Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Friday 12th June

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NOTE:  There is no additional content today because the three articles we were going to run today went up during Thursday, as we know you wouldn’t want to wait to hear about the BA status extensions.  We need to let the email readers catch up.  Normal service resumes on Saturday!

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!

Comments (272)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    I guess I am the only one that didn’t get a status extension and mines expires in feb 2021. 🙂 thanks ba

  • TripRep says:

    Worth keeping an eye on the US for anyone planning on visiting, Houston considering going back into Lockdown to avert disaster and Florida just had the highest daily new cases.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Anything to do with the marches?

        • Rhys says:

          Florida has been easing lockdown since early May, with bars, restaurants and a lot of other places open

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Texas is now fully open, my boss was there last week and it was completely business as usual everywhere he was even though our company remains WFH only

        • ChrisC says:

          Too soon based on the incubation periods.

          Most recent spike is due to the Memorial Day Weekend and people going to the beach etc

      • BJ says:

        And here at home the science clearly even dividing the government/ruling party. For example, contrast the front pages of the Mail and the Express today:

        With excess deaths returning back towards normal across the UK, it would be yet another great tragedy if we missed the opportunity for much greater control and avoidance of national or regional second waves for want of a few more weeks diligence and patience. No point giving the economy a shot in the arm now at the risk of deeper damage later.

        • Cat says:

          +1 BJ

        • Nick_C says:

          Although I think we should have locked down a week earlier, felt that way at the time, and advised friends and family accordingly, I do think we have been unlucky. The recent revelation that the UK epidemic was seeded by more than 1300 different people bringing the virus in, mainly from France and Spain, would not have been accounted for in the initial modelling.

          I was surprised at the small number of cases coming from Italy and China.

    • marcw says:

      Are there actually people hoping to travel to the US this year?

      • Jack says:

        Sure, even though the virus is still bubbling away over there, it will be gone by October for sure. First wave hasn’t been seen off due to stupidity but no basis for believing a second wave.

        • marcw says:

          Sure, crystal ball. No epidemiologist was able to predict the future in February. You are telling me that you can predict how COVID-19 is developing in the US? Sure.

      • Darren says:

        My brother in law thinks he’ll be winging off in Sept. Me? No chance this year.

      • RWJ says:

        Yes, booked to travel to New England in November. Quietly confident.

      • Stagger Lee says:

        Nope but I have booked to go in February (on the last day I can use my extended 241) to San Deigo but will hen be hopping over to Hawaii.

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      Was hoping for New York at Xmas but just can’t see it

      • Yuff says:

        So were we, however I think the world will be in a better understanding of the virus in a few months and vaccines and treatments will be much further advanced than today………

        • Rhys says:

          Given how much has changed in the first 6 months of 2020 I wouldn’t bet against it, but I wouldn’t exactly be too hopeful either!

        • marcw says:

          Sometimes there is just no vaccine or treatment…. we have to consider this as well.

  • Phil G says:

    Does anyone have a list of countries opening to foreign visitors in July/ August please.
    Nearly booked Malaysia but the GM of a FS hotel said Malaysia wasn’t open to foreign visitors until September

    • tim says:

      Hi Phil, yes I can provide a list once I’ve consulted my crystal ball.

      • Wally1976 says:

        I think Phil probably means a list of countries that have already announced they are going to be welcoming visitors. Eg Portugal I think have announced this.

    • Dubious says:

      Malaysia is only just opening up it’s own domestic market. Internationals will take a while longer.

    • Catalan says:

      No need for crystal balls. Just check the latest FCO information on the website

    • Marcw says:

      Europe, French Polynesia, and I think Maldives.

    • Geoff says:

      My understanding is that Malaysia is closed to foreign visitors until end of current Order on 31 August. Only citizens and PRs etc can visit. I have a PR and am planning to visit early August if I can but the problem is that there are very limited flights to KL right now. BA and MAS do not appear to be flying and Qatar have very limited service costing a fortune. Hoping things will change soon. There is talk of allowing travel to/from Singapore so connecting service might be available then.

    • TimM says:

      Most European countries and Turkey are opening up to international Tourism around now. UK flights are being delayed by the FCO advice and the new quarantine rule – both political gestures.

      Still advice is only advice and if you have your EHIC and don’t mind state hospitals, you are good to go, if a little iffy to come back.

      I cannot see the FCO advice or the quarantine drama lasting the 3 week review at the end of June. It is time to trim Cummings’ wings.

      • Nick_C says:

        Your EHIC will give you hospital treatment throughout the EU for the same price as a local, should you become ill. But if you are one of the unlucky 30% who leaves hospital in a box, it won’t cover the cost of repatriation of your remains.

        Spending weeks on a ventilator looks like a pretty unpleasant way to end your days, so I will be avoiding unnecessary travel until infection rates are much lower.

        If I was a man under 45 or a woman under 60 I would probably take the risk though.

    • memesweeper says:

      Costa Rica is due to reopen for international travel at the end of this month *but* there’s been a surge in covid-19 in the last week (albeit from a very low base) so I guess the travel ban might be extended. Good luck getting any travel insurance to cover you during an FCO travel advisory against travel, and there are no direct flights from the UK for another three months I think.

  • Wally1976 says:

    Is there an official Amex link anywhere that mentions the extra points that holders of the gold and platinum business cards get for adding a supplementary card holder? (ie like this – – but for business cards?). Thanks

    • memesweeper says:

      Maybe we should crowd source it? I’ve just added a gold sup. to a gold business card and, on the first day after issue, no bonus has landed. I’ll give it a few more days for the activation to sink in, put a transaction or two through, and then I’ll assume it’s good for zilch and cancel it.

  • BJ says:

    Assuming that the 744s may mostly go off to the graveyard and the a380s might not be widely used in the short term if not longer, are BA going to have sufficient metal with a First cabin to cover most of the routes that previously had it? If not, which routes do readers consider most likely to lose or retain First?

    • marcw says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if BA cancels First Class in the foreseeable future. Like Singapore Airlines…

    • Jonathan says:

      Those that will keep will be the ones that can fill it on a regular basis with paying customers. Remember there are plans to downsize 777’s to 8 F seats when refurbished. There will need to be a critical mass to make it worthwhile & competition may affect choices eg. there will be a demand for F on LHR-DXB but the high yield passengers will probably all choose Emirates.

      Certainties to stay are: JFK, LAX, SFO, IAD.

      Probables: HKG, JNB, SIN, DFW, IAH, ATL, ORD

      Some routes will probably get on a partial or seasonal basis eg. NRT/HND, DXB, CPT.

      I’d imagine places like KUL, MLE, SEZ, YVR, DEN will get the chop.

      • BJ says:

        HND and HKG are of most interest to me so let’s see. Tge retrofit is another story too. It will be interesting to see if they push ahead with it or postpone, limit or even scrap it to save cash.

        • Polly says:

          Got F 241to HKG end Jan, interested in this one too. Will use it as a jump off if there’s somewhere safe to go visit by then. Hope to burn some avios next year.

      • Rhys says:

        BA no longer flies to Narita – all been consolidated at Haneda!

        • meta says:

          And no F on the route past summer schedule!

          • meta says:

            Sorry just checked again. F seems to return for next year’s summer schedule. I guess because of Olympics!

          • Chrisasaurus says:

            Will certainly be back 2021 if the olympics do go ahead

      • marcw says:

        The problem is… border restrictions. Even the wealthy ones can’t travel internationally… so First class will fly empty.

  • Matthew says:

    Thanks for the tip yesterday regarding IHG dynamic award pricing. I had a night booked at an Intercontinental in Tokyo for next year at 55,000 points. Checked last night and it’s now 27,500 points…so booked for 2 nights instead 👍

    • BJ says:

      Which hotel was this Mathew? I need this just toast a few weeks more 🙂

      • Matthew says:

        The Strings. I’m low on points after booking the Rusutsu (skiing) in Hokkaido for 5 peak nights so this is ideal for a few nights in Tokyo before returning. If it happens of course but it’s 2021 so fingers crossed!! I also noticed the taxes one way on BA (especially useful if you have lloyds voucher still) are only £28 for club or first for HND-LHR. Down from about £97. Might be a glitch but it’s great value.

        • Andrew says:

          The Strings is a good hotel and a handy location being located next to (by covered walkway) to the station from the airports.

          • Matthew says:

            Great. Flying out of HND quite early so that will be helpful. Thanks.

        • BJ says:

          Cheers, just had a look and a lot of promising opportunities. I want to go for Olympics but that might just be wishful thinking. I’ll go earlier if need be to take advantage of a cheap stay.

          • meta says:

            Standard award rooms are quite small at The Strings, but they have amazing views!

          • Matthew says:

            You never know. It doesn’t seem to be correlating with the cash rate so it’s hard to predict. You can but hope!

    • Andrew says:

      I just checked Singapore which I was looking at the weekend and everything is pretty much half the points it was – IC Singapore just 22k. And CP at LHR T4 (on site) now just 10k – seems to have been rolled out to London too.

    • Andrew says:

      Although I do think this drop in points will be short-lived as it’s linked to the cash price and everywhere is desperate for bookings that prices are so low. I was looking at a random day in February in New York and one of the Holiday Inns (regular not express) in mid-town was £63 a night – I’m not sure I’ve even seen a hostel in Manhattan for that price before.

  • Andrew MS says:

    I tried to change my November Qatar biz class Stockholm to Manila return to Stockholm to HoChiMinh return .
    Unfortunately I made my booking through Ebookers who told me I could only make changes for travel up to 30 September (wrong) and I could indeed change my destination but only up to five hundred miles (wrong) . I advised the agent that Qatar’s website stated the deadline was 31 December for FOC changes ( subject to any fare differences) and that change of destination could be up to 5000 miles. The agent wouldn’t budge . Despite Qatar’s website telling you only to speak to your agent, Qatar did re-price my itinerary but I wasn’t prepared to pay the £650 fare difference! I was grateful of Qatar’s assistance but will stay away from Ebookers.

    • Andrew MS says:

      I spoke to Qatar again today and they were happy to help . Instead of HCMC , I re-routed into and out of Hanoi . Great result !

  • Jimmy says:


    Wonder if any one can help, my companion voucher was due to expire in August 2020. Its now been extended till Feb 2021. My problem is that my partner is pregnant and due in November, wont be able to fly for the few months before and we dont want to fly long haul with a new born, not till they are at least a few months old!!

    • MattB says:

      So what help do you need exactly, a babysitter?

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Sure I’ll help – I’ll take the trip with her and you look after the baby? Where would she like to go? 🤣

    • Anna says:

      Make a booking with it then cancel for a future travel voucher which will be valid until April 2022 (but check that this policy is still in place!)

    • memesweeper says:

      Long-haul travel with a single newborn baby is *much* easier than at any point in the rest of your new family’s life until the youngest is about 12! I’d suggest a long weekend in New York or something similar shortly after the baby is born. She’ll deserve it by then 🙂

    • John says:

      Agree with meme- if all goes well with the birth Feb is a good time to travel with your baby, you will be a bit more sure of what you are doing, and the baby is still breastfeeding so no need to think about meals etc. they will be quite happy to sleep for long periods at that time, and they won’t want to crawl around everywhere or snatch anything that looks interesting. The sleeping starts to get bad around 4-5 months.

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