The new HFP chat thread – Thursday 4th 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:  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!

'My Favourite Hotel' review - Sea Blue Hotel (previously ‘Hotel California’), Santa Monica
London City Airport will re-open for flights in "late June"

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  1. Netherlands starts reopening to tourist from June 15 but not from the UK.

    • Germany are still advising against any non essential travel to the UK.

    • Hannah says:

      Which is ridiculous given the UK is currently excluded from the travel ban until 15th June

      • UK is high risk – end of. If only the PM had taken this virus seriously as it was wreaking havoc in Italy.

        • mark2 says:

          If only we had a Labour/SNP coalition government!

          • If only Stalin could be re-animated? Maybe Lenin has half a chance?

          • The country rejected Labour’s vision of the future in Dec 2019. And wishing the SNP had offered to go into coalition with them is like wishing Jo Swinson hadn’t lost her seat and everyone had embraced the Lib Dems vision of reversing Brexit. Or wishing China had told the world about the virus in late November. Trouble is that didn’t happen. Cloud cuckoo land I’m afraid. We are where we are. I doubt that a different government would have prevented any Covid-19 deaths or done much differently, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

          • @Mark2, I’m inclined to agree with AJA that it wouldn’t have made much difference. Infact, it might even have been worse. I’m led to that conclusion by the fact that neither Labour nor the SNP were voicing much concern, let alone crying foul, with the governments strategy in the early days of herd immunity or in the run up to lockdown. Granted, Labour were in the process of installing a new leader and the SNP, like the other devolved administrations, were hamstrung by the lack of various powers to respond independently of the UK government on the scale that was necessary. Despite this, they should still have been doing theur job of holding the government to accouht; it would seem they either failed miserably, were in general agreement with the governments approach, or perhaps most likely didn’t want to be seen to be devisive at a time of national crisis. So many ifs and buts, and the answer will never be known.

    • I am not seeing it anywhere officially.

  2. Doogie says: Accor/ Nationwide Flexplus quandry

    I currently have 3 rooms (booked in February) on non-refundable rates with at an Accor property in Amsterdam for the end of June for myself & wife, adult daughter and sister in law.

    Our Easyjet flights are 99% certain cancelled according to their schedule, so we can’t get there (even if we wanted to) and expecting refund on that after a dance about. are offering vouchers usable for *12 months* *at the same property* which is a worst case scenario, but seems like a pretty crappy option.

    Natwest Flexplus insurance are saying in FAQs,
    “My travel provider has offered me a travel voucher or credit to re-book my holiday for a later date. If I decline this, will I be able to claim on my travel insurance?- select this to hide related content

    Unfortunately, no, there is no cover under your travel insurance.

    You’ll need to speak to your travel provider to get a refund. Travel providers are dealing with high volumes of cancellations right now and it may take some time for your refund to be processed.”

    I can potentially argue with my insurer that the voucher is overly onerous, which I may win or lose, but then daughter and SIL will have to have similar arguments with their respective insurers.

    Anyone any thoughts, before I have to think about accepting the very strict voucher?

    • Hotels .com are applying the Accor policy for reservations made via a third party (which is essentially the same for direct nonrefundable bookings). Despite this published policy, BA Holidays and Amex Travel both refunded my money for nonrefundable Accor reservations made via them, and they both did so without a fuss. So, it might be worth having another go with Hotels .com. After completing all my teavdl refunds in May, I cancelled my FlexPlus account last week, the response of their insurer (UK Insurance) to Covid-19 has left me very unimpressed, and I plan to take out a policy with LV.

    • Charlieface says:

      Nationwide are talking garbage, they can’t refuse you insurance if that’s what was agreed in your T&Cs. A voucher is never acceptable as payment for an insurance claim. Unless they mean that you wanted to cancel under “disinclination to travel”, in which case they are right.

      • Lady London says:

        btw who is the underwriter of this Nationwide policy? just so we can avoid other policies underwritten by the same one, in future.

        • Charlieface says:

          UK Insurance Ltd, I think. They used to be pretty OK for paying claims

    • Lady London says:

      pretty sure unless it was very specifically in the terms of insurance you bought, the insurer cannot force you to accept a voucher or a credit if your travel insurance as bought covered you for a refund.

      I think most people would agree that the exact date is part of the essence of what you book particularly if you are buying for a holiday. so if the date you booked cant be provided then you cannot be considered to have been compensated with a voucher or a credit as you may have no further need for the travel you purchased if the original date you booked cant be provided.

      obviously you should ask whoever you paid for a refunf. if that fails you can try chargeback via your card. if credit card then you have Section 75 coverage you can claim on (can try chargeback first if you want to). Insurance seems to think they should be liable only if all these fail

      For credit card.s75 and insurance you can consider/threaten an ombudsman claim. This costs the card/insurance co literally £00’s regardless of the outcome so you should get their best available answer if you mention this after not getting anywhere with them. 8 weeks without satisfavtion or reply, 3 or so reasonable attempts, or them saying final answer is enough to go to Ombudsman.

      • Connor says:

        £650 per complaint, for reference.

        • xcalx says:

          However, the really nasty companies purchase the equivalent of a season ticket which covers multiple claims against them.

  3. Nathan says:

    Looks like Virgin flying club is down again. Cant login and get the endless loop and error ERROR_MSG_21. Was working yesterday.

    • Seems to be working for me just now (and I, possibly optimistically, booked a miles seat this am too with no issues).

    • Julie says:

      I can get in ok

  4. M Baldrick says:

    Hi, i have looked on the site for a comparison of BA business class versus American Airlines Business class. I couldn’t find anything. Could one of you kind people point me in the direction of a comparison? I note today AA has announced they are increasing flights both domestically and internationally albeit the increase for domestic flight are more substantial. Also, AA are reopening 11 of their Admirals Club lounges in select cities and terminals. I had booked with BA to Charleston on July 23rd but that direct flight is cancelled. I am only being offered Heathrow to Charleston via Miami or Dallas Texas. Some of the lights being offered are BA flights from T5 and others are BA via T3 which i know BA aren’t flying from so I am assuming the flights via T3 are AA flights. Hence my original request for comparison of BA and AA Business class.
    Thanks for your help,

    • If you google “compare BA and AA business class”, several articles come up on different travel blogs. I’m assuming you’re eligible to enter the US next month – are you the chap who was trying to get over to see his son?

      • M Baldrick says:

        Thank you – no my elderly parents live in Charleston so i go at least once a year.

    • ChrisC says:

      google search for ‘which BA flights leave from T3’ would get you this thread from this very blog

      At present AA operated flights are depating from T2

      • ChrisBCN says:

        The second link you get is for BA. Shows why Rob & co write the headlines as they do, to get them top of the search rankings (I know it’s more complex than that, but you get my point).

      • M Baldrick says:

        Hi, i thought BA had moved all their flights to T5 at least for the time being. I am being given alternative flights to pick from and the AA flights indicate they leave from T3 Now I am all confused 🙁
        Thanks for your help 🙂

    • Nick_C says:

      If I buy a J class ticket to the US, I fly with AA. If it’s a redemption, I fly BA with a voucher.

      The AA J cabin on the 77W is far superior to Club World. Privacy, and social distancing. And T2/T3 lounges are better than BA lounges at T5.

  5. Spaghetti Town says:

    Has it been mentioned? Virgin to restart flights on 20 July. New York, Orlando, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Los Angeles.

    • But who will be allowed to enter the US by then? No-one is going to want to book without that certainty (though I wouldn’t be planning any trips over the pond at all in 2020).

      • Same as Shanghai/HongKong, no one will be allowed in

      • Craig W says:

        isn’t the point that people already with flights booked to these locations will now get screwed because they won’t want to go but virgin are running the flights and so they can’t get a refund from Virgin? i suspect this might be the reason they are starting them again, less so for new bookings as you say

        • Show me a fare rule that says a visa rejection is not a grounds for a full refund.

          • Lady London says:

            unfortunately the airline is not responsible for your personal immigration status or any country’s immigration rules changing, so people could get hung out to dry.

  6. Mick Crook says:

    I’ve just recently found this site,I’m looking for help/clarification regarding a recently cancelled BA flight to Barbados. The flight was partly paid for with cash and Avios points, also seat reservations were paid later with Avios. Our AirBnb accommodation was cancelled a few days before departure as they advised us to not travel (full refund received). We received an email from BA on 16th March regarding our flight on 20th March offering a voucher, we applied for the voucher on 19th March, which we have received. I have noticed that the BA flight did actually travel to Barbados and was not cancelled by them. The question is how do I find out the actual monetary value of the BA voucher and will this include the Avios points taken from Executive club accounts?

    • Hi Mick. The giveaway is that your voucher number is the same as your ticket number. It contains everything – the Avios and cash (plus any Amex vouchers you may have used). Not sure if your seat fee is turned back into cash in the voucher or if you are due 2 free seat reservations. You simply need to call BA next time you want to book.

  7. Has anyone stayed at the Doubletree in Harrogate? We are looking at moving our Aston Martin trip to August and have loads of points in Hilton and IHG with all the cancellations we’ve had. Properties in N Yorks are few and far between though! The Doubletree is only 27,000 points for a standard redemption!

    • I am HH gold, OH should be IHG Spire by then.

    • Check TripAdvisor….the place was a complete utter shambles when I was there. You need the patience of Job and some more if you are willing to stay the night.

      The breakfast was exceptional though.

      • TripAdvisor reviews are quite mixed! It’s only for one night so if the breakfast is good we might go for it.

        • I’ve just found TripRep’s review from last year, it was obviously a let down!

          • In fairness the hotel might be a lot better now. The building itself is lovely, but it was really badly staffed. If you’re prepared to put up with some staffing issues though the hotel is very reasonable.

            There were huge queues (30-40 mins plus) to check in at 3pm with many rooms not ready. Staff were rather abrupt. You may need to remind them about the cookie. They might forget to put bottled water in the rooms. Not all rooms had a fridge. Digital key didn’t work for me. If you need to ring reception up about anything don’t expect things to be followed up.

            Breakfast room was lovely with a great selection of items.

    • Craig says:

      Where are you heading, NC500?

      • No, I’d organised a weekend away for my OH’s 50th, including hiring an Aston Martin for the weekend, in the Yorkshire Dales, so now trying to re-schedule. We both turn 50 this summer (and I retired!), so the amount of stuff I’ve had to cancel/re-arrange is mind-boggling!

  8. Harry H says:

    I have a voucher covering an Avios booking tied to a GUF2. I am looking to use it in June 2021 on the same route. I understand the voucher is limited to there being Avios availability on the flight.

    Has anyone had experience of using the voucher to book one way and adding the return when those seats open up a couple of weeks later?

    • Charlieface says:

      Travel agent can use it on any cash flight if they know what they are doing.

      • Lady London says:

        Propeller or Trailfinders?

      • Harry H says:

        Hi Charlieface
        You wouldn’t happen to know a travel agent who knows what they are doing would you?

  9. Redundancies at five high end IHG hotels in Edinburgh and Glasgow:

    • Seems like IHG are being burned with their overpriced hotels in Scotland like Ramsay with his failed Restaurant in Glasgow- his birth city. It just doesn’t work.

  10. Secret Squirrel says:

    Thats a good offer, double the usual sign up bonus.

  11. Nigel W says:

    I’m not sure if it has been reported on here or not, but those who used a Lloyd’s voucher with Avios, they have changed their cancellation offer.

    Still up to outbound flights leaving 31st July, you can cancel for free (had to pay before) and get all Avios and cash back. However now you can only get the voucher back for 3 months from the date cancelled (so if today it would be 4th September).

    • Different if your flight was cancelled.

      • Reeferman says:

        What are the current terms (for Lloyds Avios voucher) if the flight is cancelled please?
        Am hoping my flight to IAD in Oct will be cancelled – voucher was expiring Oct/Nov 2020.

        • If cancelled, you get all Avios and fees back. Voucher is extended till end of November regardless of expiry and you need to book by November meaning you can rebook up to 21 November 2021.

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