Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Thursday 18th 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/2020/06/18/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-thursday-18th-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 (146)

  • Paul says:

    I had a hotel booking at the Hilton CDG in August on my way home from holiday. The trips is off and I cancelled under the Hilton Covid policy.

    The hotel responded by sending an email stating the French government have allowed hotel to issue vouchers, valid for 18 months. The went on to detail that the email served this purpose and advised I could use the credit toward a room at some time in the future.

    In 40 years of travel I can count on my fingers the number of nights spent in Paris and never at CDG! So rather unlikely that I can use their voucher!

    Does anyone know if the voucher is mandatory under the French rules or just an option. I have taken this up with the diamond desk and Amex.

    I’d have been better off not having any policy as I could then have claimed via my insurance.

    The Hilton policy is brilliant but individual hotels are undermining it by acting against both the spirit and letter. The Conrad Bali is saying it will be three months before refunds are made!

    • Anna says:

      There have been quite a few reports about French travel operators being allowed to issue vouchers instead of refunds, including for flights (so much for EU legislation!). I also feel that hotels which use Hilton branding should all be singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to Hilton policies but clearly that’s not the case. There would be less annoyance if it was a general Hilton voucher which could be used in any hotel.
      I think people have been advised to go down the S75/chargeback route as the hotel hasn’t supplied you with what you paid for, which was a room for that particular night.

      • Sean says:

        Anna

        In this instance it is the customer NOT the hotel that have cancelled. How have the hotel not fulfilled the contract if YOU cancel?

    • Louie says:

      I believe the standard clause is that if the voucher remains unused after 18 months, you get your cash back. So not the end of the world if you can’t get it back by other means.

      • Paul says:

        Two things

        Firstly I am not a bank providing interest free loans to a hotel for 18 months

        Secondly, there is nothing in the Hilton policy that states this is an option. The wonderful thing about Hilton’s response was that it had very few conditions. It has won them many plaudits and a lot of loyalty so individual hotels acting in this way hugely undermine the work they have done

        • memesweeper says:

          The change in the law in France puts Hilton in a difficult position, assuming it doesn’t actually own the hotel. However, they ought to refund you, and if you booked in the UK, a failure to do so would be a breach of contract (and likely Misrepresentation too). You should take this up with Hilton.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Was it a refundable rate in the first place?

      If it was non refundable and you have cancelled then giving you a voucher seems like a nice gesture vs losing it all.

      • Paul says:

        No it’s not a nice gesture. The Hilton policy is to provide a full refund and they are ignoring the policy. A free night anywhere would have been acceptable but simply using the funds as credit against a future stay at CDG airport is not reasonable.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Was the policy in place after or before you booked?

          I would read the T&C’s carefully to see if its actually guaranteed to refund you or if their are reasonable law based get out clauses.

    • Doug M says:

      I had a one night booking there for the start of a cancelled trip, it was a non-refundable rate through hotels com. I clicked cancel anyway to see if there would be an option, can’t remember exactly how it was offered but one option was a full refund, which I took. I guess hotels com in the middle makes it different to yours, but was Hilton CDG, and fully refunded a non-refundable booking.

  • meta says:

    For those who still have to cancel Lloyds voucher bookings. The process was quick, but my Avios ended up in my old Avios account which is amazingly still open. I then did the combine my Avios to move them to BAEC. I had to log in with the Avios membership number rather than email. I cancelled on Monday, Avios credited back to the account yesterday and money back on Amex today.

    • meta says:

      Extended till 30 Sep. It’s book by date. If I called 2-3 weeks earlier it would have been extended till 30 Nov as my friend did. I had to actually had to point out to their own policy/email as they wanted to randomly extend it to 15 Sep. I took a recording of the call as I am not trusting them to know about voucher extensions in September…

      My flights have been cancelled though, so it’s different.

      • Yawn says:

        Yes, in my case I also found them in my old Avios account. I believe they temporarily re-activate them to make these bookings and then close them again. The refund must have opened them again.

        I was told I had until end of November to use the voucher, but as there is no record of it aside from the phone conversation I am a bit nervous about it… I would like to use it for somewhere extra-European but hard to know where to go. The places that have the virus under control don’t allow us in.

  • J says:

    I’ve cancelled a Hilton in Germany via Hilton customer services (not the hotel) for a stay in July (when the hotel will be open) and received a full refund, no questions asked. I offered to accept a general Hilton voucher as it was an option on their form but I just got a refund (those free night certificate vouchers seem to be for US only).

  • Katy Storie says:

    Has anybody had experience of triggering a S75/chargeback with a travel operator due to Covid? I raised one with Barclaycard almost 8 weeks ago and all I have received is an initial acknowledgment of receiving it but nothing since? Anyone know how long I should be waiting for action? TIA

    • BS says:

      Generally claims via a third party (ie a travel agent) will be rejected, as the payment isnt being made to the company providing the service.
      You can still submit a chargeback though,

      See a quite good guide here:
      https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/section75-protect-your-purchases/#exceptions

    • Peter K says:

      In the last day or 2 there had been discussion about Barclaycard being especially slow to process chargebacks/S75 claims.

    • James says:

      My claims have all been successful with full refunds back to card. Amex were the fastest (in respect of Air Asia, Easyjet, Norwegian, Aegean Airlines claims). My Amex claims auto approved within minutes if the claim was less than £200!
      MBNA took a few weeks (in respect of a hotel booking made directly with hotel in Malaysia).

    • Sarah says:

      Yes, I did a chargeback with Amex against lastminute.com after they failed to pay a refund. I had waited 6 weeks before doing this, which was more than sufficient time for them to hand over the money – it was a fully cancellable hotel booking, so no dispute over what I was entitled to. I had received a couple of emails saying I would receive the money within a certain timeframe and it never materialised.

      I started the chargeback process end of April, I think Amex credited me with the full amount within 2 weeks. A few weeks after this I did receive a letter from Amex saying I hadn’t provided sufficient documentation, I re-submitted everything I had and called them and the call handler acknowledged that I had provided everything they needed, and that lastminute hadn’t responded to them.

      The chargeback is still officially open at present, but given there’s no disputing that I’m owed the money, I’m assuming it will be closed sometime soon.

      • Paul says:

        Amex have been excellent with disputes with one notable exception! American Express Travel!!
        Booked 2 First Class internal flights which US cancelled But they rebooked me on alternate flights the same day. UA claimed this was a schedule change despite an entirely different flight number. Amex refunded, closed the dispute and then weeks later reversed the decision. I appealed and got a frankly rude response but no refund.

        I went down the insurance route and was successful that way

        • Anna says:

          I complained via the US Department of Transport for something similar and the airline paid up pretty quickly. Quite pleased I’ve managed to get back about 95% of monies paid for various holidays and short breaks without having to resort to insurance.

        • Chris says:

          Absolutely agree with your comment. I booked Business Class flight LHR-SYD with American Express Travel. They cancelled on Apr 22nd. I am still awaiting a refund. I paid using my AMEX Platinum card and tried opening up a charge back on June 10th. It wouldn’t let me online so I called only to be told that you aren’t able to chargeback to an AMEX offshoot. Amex travel are saying that are waiting for BA to refund them. BA have told me that as my flight wasn’t until June they would not received any funds from AMEX until after the outbound took place.

    • Jody says:

      I put a comment up about Barclaycard the other day after phoning them (and spending 2 hours on hold before getting too speak to someone). Long story short, they are very behind, and on the day I called (Monday I think) they were up to 11th April dispute wise. I submitted one on the 1st April against a travel agent, but had to print it off and sign then post. According to their system they didn’t get it until the 14th April. The chap on the phone was hopeful that they would get to mine in the next week……….

      They have 41000 outstanding disputes apparently!

      • Katy Storie says:

        Thank you! That’s very useful to know! I’ll leave it another week then book the morning off to give them a call 🙄

  • Louie says:

    We need a permit to leave Australia by 17 September at the moment. I’d rather be here during the coronavirus crisis but equally I’d like to get back to see family at Christmas. I’ve just put some flights on hold for 19 December, thinking that they might extend the permit system for another three months (after yesterday’s comments) but hoping for no extensions after that. Wish me luck!

    Incidentally, 85k AA miles + $107.08 (less than £60) in Etihad business p/p, versus 150k Avios + £237.10 on BA. I’m awash with Avios but cannot find a decent way to use them but have now finally exhausted my USAirways stash, so today is a sad day…..

  • Lee says:

    Does anyone know if the BAPP was extended until Sept to Kate the annual spend to secure the 241 voucher? Where is this info detailed?

  • King says:

    Not too long ago someone posted a link to Routesonline which showed the flights that were going ahead and ones that were cancelled. I was wondering whether there is an updated schedule with the months ahead? Thanks

  • EJH says:

    Does anyone know whether it is possible to rebook Avios flights cancelled by BA to future dates (without reward availability but inside 355 days of initial ticketing) AFTER the original flights are due to be flown? Thanks.

    • Rob says:

      What do you mean? You want to move the date back OR that you are already past the original flight date today? If the latter, your ticket may already be in the process of being refunded, but you won’t know unless you call.

      • EJH says:

        The initial flight (booked in May 2020) using my BA 241 voucher was due to depart 1 July 2020 but both flights in the booking were cancelled some weeks ago (I have not since requested a refund).

        I know today that I need to fly to the same destination in March 2021 but unsure of the exact dates (so I do not want to “change dates” on my booking just yet). I can see that there is no reward availability on any of the potential March dates either so ideally I would like to use the flexibility my cancelled 241 booking gives me to rebook for March.

        I am just wondering whether this optionality remains (provided March revenue seats are available) after both legs of my original July 2020 booking were due to be flown? Thanks!

        • Rob says:

          Ah OK. We don’t know, in the case. There is a risk that the status of your ticket is changed after the departure date and it can no longer be done but I have no proof of this. I would personally want to minimise the risk though by rebooking this month.

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