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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.

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/2020/07/10/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-friday-10th-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.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HFP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (177)

  • 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

  • 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 £. Booking.com 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?

    • Rich says:

      Yep. I’ve also been charged immediately or a few weeks later even though booking.com 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!

    • Vit says:

      That happened to me as well — when complained, booking.com said the amount in £ is only estimation and you would pay in the currency of the hotel which is strange to me compared to hotels.com 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.

    • Rhys says:

      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.

        • Rhys says:

          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.

          • Rhys says:

            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.

    • Anna says:

      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+.

  • YH says:

    I got a refund for a cancelled flight which was £330 short. Called BA YouFirst and they said because the ticket was re-issued twice (cash upgrades) the change fees will not be refunded. I pushed back a bit but they said the conditions state the change fees are non-refundable even if BA cancel the flight.

    Does this sound right?

    • Rhys says:

      If you choose to change your booking then yes, the change fees apply regardless. The refund is for the service that BA can no longer supply – the flight – but they did supply the change to the booking you wanted to and that’s what the change fee covers.

      For example, if I make a booking for Person X but then want to change the passenger to Person Y, then they charge a ‘change fee’. If the eventual flight then gets cancelled you can get a refund for the flight, but you made the change you wanted to so its not unreasonable not to refund the change fee since, had the flight gone ahead, the change would have applied.

      • YH says:

        Fair enough – I guess that’s goodbye £330 then! I’ll pay more attention to change fees next time or just book directly into First instead of upgrading.

        Thanks for the info.

        • Rhys says:

          Were you not made aware of the change fees at the time you made the changes? And were you not charged these change fees at that time?

          • YH says:

            I’m sure I was made aware when upgrading over the phone and the change fees were definitely included in what I paid at the time. I’ve just had a look at the confirmation email and it is all there. I just wasn’t expecting the flights to be cancelled (I booked 9 months ago).

            This is actually the only time I’ve upgraded a ticket, I usually book directly into intended class of travel so this won’t affect me for other flights. In fact, out of £10k worth of cancelled BA and QR bookings I had this year, I’ve received full refunds for everything apart from this £330, so I’ll take that as a win.

      • Lady London says:

        I think that’s unreasonable as the earlier change fees paid became wasted as soon as BA cancelled the flight. This waste was not the passenger’s fault.

        I think if BA cancel a flight they should refund any change fees for selection of the flight that was cancelled, at least. I’m not sure about any earlier change fees but probably those too.

        Would like to see this tested in court.

    • Catman says:

      What were the change fees for? It’s a bit unclear from your post. If you were upgrading to Club World or First then, in my opinion, it should be repayable as it becomes part of the total cost and not much different from booking that seat originally.

      I think changing a named flyer or a date could be reasonably regarded as a write-off

      • YH says:

        The change fees were to upgrade from Club World to First.

        • memesweeper says:

          Definitely worth a strenous argument, well, at least I’d be bothered. Perhaps others wouldn’t.

          • Lady Londonf says:

            they are taking the mickey as it was their cancellation and First Class

        • Louise says:

          Think I’d have another go at them and if that fails. Take it up with credit card co.

    • Paul says:

      Travel insurance should cover this otherwise nothing to lose with a charge back

  • Travel Strong says:

    I am looking for advice on making purchases which are easy to refund? As you may guess – this enquiry is for the purpose of BAPP voucher triggering, and the other fintech to opportunity that has arisen this week.

    I have never booked fully flex flights before – is there anything to watch out for? Are BA the easiest option?Are fully flex refunds from other airlines held up the same as cancellation refunds have been?

    I noticed a suggestion the other day about making Argos reservations and cancelling.

    Any other easy and reliable methods?

    • Aston100 says:

      Naughty Naughty

    • Travel Strong says:

      Hotel advance purchase rates are looking favourable, as many allow cancellations are full refunds currently – downside is that not all hotels actually process rinitial payments or refunds quickly! I am going to take a punt with a marriott booking, as I expect Hilton will be too polite and not take my payment for a while.

      • Anna says:

        I think you’re right about Hilton. I made a non-refundable booking 6 months ago, Hilton hasn’t taken the payment and the credit card attached to the booking has now expired! They still haven’t chased me up for it.

        • RussellH says:

          Hmm.
          I made two bookings at the DT in Girona in early June – one last year, one early this year (we decided we needed an extra night). Originally non-cancellable and payment taken immediately on both occasions.
          Hilton cancelled once they allowed cancellation of non-canx bookings – on 21 April.
          Hotel responded that as both hotel and accounts dept.were closed, they could not refund at the time.
          I e-mailed them again on Monday (which appeared to be the first day that the hotel was open) to remind them. Got a reply yesterday – yes, we are open, but accounts dept.still closed, and the hotel still has no idea when they will refund.

          • Lady London says:

            shoddy.

            I guess you will be doing chargeback or s 75?

          • RussellH says:

            S 75 only applies to one of the two bookings – the other was made with my German Visa and S 75 is a purely UK thing. I would have to find out the German for ‘Chargeback’ for the German Visa.
            I am inclined t6o give then other ten days or so, then e-mail them copies of the original booking confirmations to forestall the “we do not know how much you have paid us” story. I might also have a word with Hilton about it.
            I know some here have had poor experiences with Hilton CS, but I have always found them fine.

    • Nick_C says:

      There are plenty of stories of people buying flexible tickets just for lounge access! I think the airlines are clamping down on that sort of abuse though. The question you need to ask yourself is how strongly do you value your relationship with Amex and the airline you are thinking of trying this on with.

      • Travel Strong says:

        I’m fine with a total relationship breakdown with either 🙂

        I am keen for advice on what to watch for when booking fully flex tickets though, unless there really are no catches on cancellations/refunds.

        • roberto says:

          I did it with Virgin. I bought a £9000 plus fully refundable business ticket to NYC for about 10 weeks hence with the plan that I was never going to fly. I paid for it on the old virgin black card @ 4 miles per pound at the time just before they where moving cardholders over to MBNA. I pocketed the forty thousand or so miles, paid my bill and cancelled the flight a months or so later getting a bank transfer back from the card company. I kept the miles.

          Naughty I know and its the first time I have mentioned it to anyone.

          • Travel Strong says:

            Your secret is safe with me, roberto.

            I wonder if virgin are making their fully flex customers wait 100+ days for the refund currently, like their other customers! That would be a painful wait!

          • MonkeymaN says:

            Say three Hail Bransons and you will be forgiven my son.

            Go in peace!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Being honest here you are far better buying an expensive item online from a luxury retailer and returning it.

      Flight refunds can take considerable time and advanced hotel bookings (even prepaid) aren’t always taken until you actually stay.

    • Anuj says:

      Other fin tech opportunity ?

      • Rob says:

        Buy a flexible BA flight ticket and cancel it.

        Book a flexible hotel on Hotels.com but voluntarily pre-pay it, then cancel later.

        Remember that unless you cancel the purchase in your current card year, it will increase your target for next year.

        • Pangolin says:

          You can do the same on Booking.com. A Canadian points blogger (Prince of Travel) wrote a whole article on this sort of thing.

    • Lady London says:

      I think you’ve asked this before in the past week or so and the besr answer given was to buy gift cards for stores you would spend in anyway. So groceries, diy, boots, wilco, amazon, (with caution) hotel vouchers, early payment of various taxes, etc.

      Best not to let a pattern develop of every fully flec ticket you buy gets refunded if you can avoid itm

      • Travel Strong says:

        Thanks lady london – it wasn’t me that asked last time, but it was me that gave that answer to someone else asking 😀 I do things like £500 asda gift cards from time to time if I am just short of a time limited bonus. But on this occasion I am looking at more like £6k short on BAPP voucher. I will hit it naturally with time, but the seats I want to book with the 241 are available now!

    • memesweeper says:

      I don’t know about the ‘easiest’ option, but the *safest* one is the one to do. Right now there’s no airline, not even BA, nor hotel chain, I’d trust with a significant amount of money (ie a sum I’d not be prepared to loose entirely).

    • Charlieface says:

      Europcar or Hertz pay in advance. You could do a 4 week booking for an expensive car

      • Paul says:

        Given the state of Hertz and their simply appalling IT ( they make BA look sleek and professional. I would touch them with a weekend rental right now let alone a 4 week hire of something pricey

    • GaryC says:

      Why not just man up and pay cash for the flights, or generate some legitimate spend such as £6k worth of Amazon vouchers, rather than mess around companies already being severely impacted by current circumstances.

    • Louise says:

      I did this recently booking AA flights.

      Cancelled within 24 hours but refund took 5 week.

  • Sam says:

    Anyone still waiting for a Curve refund to appear from before June 26 (Wirecard shutdown etc)?

    I tried to top up Ernie the day before, when they were having issues with debit card payments – it never went through, but the underlying IHG was charged.

    Not sure who currently has the money, or who I should chase it up with…

    • rams1981 says:

      Yes – my wife is still waiting.I had thought Wirecard London was operational so they should be able to access the money.

      • the_real_a says:

        I dont think its a case of access to monies, they have transferred their systems to an alternative provider – so it will take some time to code their systems to provide refunds via Wirecard along side new purchases/refunds through the alternative provider. As a workaround they are immediately allowing refunds to be placed in curve cash which should be fine for most people. In a couple of weeks wirecard refunds should be processed normally.

      • Sam says:

        And as if by magic, it’s now appeared in my Curve Cash balance without any prompting (or notification). Happy days!

  • Travel Strong says:

    Seperate Query: if you trigger your BAPP voucher on the back of a purchase that is later refunded – should you allow the avios to empty and cancel the card before the refund hits? (in an ideal plan)

    • Polly says:

      Yes, cancel after transferring avios out. The refund will appear on a follow on statement later, so money can be transferred back to your bank account.

  • James says:

    What’s the most anyone has deposited into Ernie and recycled?

    • Lady London says:

      Hum. 5th amendment anyone?

    • Connor says:

      Nothing, as it is completely unethical and you should definitely not do this ever, and I am sure the rest of my fellow HfPer’s will stand with me against this sort of thing.