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The new HFP chat thread – Thursday 21st 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/2020/05/21/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-thursday-21st-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 (173)

  • John carribean says:

    Laithwaites 15% off offer on Amex didn’t come through , as seemingly Laithwaites are changing to Berkshire and not the website. Did anyone else have this problem?

  • Alex says:

    Anyone got bookings for later in the year and decided what they’re going to do?
    I’ve got Vegas booked for early October flying from Paris with BA that I don’t think I want to go on now. Thankfully just booked flights so far. Booked on 3rd March I think. Not sure what to do yet.

    • Rhys says:

      If you’re not sure yet I would give it some time. A lot can change in 5 months.

      • Alex says:

        My worry is things change enough that I can go but not enough that Vegas is open fully and I can’t get the full experience.

        If I could take a cash refund now then I would but I know that’s not possible.

    • Rob says:

      October is a long time away. However, assuming this is a cash booking, you might get lucky as there is a good chance your flight gets retimed or cancelled as BA plays with its schedules, giving you an excuse to claim a refund.

      We have two weeks in the Middle East over October which I expect to happen. Varies by location though – currently weighing up South Africa for Christmas but that seems riskier than the Middle East in October.

      Vegas would be fine as long as you didn’t go into any of the casinos.

      • Alex says:

        Yes it was a cash booking, I guess wait and hope for a schedule changes or advice doesn’t change. Fortunately don’t need the money but would be nice to change the time booked off with work to another time.

        Anyways thanks both for your quick opinions.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        I’m no gambler but would count popping into the casinos as part of the Vegas experience…

        • MattB says:

          Exactly…we were booked for August, but I cancelled it a while back. Managed to move flight to Easter 2021 but i’m not confident of going then either. Whats the point in going somewhere like Vegas with these restrictions…..coupled with the fact the US is one of the few countries doing worse than the UK?

          • Andrew says:

            Agree – even if we can travel in the coming months (and years) it will be such an enjoyable experience getting there and when you’re there, what’s the point? Time to pay down the mortgage a bit over the next couple of years with the travel money saved and retire a little earlier than planned maybe.

          • Alex says:

            I could change my flight to February 2021 for no cost which is more likely to go ahead but still unlikely to get the full experience.

            I could move it to July 2020 which is much more likely to get cancelled but it would cost me nearly €8000 to do it. Not sure that’s worth the gamble.

          • Chrish says:

            [email protected] What makes you think U.S. is doing worse than U.K.
            Looking at the charts yes it looks like U.S.doing a lot worse than U.K.
            But is it actually if you examine it more closely per % population they are a lot below U.K
            Depends on your perspective

        • Rob says:

          I’ve been 3 times and my total casino expenditure was under $10 in total!

      • Andrew says:

        Depends if Trump opens the borders – currently anyone who isn’t a US citizen or green card holder (or diplomat etc) isn’t able to travel to USA.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          But if your flight is scheduled and flys that’s your problem not BA’s.

          Vegas isn’t one of the “gateway” airports but I can’t see a ban until October based upon Trump forever talking about getting back to business.

          I can see why you wouldn’t want to go to Vegas if everything is closed especially bars/clubs/restaurants.

  • Anna says:

    The Caribbean Times and other media reporting that St Lucia, Antigua and other islands are opening up to tourists from June (though hurricane season is imminent and predicted to be a bad one). St Lucia is an odd one, it’s ONLY opening to Americans, and they will have to have a COVID-negative certificate, wear masks at the most times, observe social distancing and have their temperatures taken before every meal. I am assuming St Lucia must be utterly desperate for tourist $ just now, but are the Americans that desperate to go abroad just now?!

  • Isobel Brown says:

    Have a 2-4-1 Rewards flight booked with BA. Out August to Vancouver, return Sept from Calgary.
    Just heard that the return flight has been cancelled.
    Should BA wave any cancellation fees for the outward flight when I call them cancel it?

    • Anna says:

      If it’s one booking you should get a full refund for both legs.

    • AndyGWP says:

      Also just got notification that our outbound flight to Calgary is cancelled for August (but return from another airport is fine)

      • AndyGWP says:

        Will have to put some thought now into:
        a) finding another way to get to Calgary (ie. change outbound to Vancouver, and get internal flight)
        b) abandon Canada and change outbound flight to the US to travel onwards from there (which is where return airport is)
        c) abandon everything and rent a caravan in Slough

        Ignoring (for now) the unknown issue of access to particular countries – and I know this information has been previously shared (and I will re-read the articles) but for cancelled (avios booked) flights, is there any kind of timescale I need to operate within to get the best result?

        Or do I have time to dwell on it (ie. for “a” and “b”, Avios availability on flights to Vancouver might not exist) – suggestions welcome (again, ignoring Covid as a factor for destinations, but not ignoring it in terms of flexibility!)

        Sorry for going over old / regular ground :/

        • Lady London says:

          any reroute including internal flight is still part of your rerouting rights so should cost you nothing

          • AndyGWP says:

            Cheers LL…

            1) Is that even if internal is not on BA / Oneworld?
            2) Am I correct that taking the re-route now (LHR -> Vancouver -> Calgary), would then mean I couldn’t cancel for free if Canada are still imposing a 14 day quarantine and…
            3) (Note to self), I need to check if insurance covers me for a full trip refund due to flight cancellation as they could possibly be infringed if I choose to re-route and cancel at a later date

          • Lady London says:

            1)They are responsible for rerouting you on their own airline or any other airline that can get you there and it should not cost you anything
            2) if you had booked a flight that wasnt cancelled then the airline is not responsible if your immigration status or the rules for that changed – personally this is why I’d take the refund
            3) yup would look into this too

  • Geoff says:

    Following Qatar cancelling one of my flights I requested a cash refund on 12 May. Funds were received back to my Amex yesterday. No communication from Qatar yet to confirm cancellation. Pretty fast service.

    • Genghis says:

      You had better look than me! My chargeback was successful, however, and got a little brucie this week as my “portal” cash turned to payable and I got the money in my bank account. Nearly a ton. Happy days.

      • Genghis says:

        luck!!

        • Lady London says:

          Well done. I take it you will move it out pronto? I do see the odd report of even at that stage disappearing or reducing…

  • RussellH says:

    Reasonably present surprise this morning.
    We had been due to fly BHX-BCN this afternoon on Vueling. I got a voucher around a month ago. Phone message today still said to wait a few weeks before asking for cash, but surprising I was only on hold for 2+ mins after listening to the pre-recorded messages, and it only took the agent, Ricardo, another 4 mins to process the refund, even including re-reading the pre-recorded message about how wonderful the voucher is.
    Now to wait 60 days for the cash…

  • Anna says:

    So, OH and I might be able to squeeze in 3-4 nights somewhere between Xmas and New Year (earliest outbound day would be Dec 26th, latest inbound Jan 3rd), using a 2 4 1. LAS and other US cities are coming up but I’m not sure whether the USA will be a viable option by then. Availability to DXB and AUH is extremely limited, presumably because everyone else thinks they might be safer options as well! I have loads of HH, IHG and Bonvoy points plus Ambassador free night cert. Needs to be a LHR departure due to MAN connection. Anyone got any ideas? I’d like to do the outbound in F if possible, so would prefer a long haul destination.

    • Anna says:

      There is availability flying into AUH and out of DXB for 3 nights which might be just about feasible?

      • Michael says:

        Easily doable flying into once city and out the other if that’s what you mean. 3 nights in either is plenty.

    • Harry T says:

      Abu Dhabi, Dubai or evening Doha (I hear there’s a decent IC in Doha). I assume you’re looking for sun and relaxation instead of a thrilling cultural experience.

      • Anna says:

        Either/both, Harry. If there’s no culture to be had we’d like a nice hotel, some sunshine, good food and spa treatments! If there’s culture, we’re not that bothered about the weather or the spa treatments.

        • Harry T says:

          Good point from Rob. Four Seasons usually a better choice than most, unless you’re in Sydney.

          @Anna could you book cash flights instead? Might be some good deals out there. I appreciate if you don’t want to commit to cash, given the uncertainty. There were some solid J fares to Dubai from Amsterdam, but I booked BA F to Abu Dhabi for the race partly due to the inherent flexibility.

          • Anna says:

            I’ve got 2 4 1s building up in my account and I feel that burning avios might be advisable in the medium term.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Rob doesn’t like the StR on the beach in Doha but from my visits that plus the IC next door are a couple of nice beachside properties.

        • Anna says:

          I’ve just checked, no availability to Doha either on our dates. Obviously everyone’s decided the ME is the safest bet for Xmas and New Year!

          • Rob says:

            Four Seasons has just reopened.

            The Kempinski is very niche and on a new man-made private island – I did a review.

            Assuming seats reopen ….

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I know you can’t get it on points but I’ve heard MO Doha is a very nice hotel aswell

          • Rob says:

            No beach though AFAIK.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Nope no beach but Anna didn’t mention that was a requirement 🙂 It’s near the MIA, souk etc

            There’s a nice Nobu at the FS. Kempinski is over near the pearl and katara cultural village.

            Taxis / Careem / ubers are cheap so it’s easy to get around where ever you stay.

      • Lady London says:

        There is a nice hotel or two in Oman with spas. I would want to fly Oman Air Business but BA does Muscat as well. Completely different style to Dubai.

  • Anna says:

    That is contrary to other statements Greek ministers have made recently. Notably, it was suggested that the British would be welcome as long as we didn’t have the 14 day quarantine at our end. Contrast also with Spain, where hoteliers have told the government they simply can’t afford to re-open unless the British are allowed back!

    • Chrish says:

      [email protected] that doesn’t make sense “Greece would welcome Uk visitors as long as we don’t have 14 days Quarantine when we get back”
      Why ?

      • Anna says:

        It was just what was reported, though I’m guessing:

        1. So that Greeks could visit the UK without having to quarantine.
        2. Brits would be more likely to book holidays if they didn’t have to quarantine on their return.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Because the don’t want Greek travellers to be quarantined.

    • Anna says:

      Agreed, though Spanish tourism bosses and employees now seem to have decided that the oiks are the lesser evil and are begging the government for them to be allowed to return!