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The new HFP chat thread – Sunday 16th 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.

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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 (143)

  • Lady London says:

    @Harry T did you see the QW0 code for healthcare/police/military at Marriott?

  • Si says:

    Morning all,

    I’ve seen for the first time, something called “Kimpton Social Password”, where for when key words are uttered at point of checking in at any IHG Kimpton hotel you receive a free gift or experience. [The phase is currently ‘Road Trip” and doesn’t have a published expiry date yet].

    I have 2 Kimpton [points] stays coming up – first time I’ve ever stayed at Kimpton – in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

    Anyone have any experience on what the “secret gift” may be and also if reward stays are eligible??


    • Andrew says:

      I would imagine you’d be met with blank looks at reception – social teams often don’t tell front line staff what they’re doing.

      • ChrisC says:

        The De Witt in Amsterdam certainly recognises it. And it was more than one member of staff who read the memo about it all of them did and seem pleased when people use the phrase.

        I usually get a free breakfast voucher, Once when breakfast was in the room rate I got a €15 food and drink credit.

        Don’t be so sceptical!

        • Andrew Bowness says:

          I once went to the Novotel in Manchester near Chinatown. At check-in I asked about the free breakfast and BOGOF cocktails promo that I’d sen on Facebook. They had no idea what it was, and I suspected they wouldn’t so I’d printed out the promo along with my confirmation. They begrudgingly accepted that I was able to use the promotion, though we were made to feel like we were taking advantage of their generosity, and we didn’t get the best service in the bar with our cocktails!

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      I was reading about this over on FT only yesterday.
      The benefits can vary dramatically, best being a free upgrade to worse a free tote bag.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There’s sometimes some sort of little game (throw a dice, spin a wheel, number out of hat etc) where you win a small gift like free points, parking, upgrade, breakfast etc

    • memesweeper says:

      I muttered some social magic words very self consciously at the desk in a Kimpton in NYC and got a basket of candy for the kids and I think some wine for the adults. Try to ignore your natural skepticism and try 🙂

    • rk says:

      I used it in Chicago and I received a bottle of wine delivered to the room.

    • Sina says:

      Used it today and got a £10 credit at the bar! Not bad, thanks!

  • Wollhouse says:

    Having had BA cancel all flights to Bangkok, I now have to sort Bangkok Airways. They were NOT booked with BA, separate tickets. Bangkok have replied to say no refunds, or I can rebook to fly and pay a change fee and price difference. Not much use as they offered rebook through Oct 2020! We booked these flights last year, way before Covid and their website shows precovid bookings can change for free, but with booking dates from this year precovid (se booked last year!). But they’ve mucked around with our flights and I’ve just looked and they actually cancelled our flight and offered a new flight (about an hour later) so now I’m wondering, does the right for refund if flight cancelled only apply in EU or ww? Thanks, as always for this forum!

    • Simon Lark says:

      For lady London and @ Harry

      The GWO code for Marriott is for the US only if you want UK or Europe the code is HJH this is for healthcare workers etc who whish to get discount on a personal stay

      I checked one night at the W London, best available price was 250 (for general public )however with the HJH code it was £150

      • Harry T says:

        Thank you, greatly appreciated.

      • Lady London says:

        Ta @Simon.
        Commentary I saw said it had bern thought to be US hotels only but might br Europe as well. A pity if this turns out to be one that isn’t giving in other places.

        You are right of course – I always search on all hotel sites for their standard or “best available” rate before anything else. This seems to be where the hotel can put up a cheaper rate available to anyone at particular times / nights as an incentive to get bookings. Covid being sadly a good example.

        Whereas if I use a discount code or one of the other standard available rate types, like AAA/CAA, for example, or if who I’m booking for is old enough, tick the Senior Discount box, the rate is often far higher than the standard/BAR rate.

        AAA/CAA rates often yield some of the improved rates for car hire as well as hotels in normal times and my UK RAC card has always been accepted for these as well as UK AA card. I suspect a confident presentation of Green Flag or Autoaid membership evidence has a good chance of being accepted as evidence too.

        • Harry T says:

          @LL the HJH code works for most UK and European hotels I’ve looked at, often into 2021.

          • Lady London says:

            Great except I’m not a healthcare etc. worker! i do purchasing systems – no discounts for that! Thanks again to @Simon Lark for sharing so that others can use. though :-)!

          • Harry T says:

            That’s a shame, sorry to hear you will miss out on this one.

    • Anna says:

      Wollhouse, if you are asking about EU 261, it would only cover Bangkok Airways if the flights were to or from an EU destination. You would have to rely on local regulations or airline policy otherwise (or travel insurance, if applicable).

      • callum says:

        Good advice but to be more exact, they’d only cover Bangkok Airways if it was a flight FROM the EU/UK etc.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          [email protected] i didn’t go out for 12 weeks,(except Garden) it was easy, hard for partner though
          still turn phone off at 6.00pm every night.
          I Laugh at all the people who can’t live without their phone
          Holidays no phone also never switch tv on either
          nearly missed a flight one time, BA phoned Hotel lol
          (i always tell BA Hotel i’m at last night usually next to airport)

    • pauldb says:

      Did you pay on a credit card? Their conditions of carriage (9.2 and 10.2) say you can chooses a refund for a cancelled flight. Some LCCs aren’t so generous in their terms. If they are refusing you this option, they are in breach of contract and you should be able to make a Section 75 claim on your credit card issuer for them to refund you.

      • Wollhouse says:

        Thanks all! Will try again with Bangkok otherwise is the BA Amex for a credit!

    • memesweeper says:

      The right to refund or rebook is in EU law and does not apply to a non-EU carrier/route. Thai law may offer some refund protection for cancelled flights, failing that its insurance or S75 I’m afraid.

      • Lady London says:

        coverage on Thai says they’re not refunding anyone.Luckily the poster above has pointed out refund is Thai’s terms, i.e. in contract so Section 75 on UK credit card

        • Lady London says:

          sorry seen it’s BKK Airways you are moving on to sorting out now, if refund in ts and cs looks like you will be ok with s75

  • Augustiner says:

    Can someone confirm if I arrive back in UK on a Monday morning, the quarantine period ends 2 weeks following so I would be ok to go to work on the Monday 2 weeks later?

    • Andrew says:

      14 days from the day after you get back, so Tuesday you can return to work.

    • pauldb says:

      No you should be in self-isolation on that Monday too. “until the end of the 14th day after the day on which they arrive.”

      • TGLoyalty says:

        So the 14th day would be the Sunday since Day 1 is the day they arrive …

    • ChrisW says:

      The chances of them checking up on you on Day 14 is almost nil

      • memesweeper says:

        But if your colleagues know where you’ve been that’s not cool. And surprisingly some of us follow the rules because, you know, it’s the law, even if there’s a zero risk of detection.

        • Harry T says:

          Yes, I think it’s important to make the best ethical choices. In matters of public health, I tend to apply utilitarian ethics. I may have contempt for how the government handled the Cummings saga, and I may feel they locked down too late and did nothing to protect care gone residents, but I consider it my moral duty to do the right thing regardless. Good to hear that someone else does the right thing when no one is watching, as that is a key indicator of moral fibre, in my opinion.

          Also worth noting that the government relies on nudge theory, and not draconian enforcement. Whilst I find it frustrating when people don’t obey the “rules”, I think that I would rather live in a country that values individual liberty and autonomy, rather than an autocratic state like Singapore or China.

  • Graham says:

    I arrived back into the UK on Aug 14th , got a call from the government track and trace next day and told I can go out on Aug 28th. Mind you no one at Border control checked or asked if I had completed the online form. Was told on the call it was the individuals responsibility !!

    • Simon says:

      I wonder how many people don’t answer the track and trace calls. I only answer calls if they are on my contact list else I reject them.

      • Andrew says:

        It’s a big problem.

        Both in the UK and internationally there’s been years of shoulder shrugging over spam calls. Yes the ICO do the odd bit here and there, “double glazing firm rapped” etc, but overall a blind eye is turned.

        Now the Governments are finding that people aren’t answering calls from numbers they don’t recognise. Well there’s a surprise! Some local authorities are claiming that if they dial out from local numbers, people will answer the calls. I don’t think that’s true.

        Spammers already use local numbers to match the landline dialing code in their calls. My elderly parents were left exhausted after a spammer used their number for spoofed CLI presentation at random to dial every number in their town from 5am to 7am one morning – and a lot of angry people returned the call.

        • RWJ says:

          Agreed. I watched an interview the other day with some Test and Trace bod who was indignant about the fact that people might not answer unknown numbers.

          “People should always answer their phones, it might be important!”

          What planet was he living on?

          • Anna says:

            Obviously never had a call about PPI or injury accident claim!

          • Chris Heyes says:

            [email protected] i’m even worse i switch my mobile phone off at night when at home (my view is bad news can wait until morning.
            Even worse i switch my phone off before i leave for hols (last night at Hotel) and only switch it back on when plane touches down “Back” in UK.
            Again my view is why ruin hols with bad news, whatever will wait until i’m home lol

          • Callum says:

            I don’t think it’s too arduous a task to require people to answer their phones for 2 weeks…

            If you can’t cope with that I don’t have the slightest idea how you’d possibly cope with the far, far, far more strict requirements like not leaving the house!

      • Lady London says:

        TBH sometimes I even just block any number that is unknown and doesnt leave a voice message. Did it a couple of times by accident and now do it routinely. Works for spam messages when someone has sold your number.

        Government data is clearly not kept safe as every time in the past 5 years or so Ive had to contact any government agency my phone gets a bunch of spam calls not long after that – it’s clearly the only cause . DVLA is the exception – can contact them and it seems your data is not leaking from there.

      • ChrisW says:

        Do the track and trace people leave a voicemail? Like others here, I rarely answer calls on my mobile I don’t recognise no matter how many times they ‘hear I’ve been in a car accident’. If they don’t leave a voicemail I certainly wouldn’t bother to return the call as Id assume it wasn’t important.

        I guess if I was doing the 14 day quarantine I’d be more like to answer an unknown number though. .

        • Reeferman says:

          I didn’t answer my phone the first day when I received a track and trace call – they did leave a message saying who they were and that they’d call-back the next day. Which they did.

      • Harry T says:

        Yes, I only answer No Caller ID calls or unknown numbers because hospitals often come up as that. I recently signed up to donate plasma (covid antibodies) and I nearly didn’t pick up when they called because I didn’t know the number! Years of scam calls and sales pestering have really made me jaded.

      • The Jetset Boyz says:

        Many local authorities created a page that was optimised to rank well if someone googled the phone number they were using for their COVID19 Vulnerable Person support lines. It was necessary as these teams were calling everyone across the UK that had been identified as ‘being at risk and needed to shield’.

        The Track & Trace team may or may not have done the same thing.

    • Northern Lad says:

      First paragraph states “ When you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK (known as ‘self-isolating’) unless you’re arriving from an exempt country.”

      Day you arrive is ‘day 1’ not ‘day zero’.
      This corresponds with T & T advice Graham received and (fortunately/unfortunately) Augustiner can go back to work on the Monday.

      • Augustiner says:

        Thanks for the advice, as I thought the law as written is as clear as custard! I am reading that arrival day is day 1 but will check on the helpline tomorrow before spending any money changing Eurotunnel dates. Appreciate the reply’s all.

  • Ron says:

    Looking at SFO for next summer, it used to be one 747 and one A380 daily, but now it seems both flights are A380. Hope more Avios seats open up with more seats on the SFO route.

    • Andrew says:

      Especially as they probably won’t restart SJC, and they already canned Oakland.

    • Lady London says:

      They will. After NYC, SFO seems to be the most competitive US route for cash prices and it’s competition that keeps them reasonable and avios seats available.

  • Paul irving says:

    I have just uploaded my review of the near empty Hilton London Metropole filmed early July.

    Please give it a like or a subscribe.

  • Andrew MS says:

    If anyone is thinking about taking up the Agoda/Pointsmax offer , be careful.
    I logged in via Pointsmax and selected Iberia where I should have earned 2 Avios per Euro . Apparently the hotel I booked was offering up to “70,650” Avios ! That would have required spending Euro 35,000 per stay . I completed my booking , no mention of Avios reward, contacted Agoda , they claimed I wasn’t logged in ( i dispute this otherwise the Avios earning wouldn’t have been displayed)
    Apparently I booked the “last remaining room “ at £79 but after booking the one room, as an experiment, i made a dummy booking at the same hotel for TWO rooms in the same category only to be told “You are booking the last two remaining rooms at £158” (£158/2 =£79 per room). So much for booking the last remaining room at £79.
    The Competition and Markets Authority told Agoda in 2018 to stop trying to create panic and spread misinformation but they are up to their old tricks . I was promised a response from a Manager at Agoda but 8 weeks later , nothing .
    I cancelled my booking and forwarded my complaint to the CMA .

    • Lady London says:

      Thanks for the warning. Its a pity as Agoda seems to have very good rates jn Asia including Japan.

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