Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 19th 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.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

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Comments (372)

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

  • Aston100 says:

    I posted this on a Malaysia Airlines forum, but the place is dead, so thought I’d check if any knowledgeable people can advise please.

    My BA LHR – KUL ticket was rebooked to Malaysia Airlines after BA cancelled the route recently. This was purchased with Avios and a companion voucher.

    At the end of my trip to SEA, I will be in Phuket.
    I am thinking of purchasing a ticket using Avios, to fly from HKT to KUL with MAS, in order to link up with the MAS flight from KUL back to LHR that same night.

    I am wondering if MAS would be able to link these two separate tickets into one, so that my luggage will be through checked from HKT all the way to LHR, and more importantly, I can get a protected connection so that if the HKT – KUL flight is delayed or cancelled (thus endangering my longhaul KUL – LHR), MAS would put me on a later flight to LHR without any penalty or additional cost.

    I have contacted MAS on Twitter, but they seem not to understand the question.

    Thanks.

    • AJA says:

      I think you will be very lucky if MAS agree to your request. They may however arrange to check your luggage all the way through to LHR at check-in in Phuket as it is the same airline. I wouldn’t bank on it though and would leave time in KUL to collect baggage and go landside to check-in for the flight to LHR.

    • Jon says:

      @Aston100 do you happen to know whether the MH seat BA booked you into for your replacement flight was a redemption seat or a revenue one? Are you able to tell the fare class from the new ticket? Thanks.

  • Andrew says:

    Tier 4 (London) only permitted to travel abroad for work.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      I wonder if that applies to a tier 2 resident leaving from Heathrow, which is in tier 4?

      • meta says:

        @stevenhp1987 As per published guidelines, you’re allowed to enter Tier 4 area to travel.

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          Yupz we’ve seen it. Perfect for us, we’re flying out of Heathrow tomorrow morning.

          Have to sleep in Farnborough tonight as it’s the closest non tier 3/4 location…

    • meta says:

      Boris did say that, but we need to see the details.

    • NC says:

      Who’s going to police that? How is the airline going to know where you’ve been staying beforehand?

      • Harry T says:

        The airlines will likely rely on the honesty of their passengers.

      • Anna says:

        Who’s going to police any of it? The actual police are overwhelmed to start with and will be working with even further reduced numbers over Xmas and New Year!

        • Andrew says:

          It’s best that people just do the right thing without the need for enforcement!

          • Anna says:

            Unfortunately the number not doing is only getting bigger.

          • Nav says:

            Exactly that. People think that the virus walked over from China.

          • Andrew says:

            The option to travel will probably be taken away as the flight cancellations are put through tomorrow and Monday.

      • Yan says:

        Doesn’t matter. UK travellers will be denied entry to many countries in the next 48-72 hours in light of this novel hyper-transmissible variant.

      • BuildTheWall says:

        People like this are the reason it’s spreading fast.

    • H says:

      Does anyone know when the statutory instrument will be published?

      • Andrew says:

        Does it matter?

        • H says:

          Well I’d certainly like to know what the legal requirements are. Is international travel legally banned or “just” against government advice?

    • Mikeact says:

      All these armchair experts out there…what we will never know, would the opposition have done any better ? Obviously, given any government it seems to me they can’t win, whatever they do.

      • Andrew says:

        Well said!!

      • Josh says:

        I don’t think Comrade Corbyn would have had much up his sleeve except free broadband for everyone

        • Jayne says:

          Still boring for England, Josh? Merry Christmas.

        • dezbez says:

          Classic ‘whataboutery’, Josh. “If you think it’s bad under Blozza, imagine how bad it would have been under the other fella.”
          Not a great defence, is it.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        it’s not would the opposition do any better but that the democratic process isn’t happening.

        Democracy is about healthy debate and different views being debated not a single view being peddled and implemented. That’s dictatorship.

    • Andy says:

      “It’s not for British Airways to turn people away” – this is coming from their Twitter account in response to one of their customers. Looks like it will be up to people to play by the rules, and I have seen first hand in London how many do…

  • Pauline says:

    And will cancel flights

    • Andrew says:

      Yes a huge swathe or BA flights will now be cancelled for next week onwards.

  • Cat says:

    I need a void to scream into.

    My (elder) niece was so excited about our Xmas sleepover that she screamed when we told her, and she wanted to start packing today.

    • Anna says:

      Oh gosh Cat, it just gets worse doesn’t it?! My only family contact was going to be a socially distanced, ready plated buffet on Xmas Eve for a couple of hours but it looks like that’s out of the window now (maybe literally!) This is going to be so hard for younger children, at least my son and his cousins are all teenagers now and happy to stay in touch via gaming platforms!

      • Cat says:

        It’s so awful, given the numbers it’s the right thing to do, but if these fools had listened to their own scientists (not to mention teachers up and down this country), and actually followed the science, we wouldn’t be in this position.
        Why on earth were they threatening Greenwich, Islington and Waltham Forest with legal action?
        I feel sick thinking of my sister having to explain this to my niece.

        • Sk123 says:

          Absolutely agree. If they’d even switched to complete online learning in the last 2 weeks, maybe the spread wouldn’t be as widespread.

          • Cat says:

            Their belligerence on this one is astounding, insisting that schools must stay open, no matter what.

        • Joe says:

          Not sure they could have predicted the timing of a mutation!

          • Sk123 says:

            They knew about this mutation in mid November. Wales switched to online learning, why couldn’t London and South East? Prevention rather than reaction.

          • Cat says:

            The mutation has been around since late September. They’ve known that schools are driving the spread for a long time, and have been suppressing the data. They knew that this new variant was going through the roof last weekend when they started threatening London Boroughs (the ones that decided to switch to remote teaching) with legal action. Teachers have been begging for schools to switch to remote learning for the last week or two of term. Had they done this, we might be in a very different position now.

          • Cat says:

            Indeed @Sk123

        • Anna says:

          I let my son stay at home for the last 2 days of term – they were only going to be watching DVDs and he hasn’t missed a single day this term so far. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of him picking up something in those 2 days, a week before he was supposed to see his grandparents (which won’t be happening now as we can’t change our plans due to OH’s work.)
          I realise that many children are really suffering by being out of school, but by keeping them open at the moment I think they are just kicking the can down the road.

          • Cat says:

            I privately applaud you on that one Anna.
            Normally I’m a stickler for attendance / not taking holidays during term time, but for the last two weeks, I’ve wished more parents did that.

          • Anna says:

            Thanks Cat – I normally wouldn’t do it but we are so far from normal right now. We are so fortunate that I have been at home this year and I was there to make sure he did every bit of online learning through the summer term (not sure he sees it like that!)

            As well as my paid tutoring role starting in January I am also going to be teaching English online as a volunteer to pupil premium Year 7s who didn’t do too well in their SATS this time due to the disruption. It’s the perfect way of making a difference, hopefully without incurring any unecessary risk to me, the children, or school staff!

          • Lady London says:

            France proactively announced permission (and encouragement) to parents to take their children out of school for the last 3 school days before the end of term so that they could self-isolate if they were seeing grandparents or oldet generation over Christmas.

            They have, however, been stricter this time around since Sept that children must attend school.

        • Mikeact says:

          For goodness sake, calm down. Do you really think any other government would have done something different ? Do you really think they would have got everything 100% from day 1 ?
          Of course not…no Government can win on this one.

        • Bazza says:

          I think the issue is that when the kids stay home the mums AND dad’s also insist on staying home. This causes staff shortage of
          clinical staff our the hospital.

    • AJA says:

      I hear you! My niece has been looking forward to coming to us on Christmas Eve – that’s gone by the wayside. It’s ridiculous. My mum was going to spend 3 days with me as well but now she can’t. She was so excited yesterday as she will be getting the covid vaccine on Tuesday. I was going to put the Christmas tree up tomorrow – won’t bother now.

      • Andrew says:

        Remember that if you Mum lives alone then she can still spend as much time as she likes with you through the support bubble arrangement.

        • AJA says:

          Yes she lives alone but has formed a bubble with my brother’s family so she can’t spend time with me as she can’t have two bubbles.

      • Cat says:

        I’m so sorry AJA, this is just so sh!te.

        I’m so angry.

        • AJA says:

          Thanks Cat! I agree. So sorry your plans are in disarray as well.

        • Mikeact says:

          What’s the point of being angry….unlike many, you’ve still got a life. You could always become a politician if you felt you could change things for the better.

          • Josh says:

            There are some on here who only comment when they’re angry

          • Cat says:

            I became a teacher to change things for the better.
            I’m not a politician.

          • Cat says:

            Josh – I’ve been commenting on this site for 5 years now.
            I’ve written 3 quite well-received articles for this site.
            I’m really not in the mood.
            Locate the bridge you normally reside under and kindly fornicate off back under it.

      • Jonathan says:

        If she’s getting the vaccine on Tuesday then I would strongly advise her to bear with it for another 4 weeks. For her the light at the end of the tunnel is rapidly approaching & the fact she’s been offered the vaccine now puts her in a very high risk group. Even prior to today’s announcement my medical advice would have been the same for those in the same boat.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Sorry AJA but the fact your mother is getting a vaccine so early means she is extremely high risk. Spending Christmas with her regardless of the rules would have been extremely unwise. Wait 4 weeks.

  • DJ says:

    I have a trip booked for Oxford tomorrow and staying at the courtyard.

    Oxford was tier 2, does that mean it would be Tier 4 tomorrow?

    Thanks

    • Andrew says:

      Exact areas not 100% clear yet. Depending on where you live, regardless of what tier Oxford is in, if you’re in T4 it would be unlawful to travel to Oxford unless it was for work.

    • Harry T says:

      From the Telegraph:
      “Al l places about to plunge into Tier 4 lockdown

      All 32 boroughs plus the City of London South East Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Wokingham) Buckinghamshire Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth Hastings and Rother Hertfordshire Kent and Medway Surrey (excluding Waverley) East of England Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes some local authorities in Essex (Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock) some local authorities in Hertfordshire (Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Watford) Peterborough. ”

      • Harry T says:

        Regardless, the advise is to stay local at present so travelling may not be the best idea, unless you have a good reason.

        • Tom says:

          Whatever the hell “stay local” advice means. This Government are such a joke. Announce some new rules for the following day and no guidance to come with them. I’m meant to be going away tomorrow (from one tier 2 to another tier 2) for a night away and a walk on the beach. First time travelling outside my town in literally months. Can I go? Can I not? Who knows..

          • Tom says:

            and with 5 hours to go until the new rules come into force, the Government web site still has no information. Utter shambles.

          • Andrew says:

            Hardly a shambles Tom – it’s a fast moving, developing situation.

          • Josh says:

            I think you know ‘stay local’ means stay in your own city/town/village @Tom….

          • Tom says:

            It’s not so fast moving that we have to do a u-turn with zero planning. The Govt just refused to heed the advice they were being given until it was literally the 11th hour. Nobody has even written the guidance so they are quickly writing it now. This strain been in circulation since Sept and ramping up since Nov!

            The new guidance is clear as mud.. stay local, but:

            “You can still travel within Tier 2 areas to hotels and other guest accommodation. You should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.”

            Clear that you must only travel to Tier 3 with a valid excuse, but silent on travel to tiers 1 and 2. Hmm!

          • Tom says:

            Helpful guidance from Which:

            https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/12/new-coronavirus-restrictions-in-england-scotland-and-wales-what-it-means-for-holidays-in-the-uk/

            “Tier 2: can I take a holiday?
            Yes. Travel is allowed to and from tier 2 areas.

            If going on holiday in the UK, you can only stay in accommodation with people you normally live with.

            The government advises those from tier 2 areas ‘reduce the number of journeys you make’ but travel is permitted. As the government has only issued advice, you may not be able to get a refund.”

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The heavier restrictions are on T4 areas.

            Nothing changes for someone in T1/T2 travelling to T1/T2 areas nor in fact the advice on not travelling to T3 / T4 areas.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Just to clarify The “advice” to stay local doesn’t change the law.

    • Ja says:

      I live near Oxford. We are currently tier 2. Only county in Thames Valley not in 3/4

    • John says:

      stayed there the other week on the amex offer. Decent hotel, enjoy!

    • Nick Burch says:

      We’re still tier 2. In normal times I’d suggest a Sunday afternoon mini-H4P meetup, since I can see the Oxford Marriott out the window, but for obvious reasons I shan’t right now!

      If you need dinner or breakfast, a 2 minute walk away from the hotel down St Thomas Street (out reception, turn left, then left again, walk 2 mins, dogleg right-left) is the Jam Factory. Excellent food and drinks, and since they do events often they’ve loads of space including outdoor covered areas.

      Just don’t bring your car, the hotel has no parking, and the city centre basically has none either…

  • James Vickers says:

    When you look at the latest numbers especially in the south east can totally understand these new restrictions. Everyone should do the right thing. I have to say though that opening non essential retail and hospitality in London in the run up to Christmas was a mistake

    • Chris says:

      Except case numbers rose during Nov lockdown when such venues were closed, so how can they be to blame?

      Surely it’s plain old household gatherings causing this?

      • Cat says:

        Schools. Trust me on this one.

      • Andrew says:

        If people had been following the rules all this time and not mixing indoors we wouldn’t be in this mess.

        • Cat says:

          The highest % of cases has been amongst secondary age students for weeks now.
          They mix in groups of up to 30, inside for most of the time from 9am until 3pm, for 5 days a week, in rooms far too small for a group that large under normal circumstances, with restricted windows which make proper ventilation difficult.
          If that had been stopped a few weeks ago, when it was clear it should, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

          • Andrew says:

            But education is important. I’m with the government on this one – schools staying open should be the priority. But everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

          • Cat says:

            Yes, education is important. I agree, I’ve spent almost two decades teaching in state schools, after all.

            Perhaps some of that money that was wasted on PPE that never materialised, from their cronies’ companies, could have been spent on computers for kids in deprived households, and improving Internet in regions with poor Internet speeds…

          • Andrew says:

            I think the government was just trying their best in an impossible situation. But anyway, I’ll leave it there.

          • Lee says:

            Can’t believe anyone still defending this government, it’s a laughing story if you ask any other country.

          • Andrew says:

            *laughing stock

          • Bazza says:

            Yes, was a group of about 200 youngsters rapping and dancing just of Regent St last night.

  • Harry T says:

    I’m starting to think my birthday weekend at the Langley in January might not go ahead 😂

    • Andrew says:

      Pretty unlikely – T4 will be in place until February at least I think.

      • Harry T says:

        I agree, Andrew. I will find a good alternative use for the points if the situation doesn’t change.

    • Matt B says:

      I’m thinking the same , but mine’s the end of March

    • meta says:

      @Harry T I won’t be celebrating my January b-day in Imperial Suite at WA in Ras either by the looks of it.

      • Harry T says:

        @meta sorry to hear that. Hopefully you can find an opportunity to do so in the near future.

      • Polly says:

        Well, we wish our daughters wedding could go ahead on Tuesday, everyone v upset, but having to deal with that fallout this evening…

        • Cat says:

          Sending love Polly. My sympathies to K. X

        • RussellH says:

          The daughter of a friend of mine has now had her wedding cancelled four times, but another friend’s son’s wedding went ahead first time.
          Just pure bad luck for some, though I am sure that does not make it any easier for those affected.

  • jil says:

    people asked about IHG free night cert in the previous comments, here’s what I have found out: I have 3 certs, 2 from UK credit card expiring 2020-12 and 2021-11, 1 from the latest “extension” of the 1st cert, expiring 2021-08. I tried booking 1 night in 2021, the 2021-08 cert disappears (tried a few different night, same), 2 nights, 2021-08 and 2021-11 disappears, 3 nights, all 3 certs disappears. Seems the only way to use all of them is to book a 3 nights stay next year. You can try it yourself, redeem/refund of cert is immediate.

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