Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Sunday 10th May

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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/2020/05/10/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-sunday-10th-may/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!

Comments (239)

  • Dezbez says:

    Random question alert…..
    Whilst the value of an Avios or FC mile is well documented, has anyone ever tried to put a value on airline Tier status? I’m guessing it’s much harder as there are many more components and also it’s much more subjective than miles? And obviously, right now there’s a real risk it’ll soon be worthless, but in normal times they potentially have a lot of value. The recent Virgin offer of 100 bonus tier points with a VH booking got me thinking, that’s all (eg they offer one night stays at a M/cr or Gatwick airport hotels for c£100/night)

    • Travel Strong says:

      It’s very subjective.
      For example, the value of Silver to me is Nil (I have amex for lounges, I do not care about priority check in desks, boarding, or seat selection, and I fly mostly redemption flights so bonus miles earning rates are not applicable).

      • Jack says:

        BA lounges are far better than any lounge in UK that your AMEX will get you into

        • Paul says:

          Not sure about that assertion. For example, T5 main has the BA Galleries Club which is often a zoo when I have been there but the Plaza Premium lounge (Amex Plat and DragonPass but not Priority Pass) is usually more pleasant, typically with better food. Admittedly, the BA Club lounge in the satellite building is very enjoyable as it is usually much less busy than its main building counterpart. So I wouldn’t say your point is universally true about lounge quality with BA being better than Amex as Plaza have some excellent UK lounge offerings.

      • The Original Nick says:

        I find that free seat selection for all on same booking, fast track, lounge access is a god send. Yes the PP at T5 is OK I agree.

    • the_real_a says:

      About 10 years ago i decided to value it as zero – well £200 which was the cost of an unlimited priority pass at the time. I more than covered this by taking the best value airline to where i wanted to go at a time and date that was convenient – and paying for priority boarding on short flights. The only times i slightly regretted my decision was checking in for Asian flights on one-world partners where the check-in queue was regularly an hour or more.

    • memesweeper says:

      The value of status is heavily dependent on how much you fly. I’ve stopped flying for work and had one BA leisure trip in the last nine months… my status is useless, for now. If I’m in and out of Heathrow weekly again in the future I’d value BA status greatly.

  • Adam says:

    Long time reader (big fan!), but first time poster 🙂

    I currently have a (points collecting) trip to Tokyo (ticket starts in mainland Europe) booked in mid Oct, when QR had a great sale on back in Jan.

    This week I received an email from QR with the subject “Changes to your Qatar Airways flight timings” – on checking the details, 3 out of my 4 flight numbers (and so timings) have changed and I’m now due to land/depart in NRT and not HND (as per my original booking) – with 773s all the way 🙁 (before the route was a mix of 787 and 35K)

    I understand QR are offering refunds/vouchers up until end of Sep, so I know I’ve probably got to sit things out a bit longer, but I dug a bit deeper, and it appears QR have removed the original sets of flights completely – at least until the end Oct (based on recent FR24 history and Goolge Flights forward schedule)

    I know this is still many months away and *lots* more has to happen to even consider actually taking the flights, but does the fact that 3/4 flight numbers have been changed and the destination airport constitute sufficient grounds for a refund (or the option to switch back to the original itinerary if the HND flights resume sooner, without having to wait for the voucher window to be extended?

    Or do I hope QR extend their voucher/refund window for another month giving me choice anyway?

    • Lady London says:

      Your original flights are cancelled, significantly changed etc.

      What are you waiting for? Ec261/2004 gives you a right to a full refund in these circumstances provided your flights depart out of Europe (as QR is not s European airline). They are supposed to refund you within 7/#24 days (can’t remember which). You have the right to a refund of your whole booking if even just one flight kut is significantly altered or cancelled. As flight numbers have changed its clearly cancelled.

      There is no question about this. Because it’s QR and not seeing reports of fast refunds, ask them for a refund based on their canckation of your original flight(s), give them 14 days to refund and if you don’t see the money in that time do a section 75 refund request in your credit card.

      Plus I would want to cancel given that equipment change anyway.

    • Reeferman says:

      Hi Adam
      Lady London is correct, but prepare for a lengthy battle with Qatar. I had a similar situation with a significant time change on the final leg of my r.t. ex-EU at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak in Europe. Qatar refused to accept my cash refund request. In the end, I made a S75 claim and all the monies were fully refunded, of course.

    • Adam says:

      Thank you Lady London and Reeferman,

      Yes – the equipment change alone (especially missing Q-Suites) makes wants me to change the trip anyway, but I know that’s not a valid reason under the T&Cs.

      However the change in flight numbers, outbound leg now leaving 5hr 45 earlier (which has also messed up my positioning BA flight to CPH – on a different ticket, so that’s a different issue) and change of destination airport seems good reason to claim a refund. Hopefully processed swiftly, otherwise Section 75 here I come!

      • Lady London says:

        Reeferman’s comments are why I said only give QR 14 days before going to section 75 on credit card. If there is a chance airline is refunding reasonably promptly and with good grace I’d have said regardless of the fact that Ec261/2004 says they have to refund you in 7 days give them 28. But we are not hearing good stories about QR refunding so I’d give them 14 then straight to section 75.

        The basis for your section 75 claim is that card and QR are equally liable that you get what you paid for in accordance with contract and any governing statutes. The governing stature here is Ec261/2004.

        For the sake of good order before asking card for section 75 refund you must have tried to get the merchant (QR here) to refund. Sometimes I’d advise trying them 2 or 3 times. But we’re hearing QR isn’t refunding when they should so ask once for your refund from them for the sake of good order then go section 75 via your credit card. Life’s too short to mess around

    • YH says:

      I’ve had exactly the same issue. I booked flights to Tokyo HND during the January sale and now these have been changed to Tokyo NRT. 3 of my 4 flights have been changed, different flight numbers and times. Have also gone from 4 segments on A350 to 3 segments on 777 and 1 on A350. My seat selections have also been changed and I can’t seem to update my seat selection in MMB, the option has disappeared, very strange.

      Does anyone know if there is a time limit as to when I can request a refund? Does it have to be within a certain amount of time after they notified me of the change or does it simply have to be before departure? The flights aren’t till September so happy to wait and not call up the busy call centres for now.

      • Lady London says:

        What are you waiting for? Same advice as to Adam above.

        Note there’s always a high risk of equipment change with QR anyway so any other changes are far far worse.

      • Adam says:

        If you use the COVID travel advice link on the QR homepage they have an online form you can fill in specifically requesting a refund – which I’ve done – takes a few moments – but as it’s written in their system directly it skips any phone queues and you have a nice email trail to provide as evidence you’ve made contact and QRs response.

        Sounds like most who booked in the Jan sale to HND is going to be disappointed, that even assumes Japan will let in visitors from overseas by then, without a quarantine period the length of most people’s whole trip!

  • marcw says:

    IMHO giving a value to TP is pointless. You could provide a value to tiers/levels itself, but all of us have different priorities (and it also depends where you live). Why is is pointless to give TP a value? From 1 to 299 they are valueless. From 300 to 599 they have the “same” value (=Bronze),… and so on.
    What you can do, but this is only relevant if you do TP runs or qualify yearly with you normal flying pattern, is calculate the GBP=1TP. Normally 1 gpp = 1 TP is seen as excellent value. 1-2 Gbp = 1 TP. is good value, generally speaking.

  • Dicksbits says:

    Parents ‘trapped’ in Spain at second home and due to take UK domestic flight with Eastern Airways in late July. £394 spent for two return flights. Originally we thought the tickets might have been lost completely due to them being booked via Flybe, but Eastern have confirmed they’re still valid. I have checked Eastern’s Covid19 T&Cs and it seems that they can change it for a £25 pp fee subject to availability until 23 Oct. Seeing as they still may not be back in the UK, does anyone think they should pursue a claim via their Saga travel insurance on the basis that they couldn’t reasonably make the flights or is the money lost for good?

    • marcw says:

      we’re still in May…

    • Lady London says:

      Read the ts and cs of their insurance very carefully to see if they’re covered. If so then I’d claim. If not then you have time to move the flights but given the Flybe history and time risk that might turn out not to be as flexible / moveability might not be given as you’d like but still better than losing the money if it turns out the ts and cs of their Saga policy would not get them a refund.

    • Anna says:

      How are they “trapped” exactly? People are still being allowed to leave the country. I doubt they would be covered by their insurance if it can be shown that there were flights leaving Spain for the UK which they could have caught (which there are, according to the British Embassy in Madrid).

      • Dicksbits says:

        There are no flights at all landing from the UK to their local airport and they are 80+ so not wise to travel a long way to reach any flight within Spain

        • Anna says:

          Has that been the case ever since Britons were told to return home asap, in mid-March? Obviously you need to check whether Saga will cover them, but there are a lot of reports of Brits who are “stranded” because they ignored the official advice or just don’t want to leave in case they aren’t allowed to return in the medium term, and I suspect insurance companies will take quite a hard line on this.

          • Dicksbits says:

            Well, I think in a situation that’s ever changing, it’s perfectly reasonable that people didn’t flee the country mid-March.

            In any case I’ve now read that Eastern will allow a delay up to a year, so all could be well

          • Anna says:

            How is it reasonable to refuse to leave on the official advice of both the UK and Spanish governments in the face of a pandemic?!! They don’t issue these advisories on a whim 🙄

          • Anna says:

            Larry, you can’t compare Colombia with Spain which still has several daily flights into the UK. Complete apples and oranges.

        • Anna says:

          If they are in the Costa del Sol area and can’t get a flight from Malaga, there are apparently several flights per week from Gibraltar to London. It’s reported that Gib airport is very quiet and numerous people have successfully used this route to get back (you can apparently enter Gib from Spain, but not the other way round at the moment).

          • Lady London says:

            @Dicksbits if they’re over 80 I would advise them to stay put whether they are currently in the UK or Spain. Their age puts them in a very high risk group. Neither Spain nor the UK has the outbreak under control. For me travel in either country is a big risk. I could not bear to think how their life would change at that age if I e or both of them got hit.

            If they are in a safe place with water, electricity, a way to keep off the rain and access to medical help should they need it, a safe way to get food and otherwise healthy and no urgent reason to be somewhere else then why aren’t they just staying put?

            I would just view those Eastern Airways flights as gone in order to keep their safety. Returning to the UK may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire infection-wise.

            So recover what you can as it’s unsafe for them to travel now and walk away from the rest. Remember that conditions for Eastern Airways bookings may not be the same if bought via flybe.

            On a goodwill basis Eastern Air may transfer though or if you explain, they might temporarily move the flights as far forward as technically possible and agree that you can pull the date back to when it’s safe for them to travel.

            Surely your parents not exposing themselves to the virus by travel in either country is what’s important? The Eastern Air side is just a salvage operation.

          • Anna says:

            Respectfully disagree, LL. I would be looking to move heaven and earth to get my parents home. Spain may well be heading for a second wave, with its health care system in crisis. Back in March the press was reporting on horrific scenes of army personnel being sent in to disinfect old people’s homes and finding scores of dead and dying residents who had been abandoned by staff and things got worse after that, with patients seen lying on floors in hospital corridors waiting to be treated. 80 year olds are very likely to need health care at some point and retired ex-pats are not going to be a priority. Also, in Spanish hospitals nurses only perform medical procedures; feeding and washing patients, for example, is expected to be done by the family. Hopefully the OP’s travel insurance provides for private care in the event that they fall ill, but again this needs to be checked in the light of advice given by the UK government and foreign office over the past weeks.

          • Anna says:

            Also, how long is the insurance policy valid for? Most only cover a maximum length of trip, such as 90 days.

  • Claire says:

    If I sign up for Platinum charge card now (personal or business, im open to both) will I get the ‘retention offer’?

  • Don says:

    Seems like it’s possible to do £500 in one go with Monese from a debit card now. I wonder if that’s upped the limit to £1000?

    • Don says:

      Looks like it was updated today. Limit is now £1k a month. Nothing to get too excited about but still £6 a month on HH is another offset on the Metal fee of £12.50. I am highly doubtful that £1k a month on Monese would get me shut down or KYCed. It’s peanuts.

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    I have a 241 expiring in October. Its validity has already been extended by 6 months by BA.

    I would like to book a flight to the US after October – is there any way I can do this an use the 241.

    IE. Book a flight for June to Denver (not a Trump gateway) and then when BA cancels, I can rebook for when when I want?

    • Jonathan says:

      I don’t think this will work as BA have a pretty good firm transatlantic schedule for June now (it doesn’t include Denver) so buying a ticket with the purpose of essentially getting a free date change almost certainly won’t happen. You’re then locked into a travel voucher which you may or may not want to use & are providing BA with an interest free loan!

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Yes, but will the travel voucher allow me to rebook for a time after the 241 expires?

        • Lee says:

          Es, you should get a voucher until April 2022. That’s what I have. And the main reason I went for be voucher was because of the extension which was one year originally. My 241 was due to expire August 20 so m happy with the voucher and extended date.

          • Colin MacKinnon says:

            Thanks Lee. If I was booked to Denver and it was cancelled, am I restricted to Den – or could I swap to LAX or SJC.

            I don’t mind lending BA the cash for the fees etc if it saves me a ton of Avios!

    • AJA says:

      Colin your problem will be booking the flight to Denver in June. Since its not an official entry airport I don’t think you’ll be able to book a direct flight on BA using Avios and your 2-4-1. I just checked for a couple of random dates in June for a cash ticket and it’s only offering indirect on American. If you found Avios availability in June on any other direct flight chances are the flight wouldn’t be cancelled. You also risk that the advice not to travel is lifted by the US so you’d be able to pay £35 per passenger to change the flight but only to validity of the ticket.

  • Paul says:

    QUESTION – HELP PLEASE

    My wife has 98,000 virgin miles and I have 240,000

    We want to fly Lon to Miami on December 9th 2020 and return December 19th.

    Love to go “First” but saving point for her 50th next year so probably looking Premium Economy.

    What are our best options?

    I believe we both have a Reward Voucher and a Companion Voucher but no idea how or where to use them (we are only on the Red Tier).

    Can anyone offer help on the best and cheapest way to fly Premium Economy (or even “first”) please.

    I believe we need to book certain fare codes but dont know what they are or where to find them – I did see the seatspy website but that doesnt show the various options.

    THANK YOU

    • Lev441 says:

      You need to call up Flying Club to redeem the upgrade vouchers you both have.

      if you use the upgrade voucher, you’ll pay the economy miles rate but the premium economy taxes & fees which is around £480…

    • Brian says:

      Pretty sure you can pool VFC to make a group redemption?
      Give them a call and book it.

    • Paul says:

      Thank You

      Is it correct that we cannot use the upgrade voucher to go from Economy to “first” if we are red tier?

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