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The new HFP chat thread – Monday 3rd August

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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 de facto 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/2020/08/03/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-3rd-august/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 (184)

  • Ron says:

    Hello, can I do twilight check in on my own? Or do I need everyone on the same booking to be there too? My own baggage allowance can cover all our baggage. Thanks.

    • ankomonkey says:

      If you’re all on the same booking/PNR then I don’t think you, alone, can check in. I tried this a few years ago but they insisted on all passengers being present to complete check in.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected] i can tell you I’ve never been able to. but what i have been able to do on occasions is put two suitcases through in my name (but that’s been when my luggage allowance as been 2 suitcases)
      but never got away with checking in handing other passports over they have “always” said they need to see the three of us

  • Dezbez says:

    Is anyone else experiencing problems with payments made to Amex? I’ve made three (for small amounts) over the course of the weekend and none have hit my accounts yet, when normally they arrive in under 2 hrs. Not sure if it’s my bank or Amex

    • Michael C says:

      Yes – ended up doing it over the phone today (v easy)

    • Stu N says:

      Yes, I paid my Plat yesterday and it’s not arrived yet, like you it normally gets there in an hour or so. I’ll give it another day then get onto Amex. Payment was from RBS if that matters.

      • DB2020 says:

        Had several issues last week but they refused to acknowledge that there is a problem with their website. Paid over the phone, very helpful lady in Manila who also sorted out a couple of other issues including Shop Small.

  • Mr. AC says:

    Yesterday IHG silently cancelled my IC O2 booking in September, which I booked at an attractive points rate back in June when they launched dynamic pricing. There were no e-mails or any other communication from IHG about the cancellation – I only noticed because AwardWallet showed a bunch of points suddenly landing back in my account. It’s understandable that the hotel remains closed, but I’m obviously a bit unhappy that I’ll miss out on a good points rate. The dates were a wedding anniversary, so I was rather hoping me and Mrs. AC would be treated to an upgrade (I’m Spire Elite which normally means nothing).

    1. Any ideas if it’s worth trying to get IHG to replace the booking with something equivalent that’s open in London at the original points rate? I guess only Kimpton Fitzroy is a candidate since I’m not sure I’m interested in going to IC Park Lane.
    2. Any other fancy IHG hotels in the UK I should be considering? Pool / Spa is a must. They need to be within 2 hours from central London, however (toddler in tow). Manchester is the furthest we’re prepared to go.

    • Andrew says:

      The problem will be that opening dates for the higher end hotels will keep getting pushed back – O2 currently taking October bookings but that will likely get pushed again. In my experience the IHG call centre don’t offer a price/points match when hotels cancel on you – I’ve had it a few times when new opening hotels get a delay which is annoying as they often offer good pre-opening rates but these aren’t honoured at nearby properties, just have to go with whatever they are charging.

    • meta says:

      @ Mr. AC I had something similar at Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam albeit I received an email less than 2 weeks to go and they didn’t cancel the booking without my knowledge. It was booked on dynamic pricing too. The hotel refused to put me somewhere else only offering me 200 euros a night at Pulitzer. IHG effectively encouraged this stating that hotel is closed bla bla. I pushed back and said that I have contract with them and they should compensate me if they are not able to honour it. I was happy to be put at a comparable hotel elsewhere in Amsterdam. In the end, the night at Pulitzer became 80 euros a night plus breakfast, 20% off food and return of all points.

      I would ask IHG who actually cancelled the booking. They shouldn’t be doing it without your explicit agreement.

      • Jonathan says:

        The Pulitzer is very nice, definitely a step up on Kimpton which I find very underwhelming.

        I think it’s fair enough for a hotel to unilaterally cancel a booking if they’re not open but they should assist in arranging an alternative.

    • Anna says:

      I’m finding the UK quite poor for high-end IHG hotels. The few really nice ones often don’t have a lounge or spa/pool. As mentioned above the Manchester Kimpton is taking booking for September but has no spa as far as I can tell (there are health clubs in the city but they may well not be open with the recent COVID rules for the area being imposed). I think the CP in Harrogate is open and gives access to a health club but it’s not that posh and also a bit far out for you. Rates are amazing at the moment though for anyone else considering it, I saw a suite at £90 but this may be because their lounge is closed.

      • Dave says:

        Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park, is quite interesting… I did get a small room on a points booking, however the bar & restaurant have some good views out of the old country house.

    • BP says:

      IC George in Edinburgh emailed me to say they are cancelling my September booking. This was booked at a favourable rate due to dynamic pricing. They have suggested I book the nearby Kimpton which is more expensive. I emailed back and have suggested they book me into the nearby Kimpton at the same number of points the IC cost.

      The wedding I was emant to be attending has been cancelled so I may end up cancelling the stay anyway but that will be my choice.

      • Anna says:

        IHG are not covering themselves with glory with all these cancellations (or maybe they need to have a word with their hotels!). I had a stay at one of the Vocos in Oxford cancelled (at least they called me), and offered to move me to another Voco for the same price. When I looked at the other Voco it was actually cheaper than the original one!

      • Peggers says:

        Hi @BP.
        I posted last week that the IC George is not due to re-open until January 2021. The Kimpton is a nice hotel with a spa/pool and there is a highly regarded restaurant – Aizle – that is taking over the main dining option. @ Mr AC, I know the Edinburgh Kimpton is not a 2hr drive from SE England, but it’s a good option at around an hours flight from you with an easy connection from EDI.

      • Lady London says:

        that’s what I would do @BP.

    • James says:

      Mr AC, I have had the same. Our booking on the 26 Sept cancelled as the hotel is closed until the 30 Sept per the email I got. I can book the following weekend in October for 15,000 more points.

      Annoyed!

  • james says:

    Has anyone used TURO car sharing? It seems more expensive than a straight rental from Avis or Sixt? Is it another one of these schemes that bypasses regulatory scrutiny giving consumers less protection than a normal car rental firm?

    • J says:

      Car sharing and car rental are different products so you’re not really comparing the same thing. I don’t know how consumer protection varies between the two – both include a basic insurance and I have my own insurance which covers excess for both car sharing and car rental. Car sharing can be more convenient, e.g. In a city a car might be a few minutes away, so there’s no going to an Avis counter waiting around etc, and you also know exactly what car you’ll get. I mostly hire cars on holidays though (from airports) so car rental from Avis, Sixt etc will always be the best option for me.

      • Kush says:

        Can someone comment if car sharing services like Turo or Zipcar are covered under Amex Plat Insurance?

        • Alex M says:

          I asked this before on this site and someone advised no coverage as this is club membership, not real rental. Looking forward to more opinions on this…

          • Lady London says:

            Im pretty sure companies like Questor would. In which case an annual policy likely to work out better even on a low number rentals. Rob has a link on here to insurance4carhire or another very similar company too I think

          • Charlieface says:

            Questor annual European is £30 with MSE 25% off code

          • Lady London says:

            I have a soft spot for Questor as they are always OK to deal with and cover more types of vehicles others don’t always.

            Bettersafe also wanted to comp me this year for being such a good customer and they are fabulous if you have to call them about anything.

  • Michael says:

    We have reward flights booked to Johannesburg next April. Aside from the precarious nature of the CV-19 pandemic, I happened to notice it was a 747 route. Is there a danger the flight will be cancelled due to the plane’s retirement? There’s been precious little availability around the date of our return and I wondered if this was also linked.

    • Rhys says:

      Extremely unlikely as JNB is an important business and cargo route. It’s currently being flown by a 777-300ER, but could switch back to A380 if demand is there.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks, Rhys. There’s two flights on the published schedule for our departure day in April next year: a 747 and an A380. Presumably this would remain as two flights and a different aircraft used. Fingers crossed as we can’t extend/shorten our stay.

        • Rhys says:

          Not necessarily. The winter schedule hasn’t been updated yet – it’s the same schedule as pre-Covid and doesn’t even account for BA’s A350s and 787-10s!

  • Ghosty says:

    Advice required from people’s curve experience.
    When & how did you request an increase on your limits. I have just past my 1st month and my rolling 30 day limit is basically full and only partly clearing/resetting every few days now. I have included small non Amex/Tesco shopping in my spending pattern.

    • Joseph Farminer says:

      When I was in your position, the limits just suddenly increased one day, without me requesting anything. It was almost 6 months in, having only really used the card to it’s full potential in month 6 (low spend in months 1 – 4, maxed limits in months 5 – 6

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Agree, takes a good few months then restrictions are lifted & increases.
        Most of us got upped to 500k from 100k recently.

    • BJ says:

      Just ask, you’ll probably get both an increase and a lecture at the same time to the effect that any further increases will require you to use the card widely and regularly.

      • Dubs says:

        Depends on what you tell them, if you request a temporary limit increase for a big purchase that you are looking to do in one day, you might find that that limit sticks. Supposedly Mastercard impose a limit on what curve can offer.

    • The Urbanite says:

      Request through the app. Being close to your current limit and having varied spend (as opposed to 99% cash reycling and lots of cash withdrawals) helps things along.

  • Big Ernie McCracken says:

    Can anyone help? Can I transfer MR points from my wife’s Amex Gold to my Virgin Flying Club or do the names need to match? We have different surnames.

    • meta says:

      They need to match if different surnames. Sometimes it can slip away with same surnames too. I have attempted it once with a different partner and will never ever do it again. It took nearly 4 months to get my points back as the airline blocked them…

    • BJ says:

      Not very clued up on FC as I always converted to Hilton, however, I’ve seen comments here that Virgin will allow you to pull points from two different accounts to make a redemption. If this helps you then I’m sure others can advise.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        They allow this only on a phone call, can’t be pooled online.

    • Lady London says:

      Assuming transfers are allowed, I think I’d do a photo or a .pdf of my marriage certificate and attach it to a blank email ready to call them. Proactively Id explain the issue, offer to send the proof and ask them to do the transfer.

      The other poster’s suggestion of buying tickets taking miles out of both accounts for it at that time, might be all you need though.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Yes, you use both accounts points against one redemption but only works by calling up.

  • @mkcol says:

    Asked this late last night on yesterday’s chat thread so probably not seen.
    Can I use Curve-fronted HH card to buy Ernie without HH fees? Is there any other place not normally possible that Curve now opens up for the HH card?

    • BJ says:

      No issues for me.

    • Mr. AC says:

      Currently it works. Note that this might change at any time – the MCC passthrough is currently broken post-Wirecard, so once they fix it something will change. It’ll likely continue working, however, based on people’s experience (haven’t done it myself).

    • The Urbanite says:

      I remember the days when the Hilton card paid directly into NS&I!