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The new HFP chat thread – Sunday 24th 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/2020/05/24/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-sunday-24th-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 (134)

  • robert says:

    I’ve been allocated seats 4E & 4F on BA 777-300ER flight, but the 4F says (cot) should I be worried? The only other two available are 1E & 1F but seem to recall other reviews saying there can be galley disturbance in row 1. Does anyone have any experience, advice much appreciated thanks.

  • Steve says:

    Contacted last-minute .com via their social media for a refund on a flight booking (airline cancelled flight). Told I’d be contacted via email ASAP. That was 10 days ago. Is that sufficient time / evidence that my credit card company will do a chargeback? Card used is John Lewis Partnership card.

    • Steve says:

      Bit if useful context. We successfully used the outbound portion of the flight booking, but the return was cancelled by the airline (and no alternative offered). Not sure if having used the outbound means that is no longer valid for chargeback?

      • Anna says:

        Which airline? How did you get back? Does EU261 apply?

        • Steve says:

          Afraid EU261 doesn’t apply. Was Air India and had to purchase a repatriation flight

          • Lady London says:

            section 75 claim on your credit card for full cost of repatriation flight – even if higher than your originsl flight.

      • Clive says:

        I had a hotel (non cancel able) booked in HK via LM and although it took an eternity to refund they came through and offered a 20% incentive to take a voucher. That voucher could also be changed, after a period of time, back to a cash refund.

        • Lady London says:

          I would take a voucher at less than 300% uplift right now from very, very few travel agents and lastminute, IIRC having gone bust before as well, is not one of them

    • Charlieface says:

      Do a Section 75 claim if the bank don’t like a chargeback. That doesn’t need any contact with the merchant at all.

    • Lady London says:

      bad reports on lastminute.com delaying then denying refunds.

      call them and the airline and say you want a refund etc still waiting. find out if airline refunded agent and agent not refunded you -which happened to others. if you’ve been waiting 28 days (technically eu261 requires 7 days for you to be repaid so 28 gives some allowance) then section 75 or chargeback any travel agent charge or airline charge via your credit card. technically you may contractually still owe the agent a booking fee.

  • S says:

    any top tips for keeping a measly 5k AA miles from expiring? Can’t redeem and cancel under free covid policy as minimum redemption rate is 7.5k. I could transfer from Marriott/IHG as last resort but wondering if there are any other options?

    It doesn’t seem like AA do part pay with miles for a cash fare? Otherwise could do that then cancel within cooling off period?

    • Chabuddy geezy says:

      Post a comment on the award wallet blog to earn 5 points.

    • Andrew M says:

      If you make a (genuine) comment on one of the Award Wallet blog articles and you will receive a nominal amount of miles. I think it’s only five miles but it’s enough to keep your AA points from expiring.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Genuine comment, mine are never genuine and still credit! 😉

  • Clive says:

    YHBU commenting that the is a large reduction of taxes and fees on EK flights (Reward?)

  • Alan says:

    Hi,
    Anybody know what is going on with BA flights from China? My sons girlfriend has been stuck out there for months and finally managed to book on BA on 2nd June. This flight got cancelled and she has rebooked for 16th June(BA0168) but she hasn’t been told it is cancelled but it doesn’t appear anywhere now. If she logs onto her account it is still showing,

    • Lee says:

      No chance till Oct.

    • Lady London says:

      sorry cant help with what is going on with BA China flights but if she lands in the UK from 8th June onwards she is subject to 14 days quarantine.

      As her oruginal flight would have landed her in time to avoid having to quarantine you could call BA and request your right to be rerouted on another airline at no extra charge instead as close as possible to your original flight date. Its a right under Ec261/2004 not a favour. i wouldnt sit around letting them mess you around I would just phone now and insist on this.

      it can help speed things if you find an alternate flight that appears to be running on another airline and request this or they msy have another suggestion. it costs them a bit more on another airline but still far, far below rack rate. But as they cancelled your flight thats not your problem. it doesnt cost you anything and they should do the wirk of providing the ticket.

      good luck let us know how you get on.

      PS if any extra hotel or meal costs occur in between the originally booked flight and the replacement flight (assuming you hadnt sctualky accepted any revised dating meanwhile) then under Ec261/2004 the airline must also either pay these (best option if hotel nights are needed) or reimburse readonable costs. They coukd theoretically end up owing you a lot of hotel nights if they’re trying to move your flight from an original date to a later one btw.- could be worth mentionkng you wikk require them to provide those nights plus the reasonable cost of 3 meals per day if they.really think pushing your original date to a flight msny days later is such a good idea. This might help them decide they will provide a ticket around the booked time on another airline.

      Try to make sure return flights are on a Europe-based airline or BA if you can in case the ssne thing happens on the replacement flights – this will preserve the rights above on the replacement flights as well.

      if anyone tells you this is exceptional circumstances so you dont have the rights above theyre wrong. Duty of care oart of Eu261/2004 is stil required and thats the stuff above. Exceptional circs(covid) gets them off the comoensation part (£550+) of eu261 but duty of care still applies.

      let us know how you get on

      • Alan says:

        Thanks for the quick and comprehensive reply. Unfortunately BA are the only airline with direct flights ( albeit they keep cancelling them!). She is a Chinese National and so can’t transit in Hong Kong and feels nervous about the only other transit via Turkey.

        • Lady London says:

          looks like 16th will be cancelled as well. which exact china airport s she departing from and does she have the ability to reach any others. finnair ? sq? if necessary via moscow?

          i note that even if you had accidentally accepted a shift to the 16th (i hope not! but just seeing it does not mean you accepted it) then BA already owes you 14 nights hotel and meals….

          • Alan says:

            Thanks again. Yes the 16th looks like it is being cancelled again. I don’t understand why BA are putting on flight, accepting bookings and then cancelling them.

        • Lady London says:

          hum. 1 flight out of china per airline per week on each route till October.

          what about a flight in the ‘wrong’ direction if it would pick up a flight thats definitely running from somewhere else where transit is allowed? QR/DOH is accepting transits now although with more conditions and BA should be able to rebook to QR relatively easiky as QR is in Oneworld. You could start by asking BA what else they have definitely running. is she accessible to a land border to another country accepting Chinese?

          • Lady London says:

            PS if a route is found and BA refuses to reticket (they shouldnt refuse but might) then section 75 via the credit card used to book should get the replacement ticket cost covered (they will subsequently get it off BA)

          • Alan says:

            Thanks yet again. Unfortunately the QR from China to DOH looks like it is via Hong Kong and they are insisting on a 14 day quarantine even for transit ( unless this has changed recently).

          • Lady London says:

            DOH changed recently transit is now possible. an extremely good sourc on asia matters is site loyalty lobby dot com, the site owner spends huge amount of time around asia and often publishes this kind of useful info subsantially before others.

            can she find a way to get to anywhee there woukd be a QR flight via DOH from? QR have kept flying to many destinations in Asia throughout and as mentioned I suspect easy enoigh for BA to reroute on…noting ilthey are not based Europe so no eu261 on the replacement flight but QR has been flying what they said they would. BA shoukd also include in ticket the flight to get to QR flight but if i was sure my connecting flight would run I would recover S75 costs of that extra flight later

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @LL didn’t think DOH ever closed for transit

        • Axel says:

          Changi is opening up for transit passengers again on 2nd June

    • Lee says:

      Not sure why my reply was deleted. But there will be no chance for BA to resume flight to China any time soon with the 5-1 policy chinese gov just extended till Oct.

      • Alan says:

        Hi,
        Not sure what the 5-1 policy is. Are you suggesting that BA can’t fly from anywhere in China until October?

        • Yan says:

          Foreign airlines (incl. BA) put up flights for sale (to get interest-free loan from customers) as they file application of flight schedule only to be rejected by CAAC as per its current 5-1 policy. CAAC is currently reviewing international flight schedule approval on a monthly basis.

          In June the only non-stop, approved flights between mainland China and UK are only operated by PRC airlines from PVG (CA849, Fri; MU511, Thu) and CAN (CZ303, Wed). I would consider getting a ticket from PVG rather than waiting for BA’s return to mainland China which is highly unlikely to happen until 2021.

          Re reroute via HKG/DOH – this might be possible soon if HKG opens for transit – HK tends to follow Singapore’s decision on these things (SIN transit opens from 2 June)

          • Alan says:

            Thank you . Those flights didn’t come up when I did skyscanner search but I will look again.

    • Lee says:

      Here is the CAAC commnet
      1. On the basis of the Information on International Flight Plans (Phase Five) released on the official website of CAAC on March 12, each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week; each foreign airline is only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight.

    • Nick_C says:

      BA88 from Beijing to LHR is in the air right now. So are three Air China flights!

      Perhaps they are carrying freight only?

  • Iain says:

    Anyone else having issues logging into Virgin?

    • thehornets says:

      Yes, Flying Club is unavailable right now and has been for a while.

      • Lady London says:

        is that “Virgin Flying Club, the frequent flyer club of the airline known as Virgin that’s going bust, that’s not available?

        • BJ says:

          Ask @marcw, he’ll know 😀

          • Colin MacKinnon says:

            Is Rob going to move his points out when it re-opens? 😉

          • Lady London says:

            You know what, @Colin Mac?

            Virgin has more lives than a cat.
            I think Rob and his Virgin stash will be ok in the end.

            Just dont be surprised if have to go through website not working etc. till we all see where it lands.

            Remember Whatsapp and a plain SMS dont require website access to transfer Virgin miles out by sending a message with the required data. Its possible a team might still receive it.

            Props to Sir Richard Branson for selling Virgin Galactic holding to raise money to help out. With the separation of Virgin businesses he was not obliged to do that. Gets my respect.

          • Colin MacKinnon says:

            @London Lady, was meant to be a bit of a joke. Rob’s already said he’d rather hope to fly his family with Virgin than have so many Hilton points he could spend a decade staying there!

    • Vit says:

      Yes, experiencing that now as well.

  • reney says:

    Hi all,
    Someone asked this question a while back but didn’t get much response, so I’m seeking advice again. I am thinking about changing my currently account to Lloyds, I wanted to know what kind of offers do people get, do they come by easily etc? I recall someone has offers at Coop, is that the case for most people? Thanks 🙂

    • BJ says:

      I have both Halifax and Lloyds, offers are both rubbish and have alwats been so. I have had only one co-op offer in the last five years, maximum £30. Offers are rarely anything more then Sky, NowTV and Funky something although there was an exciting offer for Butlins last summer. Tgere was also a Morrisons offer but coincided eith the every time amex variant do no joy there. Sane with the sole Hilton offer I ever got, anex was vetter. Sone repirt grtting IHG offers but I never did. No way I would switch accounts on basis of these offers.

      • Genghis says:

        Whereas I get the co op offer on Halifax a few times a year at 5% and 10% rates. Saves probably £80 or so a year on the council tax

        • BJ says:

          Lucky you, I even tried using my card at every food store except the co-op. Perhaps if needs a lot more transactions than I give them.

    • Lady London says:

      For customer service Lloyds Bank gets truly rotten feedback.

      People seem to like Halifax and their card (even though now also part of Lloyds Group) and some people were getting offers.

      Depends what you want a current account for. MSE keeps good feedback on them up to date.

      First Direct and Nationwide get good feedback even though Nationwide package got a lot more expensive than before. I can personally recommend Metro Bank if you are near one. I’ve met people over the years that were happy with The Co-Op for their current accounts (especially Midlands / North of England). If you’re rich look at HSBC Premier account and attached Mastercard which some like better than Amex Plat.

      On cards there is a persistent trickle of reports that ARCC / Green gets more and better offers than Plat. Stands to reason as why give away to those who are of a profile to really exploit some offers rather than aspirational less free cash profile.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Lady London @ Regards Lloyds Customer Service I’ve been with them for over 55 years, never had a problem with Customer Service in Branch (Blackburn) was on first name terms with most of them (except when new ones got moved around recent times)
        Never had to ring online customer service (the would do it for me, & sort anything out )
        Rented my Business from them directly (was a ex-TSB bank)
        when setting up my 16 year old son direct from School
        When he was head-hunted around a year later
        I asked Lloyds about cancelling my (well his in theory) lease
        They said no problem you have been with us for ever, no charge & don’t worry about any legal charges regarding lease
        Admittedly that was a long while ago (son is 40 now)
        But times might & probably have changed, but still was on first name terms in branch (up to last year) 2/3 used to come up to me and say how can we help just come with me (favoritism i know but who cares)

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Lady [email protected] also Have an Account with NationWide No problems with NationWide either
        I used Lloyds as my Business Account (sons but in my name) & Nationwide as my personal Account (was never sure if that was legal but that was a long while ago lol)
        I always had a Lloyds Account before then so getting a Business Account was easy
        Had quite a few Lloyds shares at one time (helps open doors or did lol)
        Back to Nationwide i used NationWide’s FREE travel insurance with their Account was brill just topped it up if needed exotic locations/US. Stopped being useful when i got to 70
        I Find NationWide less personal than Lloyds but no complaints

    • Andrew says:

      The current batch of offers is relatively poor. 10% Five Guys, 10% Ideal World, 10% Now TV and £50 on Sky contracts. There are 4 others that escape me.

      In normal times there’s always at least one supermarket, usually Waitrose, Morrisons, Coop or Spar. and 30-40 other offers. From what I understand, the supermarkets have enough to deal with with the queues outside without messing around trying to drive sales.

      The more you use your debit card, the more offers you get. I use mine at least twice daily in normal times.

  • Brian W says:

    Hoping someone may be able to share some of their knowledge prior to me making a reward booking with BA for June 21 to Dubai using a 2-4-1 voucher in Club.

    I normally fly either GLA or EDI as I live equidistant from both so it makes no difference, but the connection from LHR on the outbound is late providing the opportunity to travel to INV as the starting point saving circa £900 in APD (It’s x 5 seats, normally plenty of CE availability to DBX).

    What I’m wondering is, if due to Covid schedule reductions between now and then, BA was to pull out of INV would they have to re-route me on the outbound or could they simply cancel the booking if it was 14 days or more before? If they do have to re-route, would I then be liable for the increase in taxes (APD) or would this be BA’s responsibility under re-routing?

    Hoping to go INV > LHR > DBX > LHR > EDI/GLA so will probably need to call rather than doing it online as usual to utilise the 2-4-1.

    Thanks in advance if anyone knows.

    • BJ says:

      Didn’t realise anybody lived at Harthill Services Brian but getting back to your question, IME they will reroute you and you will not be charged the extra APD either. Having said that, I doubt INV will get the chop, the Highlands are likely going to become more popular not less. I was pondering purchasing a holiday hone donepkace in the Nkrth West last year and now regret not doing so as I expect prices to rocket.

      • Brian W says:

        Thanks @BJ Lol, I’m a good few miles from Harthill, although I do pop in to those services often on the way home to use the M&S during normal times!

        Appreciate your thoughts and good to hear it sounds like it will indeed be worthwhile making the train journey to INV and I’d still make the saving if I was rerouted. BA only currently have one flight a day to LHR so I just thought it may be an at risk one at some point but you’re most likely right in what you say in terms of the highlands popularity moving forward etc, beautiful park of the UK.

        • BJ says:

          They had gone to twice daily most days IIRC with change in schedule which resulted in my reroute last summer. I hope they will keep the daily service as things resume and step it up as things recover. Even though things now look very different, I would hope that BA would still see the sense in providing you the reroute rather than risk losing your business. Personally, I never tire of the train ride up to Inverness.

          • Brian W says:

            Again you’ll be spot on about the pre-covid twice daily schedule, I only checked a few dates using August this year to work out the difference in tax as the flights for next June won’t show for a few weeks yet so I just assumed that one was the norm. Most likely BA have only dropped it to one at the moment under the circumstances and it, and hopefully many other things, will return to normal by next June (fingers crossed).

    • Rob says:

      Never heard of anyone being asked for extra taxes due to a BA-enforced reroute, to be honest.