The new HFP chat thread – Friday 10th 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.

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  1. Richard says:

    Morning all, anyone got any experience of the Marriott Highcliff? Looks a little dated from some of the pictures online.

    • Jonty says:

      It was probably the most prestigious Bournemouth hotel until the Hilton was built. Public areas are OK, don’t know about the rooms. Location is very good.

      • We’ve reviewed the Hilton and Hampton. Highcliff is SLIGHTLY more out of the centre, being seafront, but I agree it looked dated when I walked past it on my Hilton trips.

    • Stuart Evans says:

      We have stayed multiple times as a Marriott Elite, and there are pluses and minuses:
      1 Great cliff-top location in wonderful seaside town
      2 The restaurant is a Brasserie Blanc and is surprisingly good. No Exec Lounge, although you get a free breakfast
      3 Car parking is very limited
      4 They used to have a quite nice indoor pool/spa area but this has closed in the last year. Still has a nice outdoor pool (and a great beach at the foot of the cliff) but it makes it less attractive in winter
      5 Comfortable but not stylish

  2. MARK CLEVERLY says:

    Can someone remind me what the end agreement was for extending status with BA please? I was silver until May but i am now bronze. I thought they were extending status?

  3. Just seen BBC reporting that South Korea are to require virus certificates. I hope this does not become a new norm with many countries as it will have the potential to make multi-country travel itineraries a real hassle and much more expensive. The uncertainty of whether we might actually be able to complete an itinerary as planned would be an even bigger issue, I cannot see insurers queueing up to cover the need to return home under their disruption and curtailment policies.

    • I can also foresee a thriving trade in fake certificates. Plus, as you could catch the virus at any point after being tested, I can’t see that it means anything much if you do get one.

    • Harry T says:

      Virus certificates such as a recent negative test, or a positive antibody test?

      • Didn’t read it. Biggest issue I see is if we need tests, say within 72h of arrival but we are in multiple countries on one trip, and only a few days in each country. I often do this in Asia but it could become so much hassle, even impossible. I haven’t kept up with antibody testing news but I guess the lack of news suggests that remains far from a simple solution as Anna was discussing yesterday or day before.

        • OH and I have been tested for antibodies this week but it was made very clear that a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean you’re immune. So I can’t see anywhere relying on that to let you in at the moment.

  4. SeatSpy and RFF seem to be back to normal this morning after having a bit of a meltdown yesterday. I got loads of RFF notifications for DXB and AUH for Xmas/New Year in F and CW if anyone is interested. OH got his leave application refused so we won’t be going but I haven’t cancelled the notification yet, so keep getting exasperated when these land in my Inbox!

    • I imagine BA must have been re-arranging their availability then…

      • Yes, if you fancy spending Twixmas in the Emirates flying in F, go for it! I am gutted.

        • An internal BA memo yesterday apparently said that 90% of flights currently on sale have redemption availability, which is something of a record (not every cabin on every flight obviously, but at least something). If anyone wants to book, now is the time to do it!

    • MadeUpName says:

      A lot of a availability popped up for our flight to Greece yesterday too.

  5. Request for the collective wisdom – I’m hoping to go away with my sister in September next year, using one of the BA regional services, so Malaga/Palma/Florence/Ibiza/Alicante. I will have enough points and certificates for 4 nights at a top IHG property – are there any in any of those locations?

    • Or Nice. Don’t bother suggesting the HIE at Malaga airport!

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      I wouldn’t bank on the regional direct flights operating, we had a couple cancelled last yr and all have been cancelled this year. I doubt they will survive the cull

      • I’m not banking on it but they are now on sale for 2021 so there’s a modicum of hope!

        • I’ve got a last Lloyds voucher to use so if we can’t go direct from MAN we’ll do the outbound via LHR and get a LCC flight back direct to MAN. Did this last year and it was a good experience.

  6. Peter Pan says:

    OT: IHG Credit Card Free Night Voucher – Was charged the 2nd year fee at end of May but I am unable to find the free night voucher in my IHG account. Does anyone know where the voucher is in IHG account?

    • On your account page on the website it would show in a link just under the “Redeem” button. I’m not sure if you can see the free nights anywhere in the app (I certainly can’t on Android).

      However, my annual fee was taken in March and my online account still shows as “0 free night(s)” (4 months later!) so there does seem to be a significant delay between the account fee being taken and/or the account anniversary date and the free night vouchers arriving…

      • Peter Pan says:

        On the website and there are no free nights underneath “Redeem”. Has been 2 months since the fee was taken so will raise it with creation.

      • Doug M says:

        @Matt. I’m on Android and the free nights are one the main page, go menu and then click on your name the first option, the points to the left, the free nights to the right, and below is the 2020 Track to Elite Status graphic.

      • james says:

        The credit card free night usually appears before the annual fee is paid

    • David says:

      My IHG Credit Card renewal is March and my free night will hasn’t appeared on my account yet. All secure messages to customer services have had a response to say they will email the relevant team but nothing happens as a result. I’ve seen this mentioned in the comments here a few times now and It appears a few of us have this problem: I wonder if Rob might be able to ask any contacts at creation for a comment on it?

  7. Had a BA 2-4-1 CW booking to Sydney cancelled today (Australian relocating back to Oz). Looks like Qatar are still flying the same dates. Any views on whether I can insist on being rebooked on Qatar? And if I was rebooked on Qatar, would I still benefit from £35 cancellation/change fee? Thanks!

    • Scallder says:

      EU261 allows you to be requested to do that (unless BA are flying maybe the next day which would probably be considered a ‘reasonable’ delay – but it’s your choice – refund, fly with someone else at the earliest availability or moved to a later date by agreement with you and BA.

      So certainly they need to if you ask for it under EU261 and there won’t be a change fee as the flight is cancelled and they’re having to do it!

    • Scallder says:

      Sorry misread the last bit – I’m not sure about this at all. Might need to agree this with BA whether they book you a refundable fare or not.

      • Regardless of what you paid or how (cash or avios), you are entitled to re-routing under the circs. As Scallder says, if BA can put you on one of their flights within a reasonable time they can do that, otherwise you have the right to be moved to another carrier at no extra cost and in the same travel class. It sounds as though Qatar might be the only option anyway, in which case this would be a great result for you!

        • Lady London says:

          plus you dont have to decide before your original flight date.

          however your justification for requesting to be rerouted on QR would be that BA has no flight they can put you on of their own, reasonably close to your original time. Generally that could be same day but you might be expected to extend that reasonable time a bit. if you instead choose a date into the future then might be harder to avoid being forced onto BA, for now at least.

          I would take a very hard comparative look at BA’s other flights that are nearish and also QR’s. you could also check QF and CX but right now those are very few and with transit issues so BA doesnt have much else they can offer.

          When youre fairly sure what you can justify as a reasonable alternative can only be done by QR and not by BA then call them.

          Lastly there are rumblings the Australian government may switch to requiring passengers to fund their own hotel stay for quarantine so I think Id stick with travelling sooner than later.

        • Great, thanks both. Had been assuming/hoping this would still be the case, but glad to have the sanity check! (and yes Anna, QR would be a great outcome!)

  8. Andrew says:

    More offers popping up for the LBG Community.

    10% funds return at Apex Hotels, maximum return £60, offer expires 8th October.

    So 16 offers on BoS this morning, 6 on Amex.

    • I’ve got 3 at Halifax and 2 at Lloyds, and in both cases 1 is a message about covid.

      • Andrew says:

        Volume of offers is relative to frequency of use.

        I tend to use my BoS debit card at least twice daily, of which one of those is in the restaurant at work.

        It’s Friday, so that’s Haddock, chips, onion rings, mushy peas, along with a quarter lemon and freshly made tartare sauce. Followed by a huge helping of sticky toffee pudding and piping hot custard. £6.40

        We’re hoping that “Dishy Rishi’s” half price meals will be valid.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Quick Ryanair question please, I have a return flight to Faro in August (and don’t want to go) and my return has been moved later by 7 hours. Do I have the right to cancel both flights now and get a full refund or just the return leg? Both Flights are on the same booking reference but know Ryanair usually treat them as two one-ways. TIA

  10. David says:

    Hi all – any experience with booking . com and making a payment in advance but my card being charged with the underlying currency of the hotel (Euros in this case).

    I selected pay now and their website literally says “Pay now
    You’ll pay today in £. will facilitate your payment. You’ll pay today when you complete your booking”

    Yet they have charged me in Euros and have been hit with a non sterling txn fee on Amex.

    Only a c£25 or so fee but it’s the principle really when as per the above it states I will pay in £. No where did it say I would be charged in Euros.

    Anyone experienced this?

    • Yep. I’ve also been charged immediately or a few weeks later even though promised ‘pay at the property’. Not an authorisation; full payment.

      No loss to me on so I didn’t chase it up. If you’ve lost out and you’re sure it promised GBP, then I absolutely would chase it up. With a bit of luck, the rate will have moved in your favour and you’ll make a small profit!

    • That happened to me as well — when complained, said the amount in £ is only estimation and you would pay in the currency of the hotel which is strange to me compared to or Agoda. And that’s why I stop using them.

    • Doug M says:

      Just a remark on booking com. My mate made a booking on an apartment in Bilbao for a Euro 21 game, around €600. The typical rate for most apartments across these dates was €5K to €6K. They cancelled with a very flimsy excuse. I know someone has posted the same of hotel com a couple of times in the last week. For me these sites acting as the 3rd party in apartment/house rentals is less than ideal, i think rightly or wrongly hotels are more reliable.

    • It’s not a forecast, it’s a speculative, ‘what if’ piece of fiction, which makes it about as informative as a dead duck! I could just as easily write a wildly positive view with no second wave and with a full recovery.

      • marcw says:

        We can only go back to pre-COVID-19 if an effective treatment or vaccines is found. History has shown us that for coronavirus, even though scientist have been researching for decades, neither has been found for any of the pathogenic coronavirus family member. It’s also true that there’s never been so much funding to develop a treatment and vaccine… we can only be hopeful.

        • This is not correct. Assuming no vaccine is found, at some point Covid-19 will be ‘priced in’ to the decisions we make everyday. I wouldn’t expect schools, theatres, cinemas, concerts, travel etc to remain in lockdown or social distancing measures forever. If we don’t find a vaccine, and the virus isn’t contained and diminishes like previous pandemics, then herd immunity is really the only option left.

          • marcw says:

            There’s no evidence that immunity is long-term (flu, for instance, doesn’t provide long term immunity, that’s why every year there’s a new vaccine). Spain has recently published in The Lancet it’s study about seroprevalence – in the most affected cities, it’s about 10%… it will take years to gain herd-immunity [IF long term immunity is consolidated].

            At this point the only way is virus containment.

          • Except that virus containment isn’t really sustainable long term, since human societies are fundamentally built around social contact.

          • marcw says:

            If virus containment is properly done, there shouldn’t be too many negative consequences, even on la longer term. It’s a dual formula: personal responsibility (personal hand hygiene, face masks, social distance whenever posible) + government responsibility (track, trace, test and isolate positiva COVID-19 cases); the combination of both will reduce the rate and pace of transmission.

          • Lady London says:

            early reports on immunity were if it exists it’s no more than 45 days

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Immunity to catching it vs being able to fight it off next time without suffering severe respiratory issues are two different things.

            There’s lots of thoughts out there on what way this will go in the future but what you can say with some certainty is that we won’t live in lockdowns forever.

          • RussellH says:

            I do wish people would stop suggesting that someone will ‘find’ a vaccine. They won’t. Not down the back of the sofa, or under a stone, or even in a car-park in Leicester.

            I profoundly hope that one or more of the research teams putting huge amounts of investment into it will ‘develop’ or ‘create’ a vaccine.
            As there is no vaccine at present it is not lost, and so cannot be found.

          • Lady Londons says:

            As you hint @RussellH, they’re looking in the wrong place, or they’d have found it already after so many years of searching.

            Standard vaccine methods are clearly not working so something else must be found that disrupts it.

          • marcw says:

            To find a vaccine/cure is not “finding something that’s lost’. It means “to discover something by researching/studying/searching”.

          • Charlieface says:

            OED says: Find (verb)
            1.1 Discover (someone or something) after a deliberate search: ‘in this climate it could be hard to find a buyer’

            Re vaccine: what seems to be clear is that lots of infectious diseases don’t have easy vaccines or treatments, but they are still contained.

    • There are numerous reports from medicine and science publications that vitamin D effectively stops the virus (and other respiratory viruses) binding to the protein receptors which transport it into your lungs, which tallies with anecdotal evidence that people with low vitamin are affected worse by Covid. This certainly corresponds to my own experience of being (mis)diagnosed with COPD and fully recovering after starting to take D supplements.

      • marcw says:

        There seems to be a correlations, but doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an association. All this seem to be empirically – the same as Vit C boosting somehow the immune system. There’s no scientific evidence for the latter, but empirically it’s been shown it works “somehow”. It’s likely that with Vit D there’s a similar story – but having worked in a research lab that used to work in Vit D, there are more benefits taking Vit D than not taking it, especially for 40+.

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