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The new HfP chat thread – Friday 21st August

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We have decided to run this new daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

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 at home, we want the HFP community to have a place to chat.


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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 (181)

  • Paul says:

    Re the Virgin Changes
    Having read the articles this morning I, as a basic red member, cannot get very excited. There is still no pooling of miles, the 241 is still not 241 for red members and the other restrictions seem to imply that you can book a so long as it a warm Thursday afternoon in November, It’s your birthday and there is an accompanying blue moon that day. In other words it’s still too complicated. Given VS’s precarious financial position I am still minded to transfer all miles to Hilton
    Given the changes, why would this not be the right thing to do?

    • Erico1875 says:

      Given how successful the BA 2 4 1 voucher is and how flexible Exec Club is ,ie household accounts etc . You would think Virgin would have went all out to design an all round better eward club.This all seems pretty half hearted.

    • J says:

      Nobody has a crystal ball – I’m glad I didn’t transfer to Hilton though, as I think VS will probably survive and I see better opportunities for decent redemptions with them. The best value Hilton redemptions seem to be for the Maldives or Hamptons – not much interest in either.

      • Lady London says:

        If Virgin survive I’ll be happy to pay them cash if they’re flying where I need to. Especially as I have the option to earn in KL/AF on their flights.

        When US routes come back I would have thought Portland us much more a “Virgin” type destination, than a BA one. That would get my attention. Delta “owns” Portland Airport so no idea why it was BA planning to fly there and not Virgin.

    • Rob says:

      You can, however, now use your voucher to book an Upper Class ticket for the miles of a Premium seat, assuming you apply the upgrade.

    • James says:

      @Paul, I am not sure if you are aware though there is no pooling as such but you can, in one booking, using miles from 2 accounts.

      The second account needs to authorise you before hand. This was advice from the SMS chat I had back in Sept

  • Ian says:

    In terms of the FCO Essential Travel Only ruling for Croatia allowing one to claim for trip on Travel Insurance. Is there a standard time out from your trip you are permitted to claim? For example- if you have a trip planned for end of September (by which time FCO ruling could have reverted) can you claim now- or do you need to wait until your trip date?

    • Paul says:

      Amex platinum suggested I waited to cancel my fighters trips to Spain and because she wanted to travel I did. However a week before I began the claim and the first thing it asked was for confirmation I had cancelled. This Suggested to me that there was no time scale and that as soon as the advice was issued I would have been able to claim.
      Check with insurer before doing anything . My daughter’s travelling companion’s claim has been rejected!!!

  • Sam Wardill says:

    On the Virgin Credit card, I think they are funding these changes with some sharp practices. My annual fee was billed 2 months early and they refused to cancel & refund. This was nominally because I had used the card. There was 1 charge which was a continuous monthly authority for a giffgaff mobile. The giffgaff charge was still more than a month prior to the anniversary of the previous “annual” charge. Somebody needs to read up on the definition of annual.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      SAM [email protected] direct debits give free reign to firms to take when and whatever they want from your account (you effectually hand over your account) not like a standing order which keeps you in charge
      a way round it would be give written instructions to your bank setting out limits and time frames some banks would accommodate those (mine does but been with them 55 years) some wont though.

      • Andrew says:

        That payment is neither a Standing Order nor a Direct Debit, it’s a fee taken by Credit Card company and collected from the Credit Card.

        I’ve never really had any anxieties about Direct Debits being collected from my current account, indeed from my banking experience decades ago on the ledger desks, the biggest problems were standing orders. People would forget to set them up, forget to tell us any changes, forget to cancel them!

        Like most sensible people though, I have a “PAPM Suspense” account. So I shift a standard amount every month from my No1 account and all the pre-authorised payment mandate collections come off that one so anything unusually large is flagged up quicker than it would be under a sea of £1 and £4.50 taps.

      • Doug M says:

        Direct Debits are for bank accounts and you have a lot of protection with them. Continuous Payment Authorities are the credit/debit card version of that, but you have less protection than a direct debit. As an example they’re used by Apple and Netflix for subscriptions, and also by far less scrupulous organisations. Avoid where ever possible and stick to DD.

  • IO says:

    Hi, I just booked a 241 from Man>LHR>SFO and then LAX>LHR>MAN and the taxes were £1415. This seems far higher than last year, has APT gone up or have I done something wrong?

    • ChrisC says:

      APD will have changed marginally (you can google the previous rates)

      What has gone up are the BA surcharges which aren’t proper taxes at all.

    • Louise K says:

      I think that is correct and the same I paid for a trip next year on MAN / LAX / MAN and the same I paid for this trip in March.

      I was surprised too. I think there is more tax to pay than you think for the domestic leg.

    • Michael C says:

      Brazil has gone up so much that, in economy, Avios + “surcharges” is more than puchasing an economy flight for my dates!!

    • Anna says:

      That sounds about right, unfortunately! Remember you pay £50 each RFS for the MAN leg, plus there was an increase recently for US award flight charges.

    • Paul says:

      No change to APD but BAs rip of changes have soared on NA routes

  • Mr. AC says:

    Advice appreciated. In February I (so pre-Covid) I booked a roundtrip in Business to Helsinki for £200 as a TP run for September. In March BA cancelled the only BA metal flight, so I (stupidly in hindsight) immediately changed the flights to Finnair metal on the same days. Currently:
    1. Finland doesn’t yet let in leisure travelers from the UK.
    2. I don’t need a TP run due to the status extension, I need to start collecting TPs again in March 2021.
    But when I try to change the flight online, it asks for a “low” extra fare of £800+. Looking at the prices, it’s never below £1000 in 2021 on Finnair’s site / Google Flights.
    Any chance to get rebooked for free into 2021 if I call? If so, how to achieve it?

    • J says:

      Finnair offered me a cash refund on a flight that was running when I indicated I couldn’t fly due to government restrictions.

      Best way to contact them is via Facebook Messenger or Twitter DM, much more convenient than their chat or phone lines.

      • Mr. AC says:

        Not the outcome I’m hoping for, but probably most likely… What I want is travel the route in 2021 paying the original price.

        • James says:

          As mother used to say, “I want, doesn’t get”

        • Lady London says:

          Follow @J’s advice and think yourself lucky if you walk away with a refund.

          • Sukes says:

            Agree with comments above. You agreed the flight switch so don’t have right to now switch again. negotiate with airline. Failing that you’ll have to fall back on travel insurance for refund if border is closed to you.

  • YH says:

    Does anyone have any experience increasing the credit limit on their HSBC Premier World Elite card? My limit is fairly low (£8k) and is starting to annoy me as I had a £40k limit on my now cancelled Amex (currently doing the 2 year wait for sign-up bonus).

    I’ve had the card for about 8 months. I know with Amex you could call and ask what the maximum possible limit is for you at this point in time, and they would increase it to that. Wondering if anyone has tips/advice for the HSBC card?

    • Zana says:

      Got mine increased from £6K to £15K last year. Be prepared for fairly intrusive list of questions to assess your credit worthiness, everything from current salary, mortgage payments, regular outgoings etc. At the time, I was charging over £10K per month on the card and pays the balance in full each month AND has never had a late payment for 17 years. In comparison, Amex increased my limit to £25K with no questions asked. So be patient when you call!

      • memesweeper says:

        I had a similar modest increase following a similar experience to Zana. I would suggest pointing out to them that you no longer have the 40k limit on Amex, as they may have factored in your available credit elsewhere into their original calculation. Check your credit file before you ask.

    • Rahaney says:

      Mine’s 5k!
      6 months between credit increase requests

  • TGLoyalty says:

    New double MR offer on my gold valid at Esso, Aldo, Superdrug, Deliveroo and Curry’s PC World(online Only)

    • dezbez says:

      Yeah mine too. Not quite as good as the recent Platinum offer and I will struggle to get much from it, but a promising development…?

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks, great offer. We like Aldi anyway. Not on my Plat yet but is on Gold.

    • Fenny says:

      Thanks for the heads up on that. For once my local Esso might get some custom from me!

  • kumar says:

    Pegasus airline has changed my flight time by 20 minutes , Is this a good reason to cancel and ask for a cash refund if I need to ?