Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Monday 1st June

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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/2020/06/01/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-1st-june/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 (245)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Vit says:

    Just paid my HFP subscription fees as my virgin credit just arrived and stated in the letter that I did apply through Rob B. 😉 Hopefully that’s enough for a pint or two.

    Question on the use of the credit card within EEA as it stated that any transactions made in krone, euro and romanian leu and within EEA will not incur any foreign exchange fees (5%). Is this correct?

    Cheers,
    Vit

    • Rhys says:

      Thanks!

    • Lady London says:

      It’s the law that there are no transaction fees on those.
      However look carefully at the exchange rate on any fx and you cough! cough! might miraculously see that the rate is 3% above bank rate i.e. they’ve taken it another way.

      • Vit says:

        Ah I did not know that. I thought it just depends on CC providers. Then how come AMEX does not have to comply with this? because they are are not based in EU?

        • Rob says:

          Most card companies have ignored this law. What it says is that you can’t charge for a cross border transaction if you would not charge for a domestic one. This applies to ALL banking, eg as I can send money to a UK bank for free, HSBC can no longer charge me for sending money to a French bank.

          Now …. you cannot charge a FEE. However, nothing stops you adding a 3% foreign exchange weighting. This is not a fee, and as long as transactions made in France but charged in £ were fee-free then the card companies are OK.

          It seems Virgin called their charge a fee so scrapped it. Everyone else has either decided not to scrap them or has changed their wording to call them an ‘FX weighting’ or whatever.

    • RussellH says:

      SEK only. You will still pay fees for NOK and DKK. The Swedish and Romanian governments banned their banks from levying charges on FX within the SEPA when first set up.
      Surprise, surprise, the UK (nor any of the other non Eurozone govts.) chose not to do so, even though SEPA regulations suggested that it happen.

    • Vit says:

      Thanks guys for clearing this up. Not that I will be in Europe anytime soon anyway. 🙂 Last FX transactions made in Iceland back in March were all done via MBNA (Horizon) which does not have FX fees as well.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Probably one pint in London. 😉

  • Paul says:

    Anyone had any success making a new booking by phone with BA recently? Trying to book open jaw with 2-4-1 and after numerous ‘too busy’ cut offs eventually got in queue and spoke to someone after 45 mins wait. Only to be told they are not the Avios team and put me back to main menu where then cut off again. No options to make a booking with Avios on their menu, just one make a booking option, which was the one that told me they can’t do it as not Avios team. Can’t book online as open jaw. Any hints? I was using 0800727800

    • AJA says:

      Have you got enough Avios to try booking them as two one ways online and then phoning up to get the itinerary joined together? Not sure if the Newcastle line 0191 246 3933 is still functioning or you could try the BA US number +1 877 767 7970?

      • Anna says:

        Just be aware that you will get stung for taxes if the destination is the USA. But otherwise it’s straightforward to use the 2 4 1 for the outbound leg then book return leg separately if you have enough avios. If one of your legs is in F you can call YouFirst to ask them to refund the avios.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks very much, I called the Newcastle number and got through in about 15 mins and they were able to make the booking for me! Really helpful, thank you!

    • memesweeper says:

      Partner called up a few weeks ago to make an Avios booking — got through in a few mins and was booked within ten.

  • Duncan says:

    Does anyone know if Amex will take up a refund claim against Qatar if the card I booked on has been cancelled. This was for two tickets purchased in March 2019. Qatar offered a flight voucher but over two months later still no voucher despite many calls!
    The Amex card was cancelled in November 2019.
    Thanks

    • Lady London says:

      Previous posters have answered Yes to this question.
      I would not let it rest and would defo pursue

    • mr_jetlag says:

      I’ve challenged and successfully got refunds from QR. Expect to go back and forth with them and Amex as QR will keep disputing but not providing evidence.

    • Vit says:

      Expect to be a bit of back and forth. I managed to ask the TA to get me refund. Now the hard part is getting the refund from the TA now. haha! Been more than 4 weeks now since QR proceed the full refund back to TA.

  • Sukes says:

    Anyone have any data points on success or otherwise of chargeback to Amex Plat for a hotel stay prepaid on a non-refundable basis now Covid impacted? Booked direct with Melia in Jan 2020 for stay in Spain for later this week. Hotel is closed. Melia will not refund and offers a switch of date. Welcome any feedback on chargeback successes & timeframes….thks

    • Anna says:

      If the hotel is closed, and therefore not supplying what you paid for, my understanding is that you pursue a chargeback (or whatever the Amex equivalent is, as it’s a charge card).

    • Carol says:

      I have the same issue with Melia hotels so Curve have now taken up the issue with them as they say I am entitled to a refund. The hotel point out that I had a non refundable rate!

    • Craig says:

      Did exactly that with a Hilton booking, Amex was very straightforward and all done on line. I wasn’t waiting 5 months for a refund, supposedly because there was nobody who could action it whilst the hotel was closed and that it might take 90 days after the hotel reopened.

    • Sarah says:

      I’m having the same issues with Melia, they are awful. I’m perfectly happy to move my dates to next year, but they’re trying to charge me an additional fee as they say the rate is higher, but what they are quoting is above the price of a new booking. A friend who booked with booking.com has been able to change their booking without having to pay any extra, which makes a mockery of booking directly. I understand that the hotel was closed when I was due to travel so next step is a chargeback, but i’m trying to get in writing that the hotel was closed and getting nowhere.

      • Sukes says:

        Thks Anna, Carol, Craig and Sarah. Helpful to get your feedback. Melia definitely seem to be shady in confirming in writing that the hotel is indeed closed. I’m trying to get that in writing also. Interesting but not surprising to hear pricing acceleration for next yr – another reason I want the cash back in my account rather than relying on Melia to price fairly. Thks all, it’s appreciated.

  • memesweeper says:

    Datapoint:

    I have two BA bookings in July:

    – one to Athens from Heathrow, cancelled mid-morning today
    – on to the Caribbean from Gatwick, NOT cancelled yet

    this is pretty much the opposite of what I was expecting. I’m going to take a voucher for the Athens flight as the voucher should be valid for much longer than the onbusiness points that booked it.

    • lottie says:

      I have just had two lots of BA flights in July cancelled,both in Italy, Bari & Brindisi. Looks like they are doing a mass cancellation this morning. Call centre is now back to cutting people off after being fairly quiet for a while.

      • memesweeper says:

        Exactly my experience — I can’t now get through on the phone.

        Disappointingly , when you use the online rebooking ( britishairways.com/travel/disruption-recovery/execclub/_gf/en_gb/rebook/changeFlight ) it refuses to allow me to change dates to the dates I want, stating ‘There is no availability for selected date’. A quick check in another tab confirms there is availability on those dates, so now I need to call 🙁

        I was going to get a voucher, but wanted to recheck the rebooking process works as advertised — and legally required — for a cancelled flight. Quel surprise, it doesn’t.

        • Rob says:

          Try using Online Chat. Once you get to a real person it seems to work quite well. Reader just tried it, literally an hour ago, at my suggestion and was all done within 10 minutes.

          • New Card says:

            What Online Chat is this?

          • memesweeper says:

            I didn’t know BA offered this! Where is the link?

          • Rob says:

            I think it only shows during call centre opening hours. Not sure if there are pop-up rules etc too. I am just going on reader feedback.

    • Anna says:

      Which Caribbean destination? There are reports of some islands opening up, but with very onerous restrictions such as having a COVID-negative certificate 72 hours before travel, wearing a mask in public and having to stay on the hotel premises for the entire stay. I can imagine BA saying that this is not their problem and still running the flight!

      • memesweeper says:

        My destination is completely closed to foreigners until further notice. I *will* want to rebook this, not take a voucher, hence my anxiety about the failure of the online tool to rebook my Athens flight.

        • Anna says:

          Not sure what all the secrecy is about! People reporting getting through to BA quite quickly on the Newcastle number, though.

  • Matty says:

    I’ve just checked my flights for a trip to Bogotá at the end of August. The itinerary was LIN-MAD-LIM-BOG returning BOG-MAD-LIN.

    The LIN-MAD flight has gone. There’s one earlier in the day. MAD-LIM was IB flight no. operated by LATAM. That appears to be operating. LIM-BOG was LATAM again and that’s gone – LA flight no. BOG-MAD has gone. IB flight. The final leg, MAD-LIN has gone. IB again. There’s a flight the next day. When I say gone, I mean can’t do a dummy booking and Expertflyer shows availability as zero.

    All on one ticket: 075 stock. IB haven’t notified me yet but booked through Expedia. MMB on IB says one of my flights is cancelled but doesn’t really suggest anything.

    What are my options? Re-route at a later date?

    • Charlieface says:

      Is there another airline you can fly with? Or demand a rebooking at a later date or full refund in cash

    • Lady London says:

      Your flight departs EU so full EU261/2004 rights apply.
      Your choice of full refund or replacement flights as close as possible to your booked timing,or you reschedule the whole thing to a later date. All at YOUR choosing not the airline’s.

      If you booked with Iberia they will refuse you your rights to reroute claiming IB not allowing agents to provide what you are entitled to, supersedes the EC261/2004 statute (that overrides any airline contract conditions)which is rubbish. However I’m pretty sure they will readily refund you though – that’s based on my one single very bad experience with IB.

      As it’s IB who are horrible to deal with ask them once, give then the 7 days to refund you EC261/2004 says you should get your refund back in,and go straight to credit card for a chargeback or, if a UK credit card, section 75 also an option. If you want a refund, that is.

    • marcw says:

      have fun dealing with exdpedia.

    • Matty says:

      I’d rather reroute. This was one of those ‘flash’ sales that you see from time-to-time. Now that I’ve gone on to the Iberia website (and not the app) I can see a telephone number to call.

      I’m expecting the runaround. Thank you everyone for your help.

  • BuyEMExternalBonds says:

    Data point

    Amex platinum £200 spend at Waitrose on Friday – £100 credit on main card this morning, very fast.

  • Andrew says:

    Just passed the BA Crew who will be running the First Class lounge here at work from tomorrow!

    (Search for Project Wingman).

    • Tom H says:

      They are so nice, had them at ours for a few weeks now. It does seem tough as there is so much uncertainty around their jobs, yet they are doing so much in local hospitals.

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