Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Saturday 25th 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: 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.  Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

Comments (251)

  • Clive says:

    After weeks of waiting for an update on the cancellation of a non refundable hotel booking in Hong Kong booked through Lastminute I eventually have received a reply.

    Option 1 – Take the cash back in full
    Option 2 – Take a voucher for the full value + an extra 20% which is not used is convertible to cash at a later date.

    Was expecting a problem but most satisfied with the result.

  • Jason Uttridge says:

    Has anyone with a companion voucher booking with British Airways had their booking cancelled due to Coronavirus? Do we know what BA’s approach is on this?

    Will it follow the normal conditions and you will get a full-refund (minus the small fee), credit of your Avios and companion voucher? Is it then up to you to re-book and find a flight with availability, or will BA move your booking over to another flight regardless of reward seat availability?

    I’ve got 2 trips coming up in the next few months so would be good to understand what issues others are facing (if any).


    • Stu N says:

      You can cancel by phone. You’ll get everything back (cash, Avios and voucher) and companion voucher is extended by 6 months. Avios and voucher were reinstated straight away and I got cash element back in 48 hours.

      I didn’t push the point about rebooking on alternative dates with mine; it was just a CE return but others have tried to book long way into the future and been rebuffed.

      (I think normal rule is BA will rebook you +/- 3 days regardless of Avios availability which is obviously no good in current situation).

      • Lady London says:

        I am sure EC261 gives you that tight to a future date, the text of it is very clear.

        However BA (or let’s be fair, currently any airline) obfuscating, lying, delaying and refusing to give passengers the rights they are entitled to under EC261, appears to be BA’s automatic practice even in peacetime.

    • Geoff says:

      Yes we have. If you elect to cancel, before flights themselves are cancelled by BA, you get the avios and voucher back plus the fees minus the cancellation fee. If the flight is cancelled, you can get a full refund with no cancellation fee. You get the avios back, the companion voucher back (with a time extension) and all of the fees although the cash part has been taking a long time to appear in some cases.

  • Chris says:

    Still asking myself why I booked through an online agent (edreams/Opodo) instead of using a bit more time and money to do it directly with the airline.. Now it seems I won’t see any cash refund at all..

    • Lady London says:

      If you paid on credit card, ask them for section 75 or chargeback.

      If you paid on charge card, ask card for chargeback.

      If you paid on Amex, Amex own coverage ei generally take care of it just ask them.

      Plenty of coverage on the above in myriads of comments on here.

      You will have to pay any agent fee that was in the contract when you booked, if it was fair, but you should get the refund with one of the above.

      • Chris says:

        I paid on Amex and they’ve opened a dispute, but I’ve read on comments here that those disputes may be closed in the agent’s favour and that S75 is a bit of a grey zone hence not too confident on this matter – will still try and update in the comments section once resolved!

    • Peter K says:

      I think your answered your question within your question. Less time, less money, same result. Bonus when it goes smoothly.

  • Eug says:

    Hi all, I am hoping I can get some sage thoughts. In our household we have about 200k Virgin Atlantic miles between my partner and I. We both also have the Virgin credit card 2-for-1/upgrade vouchers already issued (we both have Red status only so can only upgrade to premium economy). Our musing was to go to Cape Town in 2021 using the miles and vouchers flying premium economy. I also have family in New York so I would top up the remaining balance from Amex points to fly to New York (also 2021). I am feeling a little antsy with Virgin’s financial situation and wonder if I would be better off forgetting the vouchers and transfer my miles to a partner programme. We have Hilton Gold status (now extended) so that would probably be where we park the points. Is this sound? Suggestions/thoughts very welcome.

    • John says:

      400K Hilton points will pay for your hotels in South Africa.

      I believe you want to redeem in economy and upgrade with the voucher, that isn’t particularly great value in the first place. If VS survives (and the CPT route survives which may not happen even if the airline keeps flying) then maybe you can just try to earn the miles again, including Amex transfers.

      • Eug says:

        Thank you and to the others who replied for taking the time to do so.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There are a couple points of view on this.

      Mine/Rob’s are the same I have more use for a virgin flight than more Hilton points/stays. But as time goes on an it looks more likely they will go bust I am thinking harder.

      Some will say it’s the difference between getting nothing when VS go bust and some value from Hilton.

      Others will say you’re giving up about half the value of your virgin points for Hilton points/stays.

      It’s really up to you on what you see as the likely outcome of this for VS and their potential bankruptcy.

    • Lady London says:

      CPT has been quite well priced recently also for cash on various airlines. At quite good times of the year for there too. Personally I’d take the advice of the other poster and view the VS stuff as a hotel funder for the trip.

      • Harry T says:

        I’ve just gotten two J fares with Swiss to JNB from Amsterdam for £1250 each, so SA is not badly priced for cash if you know where to look. Not exactly amazing but decent fares considering it’s during peak season (2nd to 16th January). It’s a short hop to Amsterdam with KLM, with multiple flights a day, and we can spend NYE there at the Amstel on points before flying out.

        There are/were BA J fares ex Oslo to CPT up to mid December for about £1100 return (it’s inconvenient for me to get to Oslo and I wanted January).

        • Harry T says:

          I also transferred 50k VS miles to Hilton because I know I can redeem them for a high end hotel for good value, and the odds are in favour of VS going kaput (consider the optics of bailing out a non profitable airline that is associated with a billionaire who lives on an island to evade tax, when many of the new low income Tory voters will barely be making ends meet)

  • Dezbez says:

    Apologies if this has been asked/mentioned previously, but if VS collapses does that mean the whole Virgin Group would go, including Virgin Holidays? Or are they sufficiently separated?

    • Nick_C says:

      VIrgin Holidays is wholly owned by Virgin Atlantic (which is 51% owned by Virgin Group).

      Virgin Atlantic is a limited company and can fail without Virgin Group failing.

      Many Virgin businesses (such as Virgin Australia) are only minority owned by Virgin Group. Virgin Media is wholly independent and just pays a fee to use the Virgin name. Heaven only knows why, but some people seem to think there is something special about a Virgin Brand. (Virgin Trains, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Cola.)

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        I believe two of Virgins A330’s are owned/operated by another limited company that isn’t the main virgin atlantic legal entity.

  • BJ says:

    This one for Rob and the HFP team

  • Berneslai says:

    Can 2-4-1 companion vouchers be used on ticket upgrades rather than just flight bookings? I’ve got two vouchers and not a lot a lot of Avios. I was going to see if I can upgrade existing CW seats to First.

    • Genghis says:

      No. If existing CW flights are avios bookings, however, there’s potential to cancel and rebook.

    • BJ says:

      No, but if those existing CW seats are redemptions then you can cwncel them and rebook in First using your combined avios. If they are paid seats then you wouldn’t want to anyway as TP and avios earned are probably more valuable to you than an upgrade to First.

      • Berneslai says:

        Ah, OK. Existing seats are cash but I need the TP for Gold (assuming the flight goes ahead).

        • AJA says:

          Also Avios bookings do not earn TP or Avios. If you use the “cash and upgrade with Avios” option you should be awarded TP and Avios per the original seat before upgrade although sometimes you get lucky and BA awards the TP and Avios per the upgraded seat. But to be clear you can’t use the companion voucher to upgrade.

          • BJ says:

            I don’t think people are getting lucky any more, they fixed it already IIRC but I’m not certain.

    • Anna says:

      At the moment you would have to call BA to cancel an award booking as they are still directing people to the voucher page online and the restrictions which apply with this may not suit you.

  • Bond says:

    Is curve with underlying IHG or VS card still good to make txn with HL for ISA?

    • Rts says:

      Not after the introduction of the new fees….

      Truly RIP!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I couldn’t find HL the last time I tried kept being rejected 🤔

      Do they only refund to the same debit card?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Turns out backed by IHG cards isn’t working For me but I’ll see How the other behave.

        No fronted fee either way.

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