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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 15th November

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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 (182)

  • 747_Brat says:

    Has anyone had any success in claiming a travel insurance claim, where both the policy and the ticket was purchased before the pandemic?

    • Zander says:

      Afraid not. I had what I thought was quite good cover from a reputable company.
      They have ducked and dodged my claim for an aborted holiday in March as covid kicked off. 9 months an and I still haven’t seen a penny back!

      • DANi says:

        Have claimed successfully x 2 with my HSBC premier.. bits booked April -Oct 19 for travel April 20 to USA.

      • Lady London says:

        Hold on… was it bought as a holiday with ATOL proection. If so, likely you have better rights.

    • Annabel says:

      Yes success with hsbc premier travel insurance for Lanzarote flights booked November 2019 for travel august 2020. Had payment in account within 10 days of claim less excess per person.

    • BS says:

      Yes. Very easy, hey just wanted me to claim within 28 days of the planned departure, to ensure the FCO advice was likely to be relevant to my planned trip. Decision within 48 hours (they had warned 6 weeks), and money within the account within 7 days. Then a few weeks later I received advice the company policy had changed, and they would also refund me in full. When the cash was in the account I re-contacted the insurance company to give them their money back. This was surprisingly difficult and took a long time compared with claiming! Not sure why I tried so hard…

    • Lady London says:

      You should not have problems with this. Any insurance company not paying out if your claim falls within the small print (terms and conditions) of the policy you bought is trying it on.

      Your right to payment is based on the terms on the day you purchased. The insurance company cant introduce any new or changed terms you have to fulfil. They can do that for policies they sold later but they cant change your terms after you bought your period of cover.

      Who determines if you get paid is the underwriter and not who sold you the policy/its brandname. For instance I generally wont buy a policy that is underwrittwn by Axa, whatever its brand.

      If they are denying, delaying or ignoring your claim without a reason tbat stands up then you could mention you will consider referring them to the Insurance Ombudsman.

      • 747_Brat says:

        Thanks everyone for your responses.

        I had purchased this travel insurance policy through my employer, and it was underwritten at the biggest insurance marketplace located on the Lime Street in London. Their backing on the policy was enough for me to pull the trigger, and buy this policy.

        The policy was purchased last year in November, and the tickets were purchased between June & Dec last year. This was a time, when the pandemic was not in sight. However, the insurance company has rejected my claim due to a standard pandemic exclusion clause in the policy.

        As per them, it doesn’t matter when the ticket was purchased but only the travel date is considered for a claim. Since, the World Health Organisation declared the pandemic only on 11th March 2020, they are simply not paying up for any travels after this date, no matter when it was booked.

        My view is, I can’t be held responsible for an unforeseen event, which was unprecedented in 2019 when the bookings were made. It is for unprecedented events like this, that one takes an insurance. Otherwise, why would one waste their hard earned money on useless travel insurance policies?

        Anyway, the insurance company and the underwriter have both rejected my claim. The underwriter also has an Ombudsman kind of mechanism, which I was obliged to complaint to, before complaining to FOS. But they upheld insurance company’s stand in this matter. I am now thinking of approaching the FOS. I am not sure if I have a leg to stand on in this case, but I would still give it a try!

        @Lady London:
        I wasn’t aware of this Insurance Ombudsman. Is it different to the Financial Ombudsman Service?


        • Doug M says:

          Same situation for me. My policy excluded pandemics for cancellation. I’d always been very focused on the medical cover, never considered a pandemic. When I booked some non-refundable hotels the pandemic was not declared.

          • 747_Brat says:

            Historically, I also focused primarily on medical repatriation cover, before buying a policy. But going forward, I will only buy a policy which includes a pandemic cover.

            Did you manage to get your insurer to pay up?

          • Doug M says:

            No I didn’t. To be honest insurance for me is about medical cover. The hotels are annoying and I’ll consider how I book in future.

        • Lady London says:

          comes under FOS. .There are many specialties within that.

        • Callum says:

          While I completely understand why you’d be annoyed, if you bought a policy that specifically doesn’t cover pandemics I don’t see how you can demand they cover a pandemic?

          The travel insurance policy wasn’t useless – it covers a whole list of other events. I’m not aware of a single insurance policy that has zero exclusions – the onus is on you to choose which events you want to be covered. I’d wager most people don’t read the small print so it’s not a criticism of you personally, but you really should be aware of what you’re buying before doing so.

          You seem to be raising some doubt as to how the pandemic clause “kicks in” though. Do you have a link to the policy? Maybe I (or someone on here much more qualified than I am!) can interpret it for you.

          • 747_Brat says:

            Thanks Callum for your response mate.

            I actually did read the policy. I am non-practicing lawyer, with an OCD level knack of reading the small print. But tbh last year, I had never imagined that a pandemic would bring the world on its knees. So I placed the probability of the pandemic in the same bucket as a nuclear disaster etc. But you are right, I should have been more careful in choosing the policy!

            I would have shared the link to the policy T&Cs, but it is behind my employer’s firewall unfortunately!

          • callum says:

            No trouble. If you’re a former lawyer then I doubt I can provide any meaningful insight into the T&Cs that you haven’t already figured out yourself!

            If you knew it didn’t cover pandemics when signing up, that’s even worse! Though there’s no harm in taking the complaint further – worst case scenario is you get nothing, which is what you’re currently getting anyway.

      • Lady London says:

        You can also seek compensation for the delay and l would also be seeking statutory interest at the 8%p.a. pro rata until the date my claim and a compensatory amount reach my account.

        I’d have a friendly chat asking if they have a good reason for not having paid your claim. When they dont come up with one or refer to issues that are not in your terms and conditions then I would tell tgem I am considering all of the above. Tell them they’ve got 14 days to pay after which you are likely to complain to the Ombudsman.

        • Lady London says:

          If you had a pandemic clause in your policy when you
          bought it then yes they can get away with not paying it. You’d have to look closely at the policy’s exact wording, plus also look at the structure of the policy ie where in the hierarchy does the exclusion appear, to have any hope of challenging it.

          Other risks such as nuclear, and sometimes even mean things to have excluded like getting caught up in civil unrest or even strikes, are also often excluded.

          Seen a few reports of srudies that concluded a very high percentage of travel insurance policies are not worth having due to exclusions or impractically low claim limits.

          Your only hope is a review of the small print or could you claim directly off the airline if a case could be made that your contract with them was frustrated by external events? This and Section 75 /chargeback are easier if your flight didn’t actually run.

          • 747_Brat says:

            @Lady London
            Thank you. Based on your suggestion, I went back to reading the policy. The policy is silent on when the pandemic clause would come into picture. Funnily, I would have been covered for the pandemic, if I had started my trip. In this scenario, cancellation and other travel disruption due to pandemic would have been covered!

  • Maciek says:

    Today’s article reminded me another duo of cards I hold – has anyone tried the prepaid part of it with bendy (or on its own) for seaguls or beardy?

    • TheBadger says:

      What is seaguls and beardy?

      • The Jetset Boyz says:

        If you know, you know 😅

        Seagulls = Brighton
        Beardy = A bit further up the line… Crawley

        • TheBadger says:

          Haha I still can’t decipher what they mean 😅. We need a HfP discord or something to discuss vs. on comments on a public blog!

          • Sloth says:

            Read yesterday’s bits article it’s all spelled out there…

          • David says:

            Beardy – Virgin credit card
            Seagulls – American Express
            Bendy – Curve

          • Peter K says:

            It’s been explained so many times over the previous few weeks. Have a look at previous chat threads, especially yesterday’s.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            TheBadger No we don’t lol

          • Optimus Prime says:

            Keep it up, let’s see if Bendy’s loopholes still work in 2021. 🤦

          • callum says:

            I don’t buy the claim that using easily decipherable code to discuss this will prevent the companies involved from realising… If they were remotely interested in stopping it, they could find out whether it was happening instantly – and they wouldn’t need to go trawling through internet posts to do so!

        • Genghis says:

          Thought Beardy was the Toon in this case?

    • MD says:

      I can certainly confirm that the MasterCard works flawlessly for feeding Seagulls via Bendy, no fees or interest.

      Now you mention it, I haven’t tried the Diners Club card via Bendy at all, must give it a go.

    • Alex Dickinson says:

      Which duo is this?

    • The Urbanite says:

      Duo are aware of the common manufactured spending merchant categories, including the one used for paying off credit cards. They may not block transactions but they may well charge a cash advance fee if it does work.

      • CF Frost says:

        I got charged with a Seagull feed under a legacy Bendy. Also at the ATM. Be aware. Have not tried Ernie though with the chocolate card under Bendy. Bendy said that they were in negotiations with DC when I asked them – pretty sure they never got round to it. Bit pointless really – one for the novelty seeker only.

  • Flyoff says:

    I have some cash flights cancelled by BA. When I go into the bookings it is offering options online to re- book for another date (calendar appears) or take a voucher. I have done nothing as I actually don’t know what dates I do now want to travel due to the uncertainty of Covid restrictions. If I leave the bookings as cancelled, and don’t select any options, does anyone have any experience if the booking can sit in this for many state allowing me to choose travel dates or evoucher later? One booking has been cancelled for months now without me selecting it. The other cancellation flight date is next weekend. I am wondering if BA will force an evoucher after the cancelled flight date? Any experience or thoughts would be welcome. My objective, due to both flights being very cheap, would be to re-book for a later date locking in the cheap fares.

    • Nick says:

      BA will not ‘force’ a voucher on anyone who doesn’t ask for one.
      If it’s the first flight in the booking that’s cancelled, you can safely leave it until you know what you want to do, no problem at all. If the first flight is still operating but a later one is cancelled, it’s best to call and sort it out now, to avoid going down as a no-show. It’s not impossible to fix it later if you don’t, but it’s extra hassle you don’t need.
      There are too many cancelled flights for BA to ‘force’ anything. And if they rebook you it’s entirely for your convenience, you’re not obligated to take it unless/until you do something to accept the change.

      • Flyoff says:

        Thank you Nick for your guidance. One flight is one way and the return flight has both legs cancelled. I will therefore continue to wait and choose my new dates at leisure.

  • Stephan says:

    Is it likely there will be a shop small offer in December given they already had one over the summer?

    • James says:

      My personal thought are that everyone will be doing everything they can to encourage spending. Though there’s no guarantee !

      • Andrew says:

        I’m thinking it’s unlikely as it’s too hard to plan this year – who knows what will be open in December. And Amex already ran a very long version in the summer. But who knows – it’s 2020, all bets are off!

    • Four More Years says:

      I believe so. A commenter the other day said that Brighton had informed them it would be coming back, it’s just with marketing at the moment who are deciding dates. Obviously dependent on lockdown status so it may be a few more weeks yet before we hear anything. My bet would be it running for a 2 or 3 week period from the first weekend in December.

      • Crafty says:

        Won’t be announced until we know whether the national restrictions are ending, and how much of the country will remain under restrictions. Would be irresponsible otherwise.

      • Kai says:

        Brighton also said the Harrods offer was not targeted. I wouldn’t count on them.

  • James says:

    Hello All, which Hilton properties in the UK are consistently the cheapest ?
    (Simply by nightly rate, ignoring value-adds, perks etc ..)

    I guess I’m interested in knowing for each chain of hotels really !

    • Ikaz says:

      I usually find the Hampton in Leeds to be cheap when I have been looking, you can actually search for hotels with a wide distance range on multiple hotel chain websites:
      IHG: You can search within a range of +100 miles and sort by cheapest
      Accor: At the end of the search you can click “Add hotels further away” or something
      Hilton: You can zoom out of the map to get more hotels and then sort by price
      I am not sure about Marriott

    • Lady London says:

      Many hotel sites will let you just search the country without giving a town. So just search on United Kingdom then sort/filter.

      The ecception is Accor – try searching for somewhere they realky have a lot of hotels like Paris and it will force you to filter upfront instead.

      If you want day use within just one day then Hilton and Accor will show you rates if you enter same arrival and departure date (but search HfP as well in case there is a special dealbon). Not sure about others.

  • dezbez says:

    Rob: What happened in the end with the big story you were lined up to release last week? Is it still under embargo? Or is it no longer going ahead? (Or did I just miss it! 🤷🏾‍♂️)

  • LST says:

    Hi. I am still new to the game and generally get my points from normal spending and Ba shopping portal. Considering getting a bendy one to help feed the seagulls, but do I need to get a global inn card to make it worthwhile or will it work with my existing Hong Kong Phooey?
    Not really interested in MS and Ernie as the wife does not approve!

  • Vit says:

    HN amex offer expires today. Managed to use it last night online (with 15% off) but did not trigger the confirmation email from amex. Has anyone experienced the same?

    • Andrew says:

      Don’t read too much into hen emails – they are always hit and miss.

    • Harry T says:

      15% off?

    • Baji Nahid says:

      Omg i know it expires today but if it doesn’t charge today then arent we screwed because i thought you only get the offer once the payment is cleared in your account no?

      Not sure if that made sense haha

      • Andrew says:

        It’s when the payment is processed so as long as it shows as a pending before midnight tonight you’re fine.

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