Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The new HFP chat thread – Saturday 4th July

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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/2020/07/04/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-saturday-4th-july/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 (178)

  • Craig says:

    If anyone is thinking of going to monthly card fees for Amex Platinum then do it before your annual fee posts. I’ve had enough on retentions to justify keeping it; I phoned today which is renewal date and they will refund the fee in a few days, maybe before the direct debit is taken or maybe not? They will then switch to £48 a month which works out at £1 more for the year, it would have been much ‘cleaner’ to do it before the £575 hit.

    • Crafty says:

      What’s the point?

      • Roger says:

        Mine just hit today too.
        No other offers but was offered first year fee free Gold charge card.
        Thinking of seriously cancelling the Platinum card

      • TGLoyalty says:

        If you can Split the £575 cost over 12 months. Then I’d rather do that than give them my hard earned upfront.

      • Craig says:

        The point is that I’m on 70% pay, as I already worked part-time that’s 70% of 75% and this is discretionary spending.

        • Jon says:

          £575 is a hell of a lot of money when you’re on reduced pay. Unquestionably I would either cancel or downgrade to gold with 1 year free. Make sure you’ve grabbed the plat offers (inc hotel statuses) before you go though!

          • Craig says:

            Which I was going to do but I’ve covered most of the fee in recency offers and retention.

          • Genghis says:

            @Craig only assess the card in terms of what you can get from it going forward. If you’ve been given 20k MRs, used some offers, emptied MRs at 0.9p ea, got your statuses all sorted, Eurostar access, that’s all in the past. Going forward you’ll be paying for the insurance and PP (pricy if you’re not or hardly travelling) and 1 MR/£, wow.

          • Lady London says:

            +1. You’ve done well if you’ve done @Genghis’s checklist and there’s no shame in downgrading then upgrading when cashflow improves.

            The only thing you’d maybe miss is any Plat-only offers. I cant recall any except the likely return of Shop Small in December. With Covid Amex wont be running popup events in Covent Garden etc. Personally I’d be save the monthly fee then take a view towards the end of of the year as to whether I stay downgraded.

  • DERMOT B DOBSON says:

    Companion Voucher issue:
    Originally issued in June 2019, booked in Sept for a flight this month.
    BA/AMEX added 6 months to validity date, confirmed on BA website when I select rebook (for next year). However, in spite of the rebooking tool saying I have until 7th December to rebook it, the date selector will not let me go beyond middle of June 2021, saying that is the validity end.

    Is this just a glitch in the booking system? I’d rather avoid sitting for hours on the phone!

    • pauldb says:

      Flights are only available 355 days into the future: late June 2021 at the moment. You’ll have to wait if you want to book beyond that.

      • DERMOT B DOBSON says:

        That was my default thought, but the MMB screen says up to 7th Dec 2021.

        Since my flight is in two week, can I book and earlier date, then change in a few weeks?

        • Anna says:

          Does the Dec 2021 date not refer to your companion voucher expiry date?

        • pauldb says:

          If you change later, they’ll charge you £35pp and there’s no point paying that. I’m afraid the Dec21 date shown there is a red herring. Your choices should be:

          i) BA will put you on any available flight because they cancelled. But only Jun21 is available.
          ii) You can have a full refund, no £35 fees, then use your returned voucher up to Dec21.
          iii) You can take a Future Travel Voucher which holds your ticker value, for you to reuse when you want until Apr22, effectively overriding the 241’s expiry. But BA will therein keep hold of your cash and avios in the meantime, and rebooking is a bit fiddly.

          (i) has the advantage that BA will give you any available seat: the other two will have to be rebooked where there is avios availability. If you want to travel before Jun21 take (i). If you want to travel Jan-Apr22 take (ii). Otherwise, or if unsure, take (iii).

          • pauldb says:

            Sorry, mixed up (ii) and (iii) at the end there: get a refund unless the extra 4 months are valuable.

          • Wollhouse says:

            This is such a useful forum, people are always adding info that is helpful, so thanks! Unfortunately for me, when I’m clicking on Manage my companion booking, the ONLY option I get is a notice that I cannot change or cancel online and that I must call…. will hold fire and see if my flight is cancelled as I’m keen to avoid the joy of hours on hold..

  • Laura_D says:

    BA Avios cancellation (my choice) – I have 2 x 1 way flights booked with Avios (15k + £35 total) which I want to push back by a week, but when I log into MMB there’s no availability.

    So I’m trying to price-up the cancellation, but MMB takes me to the “Future Voucher Application” and asks me to fill some form and submit it. I’m confused, isn’t an avios cancellation going to return the 15k Avios and cost me the £35? Why is BA forcing me to submit to a voucher? How would this work in effect if I wanted to rebook flights? Anyway to avoid this?

    I thought of calling them but a) don’t want to spend another 2h on the phone b) not sure if that would incur additional cancellation fees?

    Any help greatly appreciated!

    Thanks

    L

    • Anna says:

      At the moment you have to call them if you want a refund.

  • Vit says:

    PayPoint question — Just realised that my council allows payment through paypoint after reading threads through HFP. Went over to CO-OP this morning to pay a full (annual) amount. As I already have direct debit set up with the council and they have been taking a few month payment already? Will they refund me those amounts back into my bank account automatically or I have to call them up? Cheers.

    • mark2 says:

      That will vary by council, but I doubt that they will be pro-active (if they notice).

    • Anna says:

      It depends on your council. They might insist of refunding the excess back your card as that’s how the overpayment occurred. You’ll probably need to contact them and ask them about it; if you don’t they are likely to just keep your account in credit and charge you less next year.

      • Genghis says:

        How would they refund to card?
        The DD payments come straight from a bank account and the pay point payments are obviously “cash”.
        IME they’ll refund to bank account (two separate councils).

        • Anna says:

          Apologies, I have never used paypoint and assumed it was a service which let you use your Amex to pay bills at a Post Office or wherever. Obviously a DD refund would go back to the bank, but my point was that I think the council would refund the most recent payment rather than the previous DD.

        • Vit says:

          Interesting point there Genghis. First time using paypoint and true that council shouldn’t have my amex card details. Will call them up next week.

          • Genghis says:

            Our LA has a CT online portal so we can even request refunds online. Have a look to see if yours does too.

          • BJ says:

            I’d be amazed if you can pay it all in one go but great if you can. Here in Edinburgh we can only pay £150 x 2 swipes = £300 per transaction per day. Here, refunds are to bank account on file regardless of whether paid by card or DD which is very handy as I’m forgetful and overpay.

          • Andrew M says:

            @BJ Does Edinburgh allow you to request a refund online or do you have to phone up?

          • EwanG says:

            @BJ. Yes it’s difficult to keep track of what to pay and when – I really should be less organised as being forgetful is the way to go with Edinburgh!
            Also I was looking again at over 50’s. I’m not eligible, Dad is too old for a decent premium. Also t&cs for offer say 5 payments then points up to 60 days after that (not just 60 days as you thought the other day). Adjusts figures a bit but still a winner!

          • BJ says:

            @Andrew, I’ve called, no idea whether it is possible online sorry. They are fine on the phone, one year I paid all in April to trigger 241, called up and pleaded hard times could I have my money back? The lady was so very apologetic she could not refund all of it to me, only the portion that was not yet due 🙂

            @Ewan, thanks, I will check t&c tomorrow as I was quite sure the version I took a screenshot of on my tablet was 60 days for over 50. Anyway I’ve already signed so I’ll need to get it right.

          • Vit says:

            @BJ, that’s what the shop assistant told me (£200 only a time) initially when I provided her my council tax bill saying I would like to pay the full amount. But then I asked if she can do cumulative of £200? Took her a while but she got it done and I can pay the whole amount in one transaction. I made sure I kept the receipts though as this is my first time using paypoint.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Correct, refund to Bank account.

  • Peter Taysum says:

    Yesterday (or the day before) I posted that hotels.com had cancelled my booking (medical Doctor, moving into “apartment” for five nights, whilst building work carried out) Hotels.com emailed me to say “this has been cancelled at your request”.

    Customer services via twitter have confirmed refund on its way, and they confirm that I did not request this.

    I’ve pointed out their breach of contract, and possible fraud? (Breach of contract yes, don’t know about fraud; I’m not legally trained).

    They’ve escalated to “customer relations” who will contact me within 48-72 hours.

    I’ve stated if they don’t compensate me for breach of contract I will take them to court.

    I’ve booked alternative Accomodation last minute which isn’t what I wanted but felt “desperate”.

    Firstly it’s made me realise I won’t use a company in future that has no way of contacting them, but also I’ll never use them again as they appear utterly incompetent. I know HfP have recommended them previously (benefits of “reward for ten nights ‘anywhere’ “) but I won’t be using them again.

    I’d recommend others don’t as they have made no effort “to make right”.

    • Anna says:

      There’s no fraud as they haven’t deceived you about anything. It looks as though they have now agreed to refund you – what compensation would you be expecting? It’s inconvenient that you’ve had to change your arrangements but so have most of us over the past few months. I would think that once they’ve refunded you there won’t be any breach of contract.

    • Lady London says:

      Has anyone even offered a reason as to why this cancellation was done on you?

      i havent see your ts and cs and unsure how strong your case will turn out to be.

      I think your best bet is going for the goodwill/this is not fair as no time to find equivalent replacement etc., with the aim of having them arrange or pay same stay at a nicer place at no extra cost.

      please let us know how this turns out – also whatever pathetic excuse they try and claim.

      • Anna says:

        I was assuming that the original hotel is closed due to COVID. I’ve had several bookings for July and August cancelled (not with hotels.com), so it looks like a lot of places aren’t re-opening this weekend. Hotels.com do seem to have put this right in the end if they have now agreed to a refund, they can’t make the hotel re-open.

    • Evan says:

      Take them to court? – what do you expect in terms of compensation?

  • Anna says:

    And – Spain has just implemented its first local lockdown after easing restrictions, in Catalonia. Travelling abroad this summer is a complete lottery.

    • Andrew says:

      In a few weeks the whole of the U.K. will be anyway.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Keep up the positivity

        • Anna says:

          😬 the town where I live in on the list of those at risk of local lockdown so I’m not even 100% sure my staycation is going to happen this summer!

        • BJ says:

          Ok, only England, rest of us will be doing fine (err…hopefully).

    • marcw says:

      It´s not the first one. they are other regions or “comarcas” in lock down, mainly in Aragón. Good thing is, so far, the “coast” seems to be more resistent to COVID than inland. The Canary Islands is pretty much COVID free.. the island where I am from, La Palma, there are currently zero active cases.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Fruit farm area.

      • ChrisBCN says:

        To expand to myself, the areas that are hitting the lockdowns are those where there is little distancing… The people who live together for farm jobs etc. The areas where people don’t spend lots of time together seem to be doing ok, several weeks into the reopening.

  • Roger says:

    Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card – Are card members who have the email getting £40 back in the next statement credit or at next renewal?

    • Brighton Belle says:

      My credit went on my transaction history yesterday and my statement runs next Sunday

    • Connor says:

      Looking like next renewal for me unfortunately.

  • Mark says:

    I’m due a refund for an avios redemption that was cancelled by BA.

    I went for the maximum cash element to reduce the required avios. Does anyone know if I can request a refund in avios for the cash component using the 100% uplift offer against the normal buy avios price, or is that a complete no for any redemption booking?

    • Lady London says:

      why?
      normally cash is worth more than avios?
      I’d want back what I paid, as i paid it, cash or avios

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