Anna says:

      Unless you are going to be severely affected by the tax difference, or don’t have enough avios, I would book the return online and wait until you can get through to BA to refund the Avios rather than risk losing the seats.

  • Charlieface says:

    Rob can you reopen the Sunday Times article for comment?

  • Ron says:

    Hello, my flights to Guernsey have been cancelled and I’ve asked for cash refund. They said it will take 3 to 6 months, is that an acceptable timeframe or should I just call Amex for S75? Thanks.

    • Lady London says:

      s.75. make a reasonable attempt to get a refund. Under EC261/2004 you are supposed to receive a refund within 7 days. Most of us would give 28 or more but if you get a blank refusal or not able to contact don’t wait.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Is this BA or someone else?

      • Ron says:

        No, this is with Aurigny, an airline based in Guernsey. Flown with them a few times and they have been good and staff are friendly, but I was surprise when the customer team told me between 3 and 6 months to get the refund, I thought she meant weeks, but she re-confirmed it’s months!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It’s a small operation so no doubt using your money to prop up their cashflow. I would send them an email or if they use Twitter try that saying 3-6 months is unacceptable and you want it back in the 7 days stipulated within EC261. If that doesn’t get a successful reply I’d phone your card issuer once it’s been 7 days and start a claim.

  • LewisB says:

    Another site is claiming that ” If you cancel a (BA) redemption booking without paying a cancellation fee you will receive the fees, taxes and surcharges you paid when making the redemption as a Future Travel Voucher, as well as the Avios back into your Executive Club account.” Is this accurate? I don’t mind taking the taxes as vouchers if I have my avios and in one case 241 voucher back into my account. Admittedly I have not been keeping up with HFP lately, too much information to digest!

    • Anna says:

      No – the voucher is a combination of cash, Avios and companion voucher if applicable, you don’t get them refunded separately unless you cancel as per usual for an award booking, about which you probably need to catch up with some of the articles!

    • Rob says:

      Not true. Avios and 241 are part of that voucher with a 12 month expiry.