The new HFP chat thread – Wednesday 15th 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

  1. Aston100 says:

    Asked the IC in Bangkok about potential complimentary upgrades for someone who is only an IHG Platinum.
    They replied saying they would do an upgrade to an executive room and provide complimentary breakfast in their Espresso restaurant.
    Looking at the dates I have in mind, the executive room looks to be identical in size but costs an additional £40 a night. So I’m unsure what benefit this offers over their standard ‘grand room’. I did see a note about pressing 2 items per day (not dry clean or laundry) but that cannot be all surely?

    Secondly, club lounge breakfasts at IC properties: how limited in range are these in comparison to the buffet breakfasts in the main breakfast restaurant? generally speaking.

    Thanks.

    • mutley says:

      Call Emyr and get a better deal.

    • Hmm, are you paying cash or points, and did you tell them? Did you ask for guaranteed benefit and did they provide it? This is Thailand, they are much more likely to bill you extra for an extra person, starting with the second person even if you book for two. To be fair though, I think that stunt ended years ago but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      • Aston100 says:

        Sorry yes, will be booking on points. The hotel are aware of that fact and that it is two guests and that I’m an IHG Platinum only, no Ambassador status or anything else.
        The tangible benefit I am seeing with this upgrade is the saving of 800THB pp for breakfast. That’s around £40 between us per day, for 7 days, so I guess it’s good enough for me.

        That said, the Chatrium Riverside seems to offer so much more for a somewhat lower price including river view and bigger rooms (factored into the price I’ve obtained). Decisions decisions…

        • memesweeper says:

          >> The tangible benefit I am seeing with this upgrade is the saving of 800THB pp for breakfast. <<

          That's a decent benefit IMO given the chain are obliged to offer you nothing at all…

        • If you are a first time visitor I strongly recommend IC over riverside. It is arguably the best location of any hotel in Bangkok. I am sure you got that offer because you are staying 7 nights. I am guessing with new pricing you are paying 30-35k points per night. If so I recommend you play this offer off against the much newer HI Sukhumvit. It is only 12.5k/night under the new dynamic pricing. It has a great reputation for status-recognition. I would guess at a suite and breakfast is likely even as platinum; a suite here would trump an IC exec. Location is good but not quite as good as IC but better for taxi to/from airport. Do yoh really need 7 nights in Bangkok?

          • Aston100 says:

            Thanks for the info.
            The IC dynamic pricing is currently 27.5k (£142 cash) per night, for the dates I have in mind.
            Which sounds good to me.

            I know nothing of the areas within Bangkok. There is a HI next door to the IC at 12.5k (£86 cash) per night and the one in Sukhumvit you referenced is 10k (£63 cash) per night on my dates.
            Would you recommend one of those over the IC given the points rates?

            In regards to 7 days, don’t worry, I enjoy spending ages in famous cities, absorbing all the history, museums, and everything.

          • If you can get either of those HI to commit to a decent upgrade and breakfast then I’d take it over IC. That is not a slight on IC in any way, personally I would just prefer to bank the 100k+ points difference for another adventure. I have stayed at all three hotels and they are all good; you should not make the mistake of thinking the HI might be comparable with those in Europe or north America because they are in a whole different league. The IC and HI Bangkok are adjacent to each other and the skytrain. HI Sukhumvit, the newest of the three, is in a different area but only a few minutes walk to the skytrain too. As a newbie to the city whether you intend to rely on the BTS and MRT or if you have the confidence to use the taxi could be a factor. It is perhaps easier to get more places more quickly from HI Sukhumvit than the others. However, I’m pushing that to the limit as traffic in both areas can be a real pain, often your choice is a crowd on the mass transit or a traffic jam in a taxi, I find the latter the more comfortable option myself. If you do choose an IHG hotel then it certainly should be one of these three IMO, the other options don’t come close on comparable value under current dynamic pricing. Choosing a hotel in Bangkok is always a headache for all the right reasons, you’re spoiled for choice.

          • Aston100 says:

            Thanks again BJ and others.
            Must admit I’m being swayed by the fact that my Holiday Inn experiences have all been within Europe – mostly in the UK. It feels odd to be spending a special occasion in a Holiday Inn, but then again I generally treat hotels as a place to sleep (and have breakfast if it isn’t extortionate) in between exciting days out.

          • @Aston, if prices were identical I personally would choose HI Sukhumvit over IC. It’s more contemporary, has better high end rooms, and is better suited to travel by taxi and getting a taxi on the meter. HI Bangkok would be my last choice of the three.

        • I agree with BJ that 7 nights is a long time in BKK. The IC BKK is nice with a great club but the pool area is very small, not such a great location for lounging about.

          • The Original Nick says:

            7 nights to me in Bangkok is fine if you plan it well. A train journey for the day up to Ayutthaya is an excellent trip. A day shopping. A day out on the Chao Phraya river and hit the Grand Palace on the same day. Jim Tompson’s house and luch on another day. There’s plenty to do.

          • Aston100 says:

            Bangkok is one stop in a trip around Thailand, which in itself is part of a larger 5 to 6 weeks trip around SEA.
            Within Thailand, I’m also off to Chiang Mai and Phuket for a week each.
            Nothing set firmly in stone yet so I can flex a couple of days in each location.
            However, 6 nights in Bangkok is the minimum for my draft itinerary around that city.

            Thanks.

        • I am assuming you made some day-trip here and there along with some heavy-shopping day — but still 7 day! I normally hit the city for a couple night max and then cannot wait to get out! Don’t get me wrong — I would definitely be able find things to enjoy in BKK for 7 days but there are so many other interesting places to visit and relax.

    • Andrew says:

      I stayed at IC Bangkok last year (as Spire AMB) and they gave the free breakfast for both of us and the buffet is probably the best hotel breakfast buffet I have ever had, I would even pay for it if I went back and wasn’t given it free. If you’re thinking of a bit of non-city, beach time as part of your trip then the IC Pattaya is amazing and only a 2 hour (£40) taxi ride from the city centre (and only 1.5hrs from BKK).

      • Pattaya?!

      • Could stay in the hotel, it’s only 15k with dynamic pricing.

        • Andrew says:

          It’s probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in – the view from the restaurant at sunset was worth the 14 hour flight. Didn’t leave the complex but was only there 3 nights.

          • Aston100 says:

            I’ve only ever heard negativity about Pattaya.
            But I suppose if you aren’t leaving the hotel grounds then it doesn’t matter hugely where the hotel is situated.

  2. Can anyone else not see older comments on this page?

  3. Query about the TAP matching status programme. How long have people generally waited for them to get back to you? I became a member on-line just fine, and then sent an e-mail with evidence of my KLM Gold status. That was Saturday evening and I still haven’t had a response.

  4. Mel TS says:

    Has anyone tips for a WhatsApp to Virgin about a cancelled and re- routed airmails flight? (hmm yes 19 minutes is a really practical connection time). The first time for a different cancelled flight was easy. This time I’ve been messaged back by an agent at 8.30 this morning, I replied straight away, they replied 1 and 1/2 hours later, I again replied within 2 minutes and so far had no reply for 4 and half hours! I now cant get out of the WhatsApp conversation to get back in the queue. I assume I not alone in this!!

    • Pat the Postie says:

      I suggest phoning as whatsapp went down the pan a while back, took me 4 days to get a reply last time and then cut off after 30m

      • Mel TS says:

        Thanks I will try phoning tomorrow – It not urgent but if I can never get through it will turn into urgent!!

        • thehornets says:

          I phoned them three times today. The operator cut me off on two separate occasions after 30-60 minute wait times. Very frustrating.

          NB: My flight from Orlando to LHR in late August was cancelled today. At least I received a more definitive ‘cancellation’ message than an earlier flight to Miami, which was (a) rerouted from Gatwick (b) also had an equipment change and (c) was then moved by two whole days!

          • Mel TS says:

            Well I guess that’s what I’ll be doing on my 2 days off work – calling virgin repeatedly. I shall look forward to that! And shall try to remain polite.

  5. Craig says:

    Interesting Hilton development: Had a room booked at the end of the month at DoubleTree Harrogate for £75.05 per night. Booked on 5th July. Without doing anything, just received new e-mail confirmation with new rate of £65.67, i.e. the VAT reduction from 20% to 5% has been automatically applied! The original confirmation e-mail does not mention VAT separately so hats off to Hilton for passing this on. They continue to be my favourite hotel brand during COVID-19 by far. Now looking forward to getting similar e-mails about my other upcoming stays!

    • Jerrry Butler says:

      yes very interesting, what you do for fun?

    • the_real_a says:

      £16 per night parking charge!

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        It is a nice hotel, though – don’t know what breakfast is like during these times but was always good in days of yore…

    • Andrew says:

      Excellent. And I just made a lunch reservation at Harrods and they confirmed the reduced prices too – doubles up with the spend £150, get £30 back on BAPP which appeared today. I would imagine that most companies will be passing on the reduced VAT.

    • Roberto says:

      Cheers for this.
      Just checked, then cancelled and rebooked my 3 nights at the Conrad St James and saved me 18000 Hilton Points. Same suite , different price. Thats a cheap free night somewhere else another day. Many thanks….

      • Lafy London says:

        Now *that* was clever of you Roberto.
        I suppose that’s the only advantage in a strictly points-relate-to-money-on-a-conversion-rate-that-is-fixed program like Accor.

        Where the link between value of your points and cadh price of the room is less strict, as more likeky with Hilton and IHG, your points rate on an existing booking might not reprice lower in points during this 15% VAT price cut periiod.

        But if anyone has any short term bookings with Accor in the UK paid with points, cancelling and rebooking should cost you less points now.

  6. Scottdogg says:

    I know the rule for Booking BA reward flights and using a 2 for 1 voucher , they want you to use the BA american express .
    Does the card have to be in that persons name ?
    I want to book my partner and 1 of the kids a reward flight using point and a 2 for 1 voucher ( her points her account her 2 for 1 voucher) . I got a new BA card the other day , but forgot to order her supplimentary one . Would they accept mine to book , or will i need to get her Supp card ordered and wait for that to arrive ?

    • Michael says:

      Can be in anyone’s name. Doesn’t need to be yours.

      • Grant says:

        And does not necessarily need to be a BA Amex in my experience, any Amex will do, despite what the Amex CS agent will say when you try and cancel the card.

        • Secret Squirrel says:

          Is there a glitch on welcome bonus promos on Amex at the moment.
          Wife’s new BAPP just been awarded 30k points but she held Gold only a month ago?

          • Genghis says:

            Rule for BAPP is not held avios earning card in last 24 months… ie Gold doesn’t matter.

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Cheers G, I still get confused by those rules.

  7. Just had a notification for shed loads of F availability to DXB over Xmas/New Year. Not checked with BA because we can’t go. 😫

    • They also released a ton of Club availability in Nov yesterday as well, we upgraded our return leg already booked in WTP as a result. Went from almost no DXB-LHR availability to multiple seats on every flight. Hopefully we’ll get to go!

    • Dubai? No thanks.

  8. Jeff 99 says:

    Spanish authorities have shut down all shops, bars and restaurants along Magaluf’s notorious Punta Ballena strip in Mallorca, days after images emerged of drunk tourists paying little heed to regulations on wearing masks and social distancing.

    The closures, which also extend to two streets known for partying near S’Arenal beach, will take effect immediately and will last at least two months, the regional government said on Wednesday.

    “We cannot tolerate the sort of images we have been seeing over the last few days, and we are not going to tolerate it,” said Iago Negueruela, the regional official in charge of economy and tourism for the islands. “We don’t want uncivil tourists on our islands.”

    • Amber Lynn says:

      That rules out about 75% of brit tourists to Majorca then!

    • What did they expect?!! I was rather hoping the Brits felt the full force of the law for breaching the social distancing rules to make them realise what an easy time they have of it back home.

  9. AndyK says:

    Just got a refund which ended as Curve Cash.
    Any advise on how to move this to my bank account?

    • MarkH says:

      Same happened to me.

      Not sure that you can and couldn’t be bothered wasting too much time finding out so I just used it to pay Brighton (don’t have curve metal btw)

      • Annabel says:

        Me too on curve cash. Is there a charge for payments to Brighton or limited to £500? Thanks

        • I part paid my AMex bill with £118 of refunds the other day – went through fine.

    • Waddle says:

      You can top up Revolut if you have it.

    • If you read the emails from curve it says you have to wait as they’re still working on it

  10. Daniel says:

    Hi – a quick question on BA baggage allowances. Have booked a basic economy fare home from US to London. Now need to add a bag which is fine. What I wondering would I be able to get the baggage benefits of being a gold card holder if I do i.e 32 instead of 23 kg and possibly second bag free. Thanks for any help on this.

    • Lady London says:

      No bag free on HBO for anyone. They closed that loophole not long after status pax began exploiting it. Yes for Gold each bag can be 32.

      I cant help thinking with the ripoff price if bsggage ftom the USA, you would have done better to book regular, nonHBO fare. That would give you 2 32 with your status.

      If you booked within the past 24hrs I would strongly suggest you cancel using your right to do so in that time as you’ve probably just doubled your costs doing it this way.

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