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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)

  • A270 says:

    Has anyone heard from Qatar Airways re the free flights. Its been 48 hours for people who got a submitted ticket on Day 1. I got mine on Day 2 so wondering if all who got the ticket are being offered.

  • TomG says:

    Anyone with United travel credit noticed that it’s much more expensive to use the credit vs pay cash. Business seat LAX-EWR bext August is $419 cash. When I try to use my travel credit they want $729 on top of the $354 voucher for the same flight!! Anyone found a loophole?

  • Oli says:

    My Eurotunnel train on 1st November has just been cancelled and i’ve been rebooked on the next train which is 14 minutes later. I am not willing to travel any more. It is a Standard non-refundable ticket, which I could move to a later date, but my preference would be to cancel and get a refund. The T&Cs are silent on what happens if Eurotunnel cancels a train.
    Would I have a good case for a refund? I know if this was a flight i would be refunded, but not sure in case of a train.

    • Lady London says:

      I think you will find it relatively easy to change the date at least until 31st December but getting a refund – doubtful.

      What do your t’s and c’s say?

      • Oli says:

        The T&C say that I can change the date up to a year after the date of initial purchase, and i know it’s easy to change the date online. They are not mentioning the case of a cancelled train.

      • Oli says:

        I’ve just found this on the National Rail website, so hopefully I can get a refund:

        1. I bought a train ticket and my train has been cancelled or delayed and I can’t make my journey anymore – can I get my money back?

        Under the National Rail Conditions of Travel, if you have purchased a ticket and your train is cancelled or delayed, and you choose not to travel, you may return the unused ticket to the original retailer which the ticket was purchased from and you will be given a full refund with no administration fee being charged. This applies to all tickets including those which are usually non-refundable

        • Nick says:

          Eurotunnel is not part of National Rail and doesn’t have to follow those rules. As effectively a vehicle/freight operator that makes a lot of sense. Eurostar isn’t obliged to follow NR either, but does at least have mostly equivalent policies.

    • Sukes says:

      “The T&Cs are silent on what happens if Eurotunnel cancels a train.” Conditions of Carriage as of bottom of homepg:

      3.3 In the event that Carriage is delayed, suspended or cancelled for any reason whatsoever so that Carriage is not, in Eurotunnel’s sole opinion, possible within a reasonable time then Eurotunnel shall either, at its cost and in its sole discretion:

      3.3.1 make arrangements for the Customer to travel to or from Calais or Dover (as the case may be) with another operator of cross channel travel services; or

      3.3.2 cancel the Ticket and refund the fare paid by the Customer; or

      3.3.3 offer the Customer the opportunity to cancel their Ticket and re-book Carriage at a different time (but on the same tariff band). Customers rejecting this offer will receive a refund in accordance with condition 3.3.2.

  • Young L says:

    Not sure if mentioned here, Amazon offers £10 voucher if you change the default card to a Mastercard: https://www.amazon.co.uk/adlp/mastercard1click?pi=9d13f3c6-c8e5-4093-93f3-c6c8e5609352

    • Jonathan says:

      Says not eligible. Seems from the T&C that it’s targeted & will only work if you click through from a banner ad when logged in to your account.

    • Vit says:

      Clicked on the link and it said I am not eligible. 🙁

    • Nick_C says:

      Also not eligible, and the banner ad on my Amazon home page is for Amex!

    • BJ says:

      Thanks but not eligible this time, last time it had to be HSBC I think.

  • Nadeshka says:

    Can someone remind me: what’s the threshold for time changes to be eligible to cancel a flight for a full refund (i.e. no £35 charge?)
    At the moment it’s a 40 minute change (same flight number) on the inbound which I presume is not enough…

    • Vit says:

      I think it has to be 3 hours, not entirely sure. But I used to have similar flight change to yours (i.e. 50 mins and same flight number) — rang BA and they said no.

    • Lady London says:

      You have two sources by which you can justify this.

      (1) Easiest if the terms and conditions you received when you purchased your ticket, cover this and state a minimum time period the flight has to move by in order for the transport provider to give you a refund if you request.

      In the case of flights, if the transport provider terms are silent on this, or state a period that you’re unhappy with, then you can fall back on EC261 if your flight departs from Europe/UK or is operated by any UK/Europe airline. There are some very minor exceptions to this mentioned by another poster in past couple of days, but most of the time you can fall back on as above.

      EC261 does state, according to the length of the flight, specific maximum numbers of hours the flight timing can be changed by the airline. If the airline changes flight timing by more than these timings (which vary short/long haul) then you have the right to a refund *regardless of any information given by the airline or terms and conditions of the airline. As a statute, EC261 overrides anything the airline says.

      Importantly, even if the flight timing changes by less than the number of hours given, if the flight number the airline wants to put you on is a different flight number (or a different day), then you have the right to a refund as your booked flight has effectively been cancelled. (whether it’s still running and the airline is trying to offload you – or whether it’s actually been completely cancelled).

      So check your t’s and c’s that would have been given at the time of purchase – even if the airline website now has different info. Easier if the airline agrees willingly! But you can request under EC261, and you can enforce EC261 via complaint to national aviation authority, or via the courts (moneyclaimonline dot co dot uk in the UK) if necessary.

      There is actually similar legislation for trains in some countries but it’s little known.

      • Nadeshka says:

        Thanks, this is a BA flight with a 241 so worst comes to worst we pay £70.
        There have been quite a few minor moves since I first booked so I’ll continue to leave it to nearer the time and see if I can make a case if the change is more than 2/3 hours.

        • Sukes says:

          Nadeshka BA have done a ‘schedule change’ and EU261 does not provide protection for this. BA conditions of carriage do enable action for you if the schedule change is ‘significant’ but BA do not quantify a time threshold for this. For your current schedule change don’t expect any action from BA unless you could prove that the schedule change had significant impact on your individual plans. Flight times are never guaranteed in your contract with an airline.

      • ChrisC says:

        Which part of EU261 coves a schedule change?

        If the flight number has remained the same then it’s not a cancellation so EU261 rules on cancellation and hence time frames for departure / arrival don’t apply.

        BA Policy is the change has to be more than 2 hours from the original schedules departure for you to be able to get a refund.

        • Charlieface says:

          Interpretative Guidelines on Regulation (EC) No 261/2004:

          3.3.2. ‘Long delay’ at arrival

          The Court has ruled that a delay at arrival of at least three hours gives the same rights in terms of compensation as a cancellation

          • ChrisC says:

            Isn’t that an on the day delay though?

            Nadeska mentioned a 40 minute change to an inbound which isn’t a long delay in most peoples books

        • Sukes says:

          Agreed. Eu261 DOES NOT cover schedule chg – it is not the same as delay or cancellation rights. For one thing you would need to be checked in for your flight to avail of the EU261 delay rights as stated in the first article of the legislation.

          From CAA website about airline passenger rights:
          “What changes can an airline make to my flight: Where an airline has made a change to your flight (the flight time for example) it is known as a schedule change. This is not the same as cancelling flights. Schedule changes should always be notified to passengers at least 14 days in advance, and the change should only be to the time or the date and not the flight number.

          Airlines typically advise in their terms and conditions that the time of the flight does not form part of the contract and that it may be subject to change.

          What can I do if the time is significantly altered and the new time does not work for me? What is a significant change? This has not been defined in any legislation or court of law and may vary from case to case. However, if the change is significant to you but does not fall within the airline’s definition, we suggest that you advise the airline why the change is significant.

          If the airline changes your flight time significantly, you may be entitled to a refund or a more suitable alternative. In many cases airline terms and conditions set out this right, but even if they do not you can still request it. If you have used a part of your flight (i.e. if you are using your return leg or a connection flight) and you ask for a refund, you will only be refunded the amount for that part of the journey.“

    • Pablo says:

      2 hrs or more

  • John says:

    I read that if you FTV a redemption then rebook a cheaper redemption, the avios and cash get refunded rather than being put in a new FTV. Is this true?

    So if I need to cancel for a FTV containing 90K avios and £800, can I really just rebook a 4K avios and £17.50 and get the rest refunded? Seems like a big loophole?

    • Nadeshka says:

      This has just happened to a friend who rebooked a flight. However the remaining avios was ~30K and cash <£100. Not sure if there is a threshold for them refunding vs issuing a new FTV.

    • Lady London says:

      I think Rob said that if it’s a lot of avios left over, you will only get another FTV for what’s left over.

      Apparently only small number of avios/cash left over, are being refunded when an FTV is used to rebook.

      • Nick says:

        Any Avios left over on redemption will be refunded from a FTV, in every case. Cash will be put on a voucher if it’s over £20, or refunded if lower. This has to be the case because the EMD for residual amounts has to follow IATA standards and points aren’t included in these. Another FTV isn’t an option as that is effectively the original booking, just suspended. Believe it or not, the accounting cash flow for tickets is the one part of BA that always works as it should.

        Yes it’s a ‘loophole’ but it’s also the way it has to work by design. If too many do it then they’ll probably do something about it, but otherwise will let it pass.

    • Jody says:

      We had Sydney booked at 250000 avios (used a companion voucher). I’ve cancelled that today for a FTV, then booked for Seattle. Had 185000 avios deposited straight back to my executive club account and taxes of around £160 being returned to original payment card.

  • GT says:

    Just had an Amex 2-4-1 voucher issued that was triggered by a payment on 4 Oct and it has the extra 6 months – valid till April 2023.

    So either they’re applying some leeway on the trigger date or they’ve extended the period of validity.

  • Dave says:

    Hi folks. Is there any way to cancel a standard avios book (241) via BA website without getting a travel voucher? Or am I forced to call and hold? Thanks.

    • ChrisC says:

      need to call.

      but you’ll have to pay the fee (unless the flight is cancelled)

      getting a voucher preserves the 2-4-1 so are you sure a refund is what you really want?

      • Dave says:

        As far as I’m aware I will get back all my avios and the 241 voucher… Flight not cancelled so will lose £35 x 2…

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