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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 6th September

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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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Comments (175)

  • Graham says:

    Gave up on Seatspy as they only have 11 months data feed from BA so thinking of using Reward Flight Finder. Anyone have a view or current view on whether RFF ha the same issue .

    • TGLoyalty says:

      BA only release seats at midnight GMT 355 days out (11 months and 3 weeks ish)

      I didn’t think seat spy showed less than that? Tbh I wouldn’t rely on seatspy/RFF for anything that far out. You need to be online/on phone to grab those hot seats at midnight.

      I usually use the two to grab seats released as you get closer to the dates.

      • BLT says:

        Seatspy is definitely only showing 11 months availability the same as virgin. It means you can’t use it to assess availability near to release date. If they can’t fix the feed I’m cancelling too.

    • AndyGWP says:

      Hi Graham – maybe just try it and see? You don’t even have to sign-up / login 🙂

      I just did a check for a random long haul flight in Economy (as I doubt people phone up at 1am to book those), and there appears to be availability up until 24th August

      355 days from today is apparently 27th August….

      So it’s nearly there it seems (did a follow up check from London to MAN and they’re running to the same dates)

      I cancelled my SeatSpy subscription for the reasons you mentioned (I did raise a support ticket but I was told that most customers don’t want to know that far out – so that’s at least 2 of us that did! 😀 )

      • Peter K says:

        Right from the point it tried to monetize itself on HfP, Seatspy was full of excuses and seemed uninterested in sorting the underlying issues it has. It will no doubt soon learn that premium customers want a premium service when people start leaving in large numbers…but by then it’s too late.

        • Anna says:

          It’s been broken for ages, for example for next August it’s showing 2 F seats each day as the only award availability between London and New York, which is rubbish!

        • Ed says:

          Also cancelled my subscription. Lots of issues with the product they’re supplying and the customer service very much lacking.

      • Anna says:

        You do have to log in – or at least the other day I was getting a message saying only people who are signed up can use it due to massive unauthorised use of the site, whatever that means!

        • AndyGWP says:

          OP asked if the problem extended to RFF. It doesn’t extend (as badly, as detailed) and to confirm, you don’t need to login to RFF to check that. I was not logged in for the RFF examples I supplied. Hope that clarifies 🙂

  • Michael C says:

    Just received 4500 Avios from a new Macbook Air going through the BA e-Shopping link (+Amex spend points).

    • Andrew says:

      Better than nothing I guess.

    • Lady London says:

      wonder how that would compare to pre-ordering it at Dixons 2 weeks ahead of your flight from, say, Heathrow, collecting Heathrow Rewards points and theb waiting outbfor a double transfer to avios offe or a double value spend at Heathrow offer?

      This might be just a conceptual thing right now as I think Dixons was still closed when I flew out of LHR T5 a couple of weeks ago.

  • BJ says:

    Odds on David King’s’prediction of a new national lockdown this month may just have narrowed sharply.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      There won’t be a new national lockdown.

      • BJ says:

        You cannot say that with any certainty but I’m inclined to agree and I hope you are right. Hospital admissions as opposed to cases will likely be key going forward, and hopefully those will remain low.

    • DJ says:

      I was hoping to complete the Marriot status matching challenge ….. 🙁

    • Harry T says:

      It’ll only really kick off if all the young people ignoring social distancing guidance visit their grandparents.

      • Harry T says:

        The government compelling people to return to the office probably isn’t helping either.

        • Genghis says:

          But people aren’t, are they, especially in London?

          • Harry T says:

            I’ve heard mixed reports, to be honest. London seems to have pretty good covid numbers, which would fit with people working from home. Seems that the Northern cities with a higher proportion of manual workers have the worst problems.

            • BJ says:

              And there is the deprivation angle, which is apparent even when the London figures are broken down by area.

        • BJ says:

          Going forward, the government does have some really interesting management options and opportunities. A stronger, more decisive government might grab the bull by the horns and make the most of them but this one seems to dither too much, too conflicted to do so.

      • Lady London says:

        …or if the thing mutates into something much, much worse

        • TGLoyalty says:

          If it did it’s unlikely to get far, especially with greater awareness of symptoms, isolation etc

          Viruses that kill people are generally very bad for the virus.

  • Tom says:

    Can anyone help me with an ‘Upgrade Using Avios’ query. I was looking at 2x Club Europe return flights from LHR to LCA (Larnaca). Total cost 68,000 avios and £102. Total cost in economy was 34,000 avios and £70.
    Then I saw in the BA Holidays sale. 2x economy return flights, with car hire for £233. What an amazing deal.
    I figured that using the things I learnt from this site, if I buy the BA Holidays package and then upgrade with Avios, it will cost, 34,000 avios and £32 for the upgrade (the difference between the 2 avios fares).
    However, BA are quoting a much higher figure on taxes saying something about ticket classes and the original fare already being discounted. I was under the impression from the article on this site, that I could upgrade a BA holidays fare and that the calculation was: New cabin avios – old cabin avios = upgrade fee
    and the same for the calculation for the taxes.

  • MadeUpName says:

    So, if our 3 year old has a common cold (clearly not covid as runny nose, sneezing, no temperature, not coughing (yet)) does that mean we can’t fly? Can’t find any official guidance.

    Concerned a few coughs on arrival might get us a free stay in a Greek covid hotel.

    • Andrew says:

      Seeing as no Covid symptoms there, shouldn’t be a problem

    • Andrew says:

      I’d say you should be fine and agree with (the other) Andrew’s reasoning. But people around and about are twitchy so expect some “funny looks”…

      I’ve got a common cold at the moment with the symptoms I get at least twice a year (sore throat, runny nose, productive (I.e. not a dry) cough) but no temperature, no dry cough, no lost/distorted sense of taste or smell (save for a lack of being unable to actually get air through my nose!). I may as well have a bell round my neck with the looks received earlier today.

      • Lady London says:

        +1 unfair but I would panic next to, especially, a child with any symptoms at all even not the right ones. There are alternate manifestations in some individuals and children’s other name is ‘super-spreaders’.

        Sorry.

      • Peter K says:

        On the flip side I’ve had a temperature this week and mild ‘flu like symptoms but no COVID (got tested) so it seems like it’s the autumn/winter “bug” season upon us.
        As for Greece. Maybe they will insist on testing your 3yr old so you can avoid quarantining. You need to think if you are happy with that?

      • Anna says:

        Start taking a vitamin D supplement and you may well stop getting those colds. I went from being (wrongly) diagnosed with COPD to never, ever catching anything any more (fingers crossed it stays that way) once I got a proper diagnosis of D deficiency. Also, a recent study in Spain where half the Covid patients in a hospital were given D supplements resulted in none of supplemented ones needing to go into ICU.

        • Andrew says:

          I was also thinking the other day how horrible it would be to have a cold and wear a facemask, with a dripping nose…. yuk.

      • RussellH says:

        I would not be so sure. I had sore throat, very productive cough, no lost/distorted sense of taste or smell, little or no temperature, but frequent muscle aches and pains and a lot of lethargy back in March / April. Most of the time I thought it was a really unpleasant cold, and told the GP so over the phone. Did little except read for 4 weeks. Nothing much since then, but I do have Covid antibodies, so that is what it must have been.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I think a recent PCR test would ensure nothing more than some strange looks.

    • MadeUpName says:

      Thanks everyone for your comments. Will see how it develops over the next few days. He does tend to cough a lot when he had a cold. If he’s like that we might delay (in case of government quarantine on arrival and for the safety / comfort of others).

  • dragonfly says:

    I paid (in USD with hsbc credit card in the US) taxes for flights in July (redeemed points) with Alaska Airlines in February. Flights cancelled due to covid. AS promptly refunded the taxes into my hsbc credit card in the US. I thought I could just leave the CR balance in the credit card and use it up over time – we buy small things from the US. It was OK for 3 months, then I checked my credit card last week to discover that hsbc decided to refund me the CR balance amount. It was not paid into my hsbc USD accounts. I chatted to them and they said they posted me a cheque to my home in Australia (as the address for the account is in Australia)! As hsbc premier customers, we have bank accounts with hsbc in USD, GBP and AUD. We are currently stuck in London (for various reasons) and will return to Australia after the Australian government opens the borders! Australia Post (the equivalent of Royal Mail here) only delivers letters twice a week as they focus on parcel delivery (more profitable). We had a letter from the US posted to us in June took 8 weeks to arrive. I asked hsbc if they could cancel the cheque and pay the money into our bank account with them instead. They said “no”, refund has to be by cheque! When the cheque eventually arrives we will have to bank it somehow – either in Australia into our AUD account, or in London into our GBP account. Of course, there will be a conversion fee and the poorer exchange rate.
    Is there any way we can force hsbc to pay the refund into our USD account? Really not happy at all.

  • DJ says:

    Just a data point – Marriot credit card approved on Saturday, the 15-day credit appeared on my Marriot account this afternoon.

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