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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)

  • xcalx says:

    I have a BA flight from LBA-LHR-BCN in November using the lloyds ugrade voucher.. I see BA flights from LBA are suspended. Not heard anything from BA as yet. Would BA offer KLM LBA-AMS-BCN or will the flight just get cancelled and refunded at some point. Only other option from LBA is a direct Jet2 flight which I would have booked had I not had an expiring lloyds voucher. I would like to wait this out without making a decsion as not sure the cruise that I am connecting to will be operating.

    • Rob says:

      You get LNER tickets or Manchester / Newcastle on BA.

    • Anna says:

      xcalc, if any leg of your journey is cancelled and you don’t want to take the rail option you are entitled to re-routing on another airline under EU261. This is absolutely clear in the legislation and guidelines and I really don’t know why it causes such confusion on this site! If you decide to cancel though, it’s my understanding that you will lose the Lloyds voucher.

      • GeorgeJ says:

        Yes you can cancel up to 24 hours before and you would lose the voucher and GBP35 per ticket, Avios and balance of cash returned.

      • Callum says:

        I’m curious which text makes this “absolutely clear”, because I’ve read it and see no such thing.

        I see vague phrasing that could be interpreted to mean that, but that’s far from “absolute clarity”.

      • Doug M says:

        Why would Xcalx lose the Lloyds voucher if BA have cancelled? Wouldn’t they get the 6 month extension being offered, which based on other comments is now 3 months?
        @Callum agree with Anna, if BA cancel any part EU261 allows for reroute via another airline. But as that costs the original airline real money, it’s the hardest to get them to agree to. As this crisis has revealed, what EU261 entitles you to, and what you can actually get are not the same. Have a look at CAA https://www.caa.co.uk/uploadedFiles/CAA/Content/Accordion/Standard_Content/Our_work/Annex%201Reouting%20under%20Regulation%20EU261%20and%20the%20CAAs%20view%20on%20compliance.pdf

        • Anna says:

          I said if the customer cancels, they lose the voucher. I’ve read a few instances of this being the case.

        • Callum says:

          I don’t see how a CAA guidance document, that repeats over and over and over again that it’s just their opinion and isn’t how a court will necessarily interpret it, and doesn’t state what Anna is claiming anyway, could possibly demonstrate that the actual regulations clearly state it is a right.

          Note that I’m not outright disagreeing with her interpretation (though I dont think its as simple as that – my (unqualified) interpretation gives the airline much more leeway to reroute the way they see fit), the claim was the regulations state this as fact with absolute clarity. I disagree, if you agree then where does it say this?

          • Anna says:

            Article 8 – Right to reimbursement or re-routing

            “1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

            (a) — reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan, together with, when relevant,

            — a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

            (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

            (c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.

            How are b and c not clear? Rail travel is not “comparable” to flying.

          • Anna says:

            2. RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT OR RE-ROUTING If you are denied boarding (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) or your flight is cancelled, you are additionally entitled to choose between: a) reimbursement pursuant to Article 8(1) of the Regulation within seven days, by means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan; or b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to your final destination at the earliest opportunity; or c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to your final destination at a later date at your convenience, subject to availability of seats. If your flight is delayed by at least five hours and you elect not to travel, you are entitled to receive reimbursement as set out in point (a) above, together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity.

            And the above is lifted from Ryanair’s website – if they are acknowledging this right then it must be pretty much set in stone!

          • Anna says:

            And just for clarity – Simon Calder’s explanation of it in The Telegraph:

            Q) The airline cancelled the flight ahead of time. Can I insist on an alternative?
            Yes. Even if an airline gives you months of notice, the rules are clear about what the firm must offer when it cancels a flight you have paid for: the choice of a refund or alternative flight. If the airline that cancelled the flight does not have a reasonable alternative, then you are entitled to ask it to pay for a seat for you on a different carrier.

          • Lady London says:

            And to be specific, you retain the right to depart and land at the places booked. You do not have to accept a train (you’d be nuts unless desperate to earn avios or tier points ) and you do not have to accept using MAN or NCL or any other airport instead.

            BA is a grownup, they know the law. If they cancelled all their own flights out of LBA then they made a commercial decision to do that for their own profit and will be fully aware of the EC262/2004 rights you have.

          • Callum says:

            So, just to be clear, you can’t point to anywhere in the regulation that says, I quote, “absolutely clearly” you can be rerouted on other airlines?

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        But getting this agreed isn’t that easy, on the phone for ages with BA yesterday over our cancelled MAN ALC and ended up with us booking our own Easyjet flights

        • Anna says:

          But you should be able to claim this back from BA. They are really stubborn about this, but there are fixed processes you can follow to force them to reimburse you.

        • Anna says:

          In this case though, does it not make more sense to get a refund on the BA flights? I’ve just had MAN-AGP cancelled and have noticed that while those flights were over £300 pp last year when we booked, EasyJet is now charging about £150 for the same travel dates!

    • GeorgeJ says:

      No reason to make a decision at this point, its six months away and the whole world could collapse or recover by then. Just not worth trying to predict.
      Like you I have a cruise in November, the real question is will it go ahead and do I pay the balance which is due in August. The cruise lines are developing a reputation for collecting the money and then cancelling in the hope of offering you a booking or voucher for a later sailing. That may also be your crunch point.

      • xcalx says:

        Thanks for all the replies. I am holding off doing anything until I know if the cruise is going or not but would like the LKM reroute if possible. Full payment for the cruise also due in August but not too concerned about paying that as the cruise company were very good with the 2 cancelled cruises in April and refunded within the 30 days as promised.

        • Anna says:

          xcalx – this same topic has been discussed here a few times. Someone (possibly LL) suggested the following route of action:
          Call/email (email better for evidence) and ask for re-routing as per your rights under EU261. Have a couple of alternatives ready to put to them. BA has done this recently as well for someone on this site who had a flight to Tokyo cancelled and was re-routed on JAL.
          If they refuse, tell them you intend to make your own travel arrangements and expect to be reimbursed by BA. Follow up with email/letter.
          Book new flights, submit claim to BA for reimbursement.
          If BA fail to reimburse you, open a case with MCOL or similar (I used the arbitration process successfully last year when BA was refusing to pay out delay compensation but their name escapes me just now).

    • Anna says:

      That’s the deal breaker for me, we always pack as though we’re emigrating and it’s quite remarkable how much scuba diving gear my OH needs for a 2 week trip 🤣

  • Craig says:

    Pressing to test the Amex offer that was loaded to all Platinum supp cards recently, two family members are making Waitrose click and collect offers today for over £100 each. I’ll update when I see what’s happened in a few days. Incidentally, my loaded Laithwaites offer hasn’t triggered despite meeting the terms, it’s been 2 weeks now.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      I have utilised the offer on two cards around the middle of last week, the payments have cleared and the correct amounts are showing under the ‘savings’ tab on the offers section for each card on the full website. However, the credits have not yet been released, hopefully they will show up in the next couple of days.

      • Anna says:

        I’ve had to raise a dispute re this. Apparently Amex are trying to say that Laithwaite’s don’t count as Wine Flyer. I queried last night why I hadn’t had my credit after 2 weeks and the CSA said she couldn’t even see the offer in my account – I was looking at it at the time! I had to upload a screenshot of it in the end and she is escalating it for investigation, so it sounds as though there could be a couple of different issues affecting this offer.

        • Craig says:

          Interesting Anna, this was an order directly from Laithwaites. It wasn’t wine flyer unless something strange has happened?

          • Anna says:

            Maybe there’s an issue with Amex seeing the saved offer for both of them?

    • DMW says:

      I’ve used main card and supp card (Waitrose + Apple), and received 2x £100 credit (both received within 4-5 days)

      • Alan says:

        Was so frustrating that some folks in other fora started contacting Amex to query the supp bit! Was at work so missed the initial rush and only able to get it on the main one. Would have been an extra £200 otherwise!

    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected] i got mine (plat) but more importantly partner got hers (supl)
      So Success all round £200 total

  • DMW says:

    I had two BA vouchers (£179 and £209), and have put both towards a speculative trip in September that I might or might not take. I know I get a voucher for the full amount if I cancel. But if BA cancel, do you think I’ll get the full amount refunded or part refund and part vouchers?

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Conrad Bali: anyone on here ever received a decent upgrade for being Gold on stays there?
      Also, do golds get afternoon tea?

    • AJA says:

      If BA cancel you can request a full refund in cash including the value of your two vouchers.

  • Justin says:

    After upgrading my Curve to Metal I tried paying my Amex bill via my M&M (Diners Club) MC. It turns out that Diners Club treat this as a cash advance and have charged a fee. Oops. Presumably I won’t get any points for this either. I also have a Lloyds Avios MC which I could try for the next bill, does anyone know if they would also levy a cash advance fee?

    • Justin says:

      Also, can I use the Curve “go back in time” feature to switch this onto an actual debit card and claw back the fees?

      • Spk says:

        If it’s less than £1000, yes, you can go back in time.

      • jc says:

        Spk that’s a pretty misleading answer. Yes you can technically do the reversal but no it won’t generally remove the cash advance fee from the underlying card. If you phone the underlying issuer they may reverse the cash advance as goodwill, but I don’t think many people would like to draw attention to the fact they’re paying bills!

      • Sina says:

        Yes if you change the underlying card to a debit card the fee will be refunded automatically. And currently the limit for go back in time is £5k.

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      Got caught with the M&M card after I withdrew cash using curve! I honestly can’t find much use for the card linked to Curve.

      • Rob says:

        The M&M Mastercard is a pre-paid Mastercard, not a credit card, and therefore works differently to other cards.

    • Catman says:

      I would like to know this too, please can you update us. I signed up for an M&M card in I think January and I’m still waiting for it to arrive

    • The Urbanite says:

      If you’re doing any form of MS, cash advance fees can largely be avoided by first checking the MCC the merchant is classed under, then cross checking this with the MCCs your card issuer classes as cash advances.

      Doing this saves time, effort and costs for all concerned!

      • Alan says:

        Indeed, although some seem to change MCC from time to time (eg Revolut) which can make it a bit more challenging!

    • Doug M says:

      With all these things I just do £100 to see what happens. Not sure why people bother asking here, or just diving in, it’s easy to do a small amount and see what happens. Different people report different things so a small test always the way to go.

      • The Urbanite says:

        A lot of people don’t want to pay the cash advance fee and interest if it doesn’t work out, which is fair enough.

        I used to write the fees off as research and development but have since adopted methods of checking first at no cost.

    • The Streets says:

      I don’t get charged a cash advance fee with my Lloyd’s Avios

  • TonyG says:

    I have 9500 virgin points I want to use up. Not on a flight and they are not enough for transfer to HH as you need 10000. What can I do with them?

    • MattB says:

      Buy something to get 500 points through shopping portal then cash out to Hilton?

    • Travel Strong says:

      Download the toolbar for the shopping portal too for 250 for minimal effort

      • TonyG says:

        Thanks Travel Strong. Where do I find the toolbar?

        • Travel Strong says:

          Google the name of the shopping portal and the word toolbar, and it should be one of the first results (comments using the name seem to be censored, sorry!)

    • Rich says:

      Sign up to the shopping portal email list for 100 free points, gets you closer to the 10k required for exchange to Hilton. I was a handful of points short of the 10k and found this worked for me earlier this week

  • EvilGazebo says:

    Apologies if this has already been discussed but just went to cancel an upcoming hotels.com booking and they are offering either the refund as normal or a hotels.com e-gift card valid for 3 years with a 15% uplift.

    I’m happy to take the uplift as I will definitely use it, I can’t see them going bust and even if they did it’s not a vast amount of money I’m risking anyway.

  • Andrew Carter says:

    Afternoon. We’re (family) supposed to be flying BA LHR-BKK on August 16. Anyone have any thoughts as to whether travel to Thailand will be back by then? Thinking of booking something in Europe same dates using RFS…

    • Vit says:

      Hi Andrew, I have been following the situation in Thailand closely as we normally go back and visit the family once a year. At the moment, Thailand are in Phase 3 going in Phase 4 of ease lock-down. International travels are not supposed to be lifted till they are in Phase 5 or 6 which is the final phase.

      The latest the government is looking to add another 9000 quarantined room for Thai coming from abroad https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1930576#cxrecs_s . I suspect these will be used once international flight ban is lifted as well. Of course this is just my guess, but I really cannot see any international travellers to be allowed in without 14 days state-quarantine in Mid-August. Sources from people closed to the government said that, while they are desperate to get the international traveller through — it is not expected to have free-travel or even self-quarantined till September the earliest.

      They are also considering bubble travel within the country meaning — only allow to travel within a certain areas such as if you are planning to visit Phuket — you are only allowed to be within that area during your visit. Of course, this is still being considered.

      I hope that your trip will be go ahead as I am planning to go back as soon as we are allowed as well.

  • xcalx says:

    One of my sons has a mortgage is up for renewal, he has been offered 1.89% variable for 2yrs or a 3 yr fix at 2.29% payment about £27 more per month. Any thoughts. He asked me for advise but I had a terrible record with fixing when I had a mortgage ( i was tied in for 10 years at 9.9% then rates tumbled)

    Rob. Delate if not appropriate

    • Genghis says:

      Seems a bit high but perhaps LTV is on the high side too. What are the fees associated with each? I’d work out total cost, fees + repayments for each, for the three year prob add on another half fee of two year then compare to see if worth not taking the risk.

      • Howard says:

        Why would you add another half fee for the three year, surely its the two year fix that you should add another half fee at the end to bring to 3 years and make the two more comparable?

        • Genghis says:

          Exactly! Lol. That’s what I meant but came out wrong. Making a habit of it.

      • xcalx says:

        No fees

    • Anna says:

      I moved from a 5% fixed rate to a lifetime tracker at 0.99% above base rate, just before the financial apocalypse in 2009. It’s been the gift that’s kept on giving ..

      • Anna says:

        Is something making you think interest rate will rise significantly in the next few years? Since we last renewed I keep noticing that every time they start creeping up there’s some sort of economic bump and they go down again. We’ve saved around £60k in interest compared with our previous fixed rate so it would have to go up a lot to wipe that out before we’re in a position to pay off the outstanding balance ( 2-5 years depending on how fast we decide to do it).

      • xcalx says:

        “’d want a fix now and for as long as I could get”
        Thats what he was asking me what happens to the % in a recession and should he tie in but I can’t remember

        “I’ve been wrong before now ” Me too, I can laugh now

        I’d also look seriously at taking out insurance to cover it, including redundancy if I was not in public service.

        Got insurance but no redundancy cover as self employed like his two brothers and like I was.

      • J says:

        Why a fix? I have a 2 year in UK up this year and was planning to probably just fix again. I suppose interest rates can’t really go any lower, but an increase also seems unlikely?

      • Steve says:

        I’m on 0.26 above BoE Base …
        Want to pay off my mortgage but can’t bring myself to do it…

        • MattB says:

          I’m on a base rate mortgage, one of the perks of the job!

        • Genghis says:

          I had a base rate mortgage as part of my old job and by the time I’d paid the tax, when the HMRC official rate of interest was 4%, I wasn’t that much better off. Even now, though the official HMRC rate has come down to 2.5%.

      • Alan says:

        Ditto, went from 4.24% to 0.55% above base for the life of the loan! 🙂

      • John says:

        Yawn, yet another poke at public sector workers from LL – you do realise we get paid a lot less than the private sector equivalents with subinflationary pay awards? Clearly you have a chip on your shoulder.

      • Paul74 says:

        Yep. Nearly fifteen years with a life time tracker just above the BoE rate, best financial decision I’ve ever made. I can’t see the BoE rate going up by much any time soon.

      • Brian W says:

        December 2008, I remortgaged onto a Lloyds Tracker at 0.23% above BS (also offered by Cheltenham & Gloucestershire). No fees and it runs until my mortgage is done. Given what happened over the preceding two months it was an absolute godsend. Nothing has ever come close since.

    • xcalx says:

      Thanks to all LTV is about 60% he’s not replied re fees yet, will post when he replies

      • xcalx says:

        No fees involved

      • ChrisBCN says:

        At 60% LTV that sounds expensive, I would be wanting just over 1% (although of course fees need to be taken into account).

        Have you tried contacting a broker such as L and C? They can do the hard work of searching for you.

        In terms of fix, this is an ‘educated guess’ game around how interest rates will change. My educated guess is that you should either go for a short fix (max 2 years) or for a long fix (5 years). This is because I think interest rates will be low for the next 2 years and then COULD rise a little after that point. I wouldn’t want my fix ending at that time.

    • Pat the Postie says:

      what is the LTV?

      For 25% Halifax offered 1.62% no fees before the interest rate cuts, I’d be inclined to wait a little longer if its possible to see if there are any new offers coming out shortly

      • Doug M says:

        Loan to value. The more your property is worth and the less you’re borrowing relative to the value makes a loan typically cheaper.

        • Doug M says:

          Ignore me, you asked what the LTV was, not what LTV was, if you know what I mean, which I clearly didn’t.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected] The “BEST” Advice i’d be willing to give you is Whichever Fixed or Variable rate your son or Anybody else took out.
      Make sure you can pay extra at anytime & whatever extra you payoff goes off the “Balance” whenever you pay in
      You will be amazed at how many years just paying a little extra each month it knocks off the life of the mortgage (even just £15/£20 or less a Month)
      There is a name for what it’s called which eludes me now, but 22 years when i last needed a mortgage,
      I’m almost sure Rob will know plus other knowlagable people on here
      But that’s the best advice i can give to you or anyone else

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