The new HFP chat thread – Friday 5th 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!

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  1. Two separate complaint questions…….!

    Has anyone complained about a travel agent to ABTA? If so, how did you get on?

    Same question about complaining to the Financial Obudsman about a credit card provider, any tips?

    I am STILL no further forward to receiving a refund for my cancelled cruise package holiday that was cancelled 12 weeks ago (when we had already flown out). Cruise Nation have also failed to respond to my official complaint in the 56 days they are allowed to by ABTA.

    Meanwhile, dispute was put in with Barclaycard on 1st April, and still no update. This is over the 8 weeks the Financial Ombudsman say you should allow. I finally spoke to someone at Barclaycard last week, he said he would escalate it with the dispute team and advised I put a complaint in. I sent a complaint on Sunday evening, and no response at all.

    I have spent hours and hours trying to get this sorted and get our money back. I really wanted to avoid having to make complaints to the official bodies, but seems like I don’t have a lot of choice.

    • Genghis says:

      Barclaycard have 8 weeks from the date you lodge the complaint.

    • was your dispute with Barclaycard definitely logged as a Section 75 claim.

      I could imagine cards might like to classify things as chargeback as the assumption is whoever you paid would get charged back by them after they pay you.

      Which is not the case with Section 75 – as Section 75 is a law that means the credit card is equally liable for fulfilling what you paid for. Including any terms of sale, or (overriding contract if conflicting terms) any statute pertaining to your purchase. Cardco has to pay out of own funds whether or not they can recover, under s.75.

      I would ensure my claim was lodged under s75. After that threaten them with the FOS/Ombudsman and do it if you get nowhere. Even if you dont win the Ombudsman fee to them is £00’s so they should stop and think unless they are really sleazy.

      ABTA always struck me as toothless but @RussellH will know more.

      make sure your s75 claim(s) cover every vendor you paid and any duty of care incurred under EC261.

      I cant see any reason to delay. MSE will be a good source on how people in similar situations are faring.

      • If I’m honest, I have no clue what it was logged as. When I originally logged the dispute I talked about logging it under Section 75. Every time I’ve sent a secure message I’ve talked about it being a Section 75 dispute. I did mention chargeback recently, just because I was frustrated that nothing appeared to be happening, and I asked if chargeback had been considered as maybe it would be a quicker process (I mentioned my positive experiences with Amex and Haifax and how when I had lodged disputes with them I had had my account credited straight away while it was investigated).

        The problem is, every time I send a secure message I get a very generic message back just saying it is being investigated.

        I’ve tried calling 3 times. The first time it took 2 hours and 40 minutes to get through to anyone, and then the person who answered was just general customer services and couldn’t answer anything at all about the dispute.

        The second time was about 1 hour 15 on hold.. I called the dispute number, but apparently there was a technical issue and the lady who answered was Barclays but was somehow getting dispute calls through to her. She couldn’t help me.

        The third time was last week. Again phoned the disputes number, got through to someone in the fraud team. He told me it shouldn’t have taken so long, and told me he would email the disputes team to get someone to contact me (that hasn’t happened), and advised I put a complaint in, which I did.

        For the poster who said I have to wait 8 weeks from putting the complaint in to FOS, really? I’ve already waited over 9 weeks to get an answer to my dispute, which I haven’t got yet. Doesn’t seem right I now have to wait another 8 weeks ago, and I don’t think that was what I read on the FOS website.I thought if I hadn’t had any solution to my dispute after 8 weeks I could go to them, but will take another look at the website.

        • babyg says:

          FYI there are no time frames for section 75…. I gave up with a section 75 with Barclays and went chargeback, resolved much quicker!

    • Andrew says:

      Now you have made a formal complaint to Barclays, the clock starts ticking. Have a search for “Before we get involved” on the Financial Ombudsman website, you’ve got about 8 weeks before they’ll look at it now – if you aren’t satisfied by Barclaycard’s response.

      Nothing happens quickly, at the best of times! My last FOS Complaint took 9 months for them to investigate *after* the NewDay rebuff.

    • I have an ongoing dispute with American Express Travel and Amex Platinum. United cancelled a flight and Amex Travel stated that it was a schedule change under USA rules. I pointed out that the USA DOT have clear rules and this was clearly a cancellation. They refused to refund.
      Amex Platinum then stepped in and refunded and even closed the dispute, About 2weeks ago they reversed the decision and in the submission from Amex Travel they included a comment that they had contacted ABTA and that they had advised that the change ie cancelled flight and re accommodated on earlier service was a schedule change and not a cancellation.

      It would appear ABTA keen to protect member rather than their customers. I simply cannot get my head around how removing an operational flight from the schedule and rebooking a customer on a new service with a different flight number could ever be classed as anything but a cancelletion.
      The USA and UK indeed two nations divided by a common language

      I have appealed Amex’s decision.

      • where was the flight from and to.
        where did the ticket containing the flight start – UK or US
        was the ticket containing the flight bought from Amex Travel UK on a UK credit card

        • ah…. seen you referred to Amex Plat so charge card. so you do not have the advantage of UK s75 which would have got you paid much quicker.
          need to know answers to the rest above please.

    • Fred (my comments get moderated EVERY time!) says:

      Jody – this is the standard ploy. Most people give up.

      However, if you’re genuinely up for the ‘fight’, then crack on with procedure and stick at it 100%.

      Every such company wants to wear you down; show them that won’t wash with you!

      Keep us updated and am sure many here will support you as required. Good luck!

  2. OT: In Q3 last year I bought a BA return flight from LHR to KIX in Business with Avios & a Lloyds upgrade (which has now passed its use by date). The outbound leg has now been cancelled. What am I entitled to as BA is not flying to Japan but I still want to go? Can I expect them to move me to a JAL flight? Thanks! Tried to call but busy. what’s the best number & time to call them?

    • Fred (awaiting moderation because Rob/Rhys is monitoring my IP) says:

      Thats an interesting one. I’m unsure of the answer myself, but am intrigued as to (a) what should happen and (b) what does happen. Good luck and please do keep us informed.

    • yes regardless of if how your tik was purchased you have ec261/2004 rights if it departs UK.

      ec261 says you choose – not the airline choosing- full refund if any flight on tik cancelled – or you can choose reroute. Reroute can include your booked airline providing a replacement tik on another airline if they are no longer able to to fly you. so if JAL still flying yes you can request a replacenent ticket on JAL flights.

      I advise you to identify the flights you want and any alternatives you would/would not be happy with before you call. Note that if the replacement flights can only be offered on a later day or are by an indirect route then the airline must provide or pay for any extra hotel nights and meals for any extra time for you to do the journey under duty of care part of EC261.

      Naturally BA’s preference will be, in descending order:
      – get you to take a voucher. Don’t. Restrictive to re-use and no guarantee about future pricing. Unless you’d particularly like long rebook period currently being offered.
      – get you to rebook to ticket with first leg being some other BA flight now or in the future. If they stopped the route, might be to some other airport and leave you to find your way to where you booked. Might offer you a connecting flight on someone else after a main BA flight. Your right is from your booked departure point to your booked landing airport. if you booked direct you dont have to accept an indirect route that would make you more than 5? hours late longhaul if another airline can get you there close enough to your original landing time.
      – refund you. This absolves them of duty of care above.
      – replacement ticket with first leg on some other airline (Oneworld)
      – replacement ticket with first leg on some other airline (non-Oneworld). this is likely to cost them more, even though still far, far below retail price.

      Be aware that whatever airline you reroute onto, if you depart Europe/UK then you keep EC261 protection even if problems on new flight. But if return flight is not on a Eur/UK airline then as not departing Uk/Eur you would not have tbis protection for return journey.

      Apparently BA is easier to get through to now but after having done my research I think I would want to catch them fresh and early in their day on this one.

  3. Reeferman says:

    Data point.
    Just phoned BA (Gold line number) to arrange cash refunds for 2 flights recently cancelled by them for July travel.
    Phone answered within 3 mins and all dealt with very promptly. One involved some AVIOS to be refunded – which have already gone back to my account!

  4. Hilton Cancellations

    Just had email to confirm can now cancel “non-cancellable or advance purchase” reservations booked before March for no fee until end August.

    • If I take a refund I guess Amex will claw that £50 back…

      • David D says:

        Not necessarily in my experience.

        • Fingers crossed 🙃

          • Callum says:

            They took mine back immediately.

            I complained twice and they gave it back. I relied on a technicality in my complaint (that I didn’t specifically ask Amex Travel for a refund), so I don’t know if that made any difference.

      • Roger says:

        They took mine back immediately too

  5. Grant says:

    Through my own bad planning I ended up cancelling my wife’s Virgin Reward + card (in order to avoid the second years fee), leaving 7,632 miles in her FC account – a larger balance having been transferred out to Hilton some time ago. What are my options to get at the remaining miles? First choice would be to send them to Hilton and I was planning on transferring some Amex MR points in to Virgin to top up to 10k then out to Hilton, but this seems like lunacy and a waste of MRs which would be worth more direct to Hilton.

    Do I have any other options?

  6. Harry T says:

    Any opinions on the Cotton House or Edition hotels in Barcelona for an August weekend? Hard product at Edition and roof terrace look excellent, Cotton House looks quite boxy room wise but a unique and adorable style generally.

    • I’ve had a tour of Edition – it is very cool. Some rooms have baths with full length bathroom windows so you can sit there and look over the streets! Rooftop bar has good views, basement bar looked very classy. This was all pre-opening so no idea how it is now it is open. Very central location.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, Rob – I love the design and style from pictures. Looks much classier than the W.

        • W is out of town but on the beach. Hotel Arts is on the beach too. Arts could be walked to the centre, W no chance.

    • Jonathan Stoller says:

      stayed at The Cotton House a couple of years ago and loved it. Boutiquey feel. Nice breakfast.

    • Roberto says:

      Check out 1882 hotel. Super position on Las Ramblas. Had a suite there was was very impressed.

  7. Very grateful to youfirst for moving my avios flights to CPT from July to non avios seats next year.

    • Matthew says:

      Our of interest, did it matter whether your original booking was on a peak or off peak date when choosing the new date next year?

  8. Delighted to see Hilton again lead the travel pack by providing a 2 month extension to their fabulous Covid-19 policy..well done Hilton

  9. Wing It One World says:

    Has anyone heard further updates from BA and status extensions ?

    June the 8th is fast approaching, what about July August and September, surely they must get a squeeze on loyalty now.

    • No.

      It is not impossible that BA is actively trying to weed out status card holders as it knows that it cannot continue to run its lounges at their historic capacity. It would be a nightmare if BA ended up denying lounge access to status card holders due to lounges hitting their capacity levels.

      • in future I can see would-be lounge entrants asked to join 1 of 3 queues;
        – seated in J or F
        – status card holders
        – paid or lounge club / priority pass

        1 person out of lounge=> 1 into lounge processing next entrant in from the waiting queues in the above priority order. 3rd queue may never get processed and 2nd queue about half the time.

        • I think they should amend your queue 1 to WTP, CW and F, and directed the rest to Boots. Problem solved 😉

          • I knew you were going to say that @BJ.

            Indeed, for a while to disappointed status holders they are going to have to hand out vouchers

            Pretty soon after that they will hand out vouchers only to Gold and above.

            And within a short interval they are going to revamp BAEC officially removing lounge access from Silvers and possibly offering Gold a voucher if turned away or wait time exceeds 20min. At the same time they will offer very bad rates of avios to pay for seat choices, extra luggage, furry plane toys part of the revamped BAEC “due to customer demand”.

            And meanwhile @BJ you wilk be smiling from inside the lounge 🙂

          • Only if they start cooking my bacon roll to order, I do like it crispy!

          • Polly says:

            Love these thoughts you two, had me laughing out loud. Great imagination! Hope those thoughts don’t come back to haunt us one day in the future. Some smart Alec in BA remembering your idea and suggesting it!

      • Doug M says:

        Status is about more than lounges. BA have managed to make BAEC a very good FFS, I think they’ll be very keen to retain its benefits, as they know how to maximise its value. Cutting swathes of members to limit lounge access could represent a big risk, those people disappear from BA and don’t return.
        Lounge capacity could very well be managed through the numbers of people flying. When has a lounge ever been as crowded as a plane? Even sitting in every other seat on a plane is still much closer to the people next to you than is typical in a the most crowded lounge.

        • Polly says:

          Disagree. Those lounges in T5 are quite often packed. I have seen it when only the very odd seat free in there…

    • Doug M says:

      In terms of what BA have done there is little logic. Every one has lost the same amount of flying time regardless of TP year.

  10. Chrisw says:

    Has anyone had any luck with disputing a cancelled Ryanair flight with Amex. We thought it was agreed but it seems Amex Gold credit card have now backed Ryanair. Even though they are breaching EU laws.

    We have just Raised a similar claim on Amex Gold credit card against Expedia re KLM flights. Has anyone been successful?

    • Sukes says:

      Could you share more detail? Was this a closed dispute in your favour now revoked? If so what reason was given by Amex? I have two RYA cancellations approved by Amex for chargeback 2days ago on Amex Plat (which does not have section 75 cover that your credit card has) and am expecting the credit to hit any day.

      • Chris says:

        Hiya. The Ryanair claim was closed previously but they Amex state it is now open again. Ryanair have 45 days to challenge any claim from my understanding. It’s seems Amex have done this a lot with Ryanair whereas lots of other providers including PayPal have sided with the customer.

    • threaten Amex Gold credit card or any other credit card with the FOS/Ombudsman for failing to refund you under s75.

      did you try chargeback? as Ryanair is and will remain a going concern I would have thought chargeback your quickest option.

      MSE has all the gen on Ryanair’s nasty threats this week and last week. Quite likely they will end up being reported to the CAA (again)

      • Chris says:

        How do ensure it is a s75 vs chargeback? Amex aren’t very clear what basis I have claimed under. I will be threatening FOS if they don’t cover this.

        What I thought was bad is I have not heard anything from Amex. The only way I noticed the change was due to starting the claim against Expedia due their unbelievable poor service and ineptitude claiming my refund from KLM, who have confirmed I can have a cash refund.

        • ask them are they processing it as s75 or chargeback. credit card has both options. charge card has only chargeback.

          Ombudsman/FOS only for s75. s.75 comes from a law.
          Chargeback is voluntary industry scheme most cards sign up to. chargeback weaker as not legislation.

    • Crafty says:

      Just go back and reopen the case. Speak to someone in Brighton by phone and explain it properly. Worked for me.

  11. Harry T says:

    Anyone with bookings in Hong Kong for the Conrad Tokyo may want to check rates. I just cancelled and rebooked my points booking for five nights, as the rate had dropped from 95,000 HH points per night to 80,000. Absolute steal to bag this hotel for 320,000 points for five nights instead of 380,000.

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