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The HfP chat thread – Friday 18th 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 (313)

  • Stu says:

    We’d previously purchased a Swiss First deal to Singapore. Waited 6 months before booking an add on in KLM biz to Bali then typically a week later, Swiss cancelled our flight so we opted for a refund.

    Rather than cancel the KLM for a € voucher, we waited to see if KLM would cancel the flight and they just did. I applied for a refund and two days later the sum landed in my account but less the €10 booking fee.

    Phoned KLM and they say the booking fee is non-refundable, even though they cancelled the flight … thoughts please?

    Only €10, yes, but it’s the principle!

    • Dubious says:

      Did you book with KLM or KLM Asia (it should be the latter)? You might find as you booked Singapore – Bali as a standalone you don’t have any of the usual protections…

      I agree that loosing the €10 booking fee is unfair but you might find this one difficult – this kind of cororate attitude its the way of life on this side of the world

      • 1ATL says:

        KLM Asia is a subsidiary of KLM and was setup historically in order to provide service to Taipei while maintaining service to mainland China. It has nothing to do with the posters position. Though as you do mention, it is more likely to do with the voluntary nature of the cancellation of the ticket (as opposed to the cancellation of the flight) and as such is governed by the rules and conditions of the ticket which the poster purchased. It will have been mentioned in the small print of the ticket rules at time of purchase. Unfortunate but at the same time lucky it wasn’t a higher amount.

        • Dubious says:

          Ah I had a recollection of seeing aircraft in KLM Asia livery in an out of Singapore, but perhaps that was COVID-19 related, i.e. temporary aircraft swapped…

          I see that on the klm website it does state that booking fees are non-refundable in case of voluntary refunds, but as per the OPs case, does seem harsh / unfair to levy them if the *booking* is not honoured by the airline.

      • Stu says:

        We booked with KLM Europe and paid using our Starling € account to avoid any exchange fees.

        Definitely feels like a con, I can understand it if I’d cancelled and asked for a voucher, but as they cancelled, they should refund in full (IMO anyway!). I’ve lodged a complaint and await the outcome.

        In other news, I’m impressed with how quickly airlines seem to be processing cancellation refunds now, BA, KLM and Swiss recently, all within 48 hours!

      • Sam G says:

        Yes. The ticket is sold by KLM Singapore and they charge CC fees (which I think this is?). Pretty normal not to get them back & Dubious is right , took a while to get used to how customer unfriendly some things are vs the UK !

        Personally I’d just chalk it up to life trying to travel in a pandemic and think myself lucky I even got the cash, I’ve got lots of useless Air Asia credits for flights they cancelled etc

    • 1ATL says:

      You mentioned Swiss cancelled your flight to Singapore but KLM is presumably still operating the flight to Bali which you purchased as a separate booking. You just elected to cancel it. Would that be accurate?

      • Nick says:

        What would be accurate would be to say you didn’t bother to read the original post in sufficient detail before posting your reply. Stu clearly states:

        “Rather than cancel the KLM for a € voucher, we waited to see if KLM would cancel the flight and they just did.”

        • 1ATL says:

          Harsh but fair. The early hour isn’t great for me. I’ll stick with that defence.

    • MW says:

      This does not seem right. Have you looked at the T&Cs? As you say, it is only €10 but it does seem unreasonable as they are the ones cancelling it.

      • A says:

        Ignore the T+Cs even if they say this is non-refundable – that’s an unfair term that isn’t going to be upheld by a court – as otherwise they could have a policy of cancelling flights immediately after the booking and pocketing the £10 revenue. Consumer has no control over whether they cancel. If they start messing you around just do a chargeback for it.

        • Sam G says:

          Court where though – it’s Singapore to Bali flight! Agree on the chargeback though, that’s one benefit on an Amex, easy online chargebacks and they are very pro the customer

          • A says:

            Fair point on which court – but as you say Amex chargeback is so user friendly I’d just head for that option. I do it to Uber eats all the time when they mess around with refunds.

    • Paul says:

      Section 75 via your credit card is the way to go. The Henley Festival did this to me last year arguing that the booking fee on 6 tickets was for the ticket services and that we had booked and had been processed. This is errant nonsense and is simply a way of charging more. I went via Virgin Credit card who refunded over £40 a couple of months later. If it is a fee that you cannot avoided as part of the booking process then it must be refunded when the operator has cancelled the service purchased.

  • Dubious says:

    Did you book with KLM or KLM Asia (it should be the latter)? You might find as you booked Singapore – Bali as a standalone you don’t have any of the usual protections…

    I agree that loosing the €10 booking fee is unfair but you might find this one difficult – this kind of cororate attitude its the way of life on this side of the world

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    I finally had my IC O2 cancellation come through last night. Has anyone been able to negotiate anything better than a refund? E.g. different hotel same dates or a future rebooking at the O2? One of my nights was a now-expired credit card free night so that refund isn’t particularly helpful! (Although in fairness they did give us all an extra free night last year so I’m not exactly worse off than I should be).

    • Claire says:

      I had mine cancelled yesterday, gutted 🙁 I didn’t earn a free night certificate to stay in a bloody holiday inn or crowne plaza and it expires Aug 21. Does anyone know if the certificates will be extended further? Why is the IC O2 a quarantine hotel???? It’s a 5 star luxury hotel, is it for celebs & politicians to isolate?

      • Sididdly says:

        I’d say it’s a bit of a stretch to call it a five star luxury hotel. It’s modern and clean but it’s still a soulless bed factory.

        • IanM says:

          Doubt you’ve stayed there then. O2 IC is a cracking property.

          • Rob says:

            Yes, not sure exactly what more you could want. Direct River Thames views from most rooms. An amazingly good swimming pool. Decent restaurant with Thames views. Impressive club lounge, pre covid. Rock bottom rates at off-peak times. 5 minutes walk from a Jubilee Line station that gets you to the West End as quickly as if you stayed in a ‘central’ location like Kensington.

          • Ryan Gill says:

            It really annoys me that in London and with families of 4, the IC O2 was the main reason I joined ambassador. Had my stay cancelled that was free night weekend certificate. Now just expensive alternatives.

          • Claire says:

            My free night has been extended to Dec 21, I just checked my account, so at least I can (hopefully) stay there before then instead.

          • Claire says:

            Ryan, how do you stay with a family of 4? Do you pay the extra £100 for the bigger room or sneak a kid in? The system doesn’t let you book the free night with any kids but they told me just to request a rollaway for the child.

          • Sididdly says:

            It must just be me then! I stayed there in a club room a few times while working at Canary Wharf and as an Ambassador even got upgraded to a ‘suite’. It just never really floated my boat for some reason. I much preferred Hilton Bankside. Each to our own!

          • sididdly says:

            It must just be me then! I have stayed there several times in a Club Room when working at Canary Wharf. I even got an upgrade to a ‘suite’ as an Ambassador. For whatever reason it has never really ‘floated my boat’. I much preferred Hilton Bankside when working in that part of the world. Each to our own!

          • Rob says:

            Those hotels are 7 miles apart!

          • Dave says:

            After many (leisure) stays at the IC O2 pre-covid, I’m in two minds about this hotel. On one hand, it’s well located and has outstanding facilities, at least on paper, and also a very low room rate on some dates. However, the staff often appear new and sometimes poorly trained, so the service can be inconsistent.

            I’m a big fan of the club lounge at the IC PL, so less impressed than Rob by the lounge at the IC O2 as I don’t think it compares well.

            Overall, I can certainly see why describing it as a luxury 5 star hotel may seem a bit of a stretch to some people. Although, for the price, I don’t think there are many (possibly any) better options in London and they will continue to get my business.

    • Genghis says:

      I know it’s not directly comparable and may be due to differences in ownership but when our LHR Staybridge suites was cancelled yesterday, the person was willing to add points to account to make up the difference in any points price difference. Not many decent alternatives so just cancelled and got refund and some compo points.

      • Andrew says:

        Similar experience a couple of years ago when a new hotel wasn’t opened in time for my booking, got a few compo points but only to make up for the shortfall for the first night. Seems all but one of the LHR IHGs are being used as quarantine until further notice, so even if you have bookings into the autumn they will likely be cancelled.

        • meta says:

          My experience with Kimpton Amsterdam last year was different. I did push really hard. Moved to another comparable hotel for very good rate. Slightly lower than the original hotel and 3x less than the published rate, free breakfast thrown in and F&B discount. They also promised a top suite upgrade on the next trip.

          In the UK, I would be prepared to take them to MCOL for breach of contract.

    • Ikaz says:

      My stay at HIX london city was cancelled and they proactively transferred me to the CP kings cross including breakfast for free (or offered free cancellation on a non cancelable rate). It only happened a couple of days before the stay though, which was surprising

  • KBuffett says:

    My Amazon Prime membership runs out today. Will I ‘lose’ anything if I let it lapse until Prime Day on Monday? Hoping it will be slightly cheaper then.

    • SteveJ says:

      Other than a few days without access to their sub-prime TV/Movie offerings you lose nothing

    • Tracey says:

      You need to contact them if you don’t want it to renew automatically.

      • KBuffett says:

        Thanks. All good on this front as the cars they are trying to debit has expired, they sent me messages asking me to update, hence why it’s on my radar!

    • Toby says:

      No. In previous years they’ve reduced it down to £59 if you sign up on, or just before prime day. I routinely let it lapse and wait for the offer to appear.

      You may also find they offer you a “come back to prime” offer. We’ve had both a free month, and a month for 99p.

  • Ant says:

    Anyone had any success adding their LHR shopping to Heathrow rewards? The retailers have advised that the system has been down for a few weeks so they can’t scan the card so I emailed customer care 2 weeks ago and again this week but the points have not been added. They used to be very efficient. Any ideas?

    • Andrew says:

      The system seems to have been dead for a few months now for earning and redeeming rewards, so it’s either closed down or it’s having an IT upgrade. Perhaps they are using the same company that Nectar are using to fix the Avios to Nectar transfer tool and 6 months later we’re still waiting!

    • h2d says:

      I flew through LHR two days ago and at World Duty Free T5 checkout was able to successfully scan my Heathrow Rewards card so YMMV. Like others I am not able to access my account online

  • Simon says:

    Can I transfer the points from my UK AMEX PLAT to my Japanese Amex card without having to close the UK card?

    • Rob says:

      Yes. Points are transferred at a rate based on the FX rate and/or the earn rate on the Japanese card – it’s not 1:1.

      You can only do 1 transfer every 365 days.

  • Tracey says:

    Anyone who is 18 by 1/7/21 should be able to book their first vaccine on the England NHS booking site.
    Hopefully this ends the talk of having to be “fair” to those who haven’t had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

    • Andrew says:

      Indeed. In 14 weeks once everyone will have has their second dose +2 weeks, we can start to look at restricting access based on vaccination status, but not for the summer period.

      • Harry T says:

        I think it’ll happen a long time before that, judging by how other countries are approaching vaccination status and passports.

        • Yuff says:

          I hope so HarryT, this has been going on far too long now.
          Ironic that we were so far ahead of the EU with vaccines 3 months ago and now the EU are pressuring the UK to pull their fingers out with relaxing restrictions……..
          Let’s hope the protest vote in yesterday’s by-election is the kick up the a*se the Tories, and Labour, needed …….

      • Ian M says:

        Yeah, why not put those who choose not to be vaccinated into special prison camps? Or at least force them to wear a giant badge and ban them from accessing any shops, bars, pubs, gyms, transport etc etc. Sounds great

        • Oh! Matron! says:

          I think a badge is a great idea. Given that anyone who is 18+ now has ZERO reason to have, at the very least, have their vaccine booked, it’s there choice not to have it.

          I think being in the same camp as looser fox is reason enough to be tarred and feathered

          • Ikaz says:

            I live in Scotland, in my mid 30s and still haven’t received my blue envelope so can’t get vaccinated… So maybe everyone in England but not the UK

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Ian M At last some sensible suggestions ok a tad over the top but the principle could be correct
          I totally agree with you ban all those who choose not to be vaccinated from shops, bars, pubs, gyms, transport ect
          How to implement it will be the problem ? I don’t think a badge would work
          I’m all for giving people their right to choose
          After all the Indian variant now called Delta (to stop Indians getting blame lol) or any other variant is not the blame of any Government or Politicians for it being here.
          It’s the fault of the people, they are the ones that fetched it
          If the Government had said no travel they would be dammed if they say ok you can travel they are dammed.
          In fact they are just dammed whatever they say lol

          • Rhys says:

            No, the Government is absolutely responsible for dithering in the way they did when putting India on the red list. It was entirely politically motivated.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Rhys But equally you could say the Government is dithering now by not banning all travel until 2022 and they are politically motivated not to ?
            Dammed if they do, Dammed if they don’t !

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Wind it in.

          As of last Sunday 96% over over 50’s (the at risk) have had a 2nd jab.

          Boris and his cronies have you all living in fear of a load of BS.

          • Mark says:

            Maybe? Boris is deliberately making all these restrictions to create fear inorder that EVERYONE will get vaccinated voluntarily unlike USA and other countries which are struggling to persuade the younger world! Maybe well be better off???

          • Rob says:

            …. and 99% of deaths were in the clinically vulnerable and over 50s.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            For sure the vaccine = no isolation leak isn’t a coincidence but Boris is being ruled by fear.

            The Cummings saga probably couldn’t have happened at a worse time but proves he’s not a decisive leader.

          • Callum says:

            I couldn’t care less what Boris says. I’m “living in fear” from the horrific experience of looking after huge volumes of sick and dying people with the hospital and a large number of its staff constantly seeming like they were on the verge of collapsing…

            Covid patients are now increasing again, and people like you were ranting exactly the same thing last year about how “everything is fine now” because the stats are low. Granted it’s unlikely to be anything like that again, but it’s already estimated that it will take 5 years to deal with the current Covid backlog. You have no idea how much of an impact even a small increase in admissions has.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Callum 220 admissions yesterday in England when it’s normally around 50-55k in any one day.

            An increase of around 400 total admissions in the last 7 days vs the 7 days before that.

            You’re living in fear…and it’s people exactly like you that will keep telling opinion polls that we should continue doing it.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          I’d favour the second option

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Ian M I’ve no problem having digital id or any other form of id or cameras on or inside shops if big brother is watching I’ve no problem with it
          As for freedom’s not to bothered about that either
          After all if I shop Sainsburys, Tesco, or most other places what do you think they are doing ?

      • Tracey says:

        Hopefully nearer to 11 weeks. If everyone can book within the next week, 8 weeks between doses, +2 weeks to further boost immunity, should be 11 weeks.
        My new “career” can end within 3 months!

        • Rui N. says:

          The people now being able to book a vaccine don’t have a choice for 8 weeks, only 12.

          • Tracey says:

            They do in England. Since the beginning of the week anyone booked using the national booking website can (a) rebook at an earlier date, provided it is at least 8 weeks after their first jab and (b) see what appointments are available before cancelling their existing appointment

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Was the same for 35-25. Sure they’ll be able to pull it forward in the future.

            There’s even an availability checker so you don’t have to actually cancel first.

      • Ben says:

        I cant tell if these are sarcastic or not. Are people seriously suggesting restricting assess to services if people choose not to have a vacine?
        (just for the record im vacinated so no conspiricy theory here).
        These are the same people that will be saying “my body my choice” at certain rallys.
        Apoligies if this was a joke that I missed.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          I’m definitely suggesting no vaccine no high risk indoor activity. People need to accept their responsibility to society as a whole and get jabbed. If an inability to participate in certain activities encourages folk to get jabbed, good.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            You can’t force people to do what you want because you think it’s the best thing for them (unless they are an imminent danger to themselves or others.)

            Also the hypocrisy unless you took the flu jab every year since you were a child. because that’s a big killer too)

          • Rhys says:

            If the flu jab was offered free of charge to my age group I would take it!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It costs Less than a couple London pints. Get it anyway!

          • Rhys says:

            I was going to last year but it was in short supply!

        • Doug M says:

          We came for the smokers, then we came for the fat, unvaccinated you’re next.

          • Ben says:

            Absolutly. I think when people buy fast food, they should be weighed and if over a certain weight then should be walked through the town with someone ringing a bell shouting “SHAME”. They put a huge strain on the NHS and risks them becoming overwelmed.
            Grow up, 99% of at risk people have had the vax. Open everything back up. My intire instagram feed is full of friends in France, USA, UAE and even in South Africa (they have a few rules still) living there lives.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Doug M 100% Correct and so we should, After all Smokers pay more now ?
            Fat pay sugar Tax. Unvaccinated have to Holiday in UK ?
            TGLoyalty Agree with you as well You can’t force people to do what you want because you think it’s the best for them.
            You can’t force people not to drink and drive just because of a few deaths ?
            You can’t force people to wear seatbelts because it’s safer?
            you can’t force people not to use there phones when driving ?
            After all it’s up to the individual ?

          • Ian M says:

            Everyone that’s in favour of banning the unvaccinated from places.. have you actually thought about what that means not just to the people you ban who choose not to receive a vaccine with no long term data when the virus may be less risk to them than crossing the road, but also to your own life?

            Banning people will mean a system in place – i.e. vaccine passports – i.e. a digital ID – everytime you go to a pub, a cafe, a restaurant, a gym, and all the other places you want the unvaccinated to be banned from, you’ll need to show your digital ID.

            Perhaps they’ll soon offer an easier solution. Facial recognition camera at the entrances which link to your medical records? Then we’re just one step away from the Chinese Social Credit Score system.

            Be careful what you wish for. Don’t rush to give away your freedoms. Governments generally return them at the drop of a hat

          • bafan says:

            Good @DougM. Those people cost the taxpayer a fortune and their problems are mostly solvable with lifestyle changes.

          • KBuffett says:

            It’s available for around a tenner. That’s incredibly cheap.

          • Tracey says:

            Covid operates in the same way, smokers and the fat have much poorer outcomes.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @chris medical intervention is completely different to any of those things. once upon a time they electrocuted people against their will because it was good for them or gave soldiers LSD without their knowledge.

            Not every doctor or politician is by the book.

  • Ukgeorge says:

    What would you suggest is the best way to increase vaccine take up as you go down the age groups and there is less health risk to them individually?

    If society is unlikely to fully open up without a high percentage vaccine take up, how do we get there? For those that are vaccine hesitant some form of persuasion may be necessary, be that some form of privilege or as some states in the US have done offer financial reward.

    • Harry T says:

      People in the UK don’t seem to need much in the way of persuasion – France and the US have bigger problems in this regard. I think we will easily vaccinate at least 80% of the population without any overt persuasion. The bigger issue is that certain groups, who appear to be more vulnerable, are not taking up the vaccine as avidly as others. So we could end up with smaller scale problems in certain cities and groups that need to be addressed in a more targeted manner.

      • Harry T says:

        *adult population

        • TGLoyalty says:

          80% of the adult population has already had the first and that’s before it opened up to 18-21 year olds.

          This is more than Boris and his band of idiots or the NHS would have ever dreamed of and more than any other country have achieved without lotteries and incentives.

      • Andrew says:

        Maybe we got the psychology right, as well as protecting the oldest and most vulnerable.

        Age anticipation is engrained into UK society. You don’t get a state pension until you are 67(?), you can’t go on a Saga Holiday until you are 50, mustn’t watch an 18 rated film until you know your parent’s Netflix password.

        People wanted what they couldn’t have yet.

      • Claire says:

        “certain groups”
        What groups?

    • Pete M says:

      Talk about long Covid more. My 25yo brother has been suffering for nearly a year now. Would not wish it on anyone!

      • Yuff says:

        Pete M

        There are people out there that believe this is all a hoax, some people will never be persuaded……

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The truth lies somewhere in the middle because here you all are still believing the nonsense that comes out of the media and Boris’ mouth.

          • Yuff says:

            The media have their own agenda and their own interpretation of the data.
            Accountancy firms could make Enron look viable if they wanted to, no different with media companies.

          • Tariq says:

            Exactly. Not denying there can be long term effects of Covid infection, but in many cases it’s likely to be other diseases mischaracterised or exacerbation of preexisting illness (known or occult).

    • Tracey says:

      Do everything you can to make getting a vaccine easy. “My” vaccine centre, in commuter land, is 2 minute walk from the train station, we have appointments available until 8.30pm and we open at the weekends. Still we have noticed a reduction in people booking and more no shows.
      I think the younger generation don’t like making appointments that they can’t change easily; more open sessions is probably the answer.

      • Dave says:

        Up here in Scotland you have to wait for your appointment in the post. I’m in my late 30’s yet have only just received my first dose a couple of days ago.
        Also, my appointment was many miles away even though I have a centre 10 mins walk from my house. To change/ cancel there was a 2hr wait on the phone. I gave up and went to the booked appointment (at a very inconvenient time).
        No wonder half of appointments here in Glasgow are missed.
        The English system is significantly better, allowing people to book their own.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I think you’re at the age/stage now where you just set up walk in centres.

        • Peggerz says:

          You can go online with the Scottish NHS, cancel and change your appointments. Takes seconds. I have had both jags now but had to change the second appointment and was given 12 options of venue. Also, you can get a paper copy of your vaccination record along with the record online/phone.
          Different system to other parts of the UK but relatively simple.

          • Dave says:

            I tried changing online but nothing available at any of my nearby centres until well into next month!! Massive waiting time on the phone so clearly people are wanting to change. I had to travel many miles into Glasgow to get mine. Then 2hr queue at the centre despite arriving 20 mins early! Whole process is a mess. Why can’t we just have one UK-wide booking system?
            Many reports of letters going to old addresses, especially among the young with students moving house etc.

          • Magic Mike says:

            Why isn’t there a UK booking system? Health is devolved, so it’s Wee Nicola in charge north of the border. You might have seen her on TV once or twice over the past year.

      • Rich says:

        100% this.

        I think a lot of the unvaccinated are people who just haven’t got round to it yet, or can’t sort out transport/ childcare/ finding a time/ remembering their NHS number, rather than rabid anti-vaxxers.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Are these the same youths who couldn’t be bothered to go to a polling station five years ago and are now whining at their opportunities to work abroad etc being curtailed?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Not going to go into voting

          But They have just been given their freedom after 6 months locked up so there will be the occasional hangover or something better to do

          They also probably work in the gig community or on 0 hours contracts where shifts are arranged at short notice.

          You need to make it accessible not just say well if you can’t make 2pm on Tuesday afternoon you’re stuffed.

          • Nick says:

            A lot of the official vaccine centres aren’t anywhere near town centres, and many aren’t close to railway stations. My nearest was 25 miles away, and I live in a heavily-populated area of Home Counties suburbia, hardly anywhere rural. For oldies with a car it’s easy, for young people it’s significantly harder. They’re also much less likely to be in flexible work and able to take a couple of hours out of their working day. The answer is to open up the ‘secret’ additional local sites (booked only through GPs, not the online national tool) to walk-ins, answering both of these problems in one shot.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Do you know what the % take up of jabs is for the over 50’s?

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