The new HFP chat thread – Monday 6th 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/2020/07/06/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-6th-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!

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Comments

  1. ChrisC says:

    Used one of my BA ‘vouchers’ today. Pretty painless apart from the long wait for call to be answered but friendly agent in Newcastle on the end of the line.

    Hope they sort a system for on line booking soon as would be so much easier and release the agents for other tasks.

    I just gave her the details of the flights I wanted and cabin class and she did the rest. They can take either the ticket number or the original confirmation code to find the voucher.

    No issue that I wanted a one way AMS- LON and exchange rate was slightly better than the spot rate I checked before calling.

    Agent said it would take up to a week for new voucher to be issued and for for ticket to be issued.

    Booking reference is the same as for the original flight I got the voucher for. And those cancelled flights appear as part of the booking in MMB when you actually go into the booking which is a little confusing.

    I think the best thing for people using a voucher is to do the prep first so you can feed the agent dates / flight numbers etc and know what the price is and have the booking reference to hand to speed up the process.

    • Luckyjim says:

      I take it your original ticket was a cash booking rather than an avios redemption?

  2. Always in the air says:

    Clearly this is pretty speculative, but what do you think the chances of BA restarting LHR – SYD in August are?

    I see lots of avois availability and am tempted!

    P.s. should be able to get in to the country as a resident.

    • Andrew says:

      Zero. Plus it’s the middle of winter in Australia then so not the best time to visit.

      • Poppycock. The best time to visit if you want to travel to Queensland, Barrier Reef and the Northern Territories. Just not so good for the southern states, Sydney, Melbourne etc.

    • Matthew says:

      Book it with Avios. When it gets cancelled you can then choose any dates within 12 months if ticket issuing without needed Avios availability.

      • Luckyjim says:

        RU sure?

        If an avios flight is cancelled you can use the voucher for an equivalent flight even if there is no avios availabilty? Has anybody done this yet?

        • Matthew says:

          No voucher. You get the option in MMB or by calling. It’s was part of a covid update they did. Not sure how long it will last but I did it 2 weeks ago. Changed an Aug trip to Jan with no availability present. See here…

          https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/05/05/avios-flight-cancelled-by-ba-you-can-rebook-for-any-date-even-if-avios-seats-are-not-available

          • Luckyjim says:

            Thanks Matthew, but changing an existing booking to a new date isn’t the same as taking a voucher to be redeemed at some point in the future. .It’s not clear how flexible BA will be with the vouchers.

            I have flights cancelled in August which I want to rebook for next August. I can’t simply rebook them now as it is more than 355 days out. I can take the voucher or I can get my avios back. I’m leaning toward the latter.

          • Matthew says:

            I’m not suggesting it’s the same as a voucher. My point is that your normally are allowed to rebook (same route) to a date within -3/+14 of original travel dates when a cancellation occurs. If you make an Avios booking to Sydney now for August and BA cancel it, you can choose any date (subject to peak/off peak, depending on your original booking I believe) to a date right up to 355 days from today (assuming booked today) and you won’t need Avios availability to rebook. As this route is very hard to get Avios seats normally, this maybe a gamble you are willing to take to be able to go to Sydney next year!

          • Correct. Which is why many HFP readers are heading abroad for Christmas this year despite the lack of Avios seats 🙂

        • Matthew says:

          Only works if BA cancel of course. If you do choose to cancel, then you lose £35pp if booked with Avios. That’s your risk…

        • Loads have done it. We mentioned it in an article, in a round about way, as we obviously cannot openly encourage abuse, but if you head to Barbados this Christmas you’ll find it full of HFP readers who booked tickets for June, were sorely disappointed to see their trip cancelled but consoled themselves by getting on the ludicrously expensive Christmas week flights even though you’d never in a million years see more Avios seats on those than the guaranteed 2+4.

          • Matthew says:

            Exactly. I agree….can’t be seen to ‘promote’ it but it potentially provides an opportunity with minimal risk for much better dates.

          • Flybynight says:

            So hypothetically, could I book flights to a country which still isn’t accepting British travellers if there was avios availability, to have BA cancel that flight and then rebook at a time I actually want to go? I guess my overall question is what’s the safest way to book flights which will have a high probability of being cancelled?

          • Only if BA cancels. BA is still flying to the US despite UK tourists and travellers being blocked from entry.

          • Look at the IAG Cargo website. Avoid anywhere where IAG Cargo is flying as those flights will probably go even if BA only expects 5 repatriating paying passengers. Anything else where the country is closed to UK residents will probably be wiped.

        • Simon says:

          I have successfully done this. Booked in May for July 4 x CW to KL. Flights were cancelled by BA, allowing me to rebook over Xmas when I wanted to go. You must book peak to get peak etc. was all done on MMB. Couldn’t get FRI/SAT/SUN dates.

      • Way back in February 2020 we booked open jaw flights to Singapore, returning from Bangkok, for January 2021 using a BA 241 voucher. Ideally, we’re like to cancel this booking and rearrange for later (September 2021) next year. I know we can cancel each leg (£35 per person, per leg) but would doing this allow us to get a future travel voucher, extending the 241 and allowing us to book using Avios, even if there is only standard (non Avios) availability? I’m guessing that we booked the initial flights “too early” in the year to benefit from this voucher. Any help would be appreciated.

        • Your assumption is correct – off the top of my head both your booking and travel window are outside of the voucher issuing dates.

    • This seems unlikely as long as Sydney continues it’s recently imposed limits of 50 arriving passengers per flight / 450 overall per day. Not to mention the strict 2-week hotel quarantine.

      • Lady London says:

        Brilliant. At last a country has decided something which is well reasoned and sensible.

  3. Andrew says:

    Where have all the decent Amex offers gone? Only random e-commerce companies I’ve never heard of on my Platinum and literally nothing other than shop small and extra points on BAPP.

    • Andreas says:

      Agree, it’s the same on my BAPP card. Just a few random offers. However, my spending has gone WAY down so this could be having an effect as their servers can no longer easily tailor offers based on spend

      • memesweeper says:

        Advertising and marketing spend has plummeted across from all sectors, retail in particular. Amex won’t have offers to show you as they are struggling to line up deals with retailers.

  4. Richard says:

    Morning, we have one night in Miami pre cruise (!) next May. Looking at either the JW Marriott at 35,000 Marriott points or the Conrad at 67,000 Hilton points. Anyone got any recommendations? I’m leaning towards the JW Marriott (it’s not the JW Marriott Marquis).

    • Nick_C says:

      Have stayed in both pre cruise. Loved the JW Marriott. Hated the Conrad. It was the only Conrad I have stayed in and I had high expectations. The room was dark and poorly lit. I literally couldn’t see to read. The entrance lobby to the room was in need of repainting, and felt like a cheap motel. The atrium dining area was crowded and noisy. The staff were not interested and said no other rooms were available.

      The Marriott felt luxurious.

      Both are in similar locations. The cruise lines pick up from the Marriott but its a cheap taxi ride and a taxi is a much better experience.

      Good places to eat at nearby Mary Brickell shopping centre.

  5. Jimmy says:

    Morning,
    Has anyone managed to extend their 2 4 1 voucher?
    Mine expires end of September & I wont have been able to use it by then.
    Cheer

    • All 241s have been extended by 6 months. Look it up on ba.com. You won’t get a further extension.

  6. John Caribbean says:

    Hi.
    I’m booking flights to Spain next summer, as two one ways rather than return. The outbound will be RFS. If I book the flight back as HBO will the baggage allowance from the outbound flight be added to the return?

    • Matthew says:

      Nope. You will need to book with bags. Have you priced up a BA holiday. Luggage included then and just add a car maybe (don’t have to add hotel)

    • Nope – you’re booking as two one ways! Not even status will get you extra luggage on a HBO fare unfortunately.

    • ChrisC says:

      No because you have two separate one way tickets and you will get the allowance per each ticket with no cross linkage.

      Even if it was a proper return BA changed it in the last couple of years so that you get the baggage allowance based on the cabin class of the flight you were taking and ended the policy of granting the highest allowance to the entire booking.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Is the return flight operated by Iberia? If so it may be possible to have a checked bag:

      https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/iberia-airlines-iberia-plus/1845685-extra-luggage-iberia-hand-luggage-only.html

  7. ian_h says:

    Lloyds Voucher Question –
    I find myself in the strange situation of having 3 lloyds vouchers all that need booking by the end of september after my easter trip was cancelled.

    I am really struggling to find a good use for them as there is still so much uncertainty but know that its a book by date not a travel by deadline that is approaching and as I will never get any more I dont want to just waste them in a panic redemption.

    Does anyone know if once a booking is made its possible to change dates and/or destination without losing the voucher?

    Thanks in advance

    • You can change destination within the same zone and you can change the date within the original ticket validity which is a year I believe. So your new flights will need to be by September 2021.

    • Nigel says:

      I would double check by giving them a call (I find them to be super friendly and helpful on the phone) or on the Live Chat function on the website (need to select Other EU country – English) to get the option to appear.

  8. Gavin says:

    Apologies if this info is somewhere – I’ve looked and BA as ever is suitably opaque:
    What’s the London City food and drink offering on BA at the moment? Am flying in August, economy.

    • BA don’t have a lounge at city! (If you’re on the BA1 flight to JFK they do a mini pop-up lounge at the departure gate)

  9. A weekend trip to Marseille provided a tale of two very different experiences.
    BA; really trying to adapt to the new circumstances. Lots of procedural changes, all of which appeared to be aimed at providing a safe travelling environment. All credit to that amorphous blob so often referred to as the “management” and currently suffering a deluge of criticism. The crew and ground staff, despite their uncertain future, were an absolute pleasure. Each and every one appeared to be delighted to be back. 4.5 stars out of 5
    Heathrow Airport; metaphorically struggling “to get out of bed”. Despite a terminal which was near empty, the queues for security stretched right to the boarding pass scanning machines, causing a blockage just past the barrier. Snaking queues thereafter with questionable social distancing, which appeared not to be because of delays in baggage and people scanning, but just insufficient resources, with many scanners closed. All Fast Track closed. I saw no sign of a cleaner the whole time I was there, despite there being multiple unavoidable touch points such as lift buttons, escalator handrails, baggage trollies etc, (to be fair there was a bottle of sanitiser near the trollies at baggage collection in a sort of half hearted serve yourself attempt, but heaven knows how you would use the spray without contacting the trigger, thus nullifying the efficacy) all in an environment (with a melting pot of travelling people) which must be considered high risk. 1 star out of 5
    It’s almost as if BA were fighting for survival and Heathrow know their future is certain so can provide the absolute minimum of resources – but then that would be cynical, wouldn’t it?

    • Darren says:

      Interesting comparison.

      Why pay for a cleaner when you can plonk a bottle of hand sanitiser on a shelf.

    • Ralph says:

      You mention fast track being closed – that is a BA issue, not Heathrow Airport who just manage/operate it for BA (or any other airline) upon airline request/payment. BA is saving money by not providing fast track. This will probably change as AA, AY etc move to T5 and can presumably share the cost.

    • eligold says:

      If you’re about to sanitize your hand with Bacteria killer, who cares if you need to touch the pump to do so?
      though in Ikea they had a pretty cool auto spray sanitizer all over the store

  10. I had my Avios RFS using 2-4-1 Amex voucher outbound flight to Tenerife from LGW cancelled and immediately replaced by an identical flight number flying from LHR. I want to go but my OH doesn’t so now looking at getting a refund.

    The email says I have to log in to MMB to accept the change. I have not done so.

    Can I get full refund because BA cancelled or does the fact that the flight number remains the same mean I will have to pay £35 per passenger?

    • Is there a significant time difference between the new and old departure times? (I think it’s 2 hours for BA). Otherwise you might struggle to get BA to cancel for free as they class both airports as London. However, you could get a future travel voucher which will preserve your avios and cash and also extend your 2 4 1 until April 2022.

      • Hi Anna, flight departure time difference is 30 mins. So that doesn’t help me.

        Strangely return flight is still showing as arriving back at LGW. Waiting a couple of weeks to see if that also changes to LHR and hoping my OH changes attitude and decides to go.

        Also trying to figure out if hotel is open. Nothing received from them to indicate it is, received an email when they reopened properties on mainland which specifically said only they were opening at that point. Hotel booking is fortunately fully flexible pay at hotel and can cancel for free 14 days before check in.

        If I have to pay £35 per passenger it won’t be the end of the world. Would rather have refund rather than FTV as expiry of 2-4-1 is early 2022 anyway.

    • Luckyjim says:

      A flight from a different airport is clearly not the same flight. Phone them up and ask for a refund.

      • Yes, I’ve been refunded twice on this basis (LGW/LCY to LHR switch)

      • Thanks both. That’s good to know. I will let you know how I get on.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes. Who knows your circumstances and how much longer it would take you compared with currently to get to a different airport. Everyone has reasons why it only fits for them to reach their existing airport om the day.

    • Genghis says:

      I cancelled a RFS flight originally departing from LGW that had moved to LHR today. Avios and 241 (needed to burn it) returned within minutes and all cash due supposedly within 3 weeks but others report it posting sooner.

  11. Nikkei says:

    Data point for AMEX platinum –

    Called in to cancel got offered 20k (called Friday 11pm spoke to Manila) points added this morning. I upgraded the card from gold charge just before the £100 cash back offered appeared.

    Anyone cancelled (relatively soon after) receiving points?

    • Andreas says:

      Out of interest – how long have you held the platinum card for?

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