The new HFP chat thread – Tuesday 2nd 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/2020/06/02/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-tuesday-2nd-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!

News: BBC and ITV on the British Airways redundancies, LAST DAY for the Heathrow Rewards transfer bonus to Avios
What is the British Airways On Business points redemption chart?

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Comments

  1. davvero says:

    The orange monster seems to have imposed martial law on the US. This is not a country I’d want to visit right now even without the pussycat virus!

    @Rob an idea for an article (point me to it if I’ve missed it). A look at which other countries have a BA or Virgin credit card (would probably take too long doing all the hotel schemes) and also which ones support Amex Membership Rewards.

    Some of us work in different countries or have dual residency it would be interesting to see what’s available. It’s just something to look at on a quiet patch.

  2. Pierre says:

    British airways seems to have sneakily removed rewards saver flights.
    I checked several destinations (picked off-peak dates)
    LHR – TLS is now 8000 avios + £97.67 / used to be 8000 avios + £35
    Similar tax hike for other short haul destinations.
    I am only showing the 8000 avios level as this is the “sweet point” with a 1p/avios valuation.

    I would like to think that it is a glitch, temporary hike but I fear it isn’t. With all the losses BA is clearly making both the staff and the customers pay in some way.

    I am sure some of you and probably Rob will wonder how it looks on Iberia for the same flights.
    And amusingly enough there are changes there but in a different way.

    The sweet point on Iberia is now 2000 avios + £97.67. You can also pay 8000 avios + £57.67.
    It is less painful of this side for some reason.

    If I only look at the BA side, it is for me a significant devaluation of Avios. Many people do not fly Business or First and I am one of those. Award long haul economy didn’t make sense and reward flight saver could be good value for short haul travel.

    • If you don’t see RFS it is because you haven’t earned or spent 1 Avios in the last 12 months.

      • Pierre says:

        Oh, thanks a lot. Looks like I panicked for nothing then.
        I now see the highlited note on your “How does Reward Flight Saver work on Avios tickets?” post.

        And yes, haven’t earned any avios in the last 12 months. Just used some.
        Time to transfer some Amex points to Avios then.

  3. Barry cutters says:

    Looking for advise – I have a booking with a hotel in Spain through hotels.com. It is for this Friday . My flights were cancelled and the hotel isn’t even open !!
    I’ve called and emailed hotels, and all I am being offered is a voucher to use at that specific hotel anytime in the next year. .i obviously a don’t want that and would accept either a full refund or a hotels.come voucher that could be used at any hotel .

    Not sure what to do as hotels.com seem to us it keep saying we are bound by the terms of conditions of the hotel -which is fine but in my opinion – if the hotel is actually closed then As it’s impossible for me to stay I should get a refund .

    It’s hotels.com gold team I’m dealing with and i book around 150 nights a year . The hotel cost was £400 for 3 nights . I paid on a credit card and I have insurance through nationwide

    Advise appreciated …

    • I had a similar situation with a booking.com reservation in Spain on a non-refundable rate. My request for a waiver of cancellation fee via booking.com was declined. I then contacted the hotel directly, who confirmed they were closed and therefore they would able to issue refund. Forwarded email to booking.com and refund issued within a couple of hours. Worth a go if you are able to. Good luck.

    • JohnG says:

      @Barry – S75 thought I’d give hotels.com one last chance with a deadline of a week or less to refund you as they aren’t providing the service you paid for. If the hotels closed then there’s no way you won’t get your money back with an S75 claim on your credit card.

      • babyg says:

        I would use chargeback rather than section75… its easier and quicker

    • Nationwide will only cover if booked before 18 March but I am assuming you almost certainly did so you will be covered. Is this an Accor hotel? It sounds like it might be from requirement to rebook at same hotel. If it is it should not stop you refunding. Amex Travel and BA Holidays both refunded me despite Accor published policies. If you were to end up with voucher or the booking then don’t do so soon, this for UK travel to Spain yesterday:
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52882177

      • Danny says:

        In yesterday’s comments, some people were having difficulties in obtaining written closure confirmation from Melia Hotels; there is a list of closures on their website as at 27th May 2020 which may help:
        meliahotel.com/

    • daftboy says:

      That doesn’t bode well for me – I have a similar situation with a hotel in Santorini that I was supposed to be attending for a wedding (obviously postponed), and which I booked via a non-refundable rate on hotels.com. Obvioulsy that’s on me for choosing that rate, but what I have been offered is a voucher for the same hotel to be used within 1 year, which I don’t really want.

      I would be happy to take hotels.com credit rather than a cash refund, sounds like I might not have much luck

  4. Has anyone had their Amex accounts put on “credit relief” without the permission? Happened to both my cards with Amex and i only realised after the direct debits didn’t leave my current account on the usual dates.
    There’s no cost to me or hit on my credit report (or so it seems) but either way as I didn’t request it I am kind of worried.
    Anyway, check your accounts, just in case…

    • Friend of mine went onto this and he is no longer allowed to refer friends.

      • Has your friend had the ability to refer reinstated, Rob?
        Really annoyed if this has been removed from my account and they won’t let me have it back. I could cancel at least one of the cards if it comes to it…

        • He only discovered it yesterday.

          You can tell if it has been removed, go into the Amex website and try to generate your referral link.

          • Thanks Rob. Would be interested to see how this concludes, if it gets sorted or if indeed they’ve done this to others without them requesting it.

          • Danyal says:

            Did the same Rob. Wouldn’t let me after years of being able to. Called in and was just told sorry we can’t see why but you’re account no longer meets the criteria to refer friends. AMEX’s customer service seems to be deteriorating rapidly from when I joined just 5 years ago.

    • Lady London says:

      I’d definitely call them and get that reversed immediately.

    • How can we tell if they have done this, does it show on our accounts?

    • The amount due was showing on the statement, as well as the due date, however it didn’t show the ‘direct debit will be taken on XX June…’ on the statement. Noticed this is now on both my Plat and BAPP so I called them again.
      Looks like the direct debit was cancelled from their end. They promised to ‘investigate’ including listening in on calls with advisors thinking that I initiated this. Hopefully the truth will soon come out but I am livid that this was applied without my permission.
      Had to make a manual payment on debit card today. I am not sure yet if my current account will still let the direct debit to go through, so waiting a day or so before paying the other one.
      Watch your accounts basically and keep an eye open.

      Rob, you’re right – no option to refer from my card. I wonder if that will get reinstated.

  5. Some light relief from the general horrors of the last week – GMB reporting that the government is considering “airbridges” between the UK and certain other countries to avoid the quarantine requirement. No surprise to many of us, though whether people will want to travel is another question!

    • Just what we need, the opportunity to travel to, and welcome visitors from, other countries with high incidence of Covid-19. Brazil anybody?

      • Of course there are issues to be thrashed out, but I seriously doubt that Brazil will be on the airbridge list any time soon!

        • I seriously doubt UK travellers will be on many countries welcome list anytime soon either. We have the highest death rate of any country in the world despite the government playing games with the number of deaths in care and in the community in England. Last I checked a few days ago the 7-day average deaths in the UK were still at least double that in France, Spain and Italy so watch for signs that they are welcome before the UK.

          • That’s as may be, but an airbridge by its very nature requires co-operation at the other end. Other countries have already shown interest, so obviously feel that the economic benefits of Brits travelling outweigh the health risks.

      • Also there’s been nothing stopping people coming here from Brazil or anywhere else until now.

    • Roberto says:

      BBC reporting the same this morning with Ministers ‘looking at ways to relax travel quarantine rule’
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52886724

    • And even the self-isolation quarantine will not entirely look like quarantine. You will be able to go out buy food, change your residence and leave house to attend to legal matters whatever that means and of course use public transport when going to/from different accommodation and also on arrival. Only about 20% of people will actually be checked upon as they don’t have enough resources!

      • Which was obvious from the outset!

        • Indeed, although even this half-hearted attempt may have been more useful if they’d done it back in March!

        • You have no obligation to open the door of course. The only way you could be fined is if you were found outside not on your way to/from a supermarket.

          • They are watering it down every day, at this rate it will be gone by the end of the month.

          • Aston100 says:

            On some days when I’m feeling quite mischievous, I don’t even open the door for the Hermes courier; just silently stare at them through my living room window whilst sipping a cup of tea.

            Of course this does rather delay the delivery of my items, but you can’t put a price on entertainment.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            [email protected] a American pilot was jailed in Singapore (flight from Australia) should have been in quarantine but was seen in a mall

          • How on earth is that entertaining? Weirdo.

          • Chris – there’s a lot of things they do in Singapore! The worst penalty they are talking about here is a fine, and that would only be if they could prove you weren’t out food shopping.

          • Riccatti says:

            Quarantine…

            We are having house parties around London with well above 10 people in small backyards and permanent decorations — makes me wonder if some neighbours run an unlicensed bar/disco!

            Met Police operator said that they are unlikely to respond to the call or send anyone, because there are so many reports!!

            Children playing football on streets FOR HOURS.

            People walk freely in groups, gather to chat with each other, smoke and pass a light — all the guidance now completely ignored in daily life — in London that it.

      • Lady London says:

        they can hardly call that quarantine can they.
        If they’d called that kind of rubbish quarantine in the 19th century then TB would still be widespread in the native UK population.

        • Quite – an American doctor wrote a brilliant article pointing out that in the olden days quarantine meant your doors and windows being boarded up and someone leaving food on your doorstep every few days. Of course Netflix hadn’t been invented then and I doubt the food offerings were from Waitrose!

          • Lady London says:

            one office I worked in was the site of an old TB hospital. It was also known as an isolation hospital. Basically it was in a forest.

  6. Hunter says:

    I was new to Clubcard points until taking up the recent bonus offer to insure my dog – any ideas if / when there’s ever / might be a bonus to transfer to Avios..?

  7. Wally1976 says:

    Just seen a new offer on our Amex Gold – 15% off Gett Taxis.

  8. Graeme says:

    I’ve booked a Friday night in mid-March at voco Dubai for 15k IHG points. I searched around and everything suggested that IHG’s intention was to charge 40k a night (it only being a year into IHGness) – could this be part of the recent changes in redemption costs? All IHG properties in Dubai that weekend seemed relatively cheap.

    • Magarathea says:

      I am in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in March and all of the IHG hotels rewards nights seem to be greatly reduced and not only at the weekend. I have re-booked a 2 week stay and saved 120k IHG points. Quite a saving.

  9. Harry T says:

    I have BA Cityflyer flights booked on Avios from Edinburgh to Florence for late August. Does anyone know if BA Cityflyer are still flying or planning to be by then?

    Of course, no guarantees the Italians will let us in. I’m also wondering what the state of five star hotels will be by then…

    • Stu N says:

      Our June flights were cancelled last month – I suspect the BACF regional routes are marginal and may be some of the first to get chopped.

      If they are cancelled, you could ask to be rerouted via LHR or LCY but the Edinburgh – Florence timings were perfect for a weekend and a connection would eat into your time away. Fingers crossed for you!

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, Stu.

      • Andrew says:

        Aren’t these the aircraft used when LCY is closed?

        As they’d otherwise be sitting on the ground, as long the direct operating costs are covered on the Edinburgh diagrams, it’s easy money.

        • I think we had this discussion last week and Rob or Rhys said the CityFlyer aircraft are currently operating out of LHR so there’s no reason they can’t be re-positioned to do the regional routes. I think it’s more likely that the decision will rest on load factors and the position of the destination country on receiving UK visitors (and FCO advice for as long as it’s in place).

          • No CityFlyer out of Heathrow. There was talk that BA may move that way in the future but it requires the permission of the unions.

          • I’m sure someone said they were operating from another airport than LCY because it was in response to my own query about the direct flights from MAN this summer.

        • Stu N says:

          I’m pessimistic that they will run as the routes aren’t core to BA’s proposition and the overheads and logistics of running them are more than most routes.

    • 5* hotels might become (hopefully clean) 3* hotels due to lack of facilities and services.

      • Harry T says:

        @BJ that’s my my main concern. I mean, I’d still get a superior hard product in the room and a comfort bed with presumably better service. But no access to spa, pool, restaurant, gym would put me off. I’m booking three and five star hotels for Milan, Venice and Florence, and making a decision nearer the time based on information I can glean. St Regis Florence isn’t even open until September!

        Plus side is there’s lots of Welcome Back rates with Marriott where you get a 25% discount, flexible rate and breakfast.

  10. Got my gold business Amex last week. No welcome bonus counter has appeared in the app or on the web. How long does it normally take to show up in people’s experiences?

    • Peter K says:

      It comes and goes. Sometimes it never appears at all. Everything is still tracking in the background though.

    • Lady London says:

      see below and as well, it can show on website and not on app or v.v.

  11. Marcw says:

    A recent review of the “new normal” airline lounges. Lufthansa: water + snacks. No alcohol or food. No showers. Limited capacity. (in German) https://youhavebeenupgraded.boardingarea.com/2020/06/ein-erster-blick-in-die-heute-geoffneten-lufthansa-lounges/?utm_source=BoardingArea&utm_medium=BoardingArea

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