Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 7th 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 (271)

  • Javier says:

    Regarding cash bookings with BA… could I cancel the first leg and maintain the return flight?

    • Anna says:

      Do you mean ask for a partial refund? I very much doubt it as they charge a fortune for one way long haul flights.

    • AJA says:

      No. Your ticket is based on a return fare. If you cancel the outbound or do not show BA will cancel the return. BA might allow you to reprice as a one-way but that might be more expensive than what you’ve already paid. You might be better off taking a FTV and then using that to book a one way or use it to buy a return fare starting in the outbound destination eg LHR-CDG-LHR change it to CDG-LHR-CDG or use Avios to book a one way.

    • The real John says:

      Not unless BA did the cancelling or changed it to be very inconvenient.

  • Ron says:

    Flight to SJC for July21 cancelled today and moved to the flight a day early. Can I ask BA to rebook me on original date but to SFO?

    • AJA says:

      Yes I believe that should be possible assuming there are seats on the SFO flight in the same fare class as you originally booked. Phone them and ask.

      • Ron says:

        Sorry, should have said these are Avios redemption tickets, don’t think there are four CW Avios seats on both SFO flights.

        • Lady London says:

          The airline cancelled your flight – not you – so there only has to be available seats in same cabin class on your choice of replacement flight – they does not have to be any avios seats available you have the right to seats selling for cash.

          Having said that, make nice as I’m not strictly sure if that’s the case if you want to move to an adjacent airport (technically they could still be obliged to get you to SJC even if that takes a flight via SFO to do) but I am sure there won’t be a problem as that should also suit BA.

          In fact I think I would say to them I still need to get to SJC that day so can they fly you to SFO and pay for transport (there is a train of some sort but Uber might work out cheaper for 4) onward to get you to SJC. Maybe even 1 day’s car hire as I dont think you usually pay anything extra for one way car hire in most States

          Feel free to adjust your return as well – you have the right to choose alternative dates for any flight(s) on your ticket if even one is changed. BA would prob be fine SfO too.

          You should not have to pay anything and if BA tells you you can only switch to 3 days before or 14 days after or some other such rubbish politely remind the agent that EC261/2004 gives you the right to choose a replacement date(s) convenient to you not the airline and there is no such limitation, “respectfully”.

          It’s administratively easier if all your new dates are within approx 355 days of the date you bought your ticket. Rob thinks this is a hard limitation but @Charlieface and I think this is not always reasonable and that allowing around a year from original dates of travel (not ticket issue/purchase) might be fairer. Not tested in court though.

          If there are 4 of you take care to be very sure what you wsnt to rebook to before you call -as you only get one shot to choose what you want to rebook when they cancel a flight on your booking. Later changes would be impossible and/or paid unless they cancel something again.

          • Ron says:

            Thank you Lady London. I still not decided what to do yet, as there could still be chance that we won’t be going, as it’s still over 6 months away, anything could happen regarding pandemic situation and border re-opening etc.

            I’m thinking just to leave it as it is now, if we do decide to go, then I will ring up and swap to SFO flight, and if we do want to cancel the trip, then we will use the reason of cancelled SJC flight to get a refund. The trip was booked back in Aug, so it’s under the BWC terms, ie. no cancelling fee, but my partner paid for his and one of our children seat, so we will be able to get that back too if we do cancel the trip.

            Thank you again!

          • Lady London says:

            Yup @Ron good approach.

      • Lady London says:

        AJA same fare class is not needed -just same class of travel ie same cabin class is all that needs to be available

  • xcalx says:

    Small shop.

    Anyone in the Leeds Bradford area who used Tong Garden Center, Tong village during the summer promo. The good news is even though it’s not listed for this promo it Does trigger the £5 rebate. It has a very nice food hall with plenty of 2 or 3 for £10 deals. Also within a mile or so is Tomlinson’s farm shop, Roker Lane for a great selection of meats and pies etc. To finish off use the Go local store on Kent road for Booze cigs or food shopping. All are great for multi use of cards

  • Max says:

    Has anyone done the 72 hour covid test with fit to fly certificate, what was your experience like getting the certificate and presenting it at the border? Would be good to get insights on people’s experiences.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      I’ve done one for the Canaries. Used Biograd in Liverpool, test 1650 certificate emailed 1100 next day, £99. They initially put the wrong passport number on (one digit typo), but I called and it was reissued while I was on the phone. Nobody asked to see the actual cert at the airport at either end, but everyone wanted to see my Spain QR code. I did need it to check in to my hotel, immigration might be lax on it here because they know there is a secondary check at your accomodation.

  • Kenneth Zhang says:

    Hi. My flight to Buenos Aires next week has been cancelled by Iberia. This was booked with avios (taxes paid with cash). I was on the phone with them and seems like getting a refund for avios and cash will incur 30 euros service fee. Getting a refund with a voucher (for the cash part) will also incur service fee. Seems strange that I’m shafted even though they’ve cancelled the flight?

    • Jonathan says:

      Their talking rubbish. You have an absolute right to full refund, reschedule dates at your convenience or transport by alternative means (ie. another airline). You choose whichever solution you prefer.

      The bad news is Iberia customer service is appalling so you’ll either have to take the €30 hit or go down the legal route which will be trickier unless you can find a UK office to serve MCOL papers at.

    • Jack says:

      EU 261 applies you are entitled to a full refund

    • Lady London says:

      No they cant charge you for refund and cant charge you to change your flight to EZE to another date of your choice.

      They also cant charge you if you say you still need to travel to EZE on that day and ask them to “reroute” you on another airline. Again this should cost you nothing not even if the fare is higher.

      However getting that last option, whilst your clear right under Ec261/2004, airlines keep denying and repeatedly people have ended up buying their own replacement ticket and suing – and getting – the money off the airline.

      Iberia would be liable for hotel and meals till replacement flight too if thereis a delay, if you still need a reasonably close alternative to your original flight.

      Call again and try with another agent.

  • Ranga says:

    Planning on booking a bapp voucher avios business flight in August, any thoughts on whether we’ll have another avios sale of some sort in the near future?

    • Jonathan says:

      Doubt there’ll be anything remotely as generous as the recent Avios sale. That was a cash grab pure & simple when BA were staring down the barrel of a long winter and vaccine trial results weren’t available.

      Now the future looks a lot rosier (relatively speaking) I think BA will be holding back on fire sales till they know what kind of operation they’ll be running for summer ‘21.

      • Jonathan says:

        If anything I’d lock in Avios availability now. You can always cancel & rebook if they repeat the sale but equally there could be a boom in bookings when/if the vaccine programme is successful & availability evaporates.

  • Anna says:

    Hmm – how is it that I had to cancel my trip to Edinburgh but it’s ok for the royals to visit?!

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Same reason Rita Ora can go to Egypt and instead of self-isolating upon her return, throw a birthday party.

    • The Original Nick says:

      Exactly what I thought. I was suppose to be in Edinburgh over the weekend.

    • Chris K says:

      Presumably because they were carrying out their duties, which are allowed?

    • Bazzag says:

      there was a photographer running around a central London hospital taking photos for his book at the height of the first lockdown. Dressed in full PPE but he was there for weeks – while families were denied 2 mins with their relatives

  • dave says:

    If London goes into Tier 3 next week will heathrow flights be cancelled?

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Flights won’t be cancelled. Manchester Airport is in Tier 3 and still operating.

      I’m wondering what will happen to Heathrow hotels.

      We’ve got two IHG Park & Fly packages booked (one for Slough and one in LB Hillingdon) over the Christmas period – booked the later as a backup when Slough entered tier 3.

      If London enters Tier 3 and Slough doesn’t move down to 2, where on Earth do we stay overnight for a morning flight?!

      • Rob says:

        Slough.

      • Anna says:

        Just shows how badly thought out this all is that you can stay in a hotel on one side of LHR but not on another! Check in the night before and sleep in the airport?! ( And lounge for a bit If you have access).
        I used to do that in my teen years when the only flights to Northern Spain where my dad’s family live were from London and I had to get the coach down either overnight or the day before, don’t think I’d enjoy it very much now though …

      • Sandgrounder says:

        Staines/Maidenhead/Windsor and drive to park in the morning. Not as convenient but certainly doable.

    • Lady London says:

      No, because “highly valuable people” (businessmen and, I would bet, MP’s) will still be allowed to travel.

      The rest of you, are locked down

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Wasn’t it clarified that High value means £100m+ deals

        • memesweeper says:

          50 jobs or more depend on your work I believe is the definition. Nothing to do with turnover.

          • Rob says:

            Your trip must be in relation to the creation or protection of 100 jobs. On TV at the weekend Shapps also said that a transaction worth £100m would count.

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