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The HfP chat thread – Friday 16th April

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (258)

  • Paul says:

    ….. I know this topic has been discussed on HFP but I would like to know where I stand on this:-
    May 2020 I booked an avios and companion voucher in F to BGI for April 2021 flight .
    Flight cancelled and I called ‘youfirst’ to try and rebook for Mar 2020.
    Agent told me she could only rebook before May2020 as my ticket is not valid after this date and offered an FTV or refund.
    Currently F tickets to the Carribean are as rare as Hens teeth so should I buy cash tickets and claim once I get BA’s final position on this or just take the refund.
    thanks 🙂

    • Jonathan says:

      I’m assuming there’s a couple of typos & you want March ‘22 but they won’t extend beyond May ‘21?

      If so then I think you’re in a very strong position especially if you’re asking for like for like ie. weekend Easter holiday flights. I don’t see how they can claim it’s reasonable to give you a window of a couple of weeks at short notice so you would win at CEDR/MCOL.

      I wouldn’t buy the replacement tickets until you have their final decision in writing though & when you do make sure they are flexible (ie. refundable). That will be a hefty outlay though which you may have to fund for a couple of months until the outcome of CEDR/MCOL. Do you have a 0% credit card or savings to cover it? Alternative is to find a travel agent who will let you book with only a small deposit up front.

      I could foresee cases where a judge/arbitrator wouldn’t find in favour of passenger for rebooking but this would be in cases where there was a decent amount of the 12 month ticket validity left (eg. You’d only booked in January) or the new dates weren’t comparable (eg. Swapping a Tuesday-Tuesday in September for a Saturday to Saturday at Xmas). This doesn’t apply to your case though.

    • Lady London says:

      I presume by 2020 in both cases you mean you are trying to book forward to 2022.

      IATA which governs almost every airline worldwide says a ticket validity is 355 days after issue. Usually issue is day you purchase if online. But actually some types of fare can be ticketed much later but airline systems are not geared up to sell those.

      IATA allows a ticket to be changed to allow flights more than 1 year after issue in the case of irrops. Cancellation of your flight by the airline would seem to count as this. IATA instructions are to endorse the ticket with “INVOL” which allows rerouting to a later date. Under EU261 you have the right to choose to be rerouted to a later date convenient to you not the airline.

      BA’s systems being as they seem, it would probably be simpler for BA to just issue you a new ticket. Airlines can and do, do this very easily when they want to.

      It’s perfectly reasonable IMV for a passenger to only be able to travel especially longhaul around a specific time of year (eg work holiday availability timing or number of days available) or for a particular public or private event that was the point of their trip and to not be able to do the trip again for a substantial while if the airline cancels what they had booked.

      Do not let them force you into a refund. FTV even worse unless the current carrot of a voucher extension is more important to you.

      I would advise:

      1. Call YouFirst (only) in main working hours and ask again nicely for the date you need to rebook your cancelled flight to.

      If you meet resistance explain the reasonable need in your situation to need that date. Be nice while you can.

      2. If you get nowhere look 4-5 days back on this thread (via blue link in last paragraph of this article above) and look for a post by Jonathan followed by one by me and a little later by one by meta(who sued BA and got paid).

      Follow Jonathan’s advice send a Letter Before Action to BA by a method you can prove was received and follow from there. The cost of the replacement booking you hold with Trailfinders or other decent travel agent if you don’t get satsfaction from BA in the 30 days you would give them in your LBA would be what? £10,000-£16,000? for a ticket type that can be held but not issued/paid for till nearer your flight date. You’d have to pay a booking fee meanwhile which as well as the flight price, you’d claim if you proceed to MCOL if they don’t sort it within 30 days in your LBA. Likely judged remote before you fly.

      • PaulH says:

        thanks so much Lady London – this is great advice… I will let you know how I get on

      • Mouse says:

        Can also go for CEDR to avoid having to pay out the cash for new flights upfront. And if CEDR fails MCOL is still open to you. Also only £25 at risk doing CEDR vs 4.5% of claim with MCOL.

        • Princess says:

          Lady London and Jonathan you keep giving so many good advice. You helped me few days ago to understand how MCOL works. I check the price for the tickets I should buy and 2 adults plus 2 kids would be more than £34000…I wondering if I should try CEDR instead? I feel anxious committing all that money for maybe 7/8 months.

  • Alan says:

    Hi, I am trying to pay my council tax bill via Paypoint but so far have been unable to find anywhere that will accept Amex (Plat).
    Can anyone tell me a location where it is accepted ideally central London or Croydon?

    • mark2 says:

      Coop finder for Croydon or anywhere
      https://www.coop.co.uk/store-finder/Croydon+UK

      • Alan says:

        I have tried the local Coop (in store post office) but no deal.
        To save trudging the streets of Croydon/London, I am hoping to find someone with an actual location where they have successfully made a payment.

        • Pete M says:

          Every Co-Op in Cricklewood or Swiss Cottage in London, for example. Unless things have very recently changed!

        • Genghis says:

          When you say “no deal”, what do you mean exactly?

        • mark2 says:

          post office is not PayPoint. Just go to normal till.

          • Alan says:

            Thanks, I will give that a try tomorrow and head off to Swiss cottage if no luck at the local store.

        • Kevin says:

          Coop around East Croydon are working.

        • Jonny says:

          Each of the five London standalone CoOp stores with grey and turquoise branding I’ve tried has worked. The bright green-branded (Southern Cooperative?) stores have not.

  • Gavin says:

    Anyone having trouble enroling for hotel status on the Amex Platinum website? It’s not been working for the past week for me since I opened the account (enrolment page won’t load). Tried different browsers and my phone so I don’t think it’s an issue on my end.

    • PaulH says:

      use the ‘chat’ – they will set it up for you no time

    • Peter K says:

      I had this issue back end of march so gave up. I think someone else said they had to ring.

    • James says:

      It’s been down for at least a month. Great service for an almost £600 a year card.

      • kitten says:

        …or is there some “maintenance” afoot?…good or bad

      • Ste Cox says:

        Same, i tried to get my OH’s card enrolled for Shangri-la before it got removed and the page kept saying the card had no benefits that need enrolling (same for my card now but thankfully I am already signed up on mine for everything), the odd time it did load the sign-ups didnt work, just kept getting errors. In the end I gave up since we travel together 95% of the time.

    • Alan says:

      As advised use chat. Give them your membership numbers (you need to have signed up first) and they will sort it for you.

    • Benilyn says:

      So the link does work. You just have to keep hammering it (the refresh), logging out/in after a few mins etc, and eventually works. Bit annoying… I did it today, took about 3 mins, and did it few days ago took 1 min of doing this.

  • AndyW says:

    Sorry for the probably obvious question to many, but can’t find it clearly answered. If I book an avios redemption on American, are the cancellation terms (24 hours and £35) the same as BA

  • Crafty says:

    Nectar really did blow their budget early, didn’t they… this week I’m down to 3 offers, totalling 60 points (30p).

    • John Wallace says:

      + 1. Had great offers every week . This week , one offer , triple points on £70 shop

  • Blindman says:

    Having finally got Mrs B’s Virgin account open she wouldl ike to switch to this M Plus account from her Halifax.

    She want the miles NOT the wine

    Anyone got a link to where this can be done from the web?
    I’ve only found one for wine

    Cheers

  • Lady London says:

    Do please let us know how that one turns out @Toppcat

    • Lady London says:

      Wow. Above was Reply to Toppcat on previous page. Not even 10 seconds typing it and Wordpresz lost the link to the post being replied to.

      • Toppcat says:

        Will do! The CEDR process has taken longer than expected…. Thanks again for all the help at the time.

  • Ali says:

    Received a letter in the post from Lloyds advising that I withdraw the money from my current account before 26th April because they are closing my bank account, on suspicion of fraud.

    They have cited opening and closing of multiple current accounts recently as a reason. I did this based on the advice received on HfP, to benefit from various switch incentives going around at the moment. They have not allowed me to switch my main account out, so I will have to go through the painful process of setting up all the direct debits again.

    Lloyds is my main and oldest account back from my uni days, and I can’t see it being closed down. They haven’t cited any appeal process in the letter, but can I go to MCOL/FOS or some sort of arbitration to get my main account back?

    • Andrew says:

      Have you opened and closed multiple LBG accounts?

    • kitten says:

      Raise a complaint using their process then FOS if you dont get satisfaction.

      Make sure you’ve got specifics as to what specifics they are basing this on.

      Also take a good look at the small print of the terms and conditions of your account to make sure they’re not basing their actions on terms that aren’t there or that you’ve not had due notice of, applying.

    • KBuffett says:

      I don’t see what MCOL has to do with it. And I’m not convinced that you received ‘advice’ from HfP. There a lots of ‘comments’ stating that money laundering checks are an important matter and one should refrain from raising any suspicion to this.

      They don’t have to do business with you, and I suspect you’ve caused yourself a bit of a problem based on the description of ‘opening and closing multiple current accounts.

      • Genghis says:

        How many is multiple? Not sure opening multiple accounts at the same bank to then switch away has ever been advice made in a comment on HfP.

        • James says:

          To be fair I’ve seem this advice given quite frequently here for switch incentives, most recently with the Barclays Premier offer and people recommending opening of additional accounts with existing bank or Monzo often a suggestion, to then use to meet the switch offer terms.

    • Blindman says:

      I’ve been switching bank accounts for years and never had a problem.

      Something you’re not telling us?

      • Number9 says:

        If they suspect fraud why haven’t they put a freeze on your account straight away, why wait till April 26th if they suspect fraud?

        • Ali says:

          I agree a freeze would have been better and would have given me a chance to defend myself.

      • Ali says:

        I have laid down all the facts. Haven’t done anything else with the account.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      How many Lloyds accounts did you open them switch?

      Poor business relationship perhaps but where’s the fraud?

      • Ali says:

        3 accounts which were switched to HSBC, Virgin and FD.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          All in a short space of time?

        • Doug M says:

          That has a cost to Lloyds. Why would they care for you as a customer?

        • Anna says:

          It seems very odd that they would mention fraud simply because you’ve been switching accounts. Are you sure the letter is really from Lloyds?!

        • AndyW says:

          Opening three accounts and switching at the same time is always going to flag up.

        • Anuj says:

          The problem here seems to be you opened multiple accounts with the same bank at once to switch away. If you switched one account from Lloyds to HSBC to Virgin to FD you’d be fine.

    • memesweeper says:

      My bank tells me on the splash screen of the cash machine they will NEVER contact me and advise me to move my money — it’s likely scammer behaviour. I’d be horrified if a high street bank actually did this, and on that basis alone is worthy of a complaint.

      It’s also odd that fraud is mentioned explicitly. Banks typically provide no reasons for account closure.

      If you’ve destroyed a relationship with an institution you valued by constantly opening and closing/switching accounts that’s not a basis for complaint IMO.

      • Ali says:

        @Anna and Memesweeper – I think it is a genuine letter because it has my current account details and the letter is printed on official letterhead of Lloyds Bank.

        I know it sounds strange that they have told me to withdraw the money and empty the account before closure. But they have warned me that if I don’t empty the account, they will send me a cheque in the post for the balance in my account. Surely that can’t be a scam?

        • Steve says:

          Intrigued by this. So Lloyds is your main bank. You opened additional bank accounts with Lloyds, which you then switched out of to other banks, but kept your main Lloyds account going? And now they don’t want your business?

          Whatever you do don’t call the number on the letter, easy to fake a letter head. If you do plan to call them, call the number on the back of your debit card.

          • bafan says:

            +1 Steve.

          • Lady London says:

            Go in and see them on Monday take the letter with you. Follow the is this a scam I’m so worried angle. Point out friends in finance have advised you over the weekend this is a scam because banking industry standards are that no bank would write to a customer telling them to move money and threatening to close your account without asking you to contact them first.

            If it turns out that opening and closing 3 extra accounts has pixelled them off then in shock and innocence say you’ve been with Ll.ds all your life since uni, and you wanted to try out a couple of other banks so as not to have all your eggs in one basket. If they say, admit it also seemed a good idea as there were incentives be quite open about that but you have always regarded them as your main bank (if your salary hits their account first) or you never intended to change from them hence the extra accounts. Make it clear as the conversation develops that you may have overegged it but made an innocent mistake(s). You haven’t decided which of the others you will keep but obviously won’t end up being all of them.

            I would suggest you dump the V one as soon as practicable – you can call it rationalisation of your accts after a review if you have to – if this thing with Ll is genuine. HSBC and FD are the same company so you might have to choose there too as just one will give you an HSBC credit profile in the future. If you’re aiming for their top account and card with its benefits or got it already personally I’d sway towards that one even though FD service is better.

            Your aim here if it’s genuine is to avoid the premature shortening of your main banking relationship to give you time to build another one just in case. More importantly to avoid any nasty markers on your external credit files which could have nasty effects on not just accounts and cards but potentially insurance (even car insurance) and a surprising number of companies and institutions that might employ you.

            So try and make nice if this is real, let your mistakes be explained to you, accept with shock and embarrassment and make it clear you are very regretful (whatever you think about their cheek etc.) and see if they will give you another chance if you promise good behaviour. You really really don’t want an account closed on you especially by a major UK clearing bank.

            If it’s real & they won’t budge then ask sorrowfully about their appeals process. [This is for the sake of yr external credit files.] Behave 2yrs, close.

        • Steve says:

          The way to do this if you really wanted to is to have one account used for the “game”. E.g. switch to HSBC. Stay a while. Then switch that HSBC account to Virgin. Stay a while. Then switch that Virgin account to FD. Stay a while. Then switch that FD account to Halifax… So on and so forth. Not open 3 accounts with one bank and then switch them all out to 3 other banks.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      “Lloyds is my main and oldest account back from my uni days, and I can’t see it being closed down.” Well that’s exactly what you are seeing. If you repeatedly open accounts with Lloyds (presumably the most expensive and admin-intensive part of banking for them thhat earns no revenue) then, very quickly switch them away to other accounts, (further Lloyds admin for no gain), then it’s perfectly obvious what you are up to. I believe the technical name for this is “taking the piss”.
      If nobody notices and you get away with it then good for you, but it seems quite reasonable for Lloyds to not want you as a customer when they are losing a lot of money on your business. It’s not the law that they have to provide you a service, so good luck complaining about that; I wouldn’t waste my time. Plenty of other banks are available… (This may seem judgemental but it’s not, I’ve been refused further service at various types of business for not too dissimilar behaviour; although I didn’t use companies I wanted to keep on good terms with, could fully understand why I was booted, and didn’t give it a second thought; just moved on).

      • Venturelog says:

        I’m more interested to know who or where on HFP advised to open 3 accounts to use to switch over

        • Rob says:

          Will have been in the comments …. nothing to do with ‘above the line’!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I don’t think anyone would have suggest opening 3 more current accounts and switching them all in a short space of time

          • Anuj says:

            Yeah I have never seen hat advised on any money or financial website ever. It’s always open *one* account and move keep switching that account to the next bank. Opening three then switching them all at the same time is just asking for trouble. Although I think calling it fraud is just them trying to scare you.

    • Mo says:

      Afaik, very unlikely you will be able to do anything as they are not obligated you provide you services. There are usually no appeal processes for account closures like this and if you do complain they will (from my experience) just give you a deadlock letter straight away for you to take it up with the ombudsman etc.

      I have had this twice before, once very recently. My first account was closed for a pretty large amount of MS compared to my income (was a student at the time and it was a student account).
      Not actually sure why the 2nd account was closed, it was done very recently but I think it may have been to do with quite a few large transfers to family, sometimes my parents give me cash and get me to transfer money to relatives etc.

      Neither accounts were with Lloyd’s but honestly I would move your money out ASAP, I don’t know their process but better to move it now than it be held up while they do loads of checks.

      • Mo says:

        Oh and I echo the previous statements about checking with CIFAS to see if you have any markers. You probably shouldn’t but since they’ve said they’ve suspected fraud I’d check (both my account closures they just said they had closed my account and were not going to give any further info)

        Lastly, do not under any circumstances irritate any of Lloyd’s staff when you speak to them, if they are rude, just take it with a smile and be polite. I have seen stories online (very recently, just searched after my 2nd closure) where banks that have closed accounts have then contacted the persons other banks and said they’ve suspected fraud which has lead to blocks on those accounts and all manner of extra checks.

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