Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Tuesday 16th 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/2020/06/16/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-tuesday-16th-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 (272)

  • J says:

    If I book return ticket to the UK with a <2 week stay would I be incriminating myself? The whole point of my trip may just be to visit relatives and stay at their address after all..

    • Anna says:

      I’m pretty sure you’re allowed to do that if you’re returning home before the 14 day period is up.

    • Lady London says:

      No that’s fine. You can leave the UK in less than 14 days. Noting you were supposed to be quarantining for any days up to Day 15 before you see anyone you love. So I am not sure how your plans would fit.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        “The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people who you are staying with.“

        And

        “ The people you’re staying with do not need to self-isolate, unless they travelled with you or you develop the symptoms of coronavirus.”

        It perfectly fine.

  • ChrisA says:

    Has anyone had any success getting a cancelled cash BA flight refund as avios at the attractive rate per avios? My flight to CPT on 1st July has now been cancelled and I’m pursuing this but the lady at the other end of the phone at BA doesn’t seem to know of this.

    • ChrisA says:

      Scrap that – she managed to find this option.Worked out at 0.79p per avios as flight had been purchased on BAPP.

  • Russell says:

    Have BA just cancelled all their flights from LHR to ATL? I had a booking for July 7th and they have cancelled it and i don’t seem to be able to find any availability near that date at all. Is there a place where they officially announce these things?

    • Alice says:

      I’ve just had one cancelled (same route) for 11-18 July. Would be interested to know how far out they are cancelling that route.

    • Alice says:

      On a closer look, it seems that they’ve scrapped that route for all of July. Due to resume on 1 Aug.

    • Anna says:

      They have been cancelling a lot of US-bound flights due to the current travel situation. I don’t know if they’ve now ramped this up in response to the announcement that it’s going to be months before most Brits are allowed to visit the USA. I imagine there will be some limited services to ATL as I’m sure it must be one of the 13 airports still open, but only for cargo and returning passengers who have the right to enter.

  • Aston100 says:

    Is there an article anywhere that explains the difference between the different sub brands under the major Hotel groups?
    Take IHG for example, what is the criteria for a Kimpton, where do Voco and Indigo fit in etc

    If no such article, perhaps a new weekly series focusing on each major hotel group?

    • Rob says:

      If it was that simple, we’d do it! I doubt anyone alive can explain how Sheraton and Marriott differ, or Regent and InterContinental. There are also massive differences by country – Sheraton is a respected high end brand in much of Asia for example. Hilton’s range from dire to exceptional. Even so-called luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria can be terrible in places.

  • yorkieflyer says:

    Spanish Tourism Minister threatening quarantine to continue for UK arrivals if Boris’s dumb policy isn’t lifted according to El Pais

    • Anna says:

      Either there’s a scientific basis for quarantine or there isn’t. If there isn’t, this is Spain cutting off its nose to spite its face. What have they got to gain from deterring even more people from visiting?

      • paul says:

        Given the news from NZ today, it would seem that Spain may be protecting its citizens from any influx of this awful virus.

        We are a country governed by a clown who thought herd immunity and dressing as superman emerging from a phone box might be effective

        • Chris K says:

          Herd immunity is the ultimate default result sans any vaccine, the argument was about what to do in the mean time. The idea that the Government was somehow negligent for not locking down a week earlier is for the birds, as whenever they locked down some people would criticise it was too soon/not soon enough. We’ve already seen that large numbers of people have unilaterally decided it’s over for them and it’s time to go out rioting.

          In any case, de facto lockdown happened 1-2 weeks earlier when companies who could sent people to work from home.

          Spain by contrast had localised and very serious outbreaks and had to introduce very strict measures, including needing government issued papers at one point. Is the integral under their curve bigger, with a bigger peak and shorter ends, better or worse than ours? Who’s really to say. I don’t pretend to know.

          At least we’ve not seen some of the awful scenes in our hospitals of people being triaged and older people left out in corridors to die because hospitals couldn’t cope. That’s what happened in some other European countries.

          I’m not a Boris (who had coronavirus) aficionado by any means. But I find this 20:20 hindsight and internet-epidemiologist stuff very, very tedious and unfair.

          • Yorkieflyer says:

            De facto lockdown as you say happened a week earlier for those who looked abroad and weren’t little englanders. As has been sadly pointed out legal lockdown that week earlier would have likely saved half the deaths and was obvious to me and many at the time.

          • Aston100 says:

            Hi Dominic Cummings, didn’t realise you were a reader here

          • BJ says:

            Except it was blatantly obvious to every armchair virologist and their bid-brained budgies that watched the catastrophe in Italy play out on the nightly news that we should have been locking down then, and qyarantining every returning Brit.

          • mutley says:

            Nonsense, The Lazy complacent Johnson missed five, YES FIVE Cobra meetings in February and early March, loafing in Chevening during which the unfolding pandemic was there for all to see. The govt’s own Sage committee increased the alert level and yet he attended Twickenham, wandered around hospitals shaking hands with the public, and recklessly allowed 250k people to attend Cheltenham over five days in Mid March.

            It may take a couple of years, but It won’t be the official opposition that sees off Boris, it will come from within his own party.

          • Josh says:

            What many armchair scientists and luvvies fail to realise is that the lockdown itself will probably kill more people than the virus itself….let that sink in.

          • Rob says:

            I thought that was already agreed? NHS is saying 150,000+ excess deaths from operations which will now be delayed for a number of years, given the backlog that has now built up. That’s before you factor in undiagnosed cancer etc.

          • Lady London says:

            @Chris K you seem to be assiming herd immunity works with this disease. We really don’t know how(if) that works yet.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          NZ’s position is unsustainable

          • marcw says:

            Totally agree with you.

          • Josh says:

            Agreed. There’s a need for pragmatism…a concept lacking in some readers

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @lockdown Larry there is likely to be no vaccine any time soon. They may open up to Aus and there will be cases but very few locally will have immunity. It’s not about if but when they will see cases spike again post opening their borders to anyone. Holidays aside international travel is required for many reasons including medical.

        • Chris K says:

          Not really. One thing my father, who I lost before his time during this awful period, taught me was to be fair minded about things and to support those who are doing their best in difficult circumstances. And that’s even if (with hindsight and unlimited resources) they could have done things better.

          I’m sorry for anyone whose holiday plans to Spain are spoilt by Government quarantine for travellers and any reciprocal move by the Spanish Government.

          A bit of perspective wouldn’t go amiss, indeed,

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Tit for Tat same as the French and who could blame them frankly

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          Reply to Anna

        • J says:

          Since the UK is the worst hit in Europe, it just seems a bit odd for other Europeans/returning British visitors to have to quarantine for 2 weeks, when the rest of Europe isn’t imposing this requirement on the UK. Is it to pretend the UK is doing something because it didn’t do enough before? I just can’t really see the logic – Cummings trying to drive a bigger wedge between the UK and the rest of Europe? Doesn’t seem to make scientific sense and economically obviously a disaster. I admit I’m personally affected so somewhat biased but I can’t see how travelling from somewhere with very few cases to the UK (with a lot more) should necessitate 2 week quarantine (I’d even happily drive or take the train to avoid it).

      • Josh says:

        I don’t think the UK is missing anything by banning Shoestring from returning…

    • Lady London says:

      well… it’s all a mess. Apparently France isnt accepting people travelling from Spain but they are accepting the rest of the Schengen zone.

      so it seems the Spanish still have a problem at home…

  • Baresi says:

    Can you balance transfer Amex Platinum Charge Cards? I have tried with 2 different credit cards and both didnt go through. I have even rang both to put it through manually but to no avail.
    Any help would be great…..

    • Michael says:

      Someone will chime in if I’m wrong but my understanding is that you can only transfer a balance from an Amex credit card and not a charge.

  • David Courtney says:

    I would appreciate advice regarding dealing with Mark Warner Holidays who have cancelled our family holiday as a result of Covid-19. They are refusing a refund contrary to both their booking terms and I believe the package travel regulations . We are unable to re-book at another time this was a one-off opportunity this year.
    Would the collective wisdom advise a small claims court route as opposed to what is likely to be an interminable wait for a section 75 credit card claim as I suspect the latter system is currently overwhelmed?

    • Chris K says:

      What credit card did you pay with? Some seem to be doing better than others with chargebacks (and S75) than others.

      I wouldn’t jump to Small Claims yet while there are other avenues.

      • David Courtney says:

        Thanks Chris, We paid with 3 Amex card accounts which complicates the Sec75 claim in a small way.

        • Chris K says:

          At least they were all Amexes though so may be linkable in one claim. And they were quite good with disputes, when I’ve had a dispute, albeit for a smaller sum of money.

          I’ll let others chip in with whether chargeback or s75 is the route to go. Charge cards (if you used them) don’t have the same legal level of protection as credit cards but Amex do try and mirror those protections across all their card types anyway.

          If it’s a clear breach of contract/service not provided you should be ok with any route. But someone posting a couple of days ago did report having Amex chargeback reversal threatened on spurious grounds, so do be prepared to fight your corner.

          • yorkieflyer says:

            Yes Amex being a little poor at the moment in my view. Holiday extras parking chargebacks by amex being pushed back to me with he line from the merchant that they had no record of my attempt to cancel and copies of my bookings with the new T & C’s denying refunds attached? Pushed back with evidence but even a casual google search would demonstrate Holiday Extras game playing. Not impressed.

    • Lady London says:

      Was it covered by ATOL? if so then ATOL requires you to be refunded within 14 days. Apparently it’s enforced with teeth and the holiday company is at risk of losing their licence to sell holidays if they dont refund promptly.

      It will be in your travel docs. Assuming it is I would tell Mark Warner I am raising an official complaint under ATOL – they might decide to pay you then. In any case if you paid by credit card ask your cardco if chargeback or Section 75 gets your money back quicker. You can always fall back on s75 but it appears some cardcos are deliberately trying to avoid s75 or dragging it out. In which case go with chargeback first if thats what your cardco will do more readily.

  • Stu says:

    I’m working from home but have to move out of my flat in a fortnight.

    All my stuff can be stored, but feel like I might as well work from home somewhere nice.

    Anyone got any suggestions? I’m hoping someone is going to be able to suggest some sort of beautiful châteaux with pool near a beach – I can stretch to the dizzy limits of £1,000 for a month.

    Life is crashing and burning, but hopefully I can escape to some sort of Julia Child fantasy escape!

    • Lady London says:

      UK?
      remote working? for how long?

      • Lady London says:

        there are hotels in Asia of an excellent standard that are offering exceptionally cheap rates for stays of 28 days+. Think i saw one in Dubai too. Ping me on a new day’s general thread if you want me to try to dig up the details