The new HFP chat thread – Tuesday 26th 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:  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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  1. Had 2 disputes on 2 different cancelled Amex cards that eventually got refunded by the original merchant. At this point I had twice the balance I needed on the Amex cards. I called Amex to cancel the dispute and transfer out the remaining cash to my bank account.

    Received the money into my bank account this morning but it is double what I was expecting – the agent clearly transferred out everything (S75 money + merchant refund). Slightly annoying as I was pretty clear on the phone call to only transfer half but will call Amex later to repay.

    • Peter K says:

      Can’t you just pay back half with a debit card and save yourself a phone call?

    • @mkcol says:

      Why do you use the telephone?
      Their live chat is just fine.

    • I’ve got the same issue with my Halifax card. They credited me back for a dispute, then the company eventually refunded me as well. I have told Halifax, but they haven’t taken it back yet. Guess I’ll just have to leave it sitting on my card and eventually they’ll catch up.

  2. Wondered if anyone is having long delays in Avios posting to BAEC account from Have four hotel stays in January, February and March which havn’t credited but I have received the Reward stamps. One stay is four nights at Sun City so about 3600 avios at stake and I no longer have the receipt.

    • I think it was always up to 120 days to credit hotel stays to BAEC. IME it usually took that long as well, though I haven’t used for a while.

      • The last two I had posted within a month, admittedly more than a year ago so things may have changed. The oldest of the ones missing is about 130 days so I may wait till all are over 120 days then put a claim in.

    • Doug M says:

      Yes it’s 90 to 120 days from check out, and often takes that long.

  3. tical says:

    Apologies if this has been answered previously but I am keen to find out how busy flights are on a particular route in Europe as considering decamping to the beach for the summer. Understanding the higher risk associated with being on a plane for 3 hours, is there a way to find out if I should expect a full flight (more risk) or 20-30% full (less risk)?

    • roberto says:

      I think there will be less flights and therefore expect loads to be high.

      • Yes seen lots of whinging Mail Online articles about busy BA flights. But keeping the middle seat free will makes absolutely no difference to the risk.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      That plane trip, regardless of loading, will likely be a lot safer than your journeys to/from airports, in the airport, in the shops/bars on holiday, etc etc etc. The plane loading should not be a factor of your concern.

  4. Richard says:

    I’m probably being stupid, but I can’t see anywhere on the curve app to do a charge back. Can anyone help?

    • Tilly says:

      I had to email them when I needed a chargeback.

    • Tap on a transaction and at the bottom there is a link Questions about this transaction? which opens up a sort of chat window, but all this does is send a generic email without any relevant info

    • Carol says:

      I emailed them and got a prompt response, outlining all the information they needed from me

    • Clive says:

      Contact them via chat and they will explain the process

  5. Optimus Prime says:

    Those of you going to UAE this year – are you happy with installing their tracking app on your phone or wearing their tracking bracelet?

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      was considering going to the UAE this year, thanks for telling me this, I will certainly not be now.

      • whats the issue with this? You dont want them to know which hotels and malls you visit?

        • roberto says:

          I dont have an issue with this.. I dont do malls only pools , beaches , bars and restaurants. Last time I went to Abu Dhabi never even left the hotel. I care much more about my health than some anonymous bot tracking me, that is what google does now billions of time a day world wide anyway.

        • Spaghetti town says:

          KP – The UAE, as nice as it its…isn’t perhaps the straightest arrow…I don’t want them tracking me thanks.

        • Sandgrounder says:

          I can understand that this app would cause concern to visitors whose behaviour is not in keeping with the values of the UAE, as it records close contact with others. I personally would have no concerns, but if a person feels their actions might offend their hosts, it may be wise to consider an alternative destination.

      • Eh? The UK tracking app will do exactly the same thing and that has substantially greater privacy issues. If you have an Android phone, Google is tracking you 24/7 anyway unless you deliberately turned it off.

        I also doubt your daily holiday routine of ‘hotel’ (erm, that’s it) with the occasional burst of ‘hotel to mall’ and ‘hotel to water park’ is going to excite anyone.

        • Paul74 says:


        • Spaghetti Town says:

          Happy for google to track me. Foreign Governments, No.

          • RedEyeDonkey says:

            I understand Rob’s lack of concern as we are indeed tracked a lot anyway.

            But there are issues specifically with the type of tracking that’s being proposed to contain the virus. Particularly issues around you being falsely identified as having been near/in contact with someone who tests positive and forced to isolate/quarantine despite either you not actually being very close/at risk from them or they were actually infected later in the day than your contact so there was no risk at all etc.

            I’d consider that mildly annoying at home in the UK, and, of course, plan to continue to just follow along with the govt guidance while at home, but while travelling abroad or on vacation the risk of a false positive could be a potential snag/ruin a trip and definitely something I’d take into account before going somewhere if an alternative destination with less ‘hassle risk’ was available.

        • memesweeper says:

          Google Maps will track you on non-Android too — you can turn this off in your Google preferences (and yes, I have, they don’t need to know where am I at all times).

          • ChrisBCN says:

            I hope you are aware that turning that off doesn’t mean they no longer know where you are/have been.

    • Andrew says:

      My mobile? As long as they are comfortable with me having a GPS emulator running on it along with my VPN. Not sure if the data will be useful to them though.

      Wearing a bracelet is fine, as long as I can swap wrists to avoid a tan line.

      • ChrisBCN says:

        That solution would in all likelihood stop a state from accurately tracking you, but wouldn’t stop Google (who are more powerful than most states anyway).

      • Blenz101 says:

        Using a VPN under those circumstances in the UAE is illegal and would land you in serious trouble. Your only access to the internet here is via state controlled networks. You would be an idiot to try and spoof your location. Hardly going to be tricky for them to spot a mismatch in cell tower triangulation and GPS information. And cell tower triangulation is being used widely many countries as part of track and trace. Be better just leaving your phone in your hotel room than trying to be smart which could very well land you in prison, at best fined significantly and deported.

        But just for the record as a resident if the UAE, no such mandatory App or wristband has been reported via official channels. The apps do exist and the authorities have been doing extensive testing in high density hot spot neighbourhoods, word is tracking is then enforced as part of quarantine for those testing positive. It is certainly not something either citizens or residents are being asked to use as part of day to day life.

        Until the relevant authorities meet and make a decision anything you read online is just speculation, rumour and gossip.

  6. Tom C says:

    We’re thinking about booking a winter holiday from Boxing Day onwards. We’d like some sun but probably would go anywhere interesting TBH! Happy to book something to have in the diary and if we need to cancel then fine. We’ll be booking with avios and a 241.

    On that basis one place that keeps coming up with availability is Tokyo which also might be more operational due to their handling of COVID – only 800 deaths for 126m people.

    A bit of research tells me that Tokyo can be a bit hit and miss over the new year with the Shogatsu festival as many people go or stay home I guess like make places tbh.

    Has anyone any experience of being in Tokyo over New Year? If so, would you recommend it?

    • Japan isn’t on my to do list but I have seen in the press that the Japanese government are putting some sort of plan together to offer free or discounted accommodation to travellers to re-start the tourist industry, might be worth doing a bit of digging into? I know a lot of people on here rate Japan, maybe they know a bit more about it?

      • Last I saw this was just a proposal with no clear guidance on how it will work (yet)

        • Tom C says:

          Thanks both – I caught the announcement on the potential initiatives. Let’s see how they firm these up and if they evolve to international visitors.

      • marcw says:

        Careful… lots od clickbait there. Only applies to domesrtic tourism, so unless you permanently live in Japan, you are not eligible (if).

    • Japan is a lot quieter from New Years Day for a few days, and many things are closed.

      Christmas Day is a mostly normal day (apart from at KFC…). If you can go before Xmas and come back at New Year, that might be better…

      • Tom C says:

        Thanks Mike. The lad is being the difficult one as he can’t decide whether he wants to come! If he does then going before / over Christmas Day will be fine, if not then we’ll have to look at flying after the 25th. Not sure Tokyo would be 16 year old friendly so if he finally Maes a decision then we might have to consider our options!

        • Tokyo is one of the three most fascinating cities on the planet (an opinion, but I’m sure most that have been would say it’s high up). There’s something for all ages.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Tom C @ My how times have changed when i was 16/17 i was off holidaying by my self/friends wouldn’t have even thought of holidaying with my parents that was the joy of being a teenager.
          I remember cycling to Ribchester from Blackburn at 12/13 wading across River Ribble in undies bike above my head catching trout wrapping it in banana skins n cooking it in a fire made myself in a hole dug out with a stick sleeping under the trees overnight those were the days never seemed to rain them summers (but it must have just don’t remember mind 72 now)

          • Tom C says:

            Ha ha very true Chris! To be honest he’s partial to decent holidays in business or higher which swing it for him. Personally I’d happily let him sit further back on the plane as it might as least dissuade him and let mum and I have a nice break together!

  7. Ammar says:

    So my sister’s flight to Boston from lgw has been cancelled by Delta. Booked via amex travel, called them, they said they will check and if so they will refund…but the agent said this as well…”airline will be providing the refund so if the flight becomes operational again later, they may argue and retract my refund.”
    Is that true?

    • No – once it’s cancelled you have the full EU261 rights. Delta seems to be announcing routes then changing its mind on a daily basis at the moment.

  8. Martha says:

    What happened to Shoestring?

    • Peter King says:

      hounded out by an angry mob

      • Martha says:

        Can we get him back?

        • The mob seems to be losing interest now it’s milked our collective knowledge and got its refunds!

          • Martha says:

            Great news the mob have gone!

            Arise Sir Shoestring!

          • Spursdebs says:

            Spot on Anna, I’ve stopped with any help and the way they went after Harry was a disgrace. I don’t blame him for not bothering any more.

          • There was a lot happening behind the scenes that you will not have seen. Harry is always welcome to post constructive feedback – in fact we welcome him to!

          • Perhaps less of the racist, homophobic or openly threatening stuff against HFP staff though …. (most of which was filtered before it was ever published, but was there)

          • Charlieface says:

            I won’t say he deserved it, but prudence on his part may be wise when he returns, as he surely will, I hope.

          • Freddy says:

            Wow Rob telling everyone how it is – I thought the stuff I saw was a tad inappropriate but now we’re told that was the filtered version!

          • ChrisBCN says:

            I think the comments both in support of SS and those calling out the ‘angry mob’ show that he was divisive and caused ructions, regardless of which side of the debate you are on. If there were fewer personal attacks, including from some in this particular thread, perhaps things would be better all round – this isn’t Twitter.

          • Lady London says:

            HfP did seem to be dominated by some loudmouth nasty over-politically correct people with not much life experience of standing on their own two feet at the time. Particularly on Sundays for some reason. One thing @Shoestring was good at was apologising immediately if someone pointed out a bit of coarseness. You have to pick up on people’s lives and be sympathetic and understand and tolerate overt differences.

            I nearly went the same way @Spurs Debs a d might still (big cheer from you all!)

          • Aston100 says:

            Amazes me how the Shoestring fan club seem to have missed all the nasty stuff he posted.

          • Aston you’re jumping to conclusions, just like the “mob” when they assumed that anyone who didn’t lay into him must therefore support him. I disagreed strongly with a lot of stuff he posted, but I don’t come here to push a politically correct agenda, I come here for travel and savings tips. It’s not up to me to decide what other people can and can’t post – it’s not my site. The reason I’m glad the mob has largely disappeared is nothing to do with Shoestring; as I posted above they annoyed me because they came here to benefit from our collective wisdom and felt they were somehow entitled to decide what other people could post. In the same way, it would be incredibly rude to one’s host to be invited to their home then start lambasting other guests about their lifestyle and beliefs.

            I’ve had an entire career of challenging inappropriate behaviour (from which I retire on Friday, yay!), and I’ve also got a post-graduate qualification in Social Work so I know better than most when it’s the right time to intervene and when to leave it to others.

          • Love the fact that people are still supporting SS and making excuses even though Rob has stated he posted “racist, homophobic” and “openly threatening stuff against HFP staff” (and I’m fairly sure this isn’t the first time Rob has said something like this about his posts).

            I remember somebody saying a few weeks ago that most people on HFP would sell their grandma for a few Avios or something, and it’s pretty evident here.

          • Doug M says:

            Exactly. And we’re being told that was the filtered version. Those continually painting him through their own very selective versions either didn’t see much of what he posted, or chose to ignore it. It was a lot more than offending snow flake material.
            As for those believing that if they post advice here it’s only for the use of their selected group, that’s a crazy expectation on a site like this. Further, you learnt it somewhere, why is it wrong for others to learn it here?

          • Ah “political correctness”

            Aka “why can’t I post whatever the hell I want, offend people by being racist, homophobic and threatening and not have people challenge me on it..”

            The first thing is that realistically, you’re not allowed to just say whatever you want. There are laws in place re hate crimes, threats etc.
            And besides that, why on earth is it okay for somebody to post such crap and then not okay for people to challenge them.

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            I cant believe the real Shoestring wasn’t the person who posted those early morning insults to the HFP team? At the time someone or more than one were impersonating regular posters on here Inc myself by registering under our usernames and posting nasty comments.

          • This has been a recurring pattern over a number of years, not just now.

          • MJ & Doug, yet again you are inferring things that you aren’t there. No-one has defended Shoestring, or said they agree with any of his posts. Of course you can say what you want, we have freedom of speech in this country, although you don’t seem to be aware of this, let alone support it. If that then crosses the boundaries of legality, a victim (and not just someone on the sidelines) can make a complaint and have it investigated by the relevant authorities. Rob and his staff are perfectly capable of following this course of action if they want to. For all we know, they may indeed have reported some of it to the police as a hate crime, in which case it would have been recorded, but probably dealt with by way of advice to ban Shoestring from the site as there is no way they can deal with every virtual fallout between keyboard warriors and in any case, Shoestring’s “place in the sun” falls outside their jurisdiction. Unless Shoestring directed any of his comments directly at you, you are not victims and should really stop behaving like you are.

          • Anna, not disagreeing with that kind of crap is almost as bad as agreeing with it.

            Ah “freedom of speech” the magic defence of bigots.
            When I say “you’re not allowed to just say whatever you want” I meant in a legal sense. There are boundaries to what you are and are not allowed to say, so freedom of speech is limited.
            But nobody has said he can’t say those things, people have just called him out on it, and now you are throwing a hissy fit because people have called him out on his nastiness.
            Plus I’m pretty sure freedom of speech does not apply on a forum like this, whatever Rob says is allowed is allowed here.

            Just because he has not said anything outwardly racist/homophobic/threatening to me does not mean I am not allowed to say anything about it. Where’s my freedom of speech 🙂

          • So you think one of the fundamental tenets of the ECHR is “the magic defence of bigots”. Lovely, tell that to someone who lives in a country where it really doesn’t exist. And now you’re falling back on my point, which is that Rob gets to say what can or can’t be posted on here (so your comment about legal boundaries makes no sense either). This was the whole basis on my argument, whereas yours seems to be that YOU get to say what everyone should and shouldn’t be allowed to post (or indeed compelled to post, as you say that anyone who doesn’t take your particular stand is necessarily in the wrong). No-one has said YOU can’t say anything, just don’t expect other readers to be happy when you abuse them and accuse them (utterly without foundation) of sharing the objectionable views of a small minority. If we’re talking legalities, that could be construed as slander.

            Mature individuals don’t feed internet trolls; it actively encourages them, and is unlikely to have any impact on their views. It’s a complete waste of time which could be spent on doing something which really benefits disadvantaged people – in my case donating to the local food bank, volunteering in my local school and during lockdown being a telephone responder to vulnerable people in my local community.

            It’s very easy to be outraged as an anonymous internet poster – maybe you should try campaigning for victims of oppression in the real world, or would that be too much like putting your head above the parapet?

          • No-one even knows which comments were really posted by Shoestring (except maybe Rob if he can identify where a post originates); judging someone without proof is indeed mob mentality and has no place in a civilised democracy. This is not defending anything which has been posted on this site, by the way, just emphasizing the futility of railing against complete strangers!

          • Free speech can be both a vital human right and a magic defence of bigots, it just depends who is using it and what the person is saying. If somebody started spouting racist stuff about white people do you think everybody would still be shouting freedom of speech?

            The comment about legal boundaries still stands. If you incite hatred or make threats, etc, it doesn’t matter whether Rob allows it, that is illegal.
            However, Rob is allowed to ban anything that is legal on his forum. Got it?

            I have never stated what people can and cannot say, aside from stating that they cannot say (without repercussions) things that are illegal or that Rob disallows (which is true). They can still say them but might have to face consequences. I don’t know why you’re twisting my words.

            Ah see, I never said anybody shared any objectionable views. I said not disagreeing with them is almost as bad as agreeing, and in my mind it is.

            Great that you volunteer sometimes, but why are you trying to show how great a person you are to an anonymous internet poster?

            And I really don’t need to be told about countries without freedom or victims of oppression by you or anybody else. I can guarantee I know much more about both things than you ever will.

          • Lady London says:

            Thank heavens we’re only on the internet @Anna. It means we dont have to meet people in real life who must impose their opinion.
            Guessing what you did for a living I would say you’re familiar with allsorts. as with liquorice
            this one’s a striped one

          • Lady London says:

   you would have seen most weeks.

  9. Thinking Point says:

    Anyone successfully status matched by Qatar Airways yet using their recent offer?

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      +1 above re: Shoestring – pared text took over, was supposed to say “was” instead of “wasnt”! 😇

  10. Data point – Heathrow rewards credited to BA today. But just 50% bonus and not 100% like the lucky ones!

  11. I’m miffed that a hotel refunded me for a stay when I wanted a voucher and this has buggered up the Amex offers on a cancelled card. Now I owe AmEx money.

    I’ve offered that the hotel re-charge the stay to another Amex and to upload proof I requested a voucher not a refund. They say it’s not possible to fix.

    Any similar experiences and suggestions to resolve?

    • Andrew says:

      You win some, you lose some with points and fundsreturn. You’ve had the full money back, just offset the two mentally.

      I’ve had plenty of items items refunded without Amex doing a clawback – so wouldn’t really be able to protest too much.

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