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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 7th October

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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 (228)

  • Ian says:

    We have an Amex Platinum – so rely upon that for insurance etc.

    However we are planning on going to Portugal, which is currently advised against by the FCO.

    Does this mean the Amex car and sickness insurance etc., is all null and void – or is there still some cover?

    If it is all worthless, any advice on insurance?

    We still have our ehic cards – so have some cover etc. until the end of the year.

    • Craig says:

      I’ve tried both and I’m getting nowhere. Have you actually spent £10k or are you relying on the website tracker?

    • Genghis says:

      What does the policy say? I wouldn’t rely on randoms on the internet for such an important matter.

      • Harry T says:

        Agreed!

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Here are the relevant exclusion terms:

        14) Trips in, or booked to, locations where a government agency has advised against travel (except in relation to
        pandemics or known events – see exclusion 15) or which are officially under embargo by the United Nations
        other than as specifically covered in Section 1.2 sub-clause (h).
        15) Any claim resulting from travel restrictions imposed by Governmental Offices relating to Trips booked after
        the World Health Organisation declaring a pandemic or known event.

        My interpretation is that you are covered in general if the FCO advises against travel solely because of C19, but you won’t be covered for claims specifically relating to travel restrictions (e.g. your destination won’t let you in, UK requires you to quarantine on return etc). Probably worth calling to check though as I don’t think it’s particularly clear.

    • Ian M says:

      Call Amex and ask.

    • Nick Burch says:

      We rang Amex and had a moan about this, but they refused to budge on covering “COVID naughty” EU countries, and refused to let us pay extra for the cover

      Ended up going with StaySure, they only wanted 60 quid for the both of us for a year’s EU + nearby cover including the extra add-on to go against FCO advice

      • Ian says:

        Thanks. So you were told that they will not cover you full stop on medical to say France / Portugal etc.?

    • Sukes says:

      If you travel to a country where the FCO advises against travel the whole insurance contract with your Amex Plat is voided – that means illness, theft, car rental cover, everything. It’s pt14 under the general exclusions at the end of your policy.

  • Henry says:

    Is it Creation or Ihg customer services I would need to call if my free night voucher has not posted?

    Thank you

    • Craig says:

      I’ve tried both and I’m getting nowhere. Have you actually spent £10k or are you relying on the website tracker?

      • Louise K says:

        Have you tried the a Twitter team? They were very helpful in extending mine earlier in the year.

        Email I also have for them ihg service @ ihg . Com

      • Henry says:

        I’ve spent 11k on my statement print outs but paid each balance off in full before my direct debit was due so each month my statement balance was 0 to pay.
        Not sure what to do?

        • Chris1922 says:

          Have you had the card a calendar year ? The voucher is paid out on the one year anniversary of taking the card, not the stage of passing £10k. So long as you spent £10k on that year obv.

          • Henry says:

            I paid my 2nd card fee about 2 months ago so i assume so.
            Its very starnge though as the last one just got put on.

      • Bobbins says:

        Mine hasn’t appeared either (c.2 months after anniversary), creation gave me the informative:

        I am sorry you have not received your free night.
        We’ve been assured all eligible customers should see their free nights added very soon.

        As a response, so not holding much hope as imagine my version of ‘very soon’ is somewhat at odds with theirs.

    • Matt says:

      You can try contacting both… But I wouldn’t hold your breath: in my case, despite earning the free night back in March (confirmed by both Creation _AND_ IHG customer services) after 6 months of repeated calls and complaints they’re still unable to add it to my account for some mysterious IT reason which they “apologise for” and are “looking into”. (Maybe their Excel spreadsheet is full…?)

      • Chris1922 says:

        @henry yes, you should have had it by now. it does seem odd, mine came through no problem, but creation customer service is lacking…

      • Crafty says:

        Have you suggested 100,000 IHG points instead, which would cover a free night pretty well anywhere?

        • Lady London says:

          Quite. I’d phone them up and ask for that now – tell them they can take it off the amount due to you when they eventually resolve it as it’s been long enough and you need a gesture.

      • John says:

        Have you referred them to the financial ombudsman yet (not that it would get you a result as they have a year backlog)

  • Paul says:

    Guessing this may have been discussed before but have searched in vain, so… I have a FTV from a cancelled (by me, not BA) Amex241 booking. When I rebook, apparently it’s all in the voucher somewhere (Avios and voucher and fees), but will the new booking be as flexible as the original 241, so cancel/change for £35 each, or are the new bookings more restrictive? Thanks

    • Annabel says:

      I did this last week. I was told you can still cancel £35 fee or change dates for free if travelling before 31/8/2021.
      New redemption was less and I surprisingly had the Avios refunded to me!

    • Rob says:

      Same rules except cancellation will get you another FTV.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks all, reassuring. Now just another half hour wait to book new flights, first world problems…

  • James. says:

    Has anyone had issues with Award Wallet today? I can not seem to log in via iOS app or website

    • mark2 says:

      I am currently logged in using Edge.
      It shows that I have accumulated a total of 2,222,497 assorted points. Two 241, four free IHG nights and one free Marriott.
      I wonder if I shall ever be able to use them.

  • Ed says:

    Question on the 241.Taxes on flights to Tokyo are much cheaper if I book two one ways. Can I book the outbound only applying the 241 online, then book the return a few hours later online and then call BA to get the return vouchered and get the avios back? Will the taxes be adjusted?

  • John Bancroft says:

    In February we booked a return flight from Amsterdam to Sydney via Zurich and Singapore with Swissair/Singapore airline. The Zurich to Singapore flight has been changed. It was due to leave Zurich on 1st December at 22.45. Arriving in Singapore on 2nd December at 18.00 . It has been changed to leaving Zurich on 2nd December at 11.am arriving Singapore on 3rd December at 06.10am. A time difference of 12hours 15 mins. According to their T/Cs this is a significant change . Also there is no flight listed on the itinerary from Singapore to Sydney. There are currently no flights shown with Singapore Airlines on the 3rd December.
    CAN WE CLAIM A FULL REFUND,
    Help will be greatly appreciated. Thankyou

    • Rob says:

      Hi John. It depends on the rules of who booked your flights (Swiss or Singapore) but 12 hours is almost certainly a significant change – most airlines call 2 hours ‘significant’ – and so you have the right to cancel for a full cash refund.

    • pauldb says:

      Are the orginal flights cancelled (do you have new flight numbers). If a Swiss flight is cancelled you have the right to cancel, regardless of how large or small the time changes are.

    • Harry T says:

      Yeah you can claim a full refund – if the flight number for the changed flight is different then your case is even firmer. Something similar happened to me recently with flights to JNB from AMS. No argument from Swiss when I called. I have been refunded in full.

    • Lady London says:

      You can claim a refund, for sure, just because the SIN-SYD you booked has clearly been cancelled off your booking. No need to worry about whether EU261 (that gives you the right to request a refund if flight moves by far less than 12 hours, for longhaul routing, prevails, and no need to check Swiss’s conditions as EU261 supersedes whatever Swiss likes to say.

      The problem is that since Covid the only reports I’ve heard is that Swiss is simply not paying out refunds. I;ve not seen any recent news that has changed.

      Also do you really want a refund? Would you not prefer to exercise your right to a reroute on your preferred later date instead? Then if something happened to the later flight, you still have all your options.

      Of course if you really wanted a refund anyway then go for it – as you are definitely eligible on EU261 even if Swiss doesn’t want to honour their own ts and cs – but the problem is so far as I am aware Swiss has not been refunding or very occasionally refunding after 4-9 months.

      On that scarce route if I had a good deal I’d consider staying in the game and requesting a reroute to a later date by now unless you want to take your chances on a further Swiss offer coming out later. In recent years there’s been at least one a year.

      • Lady London says:

        *Just seen @Harry T got a refund above so perhaps there’s hope you will actually get one if that’s your choice

  • Anna says:

    I’ve added a 2nd night to my 40k free night certificate redemption at the Kimpton Blythswood and they are doing some good offers on packages – for £224 (refundable) you get dinner, breakfast, 2 glasses of fizz plus entry to the thermal spa facilities for two. If you look at the cost of booking all these elements separately it’s an absolutely cracking deal. Saturday nights are a lot more expensive so I used the free night then and booked the cash rate for the Friday.

    • Crafty says:

      Are you sure this represents value? Be careful of comparing a company’s pricing to its own (decoy) pricing.

      • Anna says:

        You’re confusing me quite a bit today, crafty! But yes, you only have to look at the spa and restaurant prices to see what a good deal this is.

        • Crafty says:

          I don’t think you’ve understood (as you say!). Comparison of internal pricing can tell you only so much. What if they have set their spa and restaurant prices artificially high, to make the all-in bundle look like a good deal? A better question is how the £224 compares to a comparable competitor you would also consider.

          • Harry T says:

            Crafty makes an excellent point here (rather craft one might say). Also depends on how much you think the constituent parts are with to you, and how much you would pay if you hadn’t seen the prices.

            You do seem to be enjoying the Kimptons!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It is an excellent point there are many things to consider, sometimes even though you could get the same for cheaper elsewhere there is a cost to getting elsewhere compared to the hotel you are already at.

            Would also consider if you would normally be happy with a spa experience in a major city centre hotel rather than a country retreat for example.

            Personally I quite like being in a quality setting which is close to lots of food and drink choices.

          • Lady London says:

            Ha! I agree with you @Crafty , spa treatments in general everywhere seem to be vastly overpriced.

        • Harry T says:

          Crafty*

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Anna we had to travel to Blackburn 4 weeks ago
          stopped at Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh | Hotel & Spa Blackburn /Accrington was £135 for 2 nights BnB with free Spa
          4 star Hotel top class years ago now undergoing refurbishment
          hope it gets back to its best
          (not sure if we got free Spa because i used to be a member years ago) £15 for Dinner no longer al-a cart

  • pointsarb says:

    Hi all,

    Have made a BA redemption sale booking for less than ideal dates. Wondered if the book with confidence pledge means that I have the option to change the dates of the flights to a more suitable date without charge (as long as still within redemption sale window) even if there is no avios seats showing on my preferred dates?

    Can anyone confirm if this is possible please?

    Thanks!

    • Jonathan says:

      BA weren’t born yesterday! You need Avios availability to use the FTV.

    • ChrisC says:

      If BA cancel the flights then they will move you to alternative dates without you having to pay any extra. If necessary they will open up reward availability.

      If you cancel and then use your voucher for a future date you need to pay any extra avios / cash. BA won’t open up reward availabbility in these circumstances.

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