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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 20th 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.

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.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (214)

  • 747_Brat says:

    Do we now know if there was any truth in some of the comments posted yesterday about Amex cancelling BA companion voucher?
    Thanks.

  • Jody says:

    Datapoint for easyJet refunds. Requested refund for some flights on 7th Jan (they had moved the departure airport and it wasn’t suitable), was told up to 14 days. Just received a statement from Amex (it’s a cancelled card that isn’t on my online accounts) and the refund was back in there within 3 days. Pretty pleased about that, particular with all the negative press they had about length of times for refunds back at the start of the pandemic.

    These were flights that I had already moved for free once, so was a bit worried I might not be able to get a refund, but it wasn’t a problem at all.

    • Colin says:

      easyJet have been excellent recently regarding refunds – I work in travel and have plenty of experience. The worst I have found to be Ryanair (no surprise), Virgin, TAP, LOT and Lufthansa in that order. Of the `big boys` I have found Star Alliance members in general to have been much worse/slower/prevaricating at refunding than oneworld members, notwithstanding the early `BA refund button` games. The easyJet `free change` policy which ran for a while, allowing you to change a cancelled flight to anywhere on their published schedule, was incredibly (foolishly?) generous compared to others – allowing say a cancelled BFS/GLA flight in early October at £45 to be changed to a BFS/TFS one over the new year/half-term/Easter pricing at around £400. Had several customers taking advantage of those. Mind you, easyJet soon realised how much `likely future income` they were losing and changed the policy to free changes `to the same destination country` as the original – in the above case the only alternative option would then be BFS/EDI. No doubt the Ryanair policy (free changes that always ended up far from free) was much more financially astute if incredibly misleading …. absolute b******s to deal with too!

      • Matthew says:

        Does the easyJet policy for a cancelled flight still allow you to change to any other date as long as you comply with said ‘same destination’ etc. So if they cancelled a LGW-DBV 31 Mar flight you can change to Oct 31 on same route with no fee or fare increase? Thanks.

        • kitten says:

          for the exact same route you would have this right externally enforced by statute EU261 anyway.

          Easyjet has modified it down to same countries which is possibly more generous but practically often results in same route.

          Your more significant worry is that further routes are still being cancelled partially or completely by all airlines. So take a look online and then call them.

          • Harry T says:

            It works fairly nicely if you get flights to Barcelona cancelled and then have the option of new flights to Canaries or Balearics!

          • Matthew says:

            Good to know, thanks.

  • Alan S says:

    Any data points on the Virgin Atlantic cards and becoming eligible for the bonus on the paid card again?

    I closed my account in March 2020 and I’m not sure when you would qualify as a new customer again

    I think old reports were all over the place on this.

    • dezbez says:

      I think common wisdom was min 6 months so you should be ok

    • ChasP says:

      3 months ago I re-applied after a 7 month break no problems apart from a reduced limit of £3.5 down from £8.5

  • ben says:

    I had heard from a friend there that they plan to have vaccinated everyone by Q3 2021 and so likely would all be opened up then as if everyone is immune there is limited risk. However doesn’t sound that is soon enough to save your trip (or my trip to Japan in May. I’m more confident about Cambodia and Vietnam in December but who knows. So much will be reliant on vaccinations going smootyl

    • Andrew says:

      How are “they” defining Q3 2021?

      Scottish Quarter Days are:-
      28 February, 28 May, 28 August, 28 November.
      English Quarter Days are:-
      March 25, June 24, September 29 and December 25.

      Or do they mean the sometimes between July and September?

    • BJ says:

      Already cancelled our Japan trip in June/July. Figured if Japan allows visitors at all (despite Olympic ticket sales) then it will not be until about a week before the games start. I am unconvinced that travellers from UK or elsewhere will be welcomed by other countries with open arms simply because their country of origin has a good vaccination program, there will be much more to it than that. Have booked us out to Bangkok in December as usual but my thinking is the more cautious countries will not relax much b before next year unless something changes substantially. I imagine negative tests plus vaccination will become the entry requirement of many countries.

    • Magic Mike says:

      They still don’t know if vaccination stops transmission, so whether you will be allowed into a country likely more depends on vaccination rates at your destination, not in your home country.

      Even if countries open up, expect negative test requirements for quite a while to come.

      • FFoxSake says:

        +1 agree totally

      • Sandra says:

        The Israeli’s who are much farther ahead with vaccination are also finding that the efficacy of the initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine is not as high as Pfizer have quoted in their testing. After analysis it might be that giving the first dose with a long gap to the second doesn’t provide a high enough level of immunity/reduce transmission enough to satisfy entry to countries that are following the immunisation process as intended. I understand the logic of wanting to give some protection to more people as quickly as possible but if this is proven not to work and we have to start all over again it will be a total disaster. Do things properly and do them once!

        • Harpo says:

          That’s from a policy briefing not a study. Could be true but it’s only anecdotal so far, not from well powered peer reviewed research so I’d be cautious to draw conclusions yet.

    • GaryC says:

      It will also be reliant on vaccinations providing protection against some of the mutations, and the outlook for the South African variant is potentially troubling.

  • 747_Brat says:

    Anyone still waiting for the Metro Bank incentive to come through? I met all the conditions of the switch in October, but still no signs of the incentive! 🙁
    Thanks.

    • kitten says:

      1 came, 1 did not.
      It was giving £50 each for up to 5 referrals – to both referer and referred person.

      I have a feeling whoever’s processing this for them thinks they only have to pay put for the first referral.

      • 747_Brat says:

        Thanks for your reply. I have not even received the £50 for switching to them. I would chase them as I have £300 on the line!

        • kitten says:

          checked this evening and 2nd one came in dated today. first one was close enough to on time, this one appears to be about 4-5 weeks later than expected.

          Perhaps they’re batching them and yours might be about to arrive too?

          • 747_Brat says:

            Thanks for letting me know. I just checked and found out that I have also received £150. 🙂 It wasn’t there when I posted the comment.
            The payment reference is “Thank you Bonus A”. Not sure if that means anything?

        • Nick_C says:

          Bonus B is the £50 switching bonus you get once as a new customer.

          Bonus A is the (multiple) bonus for referring other people.

          (I’ve still only had my Bonus B. No bonus for referring you Nick)

  • YC says:

    Surprised at Agoda customer service:
    Independent hotel has decided to close doors till July and so my current booking (June) can’t be honoured. It was very flexible conditions and had not paid anything. Agoda had offered to cancel my booking and provide 10% agoda cash as goodwill.

    • Jody says:

      We had a great experience with Agoda about 18 months ago. We’d booked a non-refundable room somewhere, and then my husband got a last minute appointment for having a heart procedure done. Agoda contacted the hotel, who agreed we could re-book for another time (we’d booked 2 nights over the August bank holiday). I was very impressed.

    • Travel Strong says:

      Only used them once but they were great.

    • Anna says:

      We used them a few years ago a one night hotel stay in Atlanta. Although we’d booked for 3, the hotel would only initially give us a room with one bed and kept us arguing for ages about it late at night after a long flight! The next morning they made a point of charging us for the third breakfast before allowing us in the restaurant, even though again the booking form said it was for 3. I complained to Agoda later and they refunded the entire cost of the stay!

    • YC says:

      They also tend to come out the cheapest (at least vs other big OTA) on aggregators 🙂

      • DJ says:

        That’s good, might try to stack with HSBC WE card, since I remember you get 10% off if you pay with the Master/WE card.

      • BJ says:

        Yes, not as great as they were a decade ago but still one of first pklaces I look for independent hotels, especially in Asia. Never had any issues myself but it is reassuring to hear tge good reports on their CS.

        • Polly says:

          Yes, we used them literally for all,our hotels in Cambodia. And frequently a reduced rate would come up for our bookings, happy to cancel and rebook us. Cs very helpful too, esp about refunds. Will continue to use them if we ever get back to Asia.
          Our KUL now cancelled for next week, not unexpected.

    • yorkieflyer says:

      Agoda great at negotiating a full refund for our non refundable booking at Trump Las Vegas…….

  • Tarmohamed says:

    I’ve had enough of the incompetent platinum concierge. They’ve never been able to do something that I can do myself, and quicker than them.

    I need a car hire in Karachi, and they refer me to the Avis website who don’t have any cars available. Surely a concierge should be able to arrange car for me by any means necessary subject to costs? They don’t even try finding me a hire car.

    Or am I expecting too much from them?

    • Aston100 says:

      Does the quality of the service vary by country?

    • DJ says:

      I have been wondering about it for quite awhile. I’ve never used the concierge service, nor that I know what to expect from them 😅

      The marketing material states that you can use them for hotel, restaurant booking etc.. but I can probably find better price and do it quicker than then.

  • Andrew says:

    “The National” is reporting that it’s looking like the Scottish Government will be banning residents from Foreign trips until 2022:-

    “JASON Leitch has warned civil servants not to book a foreign holiday until 2022, a leaked internal video has revealed.

    In the video, which was leaked to The Scotsman, the Scottish Government clinical adviser answers questions from civil servants on various topics relating to Covid-19 vaccines and restrictions. He said Scotland would come out of lockdown “very very slowly”.

    The video was published on Monday on the Scottish Government’s internal intranet.

    Asked whether people should be booking summer holidays, Professor Leitch said he would advise against it and that freedom of movement restrictions could mean no foreign summer holidays until 2022.”

    • BJ says:

      Don’t see a story here, just a view not inconsistent with my own amateur conclusions outlined in my reply to Ben at the top of the page. Doubt the view has anything to do with policy-thinking. Scottish government will be hoping for a change for the better ASAP just like everybody else. The media and the Scottish opposition parties have become increasingly irresponsible and tiresome in their coverage and exploitation of the pandemic, FMQ today and BBC reporting of it was totally disgraceful.

      • yorkieflyer says:

        Everyone is frankly sick and tired of the polarisation al la brexit between the po faced virtue signallers and the Celtic football team

        • BJ says:

          Cannot comment on Brexit anymore or I’ll have @Anna after me! What’s Celtic got to do with it?

          • Anna says:

            Did they go and “train” in Dubai or something, thereby making it a “work” trip? I can’t see why anyone gets exemptions for being an “elite athlete”, tbh. What about elite academics and other people who travel for work?
            Lol BJ, I thought it was Scottish Independence we disagreed on (not the idea of it, just some of the details!)

      • BJ says:

        @Anna, can neither agree or disagree on independence. It is a difficult issue for me personally having lived half my life in Scotland and half in England. I have no problem in identifying as Scottish, British and European. If it came to it, at this stage in my life I would prefer a third way if it was possible because the status quo does not work. The only obvious third way is a federal state but England is simply too big relative to the other nations to make that work. It is all academic now anyway as independence is inevitable. Anybody living in Scotland who believes otherwise is deluded and anybody elsewhere who believes otherwise is misinformed. The younger generations want it by a very substantial margin which will only grow with time so I think we are best just to end the uncertainty and get on with it. Even though I am conflicted on the issue myself, I do not believe it is right for people my age and older to stand in the way of the overwhelming desire of our young folk. The economic arguments don’t interest me, I have always been convinced that Scotland can be a more prosperous nation outside the Union than it is within it.

        • BP says:

          It is far from inevitable. Young people grow up and change their mind. The economic facts matter. You and other independence supporters may try to dismiss the economic reality that the country would be bankrupt and EU membership will never happen.

          I’d be in favour of an Independent Scotland if it made us a more prosperous nation or even if we could stand on our own two feet. We can’t and therefore I’ll never support it.

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          Young people always rebel against status quo. House prices, jobs, inflation, immigration – they think they need change but have no idea how.

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