Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 23rd July

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

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Comments (384)

  • Pete M says:

    Following the article about this the other day, I finally managed to move my June 2021 (later to moved to September 2021) flights to Japan to April 2022. It took three separate calls (which with the current wait times was a real pleasure!), but the agent last night finally relented, spoke to a manager and confirmed that ticket validity is now accepted as 12m from the most current departure. Given it is a 241 + 50% off booking I really didn’t want to let it go, so if you are not succeeding at first, I’d definitely recommend trying over and over – make sure you reference an “8 July briefing on ticket availability” which seemed to help things. Thanks Rob and team for highlighting this!

    • BJ says:

      And to potentially avoid the hassle Pete has had, before calling them it might always be worth checking (again) if the MMB route hasn’t had a change of heart too and allows the changes to be made online.

    • HBommie says:

      Thanks PeteM,

      Do you know if that was with Avios availability or just class availability?

      November USA for me looks less likely, but you never know🤔

      • Pete M says:

        That’s the crux of the matter, HBommie – when there is a cancellation on the booking, they will now allow changes to within 12m from the most current departure as long as there is space in the cabin, not just Avios availability (or indeed U fare class availability). The biggest challenge is getting the agents to acknowledge/confirm that.

        • Allan says:

          Did you have a cancellation on your september booking again though? I have already rebooked to sept (from April) but no cancellations as yet for September so might not be able to move it again for free?

          • Pete M says:

            I did, they cancelled one of the two rotations – suspect you may be on the other one?

          • HBommie says:

            The most likely scenario for me is the connection to LHR being cancelled which opens up the possibility of rebooking.

            Thanks for the update.

  • JDB says:

    Further to yesterday’s chat re someone’s Creation/IHG card being closed, I’m not taking any view of the actions of either party, but there was only one piece of good advice – walk away/keep a low profile! While we don’t know exactly the basis on which the card was being used/cancelled, and there may not appear to be specific contract terms other than two months notice (which in the next clause says requires you to stop using the card immediately), Creation has lots of other ways of stopping the account by, for example, reducing your credit limit to a nominal sum (no notice required), requiring card to be returned or invoking clause 12. The latter is quite extreme, but for anyone who works in financial services and therefore does regular AML training (we were not eligible for annual bonus until annual AML/compliance training completed), MS transactions look like ‘money-go-round’ transactions; firms are terrified of ML. I think also that over funding the account could represent a technical breach of the credit limit; I know Tesco Bank view it as such, but would usually ignore it, unless repeated. There are also implied contract terms (with heavy consumer protection) as not every single thing can be spelt out and requiring ‘reasonable’ use could be one. Also, as with BA/Amex, there are two separate sets of T&Cs – one for the operation of the credit card and a separate one for the ‘rewards’ card. I’m not sure whether, despite the link between the two, that the FOS can make decisions about the rewards element. The terms of the IHG rewards account are very business weighted – they effectively say the points have no value, aren’t yours, and can be removed at will so they claim they can do anything they want; this would be costly to challenge. It is therefore difficult to see a) what actual case anyone could take to the FOS, b) what would be your measure of compensation and c) do you really want to air MS transactions?

    • BJ says:

      Walked away from my Hilton gravy train when alarm bells started ringing loudly at the start of this year. That card in particular was one I don’t want to lose.

      • Harrier25 says:

        How naughty were you?

      • BJ says:

        @Crafty, just the comments here relating to suspensions, cards not working anymore etc back in January or February…to much smoke so I got out. Regarding your later comments about being greedy, I neither prefunded cards or did cash transactions. I made use of 0% BT cards in the mix though. I hinted about the benefits of doing so in the comments a few times but I think few got it.

    • Andrew says:

      Overfunding sometimes happens.

      I’ve done it myself, gone to pay my Barclaycard and in a moment of carelessness paid my BA Amex by mistake. Then I’m sitting with a credit balance on Amex and I’ve still to pay the Barclaycard.

      Not forgetting over the last 18 months, there have been some large credit balances due to travel refunds.

      Interestingly the HSBC hosted cards (eg JLP or M&S) will reject incoming faster payments if they would put an account into ledger credit – even if there are transactions pending.

      • Reney says:

        Creation is very slow at posting some transaction so I’m now in credit despite I only pay it off as soon as I did the transaction. I think I need to actually let transactions post and live with the interest for a while.

      • JDB says:

        @Andrew your ‘sometimes’ is the point; most firms will live with it, but many won’t if it’s a regular occurrence. Credit card companies are not supposed to hold credit balances, even if these are only timing issues. Tesco explained to me a few years ago when I bought a new car that cost double my £15k card limit that although I had pre-funded the card to cover the full cost, my credit limit remained £15k, so that by spending £30k+ I had breached my credit limit, although this was a couple of weeks after the transactions were authorised. It makes sense and it doesn’t make sense so to be careful, for another car purchase and paying HMRC I additionally rely on my wife whose Tesco card has a much higher limit.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      58 times is a lot! I have seen usually once a week that cre is slow to pay down balance. If your doing overpayments everyday then sooner or later it will get noticed & action taken.

      • Crafty says:

        All this only came about because certain people were too greedy to accept a nominal interest charge on their cash transaction, which was far outweighed by the value of the points they were earning. “Pre-funding” your account was always asking for trouble.

        I have more sympathy for any people having trouble with Creation as a result of Creation’s bad processes, such as taking days to reflect the card being paid off, which could cause people to legitimately go into credit (e.g. duplicate payment).

    • ash says:

      “I know Tesco Bank view it as such, but would usually ignore it”
      what do you use this for?

  • Vin says:

    A really straightforward entry into Malta yesterday (double vaccinated). From disembarkation to outside airport in 15min ! Passport control, then ePLF simply waved at the first check point, collect luggage and then NHS second dose QR code scanned at next check point before exit. No paper forms needed (but had them just-in-case). Several counters open and very efficient.
    Biggest delay was in MAN where the BA check-in agent took ages to decide if my vaccinations in June 2020 (guinea pig in Oxford vaccine trial ) were valid . It caused a bit of a stir at the gate too 🙂
    Escape lounge in MAN nearly empty and good facilities, Galleries in T5 full to the brim but table service very prompt.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Wow.

      Been to Malta twice recently. Both times spent 2 hours + in queue waiting for documents (passenger locator forms and vaccine passports etc.) to be checked.

      • Vin says:

        @stevenhp1987 – sorry to hear you were faced with a queue and I suspect we were lucky and waits would get longer if folk turned up without all the paperwork in place.
        May I ask – what test did you have before you returned back to the UK (pre-departure) or did you just have the Day 2 on arrival back ?

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          You need a test to get on the plane to the UK.

          We used https://www.swabbingmalta.com/ – It’s at the airport. Results within 15-20 minutes – Antigen Lateral Flow.

          Then Day 2 test on return of course (and a Day 8 the first time I went!).

    • Keely says:

      That’s great to hear , we are off on Sunday 🤞🤞. How are the restrictions there ? I think I read no mask wearing outside for groups of two but still wearing inside?

      • Vin says:

        @Keely – outdoors there is no requirement for mask wearing but for indoors (hotels) and public transport there is.
        So it doesn’t feel restrictive at all and you could always mask up voluntarily if you feel boxed into a crowded area outdoors .

    • Anna says:

      Good to hear – also I have booked the Escape lounge for our trip next week, what’s the set up in there now (e.g. table service, limited menu etc)? I can’t find any details on the MAN website.

      • Vin says:

        @Anna – they have a smaller ‘business class’ section with fancier chairs but it felt too cosy so we opted for the largier airier general section.
        No windows unlike the apron-facing ones in Aspire but it didn’t matter for a short stint.
        Breakfast options – cereals, hot cooked incl eggs/sausage/beans/bacon with toaster – self service. Bar service with soft drinks and limited booze … although at at 7:30am there were a group of jolly silver surfers on the Bucks Fizz ;).

        • Anna says:

          Thanks – we’re there at lunchtime so hoping to fill up and not have to pay Ryanair £10 for a baguette and mini can of coke!

          • John says:

            No. A baguette (or sandwich) + regular hot drink + snack meal deal was €9 total the last time I flew with them. Hot meal deals start at €10, include vegan etc options, and are invariably fine.

            The airline is run by a sociopath, but the planes are clean and usually on time. If something goes wrong you’re often left to fend for yourself, though, as the outsourced airport personnel generally don’t have the authority to take decisions/incur costs. easyJet and Jet2 are usually better in this respect.

            No doubt you’ll be posting multiple reviews expressing surprise that the flying experience is very similar to BA short haul.

            But Ryanair has a substantial percentage of affluent travellers who’ve already discovered that point-to-point on a low-ish cost carrier to business meetings/holiday homes is often a better experience overall than using a legacy airline connecting through a hub.

          • Anna says:

            FYI, I fly LCCs as much as I fly BA. But you should really find a more constructive way of spending your weekends than thinking up pseudonyms (though I concede “John” doesn’t take much imagination) and trolling people whose posts clearly make you feel bitter and twisted but for some reason you are compelled to read.

  • Dave1985 says:

    Happy freedom Friday!

    • Andrew says:

      Enjoy it while it lasts!

      • Dave1985 says:

        I will Andrew! Anything planned? A rave or two?

        • John says:

          Do you own a nightclub? The last time I went clubbing was aged 20 in 2008 and I have no desire to ever go again.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Goldie at XOYO tonight, Harry Shotta at The Steel Yard tonight, Fred V at The Camden Assembly tonight.

          Loads of choice 🙂

    • Mike says:

      Role on the first Freedom Weekend ! it was a long time coming but we are here now and it is a fantastic feeling

  • Graham says:

    Taking my first flight in some while. Got through check in and security at Term 5 in 20 mins. Club lounge is v busy as I write. Table service and food/beverage offerings pretty good all things considered. Reckon it will get even busier later

  • Tracey says:

    It really is disappointing that those who take part in vaccine trials are given a hard time over documentation. Thank you for participating.

    • Vin says:

      Thanks @Tracey 🙂
      I’ve had a third jab 3 weeks ago as part of a new trial comparing a standard ‘booster’ dose with a newer version tweaked to protect against the Beta strain.
      Trial participants only got NHS confirmation of vaccination (App based) 2-3 months after everyone else did and I’ll admit it did feel unfair and I had a grumble to the research team haha.

      • Chris P says:

        Thanks @Tracy also.
        I just thought I would “do my bit” and volunteered for the same/mixed vaccines. My second vaccination was on 21 April but because the Oxford computer doesn’t like the NHS one it isn’t showing on the NHS App. (I will know what I’ve had in February). The result is I need a letter to say I’ve had the second jab, if I go away – & I receive regular messages and calls from the NHS trying to persuade me to get my second vaccination!

      • Young L says:

        May I know what vaccines you had for the initial 2 jabs and the 3rd? If you are allowed to answer. Thanks.

        • Vin says:

          All A-Z 👍🏼

        • Chris P says:

          Pfizer for the first but won’t be told the second until February. It could have been Pfizer again, Novotox or Moderna (not A Z since that pairing with Pfizer has been done with initial volunteers).

  • JT says:

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to downgrade a Business Platinum Card to something without a fee? Like you can with personal Amex cards? Thanks J

  • Jamil says:

    Hi, I currently have flights booked to go from London to Atlanta on Virgin Atlantic with my 4 year old daughter this Sunday. I booked in Economy used my Reward Club miles during the Black Friday 50% off sale. They have actually cancelled my original flight so I am entitled to a refund if I want. The contact centre have said that if I take a travel voucher that they would offer me and my daughter a reward eg companion reward, upgrade reward or Clubhouse entry on each of our accounts. I was thinking to do that. What are thoughts here? Is Clubhouse entry worth a reward? I have never actually been. Also if I had a companion reward, could I use it to book for my parents for example? I have enough miles for Upper Class but I think as my daughter is so young, a separated cabin would not really work for us hence why I choose economy. Thanks for your advice

    • Joe says:

      Your difficulty will be finding enough upper class availability to use it – we have 5 vouchers unused at present !

    • Lady London says:

      If you take voucher then you may have problems using it. you’ll also presumably possibly have to pay more when you use a voucher if “prices” rose in the meantime.

      If Virgin cancelled any flight on your booking they are supposed to tell you about your EU261 UK261 rights to rebook at any later date you prefer without having to pay anything more at all even if the new flight would cost a lot more if bought with a voucher or fresh. They’re not allowed to ask for anything more not even a change fee for this.

      You can also insist on them putiing you on a flight as near as possible to timing of your original flight. Even if they don’t have one of their own they are supposed to put you on someone else’s. This is tiresome to enforce even though 100% enforceable so far as anyone else”s flights except possibly Delta are concerned.

      The way to retain your rights while you think about it is not to take a refund and not to take a voucher. Tell them you’re going to think about it and you will let them know but due to the cancellation you won’t be on the first flight. You don’t have to let them know by the date of your flight, you can let it pass and come back to them much later with your choice.

      The above is governing law and as such overrides any of Virgin’s terms and conditions etc. They have to give you this by law and it’s your choice.

      • Lady London says:

        But if you do want the sort of voucher the’re offering, personally I wouldn’t waste a voucher on the Clubhouse, an upgrade if to Upper and not just PY would be worth more. You’d have to check with them and get it in writing if you wanted to use Companion for your parents but even then they might deny it later. I’d view the right EU261 gives me to choose another date to travel without extra cost as worth more.

        • Jamil says:

          Lady London. Thanks for your help. So thorough! How do you know so much?? I forgot to mention I am British so can’t travel to USA at the moment anyhow. Virgin have told me that they only book 330 days or so in advance. In theory, I would want to book for next summer though so their dates are not yet available… Do the rights stipulated under 261 allow you to book only as far as the airline is booking…? What would happen if you want to book a bit later as I do? Thank you

          I also do not know yet what dates I might want to go on next year so in theory, could I say, I am not flying on that rescheduled flight, hold on whilst I think of new dates and then contact them back to rebook (any time limit?)? Thanks

    • Gary says:

      It depends on how likely your parents will utilise the 2 upgrade vouchers to USA/Caribbean before they expire. For Companion vouchers the flying club account holder needs to be travelling. Can’t see VS flying to Far East (without Quarantine)/SA/India anytime soon.

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