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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 16th June

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

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Comments (439)

  • Maciek says:

    IC O2 cancelled my reservation, [email protected] are utterly useless – happy to offer a room at the IC Park Lane for twice the original rate.
    I’ve cancelled the ambassador membership and demanded a refund.

    • meta says:

      Just saying, that’s not the way to get a room at IC Park Lane for the same rate with bonuses thrown in…and they couldn’t care less you cancelling Ambassador membership (can it even be cancelled?) and no they won’t give you a refund.

      • Maciek says:

        Refund is being processed, so let’s stick to the facts, shall we?

        • meta says:

          Great, that means that they don’t care.

        • Blenz101 says:

          The fact is the hotel operator (Meridian) has decided to close the hotel and act as a quarantine centre. IHG can’t make force another franchise take you for free.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            Collecting fees from franchisees does come with some responsibilities.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Yorkie – I think the hotels participating in the quarantine scheme are in. pretty unique situation at the moment for which their MSA would not have envisaged. It isn’t as though they can predict how long the government will keep locking up its citizens on arrival or how the government will seemingly randomly categorise countries as red.

            If the hotel had been open and the room could not be provided then we all know they would have paid for alternative accomodation and transport to it.

            As it is they are closed and have offered a refund. The customer can try their travel insurance (trip cancellation). Most people would be rather more understanding of the situation both the operator and brand find themselves in given the way the UK government are acting.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Arora?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @blenz101. When they took the government contract and subsequently renewed it they should have accounted for the fact they would need to move guests with reservations.

          • Blenz101 says:

            @TGLoyalty When they took the contracts there was a complete ban on leisure travel with no end in sight. Could they really have expected institutional quarantine to continue indefinitely, there was no talk of variants back then. We were just going to rapidly jab the vulnerable. That fact that country is still a state of lockdown with no real events at the o2 many months later is just another unfortunate outcome of the way government has handled things.

            We don’t know when the Maciek’s room was cancelled for but I really find it hard to blame the hotel for the fact they are having to refund and cancel future bookings which they never expected to do. If he wants to stay in Greenwich he can spend his cash savings at he HI Express. The IC park lane is not a comparable property.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            There was an end in sight. May 17th date was announced in Feb.

            They took the £££ and HI express is in no way comparable to 5* IC O2.

            I kind of agree PL might not be the closet suitable property but I’d be putting my foot down for something comparable. 5* with pool and spa etc

          • kitten says:

            @TGLoyalty This. The IC02 is getting money for quarantine stayers and should not just walk away from previous obligations.

      • Lula says:

        HI Meta. Does that mean there is a way to get a room at the Park Lane hotel for the same rate with bonuses???

        If so, might you share? I just had a booking there that was cancelled that was meant to be part of our honeymoon!

        • A says:

          @Blenz

          I don’t think an operator would need to posses more than average foresight to predict there might be a time in the future when they were acting as a quarantine hotel, but leisure travel had returned.

          This is basically identical to any walk situation – the hotel has made a business decision to make the room unavailable to you for revenue-related reasons. The motivation for that is irrelevant. They should be stumping up to the same extent they would in an ordinary walk/overbooking cancellation scenario. It’s a situation entirely of their own making, based on a revenue maximisation decision. I don’t blame them for it, there’s no moral turpitude; but they have to own the risk and costs inherent in that decision.

        • meta says:

          It’s putting a pressure on the hotel and IHG to honour their contract. I had a similar situation with IHG last year at a different hotel and have managed to negotiate the same rate and they threw in free breakfast and F&B discount as well. And this was in another country! In the UK, I would have been far more empowered and be prepared to go all the way to MCOL.

          The fact is you have to ease them into it. You can’t just go threating them explicitly. You need to be relentless in your demand and slowly build it up. Never lose your cool, always be very polite, but firm and then slowly build it if they keep resisting. Perhaps also an email to IHG
          /hotel press office, short negative comment on social media and then they’ll agree.

          • Lula says:

            Thank you. Very helpful and I’ll give it a try. Not always easy to keep your cool with IHG customer relations but maybe the hotel will be easier.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            +1 Spot on meta

  • Clive says:

    Anyone have a suggestion for a RT – PCR test provider charging reasonable rates near Stansted?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Collinson are at standsted or are expresstest?

      Both charge about £80 and results within 24hrs.

      • Rob says:

        Collinson PCR is £66 with most of the codes floating around eg LCYTEST (which I think works at other places apart from City).

  • Mark says:

    Am I actually able to claim VAT refund on shopping from Paris etc if I fly back to the UK?

    • Blenz101 says:

      Yes, but it’s not really claiming the VAT back at 20%. There is a refund rate for certain goods bought in tax free stores over a certain spend threshold. Google will tell you what you need to know.

    • Lyn says:

      It could be worth asking the individual shops if they offer visitor discounts.

      For example, Galleries Lafayette have usually offered a temporary 10% discount card for visitors from non-European countries. Perhaps they have extended this for UK passport holders?

  • idontfly says:

    I am trying to book through the IHG website a Hertz Car rental, to get the IHG points. If I change the country of residence drop down from UK to US the price of the cars 30% less. Any idea why this is, is there anything stopping me saying my residency is the US? Thanks

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      Are you trying to book a car for the USA? If so the rates will be cheaper for residents because rental cars are usually covered by your own personal car insurance there.

      • idontfly says:

        sorry no, i am looking to book a car in Portugal! It seems cheaper to book if I say my residence is the US and not the UK!

        • Yorkie Aid says:

          I’m sure it will be fine so long as you show them your US driver’s licence!

    • Rob says:

      Might be some difference in the included insurance, or it may just be national pricing differences.

      • idontfly says:

        Thank you, the difference is considerable, 240 Euro for UK resident, versus 140 Euro for US resident! I am tempted to run the risk.

        • Rob says:

          Try Australia as country – is usually the cheapest with Hertz, especially if got the Amex Plat discount code.

      • Sam G says:

        It’s usually insurance, I can’t remember exactly but Americans usually have some from their own car insurance or their credit cards whereas we don’t. So proceed with caution !

  • H says:

    If my flight lands at 11:55pm on 30 June but I don’t go through border control until 00:05 on 1 July. Will 1 July be day 0 or day 1 for the purposes of tests / quarantine? Thanks

    • Tracey says:

      If you land on 30 June, that is day 0. Whether you run through border control or amble isn’t measured.

  • Tracey says:

    Anyone 18 by 1/7 in England seeking their first covid jab should be trying out the national booking website regularly between now and Friday. Ignore the words, the system is updated before the words are changed.

    • Keely says:

      Just tried for my 19 yo. Site is down now- reckon they’re updating the ages..?!

  • Doug M says:

    Lloyds Cashback card, formerly the Avios one. I’m sure it was commented previously along similar lines, but to add my own experience. Phoned today to cancel and was offered a variety of things to keep the card. I opted to take a year of no FX fees, year to begin on date of my choice prior to end of calendar year.

    • The Urbanite says:

      Interesting – what else did they offer?

      • Doug M says:

        Dodgy memory so forgive if not right. Something like a balance transfer offer I wasn’t interested in at all, 1% Kashback for 6 months, interest free for a year on purchases. No persuasion needed, choices were immediately offered when I said I wanted to cancel.
        If the USA opens the FX free with the small kashback is good as I’ve switched almost entirely to reservations rather than prepaying for hotels and cars.

      • Doug M says:

        Also, was quite happy to keep card as it’s my oldest card, and I think it’s generally accepted that one long term card is a good thing on credit report.

  • Anna says:

    Telegraph also reporting that easyJet is to launch 13 new domestic routes, including MAN-EDI.

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