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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 21st 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 (189)

  • xcalx says:

    Anyone with recent experience of contacting Avios re. a cancelled flight (Nov 6th) are they still offering book by end of November. I thought it might of been pushed further out by now but not seen anything here.

  • xcalx says:

    New voucher to be used by end of November

  • Harry T says:

    If anyone is looking for somewhere to spend their Marriott Bonvoy amex [email protected]@ack offers, I can heartily recommend the W London, after a four night stay.

    The service was faultless and thoughtful. They upgraded me to a studio suite on the top floor, from one of the bottom tier rooms, as a Platinum member. They even left me a chilled bottle of prosecco and a welcome note to mark my first stay as Platinum.

    The free Platinum breakfast is also brilliant – you can order whatever you want want from the hot and cold menus. I often had pancakes and the full English with an omelette.

    I rarely experience a stay where the hotel gets everything right, and goes the extra mile to make my stay special. It was my first stay at W London and I was very impressed.

    • meta says:

      Thanks for mini review. I have all inclusive rate (breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus 65 gbp bar credit) for £435 in Spectacular Room as a back up for Langley in case they don’t open.

      • Harry T says:

        Didn’t see that rate, sounds like a good deal considering their base room prices (I booked healthcare rate). The cocktails are expensive but good quality, if that’s your thing.

        • meta says:

          That rate is no longer available actually. I booked it the day Amex offer launched. I guess they realised they aren’t going to make anything extra if they offer full board and drinks, so removed it.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    Now that the Ambassador weekend certificate is electronic – can it be used for a date past its expiry date like the credit card free night? The website does let you do that but the confirmation email says “COMPLIMENTARY NIGHT MUST BE VALID AT CHECK IN TIME.”

    • meta says:

      You can book Ambassador rate without the certificate at any time. In fact anyone can book it without being Ambassador. Your certificate must be valid and it expires on the same date as your membership.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Thanks, so expiry rules remain the same. Let’s hope they give us another 6-month extension…

  • Stu N says:

    Looks like BA are doing a November short haul flight cull. Had a 1700 flight re-timed to 1530 which is a PITA as means we can’t do lunch then head to airport now. Later flight is 2100 which is also sub-optimal. Will see what happens to outbound now…..

    • Sukes says:

      Agreed. Got notified today that LHR to Belfast in mid Nov prev @ 18.45 changed to 15.30. A small sampling of other Belfast dates in mid Nov suggests this is now the last Belfast flight departure each day.

    • BJ says:

      Is this to Edinburgh? They always gouge a hole in the winter services despite selling seats I am sure they know from the outset they will cancel. Will have even greater impact this year.

      • Stu N says:

        Mine is LHR/EDI. Let’s see what they do to outbound then will decide what to do about the trip as a whole.

    • ChrisC says:

      Started on December as well – LCY/AMS cancelled

      Called yesterday and even though this was an FTV the agent said I could have a refund but I’ll believe it when it shows on my CC statement and flights not yet cancelled from MMB!

      Perhaps there is a limit as to how many times an FTV can be used?

      Because I did say I wanted to use it for another flight but she said not possible,

  • Anna says:

    Browsing London hotels for Xmas/New Year period, quite a few seem to still be offering the “Get a night on us” deal, which is effectively 3 for 2. Indigo Kensington around £75 per night on some dates.

  • Mco says:

    Anyone know what happens in this situation? Say if my area goes into tier 3 which means I can’t travel to Scotland where I have a Airbnb booked and technically Scotland are still open for visitors. Will Airbnb refund me?

    • Jonathan says:

      No, that’s for your travel insurance (if they cover Covid related)

    • Anna says:

      Legally you can still travel, unless Scotland implements a ban on other UK nationals entering, so you might struggle to get insurance to cover that anyway. It’s only advisory that people in Tier 3 don’t leave their areas (and someone said on the news it’s acceptable to go from one Tier area to another Tier 3!)

      • Anna says:

        Sorry, from a Tier 3 area to another Tier 3 area.

      • Harry T says:

        Yeah, I don’t think the tier 3 advice against travel is legally enforceable unless you’re actually covid positive.

      • Axil23 says:

        If Scotland implements a ban similar to Wales then where do I stand on a refund? Thats good to know though that I can still travel if there is a tier 3 lockdown.

        • Anna says:

          It will depend on the Ts and Cs of where you’ve booked, or the owner’s goodwill, or in the unlikely event that travel insurance will cover you, claim on that (I assume Scotland isn’t classed as abroad for FCO purposes, so travel insurance won’t kick in if wee Nicky makes it illegal for people to cross the border).
          My concern would be the reception we would get from the Scots coming from a high risk area. It’s understandable that folk don’t want more risk of infection from outsiders.

    • Andrew says:

      Where are you going in Scotland are you going?

      From the SNP Website:-

      We are not imposing mandatory travel restrictions at this stage however:

      * you should minimise public transport use as much as possible, however it may be necessary for travel to education, undertaking caring responsibilities and work, where it cannot be done from home
      * people living in the five health board areas are advised not to travel outside the health board area they live in, unless they need to
      * people in other parts of Scotland should not travel to these areas unless they need to
      * you should access goods, services and activities in your local area as much as possible
      * please walk, drive and cycle when you can to save space on public transport for those who need it
      * please work from home if you can

      This is the BBC map of the restricted area, basically you can’t get from the Borders to the North without travelling through the danger zones.

      https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/800/cpsprodpb/7530/production/_114800003_las_with_restrictions_map_scotland7_october-nc.png

      • BJ says:

        It will be all change from 2 November when 5 Tier strategy is introduced. Reading between the lines of today’s briefing I think we can expect tougher restrictions almost everywhere as current restrictions are not reducing projected hospital admissions fast enough.

        • Anna says:

          As above, and it would not surprise me in the slightest if wee Nicky followed the Welsh government – although I am sure back in the summer it was said that there is no actual border with Scotland and people can’t be legitimately stopped from entering Scotland so not sure how Wales can do it if Scotland can’t!

          • BJ says:

            If they wanted to I think they could use bylaws to provide legality. However, I don’t think they want to go down such a road, prefering to rely on public support and consent. For example, here they always stressed that people should not be forced or even feel compelled to return to offices where they could work from home.

    • Sukes says:

      It depends on which restrictions at your origin and destination are written into law or are issued as guidance.

      If contracts cannot go ahead because of LAW then the contract is legally ‘frustrated’ in that it would be against the law for the service to be provided/received and so the contract terminates. Depending on the nature of a AirBNB host’s home / accommodation, it is feasible that their normal ops could be against the law in terms of number / mixing of guests. CMA state they would expect a consumer to be offered a full refund (or a price reduction depending on sequence of events) if a contract is legally frustrated. This would not be an issue for travel insurance as the service provider is liable for the refund issue – if they don’t you may also have legal claim on your credit card provider.

      By contrast ‘government GUIDANCE’ such as against all but essential travel is not written into the Covid related statutory instruments and therefore it is much less certain that a contract has been frustrated. Hence normal T&c of the booking probably applies; although you could have a case for refund / rebooking / rebate if the provider is acting unfairly to the consumer depending on the facts of the case.

      FYI Hotels.com state in their Covid policy: ‘If you’ve made a non-refundable booking and would like to change or cancel it: No cancellation fee will apply if your booking is in a destination that is considered inaccessible. In that case, we’ll offer you either a full refund or a hotel voucher…Standard cancellation policy will apply if the destination is considered open for travel’ I suspect we’ll see similar on other sites.

      It’s also worth noting that policies can shift, & shift quickly, between being non-legally binding or legally binding at the moment. For example self isolation as a result of test and trace was only guidance in England until 28 sept 2020 when it was then written into law.

  • Oli says:

    I just called Amex Platinium/Axa – they would not be covering us next week for a trip to France given the FCO advice, irrespective of the date to booking (they are only covering essential trips). We will rent a car in London and drive there, via Eurotunnel.
    Would someone have heard a car hire insurance covering this case? That would help me start searching – worse case I guess we’ll take the Hertz insurance but it’s £300 for the week (plus the £174 continental cover we’ll have to take with them anyway!).