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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 30th August

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We have decided to run this 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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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 it 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/2020/08/30/the-hfp-chat-thread-sunday-30th-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 (146)

  • Brighton Belle says:

    What’s the method to go back to a chat thread from a few days ago. If you scroll back through the articles there’s no chat history.

  • Simon says:

    Hi Looking at Florida for next Summer, hopefully! Flights are out for the probably outbound date but not the return as yet. Is there any point in booking a cheaper return now with the date I want out but not the date back and then look to use the book with confidence clause to book the return flight when available. Would this work or would i have to effectivly book 2 new flights?

    • Anna says:

      It’s a bit difficult to understand what you’re asking! Are you saying you want to book, e.g. outbound to Florida 10th August, back 17th August, then change the return date to e.g. 24th August when that is released? Are prices likely to change that much before your return date becomes available?

      • Simon says:

        Hi Anna, Sorry for any confusion. But yes that is what I am referring to. For example Flights from Gatwick to MCO on the 16/8 can be bought for £245 today, but the lowest fare for the same flight departing wihin a week of this date is £458. However I can only book a flight back as late as 19/8. I would be happy to lock in a flight for £245 if possible but not sure I would be able to under the book with confidence scheme as may have too book both legs as new rather than just the return. If that makes sense? Cheers Simon

        • Anna says:

          Sorry Simon, I’m still confused – are you saying a return flight departing 16/8 and returning 19/8 is only £245? Or are you looking at booking each leg separately? (I think you can do this on some HBO fares).

          • Simon says:

            Hi Anna, no the out leg is £245, usually £450 thanks

          • Anna says:

            I think I get what you mean now. You may well be able to change the return leg, but of course there’s no guarantee it won’t be more expensive on your preferred date. Ts and Cs around changes usually have a large paragraph in BA’s small print, so it might be worth doing a dummy booking, then having a careful read of that. But as I understand it, you can move whole bookings at no extra charge under the Book with Confidence promise (Rob wrote something about people booking cheap flights to Barbados the moving them to Christmas), so that might be the way to go. I haven’t done this so double check everything first!

          • Simon says:

            Thanks Anna

  • DaveL says:

    If I reserve 2xRFS in club Europe and then cancel voluntarily am I liable now for £35 cancellation pp regardless of whether I use a 241? Or is it still 50p without a 241 as per this article https://www.headforpoints.com/2019/09/06/what-are-the-cancellation-fees-on-an-avios-booking/
    Want to make a speculative booking but not sure what the damage might be with all the recent changes! Thanks

    • DaveL says:

      Return for two people I should have said…

      • Rob says:

        I cancelled a standard RFS last week and didn’t pay more than the £17.50 tax.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          So if you use a 2-4-1 for a return you’ll pay £35 each since there’s no option to use more Avios to save cash.

  • Kipto says:

    it appears that you cannot upgrade from the free BA Amex card to the Premium Plus card online anymore without going through to the call centre. In the past month, my wife and I have applied online and at the end of the application been told that we needed to ring up and speak to the call centre. Anyone cancelled their premium plus card recently and moved to the basic card without the need to speak to an agent ?

    • mark2 says:

      No I had to ring, which should have been advised when I clicked on ‘upgrade card’!

  • Neil Murray says:

    Hope this comes up as a separate item….
    Arrived in Rhodes yesterday on a BA holiday. Observations… being Gold, booked seats in an exit row (13) but they’d moved the CE divider so didn’t get it. No worries. Looked like a new aircraft with USB ports etc.
    Free snacks (crisps, biscuits, juices) in CE which come as a slight surprise.
    Boarding and de-planning also done in seat batches so no priority boarding. Fine by me. Aircraft looked about half full. All this social distancing was completely invalidated by packing all the passengers into one airport bus, mind you.
    First flight I’ve taken anywhere since February. BA’s Gold lounge has fewer seats than before and all food is ordered and brought to you. No self-service for anything except bottles of water. The QR code system was down (what the hell is it with BA and webby stuff? They can never get it to work).
    Anyway, orders were taken on old-school paper and they kept getting them wrong and bringing the wrong breakfasts to people. I mean, the staff are very genial and doing a tricky job right now, but delivering food via paper orders isn’t a complicated business.
    God knows how they’ll cope when traffic ramps up – one staffer there reckoned they would simply be unable to cope. The Galleries lounges will be worse.
    Views of the Rhodes Bay hotel so far? Lovely staff, very good facilities, usual social distancing, masks and absence of buffets. Well, the buffets are there but you have to wait for someone to serve you. There are definitely some low-rent catering aspects here and there but, given the circumstances, yes, pleased. Especially as Rhodes prices nearly doubled after Croatia got quarantined out. Luckily we booked just before.

    • Harry T says:

      Similar situation in Portugal with staff serving you the buffet. The staff are wonderful but it does makes me wish I’d booked somewhere with a la carte, as it wastes a lot of time at breakfast due to queues.

      • Pierre says:

        Being mooted the press that Portugal might go back on the quarantine list soon? If so, that didn’t last long…

        • Harry T says:

          Looking at the figures, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets added to the naughty list next Thursday. I’ll be back before then. I feel sorry for Portugal because I wonder if it might be infections leaking over from Spain. Portugal seem to be taking covid very seriously, unlike Spain. At least the Portuguese hospitality industry has got a bunch of brits over for the end of the school holidays.

          • Anna says:

            Harry T, I think you are jinxing all these places!

          • Harry T says:

            I’m just a disaster capitalist, visiting everywhere before they close down!

          • Lady London says:

            Hmmm… yes you are right, @Anna… come to think of it, everywhere @Harry T has told us he’s visited this month has landed shortly after on the quarantine list!!!

          • meta says:

            I am in Porto at the moment. Everyone is absolutely serious about covid. People wear masks even when they don’t have to. If there is a crowd on the street, everyone will wear a mask. You can literally see them putting the mask on the street when it gets busy. You have to disinfect hands on entering any shop, coffee, restaurant. I was surprised that younger people are wearing it too. Talking to the locals, they are really conscious about the spread and worried that they’ll pass it on the someone more vulnerable. At the Intercontinental (which is fantastic btw), they seal the room with Clean&Safe sticker before you enter. On check in, I waited 15 minutes before the full inspection was done by the manager.

          • Harry T says:

            They are using Clean and Safe stickers on the doors at Pine Cliffs and Penha Longa too.

            Glad the IC is good, I’m planning a visit when I can get a flight there.

            The staff here and the Portuguese guests are taking covid precautions far more seriously than some of the British guests. I haven’t seen a single staff member at Penha Longa not wearing their mask properly at all times.

    • Lady London says:

      presumably you’ll be requesting the return of any seat reservation fees paid?

  • Harry T says:

    I’m looking for some advice. We booked the W Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix a while back, using Bonvoy points, after Rob published an article about it. Seemed like a great deal at the time, then covid struck.

    The race has now moved dates to December. The hotel hasn’t moved our booking yet, although I did ask them to when the dates move. We had a BA 241 scheduled for that weekend, as we thought the race would move to that weekend. This has now been cancelled as BA has pulled AUH this winter. As it currently stands, we cannot enter Abu Dhabi without a covid test and a 14 day quarantine, and we would have to fly to Dubai. We are not sure yet if the race will allow spectators.

    The booking terms when we made the points reservation were very punitive, with a promise of charging you the cash room rate if you cancelled more than a couple of days after booking. I’m wondering if it’s worth asking the hotel to cancel the booking for free and return our points, as the booking is now not even for the Grand Prix weekend. We aren’t sure if we will be able to enter Abu Dhabi or even watch the Grand Prix, so I’m loathe to book more flights and then have to go through the pain of trying to get a refund or claim on travel insurance. What would the crew here on HFP advice? I know we have a few others who booked using points for the Grand Prix.

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      To protect yourself the first thing I would do is cancel the credit card used to guarantee the booking and remove any other cards from your Bonvoy profile

    • Cormac says:

      I was in exactly the same boat. I asked the W if I could postpone to 2021 and they agreed. Details to be sorted out when the 2021 timetable is published.

      • Harry T says:

        @Cormac do you mean the 2021 Grand Prix? Did they ask you to pay more Bonvoy points (it’s gone up a category since I booked)? Thanks for your data point.

  • David says:

    O/T What’s the best way to stop Eurostar points expiring.
    Thanks!

  • Tim says:

    Is the SeatGuru app still operating? Can’t get it to bring up a list of airlines or find a seat layout. Can’t even see it in the Apple App Store any more. Website version doesn’t seem to exist either.

    • Anna says:

      Last time I tried to use it it seemed completely out of date, e.g. no aircraft with Club Suite seemed to be featured.