Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Thursday 14th 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/2020/05/14/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-thursday-14th-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 (231)

  • Paul says:

    BOOK – YES or NO ?

    With Virgin now taking bookings some 330 days in advance, would you take the risk to book now?

    The same for other airlines.

    With the uncertainty we now face, where do we stand in 10 months should the airline suddenly say “oh, we’re not flying there now”.

    What would happen with flights booked with airline miles?

    Would you want to be forced to book a long haul economy flight with Ryanair (if they did them) after you were looking forward to the upper class experience you’d booked to meet that anniversary cruise round the Caribbean.

    Personally, the thought of having to squeeze in to a last minute economy seat fills me with more dread than my preferred airline going bust lol

    • marcw says:

      Don´t book anything. We don´t know how the future will look like. Do you want to fight with airlines/insurance companies? It´s better to stay back, look, and once the future is clear, then book.

    • Harry T says:

      I wouldn’t book a miles or revenue fare with Virgin Atlantic. I have better things to do than ring Amex to claim under section 75 if VS go under.

      As a general rule, I wouldn’t book a medium or long haul for a date before 2021 at present, unless booking a redemption on an airline that isn’t likely to go under.

    • Rob says:

      One thing worth noting is that reward seat availability us currently laughably good into the future. I got 4 x BA Club World to San Francisco over Easter for the core two-week school holiday dates. Once flying restarts and BA starts looking realistically at the demand, we are likely to see services cut and merged with the obvious impact on Avios availability.

      For miles, you’d be crazy not to book now (for the bother of a 20 minute call to Amex to arrange S75 later) versus waiting 6 months and finding that reduced schedules means few reward seats.

      Admittedly if you’re not tied to school holidays or looking for 4 seats it is less of a worry.

      • Lady London says:

        I am wondering if BA will run all of their recently opened routes. ive been watching for PY redemptions one way on my route. i dont have many avios left and can just about afford that. Cant stretch to J though.

        there’s Y and J wide open for months. very, very few PY award seats – all of them on too early dates for me. But they are on the days of the week that I travel so I know theyre running a PY class on that plane.

        Not sure what is going on and have bern wondering if BA is rethinking their commitment to new route(s) where there may not be a subsidy from the destination.

        • Rhys says:

          BA has never guaranteed premium economy seats and PE is generally one of the most profitable cabins. Coupled with relatively small number of seats available and I’m not surprised there isn’t availability!

      • BJ says:

        Did you decide yet which hotel you will stay, I recall some discussion in the comments around options a while back?

        • Rob says:

          For San Fran this year, we had booked into the Argonaut. Family friendly, excellent feedback, down by the harbour / chocolate factory and with views of the water and Golden Gate Bridge from certain rooms. Will do the same next year I think assuming we do finally make it!

          • BJ says:

            Didn’t realise you went this year already, time is flying. Good choice and location for the kids I think, and plenty of seafood around.

          • Rob says:

            I didn’t – we were booked but it got corona’d. Now rebooked for next Easter!

  • Harry T says:

    I’m eyeing up a 241 redemption. The return leg is on a plane that is meant to have Club Suite. First is available. Is BA F worth booking for an overnight flight when I may get CS?

    Haven’t flown BA F or J long haul. I gather normal J is awful.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Most people think First should be used for a daytime flight to get the full experience. Personally I would save your avios + extra taxes and go CS overnight, probably not a lot of difference except PJ’s!

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Strongly recommend BA Refund Helper over on FT. Reply received within the hour, updated & all happy as refund due in anytime now.😃

      • Harry T says:

        Sadly the taxes don’t change for J to F! They are the same.

        It would only save 18,000 Avios to fly J rather than F. CS isn’t guaranteed either, I guess!

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Strange, should be some drop in taxes between F & J.
          For 18k avios I would go First then, if you don’t already have Silver / Gold status you will also get free seat selection at time of booking.

          • Harry T says:

            Yeah, I’m BA Blue. My understanding was that there shouldn’t be a change in taxes between J and F but there should be between Y and W, and W and J.

    • Andrew says:

      Highly likely the flight will be cancelled, so wouldn’t spend much time debating it.

      • David says:

        How far ahead are they cancelling flights? I have an Avios trip booked to New Orleans in November and don’t really fancy it any more, given current circumstances. I know a lot can change between now and then, but I can’t see a slim route like that surviving anyway.

    • Michael says:

      In what world is Club awful?

      • Michael says:

        That was meant to be under Harry’s comment

        • Genghis says:

          It’s not exactly market leading (no all direct aisle access), especially if you’re in a rubbish seat in the 777 dorm say. But I generally enjoy flying CW, usually get a direct aisle access seat by the window which is my “cocoon” for the day / night.

          • Michael says:

            I totally appreciate it’s not market leading and is long in the tooth but calling it “awful” is a stretch. Most (non HFP) travellers would give their right leg to turn left on a BA long haul flight just once.

        • Harry T says:

          I meant awful compared to the majority of long haul business products, especially the ME3 or SQ etc.

          • Harry T says:

            My only long haul business flight so far was SQ’s J on the A380 – brand new at the time and only 95k KrisFlyer miles from UK to Darwin. Not convinced BA J will compare favourably.

      • Andrew says:

        Every world – it’s a premium economy product at best.

        • J says:

          Get over yourself. OK it’s not the best business class product in the world but still better than most other European airlines (and better than any of the US Airlines in my opinion). I’d choose Finnair or Virgin over BA, but I rate BA above Lufthansa, AF and KLM.

          • BJ says:

            I’m with Michael and J on this. Too many people magnify small differences in business class products up out of all proportion to their significance in relation to their travel comfort. CW is fine, I always sleep well and despite the high density, it affords greater privacynthan many other layouts. I also like sitting face to face with my travel companion. I find service on BA well above average, a lot of very genuine flight attendants you can have a good conversation with instead of the fake smiles and disinterest typical on some other carriers.

          • Harry T says:

            Okay, I admit it – I just want the F pyjamas.

          • BJ says:

            @Harry T, the best thing about airline pj is wearing those from a competing airline.

        • Michael says:

          That’s absolute nonsense and you know it. It’s not even comparable.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Even on the dated 777’s CW is far better than most PE products.

        • Lady London says:

          i get your sentiment….but wondering are there any PY’s that lie flat?

    • BJ says:

      This cannot be Japan? Too early for olympics yet. In terms of bed to sleep on I’d favour the CSv and avios saving. However, if you get downgraded from F then you are most likely going into CW. Get downgraded from CW and long-legged cattle class is best you can hope for so extra avios get peace of mind.

      • Harry T says:

        @BJ
        Abu Dhabi! Thinking of using my voucher to make a speculative booking. Shame I only have the one!

      • Harry T says:

        Good point about downgrades. 18,000 Avios doesn’t seem like a steep price to pay for peace of mind. Also, CS isn’t guaranteed due to equipment swaps.

        • BJ says:

          And you get a few other extras for your 18k too, Concorde Room for preflight dining options etc.

          • Harry T says:

            Difference for both legs would be 36k. If I did F out and J back, I would save 18k Avios; if I did J for both, I’d save 36k. Outbound is a day flight so CCR would be a definite.

          • BJ says:

            I actually like preflight dining before overnight flights. Eat, walk to the plane, sleep at earliest opportunity, no worries about inflight service or dining. I really only fly premium for a flat bed and a more comfortable seat, I would pass on the rest to be honest.

          • Harry T says:

            Agree on the flat bed element – I find the hard product most beneficial on long haul.

            Good points about Japan. Main reason for booking 241 to AUH is because of the uncertainty around the grand prix. Don’t want to pay cash at present. The ability to cancel for £70 total is attractive.

            What would you say is a good cash fare to AUH/DXB from EDI/NCL/MAN/AMS? There’s J fares for around £1000pp with Swiss from AMS on those dates.

          • Rob says:

            £1k is excellent. Cheapest you’ll ever see on BA is £1299 and you’d be changing anyway if you’re not in London.

            The ONLY snag about Swiss / Lufty to the Middle East is that the return will be 2am. BA, Emirates and Etihad have day flights home.

          • BJ says:

            Don’t know sorry, not amongst my destinations but would guess £1000-1100.

          • Harry T says:

            @Rob
            My only reservation is these flights are in November for a grand prix date that may change. Plus Lufthansa group have been awful about refunds from what I’ve heard. BA is selling the business class flights for my trip for £2787 total for two pax.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @HarryT is it worth a £70 gamble to book AUH the GP looks very likely to be moved/off.

          • Harry T says:

            @TGLoyalty
            I’m booking the weekend that the Grand Prix is allegedly moving to. Multiple source suggesting the same new date.

        • BJ says:

          You’ll always find good cash fares to AUH or DXB, and at under 8h direct from all 4 of your closest airports, it is fine in Y if need be. By contrast, Japan in Y is much less desirable, and it is not a destination that commonly attracts good J cash fares.

        • Harry T says:

          @TGLoyalty
          I’m booking the weekend that the Grand Prix is allegedly moving to. Multiple source suggesting the same new date.

    • Chuck says:

      Nothing wrong with BA J class if you pick the right seat.
      If you pick the wrong seat it’s still a decent product and with a great crew and that can make a huge difference.
      I have flown hundreds of TATL on various carriers and BA is my preferred.
      If you can do First then take it … the seat/bed so much better, you get looked after, some return departure (to UK) experiences better than others so do your research.
      Last F I flew was back to UK on March 8th, fantastic experience despite Co-Vid worries, dedicated bus at T5 (remote gate) chocs from crew, extra wash bag for gf … lashings of LPGS

      • Harry T says:

        @Chuck
        Thanks, good to hear from a few people that BA J is decent. We will nag F if it’s still there when the Avios transfer from Amex.

      • Harry T says:

        Nab!*

      • Lady London says:

        When I did my one and only F from SEA on BA380 Polly said expect BA F to be about same standard as QR J soft and hard. That was bang on.

        But as a couple of other posters have said BA crew really make a difference. They went out of their way to chat and please each F passenger according to the wishes of the passenger (we were a very mixed bag). You could have a conversation with them, they were a team and also individuals. Really, really made a difference.

        Despite my expectations that very experienced BA crew made that one of the best flights I’ve ever been on.

        • Polly says:

          LL. We sadly never got to experience our SEA F, had to cancel due to work plans. But it sounds amazing. We were out to SEA and back from SFO in F. Shame really. But the NYC one more than made up for it.
          And LL, thanks for reminder about QR free flights for nhs. Cat said.They actually sent me a direct email, strangely enough asking me to apply! Had helped out a few times over the years with sick pax, which l had totally forgotten about. Odd bottle of champers as a Tnx. But no upgrades.
          BA were better years ago going to JNB, saved them a diversion into Harare, white male 80 yo MI, 3/4 way to JNB. Begged me to not divert, he lived, thank goodness. Chief steward was ex a and e senior nurse, so a great help. They upgraded us to F on way home.

      • Anna says:

        BA J is great IMO. I’ve always enjoyed the F & B but what is really priceless for me is the space and privacy, especially the absence of a seat back in your face for several hours! I’m short as well so I can really stretch out in that space. Where F trumps J is the seat selection at the time of booking and the access to You First. Those are well worth the extra Avios and fees, though I would tend to fly J on the return leg as it’s not worth the extra when you’re sleeping IMO. Oh, and the Concorde lounge is nice too! Fingers x’d for being back there next Easter 🤞

        • Polly says:

          Oh, I dunno. Anna. Think it’s worth it for the overnight in F, if you can spare the avios. Our one F bk fromJFK was really good. Fab meal in the private dining, a straight sleep til wake up almost on landing. Then into Concorde room for fab breaking and massage if you can book quickly enough! If it’s a one off trip, so worth it. But do take a Nytol, dark blue box from Boots! Highly recommended by our friends we visit in Malaysia. And they work…
          But as LL and l discussed, for Asia ex EU, then J in QR ticks all the boxes.
          Recently have noticed a huge difference in standards of FAs in QR J. Def up the ante there. Have spent good deal of time getting to know crew. Many of them live in Scandinavia. Very smart and well educated. The BA F crew are very polished tho and a pleasure to have around.
          So, the choice is yours, nice to have the choice tho Harry.

  • PerkyPat says:

    Anyone know how long it takes to get avios recredited after an avios booking cancellation? Was cancelled over 2 weeks ago, voucher has been issued.

    • Harry T says:

      If you took a voucher, then your Avios are tied into that…

      • BJ says:

        Otherwise, it should be almost instant and certainly within 24h.

      • PerkyPat says:

        Thanks,
        Theres nothing on the voucher to indicate that(or anything else for that matter!)

        • Harry T says:

          If you asked for a refund to your credit card, then the Avios and voucher would credit back to your account instantly and you would get the [email protected]$h component at a later date.

          However, sometimes they balls up the IT. I’ve had to ring to get a 241 voucher back before. The same can happen with Avios.

          For clarity, when you say voucher do you mean the 241 Companion Voucher or a refund voucher?

          • PerkyPat says:

            Its an RFS from LIN to LHR which they cancelled a couple of weeks ago. I assumed Id get the voucher for the cash part, which is small enough not to want to go through all the hassle of phoning, and have the avios returned to my account.

          • Harry T says:

            I believe your Avios and 241 are now tied into the voucher. It’s worth calling BA to confirm.

          • Rob says:

            Correct.

          • PerkyPat says:

            Thanks Harry, helpful as always

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Got my tesco pet points today 🙂 I am glad as my cat is also cheery today!

  • bill says:

    I have an easyjet flight that was cancelled and when I try to move it in the disruption portal I get an error message. does anyone have a workaround or should i Just call them ? Tried in the app and website (cleared browser cookies, etc).

    • Lady London says:

      IME that part of the system often simply wont work on a particular booking. Unless youre trying to rebook onto a flight that’s not really open),once it starts erroring or hanging it will vontinue to do so regardless, for the whole booking.

      I suggest you call them, the problem will be solved and the agent may know why. Their call centre were working shorter hours than normal last time I called.

  • FloriGuy says:

    Has anyone had the dreaded source of funds check from our friends at the Unicorn valued Fintech?

    If so, how long does it usually take once they have the documents?

  • Roy says:

    I didn’t get an e-mail from Accor letting me know (AFAIK) but I just noticed that my Ibis Business Card has been extended by an additional six months.