Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 4th December

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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 (288)

  • Nigel W says:

    Does anyone know if the Lloyds Avios vouchers are being extended again? Mine was originally extended to December 31st, but hoping to push it further back.

    • pauldb says:

      I got one extended by chat on Tuesday. It had in fact expired but they revived it to 1/3/20.

    • Nigel W says:

      Update: got mine extended to 04/03/2021!

      • James says:

        I had one expiring end Nov, extended for 90 days.

        I had another ltsb voucher that I used for a return to HKG. Had to cancel the return completely as they couldn’t extend validity further. So lost half voucher in the process. Anyone tried to get any credit / voucher returned for this?

      • AndyGWP says:

        Thanks for the update – just got mine extended to 5th March… there’s a pattern here 😆

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Well ill be damned. I actually hit the extra spend target that ends in a week or so. Mine was spend £1,900 get 1,000 additional points. Been an expensive month between Christmas prep, washing machine breaking and a new TV!

    • Doug M says:

      I had 3500MR on £3500. Fortunately had a couple of K of work expenses which made it achievable for me. Did some shopping this morning and thought that would be it, but not, logged in to find AA had refunded £23 to that card from refunded price difference on a flight. So need a couple of £ in the next week 🙂

  • Jon G says:

    Marriott Ambassadors – just got a $50 USD voucher out of the blue.

    Exact wording from email:
    “As an Ambassador Elite member, we’d like to thank you for your continued loyalty. As a token of our appreciation, please enjoy this $50 USD Marriott eGiftCard to put toward a hotel stay or at participating hotel outlets for retail, spa, golf, food and beverage.”

    • Harry T says:

      Seems like a fairly small gesture when the status requires 20k USD spend.

      • Jon G says:

        True, but given that most ambassadors would have been travelling for work (as I did) rather than paying out of their own pockets, I’m sure most will be glad to receive ‘free’ money!

    • John says:

      $50! That’s hilarious

    • Rob says:

      Big rebate on the $20k of spend needed to earn it!

  • Jamie says:

    I have been downgraded from First to Business on a flight to J’berg.

    When I called BA they only give me the option of
    1) Accept
    2) change flight to the earlier one with first class
    3) cancel but still pay the 35 charge pp- is this right?

    I want to cancel but not happy to pay the charge. Any advise if they are int he wrong or if I am?

    • Rob says:

      Call again.

      • Jamie says:

        Thanks Rob

        I have spoken to three separate agents now and all said the same. Is it worth emailing BA to complain now? It is really frustrating….

      • Aston100 says:

        Could you maybe do an article on this topic please? Seems to be a lot of questions about this recently.

    • AJA says:

      What does your email from BA say advising you of the equipment change? If it mentions the word cancel or cancellation your case is made.

      BA also used to say that removing F cabin on a flight was a cancellation. I think this is still technically the case and would argue as such since you cannot take the flight in the seat in the cabin BA originally sold you. The earlier flight with F is a different flight number and would need to be re-ticketed hence it’s a cancellation.

      Even changing cabin on the same flight will result in re-ticketing since the travel Fare classes are identified by one-letter fare codes. eg Y: Full-fare economy class ticket. J: Full-fare business class ticket. F: Full-fare first class ticket. J or I class is not the same as F or A. Hence it’s a cancellation and re-ticket.

      In addition no matter what BA say seat 4A, for example, in First Class is not comparable with seat 4A in Club World – it’s a bigger seat and normally has better catering and access to the Concorde Room at LHR not open to Club World passengers unless they have the appropriate Frequent Flier status.

      If you do accept the Club World seat then arguably that is a downgrade which should be 75% of the fare / Avios paid for the sector(s) downgraded. But you don’t want that you want to cancel.

      You are left with just two options: reimbursement or “re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats”. That is for you to decide, not for BA to impose upon you.

      BA are offering a change to the earlier flight with F or the ability to cancel but pay a £35 per pax charge. The last option is wrong in my view.

      I would try one more time. If BA don’t play ball you could just cancel for the refund of Avios on payment of £35 per pax. I would then try a chargeback on the credit card for the fee paid for the reasons outlined above. I think your card provider would just reimburse you. Alternatively try MCOL to reclaim the fee.

      • Jamie says:

        Thanks for all that- it is really helpful, I totally agree with you just wish BA would

        I’m going to call tomorrow again and hope the Saturday team are better!

      • Jonathan says:

        Unfortunately this isn’t correct. They are entitled to downgrade you & the only entitlement you have under EU261 is the 75% rebate (assuming you take the flight). Reticketing in a different cabin or fare bucket is also not cancellation, that refers solely to the flight (most easily determined by a different flight number).

        In this situation I’d make sure I didn’t accept any refund, take the flight in J & pocket the refund (after an inevitable escalation with threats of small claims court). Flying in First on the earlier flight is not worth forgoing a substantial rebate.

        You also won’t get anywhere with chargeback for the £35pp cancellation fee as you have no statutory right to refund for a downgrade.

        • Jonathan says:

          “ In this situation I’d make sure I didn’t accept any refund” by that I mean not accepting any Avios or cash refund that amounts to less than your EU261 rights in advance of the flight.

      • Lady London says:

        @AJA a minor point but could cause confusion on other matters: when you say reticketed you actually mean reissued i.e. same ticket but reissued.

        Small point but currently when needed to reroute someone on a much later date of passenger’s own convenience after BA cancelled their flight – BA is only wanting to reissue same ticket (which is why the limitation of new flight date of 355 days at latest for new flight date, from date of issue of the ticket originally as that is a ticket’s limitation). If a flight later than 355 days is needed then that is when BA would have to reticket in order to provide this as the original ticket can no longer be reissued.

        Just for clarity on the terms.

  • JW says:

    I appreciate that this is not a problem for the near term but is it pretty much impossible to book Cathay F using Avios? Is the only way to transfer points out of either Amex or Bonvoy – or is even that not even an option?

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve booked it on Avios before but you will find better availability with Asia Miles.

    • BuildTheWall says:

      If your route involves USA, you can book using Alaska miles at a much cheaper cost. Otherwise Asiamiles is the best option. For availability on Avios, you’ll have to check on Flyertalk.

    • The Urbanite says:

      My first First was with Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong to London at a day’s notice, booked with Avios through BAEC. Not impossible but sometimes the BAEC site is a bit restrictive with what it shows.

      • YL says:

        I have booked CX F several times with Avios, but often 6-10 months ahead of the flight. Not impossible, but sometimes might need a bit of luck..There are times, I can see the seat available, but it just won’t let me book only HKG-LHR. It will however, let me book if I add another intra Asia flight to it.

        • Andrew says:

          Yes I’ve got CX First to Singapore booked, but couldn’t see availability if just wanting to book to HKG.

          • Jonathan says:

            Cathay use “married segments” on their reward flights so origin & final destination is all that matters. Ie. LHR-HKG-SIN is available but neither LHR-HKG or HKG-SIN is available separately.

            They are much more restrictive with flights originating or arriving in HGK than connecting itineraries.

  • BuildTheWall says:

    Blacklane is offering reasonable fares on some inter city routes. Good option if you want to avoid public transport or cannot drive. Booked a 50 mile ride for £50 for two people next week.

    • Harry T says:

      I think there’s an Amex offer too!

      • Fred S says:

        Do Blacklane charge on booking or on day of travel? Booking for 2 says after amex offer expires. Also they state max passengers 4 for the SUV but their SUV’s tend to be 7-seaters. What are the chances of 5 passengers being able to travel?

        • BuildTheWall says:

          Billed on day of travel.
          Think most taxis have blocked front seats for COVID reasons. I booked their Mercedes c class and only 2 passengers allowed.

  • Aliks says:

    Sigh, yet another cancellation and rebooking question. I am sure it has all been answered before, but I can’t find the exact question in the HfP guide: headforpoints.com/2020/04/02/cancellation-and-refund-policy-ba-virgin-easyjet-hilton-marriott-ihg/

    SO . . I booked an Avios flight to Buenos Aires during the half price sale. Scheduled date to fly out is 23rd Feb but yesterday BA cancelled this flight and is offering to rebook onto the 22nd Feb flight.
    Argentina on top of the virus and is gradually opening up, so there is a chance their borders will be open for international tourism in which case we can take the BA offer. Unfortunately the southern hemisphere autumn starts in March so there is also a chance that Argentina will stay locked down in anticipation of a 2nd wave as colder weather sweeps in. If this happens then we will need to reschedule.

    We want to go to Mendoza and then Salta in NE Argentina, so we have to avoid the southern winter months, April-August.

    My question is: If we want to reschedule our flight, how much flexibility do we have?
    Can we push it back to October, or even later in 2021.
    Is there a 355 day rule that applies? If we just take a voucher then we lose the benefit of the half price sale. Because BA cancelled, if we keep the same route but choose a later date, do we have to pay any extra avios or cash?
    and lastly, if we accept BA’s offer, can we change our return date without penalty?

    • Simon CH says:

      Not to sure, but last year we had Business flights to Las Vegas in Sep when the pilots strike happened. They let us rebook with out any costs to Nov. How far they will let you push back to depends on schedules and Season.
      Good luck

    • Lady London says:

      If you take a look at @Jonathan’s posts on ths thread the posts surrounding his, today and yesterday (look in text of this article near bottom to see how to access it on earlier days) you will get all the answers you want.

      Basically you should be able to shift all your flights on your booking to next winter free of charge.

    • Michael C says:

      Do bear in mind “autumn” is quite relative: Baires is often in the 20ºs in April!

      • Aliks says:

        Thx all!

        Michael – yes Buenos Aires and Mendoza should be fine, but in the Andes around Salta it will likely be cold, and maybe very cold in April.
        Fingers crossed that Argentina will announce reasonable entry conditions by January.

  • Rob says:

    1. Yes
    2. Curve Cash so must be used in a shop

    • Vit says:

      Rob, thought you can use Curve Cash to pay the credit card balance as well, no?

      • Rob says:

        No idea – you can’t use it via an ATM though.

        • Vit says:

          I paid creation and went through fine 2 months ago with my £5 referral — have not tried again since then.

      • Mr. AC says:

        Fronted might not let you do that. Revolut topup works fine, however (as of Oct 2020).

      • KS says:

        Yes, I was able to pay Amex with curve cash.

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