Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 23rd February

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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 (329)

  • Jody says:

    Is it still worth trying the easyJet ‘trick’ of buying cheap flights to a country you want and hoping they get cancelled? Still looks like there are loads of flights to various places in Spain that haven’t been cancelled for April/May, but presumably they will be if they’re not looking at re-starting international travel until 17th May at the earliest?

    • Matthew says:

      Did this again this week! Worked 2 out of 2 times. Some flights will still run like UK domestics and the odd European like Geneva and Amsterdam. So be careful what you choose but you can always move 14 days before anyway if no luck.

      Note that they have now released flights upto 31 May 2022.

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      they could change their policy too? Maybe safest to use correct airports??

      • Jody says:

        That’s true. I’ve just tried it with some Alicante flights that I’ve booked for early May in the hope they’ll be cancelled. If they’re not I’ll just move them, would be quite happy to go there for a long weekend if it’s worst case scenario, best case is I can move them to anywhere in Spain for any time I like.

    • TomD says:

      What is the rationale / reason behind this ‘trick’ of buying cheap flights and hoping they get cancelled? Insurance?

      • Anna says:

        If cancelled they can be moved at no extra charge to a later, more expensive date.

      • Jody says:

        You can change your flight for no extra charge to any airport in your destination country, and for any time. People are thinking about booking cheap flights in the hope they get cancelled, then moving them to peak times.

      • Rob says:

        You can move to a super-expensive week in the future for free. Book Salzburg now, see it cancelled, move to Feb half-term next year when it is £500 per person.

        • Alan says:

          London Salzburg flights now only showing from Nov 21 onwards

          Maybe they saw your post

          • Matthew says:

            Just book anywhere in Austria as the current rules allow you to change to any airport in the same country on any available date, as long as your original booking is cancelled.

  • Reney says:

    Morning all,

    When VS has its redemption offer back in Nov(?) I booked a return to HKG using one of my credit card vouchers. The flight hasn’t been cancelled yet, but it looks like we won’t be travelling. What have the experiences been with getting the booking moved to later in the year? I guess I would lose some admin fee if I cancelled, but given the offer was so good and we will need to make that trip at some point I rather push back the trip then cancel altogether. Thanks.

  • Ed says:

    Hi,

    I need to empty out my MR balance and I’m tempted to move them to Singapore.

    Does anyone have experience redeeming for LON – Middle East? I’ve read Rob’s article that hints at this ‘sweet spot’ but does anyone have experience with redeeming on Turkish?

    Looking at the Singapore Star Alliance award chart it seems to be cheaper to redeem LHR-IST-DXB on Turkish than to redeem LHR-MUC on Lufthansa? Thanks.

    • Milelionaire says:

      It’s fairly easy to do – definitely far cheaper miles wise, and the taxes on Turkish are lower than LH via MUC for some reason. Only thing is you will likely have to call as Turkish availability on the website is quite hit and miss.

  • SimonP says:

    I apologise in advance, as I am pretty sure that this fundamental question has been dealt with before but I do not know where to find the answer.
    I have Avios BA Amex 241 flights in Business to LAX departing 14th May (return 11th June). Given the “road map” of 17 May (at the earliest) (a) is it likely that BA will cancel? (b) or can I just amend the flight until, say, October, and if so how should I go about it (c) will the latter option cost me cash/Avios etc? Anything else I should know/do? Thanks in advance, as I know many of you out there are experts in this and bored with giving the same answer repeatedly!

    • AJA says:

      (a) If BA cancel it will be much closer to the flight. Have you tried booking the same flight number on an earlier date? That will give you an indication if yours is likely to be cancelled. It also depends if the flight is used for cargo.
      (b) All Avios flights can be amended by paying the per passenger change fee. So if you prefer to do that you can. It will require Avios availability. Alternatively wait for BA to cancel and then you can move for free up to one year from initial ticket issue date.
      (c) yes it will cost you if you voluntarily make the changes. If BA cancels then changes will be for free.

    • Louise K says:

      At least one of the LHR/LAX rotations is going daily – the 16:10 LHR departure.

      I was booked for April on the 09:55 departure, that was cancelled before Christmas, they rebooked me on the 11:40 departure and that was cancelled at the weekend.

      Travel dates were the 7th to 28th April so that should give you an idea of the timeframe.

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    I’m sure I read on here a few days ago someone said you can redeem a VA credit card upgrade voucher for a lounge access pass to virgin lounges. Anyone have a link to the info as cannot find anything on this.

    • Jonathan says:

      I think with the virgin vouchers issued by their credit cards, you have to call them

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        So truth in the matter that you can redeem a voucher for lounge access?

        • Alex D says:

          From the virgin+ card review

          After spending £10,000 in a card membership year, you will receive your choice of:

          A 2-4-1 voucher, valid for two years, for a Virgin Flying Club redemption in Upper Class, Premium or Economy

          —— A Virgin Clubhouse lounge pass (requires a same-day Virgin Atlantic, Delta, KLM or Air France flight)—–

          A return upgrade – on either a cash or miles ticket – from Premium to Upper Class, or from Economy Delight/Classic to Premium (requires reward availability in the higher class)

          It is possible, seems like poor value though so not sure why you’d want to do it

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Many thanks for that info. So only the VA plus card voucher has that option I take it as I’m on the free version?

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            I was hoping there wouldn’t be the condition of having to be flying VA or alliance partners but we all live in hope.

  • MinR says:

    BMW Finance –

    Tried making my first payment via the automated payment service, and when I input Amex card details, it says ‘…card type not accepted. Please choose an alternative card’.

    Currently on-hold waiting to speak to an advisor but anyone else managed to successfully pay with Amex?

    • Anna says:

      People on here have said they have done it. Let us know how you get on as I am getting a BMW in April on the understanding that they take Amex!

    • Anna says:

      Mind you, how much are you trying to pay? Apparently you can only pay £1k in one go.

      • MinR says:

        It was just under £500.

        I’ve just spoken to an advisor, and she mentioned that they currently can’t accept ANY credit card due to the WFH situation. TGLoyalty mentioned that the automated payment system would still accept it, only the advisors wouldn’t over the phone.

        I have pointed out to them that their website doesn’t state that credit card payments are temporarily suspended. She will follow it up with a manager and send me an email to confirm.

        In the meantime, I was able to make the monthly payment using Curve Metal via the automated payment service.

        • Anna says:

          Why can they still take debit card payments but not credit card? Also an automated payment system shouldn’t be affected by WFH!

          • MinR says:

            Exactly – she wasn’t entirely sure about either, so I asked her to follow it up via email, and their website should be updated to reflect the change.

          • Allan says:

            Has been the case since first lockdown that they refuse to take cards due to all being at home and “security issues”.

      • BJ says:

        Buy you next car sometime you’re in Edinburgh.

    • Dace says:

      Is there some sort of deal with BMW at the moment?

  • Jonny says:

    Was due to fly to Barbados in April on an Avios booking with 2-4-1. BA have today cancelled this flight. Rang them up to re-schedule at Xmas and they have stated that because there is no Avios seat availability in December then they can’t rebook. I asked if they can open up 2x seats on the requested flight and they said they can’t do that. I explained that they had done exactly that on another booking (to Johannesburg) and the guy said that they have changed their policy, or rather they have reverted back to their non-enhanced policy. I asked them when this had happened and he said he didn’t have that information. I tried calling again and spoke to a different call centre person but they stuck to the same story as the first person. Am I being fobbed off here, or has anyone else experienced this recently? Any thoughts on how to progress?

    • Anna says:

      You’re being fobbed off. You are entitled to re-routing at a later date under EU261 regardless of avios availability and this trumps BA’s “policies”. Sounds like you might have a bit of a fight on your hands though, that’s obviously the latest script that CSA’s are working from!

      • Jonny says:

        EU261 still applies to BA even after Brexit?

        • Anna says:

          As stated many times here, much EU law, including EU261, has been converted into UK law and is completely unaffected by Brexit!

          • Jonny says:

            Many thanks. Going to call BA now and try referencing EU261.

          • Anna says:

            Don’t be surprised if they maintain that BA’s policy is not to fulfill their legal obligations (not in so many words). They are clearly trained to do this until you want to bang your head against the wall, smash the phone and shout, “I read HFP!”

      • Rob says:

        This is not tested in court AFAIK. EU261 says you can move to a date of your ‘convenience’. It doesn’t say you have carte blanche to pick the most uber-premium week of the year and demand that BA books you in.

        The ‘convenience’ wording was meant to stop BA booking you at 3am on a Tuesday when your kids are at school and you want 10am on a Saturday.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Are you BA Gold?

      • Jonny says:

        No. Not BA Gold. Was Silver but was downgraded due to all my last years flights being cancelled. I appreciate that picking a “prime” travel time could be a bit cheeky but the CSA simply said that they would allow me to change to any flight within 14x days of the original flight or any other time that had Avios seat availability. So the issue was not the specific dates, but the Avios seat availability, which HfP suggests is not relevant to the EU261 re-routing. I tried to call BA earlier but no answer after 60 minutes. Guess everyone is busy trying to re-book flights following Boris’ announcement. Will try again later.

        • Paul says:

          Ask what cancellation code has been put against the flight. If CRN then you have a year from booking date. If not then you have 14 days. This info cam from BA CSA around 5 days ago.

          • Jonny says:

            Thanks Paul. I’ll check when I get back through to them. The original flight booking was for 20th April 2021, so being able to rebook on any flight up to the 4th May 2021 is absolutely pointless given lockdown situation won’t have changed.

  • Ed says:

    Hi all – I see a lot of posters on the daily chat threads talking about using Bendy to pay Ernie. Having finally sussed out what this means, I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile given Amex isn’t supported. What value are people getting from this? Flying Club points?

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