The new HFP chat thread – Friday 22nd 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/2020/05/22/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-friday-22nd-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. Baji Nahid says:

    I got an email from easyjet stating my details were compromised.

    • Ian M says:

      Me as well

    • BrightonReader says:

      There was an article about it on Tuesday.

      • Martha says:

        Will they compensate for this?

        • Ian M says:

          I highly doubt it

        • Andrew says:

          You might get free access to a credit search service for 12 months, but that’ll likely be it. Make sure you are registered for Clearscore, they now have free quarterly “dark web” password sales monitoring.

          Different country and legal system, but take a look at the Equifax case in the USA where there was initial talk of “everyone” getting a $125 settlement for the data breach. That didn’t happen.

          The ICO will probably fine Easyjet, but the amount all depends on how genuinely sophisticated the theft was.

          • RussellH says:

            The clearscore “free quarterly “dark web” password sales monitoring” is of very little actual use unless you only ever use just the one e-mail address. Since I have my own domain, and use unique addresses for every bank, every airline, every rail company, car ferry, hotel group etc, and since they only report back every three months anyway, really no use at all to me.
            Even their paid-for service, which is supposed to report in real time, can only cope with three e-mail addresses.

          • H7_Inthis says:

            @RussellH

            Smart move – I do the same thing with my gmail e.g adding a “+suffix” to each account. Minimises the risk a bit in theory, though I’m certain a conditional IF with “gmail” would remove any “+” and hit the source.

            Just on your own domain approach – care to share the details of how you do this? Which company do you use, where do you host and how much is the cost? I’m thinking of getting my own domain as well and suspect storage costs aren’t too heavy. I also have my own NAS with plenty of storage if that helps?

            Thanks

            H

          • RussellH says:

            My e-mail address policy is to use a version of the company name as the left hand side of the address. So if I had an account at natwest, I would use [email protected]… This allows me to see where some of the leaks are.

            As to my domain, I bought it from XenCentrichosting (xencentrichosting.uk) in Surrey. {I think the owner may follow HFP; certainly I have seen someone with his name post here occasionally. I have never asked him.) I have used them for a number of domains since 2007.
            They are a very small business (probably smaller than HFP these days) which means that when you talk to someone by phone or e-mail you are usually talking to the boss, who actually understands your issue. The downside is that when, very occasionally, something goes wrong, it can take a bit of time for the problem to get sorted.
            I paid £16.50 incl. VAT for domain registration for 2 years. Hosting is extra – it is all on the site.
            Were you to sign up using this link, I might get a £1 out of it sometime…
            https://www.xencentrichosting.uk/billing/aff.php?aff=7

        • BrightonReader says:

          Have you suffered any actual loss?

          Were your card details in the 2,000 odd that were intercepted ? If so then you might have a case for reimbursement for any legitimate expenses in sorting it out.

          If not then no.

    • Me too, BA last year and now EJ.

  2. Voltron says:

    Another Hilton DoubleTree has shut in Aberdeen, 2nd in less than a year, future if hotel business in Aberdeen not looking good…

    https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/2208078/aberdeen-hotel-closed-with-immediate-effect-as-parent-company-enters-liquidation/amp/

    • Thanks for posting this. Very sad news, IMO this was the best Hilton property in Aberdeen and remained so after TECA opened. Staff were always pleasant and helpful, status recognition was superb and they had a very good breakfast spread. So now it’s down to a choice between the bland HGI in the city or the equally bland TECA (excluding Hamptons).

      • If reports that the parent company, Ability Group, have entered administration are true there are implications for other notable UK hotels. If info is up to date, Ability Group also owns Dunblane Hydro, Hilton Liverpool, Hilton Cambridge, and Waldorf-Astoria Syon Park.

        • Chris says:

          The newspaper reports seems quite keen to stress its Ability Hotels (Aberdeen) that has gone pop so I think the rest will be ok for the moment, I definitely hope so as I have two separate overnight stay and dinner vouchers for Dunblane that I won through an incentive at work. I agree with you re the service being the best of the Aberdeen Hilton options, however I felt the overall experience had deteriorated quite a bit since TECA opened and no doubt it opening has probably helped push the DT to the edge with COVID finally finishing it off. I definitely do not miss the Treetops though.

          • Yes, last time I was there I told them at check in I still preferred them to TECA. This seemed to be met with pleasure and relief, and word was passed on around colleagues even whilst I was still standing their in reception. I think TECA was the main problem, on non-event nights they were cheaper and had the lounge and leisure facilities so DT just couldn’t compete. I liked the platinum wing rooms at DT better than exec rooms at TECA though and DT breakfast was substantially better. Stayed at Treetops for the first and last time last year, my hotel shock of the year, moved rooms three times and still wasn’t happy with the fourth.

          • Yes, I would imagine that each hotel is a separate legal entity so that one can fail without dragging down the others. WeWork operates the same way, interestingly. I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few restaurant groups don’t also create separate companies, with no parent guarantee, for each site.

        • Chris says:

          Yes the platinum rooms were decent particularly the duplex rooms. It will be interesting to see what happens with the building and whether or not it is acquired by someone as the location is ideal although I suspect it will be used for housing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the HIX at Bridge of Don also closes. It had been in administration recently.

        • RussellH says:

          Dunblane Hydro is operated (owned?) by Ability Hotels(Dunblane) Ltd, so yes, I would imagine that each hotel is a separate company.
          I find it odd, though, that a hotel that is very inconvenient for the city centre, and not that well situated for the airport takes so much business from what appears to be a very attractive location near the beach.
          And who dreamt up the name “The Event Centre Aberdeen”?

          • Andrew says:

            It’s never actually traded as TECA though has it?

            Thanks to Sponsorship by DC Thomson (publishers of “The Beano”), it’s official name is the P&J Live.

            Although I’m not sure if the “J” is pronounced in the traditional Scots (and first edition OED) way to rhyme with “aye” rather than the more common “jay”.

          • Big Ern says:

            its Jay

          • RussellH says:

            The P+J is owned by the Daily Mail these days, not DC Thomson (Dundee Courier). TBH I had never heard of TECA until today – my links to Aberdeen get ever further into the past. It took a lot of wading through DuckDuckGo’s search links to find out what TECA meant.
            Living variously in Perthshire and Kirkcudbrightshire, I reckon that jay and jie (rhymes with die) were about 50/50. But when you start talking about Aberdonian pronunciation, who knows??
            🙂

    • Dave Barron says:

      Gutted. This was a fab hotel – especially the platinum annex. Used it annually when visiting family in Aberdeen so will have to look for alternative options now.

      • pauldb says:

        If it is good hotel it will reopen, it’s not like the building is going to crumble inside 12 months. The current owner can’t afford their wage bill and probably their debt, but the asset will be sold and eventually reopened once it can make a gross profit.

    • Sunguy says:

      Ahhh memories…….

      My parents loved this hotel when they came to visit me as a student in Aberdeen – it was then known as the Patio, and was pretty decent in the late 90s / early 2000s……

      I hadnt realised the Treetops had also gone…..

      • RussellH says:

        I do not think that Treetops is any great loss. Stayed there around 15 years ago when just starting seriously in the hotel points game – it was the first Hilton that I got points from, but at the time the Lufthansa miles seemed more interesting.

  3. Does anyone know if The Economist offer is also open to people with past subscriptions? (My Economist subscription expired in the autumn.) I got burned once trying to take advantage of the same Avios offer twice with the TLS, and they refused to credit them the second time. Thanks!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Ive taken it up annually over the past 3-4 years.

      • Lady London says:

        I only ever did 2. My friend in Canada liked his so I got the second one for my business. I am sure quite a bit less than a year apart.

        I found myself working on a contract in a different country a few months into the business one and it seemed they were quite used to people being transferred overseas and having their existing subscription follow them – very smooth to get that done just phoned.

        Unfortunately it got a bit expensive so (thankyou @Shoestring, Harry and the real Harry wherever you are) I now read the thing via pressreader on my local library.

    • mark2 says:

      My wife and I alternate (the subscription).

  4. Anecdotal reports in the media yesterday that Ryanair customers are being threatened with being blacklisted for life if they use chargeback to obtain refunds! Clearly we haven’t hit rock bottom yet in airline behaviour…

    • Lady London says:

      Hum. Is that victimisation or something else illegal? I’ve hears Ryanair employs a heavy fleet of lawyers for all the trouble they get into.

      I’m rather worried that once they’re flying again we’re going to hear all sorts of stories about the tricks the LCC’s will get up to, to make up for lost revenue… perhaps not just the LCC’s

      • BrightonReader says:

        In general a business can refuse service to any customer they choose as long as it’s not based on a discrimination factor like ethnicity or religion etc.

        So if an airline refuses to carry you because you used chargeback then they can. Whether they would be wise to is a different matter.

        • Of course, but there’s an ethical difference between refusing to do business with someone because, say, they are late payers, and because they are trying to get a refund to which they are legally entitled!

    • Lady London says:

      Hmmm…. that kinda proves there really is harm to an airline in their workings with credit card networks if we do get forced to do a chargeback. Excellent 🙂

      • memesweeper says:

        No doubt one of the biggest harms is the administrative overhead, probably a ton of manual work. That plus the risk of an actual refund and the chargeback ‘crossing in the post’ so to speak, and then Ryanair having to claw back their refund.

        I have no sympathy with Ryanair whatsoever. If they promptly refunded no-one would both raising a chargeback.

      • Riccatti says:

        If course there are consequence for airline.

        According to the criteria they stop being bulletproof against chargeback claims, and became “subprime Merchants” of junk trustworthiness, claims against which likely to succeed 99% of cases.

        Except that their status might not get downgraded (banks/payment networks being afraid to lose business) — but that will be unfair to those Merchants who are getting punished for untrustworthiness — and all models/policies towards Merchants to be thrown out of window because they are applied inconsistently.

        Now, for example Apple insists that you don’t rise the chargeback against iTunes Store or they do ban your account for life.. so you end up being unable to update apps and blocked from say banking apps which will not run if not updated. (Good luck reinstalling something like HSBC app on new Apple ID). So this wreaks havoc on personal devices, iPads and iPhones.

        Use a dedicated Apple ID for device management, sync, and Storage plans and never make app/content purchases from that account. On that account use a credit card which is blocked with provider (Curve, Revolut). Makes sense and increases safety.

        • Riccatti says:

          On the last Apple ID point, it meant cash purchases of Apps, which are not free. If you are going to question that app purchase later — don’t do App purchase from your main Apple ID.

  5. Andrew says:

    The threat of £1000 fine will deter most, however much they might think it won’t be enforced.

  6. TonyG says:

    What is the best regular price you can buy HH points for?

  7. Ian M says:

    Talk about closing the stable door long since the horse has left the building

    • Lady London says:

      …and in the immortal words of @Harry T yesterday, impregnated every mare in the village …:-)

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Lockdown [email protected] WOW Not “one” case in the whole of London hard to believe though

      • TGLoyalty says:

        “Before the lockdown, London’s R rate was 2.8 and around 213,000 Londoners were being infected with coronavirus each day at the peak of the crisis, according to Cambridge’s MRC Biostatistics Unit.”

        is the most interesting part. With that level of prevalence and therefore people now walking around with some degree of immunity We will naturally be seeing a fall in new infections anyway.

      • Or not, since there was never really any lockdown in London. Zone 1 areas where nobody lives were empty, everywhere else seemed to be full of people. Shops and restaurants and a few high profile parks were closed, the other parks carried on normally with picnics and football, people carried on visiting each other at home especially on Thursday evenings to participate in the clapping. When the buses became free everyone was out joyriding.

        Alternatively the semi-lockdown of London was sufficient and there was no need for the Romance-countries to do their full lockdowns.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        This just goes to show that “Lock Downs” DO work therefor expect there to be “more” lock downs later in the year

        • No, it’s game over now for that strategy. We will move to a ‘better to let people die’ approach, I’m sure. People are fed up already.

      • Mental health during lockdown is a serious concern. I don’t have a history of depression or anything but I had a pretty rough time two weeks ago. The lack of structure and routine, and not being able to see friends and family, and virtually nothing concrete to look forward to takes its toll.

        I wouldn’t minimise the psychological consequences of lockdown or, indeed, war.

  8. BrightonReader says:

    A few articles say it will be for ‘international travelers’ but no definition of who they are which is rather important.

    Looks like I could return from abroad be told to isolate but then left alone whilst I get tube/train/coach/taxi back home where I’d immediately need to go to the shops to stock up my empty fridge.

    I predict an announcement that will cause massive confusion and will be dropped by Boris in a couple of days time leaving Patel in the manure heap (like he did with the NHS surcharge).

    That’s if they even announce it at all after the beating they’ve already been given about it.

  9. Anyone looked at payments with stripe in similar method with billhop for business?

    • memesweeper says:

      Stripe is for merchants (receivers of money) not consumers, I’m not aware of a way to just send money to arbitrary recipients using Stripe.

      If you do have your own business woe betide you if Amex, Stripe, Barclays etc discover you are paying your business with your own card.

  10. Morning, am I correct in thinking that BA’s “book with confidence” applies to avios booking?

  11. Darren says:

    No fav hotel review today?

    • Optimus Prime says:

      They’re not doing it every day.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      I missed it too; although it’s getting expensive – there’s at least 2 on that list I’d love to visit :D. One thing it would benefit from as a list is one or two UK properties (although given lack of international options that may well promptly book them out for the next year!).

    • We have one left from the original batch we commissioned which will run over the weekend.

      Anika and I have just agreed a further 25 so she will be sending out emails today to those people we would like to use. Assuming that at least a few of those 25 use the Bank Holiday to get their review done. we should be up and running again by the end of next week.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Will you still be running these articles if/when travel picks up?

        • It wasn’t the plan, but we may keep it running at weekends long term. Realistically I don’t see a big pick up in loyalty promotions etc until at least September so we are likely to keep running them semi-daily over the Summer.

          Even though we don’t write them, it is actually time consuming to edit and commission then (vs knocking out a quick news story) and of course we’re paying the writers. Upside is that I think it will drive Google traffic and, for the ones that Emyr can book, some revenue in the long term.

          • Lady London says:

            It has turned out to be a very good idea @Rob

          • sohan says:

            I’ve really been enjoying them! It’s like a daily reminder that there is a future to look forward to 🙂 Things are still a bit grim in the hospital…

          • Darren says:

            Thanks for the update, I’ve found it really inspiring as my clicking habits are HfP and hotel reviews on FT. The diversity helps broaden my horizons as well.

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