Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Monday 22nd 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:  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 (132)

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

  • Anna says:

    I’ve been trying to get a refund on the deposit for our July Spanish accommodation (fully refundable until 7 days before travel) but all my emails had been ignored, even though I explained that FCO advice meant we aren’t insured, there’s still a quarantine requirement in the UK and moreover BA has cancelled our flights! In my last email I told them that if I didn’t hear back within a week I would initiate S75/chargeback. I’ve had an immediate response saying they don’t understand why we can’t travel, as Spain is open….
    How many people are seriously contemplating a 2 week, socially distanced, uninsured family holiday with the attendant airport and plane experience at either end in the Med just now?

    • Bill says:

      This is your responsibility to claim from insurance. The provider of the accommodation has fulfilled their obligations. Just because you don’t want to go isn’t their problem.

      • Anna says:

        Have you even read this? My booking is fully refundable until 7 days before travel (which is still over 4 weeks away anyway). They haven’t even refused a refund, just don’t seem to grasp how unrealistic they are being in expecting people to travel. There’s no requirement whatsoever to claim on my insurance.

    • marcw says:

      What were your original reimbursement conditions on your deposit?

      • Anna says:

        Please will someone actually read the post?

        • marcw says:

          I’ve read it Anna. But the same with airline refunds, if you paid for a seat, you won’t be refunded.

          Maybe in the small print, “deposits will not be refunded”. That’s why I asked.

        • Reeferman says:

          Hi Anna
          I think the answer to your question depends on the type of holiday. I’m planning to go to my place in Spain next month as am not too concerned about the airport experience and can “keep my distance” once there – for the most part, anyway. I might think otherwise if I had to pay a large sum of money for a hotel etc.
          There are at least 2 insurance companies now providing COVID 19 cover – altho’ I haven’t read the policy T+Cs regarding travel under the current FCO advice. I imagine a lot of people travelling to EU will take their chance with EHIC cover.

        • Lady London says:

          I’d write them one small note in Spanish, reminding them that the terms you booked on give you the right ti cancel with a min 7 days notice and receive a full refund. Confirm that you are accordingly giving them notice now, more than 3 weeks ahead, that you aee invoking your right to cancel. state that if your full refund does not reach your account within 15 days you will do a chargeback via your cardco.

          2 things might be going in here – info overload at the Spanish end so just state the key thing above. 2nd thing they may have just got used to keeping peoples money – most of whom possibly did not book flexibly.

          or. Spanish govt may be telling them they can keep it in which case they need a rapid reminder of your having booked on a uk card that will happily charge back as their refusal does not match contract terms

          • Cat says:

            ⬆️ What Lady London said

          • Gtellez says:

            The Spanish Gov is for sure not telling companies to keep people money… in fact they have even started an investigation about abusive practices to many airlines and potentially all of those airlines are going to be severely fined (just an example, but for sure for hotels it is quite similar).

          • RussellH says:

            Anna, it sounds to me as though your Spanish correspondent is paying about as much attention to what you have said as some of the commenters here.

            I had assumed (from other comments over the years) that you read and write Spanish, but if you have not been communicating in Spanish I would give it a go. Find someone to help you if possible. Avoid Google translate.

        • Michael C says:

          Anna, following on from what LL and co. have said, I’d also write to them in Spanish (knowing your background), but would do so via a ‘burofax’, which, as I guess you’ll know, is what law firms also use to serve notice (sorry if I’m stating the obvs.!).

          • Gtellez says:

            I would try a chargeback first, since a “Burofax” is quite expensive (around 30 euros), so I would keep that option as last resource. Although if the amount is quite high, that for sure has more power to get your money back.

    • ChrisC says:

      I contacted my card supplier about a hotel booking in New York as I couldn’t get there because the flight had been cancelled and due to the US travel restrictions.

      They told me that as the hotel was still operating that they could not do anything for me. The fact that the flight had been cancelled or I would be refused entry even if it was flying was neither here nor there.

      Credit Card protections are for when a provider has failed to either supply or supplies something different to what you ordered. It appears here that the hotel is willing to supply the rooms as per your contract.

      Unless the hotels refund policy applies for ‘change of mind’ I don’t see your CC helping you.

      • Lady London says:

        RHL – @Anna’s booking is r e f u n d a b l e.

        Otherwise what you have said is 100% correct. Including for flights. Particularly relevant, for flights that have been booked by anyone to the US.

    • Spk says:

      If it’s fully refundable, do you even need a reason to request refund? Of course, The hotel will try to persuade you as much as possible to avoid refunding. If they don’t initiate a refund upon request, request chargeback.

    • A says:

      Guys – would it hurt to read the key words “fully refundable” in Anna’s question? If it is truly fully refundable with at least 7 days’ notice and you have complied with whatever notice requirements are specified in the T&Cs then it would seem your inability to get there because of BA flights etc is irrelevant.

      I’d just reply saying that you’re utilising your right to cancel as it was fully refundable and expect your deposit/payment to be refunded ASAP, otherwise you’ll pursue a secton 75 refund.

      • Lady London says:

        Not Section 75.
        Section 75 lets the hotel/airline off scot free. As a Sectrion 75 claim is against the credit card company, that the credit card comany must use their own funds to pay. Then the credit card company may or may not seek to recover their own money that they paid out to Anna, from the merchant. Hotels and airlines love Section 75 – as it gives them delays before anyone pursues them. and they may never get pursued, or at least not successfully.

        The thing to threaten (and do) here is chargeback. Chargeback basically nullifies the previous payment reversing it. So the money does come back to @Anna – but from the merchant’s account (hotel or airline). Not from credit card’s own funds.

        so now you can see why credit card co’s are ignoring requests for Section 75 that have been clarly stated as such by passengers whose flitghts were cancelled, and either processing them as “disputes” or as chargebacks. Because those 2 things don’t call on the credit card’s own money which Section 75 does.

        The other thing about chargeback is apparently it’s scary for merchants – somehow if they start getting chargebacks it negatively affects their relationship (and possibly their terms/money withheld) in future with the card company. So far as I know chargeback is much scarier to a merchant than Section 75.

        • Lady London says:

          PS if they really don’t refund or you’re given a ridiculous time so they can lump you into a load of other people’s refund reqeusts across the credit card (as seems to be happening with Virgin refunds), so people are getting told the cardco wants to do a chargeback and it will start being done in 4 months (like, you believe it’ll only be 4 months?} … in that case of course tell your credit card you’re having none of it and to process this under Section 75 for breach of contract for which the card comapny is jointly liable to reimburse you regardless of if, or when, they are able to recover from the merchant.

          MSE is the best source on chargeback / Sectiopn 75 in the “real people” help field.

        • Adam says:

          Yep, agreed with all of that – chargeback has a significantly quicker impact on the merchant in question (apart from when it is Amex) even if ultimately the merchant will likely bear the cost of both section 75 and chargeback. Good to see that someone else was able to read the words “fully refundable” too though

  • Chris Heyes says:

    [email protected] No Debts No Mortgage no credit card debt (Tesco delv on card only)
    paid off soon as, Don’t have a car.72 so don’t need anything
    My spending is/was mainly for Flights using Avios, paying for Hols + Tesco gets my Avios
    My BIG Plus is if kids want anything big they transfer the money to me, i order for them (my card)
    Plus the PayPal trick buy nothing off them (using business option not family) £30 fee around £900
    Then they give it back (Only once a Year though, although once did it twice in same year)
    with no come back

    • memesweeper says:

      My kids understand that if they want to fly near the front of the plane again, they better put all their shopping through my card 🙂

    • Andrew says:

      Aren’t you worried about your (adult) children’s credit history if you are still managing their spending?

      • EwanG says:

        Indeed. There is the impact to the education of Chris’s grandchildren, which could be anything from a little to a lot, depending on nation, age group, private or state….

        • Chris Heyes says:

          [email protected] GrandKids are young (except for twin Girls 20 this year)
          I’ve learnt them how to invest including sending them cheques instead of pressys
          Made out to The Share Centre (Vod)
          Their Education is up to their parent’s

      • Chris Heyes says:

        [email protected] kids around 40 or Just below credit History fine earning 80k +
        I MYSELF had a “BIG” Problem with Credit History one time lol
        Because i had/have no Debt couldn’t get a Amex (any)
        Until i showed them my bank statements plus two proprieties
        They claimed it was because no evidence of me owing or paying anything on record
        Cash only at one time
        Sorted Now

  • Riccatti says:

    I still don’t get it with Hotel chains (Marriott, Hyatt) doing offers ending August 31st, 2020.

    The countries not officially open, UK quarantine 14-day requirement has just being implemented, and 2nd wave potentially coming.

    How, in these conditions to plan an August Ibiza holiday??

    • Rob says:

      Outside the UK – where the big chains tend not to operate in resorts – you will find big brand holiday hotels which will see a lot of domestic travel. I’m currently thinking that the hotel sector may bounce back more quickly than the airlines as long as people are keen to travel domestically or within neighbouring countries.

      • Riccatti says:

        With Iberia offering “to multiply elite points” on short-haul x4, this view might be true.

        Relying on domestic and traffic from Germany/France.

        Book by 15 July to travel by 31 August 2020 and we’ll multiply your Elite Points

        • Lady London says:

          Hum…. I can’;t participate as for some mysterious reason my IB account is -89998 miles…. but I was wondering, has IB also reduced their tier point requirements for status?

          If so then could it almost be worth doing a MAD-HEL return in J between now and the end of August? Does anyone know enough about the IB program to know if this is possible?

    • Anna says:

      I suspect these offers will eventually be extended and that the 31st August date is to encourage families to book breaks before the kids go back to school in September.

    • Anon says:

      14 day quarantine will be reviewed towards end of June and people are expecting ‘air-bridges’ with up to 20+ countries. (Really it’s those countries that should be worried about UK exporting COVID because I believe they all have lower rates of infection at the moment, money talks though).

      Spain for example confirmed no need to quarantine even without any reciprocity – and UK can’t enforce their quarantine on returning residents anyway.

  • Reds says:

    Hi. Anyone haven’t problem getting their free night from the IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card? My annual year ended in March and the free night still not credited to my account. Multiple phone calls to IHG and Creation…………Creation says they have send approval to IHG and IHG says they waiting to hear approval from Creation!

    • Jimbob says:

      I’ve had exactly the same problem.
      Written complaint to Creation next stop, then financial ombudsman

    • memesweeper says:

      Thanks for the heads-up — mine is due any day, and I have an immediate use for it, I’ll not waste time before raising it with them

      • Lady London says:

        Could this be to do with the card that earned that free night voucher having recently been withdrawn from the market for new applicants, and so they are not geared up to providing what was promised?

  • BS says:

    ALERT: BA Status extended by 12 months – check you account!

    • Anon says:

      Mine hasn’t been 🙁

      • BS says:

        Make sure you click refresh, log out, clear cookies and log back in again!

        I was expecting the extension, but it seems those who have re-qualified in their current year won’t actually benefit…

      • Rob says:

        No change for me and my wife.

    • BigSi says:

      @BS, thanks. My collection year ends 8 July 2020, just checked and card expiry date has been extended until 31 August 2021.

      • BS says:

        It seems the Q&As on H4P article are correct, and the ‘wiki’ on FT are incorrect. If you have upgraded in the current year you DO benefit. If you have re-qualified, your extension merely seems to get you the benefit you have earned anyway.

      • Ben says:

        YES! Mine is now Gold May 2022.

        Happy with that as I got Gold this year by the reduced TPs in April.

    • ChrisC says:

      Yes just checked mine. Had to log out and back in again for ot to appear. A mere refresh didn’t work.

      Card expiry ow showing as 31st December 2021 (I have 8th November collection year end)

      But the revised (lower) points requirements still not updated – still shows 600 for silver. Unless I’m mistaken they apply to current and the next year?

    • AJA says:

      Thanks BS Mine’s updated. It now shows card expiry date 31 Mar 2022. My tier point collection year still shows as ending 8 Feb 2021

  • stev fred says:

    Virgin: Flight booked for family member way back when. Cancelled and refund confirmed months ago. Received email from VAA saying please bear with us. Payment was originally made on Virgin Atlantic Fee Credit Card. Fee and renewal due 1st July. Haven’t used the card for a couple of months. Want to cancel card, but am really concerned about the £1K refund from VAA still due. Any advice?

    • ChrisC says:

      They know where you live as it were!

      This is quite common where people cancel cards / accounts and then get a refund.

      V Money will see the credit and then try and work out where it should go.

      • Charlieface says:

        Make a S75 claim at the same time, then you’re guaranteed the money (although in theory you are allowed to open a S75 on a cancelled card)

    • Dezbez says:

      No problems if you cancel the card. I was still able to log into my account and track the refund and then request a transfer back to my bank (which took less than 24 hrs)

  • John W says:

    BA FUTURE TRAVEL VOUCHER – 2 hours on phone to BA !
    I had a full cash flight cancelled for LHR to BRU earlier this year. I took the future travel voucher
    Today, I have tried to use the value of the voucher to pay towards 4 avios business class seats for LHR to LAR in September to be told you cannot ! –
    I am informed that you can only use future travel voucher for a full paying fare because the BRU was not an avios booking ??
    The future travel voucher makes no reference to this , but the BA Wigan call Centre has said there is nothing they can do despite this not being made clear in any T&C

    Has anyone else had problems trying to use the Future travel voucher – Should have pushed for my money back ! – The only reason I accepted it was because of the planned September trip !

    • Dezbez says:

      No, but i feel your pain though, it was only through good fortune I wasn’t similarly caught out. Rather than offering flexibility the voucher is really inflexible. As well as your example, you can only use the voucher ‘like for like’; so if three people are on the original booking, the voucher you get is effectively three vouchers, one for each you three and usable only by them ie can’t be combined into one overall voucher.
      It feels quite disingenuous of BA – in many cases you are doing them a big favour taking the voucher, but it is potentially really restrictive and, as you highlight, these restrictions are not very transparent. Where I work in financial services, this would be blatant mis-selling.

    • Lady London says:

      I’m assuming you did want a cash refund for your tickets, however you fell for one of these entrapments:

      1. BA’s telephone systems told them full well how many calls were unsuccessful/queued/answered, and yet they made it impossible to reach them mostly for weeks on end by not providing staff who answered their phone lines. For whatever reason that’s what BA failed to provide for customers. People literally tried for hours and days on end, to get through, over weeks, and British Airways would not pick up the phone.

      2. At the same time, BA took deliberate action to disable their website from being able to allow customers to submit a request for a refund. In case BA could later claim in court this was yet another IT “acciden”, we have proof BA modified to stop customers getting refunds deliberately. The reason we know this is after several posters on here and elsewhere published workrounds – obscure methods than only someone expert could find – that still allow the request refund part of the website to be accessed, we know that British Airways found out about this and AGAIN blocked refunds on their site even using this new method that you had to be an “insider” to know.

      I really, really hope that when the dust settles the CAA fijnes British Airways something like £200 million for this. BA really, really has to learn denying customers their rights does not pay.

      Having said this, I fully understand why BA did this. They knew it was illegal to deny customers refunds (EU261 requires the airline to refund cancelled flights within 7 days) but they took a bet on “later” – and dealing witth it when someone, anyone with teeth, Yooo Hooo regulators! took them to court. Still waiting.

      So, what BA did to force you into a refund was “entrapment”.
      I think you should still be entitled to a full refund as you were conned and entrapped into accepting one. I think I’d go so far as moneyclaim dot gov dot uk to demand my refund while I’m waiting for the regulator to decide BA is up enough on its feet again to go after (with which I sympathise, but go after BA they must or lose all credibility).

      BA has fought dirty, and owes you better.
      You could ring them again, mention you got stuck as above, say while you understood the situation a the time it was not fair that a voucher was foisted upon you, you have seen media coverage since saying others also got forced into a voucher the same way, and could they please reconsider refunding your original ticket mention btw was it true that under £U261 this would normally have been required to be provided within 7 days.

      Good luck – perhaps other posters will have a calmer suggestion but I am very sorry you were conned by British Airways.

    • Anna says:

      That is very odd, because I used a voucher given in lieu of a refund for a cancelled BA holiday to pay the taxes on new award flights. I assume that’s what you were trying to do? It might be worth running this past a different agent or supervisor.

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