Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 16th 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 (336)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Jane says:

    My 2-4-1 Avois flight to Orlando in August has just been cancelled, it was an early afternoon flight from Gatwick. They’ve moved us to a morning flight from Gatwick which would be OK but I’d rather go on the afternoon flight from Heathrow – will this be possible if I call do you think ?

  • Keith says:

    Hello all, BA have cancelled my First Class redemption flights to Australia in September but have not offered alternatives. Can I double check that I can ask to be rerouted on an alternate day with them or an alternate airline rather than accept a refund? Thanks

    • Chris says:

      I had 3 Sydney (one cash 2 redemptions) flights in 2021 get cancelled this morning. From a quick google flights search looks like BA have dropped Sydney in 2021 – at least through to November.

      They could route you via HKG and onto Cathay/ Qantas which you could ask as a replacement

      Let me know what they say; im not going to call till later will take a while to resolve for me.

      • clare2020 says:

        Mine have just been cancelled too. I’m hoping to try and rebook for 2022 now but presume I need to wait for the flights to open ?

        • Harry T says:

          @clare if they have cancelled a flight of yours in 2021, you will not be allowed to move the flights to 2022, as BA currently only allows you to move your flights up to a year from the booking date.

        • clare2020 says:

          Does the booking then get cancelled – as it was booked in nov 2019 but it doesn’t seem like there are any flights available up to nov 2020?

      • Harry T says:

        @Chris
        I honestly doubt BA will fly to Australia in 2021, as entry will probably be restricted into 2022 and there is no way BA will risk making a loss on the route, which isn’t profitable for them anyway. They may use it as an excuse to drop the route entirely, as it’s never been a money make for them, as far as I know.

        • Chris says:

          Not everyone goes for tourism. I’m not sure why Aus is being so cautious.I get it in Nanny Zealand but not Aus.

      • Matthew says:

        Yeah we just called and rerouted BA to HKG then CX to SYD.

    • Harry T says:

      @Keith
      You can select a reroute, refund, or routing on an alternative date. Current BA guidelines are to allow you to change your travel dates, after an involuntarily cancellation, up to a year from the booking date, not the original travel date. Just be aware the Book with Confidence guarantee currently only applies for flights up to 31 August 2021.

  • stevenhp1987 says:

    Is it just me… or is this website slow recently?

    It’s been very slow to load for the past few days for me.

    TTFB on my page load just now was 18.84s!!!

    • DT says:

      Last two days have been pretty slow loading for me as well, on Chrome on PC, phone and iPad

    • n_g says:

      Todays the first day I’ve noticed it but it’s been very sluggish.

    • Doug M says:

      Today really bad. Given Rob often mentions the hosting costs I never feel the site is really snappy. But today is off the chart slow, there’s clearly a problem.

    • AJA says:

      It’s been very slow for me too – Chrome on PC

    • Pangolin says:

      I’ve had the same issue for the last 2 days

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I’ve noticed 504 Host error a few times in the past week

        • Rob says:

          There is something up and we are not sure exactly what. It is not the server, it is increased demands on the server. This could be attempts to hack into the site or otherwise swamp it, or it could be something else – we had issues with the search service a while back but we thought that was fixed.

          • Chris says:

            Might be worth trying Cloudflare Pro and routing your traffic through it if there is suspicious activity going

          • Rob says:

            That’s what we do!

          • Charlieface says:

            What database backend do you use? Maybe needs indexes rebuilt/reorganized and statistics updated

          • Rob says:

            Dunno 🙂

            Our IT guy is on holiday so we can’t do much short term. One option is to disable the advanced search system and see if that improves things.

          • Charlieface says:

            Sounds like it might be a combination of poor indexing and non-optimized queries. Happy to have a look if you want, my expertise is SQL Server, not MySQL which I think you use. The principles are usually the same though.

          • Lady London says:

            could also be a hardware issue.

            When opening new pages it does feel as though the server is servicing something else.

            Look for a log file that has suddenly got huge.

      • mark2 says:

        It may have cleared now, but I get instant load on Edge on PC.

        • Lady London says:

          Might be related – Google had some kind of meltdown IIRC 2 days ago too – it was around 1pm. Affected most of their products – Maps gave me 504’s and lots of check your internet connection error messages.

          Can you just power the whole lot down for 10min at a quiet time and reboot?

          • Lady London says:

            PS apparently during the Google meltdown search still worked but less efficiently. I’ve also noticed on 2 other sites in past 2 days clicking the x in top right of some ads is getting no response from Google.

  • Aston100 says:

    Hello, my BA flights to/from Kuala Lumpur were cancelled this morning.
    Out in F, back in J using avios and a companion voucher.
    I rang Youfirst. They advised the route has been cancelled until at least October 2021.
    I can see there is a Malaysia Airlines flight within 30 minutes of the BA flights. However, Youfirst said they were not allowed to put me on a MAS flight as “they are not part of a joint business routing e.g. Iberia, AA, Qatar, JAL”. Aparently I can only be booked onto a MAS flight if the BA flight was cancelled within 24hrs before departure.

    They advised my options are:
    Refund
    Fly to Singapore with BA and then pay for my own way to/from KUL
    Fly with Qatar via DOH, but as they don’t have an F product anymore, I would be entitled to the difference in avios on the outbound leg (inbound was originally booked in club world anyway).

    I can’t believe they won’t let me use MAS, or think it’s OK to fly me to a country nearby and expect me to pay my own way for the rest of the journey.

    Is this a case of hangup and call again?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Rhys says:

      That’s bullshit and the guidance is very clear. The joint venture is irrelevant to BA’s duty of care and if you want rerouting at the earliest possible date and the MH flights are those, then they need to do it.

      I’ve just written an article that’s about to go up which should clarify your rights.

      • DT says:

        Looking forward to this Rhys, saves trawling through chat threads and the cancellation thread on FT!

      • Aston100 says:

        I just rang Youfirst again.
        Got a slightly different response.
        Was told it is best to just wait for now as they cannot book me onto a MAS flight for free, but that they are awaiting some kind of policy change regarding using MAS.
        The agent on this occasion understood my point that the MAS flight is almost identical to the cancelled BA flight, and that it is a One World carrier, but they insist I cannot currently be put on a MAS flight for free.

        Was told to call back next week to see if anything has changed.

        • Rhys says:

          Sounds better!

        • Lady London says:

          TBH I would not rebook to MAS right now. They are riskier in 2 ways.

          Even CX indirect better. QR has lost its shine for me after the state-sanctioned assaults on female passengers in Doha and their miserable lounge manoeuvres.

    • AJA says:

      I’d try calling again. Those options don’t sound right. BA sold you a flight to KUL they should reroute you to KUL. Odd to expect you to pay to fly from SIN to KUL. And what is this rubbish about Qatar no longer having First Class? https://www.qatarairways.com/en-gb/onboard/first-class.html

      • Aston100 says:

        To be fair, I think Qatar have (temporarily?) retired their a380s hence probably not possible to book in F at the moment.

        Overall, I was quite disappointed by the options and lack of empathy on the Youfirst line. Was expecting someone more knowledgeable.

        This is massively different to my previous contact with them when I needed them to join 2 bookings and apply a companion voucher. They were excellent that time.

        • AJA says:

          I didn’t realise the Qatar First class was only on the A380. Still Malaysia Airways has a First class (even if it is branded Business Suites) so that would be the obvious option for a reroute. The only thing I’d be wary of is Malaysia’s financials haven’t been stellar so it could be BA is aware of something we’re not. I’d be inclined to push for a reroute via SIN.

        • Anna says:

          They will be under orders to try and avoid re-routing you on a rival carrier and it’s understandable that they won’t want to upset their bosses just now with the threat of redundancy lurking around every corner.

        • Lady London says:

          From reports here about people’s contacts with YouFirstt being so unusual today it sounds like all the regular YouFirst team must be in a meeting or out at Christmas lunch.

      • Chris says:

        Qatars /first/ is on the 380s only and those are parked at the moment

    • Harry T says:

      Presuming your flights originate in the UK or Europe, then BA are full of shit. You have an EC261 enshrined right to be rerouted on the most convenient and appropriate option. They will want to put you on a preferred partner because it saves them money but they are legally obliged to give you what you want, within reason. However, they will probably not give you what you are entitled to easily. You may need to take them to court.

      • Aston100 says:

        Do you feel the BA call centre agents genuinely don’t know the rules, or are they told to provide as little as possible?

      • Charlieface says:

        With an EU or UK carrier it doesn’t make a difference where the flight originated.

  • Crafty says:

    And the prize for most unclear marketing communication of the year goes to Amex:

    “Make your Deliveroo meal go further with 12,000 Membership Rewards® points

    From shopping for the latest fashion online to paying for subscriptions – Your Card allows you to earn Membership Rewards points on all of your spend.

    You can use these points for almost anything, from your Spotify subscription1, to those random buys on Amazon2. So why not let a friend in on these benefits too?

    You’ll get brownie points from them and 12,000 Membership Rewards points from us if they’re approved – to spend on your next Deliveroo for two perhaps? It’s a win-win!

    Copy your unique referral link and send to a friend today.”

  • Wollhouse says:

    Well, anyone that has been thinking we’ll all be back to normal early next year…. BA has just cancelled my flights to Bangkok for the end of Sep 21. They have however (very usefully) advised me that they’ve booked me onto a new flight time from Heathrow to Edinburgh…It was an avios and 241 booking….. checking Qatar, business seats are available…. Now, wouldn’t that be an awful change to “HAVE” to go Qsuite! One serious question – Qatar’s cancellation policy – it looks like you can date change for up to 2 years; if you take a voucher you get an extra 10% so is there any risk for getting BA to book us onto Qatar flights immediately whilst there’s space? Am I losing anything be doing so? TIA

    • babyg says:

      Do let me know if BA actually rebook you on Qatar from LHR to BKK – ive been informed that this option is only for a revenue fare, not redemptions..

      • Wollhouse says:

        well, I’m starting from Edinburgh and Qatar fly Edinburgh/Doha/Bangkok so that is the flight i’ll request. Not sure if this will make a difference – i’m sure BA will be very keen to avoid putting us onto Qatar, but it’s not ME that cancelled the flights 😉

      • Aston100 says:

        I was given the option to go to KUL with QR as my BA flights to KUL were cancelled.
        Sounds like numerous SEA / Far East routes have been cancelled until autumn and the options from BA are inconsistent.

      • Anna says:

        EU261 applies whether you paid with money or points.

      • Rhys says:

        EU261 makes no distinction between revenue fares and redemptions!

  • Nigel W says:

    Just had my outbound Osaka flight now confirmed cancelled by BA.

    I booked using Lloyds Upgrade voucher. Is it best to contact the Avios team or BA directly?

    • tony says:

      I’ve also just had flights to Osaka cancelled. Will be interesting to see what happens as it’s a BAH booking in W upgraded to J with Avios.

      Does the BAH aspect stop them applying the joint business rules? Options seem to be a reroute via HEL or TYO, although think i’ll just bask in the added flexibility at the moment – not sure Japan will be that ‘open’ by next August even with the Olympics going on…

      • Nigel W says:

        Looks like HKG is another option….

      • Jonathan says:

        I’d call BAH asap as their default is to refund if there’s a cancellation (I think they may have the ability to refuse to reroute or reschedule for a package holiday).

        • tony says:

          It says that they will contact me. I’m rather pragmatic about matters right now to be honest, as feel there’s a significant chance we wouldn’t feel able to travel then, anyway. Wife and I should be vaccinated but not the kids and hints are that tourist movements in JP will be restricted, too.

          As much as i’d like to swap to JL and route via HND, getting a couple of extra days out of the trip to boot, that’s an irrelevance compared to the fact the holiday we had imagined might simply not be achievable in 2021.

  • pauline says:

    my flight (avios 50% sale) to KUL has been cancelled in march. Can I ask to be rebooked to KL in October (if there are flights although this appears unlikely) or rerouted to SIN on BA in September / October?

    • DT says:

      My KUL flight was also cancelled, the route is currently suspended so BA won’t be able to fly you there in October, though you should be able to get them to put you an a Qatar flight if you still want to go to KUL.

      I changed mine to SIN as my outbound was to SIN anyway, this was no problems and took about 5 mins on the phone. Rebooked to any date I wanted as they use revenue seats to rebook you, you don’t need redemption availability

      • pauline says:

        thank you. unfortunately my tickets aren’t F. I held for an hour got put through to an agent went through security and got cut off. Rang back (missed a call back from the agent!) held for an hour and got got off – very frustrated but will try again later

        • DT says:

          That is a real pain. Having similar problems with a J redemption flight I need changing. Starting to really feel it’s worth the extra points to book F during these times!

    • roberto says:

      My KL flights 3rd March to 20th March were cancelled a few weeks ago & I was moved to the 4th & 19th. Both the new flights are available to book still on BA as direct flights so it looks like the service has been trimmed ( 3 days a week?) not cut completely.

      As for F , thats now not an option as the plane is a 787 with no first class for the foreseeable future.

      • Aston100 says:

        No, BA told me specifically that summer flights to KUL and ‘some other destinations’ have been suspended until October. I don’t know what date the route suspension period begins, but in includes the school summer holidays through to end of Sept 2021.

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