The new HFP chat thread – Monday 29th 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!

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  1. mutley says:

    Anyone know if VAT bills can be paid via BIllhop? or Miles and More card? If not, any other viable alternative?

    • You can, technically, pay it with Miles & More but Diners will send you a nasty letter as it is a personal card. Self assessment is fine.

      If your VAT bill is big enough, paying £15 per month for Curve Metal, which lets you pay HMRC unlimited sums for free and recharge it a Visa or MC, makes sense.

  2. eligold says:

    Just checked up on my BA booking for August from Tel Aviv to London, booked with my Lloyds upgrade voucher!
    sure enough – it’s cancelled
    who do i approach since it was booked through Avios, and will I get my expired voucher back
    Has anyone had a similar experience with an expired Lloyds voucher?

    • Leigh says:

      Call Avios (0344 49 333 49). My expired voucher was returned with extended expiry date (added 6 month) and the refund was processed very quickly (within a week).

  3. Chris says:

    Similar situation to eligold over last weekend, and can confirm you get the (Expired) Lloyds Voucher back, but only with a 3 month extension now.

  4. Harry T says:

    Slightly niche – the international currency version of the Platinum amex is offering an extended spend period to get the sign up bonus. I believe it’s normally 30,000 points for spending 5000 $/€ in three months but it’s currently six months.

    Does anyone know how strictly they enquire about your income? I will meet the income threshold in September when I receive a pay rise but I’d like to use the card for several trips abroad in August.

    • I doubt they bother too much. However remember that you must have been an Amex customer for 6 months already so a) they see what you spend anyway and b) they have your declaration from when you applied for your previous Amex.

  5. Ralph says:

    Just wondering if anyone has any insight on this. We are looking to fly out to Shanghai next April (cancelled this year, rescheduled for Sep but looking rather unlikely I fear) using a 2-4-1 in First, back from Beijing, something we have done a few times. Currently, from October, BA shows Shanghai flights as not operating with F, although if you look at the seating plans on ExpertFlyer they show (on most but not all days) the F seats, but they are all blocked. Not too keen in going overnight in old Club. Has anyone seen this on any other route? Wondering if it is something to do with the extra cargo for this route or a pending aircraft change?

    • marcw says:

      Many airlines have stopped selling First Class – Singapore and Lufthansa are not selling First Class seats until November the earliest. I don’t know about BA, maybe they haven’t made it public yet.

      • Ralph says:

        Possible, but they are still showing F to Beijing next year, also on 777.

    • Rahul says:

      BA agent confirmed all First class tickets are suspended until end of August and in some routes till October. He did confirm that it was temporary only and I was able book a F for 2021 though on a refurbished 777-200ER.

      • Lady Londonn says:

        It’s usually pending an eqot change when they do that so makes sense.

        If you waited and they downgraded you I believe that would have enabled you to cancel and other potentially expensive rights.

  6. What are peoples thoughts and decisions when faced with the choice between First and Club Suites?

    • Andrew says:

      First for me please. Service in Club is poor whatever the seat design – meal on a tray with low quality Champagne whereas First is more what you would expect in terms of fine dining. Of course that’s pre-covid, these days it’s a Pret salad with a BA sticker on the box whatever class you’re in, so not much between them, both are fine for an A to B in a socially distanced way (the door isn’t really face height unless you’re very reclined or flat so doesn’t add much additional protection to First).

      • I try to sleep most of flights so the soft product is less important than the hard product. This will be an all daytime flight though so more of a factor.

    • Aston100 says:

      I’m guessing the chance of seeing a plane with both 1st Class and the Club Suite is going to be very rare for the next year or more?

      • Not if everything goes to plan. With the refurbished 777s and the 787-10 I imagine more aircraft with Club Suite ALSO have First than those that don’t.

      • Two different flight options but ones a 773 so as Rhys says, possibility for both on one plane. However, I do not have too much faith in the schedules metal anyway, it could change more than once before we fly.

    • Harry T says:

      Not flown either but CS is meant to be more private in theory due to the door, whilst First has better food, drink, lounge access (Concorde room etc). Of course, seat selection is also free in First for non status holders, as you will know. My thought is that CS would be perfectly adequate for a night flight but you may enjoy the superior F soft product during the day. CS could be better for social distancing due to the door, but F will have less passengers. I have seen the CS product on the A350 and it looks decent, albeit quite packed with seats.

      • Also, the First cabin as a whole is more private. Some of the Club World cabins are very, very large – so whilst your seat is perhaps more private it feels less private as a whole.

        • Aston100 says:

          The pictures make it look like a dormitory.
          Why would BA take a nice new product, and then ruin the impact by sticking you in a cabin of 40+ ?

          • For one because it’s a key differentiator between Club and First. Club is not about exclusivity whilst First is.

          • Although BA 777’s have 14 seats in F whilst 787-9 Club World has 14 seats in the forward cabin, so not a lot of exclusivity difference there!

          • Nick_C says:

            AA have 44 seats in the main J cabin, and it feels nothing like a dormitory. Even without individual doors, you can’t see other passengers when seated. Great privacy.

        • Andrew says:

          And the door isn’t like QSuite – it really only gives you privacy when you’re very reclined or flat, eating and throughout the early stages of the flight the door serves no purpose, and of course isn’t released until after take-off. Whereas the First cabin like you say is much more private by its nature and the newer First seats do have a nice face height wraparound which does give you lots of privacy.

          • Club Suites is beginning to sound like a stable (of the equine variety)..

      • This is for our proposed flight to Tokyo next July which I’m now turning my attention to. My inclination is to fly First because it’s a daytime flight, and because in event of a downgrade due to flying a 241, that would hopefully only be to CW. However, the 773 with F is the morning flight meaning an early start from Edinburgh. The afternoon flight is obviously better timed from my point of view but is an a350 so no First. Then there is the novelty factor as it’ll likely be our first opportunity to fly the suites.

        • Haha! Nice one BJ. You’ve said it all for me. That’s what I am struggling to decide as well for spring-early summer next year to TYO. Though I am leaning toward A350 Club Suite in a bid to save some avios and would be flying out of INV rather than ABZ to save ~£400 tax! But having said that, this is probably the only time I can afford to fly F! 😉

          • I would like to fly exINV too Vit but except weekends it means an early start too.

          • Just been searching F availability and there is not a single seat next year! Looks like their plan is to downgrade TYO(HND) to 3-cabin aircraft only. A pity since F didn’t used to be that difficult to find on the route.

        • @BJ Yes, that’s sadly the case. I wish I had rebooked my 241 in F for next Spring instead of asking for a refund. I would be flying in JAL First now. I am now hoping JAL or will open up some F reward seats. Then I’ll cancel 241 in Club. I have too many Avios now for my liking sitting around. I also have 3 vouchers unused and 1 to be earned in the next two months plus two Lloyds vouchers. I don’t have that many holidays, so I fear some will have to go to waste.

          • Stu N says:

            In your situation, get a mid-afternoon flight down, stay at the Sofitel and fly out the following morning. It’s just so much more relaxing, avoids an early start and stress of impact of delays – the morning EDI flights can be quite bad for that if there’s weather at Heathrow. It also helps with jetlag as it avoids a really, really long day on outbound. We are Edinburgh-based and tend to do this for any flight leaving before mid-afternoon. If you can wangle an ex-INV then the APD saving would probably pay for the hotel.

          • Thanks @Meta, I am sure many will envy your challenges 🙂

            @Stu, I get the logic and would probably do this if the morning flight wasn’t operated by a 777 and arriving HND around 7am. I think now we will try to snag exINV on the weekend to connect with the afternoon a350 which puts us into HND about 11am IIRC. We will likely just stay at the Courtyard on points and sleep in late before departure. There will be 3 hour layover at T5 but if they mess that up then hopefully we would get on the JAL flight in the evening. I’m giving more weight to schedule than aircraft as the latter are more likely to change.

        • Lady Londonn says:

          If day flight to TYO then First. Maybe spring for a hotel at LHR for a good start? I know you dont do Accor but Sofitel at T5, new HGI T2?

    • I’ve not yet experienced either Club Suite or First (I was supposed to be travelling in First to Tel Aviv this Wednesday but it got cancelled) but I think in terms of space and service I would choose First if I could. I think Club Suite is a huge improvement on CW ying-yang but the one thing about the ying-yang layout is that you have plenty of knee-room. I worry that lying flat my knees may hit the inflight monitor in the Club Suite. Having said that ying-yang CW is significantly better than the PE and WT.

      • Given my comment above, the issue may have become academic for my flight to Tokyo. Seems that something is amiss at BA if they cannot sell First to Japan.

    • Lady Londonn says:

      As @Polly once said you can compare BA First to QR J. Depending on the route QR might come out a bit ahead.

      I think it depends on the aircraft but as you’re hinting @BJ Club Suites might even be better on some routes. Plus as you’re Scottish, would you really want to pay extra 🙂 for First outside of a promotion, if Club Suites were available?

      • Thanks @Lady London, sadly no longer helps me as we have now established BA no longer offers F to TYO. Still, the discussion should hopefully be of general interest. This trip is not turning out so well for me, first the IHG dynamic pricing opportunity was wound up to early, now there is no First, and likely JAL will reinstate surcharges before I’m able to book my flight from KIX to BKK the way my luck is running.

  7. Aston100 says:

    Is it safe to assume Thailand are not going to let UK tourists in at the end of July?
    My QR flights (in under 4 weeks from today) are showing as still going ahead.
    I wish there was a way to simply move these flight back by a year, but apparently not. The ‘hold your ticket for two years’ option doesn’t do what it says on the tin.

    I’ll give it till two weeks before departure date and ask for a voucher at that point. Assuming QR don’t suddenly cancel out of the blue.
    Really not sure why they haven’t cancelled yet.
    I’m also not liking the look of their prices next year.

    • Andrew says:

      It is safe to assume that. But why would QR cancel it? They have been flying to most destinations throughout the pandemic so they are unlikely to stop now. I’m guessing this was booked some time ago which is why the ticket isn’t movable under the current policy?

    • 4 weeks to go for QR to decide. Plenty of time for QR to decide as they are waiting for formal announcement of the (possibly extended) commercially international flight ban. If you have residency in Thailand or Thai partner, you can jump through a few loops before spending 15 days in the alternative state quarantine hotel upon arrival for a mere £1000-ish. Otherwise, I would suggest wait till QR cancel or move to later date. You can find more and formal info in English by searching PR Thai Government on Facebook.

      Link shown below but Rob can remove if not appropriate.

  8. DanLondon says:

    Sorry if this has been discussed already and please let me know when it was (find it hard to search old comments!)

    I know this is pedantic (guess most headforpointers are pedants though?) I’ve just been charged my annual fee (£99) for my IHG creation MasterCard. Seeing as my Spire Elite has been extended until the end of 2021 I won’t get the bonus points on hitting the target this year. It devalues the card a bit. I also didn’t really want to extend it as I’ve not got too many points, there was no warning of the impending charge. Guess it’s up to me to know when it’s due though.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      If you hit 50k you’ll get the 25k pints regardless of having spire extended.

      Unless you got the promised “free” choice already this year?

      The card is currently not available for new applications so would consider that as you may be closing the door for good. Also the £10k free night voucher is worth £99 so the points are just a bonus?

      • DanLondon says:

        Oh didn’t know it was closed to new applicants. Better keep it going then!

    • Genghis says:

      It’s charged after anniversary. Easy to diarise. I do.
      And it appears as though extended statusers don’t get the 25k SE bonus but those that have earned it do.

    • Won’t you still get the 25K bonus points anyway if you reach your spend target for Spire (at the reduced level) this year?

  9. Just had my GLA>LGW flight cancelled on 20th August was due to connect to Bordeaux which is still showing as operating.

    No BA flights scheduled from Glasgow to Gatwick during August that I can see. Wonder how likely Gatwick Bordeaux flight might operate?

    • Are they two separate tickets? If they’re on one ticket the GLA-LGW cancellation means you can cancel the whole reservation. That said I can’t see the Bordeaux flight operating from LGW, more likely to see it transfer to operate out of LHR.

    • pauldb says:

      Every August LGW flight I look at is zeroed at the moment…

  10. Just checked my Malta BA flights for 6-18 Aug and the flights are not bookable but are still there in my exec club / MMB. Safe to assume a cancellation will be coming? How long do BA take to notify?

  11. Alan S says:

    Can the ‘other’ passenger call BA to add the 2nd leg of their 241 if they are also part of the household/used some of their Avios, or does it need to be the person that the 241 was under (i.e. the Mrs…)?

    • Genghis says:

      No. But you can add a nominated person (who could be the other person on the 241) to your acct so they can do things on your behalf.

      • Alan S says:

        Ideal Genghis – thanks for that. Just did it and found the 2nd Jan 2019 HfP article to boot.

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