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The new HFP chat thread – Sunday 12th 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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Comments (122)

  • TedL says:

    I cancelled the wife’s Gold Card in January, applied for a new one in June and got the “spend £3000 in 6 months and get 20,000 MR points”. This has just triggered, being aware that Rob suggests that MR points are more valuable than Avios and recent comments here that this bonus might be removed should I place these points out of harms way by transferring to BAEC or as they are now showing on my account am I safe to let them remain until I have a use for them or am about to close the Gold card?

    • Harry T says:

      Sounds like Amex IT didn’t pick up that your wife wasn’t eligible for a sign up bonus. Probably just keep it to yourself and see if it works with other card bonuses you’re not eligible for!

    • Rob says:

      They are safe, never heard of a bonus being removed.

    • Lady London says:

      better to take out the lowest level of Amex card, say Green /ARCC, then transfer your MR’s to it before you cancel the Gold. That way they remain flexible. Piling them into avios if you havent a specific immediate use for them is a far worse choice. You never.know what might come along that would be a better use of those MR’s.

    • Vit says:

      TedL, that’s the news I am looking for. I and my partner got the gold credit card in March. The “bonus” you mentioned above does not show up on my tracking bar but does show on my partner. I have just met the £3k over this weekend. Can you advise if you receive any email when triggering the “10k MR bonus”? and how long it took before post into your account?

      I hope AMEX IT still has not picked this up. 🙂 Plan to transfer straight to avios. 🙂

      • TedL says:

        @Vit, the spend that put me over the £3k was last Thursday, was pending till yesterday and the points were there this morning.

        • Vit says:

          Thanks TedL. I guess as soon as the spending is clear, the point should be in rather quickly then.

  • Ed says:

    This may have been covered before but looks like seat spy is having a number of problems. They’re calendar seems to only show availability until 8 June 2021. They’ve just sent me an alert about phantom availability in F for London – NYC. I.e. availability for everyday. Anyone else experiencing problems with them?

    • Ed says:

      Slight edit to my previous post (aside from the typo) the calendar issue appears to be limited to certain routes for instance NYC, Washington, Rio but not Beijing or Edinburgh.

      • Louise says:

        Its showing loads of F seats to LAX, but they don’t exist when i try and book them on BA.

    • Matt says:

      I’ve just had an alert for F availability in April next year that looks to be false – there was availability showing on Seatspy on a lot of dates

      • John says:

        Also rang ba for phantom F availability following notification from seat spy!

        • Ed says:

          I’ve had a response from seatspy. Appears linked to a beta test for offering one world availability alongside the BA flights. Hopefully they’ll address because no use for using a 241. May explain the limited calendar on some routes.

          • Matt says:

            That would be brilliant if they can get it accurately (and be able to view only BA for 241 use)

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Why waste your time & BA’s? Always check online

    • Anna says:

      SeatSpy showing availability to the end of June 2021 for me.

    • John W says:

      I have received Seatspy alerts today for Business and First for the dates I was waiting for – upon investigation , it was not there in reality – Not sure what has gone wrong
      Reward flight saver has sent the same alerts so not only limited to seatspy !

  • Berneslai says:

    What’s happened to the Lifetime status on the Marriott app? Are they no longer tracking years? It lists points and nights.

    Apologies if I’ve missed an obvious news item or message?

    • Tom H says:

      It’s there for me (just checked) when I swipe right on points activity screen. But what I would like to know is how long do I now have to achieve my next status? Ie to get the 21 nights to hit plat? End of calendar year?

      • Harry T says:

        @TomH
        Marriott status is based on calendar year, so you should have until the end of the year.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    So the government wants us to go to the office to save the economy – are we going to tut at those who ride their bicycles and bring their own lunches for not helping out?

    • memesweeper says:

      I’m ‘tutting’ at all the employers who have said they are keeping offices closed for six more months.

    • RWJ says:

      It’s utter nonsense as I’ve come to expect. If people can work from home, let them. God knows commuting is a misery.

      Seems that HMG is more interested in things looking normal and then being able to say “look how busy and normal things are, we did a good job!” than…. actually doing a good job.

  • Alejandro says:

    Hi. Need some advise on this one. We have booked three separate family flights with Ryanair. London – Berlin, then Berlin – Kiev and finally Kiev – London. Ryanair has cancelled our flight from Berlin to Kiev and hasn’t given me a refund yet. As a result we are not going to Kiev so it’s logical that we do not need to fly back to London from Kiev. I have asked Ryanair to cancel the Kyiv-London flight and issue me a full refund on that basis. Ryanair declined my request. Considering the situation, is there any chance to go through a chargeback route with Amex or is it pointless to even try? Thank you!

    • Doug M says:

      As they’re separate I don’t think there’s any legal recourse. You’re at the mercy of Ryanair goodwill, yeah I know, or hoping other flights are cancelled.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Shouldn’t he be entitled to rerouting like Anna says below?

        • Lady London says:

          that would be the simple answer. no need to cancel anything. any increased costs get paid by Ryanair plus any extra nights and meals till replacenent flight.

          taking a refund loses all those rights

        • Doug M says:

          Yes, I read it as the OP no longer wanted to do Kiev, but yes you can ask Ryanair for reroute. I suspect they’ll need to book and pay it themselves and pursue Ryanair via MCOL.

    • Anna says:

      I can’t see that you would have a case for chargeback/S75 because Ryanair is still supplying the service you paid for at this time. However, the fact that they cancelled your Berlin to Kiev flight entitles you to re-routing (if you can find another carrier). Otherwise your insurance might cover this, though I don’t know whether the trip will now be feasible in the light of different countries’ entrance requirements/quarantine rules.

    • Andrew MS says:

      Oops , sorry , you are on separate tickets so technically not entitled to a refund

    • Andy says:

      Wizz Air fly Berlin to Kiev for next to nothing.

    • Lady London says:

      Been caught with that one many years ago on Ryanair when i had booked an open jaw as 2 one ways returning from a different airport in Italy.

      We took off from STN then started flying in circles. Cabin crew denied there was anything wrong when I asked them. Then the aircraft dipped its left wing for a moment so I knew the radio had gone (I didnt read Biggles books for nothing). Another dip or two then it seemed we flew somewhere for a bit, probably to dump fuel, then the captain announced we were returning to Stansted. Until that point the crew were denying there was anything wrong.

      The fare for the aborted flight was refunded but Ryanair flatly refused to refund my return as it was not on same ticket. I would have been content with 250 euros which would have just covered my costs for the lost trip but it was pre-EU261. Even today Ryanair is pointo point only and will never pay out for a return that is not on the same ticket (impossible on an open jaw with them) so you are SOL.

      • Lady London says:

        suggest you take the combinatuon of the other 2 posters suggestions and formally ask FR for a reroute onto another airline for Berlin-Kiev. When they refuse do, in order:-

        – buy own ticket near to original departure time as poss. Wizz, LH? any other airline combo.
        – claim eu261 off FR for cost of tickets plus duty of care overnights extra and meals whilst waiting in BER for reolacement flight. Give FR 14 days to pay, 28 if generous. Dont bother with longer because it’s Ryanair.
        – if FR refuse or delay longer than 28 days try section 75 claim on credit card
        – last resort moneyclaimonline dot gov dot uk. the small fee is returned when you win as it sounds like you will easily.

        • John says:

          It won’t be that easy, Ryanair’s registered office is in Dublin.

          Definitely try for the reroute, but I’d be looking at finding/paying for cheapest Berlin-Kiev tickets myself, and accepting it’s a long shot that Ryanair will eventually cover the cost.

          • Lady London says:

            FR in operates in the UK/IE/DE all of which come under EU261 so customer can sue them anywhere relevant as FR is an EU airline. Not complicated and indeed FR has lost and paid out under EU261 before.

        • Aston100 says:

          In reality, trying to pursue Ryan Air for those additional costs under eu261 isn’t as easy or straightforward as it may sound on this forum.
          They will almost certainly refuse and you’ll be in for a bit of a battle.

  • DaveL says:

    Just had a lovely stopover at Doubletree Hilton – staff polite and all very well set up for Covid. Steak dinner served in room was good and efficient.

    Massively let down though by the pitiful breakfast left outside the door this morning though. They can’t have spent £1 on the contents:

    – Nescafé sachet and 1 UHT milk sachet
    – 200ml reconstituted orange juice carton
    – long life pre-packed croissant
    – low fat mini yoghurt
    – alpen bar
    – Apple

    It wasn’t even the contents (or lack thereof) that was the issue, it was the incredibly poor quality of the items.

    Given even £2 per head, it would be possible to transform the offering without them incurring much additional work.

    Given the current context and the fact that it’s early days, I would mark them down for this but I am suprised Hilton didn’t try just a little harder.

    Hopefully not the sign of things to come long term for a Hilton gold breakfast.

    • DaveL says:

      Wouldn’t*

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Which doubletree Hilton?

    • Brian W says:

      Leeds City
      Northampton
      Maidstone
      Dartford Bridge
      Corby

      Stayed in the above Hilton’s over the last 10 days and all are giving the same as you have described. Getting it delivered to your room is a bonus!

      • Lady London says:

        Yuk. Although it mightily resembles an airplane breakfast on Y in BA – which I also refuse to eat.

      • Paul74 says:

        Useful to know, albeit not a surprise.

    • Simon says:

      I stayed at the Hilton in Cologne last week and was surprised they still had a buffet breakfast. You had to wear a mask when you went up to the buffet.

      • Anna says:

        So you couldn’t breathe on it but you could still touch it?!

        • Stoneman says:

          Touching food is really not a concern in terms of Covid given your stomach acids will kill any trace of it. So dont worry about that.

          • Doreen says:

            Isn’t it using the same serving utensils that is the problem? I understand new regulations in Spain stipulate buffet cannot be self serve, must have people behind to put food on your plate for you.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You should worry more about Norovirus

        • Simon says:

          It was the shared utensils like the spoon for the beans that concerned me, there was plenty of hand sanitizer around though. Stayed somewhere a week later and they had replaced the buffet by just giving you a tray with some items on it. I thought that was a much better system.

      • J says:

        Oh me too. The spa was closed though and the gym only open for a few hours a day, needing to book. Because of the low number of cases things are just a lot more relaxed in Germany. Hoping it continues.

    • Anna says:

      I’ve got 4 nights at the Doubletree Carcassonne booked in October – I hope the French won’t lower themselves to such a dismal breakfast offering!

      • Gormlesstraveller says:

        The Germans definitely do better than the French at breakfast!

    • Harry T says:

      In case anyone is interested, I’m due to be staying at the W Amsterdam from 17th to 19th July. Communication with the property has been excellent. From what I can gather, you are now served all components of the excellent breakfast buffet with table service instead and some choice of a la carte dishes. The spa, rooftop pool and gym are open but you just need to book a time slot. Seems like the hotel is making a real effort to still provide a five star service. I booked some decent Welcome Back rates before European travel started opening up again, so I’m pleased the experience should be in keeping with their usual standards. I’ll report back if anyone is interested.

      • memesweeper says:

        My Crowne Plaza stay last week was a la carte to replace the buffet, not a stale pastry in a bag.

        • Harry T says:

          The good hotels are still making an effort to provide a decent service and encourage customers to return, I reckon.

        • Paul74 says:

          Sounds alright in the circumstances, useful to know.

    • WillPS says:

      They’re a little bit more generous at the Hampton in Newcastle, we also got a yoghurt and some cheese:
      https://photos.app.goo.gl/BkAyYXvQshHvx6Ek9

      I miss the pancakes 🙁 but that said it’s great to be away and I can’t fault the staff here who are great.

  • Stoneman says:

    Anyone know whether it is possible to hire a left hand car in the UK for driving around Europe. Googling doesn’t seem to come up with much.

    • AJA says:

      I don’t think so. Most car rentals are not keen on you crossing borders. They usually just let you use in the country of hire. I assume the idea was to start in the UK and just drive around Europe and end up back in the UK I.e. avoid flying or using a train?

      • Stoneman says:

        Yup that was the plan.

      • J says:

        Avis, Sixt, Hertz etc allow you to drive a car across the channel – usually a surcharge applies though and some exceptions, e.g. Driving a high category Mercedes to Germany probably won’t be an issue but they might not let you take it to Bulgaria. I’ve hired cars within Germany and not needed to notify or pay a surcharge for driving within Schengen. But if you want a LHD car I think you’ll have to hire from France.

    • Lady London says:

      try driiveme in case theres one you can return then do a local hire when you hand that one back.

      • Lady London says:

        Border-hopping for hire cars not a problem in Eur bur check the ts and cs just in case. Higher categories may not be allowed to visit some countries, often more Easteen ones,but it depends.

        Watch out if they give you an upgrade when you pick up in case theyre giving you a car in a category that youre not allowed to visit somewhere you plan to. They will enforce it even if theyre trying to foist an enormous car on you and it’s the last one. Wait until they can produce a car that’s not denied going where yoh need.

  • Born2skydive says:

    Hi all, have a question about the IHG status extension. According to info in my account will be extended to Jan 2022. My plan is to get Spire Elite by Oct (currently ambassador platinum). Due to lower qualifying criteria.

    Question is – on achieving Spire by Oct end poss November, will I then get the extension of Spire to jan 2022? The IHG customer service in phillipenes have trouble enough knowing which country Edinburgh is in so not confident in Their answer.

    Thx for anyone that has a thought to share. Have an awesome afternoon 😎

    • Lyn says:

      If you qualify for Spire at any point this year you would normally keep it for the whole of next year. I would expect this to be the case even with the reduced qualification levels.

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