Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 17th January

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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 (145)

  • Louie says:

    Just wanted to check the latest position….. if I book a RFS for x Avios + 50p and later want to cancel, I will need to phone and I will get my Avios back in full and will lose my 50p but not have to pay £34.50. I know there was a point when you did have to pay £35 to cancel but I think I have seen that is no longer being enforced.

    • Tracey says:

      Correct, you won’t be charged anymore than you have already paid. You may be able to cancel without phoning up. Just carefully check whether you are accepting a voucher or a refund.

      • Pete says:

        Although if you do use the web form, expect the refunds to take a lot longer than on the phone.

        • Ro says:

          Sorry, I’m a bit lost ! How do we get refunds without calling Ba ? They have just cancelled my flights in February. Thanks

  • Louie says:

    Next question! Any easy and quick ways to get either 30 Avios or 1,030 Avios for someone not interested in miles and thus unlikely to have most of the usual ways to transfer from partners. Different surname from mine and different sex but if I can help with any of my sources of points I’d be happy to do so.

    • Peter K says:

      BA gate 365 store.

      Buy them direct from BA. 30% bonus atm.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        It hasn’t been called Gate 365 for a long time

        • Peter K says:

          I put the correct term but my comment vanished into the ether so I changed it to this as I was getting ready for a meeting and didn’t have time to mess around.

    • xcalx says:

      erewards transfer

    • Ikaz says:

      Move all of your avios except for 30 or 1030 to (are Lingus for example). Change address on one BA account so that they are both the same. Create BA household account with that person. Book flight (can use either account). Move all of your avois back to BA (I think that you need to wait 6 months to change the household account)

  • Tracey says:

    Talk in the papers of those returning to the UK from abroad having to quarantine in a quarantine hotel rather than isolate at home. Very offputting.

    • Andrew says:

      That’s really good news. About time we started getting serious about quarantine.

      • Mco says:

        Such a silly idea unless they shut the borders completely and only allow 300 people or so in per day! One full 777 will fill up a hotel for 2 weeks! Heathrow alone must be getting 100+ flights a day. Surely all the hotels will fill up quite quickly.

        While I agree with quarantine and covid rules I feel what Australia has done is awful to its citizens. Some of them have been abroad for months now unable to go back due to their policy of only allowing so many people people in.

        I really hope England doesn’t go down that route.

        Anyway how will this stop new variations coming in? Yes it will stop it for a month or two but what about when borders open then what? This covid is here with us and its not going to stop in 3 months. You vacinante the entire population and in 3 months open borders and a new variation comes in aren’t you back at square one? What then? Start again? Lockdown for 6 months and new vaccine? Rinse and repeat when a another variation comes from somewhere else in 12 months?

        • Nick_C says:

          A couple of reports about NZ (Ch 4 News) and Guersey (ITN) yesterday. They both have policies of trying to eliminate Covid through closed borders and quarantine. Oz and Vietnam doing the same thing. Its the sensible way to go. Eliminate Covid, then open travel corridors to other coutries that have the same policy and strictly enforce it.

          • The real John says:

            Quarantining people in places like Butlins, or army camps, would make more sense than filling up hundreds of random hotels all across big cities. It would also make sense if the date was February 2020.

            Get the army to form a perimeter. The initial period would be 4 weeks, and everyone working in the site has to stay with the inbound travellers. A small amount of socialising could take place – but if there is one positive test everyone stays in for another 2 weeks.

            Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam do not have thousands of lorries driving in from overseas every day. It is far too late for the UK to eliminate anything. A China-style lockdown for 3 months might work – if every person who needs to work to keep people alive for 3 months lives on site. But there aren’t enough police or army to enforce this sort of thing.

          • Charlieface says:

            Four weeks is far beyond necessary, ten days maybe, possibly five with extra testing

        • Mikeact says:

          Best estimates of stranded Aus’s, 100k, with around 30k in the UK.

      • Alex Sm says:

        too little too late, we should have started 10 months ago, when New Zealanders started doing it

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I look forward to all the influencers pushing the Hilton Garden Inn T2 upon their return.

      • Rob says:

        Nice rooftop bar, great view of the parked aircraft outside!

        • Save East Coast Rewards says:

          Rooftop bar has been closed since March! I was due to be staying there in December but it never happened. I had booked the rate that included the COVID test.

          I asked when I was booking what facilities were available. I was told that as London was currently in tier 2 (it had reached tier 4 by the time I was due to stay!) the downstairs bar was open but you needed to order a substantial meal. The rooftop bar remained closed. The self service laundry was open but that was always under review

    • Pete says:

      Wow… a year after the countries who were serious about it instituted it. I won’t hold my breath, aside from perhaps returnees from some particularly risky locations. The logistics, staffing and requirement for law enforcement make this pretty tough in the UK – especially when you see the process in Taiwan, South Korea, NZ or Australia.

      • Erico1875 says:

        The cost of staffing and policing this enforced hotel quarantine is minuscule compared to an extended covid and on and off lockdown.
        Hindsight is wonderful, however most experts learn from their mistakes, so this can be a really useful tool in the box for managing in future

        • Pete says:

          Right, so on top of madly trying to organise the vaccination of 65m people we will also start diverting resources to this? What about lorry drivers? Will we also limit arrivals to 800 per day per… state? I know the Times article makes this look like a done deal, but I remain highly sceptical. Especially when most of the world isn’t doing this.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            3500 truck movements in the tunnel per day, let alone the ferries that come across from Ireland Netherlands etc

            Even that would have been a mammoth task. We might have delayed the inevitable a few days perhaps a week but this we are an island stuff is nonsense. We’re an island that is totally reliant on trade and movement of people.

        • BJ says:

          You make the travellers pay for the quarantine…simple!

      • yorkieflyer says:

        I saw it said quite some time ago that the government’s response throughout the whole pandemonium was reminiscent of the Morecambe and Wise sketch with Andre Previn “I am playing all the right notes . . . but not necessarily . . . in the right order”.
        I’d agree that I suppose you could make a case for better confinement of arrivals from high risk destinations, otherwise a farce.

    • Roy says:

      According to the Sunday Times the government favours making the quarantining travellers pay and that could cost between £1,500 and £2,500

      • Anna says:

        This is a good idea in principle (after all this is what other countries have done) but I can see people (especially Brits who don’t think they should have to comply with anything if they don’t want to!) just refusing and going AWOL, and there won’t be the resources to go after them.

      • Tracey says:

        Would you get loyalty points?

        • AJA says:

          I think a better incentive for points collectors is to receive loyalty points for staying at home. That might actually get people not to travel unless really necessary.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Get your status match request in a few days before you’re due back to the UK and you’ll be upgraded by the time you’re quarantine-free!

    • BLT says:

      It’s great they are finally taking quarantine seriously, but if this was done at a time the COVID rates in the country were low(even October) the NHS wouldn’t be in the situation it was now, there would be many fewer deaths, large parts of the economy would be open,,Christmas could have been normal and we would be spending a fraction of the billions every month propping up the economy.
      Vaccine rollout would have been easier as social distancing wouldn’t be required to the same level. And finally the disfunctional track and trace may actually work.

      • Anna says:

        I’m not sure simply quarantining incoming travellers would have made that kind of difference. After all, there are relatively tiny numbers coming into the country at the moment but look at the infection rate, which is largely due to people mixing indoors.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Absolute nonsense Covid is spreading within the community the UK.

        All evidence says The more infectious strain started in Kent.

        • Harry T says:

          Yeah, this seems awfully silly when we have world beating levels of community transmission.

          I think we can safely say the government would be better off paying gig economy workers to self isolate than attempting to blow another few billion on a returning traveller hotel quarantine that would have only been effective in January/February 2020.

    • Simon says:

      You’d think we had similar rates of infection as Australia instead of being the sick man of Europe.

  • John says:

    There’s still no evidence that lockdowns work when taking into account the long-term consequences to healthcare and the economy; the two are intrinsically linked. That’s from the far-right Trumpian anti-mask university of Stanford.

    It’s a bit like the mask. That’s based on the idea that a cloth sheet stops particles therefore works. Real world examples show they don’t work. Such as the far-right Danish study.

    A great number of transmissions occur between patients in hospitals where mask compliance is high as it could possibly be. There’s no other places in the U.K. other than a hospital where all the Covid measures are taken to the extreme in terms of cleanliness, hygiene, PPE and fully trained professionals. Yet, you’re far more likely to catch Covid there than in a restaurant, gym, Click&Collect queue or a public park. Isn’t that obvious to anyone with a brain?

    NHS hospitals have long been known as the “killing fields” among friends and family.

    As someone wrote, The Envy of the World. If it wasn’t for the NHS, I’d still be in my mother’s womb.

    There’s numerous European countries that enforce masks outside and positive tests (sorry “cases”) have run away.

    Covid is dangerous to the vulnerable. Protecting the vulnerable is paramount. Locking everyone down; including the fit and healthy, for us all to end up vulnerable is stupidity.

    I repeat. Stating that lockdown is stupid is not saying the virus is not dangerous and measures to protect the vulnerable should not be taken. That’s Richard Burgon intellect.

    • Harry T says:

      I think the lockdown is largely to protect the vulnerable…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        There’s a strong argument that it makes many other more vulnerable in other ways though

        All about Balance.

      • BJ says:

        Get real, the lockown is to protect the NHS and cover Tory @ss by limiting the damage to them from post-pandemic political fallout.

        • Chris says:

          THIS is the reason.

          If lockdown was to protect the vulnerable, why would garden centres be open right now.

          My local one is still rammed with Honda Jazzes in the car park.

          Is it essential to buy bedding compost during a pandemic? No.

          Is it essential, as a Tory government, to not restrict the freedoms of your core voters? You bet it is.

          • Anna says:

            My mum drives a Honda Jazz 😂. Though not so much in these times as she’s a stickler for the rules!

          • babyg says:

            Honda Jazzes in the car park.. lol, you are being carcist, but it did make me laugh.

    • kitten says:

      cleanliness in NHS hospitals has been found to be severely lacking

      And not all nursing staff observe proper anti-infection measures all the time either.

      • John says:

        If NHS nursing staff don’t obey the anti-infection rules, highly trained and skilled professionals, then no wonder the Danish RCT was buried by the Media… what hope is there that muzzles make any difference at all.

      • Tony says:

        I personally know staff in NHS hospital that STILL have not been issued the correct PPE.

    • Andrew says:

      Far right and far left is a silly term when it comes to Covid.

      If you think of a clock-face. Labour sit at around 11, the Tories sit at about 1.

      The far left sit at about a fraction of a second after 6, the far right a fraction of a second before. That’s why it’s near impossible to tell the difference between Trump, Icke and Corbyn rants.

      If masks were truly ineffective against airbound transmission, then I wouldn’t have gone for an entire year without catching a cold – the method of transmission is near identical.

      I do worry about some of the consequences of lockdown. Around 10 million children haven’t had a swimming lesson in the last year. Probably over a million children haven’t had their first swimming lesson – that’s potentially deadly.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        “then I wouldn’t have gone for an entire year without catching a cold”

        Let’s no forget about limiting social contact, the number 1 way it gets into homes is from inviting someone in.

        Those with school age kids probably weren’t so lucky with no cold, my young cousins and nieces/nephews all had colds between Nov-Dec and then ofcourse so did their households.

    • James says:

      Great to see all the Covid crazies out today 🤦‍♂️

    • Koi says:

      I dunno, the correlation between cases/deaths dropping when lockdowns are active is pretty clear. You can observe it across almost every nation globally.

      • Charlieface says:

        You can also see the economy going bust at the same time.

        Protecting vulnerable people like care home residents and hospital patients would be far ahead of this in cost-effectiveness.

  • Doug M says:

    No problems with site speed for several days now. I think you can call that one a win.

  • Mike says:

    Anyone any ideas on how to cancel an Avis booking made via BA other than via the BA Exec Gold phone line? (T&C advise you have to phone to change or cancel) They have put me through to somewhere else and I have been waiting more than an hour.. Booking direct next time

    • Mike says:

      Success! It took 1 minute for the wonderful agent to cancel my Avis booking made with BA, 1hr 26 mins on hold to get through.

  • Wollhouse says:

    Data point re refunds from BA. Having given up trying to get my legal re-routes, I took 2 unwanted refunds on Friday. The first credited Sat the second today. Both cancellations done over the phone.

    • kitten says:

      It doesnt matter what the duress was you have now lost your rights and cant recover them.

      • Wollhouse says:

        I haven’t taken refunds on any of the other bookings. Got a “nice” email from BA customer service- I filled in their online complaints form. The gist of which was – sorry, we can’t help as we’re the post travel complaints team and referred me to their change booking team! Yep, that would be the team that had caused me to have to file a formal complaint in the first place… so, i guess i can now MCOL it on the basis that BA has responded.

      • Charlieface says:

        Not true, if you can prove it was under duress for sure you can still claim EC261 reroute.

        • kitten says:

          not really charlieface. it becomes so much harder it’s pretty much impossible.

          It would take winning a class action or an order by the regulator to get BA reversing refunds taken under duress or by BA deception (such as their website programming that tricked people who wanted refunds into ending up with vouchers).

          On an individual basis it doesnt matter what you say you wont be able to get your rights back.

          Same as if your employer changes your contract terms, you can say what you like but if you’re still working for that employer after four weeks you are deemed to have accepted.

    • BJ says:

      Has anybody who wanted reroutes got them? Sorry, have not had the time to keep up with comments as much as I would like.

      • BS says:

        Nope. I gave up and paid for my own reroute. Annoyed with myself I let BA off, but just wanted the easy life.

        • kitten says:

          you can and should either mcol them or better, request s75 (not chargeback) from your UL credit card which will give you cost of replacement ticket even if higher.

      • Jon says:

        Two long-hauls rerouted after some effort pushing back against the usual BA ‘computer says no’ attitude (multiple emails and calls etc). One still pending (made more complicated because it was booked through another airline, but definitely BA’s responsibility. Will give BA a few more weeks to respond then pursue legal route).

  • Aston100 says:

    Was thinking of going for the Hilton status match.
    I have a booking at the Intercontinental in KL this year.
    I note the Hilton on that city is similarly priced. Does anyone have any experience of that Hilton?
    Secondly I see they’re are a couple of Garden Inns next to each other elsewhere in KL. These are very cheap, like £25 a night. Clearly won’t be anywhere near as good, but perhaps might be perfect for a cheap way to get the status match, and then move onto a better place.
    Does anyone have any experience of those Garden Inns?
    Finally, is the status change from gold to diamond pretty quick? My idea being to stay in the cheap Garden Inns for 9 nine nights, and then moving onto the Hilton for night 10 onwards, with diamond status.


    • Mo says:

      My reply to you has been pushed to the next page, but should answer a few of your questions!

    • BJ says:

      Now I have to start worrying about Hilton lounges as well as BA lounges 🙁

    • Tiff says:

      Hilton Petaling Jaya is often a steal too, even though it’s showing its age. It’s near Asia Jaya LRT station (about 15 minutes to KL Sentral).

    • Jon says:

      I haven’t stayed at Hilton KL for a while but I used to be a regular there. One of the better hotels, I would say, and very convenient for the airport express train. Nice pool, decent gym, and the lounge is great – certainly possible to have your dinner there from the evening canapés if you don’t feel like going out or having a ‘proper’ restaurant meal. May have changed now though of course, given current situation. Breakfast in the lounge was particularly good, and the staff are excellent. Go for the higher floor rooms if you can. I probably shouldn’t mention the special non-bookable secret rooms, but if you know then you know… Cough balcony cough. 😉 The only negative was that on my more recent stays (pre-Covid) the lounge tended to get very busy, presumably due to the sheer number of Diamonds floating around these days. Perhaps not so much of an issue now and for a while yet though…

      Hilton Garden Inn Abdul Rahman South is the cheapest option (I did a bunch of nights there recently for the double-nights promo – 67rm / £12.50 p/n roughly). Rooms are ok, rooftop facilities are ok, view is good, walking distance to Kampung Baru for the food. Not sure I could recommend it at the moment though, while the MCO is on (limited facilities and breakfast), but if you just need a clean comfortable bed to sleep in and rack up some status nights then it’s perfectly acceptable, especially for the price.

      I always felt the Doubletree represented the sweet spot on value.

      Keep in mind Malaysia is now in a national state of emergency until August 1st and the MCO (Movement Control Order) has been extended / reverted back to the full-on version from last March. I doubt any tourists will be getting in for quite a while yet…

    • Kevin says:

      As Jon mentioned, garden inn is really a cheap option but I wouldn’t recommended it due to its location and nothing much happened at night. Hilton and doubletree are much better.

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