The new HFP chat thread – Monday 27th 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/2020/04/27/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-27th-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.  Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

'My Favourite Hotel' review - Villa Cora, Florence
Virgin Atlantic abandons plan for Government bailout, has five weeks to find a buyer (Telegraph)

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Comments

  1. mutley says:

    Collective knowledge on HfP, How long do Avios take to post from Economist subscriptions?

  2. Data point for Hilton refunds:

    I finally had an email from a particular hotel and despite Hilton saying 30 days on the 19th March, the hotel said nobody would be available to process refunds until the end of May at the earliest. They then said it could take 60 days from when they reopen, so effectively the end of July! On that basis I have instigated the chargeback process on my Platinum Amex, the statement says ‘As a result of our investigation, we have credited your account. This adjustment can be found on your next statement.’ but with no resolution date as yet.

    What I can’t understand is that the hotel was closed on the date I was supposed to be there so why can’t someone process refunds from home?

    • Andrew says:

      When you see “Hilton” on the outside of the hotel, it’s rarely actually owned by Hilton. Most are independently owned and operated, some just one hotel.

      It could be as simple as a refund requires a swipe of a supervisor’s card. So you need one agent to process, a second to approve. Therefore to make a single refund, you have to take two members of staff out of furlough.

      Basic risk management. Too many businesses have learnt from the mistake of allowing one person to control refunds. Dodgy reception staff, dodgy cleaners, or distraction thefts where the shopkeeper or reception staff are distracted. Fire alarm pressed, someone fakes a medical episode, or simply “can you fax this”, whilst someone else grabs the card reader and processes refund transactions.

      • Crafty says:

        My Hilton Leeds City refund (know a few have been waiting for these) finally hit credit card yesterday.

  3. Nelson says:

    Ba 2 for 1 voucher. I ve spent more than 10k on free ba amex and upgraded. Was accepted about 19 April. AMEX page spending bar says I have qualified to receive a voucher but when I am checking earned avios details it says: ” So far, you have £10,178.40 of qualifying spend, so spend just -£178.40 to receive your voucher. “. The balance is in credit as I have recently (before upgrade) received a few refunds.

    When will voucher show? Does it normally show under ” my account ” on ba.com?

    Should I spend anything on card now or apply for a refund? (Maybe that stops the voucher?)

    • Nelson did you upgrade after you spent £10k or before? Ideally you should have upgraded before hitting the £10k spend as sometimes the voucher will only show as valid for 12 months. You should get an email congratulating you on getting your voucher but that may not happen with upgrading to trigger it. Either way it should show up in your BAEC account, it won’t be in your Amex account.

    • My wife received an email the last time that she earned a voucher, but that was in Jan 19.

    • Yes, it will show on ba.com and if you try to book an Avios redemption for two a new box will show saying ‘Use voucher?’. You also get an email but that normally lags by a few days.

  4. This from LoyaltyLobby on AF/KLM; a sign of things to come at IAG and Lufty group?
    https://loyaltylobby.com/2020/04/27/klm-air-france-parting-their-ways/

    • That’s an interesting article. I have always wondered what the point was of joining AF and KLM together was about especially when they retain their distinct identities and logos.Obviously from a passenger point of view it meant that they could combine routes and frequent flier schemes but other than that there didn’t seem to be much synergy or commonality. I suspect it would be possible to split but I wonder how much that would cost. It seems KLM would become the stronger independent entity.

      • A lot of the agro tiesd up in the role of the unions in France preventing cost cutting measures at AF compared to what has happened and is probably happening at KLM. In normal times this would be good news for the consumer if these groups were to break up but I cannot help wondering if under the current circumstances the industry as a whole might better recover if the groups survive intact.

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      No.

      All the carriers in IAG and Lufty group, are run the same.

      Air France is a basket case run by unions while KLM is a well liked airline with a good product.

      • It’s not so much about how the airlines are run as how the respective States view financial support being used in other States so it is likely to be a factor in the other two airline groups.

      • If they’re not on strike Air France (like Alitalia actually) can be quite a pleasant experience. I’ve done a few long haul (economy) flights with both, crew are friendly and a bit old school but importantly decent food and wine. Alitalia particularly the food has always been excellent. KLM on the other hand I’ve left the meal on more than one occasion, I was even disappointed when in Business. But I suppose going back to national stereotypes Dutch food is not great.

  5. DumboDeb says:

    No, not a joke, it’s my Disney nick name, been busy working for NHS during last week and now on days off so just thought about looking into my miles now!
    I have not read any articles previous as fairly new here to this site, but will start searching now

    • Doug M says:

      It’s because the question has been done to death. The answer is all about your attitude to risk. Broadly speaking if Virgin survive the best use of the miles is Virgin flights. If you don’t think they’ll survive then move as many points as you can to IHG or Hilton where they’ll have less value, but will have some value. Again broadly speaking Hilton will give you about .5p and IHG about .4p per Virgin FC mile. It’s your call, judgement, roll a die, toss a coin, they’re all as valid a method as thinking about it for days.

    • Harry T says:

      @DumboDeb
      You have to decide whether you think Virgin will go bust, and whether you could live with the loss of your miles. Transferring to Hilton or IHG is a loss of value if you would redeem the Virgin miles on a virgin or partner flight, but your points would be safe.

      I decided to transfer mine to Hilton because I think Virgin will go under, and several of the smart commenters on this site have also cashed out to Hilton.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Hi DumboDeb:
      Firstly, hats off to you for working in the NHS in these present times. Friendly crowd here always happy to help an NHS worker.
      The previous replies are all very relevant to your questions.
      Did you have any ideas or potential travel plans that maybe some of us could cast an eye over to see where best value is?

  6. No lockdown for yours truly says:

    The Perfect Neighbour

    Obvs the perfect neighbour is the neighbour who’s never there, but given neighbours exist, here’s what my perfect neighbour did today.

    So he called me over – he’s 83 – and asked: did you by chance cut down one of my trees?

    Of course I said no, then he said: maybe your son cut it down?

    So I called my son over – he was very reluctant – but his autism makes him truthful – and yes he had cut the neighbour’s tree in half because it was ugly (it was an evergreen Smaragd).

    My perfect neighbour just said let’s make your son say sorry and that will be the end of it.

    So he said sorry etc then we went into restitution. 5 geraniums I had growing plus 3 peonies propagated.,

  7. Harry T says:

    My Virgin Rewards + will be up for renewal in June. I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth spending £160 for another year, given their silly low credit limits and the risk that Virgin will go bust. On the flip side, it was difficult to get accepted for the card and my only other non Amex is the free IHG. I don’t have access to the Hilton Barclaycard or the IHG black or HSBC prem.

    Does anyone have any insight on this? I appreciate it’s a personal risk and benefit assessment/evaluation.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Harry T:
      You’ve still got another month atleast to make a decision on the card (not sure if they bill early)?
      By then we hopefully will know the outcome of the future of VS and our miles. You’ve already paid the annual fee so why not hold tight for one more month.
      I’m in the same boat but slightly different, I’m waiting on the outcome & if good will be upgrading to the Rewards + card.

      • Harry T says:

        I’ve heard they can bill early but I’ll complain if they do. Glad I’m not the only one in this boat!

    • Genghis says:

      Personally I wouldn’t renew. If you want to, get your GF one and you a supp for the brucie.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Do Virgin supplementary cards come with points bonus like Amex?

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Definetly good logic there Genghis!
        I thought the same for the wife but then realised her declared income would only generate a fairly low credit limit, she’s not good on lying..
        I got upped to 11.5k credit a few weeks back so ill stick to my route.

        • Harry T says:

          My credit limit with Virgin after they increased it is 2.5k 😂

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            2.5k – 3.75k points per month. I would cancel as not worth the annual fee!

          • I think you may as well cancel unless things drastically improve with VS.

            You can earn 0.75 more points per £ so over a year with a £2.5k limit that’s £225 worth of miles costing you £160.
            In normal times that might not be such a bad trade if you could guarantee the spend, however in these times I’d apply a fairly hefty discount on the value of the miles, probably worth more like £112.50 in my eyes as I’d cash out to Hilton.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, Genghis – gf got rejected last time by Virgin! Never gets rejected for Amex cards though. Very odd.

        • Genghis says:

          Did she write a letter explaining?

        • Brian W says:

          I’ve just failed the eligibility checker for the free IHG card, first card I’ve ever been turned down for! First application to Creation though and I’ve only had two new cards in the last 12 months, HSBC and Virgin+ cards. Credit scores never been and could hardly be any healthier than it is currently. I’d love to know their reasoning but guess that’s impossible to know.

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            IHG credit referencing is weird. Heard high rollers are turned down but low – med earners accepted.

          • They have no reasoning, that’s the problem.

          • Brian W says:

            Win some and lose some I guess.

          • Same here!
            I’ve written in to them and managed to get a human to reply to me. I’m going to see if they can give me any more info as their reasoning defies all logic. Had the Black card a couple of years ago and now I’m rejected for white even at pre approval stage. No changes in circumstances at all. I also have the HSBC car so I’m baffled.

          • Brian W says:

            Let me know what they say Rum. I’ll maybe follow it up if you get anything worthwhile back.

            I was looking to take the IHG card to replace the Virgin Reward+ card which I’m binning before 4th May when my year is up as I don’t want to risk the £160 fee just now. I’ll sit and wait to see what happens with VS first.

          • Will do. When I spoke to them on the phone they said the withdrawal of the black card is temporary which is contrary to Rob’s article at the beginning of the month. Who knows…
            I replied to their response but I expect it will be another three weeks before I get a message back from them.

          • Lady London says:

            @SS,@BJ I guess it’s obvious to you that you are both too rich for Creation? Clearly they are looking for people who will pay them interest?

            Personally if I wanted another card I’d get it quick before the UK consumer credit market tightens up for what will likely be a very long period. Not with the same underlying card co, ideally at least 3 different ones (which is becoming quite hard to do in the UK) so that I am spreading my good credit record around.

  8. Ronald Jeremy says:

    Boris Johnson has declared the lockdown must stay in place and that he “cannot spell out now how fast, or slow, or when changes will be made”.

    Mr Johnson said modifications would be announced in due course “with the maximum possible transparency”, … Transparency Hmmmm, not one of the PM’s greatest traits judging by his past history, the guy can’t even answer a straight question about how many children he has.

    ( Answer is 6 by the way, soon to be 7)

    • Good luck to anyone hoping for a summer holiday abroad :/

      • Crafty says:

        Anyone still thinking this is realistic is hopelessly deluded.

        • Nothing is stopping you leaving the UK. The question is who will let you in. Wizz is restarting UK flights from 1st May.

          • Crafty says:

            Well, the advisory against non-essential travel for one thing. And the FCO advisory against all international travel for another.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The advisory doesn’t stop you it’s advice not law.

          • Crafty says:

            It stops any reasonable person who believes in the common good.

        • Kev 85 says:

          “ Anyone still thinking this is realistic is hopelessly deluded.”

          Is there even anyone who knows thinks this? Surely not?

      • I’ve played the idea again and again in my head and it sends shivers down my spine. Seriously hoping this is not the case…

    • Well thank you; that was really worrying me.

    • Who is the 6th? I thought he had four with his wife and one with his mistress.

      • Lady London says:

        Keep up, @BJ! 🙂 Now he has one on the way with his fiance as well.

        Given the amount we (and presumably his wife) heard about the variety of people involved, I always thought that indicative of lack of organisation skills.

        I wish him well because we need a strong Prime Minister. Not sure I’m interpreting the graphs correctly. I must be missing something because yahoo’s graph today just showed infections accelerating even though lockdown is 5 weeks now.

        I think people under 50 have to goback first, then3 weeks while we see if hospitals are swampled, then those under 65, review in another 3 weeks. Think about children and schools AFTER that not before. Children do nothing but transmit diseases especially when they go to school every day. So they should be last. And meanwhile I’m sorry if anyone’sovfer70 but they need to keep staying home and seeing nobody totheextent possible…for at least 3-6 months while we try to let this thing settle.

        Boris has had half the population of New York land and filter into the UK while we are all locked down. Could this be a clue why the graph looks so bad?

        • I rely on my mum, who relies on the Sun, for such details 🙂 For the moment she seems more interested in the Windsors than the Johnsons.

          I despair of the UK response to managing the crisis. Considering they had a little more time on their hands to learn from others, prepare, and respond better, I fear they have probably done worse than any other country in Europe. Whether by accident, incompetence or design I am undecided. I have little confidence in them to get the timing and the nature of the exit strategy right. I think that decision will be made on basis of what is best for London, regardless of the implication for the rest of England, Scotland and Wales. I am concerned about misinformation; particularly their failure to provide reliable information on deaths in care homes and at home in England and Wales. I believe they are playing politics with the crisis much the same as Trump, only they are doing so much more effectively than he will ever be capable of doing.

          • Harry T says:

            @BJ agree very strongly – I think we have similar political views.

          • @Harry T, despite my comments I don’t have party political leanings. I’m equally frustrated by the extreme right and the extreme left, and the tribal nature of British politics. I’d rather see a model such as they have in Germany that favours checks and balances, and a search for a middle way that avoids large swings in ideology and economy. As a whole I think our society should strive for an ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’ ethos which is what I think we more or less had regardless of political hues until somebody came along and claimed there was no such thing as society. Ever since then, it has been downhill all the way, the ethos now more akin to ‘I’m ok, **** you’ in many respects. Covid-19 is a leveller, one potential good thing that could result from it is that we might become a kinder, gentler, more caring society again if only the politicians would let us. Perhaps I’m just a dreamer. Always wondered how @Lady London really thinks, her comments are at times intriguing and contradictory but then I thin she thinks the same of mine 🙂

          • Spaghetti Town says:

            Like the USA, we wanted to keep the country open as long as possible as we’re capitalists.

            The real mistake was letting flights continue to land from italy, Iran and New York without some sort of quarantine and testing.

            Originally it was all hands on deck when the first rescue flights came in from Wuhan.

          • Harry T says:

            @BJ yeah, I would say I’m a centrist. I think Labour has gone too far to the left (I have high hopes for Starmer though) and the Tories have become nationalistic populists – too far to the right.

            I agree that the UK now seems to relish divisive politics and conflict, when before we seemed more tolerant and sensible. I would like to see a government make genuine attempts to fund the health service and strive for wealth and social equality. Watching Jacinda Ardern of NZ appeal for kindness and working together made me realise how broken our country has become. I fear a little for the UK’s future.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          @LL:
          I’m not a high roller / rich. I did get accepted for the IHG Premium card. Not sure about BJ though?

          • I applied for IHG white a couple of years ago and got rejected. They claimed it was because they couldn’t verify my identity and address despite electoral roll etc.. Based on comments at the time I thought it was because my income was too high and they could not make money from me. Tried again for the white this year when bonus hit 20k. Was selective about income I declared but got accepted with a £1000 credit limit, lowest I ever had by over an order of magnitude 🙂 Didn’t care though, banked the 20k and will use it regularly in hope the other card comes back with a higher bonus so I can sign up for it too.

          • Harry T says:

            @BJ
            I’m definitely less wealthy than you and I received a £5000 credit limit for the white card. Kept failing the eligibility checker for both cards though. Managed to somehow be eligible for white the day before the 20k offer ended. tried to get black card the day before it was withdrawn but failed eligibility checker again so it wouldn’t let me apply.

            I will be the first to apply if the Black comes back and I’m eligible. I like staying at the IC Amsterdam.

  9. Eleanor says:

    I’m optimistically booking a trip to HK/Tokyo for next April. I have a BA companion voucher to use.
    I’ve had no problem booking LHR – HKG, I’m waiting for the return leg to become available to book.

    Issue I have is HKG – HND (Tokyo). I would like to book with Avios (I know it isn’t covered with BA companion voucher) as the cost of a one way journey for 2 during cherry blossom season is £££.
    Currently there is available on BA.com for JAL which appears daily. However for Cathay Pacific (what I would prefer to book) there is no availability for 17th March 2021 onwards. This hasn’t changed for a week. Does anyone know anything about this? Do CP not release reward availability to BA daily?
    Many thanks.

    • Eleanor says:

      I have just checked again for the 100th time today and availability has magically appeared! Ignore previous post!

  10. Lesley says:

    Hi. My daughter has just been informed her BA flight to Prague on 30 June has been cancelled. This was booked as a multi centre return flight, ie to Prague but returning from Split (inter railing trip). The Split flight (15 July) hasn’t been mentioned or cancelled. She would like a refund but doesn’t want to be left with a one way ticket from Split back to Heathrow. Also, the booking is for 6, how does the refund/voucher work? Will it be a refund/voucher for each person or one lump sum refund/voucher? Thanks

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