The new HFP chat thread – Monday 11th 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/2020/05/11/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-11th-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!

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Comments

  1. 1nfrequent says:

    Anyone got experience trying to get a credit balance transferred from IHG Creation to a bank account?

    I got 2 refunds to my IHG Creation card – one for £500+ and one for £50. I was told that because the total was over £500 then the transfer to my bank account needed to be done by the back office and I needed to email an address attaching proof of the original purchases. The back office has accepted my evidence for the £500+ element.

    The £50 refund was for a deposit on a holiday. I paid the balance of that holiday using a different credit card. IHG Creation’s back office is insisting I provide them with proof that I paid the balance of the holiday and want to see my credit card statement. I’ve queried why they want this because I’ve already provided proof of receipt of the deposit and payment of the original amount. They just come back with the same cut and paste reply saying they need to see the total payment in order to “process the refund” despite my telling them they already have the refund and this is a credit balance transfer. They also tell me the credit card statement needs to show the account number and sort code, which clearly isn’t relevant as I paid on a credit card.

    I’m nervous about sending details of a different credit card to what’s basically an overseas centre and worried that I’ll do it and then get asked for more documentation. Has anyone else been through this and is it normal? Should I just phone IHG Creation and ask them to transfer the £50 separately as it’s under their £500 limit?

    Thanks in advance.

    1F

    • asish says:

      You can send to revoult or monese with the curve card

    • I used resolver to make a complaint when I had an issue Creation were unwilling or incapable of resolving (pun intended). I got a phone call with £100 goodwill and problem solved a few days after the first escalation point.

    • you can send to revoult or monese with the curve card

    • Brasov says:

      I don’t understand why not just spend it. Or withdraw as cash through Curve.

  2. Harry T says:

    Anyone stayed at the W Amsterdam recently? How was your experience?

    I previously stayed there about a year ago on points and was on the Exchange side in a Wonderful room – room was small and had a shower in a strange cupboard. The spa was amazing though. Didn’t get an upgrade as a Bonvoy Gold but this was the height of summer and it was packed out. Probably got a better chance of an upgrade in January.

    Eyeing it for a redemption of 60k Bonvoy a night (cash prices predictably the usual Amsterdam stupidity of £535 for a single night, room only).
    The Amstel and Waldorf Astoria don’t have any reward availability for the night I want. Waldorf is €1000 a night for the basic room. Amstel is £460 for a basic room.

    • Anecdotally I’ve heard W are not the best for status recognition and upgrades. I’ve always thought they look a bit overpriced with as you’ve mentioned small standard rooms and style over substance.

    • Also, the Doubletree NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam is great and very good value for money – bit of an alternative location in Amsterdam Noord but lots of cool cafes bars and restaurants, there is a free ferry connecting it to Centraal Station.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Have you considered the Doubletree by Centraal? Not quite as luxurious but the suites have great views if you enjoy watching the world go by.

    • Chuck says:

      @Harry, IMHO that W is awful … I have had a couple of work stays there and found it odd. Dingy rooms, as another poster said weird shower. Now there are 2 buildings they have on opposite sides of the street so maybe the other is better. Had to eat in the restaurant 1 night, not good either…
      Another vote for Hilton Centraal from me …

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks everyone – I shall look into the DoubleTree.

  3. GRIMZ says:

    I am due to pay the balance of a cottage holiday in the UK on the 23rd May for a holiday on the 4th July. They want to take £180 from me to cancel. Given that our advice from the Government is for us not to go on holiday in the UK or abroad should the company not just refund me the full amount? The full amount of £500 will be taken from my bank automatically on the 23rd May. What are my options here? Surely if we are not allowed to go holiday i should get a refund!

    • memesweeper says:

      ‘Given that our advice from the Government is for us not to go on holiday in the UK or abroad should the company not just refund me the full amount?’

      Trouble is there’s a chance staycations of this kind with your family will be permitted by July.

      ‘Surely if we are not allowed to go holiday i should get a refund!’

      If the law requires *them* to be closed at the time of your visit, I think you will be entitled to a refund — which isn’t quite the same thing. It’s not impossible that a cottage in England might be open for rent, but visitors from Wales or France would be unable to legally attend. I don’t think the cottage owner would be obliged to refund in those circumstances.

      Good luck.

    • I think that memesweeper has it about right.
      If you havent insured the risk, wait and see whether the government road map gives some better clarity on this. This is likely to be one of the first parts of the holiday sector to open up since it is domestic & customers can easily socially distance.
      If the T&Cs say that you lose the deposit for cancellation then that is what will happen. However the better cottage companies are allowing customers to rebook for up to a year later, have you tried this.

      • Grimz says:

        The problem is that I was going to an event in that area which has been cancelled. I would happily change the date or take a voucher but they will only do that for the same cottage which is not suitable. I have travel insurance via my bank.

    • I think a lot of people are in a similar position, and I’m also assuming that there will be a slew of cancellations by overseas travellers if the 14 day quarantine requirement comes into effect. I think a lot of it will come down to the terms of the bookings and of people’s travel insurance.
      It was being reported that Center Parcs are already charging £2k per week from when they re-open at the end of May; even I don’t need a holiday that much!! (if we do have a staycation it will be in a very remote cottage somewhere, not a heaving glorified campsite).

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Just received a refund from BA but only for the seat reservation fees.
        I’m expecting a large sum refunded for the taxes paid on a cancelled AVIOS booking.
        Has anyone else only received part of the refunds due? If so, how much longer did others wait for the other part refund?

        • Mine have come back in dribs and drabs, ranging from 5 working days to over 3 weeks and required the intervention of BA Refund Helper! the different elements do all seem to come back separately though, so it doesn’t mean you won’t get your “taxes” back.

        • Carol says:

          My flight was cancelled on March 13th. I got the £36 baggage fee back after a month and a few phone calls, but still waiting for the flight refund. BA say they have now escalated this and it should be back on my cars in the next 7 days. Apparently they had rejected my refund request as I had asked for a voucher – totally incorrect as I have the email to prove I requested cash

      • Interestingly some countries have already published their outline road map for this relaxation, including Ireland. Last time I looked, Irelands was @ 15 July for general travel in the country and @ 10 August for use of hotels and holiday accommodation, by which time socially distanced bars and restaurants should be open. If you want an overseas holiday this might be the best time to visit our neighbours using the benefit of the CTA.

        • Lockdown Larry says:

          “socially distanced bars and restaurants ”

          that sounds like a rubbish way to spend a holiday (obvs that’s not how you’ll spend all of your trip but i’d rather wait and have a holiday that I’ll actually enjoy)

          • Sounds like how I’d imagine the pub and club scene is in Pyongyang in normal times😂

  4. OT:
    Just called virgin cc. Been told my fee will be charged today. Apparently my year ended yesterday. I asked to cancel the card so that they don’t charge the fee. For which she says they can’t cancel unless I pay off the balance AND I can’t pay off now coz there’s transactions pending from the 9th.
    What are my options? Is it £160 gone down the drain? Had no plans to renew.

    (Last year my fee was charged on 11 June).

    • Harry T says:

      Clear the balance and pending balance with a faster transfer from your bank, then call to cancel. The faster payments via bank transfer only take a couple of hours (I did it the other day before closing my card).

      • Thanks Harry,
        Just cleared the balance. Will call around 5 and see. I suspect they will come up with another excuse.

        How easy are they to deal with refunds on a closed card? I am expecting just under £2K in refunds at some point soon.

        • I think this should be quite an easy process. I just spoke to Virgin Money customer services to cancel my card before the new fee is levied, and explained that that I’ll be expecting one more large refund coming down the line post-account-closure. They told me I’d need to call up, and they’ll then process any outstanding monies by bank transfer.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Didn’t think you could clear a pending balance? I have a pending transaction which has been cancelled but still sitting as pending on my account.

          • Harry T says:

            You probably can’t truly clear a pending balance but my feeling is, if he/she has already paid enough money on the card that it would cover the impending charges, then he will have a strong argument that he has fulfilled his obligations, and can cancel.

          • Update: did faster payment with enough cash to cover even pending transactions. Soon as I saw update zeroing my balance I called. Ofcourse I got a different agent who then said the only way to avoid next year fee is if I had cancelled my card at month 11. For which I said I need to raise formal complaint. Then he talked to his supervisor who said if we don’t spend anything from today we will get a refund. Then he said faster payments takes 3 days to clear so we can’t cancel today we need to call back after 3 days. Who knows what we will be told next time we call. 🙆🏻‍♀️🤷‍♀️

          • Harry T says:

            It says in the Virgin app that faster payments can clear in two hours.

            Don’t let these jokers charge you an annual fee. Just keep ringing until you get through to someone competent. Perhaps send a secure message on their website or an email to lay out in writing your intention to cancel before being charged the annual fee? Could help to have something in writing.

          • Good idea Harry, I will definitely put something in writing. I also pointed this out to him that from past experience faster payments clear within hours and not days.

          • Lady London says:

            IME faster payments clear within 10min. sounds like the 3 days is for them manually applying it to your account after its been received.

            Good advice to put something to them in writing today. i would mention the contents of both calls today and their in timing and the fact that youve promptly complied. you can also remind them that kast yeae they billed on 11th June and you made a point to cancel promptly this year and you do not expect their admin to cause delays after you’ve complied. Tell them youve cut the card in half and ask do they want the bits returned.

  5. Sunguy says:

    Question about BA Exec club and renewal years:

    First – I know that BA will not let you change your TP collection year date – however, my wife’s one is very inconvenient – it falls over a month when we are usually on holiday so half the flights are in 1 year and half the flights are in the next. She is due to fall back to blue shortly, so has no status, just avios and no flights booked currently.

    Im thinking about creating her a new account, which will of course have a different year renewal date, uncoupling her current Exec account from the household one, moving avios to another account. – creating an Aer Lingus account should do it I think and then closing that account.

    Then hopefully adding back the avios from her new exec club account and re-adding her to the household.

    What, if any, drawbacks would there be to this – other than flight history and having to re-input already stored info like passport, etc ?

    • MIGHT work. You’d need a different email on the new account and you’d need to change the email on the Aer Lingus account once the Avios were there, in order to be able to transfer them back to the new account.

      No big loss given her current lack of status.

    • The only thing about the TP year end is that I think it is not based on when you apply for the account but based on when you first take a flight that earns TP and when that is credited to your account. I don’t think it is based on when you start earning Avios. So unless you are able to fly soon I don’t see an advantage in creating a new account now.

    • I did exactly this and for the same reasons! I can confirm that this does NOT work unfortunately. Presumably some type of anti-fraud flag was raised when the points were moved from one BA account to an Iberia holding account and then moved back to a different BA account from which they originated (all with the same name and address). BA deleted the new account and moved the Avios back to where they originated, so I would not recommend it.

  6. BBC reporting that Richard Branson is intending to sell a stake in Virgin Galactic, aiming to raise $500m to prop up his other business including Virgin Atlantic.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52596273

    • james says:

      Hope he pulls it off. Virgin is a fantastic British brand. Shocking lack of support for airlines by UK government compared to other countries, have the printing machines at BoE gotten stuck?

      Space travel looks like a dead duck anyway, goodness knows what kind of viruses will come back from that trip!!

  7. Chuck says:

    Le Mans 24 … thinking of going in September… tickets still available.
    Seems like a good option as I like driving and Euro Tunnel should get me across no problem.
    Have any HfP readers been before ?
    Tips/Advice ?

    • memesweeper says:

      I’ve been, the racing’s great. Sadly not all those in the camping area are great company, and when I was there last tents were robbed. If I was to go back, and I hope to one day, I’d try and get into some sort of upmarket enclosure. There’s a bar at Tertre Rouge which I found to be a good spot during the day; and at night the main stand is great — the cars pass with red-hot glowing brakes which is awesome. Oh, and expect no sleep, it’s deafening even a mile from the track.

  8. @mkcol says:

    Tried to use my free IHG card to pay my VS Rewards Plus card to maximise point-earning using Curve Metal. Declined twice – is it not possible?
    I know it works the other way around.

  9. Clive says:

    Marriott offering 50% bonus on points purchase and 20% off gift cards

    • That’s early …. wasn’t meant to launch until next Monday. Must be desperate!

      • Clive says:

        I see the Gift Cards are $ denominated and wonder if anyone has experience using them in hotels outside the US and what exchange rate is used? Could be nasty if it is a “Hotel” rate and not official.

        • Harry T says:

          Originally I was excited by the discounted gift cards but I can see the potential to be gouged on the exchange rate. Also can’t use them at certain properties or on prepaid rates.

          Allegedly the points bonus will be 60%.

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Can you use U.S dollars to purchase or Euros instead of GBP. Curve could get a better rate…

      • Jimbob says:

        Can’t see it yet on the points.com website.
        Are they also increasing the annual limit of 50k points you can buy per annum?

        • Jimbob says:

          Offer launching on the 18th, as Rob mentioned

          • Clive says:

            https://gifts.marriott.com/ Offer is up

            Harry the exceptions are minimal TBH

            The following Marriott Hotel Brands DO NOT accept Marriott GiftCards: Bulgari®, Design Hotels™, Homes & Villas by Marriott International™,The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club® .

          • But … when you pay you are at the risk of the FX rate charged by the gift card company and you are likely to be stuck with a few quid at the end. It’s a decent deal if you are spending them in the USA and can wipe the value down to exactly $0 though.

          • Harry T says:

            @Clive
            Agreed. I’m more worried about the exchange rate when redeeming these USD gift cards outside of the US.

    • Harry T says:

      Another site is reporting that Bonvoy has informed them that the gift card purchases should be eligible for earning 6 Bonvoy points per USD. Anyone reckon this will work on the UK Bonvoy Amex?

  10. Harry T says:

    Branson has sold £405m of Virgin Galactic shares to help prop up Virgin Atlantic and his other leisure/travel businesses, the Guardian is reporting.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Hope this is enough to keep points going.

      • Harry T says:

        I hope so, even though mine are all in Hilton now (just topping up the final 9000 to 10,000 so I can transfer out).

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Anyone else keep getting “Balance Segment Transfer” in their Creation accounts?
          I’m seeing one or two a month, a transaction amount debits then credits by the next line.
          What does this mean?

  11. @mkcol says:

    Noticed the website isn’t displaying correctly on my mobile tonight.
    I’ve no it got the desktop version selected & the “simplified view” offered is awful.
    Anyone else?

    • Just you I think but there was another isolated incident a couple of weeks ago. Once we get the redesign finalised – and we’re looking at 8 weeks max now to get it live if all goes well – then these problems will end because we won’t be juggling two separate templates any longer.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Not related to top ups!

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