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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 22nd May

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Comments (289)

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  • AndyW says:

    Any travel insurance companies that would cover inability to travel if a green country turns Amber? Feels like a long shot but as with anything you would think there would be a market, just at a very high price.

    • Travel Strong says:

      It’s not a long shot – standard policies often cover this (for example: bookings made when FCDO advice was all okay, and later in the FCDO advice changes to ‘all but essential’). Though “Amber’ and ‘FCDO advice’ are not always the same thing, FCDO wording for the country/region is more important than colour.
      I’ve has the AXA Amex platinum policy pay out for these circumstances over the past year.

      • AndyW says:

        This used to be standard, I agree. New policies typically now have wording that they will not cover ‘Costs because the FCDO or public authorities have imposed travel restrictions or a lockdown’ or the like. I have looked around and struggling to find anything, just wondering if people had better luck.

        • Magarathea says:

          FCDO webpage for Spain says both “To prevent new COVID variants from entering the UK, you should not travel to amber or red list countries.” and “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. Clear as mud! So is it ok to go to the Canary islands at the moment? I am not sure where it says “FCDO wording for the country/region is more important than colour” as quoted by @Travel Strong and I genuinely don’t know the answer. Lots of the travel companies seem to have decided to ignore the “do not travel to amber countries” message and are only taking account of the stated travel advice line of “THE FCDO advises……”. I asked my travel insurer, Insure & Go, if I was covered for a package holiday to an Amber country, I booked a long time ago for August 2021. They responded with “If the FCDO / Government advise against all but essential travel” then “this would invalidate all sections of the insurance”. Does this mean I am uninsured and is this likely to apply to lots of other standard insurance policies? Does this mean that anyone travelling to an Amber country and without specialist insurance is not covered?

    • Jody says:

      I haven’t got time to read all the ins and out, but perhaps check out the small print with Cover For You? I’ve just taken out a policy with them for our UK coastal cruises this summer, and they seem to be covering a lot of stuff (e.g you are covered for amber and red countries for all reasons if you are going for essential travel, if you’re going for non essential travel you are covered for everything except coronavirus). Couldn’t see anything specific when I quickly looked about changing from green to amber, but I think they have a live chat? And they were very prompt responding to my emails.

      • WaynedP says:

        Be interested to hear your experience with MSC, Jody.

        We’re booked for late June.

        • Jody says:

          No problem. We board in 6 days, can’t wait! Been following posts from the first cruise, it looks fantastic.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      TrailFinders will refund your holiday package if it goes from green to amber.

  • KBuffett says:

    Does anyone have a David Lloyd membership? I’ve had one for years and just want to know if they do retention offers etc? I think they charge differing fees depending on location, is there an arbitrage opportunity with membership levels that allow you to use any club?

    • Amy Carpenter says:

      Premium membership as I have allows you to use any club. I’ve not heard of anyone getting retention offers. I will be trying for this in July though when my year is up.

    • Bazza says:

      Best deal you can get is friends and family membership. Mine is currently £85 per month after about 6 or 7 years. And my club is one with a Spa which i think they charge more for. The Premier membership for that same deal is about £10 more per month.

    • Blindman says:

      They may give you a discount if you pay the full membership in one go.

      There was an offer for this a month or so back.
      10% off and only 10 months fee for 12 months membership.

      • Degsy says:

        Yes, you get a discount paying one year all up front. Plus you get to ‘lock in’ at the current year’s rates.

    • Degsy says:

      I’d be really surprised if DL do retention offers, I’ve never heard of them being offered. Plus there seems no shortage of new post-lockdown demand right now (certainly at my club), so I imagine they wouldn’t be too bothered. You can only ask though.
      I’ve always found DL’s pricing to be very opaque – something they don’t really tend to publish as far as I can tell.
      And yes, some levels of membership do allow access to any club.

    • Lady London says:

      It’s a plc isn’t it? are there any shareholders’ deals?

  • Joe says:

    Eurofins out of stock of tests …. just as I was about to order!

    • Joe says:

      Although looking at some of the reviews, I might not have bothered anyway!

  • Michael says:

    Hi, back in December 2020, I booked 4 business class flight for London Singapore one way using Avios and 2x voucher in August 2021 (hoping things will be back to normal). My flight got cancelled by BA and i have been rebooked into another flight in August. As Singapore now impose 21 day quarantine, my preference is to change the date into 2022. However when I tried to change the date in BA website, it limits to a period of up to 14 days from my original dates. All other dates are then blocked. Is this the official BA policy or will I be able to select another date if I call the helpdesk? Also, if I choose the refund option, will I have to pay the £35 cancellation surcharge?

    • Rob says:

      Unless BA cancels your flight (and wait until the last minute to act in case it does) you have no rights. You need to pay the £35 or take a Future Travel Voucher.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks Rob. BA has already cancelled my flight and moved it to another flight on the same date, so based on your respond I assume I can get a refund for free? My other question is BA also allow me to change to another date for free but the choice of date is limited to within 14 days of the original booking, is it the official policy?

        • Michael says:

          Actually I remember clearly I had a cash booking from London to France in March 2021 which got cancelled and I was allowed to rebook it to December 2021 for free. So not sure why I can’t change my Singapore booking to much later than 14 days from my original date.

          • Sam G says:

            If you call in you’d be able to change it to a date up to one year from booking date (without needing availability) or get a full refund no fees

            There are some other comments here today about using MCOL to force a rebooking for a date of your choice in 2022

        • Rob says:

          They’ve moved you to an alternative flight so no reason they need to do more. Take the full free refund.

          • Sam G says:

            the EU law is I believe something like “rerouting at a later date at your convenience under comparable conditions, subject to the availability of seats” which seems to give room to insist to be rebooked on any available date, whereas BA will only rebook under their COVID guideline up until 1 year from the date you originally booked. So some are planning to rebook themselves onto new dates in 2022 & take BA to MCOL for the difference.

            But to be honest @Michael if you are a tourist then Singapore has been very clear that their border policy and domestic restrictions around late night drinking, hotel capacities etc will not return to normal for a long time to come, so won’t be much fun for a holiday. Currently they aren’t even allowing most work pass holders to return to Singapore to quarantine and are teetering on the edge of a full lockdown due to domestic *cases* reaching ~30 per day. Personally I’d take the refund now and make a new plan elsewhere for 2021/2022 !

          • Michael says:

            Just called the helpdesk and he quote me the 14 days limitation as part of Conditions Of Carriage although I can’t really find it in my ticket. Basically as long as there are business class seats availability in the next 14 days I can rebook for free. Longer than that, I will have to find Avios availability. I will go for the refund option instead.

          • Lady London says:

            Incorrect Rob. If it’s really Rob writing. You know far better than that 🙂

            If your flight number changed even to another on the same day then EU261 specifically states this counts as a cancellation. This gives full cancellation rights under EU/UK261. So correct you can choose a convenient later date at no extra charge.

            Sometimes BA’s systems do not give you all the rights the law does.so make a polite call and request your preferred rerouting date. If it was an avios booking they cannot insist on rebooking you only if avios seat available : check before you call if seats are being sold in your same cabin for cash. If the airline cancelled you then you do indeed have a right to be rebooked into those seats.

            Prepare, be nice, come back or HUACA in core hours/days (best) if you get an agent trying to restrict you to less or charge you anything more.

            Let us know how you get on.

          • Rob says:

            But what’s the point? It’s not a 50% off Avios ticket. Rebooking won’t be a problem. He gets the cash, Avios and voucher back in the bank. Why start arbitration proceedings against BA for something that is unnecessary?

          • Lady London says:

            Michael their conditions of carriage are overridden by EU261 rights. Even if valid you are supposed to have been made aware of them at time of purchase. It does not matter what terms and conditions, rules, practices, systems to do ( or not able to do), preferences an airline might have and even if you were aware of them they are *not* valid if EU261 says different as EU261 is a higher level of law that supersedes them.

            Plenty of people on here have sorted BA out on this and got their rights. It’s covered at least every second day here. Look for posts by lots of people but particularly Jonathan, meta, memesweeper, me.

          • Lady London says:

            Rob you know better than this.

            Reasons for rebooking a later date include

            Because you want to travel at a later date, without any extra charge, even if no avios seats available and even if would be or become a more expensive flight

            (2) you think your destination has enough chance of being open on your new date

            (3) you have no reason to need to take an FTV in order to be able to use a voucher such as a 241 voucher until end April 2023 that would otherwise expire.

            etc

          • Lady London says:

            PS not sure how hard SIN seats are to find on avios but I would guess not super-easy.

            If you rebooked later using avios and/or cash then prices, BA’s additional charges, avios required in future can be much higher as well.

  • Backpacker says:

    Marriott Langley Hotel – Good pubs nearby?

    Hi all, staying a couple of days here, I remember people had some good recommendations a long time ago as to some good pubs and tea rooms near the property, hopefully within walking distance?
    All suggestions appreciated!

    • SteveJ says:

      Depends on your definition of walking distance, most pubs are over 30-40 mins walk away. Closest are Crooked Billet (average) and Red Lion (Better)

    • Rob says:

      Decent cafe in the park a few minutes walk away, even does breakfast.

    • babyg_wc says:

      If you have the grand suite for the day why leave.. lots of rooms to drink in…

  • Aston100 says:

    Amex Travel Offer (Spend £200, get £50 back).
    The terms state “Book and pay by the offer end date.” and “Spend must be billed to your Card account by 31/5/2021, to be eligible for this offer.”

    I’ve got an Amex Travel car hire purchase of over £200 showing as pending. It has been this way for some time. Does this qualify?

    • The Original Nick. says:

      Call them and ask if they can take the payment now.I’ve done this with hotels so it might work.

      • Aston100 says:

        I called Amex Travel but they won’t do it.
        However, the normal Amex people have assured me they will manually override and apply the £50 statement credit if it doesn’t come through in June.

    • Tariq says:

      Same – was pending for about 4/5 days and then billed a couple of days ago and the credit appeared same time.

  • ThePrince says:

    Quick question, wondering if anyone here can help (aware it’s a Saturday with possibly less traffic!). I’ve got the Capital on Tap card and want to get Curve Metal to pay HMRC (VAT and corporation tax) to activate the bonus, but these will take me above my Curve and/or Capital on Tap limits so I’ll need several transactions to do them. Is there any issues doing this – my research so far hasn’t uncovered very much!

    • Rob says:

      COT seems to be blocking Curve looking at reader reports this week. You may want to ask COT support first before paying for Metal.

      • John says:

        Don’t know how many reports you have seen but I have paid HMRC via Curve Metal via COT £4500 every day this week (Sunday to Friday) with no issue

        • Jonny says:

          I’ve also just paid HMRC via Curve Metal via CoT. No problem.

          • Rob says:

            Odd. A reader sent me an email from COT last week saying it was no longer possible! Seemed a bit odd given that no-one else had questioned it.

          • ThePrince says:

            Thanks for the insights. On balance seems to be worth giving it a try.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        +1 that multiple transactions work fine with no issue. I’m also using COT as an all purpose biz card with the variety of supplier spending you’d expect, though it might (I’m purely speculating here based on some other things COT have done) piss them off if you ONLY use it for bendy taxman purposes.

  • Laura says:

    Hello!

    My Park Plaza shenanigans continue.

    Booked Waterloo under the £89 offer a few months.
    That’s closed this weekend so we got moved to Westminster Bridge.

    Just checked in and we’ve been given a complimentary upgrade to a King Studio yay.

    However the pool is already solidly booked until tomorrow afternoon. We can have a late checkout for £10/hr and use it tomorrow afternoon.

    I guess we should have expected it with covid restrictions, but does seem a bit unfair that we’ve check in three hours early and still no availability.
    The pool was part of what persuaded me to book in the first place, rather than somewhere else!

    • Genghis says:

      Negotiate a free late check out.

      • Lady London says:

        +1. not your fault if the amenity you specifically chose hotel for originally is n/ a and you’ve been messed around having to switch hotel so they should comp you late checkout to use it.

    • Tariq says:

      Really annoying situation. I usually try and contact hotels in advance to find out about booking breakfast and pool slots before arrival as got stung by this last summer.

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