Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Sunday 7th 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/2020/06/07/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-sunday-7th-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 (143)

  • Jon says:

    Apologies if this is already widely known, but just in case it isn’t… Apparently Lloyds Avios Upgrade Vouchers are being extended by only three months now, not the previous six months. So I was told when I called Avios to deal with a refund for a now-cancelled BA flight. Got through straight away and the agent was very helpful; hopefully it should take about a week or so to get Avios, cash and upgrade voucher back (no other options – can’t do the BA all-in-one voucher, or take Avios in lieu of voucher etc). September 30th 2020 is the book-by deadline (so fly by c.August 2021) for all Lloyds upgrade vouchers apparently (I assume that means any that would have already expired beforehand – don’t know whether there are still any left with longer original validity?). Hope that might be of use to someone.

    • Alan says:

      I don’t see your Sept 2020 can be the book-by date when they were still issuing vouchers this year? Mine was issued in Jan and clearly says it has a year validity for making a booking.

      • Jon says:

        As I said, I assume the September deadline is for vouchers that would already have expired. If yours has original validity beyond September, I’d assume you should still get the full 12 months (but possibly no further extension beyond that, by the sounds of it – though I’m not 100% sure, just the impression I got from what the agent said).

    • Nic says:

      Thanks for that. Are they automatically extended beyond their expiry date or do you have to call to request an extension, do you know?

    • Peggers says:

      Hi @Jon.
      Just to add my recent experience.
      I phoned Avios a fortnight ago – and got through in 1 minute – re cancelled flights CFU-LHR-EDI x 2 in CE using a Lloyd’s upgrade voucher that expired in October 2019.
      My Avios were returned immediately, as was the voucher which was given a further 6 months extension to November 2020. I have a further voucher available until October 2020 in the account too.
      The fees for the original booking have still to be returned but are being processed (I am promised).

  • Zander says:

    Thanks for update.
    That is disappointing to hear September 2020 cut off, particularly since they will not issue BA voucher.
    The September 2020 cut off date does not seem correct or equitable though. The last letter I received advised I could still earn a voucher up to May 2020. So in theory I could have had upgrade voucher issued last month with standard 12 month validity, yet not be accepted after 30th September 2020.
    I have one booking in place using 2 upgrade vouchers for September and another one expiring August. In normal times I would have used these easily, but looks a distinct possibility I will lose them all. 🙁

    • Jon says:

      Yeah, I was a bit disappointed too – doesn’t leave much time to use the voucher, especially given all the uncertainty, but with any luck bookings for next summer might be ok.

      You’ve confirmed what I wasn’t sure about – that vouchers could still be earned after September 2019, so presumably any of those will retain at least their original validity. I may have misunderstood the agent – presumably it’s only vouchers that have already expired now that will be extended by three months up to September 30th. Still a little tight for time though – one year from original expiry would have been better 😉

      I got the sense that, with the Avios programme now closed, there’s only a skeleton team left to deal with the vouchers, which I imagine they’re quite keen to close down as soon as possible. Not sure what’s going to happen next year if flights are still getting cancelled and re-booked upgrade-voucher redemptions need to be re-booked yet again… I’m slightly surprised they aren’t willing to refund the voucher as Avios – would surely make life easier for them.

      Also, I have a slight concern that, with there being nowhere online that we can actually view our upgrade vouchers, and nothing in writing to confirm that they have been reinstated and extended etc, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we encounter a bit of “We have no record of your voucher” somewhere down the line… 😉

      • Callum says:

        It’s British Airways staff dealing with Lloyds vouchers now (which is why so many people kept being told rubbish like “you have to start the trip from the UK” etc. – they’re confusing it with the Amex vouchers they usually deal with), there won’t be any issues dealing with changes in the future.

        If my voucher gets expired in September despite being issued in late October, I’ll presumably be getting another large compensation payment from Lloyds (I’ve probably earnt more in cash compensation by this stage than I have actual Avios!) so that’s fine by me.

        • Jon says:

          Ah thanks, good to know – I had assumed it was still Avios’ own staff.

          • Callum says:

            It changed quite a long time ago. But annoyingly, even if you reach an agent with the relevant training on the BA number, they can’t help you. You still have to call the Avios number and their shorter opening times!

            It also took me a long time to get them to agree to do the APD trick (I always book XXX-LHR; YYY-LHR-XXX, which is complicated as the YYY-LHR segment isn’t covered by the voucher so they don’t like including it in the same PNR), not sure if I’ll get it to work with my last one.

          • Anna says:

            If YYY is a UK regional add on then it’s always been included in the voucher when I’ve redeemed them.

      • Jon says:

        Just to add a data point: Avios already back in my (AerClub) account 🙂

  • Ben edwards says:

    Hi any ideas if BA are going to increase the surcharges and taxes on avios redemption and whether they will increase the off peak /peak mileage required

  • FlightDoctor says:

    Could do with some advice on family summer holiday flights to the US. 2 week trip departing last week July, outbound to SEA and back from PHX. Complex booking for 5 pax involving 3 separate PNRs and mix of cash, Avios, 2-4-1s and GUFs!

    The outbound to SEA has just been cancelled and we have the option of switching to another flight (there is another flight still operating that day) or cancelling.

    Whilst I recognise the chances of this trip going ahead is very unlikely I don’t necessarily want to cancel right now, if there is still a small chance it might go ahead and I can still cancel at short notice.

    However, if I switch to the other flight does that constitute a “new” booking and mean I may not be able to get a full refund nearer the time and/or not be able to claim back on insurance?

    Also, if I do cancel at some point will I get my 2-4-1s and GUFs reinstated and extended?

    • Anna says:

      If you change to a new flight and BA cancels it, you have all the original protections, you can either get your points, vouchers and cash back or in the form of a future travel voucher. I have heard BA say that you don’t have the same protection once you agree to an alternative flight, but that may have just been the rubbish they are prone to trying to fob people off with!
      It’s not clear whether some of your flights are purely cash bookings, but if these are non-refundable under BA’s Ts and Cs you need to check your insurance thoroughly re what they will and won’t cover in terms of a new booking, or better still, call them and ask specifically if you will be covered.

  • Berneslai says:

    What’s the timing difference between BA holidays balances being due and flights being cancelled? I owe almost £6k for accommodation and return CW flights to San Jose in August but I have no inclination to fly when the product has limited service, pre-packed food and no alcohol.

    I’d rather avoid shelling out for something that I’d almost immediately need to reclaim a refund for.

    • Anna says:

      Someone posted not long ago that BA was now not asking for payment of balance until 3 weeks before travel. The normal period is 5 weeks, which was still showing on my BAEC page the other day when our holiday was cancelled, which was around 7 weeks before our departure date.

      • Berneslai says:

        Thanks Anna

      • WaynedP says:

        I can confirm payment now due 3 weeks before departure. My original May flights have been re-booked twice now (without problem, to be honest) once to July (which was recently cancelled) and now to September. Both re-bookings showed new 3 week deadline for balance due in MMB.

        Technically that still leaves you exposed for up to a week if BA really want to go to the wire and cancel bookings outside of the 14 day period to avoid expensive obligations on them.

        When I had no choice on my original May booking other than to a) pay the balance, b) take the voucher, or c) cancel and potentially face some admin fee loss, I was happy to take the voucher as I knew I would have to use it as soon as possible.

        Applying the voucher to each new re-booking has been seamless for me, including under 20 minutes from picking up the phone to dial the std 0800 727 800 number first thing this morning.

        I hope the BA call centre folk (and all airline industry staff) emerge alright from this whole dreadful saga so gravely affecting people’s livelihoods. My experience with them has been super efficient, despite the uncertainty they must be facing.

  • Dan says:

    Wonder if someone knows the answer to this…. I am a BA Silver. Looking to book a RFS which I know includes 1 free checked bag. Does the Silver status mean I can check in 2 bags for free?

    • Zander says:

      My understanding and experience of this is yes. Silver baggage allowance is additional to fare baggage allowance.

    • Pid says:

      Yes

    • Jon says:

      Yes. Silver gets you one extra bag on economy (1 bag) baggage allowance, but not on the business (2 bag) allowances.
      Gold gets you 1 extra bag on everything (ie in first you will have 4 bags)

  • Simon Jones says:

    any ideas if BA are going to increase the surcharges and taxes on avios redemption and whether they will increase the off peak /peak mileage required

    • Rob says:

      Unlikely in the current scenario. More likely to see discounts.

  • Bazzer says:

    I have an avios booking from LHR to JNB on 4th July which according to the list published on here yesterday looks scheduled to run. I was hoping for BA to cancel it so i can get a full refund. Will I not get a refund if the flight is still running…even if I can’t fly out as South Africa is not open for tourists? Any help appreciated

    • GeorgeJ says:

      How much cash did you pay, you generally get the Avios and all but GBP35 of the cash back if you cancel in advance, look upon the cash element forgone as an option to cancel and move on.
      If BA cancel the flight you also get GBP35 element of the cash back.
      Detail will be in your ticket Ts & Cs.
      All my cancellations were dealt with by BA within a week of asking (both full refunds and ones where I triggered the option).

      • Bazzer says:

        Thanks for your help, I paid about £500 on taxes/fees using a 241 voucher. I know I can cancel and get all but £35 each back but was just wondering what would happen if BA don’t cancel but South Africa won’t let me in? Would I not be entitled to a full refund?

        • Jonathan says:

          No, it’s not BA’s fault if flight running but RSA won’t let you in, same as if you forgot to arrange an ESTA for USA etc. Your insurance should cover you in this scenario though.

          • GeorgeJ says:

            Insurance unlikely to be straightforward, they would be entitled to argue that you were able to mitigate all but GBP35 of the loss by cancelling, if you didn’t that is your choice and not their problem. They may cover the GBP35 non refundable – subject to their own deductible.
            However, if RSA is not letting most people in, the flight may not be economic and stands a better chance of being cancelled, its all a moving feast at present.

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