Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 22nd 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 (155)

  • Anna says:

    Morning all. Has anyone ever had an upgrade offer when making a booking via IHG? OH and I booked 2 nights on points at the IC O2. On my bookings there is an offer for various upgrade options (which I accepted and which are still showing on my bookings), but these didn’t appear on my OH’s bookings. I’ve seen this on Hilton bookings, but not on IHG before. They are extremely good offers (e.g. upgrade to a suite for £56) so I’m wondering if it’s some kind of IT glitch, though I have confirmations of the type of upgrade request and the night it refers to.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      I’ve seen it in an IHG booking once, at a Holiday Inn (redemption).

      They offered an upgraded room along with late check out and early check in at a discount as three separate items to purchase.

      Didn’t accept any of it.

      • Anna says:

        I probably wouldn’t bother at a HI either but £56 to upgrade from a standard award room to a suite at an IC feels like a good deal!

    • Marcin says:

      Offered upgrades are very good atm, hotels are quite desperate for any revenue.

      Had a standard room (points) in Conrad St James, upgraded to Junior Suite via offer on confirmation email. One day prior to arrival hotel upgraded me to highest suite category apart from their presidential suite (only 1 and booked).

      As HH Diamond they always bump me few categories, never had rubbish room but never not from very bottom to top.

      • Marcin says:

        And forgot to mention I had no problem splitting my bill over 3 amex cards, guilty of having heavy dinner with friends twice.

        They closed the bar for refurb and restaurant which was closed before is now open, not top fine dining but very tasty and well serviced.

      • Jill (Kinkell) says:

        That’s good and bodes well. We’re heading there for the weekend and hope upgrades will be forthcoming given it was booked via Emyr.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Yes I’ve had Nor1 upgrade offers at IHG properties before

    • BP says:

      IC Lisbon had an offer to upgrade to their top suite for 170 euro. Didn’t take it and noticed it jumped up to 600 euro soon after.

    • Doreen says:

      Morning Anna … do you know the ICO2 already? I have a note to self re suites: xx08 good size & full Canary Wharf view, xx21 side view & more like a Junior Suite

      • Anna says:

        Thanks – no, hoping to finally get there at Xmas but who knows?! We’re getting an upgrade to the 2 bedroom Greenwich suite as Ambassador for the first 2 nights, looking at what the options are for 2 more.

    • Kai says:

      Those are standby offers, so by no means guaranteed.

  • Ken says:

    I would like to buy flight tickets for my January trip to Malaysia but I am not sure if I should buy through (online) travel agents or airlines directly. Which channel will offer more protection? And which airline is my best bet ie. the least likely to go bust between now and then?

    • Rob says:

      BA won’t mess you around if you end up needing to cancel for a voucher BUT may well cancel your flight. Qatar will almost certainly get you there (and you earn Avios) but a bit more faff to get a voucher. Malaysia Airlines is the obvious option but not sure of their voucher policy.

      Do NOT use an agent. Book direct and pay by credit card.

    • Aston100 says:

      No one should be using an OTA at a time like this.

    • ankomonkey says:

      I read somewhere in the last week or so that Malaysia Airlines are really struggling financially again, so may be worth bearing that in mind or researching it for yourself.

      • AJA says:

        I read that too. Think it was Sky News All stems from the plane that disappeared and then the one that got shot down. Its unfair but their reputation has taken a hit. There was talk about a further govt bailout but all uncertain, in the circumstances I think I would avoid Malaysia Airlines for now.

      • BuildTheWall says:

        Aren’t they owned by the government? The govt might not want to be seen bailing out an airline, but they wouldn’t risk losing a flag carrier and letting private airlines benefit.

        • DB2020 says:

          The national investment fund, Khazanah (Treasury in English), owns the airline. They have decided not to fund the operations any longer.

          Unfortunately the airline has too many managers and employees, more than required even during normal times.

          They have lined up an alternative proposal, only time will tell if the airline will survive in a reduced version of the current shape and size.

          Looks like their recent competition through HfP, direct channels and other travel sites, might end in nothing for the winner. I hope this will not be the case, but the chances of it happening have increased over the last week.

        • WaynedP says:

          Just look at South African Airways

          • Radiata says:

            There have been innumerable opportunities to turn SAA around. LHR-JNB and to CT alone gold mines as well as other long haul routes to the USA and EU. Not to mention many intra Africa routes.

            Its descent has been painful to see.

            A final decision to allow to die not openly made as yet and so one can but hope it rises again.

          • Lady London says:

            Why is it that SAA dont make a profit then?

      • Ken says:

        I saw that too. Thanks all for the advice. Best to go with Qatar or BA.

  • David says:

    Hi All. I’ve got tickets with AA on a BA operated flight to JFK- leaving on 19/11 and returning on 23/11. I don’t want to go and don’t want to accept a voucher if there is any chance of either being cancelled. No indication of them being cancelled yet- anyone know when those decisions are made?

    • Jonathan says:

      It really depends. There have been some last minute (<2 weeks) cancellations but these are normally routes that are due to restart or increase frequency but then don’t. NYC has run fairly consistently throughout & I’d imagine BA have a pretty good feel for demand so unlikely to see late changes. No harm in waiting till the day before but I wouldn’t bank on it. As AA is your marketing carrier you’re also at the mercy of their policies not BA’s (don’t know if they have an FTV equivalent).

  • Pete says:

    Arrivals from all of the UK to Germany will now need to quarantine for two weeks from Saturday.
    Similar level of enforcement as in the UK, but imagine it will kill Germany as destination…

  • DJ says:

    For IHG Creation Black Card holders:

    “ As an IHG® Rewards Club Premium Credit Card holder, we’re lucky to have you, and to say thank you, we’re giving you an exclusive 5,000 Bonus Points when you stay at an IHG hotel between 1 Nov and 15 Dec 2020. ”

    • Travel Strong says:

      Just had the same through for the White card

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Not had the email yet but do you need to pay with the card to be eligible?

    • Paul says:

      Just had the same and I cancelled the card 18 months ago! 😂

      • Gavin says:

        Same as Paul – cancelled the card at least 3 years ago. I still get treated as Gold when I stay.

        • Jody says:

          I think it was about 5 years ago that I cancelled my card, but I have retained Platinum status ever since (no idea how since I barely stay there). I’ve considered reapplying for a card, but am worried that by doing this they’ll notice I’m platinum when I shouldn’t be, and knock my status down!!

      • Rob says:

        As did my wife!

      • BP says:

        GDPR nightmare right there.

        • WaynedP says:

          I’m not (and never have been) an IHG card holder, but was targetted as a member of the IHG Rewards Club. Encouraged to check eligibility and apply for white (free) IHG with 10,000 points bonus for £200 spend within 90 days, plus 5,000 bonus points for a hotel stay between 01/11 and 15/12 when using the card to pay.

          Re-read Rob’s recent review and HfP comments, and thought “not worth it”.

        • Rob says:

          If this is anything like Virgin back in the MBNA days, IHG does not actually know who has the card. All they know are what people receive points from Creation. These two groups are not the same!

    • Andrew M says:

      I’ve been targeted with an extra 10,000 bonus points as a (Black) credit card holder.

    • BP says:

      I’ve got a reward stay this weekend. I wonder if breakfast spend will trigger this.

  • Stagger Lee says:

    Anyone know how long BA are taken to do refunds at the moment?

    I cancelled a 241 booking a few weeks ago so I could rebook in the Avios sale. Voucher and Avios were back in a few mins but no sign of the cash yet.

    • Pete says:

      Varies hugely, in my experience. The more complex the booking, the longer…

    • Rob says:

      Got mine in 48 hours last week. Cancelled Thursday, had the cash Saturday.

      This was for a flight which was cancelled by BA, however, so they are obliged to make immediate repayment. A different cancellation of a standard Avios booking will take 2-3 weeks I was told.

      • Stagger Lee says:

        Thanks. I’ll give it until Monday and then i’ll chase.

        • Rahaney says:

          Mine has taken 10 weeks and counting – can be up to 12 apparently..

          • Ed says:

            Still waiting from cancelling during the Avios sale – if any of your ticket contained an F segment they can expedite after 21 days to process within 7 if you call You First

      • Alan H says:

        Likewise, mine was back in AMEX account within 48hrs.

    • Reeferman says:

      I had the same experience – one booking cash back but no AVIOS, another booking AVIOS back but no cash!
      AVIOS now all returned (4 phone calls later) but still waiting for the cash
      BA’s last phone advice was that after 21 working days (from being “escalated”!), if money not back, then it will be dealt with manually – and, therefore, immediately.
      No idea if that is another fob-off – will see next month!

    • Jill. (kinkell) says:

      Took 3 calls before cash refunded

    • Stagger Lee says:

      Thanks for all your replies.

      Looks like the fun will start next week when i try to get my cash back. Luckily I’m not desperate for it but the random nature of how they handle refunds is a tad frustrating.

      • JLNF says:

        I have only just been refunded for a cancelled flight from April 2020 (booked direct with BA). Had to chase that three times by phone.

        I also had a Dec 2020 flight cancelled by BA over 6 weeks ago and still no sign of the refund. That one is more complex as they cancelled outbound but not inbound, and I opted to keep the inbound leg so they needed to get the calculator out, which seems to take much longer…

  • Geoff says:

    British Airways owner IAG cuts flight numbers again https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54642347

  • bill says:

    If a flight is cancelled easyjet currently permit refunds or change of route when rebooking. Route changes are permitted through to Sept 2021 which is when the current forward booking window ends. My question is whether there is window within which I need to request a refund? So if my cancelled flight was April 2020 do I need to make a decision about refund or rebooking by April 2021 (for example) ?

    • Jody says:

      I’m pretty sure on the email Easyjet send you it gives you the info on how long you’ve got to make that decision.

      We’ve had 3 different trips cancelled this year, but have just used the deal to re-book different routes and get the best value. We got flights over the Easter holidays next year to Tenerife that should have cost around £850 when we’d only paid around £115 for our original flights. Done the same with going to Ibiza next September, should have cost around £650 but our original flights were only £135.

      • Jody says:

        Just checked one of my cancellation emails, it says that you have 12 months from the date of the email to request a refund.