Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 12th June

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We are running 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 (279)

  • Tiger says:

    Since Memesweeper is asking for bed and mattress recommendations, I thought I would jump the gun and ask for some duvet recommendations. 😉

    We are looking for a duvet which isn’t too warm, so a tog value between 7.5 to 10 would be perfect. Any recommendations?

    • SimonP says:

      A nice silk duvet is very comfortable. You can get a couple of different togs to add together so you have summer and winter and in between.

    • Andrew says:

      7.5-10 tog in the summer!

      I’m already down to 1 tog.

    • KBuffett says:

      Bedeck home used to do well priced and good quality stuff. I prefer down only (no feathers)

    • Tiger says:

      Missus has asked me to check if Silentnight Duvets are any good. Thoughts?

      • Nick says:

        I have the John Lewis one that’s really two with poppers so you can join them together. Both together in winter, the thinner one on its own in summer, the thicker one for a few weeks in autumn. Would definitely recommend, though if you’re other half is a Carrie I suppose JL is out of the question now.

    • Harry T says:

      I would recommend the comfortably cool 1 Tog duvet from M&S.

    • David says:

      Look at Brinkhaus for bedding. Had a two part duvet from them for years (can be combined/split for winter/summer); very pleased.
      Have had a Vi‐Spring mattress for same length of time, very pleased with that.

      • David says:

        Pressed send too soon. To add: bought mattress after stay at a Hotel du Vin many years ago and has such a comfortable and good night’s sleep that striped the bed back to find out who made it.

  • MCO says:

    Would you guys book Jet 2 flights for July 1st or 2nd week. Don’t think they have flown much this year from NCL? They keep cancelling their schedules. They have some great rates and saves the trip down to LHR to connect.

    • Anna says:

      How flexible are they? My friend booked Jet2 to Faro for August some months ago and told me at the time there was definitely an option to change or cancel. don’t know if this is still the case. Jet2 are very well thought of in these parts.

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      I wouldn’t bother trying to plan with Jet2 tbh they cancelled on our friends last year with 5 days notice and seem trigger happy cancelling. Ryanair followed by EasyJet in my experience are better bets. Look at the booking calendar for both to see which rotations are operating in the weeks before you intend traveling. That will be a good guide as to what they may scale the service back too

      • Hbommie says:

        There’s an issue with Ryanair not cancelling flights when needing a late change of plans. Change fees are applied within 7 days of the flight. I’d rather have Jet2 cancelling and reimbursing the cost.

    • Sam G says:

      They’ve currently cancelled everything and I wouldn’t be too hopeful of much running in the early part of July personally. I’ve got a flight booked in Sept (they’re the only airline going where I need that day) but I’m already making a plan B with Ryanair who are operating a lot of flights on a stable basis

    • Rich says:

      Jet2 had a very good reputation last summer for treating customers well.

      • Anna says:

        Yes, a lot of people use them to fly from MAN due to the lack of choice (the other options are easyJet and Ryanair, bascially), and everyone I know who had to cancel holidays last summer got a prompt refund or their holiday moved to a later date (and then refunded if that was also cancelled!)

    • Richie says:

      Let’s not forget we have to thank Mr Huzar for fighting Jet2 after his cancellation from Alicante.

  • John says:

    Stayed at Doubletree Swindon (on the M4), seemed to be very full, air con in room was excellent, bathroom a bit crap, no diamond benefits other than breakfast and waived parking charge (£3). Breakfast hot items served from buffet by staff, but serve yourself everything else; range of food was limited to maybe half of what an average DT offered pre-covid. Impressed with dinner and drinks in the same restaurant / bar though.

    • Lou says:

      I do see they have very competitively priced rooms, but I’m at a lots at what to do in that part of the county. Any things to see and do in that neck of the woods?

      • Sandra says:

        Bath and Cotswolds all easy drives out from there

        • Sandra says:

          Stonehenge not that far either!

        • Lou says:

          I’ve got a booking for Cheltenham later on in the year for the Cotswolds. Bath is an interesting proposition however

          • Yorkshire rich says:

            Just visited bath yesterday. Currently staying at the DT Bristol as it was considerably cheaper and got the short train journey there and back.

          • SteveJ says:

            DT Cheltenham not air conditioned which I only realised when someone mentioned on here. That changed my summer plans as can’t be staying in a stifling hotel in August. Might give it a go in Autumn months.

      • Andrew says:

        Swindon is considerably cheaper than Bicester.

  • Mike says:

    Anyone had Revolut top-ups treated as cash advances with HSBC WE card recently? I’ve never had these post as a cash advance. Until this month. Looking for collective wisdom here – and warning folks as well.

    • FM says:

      Think this has been happening to me for over a year, they applied a few retrospectively as well, which was quite frustrating. Fortunately small amounts though

    • Sam G says:

      HSBC are very sensitive to revolut , wouldn’t mess around with this. I had a big review & fortunately had actually been exchanging the £ into foreign currency so “legit” but they told me they’d prefer I didn’t do it from my CC & may terminate the account if I did it again

      • Imran says:

        +1 I also barely managed to save my Premier relationship after an account review due to excessive Che top-ups.

        • mr_jetlag says:

          what counts as excessive?

          • Jonathan says:

            You might get away with a few thousand a month for a short while but the issue will be when they review you, can you show it was for bona fide purposes like holiday spend or is it going round in circles/paying off Brighton.

            Basically don’t play games at all with HSBC if you value your relationship with them.

          • Jonathan says:

            What one person gets away with is also not indicative of what anyone else will.

    • Mike says:

      Interesting responses.

      I hadn’t had any of these top-ups treated as a cash advance until last month. Then, as of a couple weeks ago, top-ups from my credit card simply started declining. Revolut says on each transaction that the decline is due to authentication (with my HSBC card) having failed.

      So I started using Curve as a way of forcing those top-ups going through (all of them legit for currency conversion purposes), which they have. But since Curve are passing on the MCC (4829: Money Orders – Wire Transfer) to HSBC, they’re still classing these as a cash transaction and drawing interest on it. Problem is, I didn’t realise until I reviewed last month’s card statement.

      The interesting follow-up question is whether it’s the same now with ATM withdrawals. Until now, one of the big advantages of Curve was being able to charge these to an underlying credit card, and have them post as a purchase. Have any of you experienced a change in how HSBC treats these?

      I am of course still referring to legit cash withdrawals, either at home or abroad, and well within fair use, limits, etc.

  • John says:

    Stobart/Aer Lingus Regional has now gone under. Sad for staff, stranded passengers. Presumably EI will try to find another franchisee willing to restart the old Flybe routes at least, especially from BHD.

    Of course mainline EI has its own worries…

    • Lord Doncaster says:

      Probably Loganair will fill a few of those routes too I presume

  • Lady London says:

    @Jody did you a supplementary reply on yesterday’s thread page 5 just now

    • Jody says:

      Thank you, will go and take a look.

      • Jody says:

        Just had a read, thanks Lady London. Have added it to my word document, as am now copying and pasting anything of use as my memory is absolutely shocking!! I do really appreciate everyone’s advice.

        I’m going to write the letter to their legal department first, and see what they say, although I have to say I don’t expect a positive response.

        I’m a little bit confused about the MCOL fees as to what it would cost me. Obviously what it has cost me so far is avios (think it was around 62.5k as it was 50% off plus using a companion voucher) and around £1500 in taxes). If it gets to the ridiculous point of me actually having to purchase a fully flex ticket, lets just say I go for the BA one, that’s over £26k and I would have to pay a deposit of £3500 via BA holidays to secure that. And I’ll admit, I’m still a bit confused by yesterday’s responses as to whether I actually need to buy it, or just show the examples of how much it would cost seeing as I don’t want to travel until next April.

        But regardless, what would the cost of the actual claim be? What I want them to do is simply move my existing booking to next year and it not cost me any extra.

        I am quite possibly overthinking this or being a bit dense (as I’m sure someone will no doubt confirm!) but I’ve seen people talking about the £35 fee for MCOL, but that is for a claim amount of up to £300. If we’re talking about the claim being for potentially £26k worth of tickets, then that’s a much higher fee and a far higher risk.

        • meta says:

          You’ll need to put a claim amount and it will automatically calculate the fee. It’s 5% of the total claim amount for over 10k, so that’s another £1.3k that BA will have to fork out. I’d put that in the letter before action as a cost plus statutory interest is claimable at 8% per annum pro rates and any postage costs for example for sending LBA.

          • meta says:

            I now remembered there is also an option to estimate the amount in the claim. I think then the court fee is based then on the highest amount.

          • Jody says:

            meta does the other party automatically have to pay your fee if you win? That’s obviously a lot of money to pay out in fees if BA don’t respond positively to my letter before action. And is a lot of money to pay if I’m not guaranteed to win (I know nothing is guaranteed, but I’m sure you know what I mean).

  • meta says:

    It seems that Heathrow Rewards is currently dead. I couldn’t log in yesterday and I can’t log in now.

    • ChrisC says:

      Not dead. Just resting (no beautiful plumage though)

      Apparently some major IT issue,

      • KBuffett says:

        Would be good to get an official press release from them.

        • WaynedP says:

          Any suspicion of a widespread IT hack ?

          I recently heard of two unrelated people who had their Heathrow Rewards accounts hacked, which could be coincidence, of course.

          I’m trying to remember what sort of general personal information HR had of mine.

    • Rob says:

      Been like this for a while. I don’t have long term concerns.

    • Andrew says:

      Basically it’s just a way of Heathrow managing cash flow and not having to pay out on rewards at the moment. I’m sure once they return to better turnover they will reinstate it.

  • Keith says:

    Hi all, does anyone have any experience of gaining permission for Compassionate Entry and Limited Release from Quarantine for Canada as a foreign National?

    A friend of mine has a mum in an induced coma following a traffic accident and are having real difficulty getting from London to Canada (BC).

    Any help or advice at all much appreciated.

    • ChrisC says:

      They really need to be dealing with the consular section of the Canadian High Commission in London.

      Your friend could also try contacting their or their mums Federal MP.

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