Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 2nd August

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (431)

  • Anna says:

    I’ve lost track of what I can do with an FTV from a BA holiday!
    If I book a cash flight (rather than another BA holiday), can I still apply the FTV for a partial refund? I want to book CW out and PE back to GCM next year but you can’t mix cabins with online holiday bookings.

    • Doug M says:

      Random aside. That’s the reverse of my view. PE out as no intention of sleeping, CW back for flat bed. For you is it CW to take advantage of service, and PE back as asleep anyway?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        PE is still a terrible sleep but sometimes it’s all that’s available.

        • Anna says:

          In this case CW isn’t worth it – there’s no lounge at GCM and you don’t get fed until 5 hours into the flight when they’ve called at NAS, by which time you just want to sleep! A couple of stiff drinks and a Sominex tablet and the ensuing sleep is as good as you’d get in a flat bed unaided.

  • Keely says:

    Currently in a very busy Malta airport . Check in guy blamed Covid when we asked about lounge access (I already knew , I just wanted to see what he would say). When pressed again if this was definitely Covid and not BA suspending contracts , he said it was down to social distancing measures only and we were welcome to see if we were able to access . Lounge check in said BA suspended the agreement (it was quite empty ). Seems like BA are advocating lying to passengers….

    • Doug M says:

      How do you know that? You assume lounge staff tell the truth? Just suppose lounge company says because of COVID we have to reduce capacity to one third of previous, so longe charge is now £33 (made up) rather than previous £11. Both could be telling the truth. All this aside do you think either the check-in staff or the lounge staff really know the score?

    • ChrisC says:

      The check in agent works for a contract agency not BA.

      All he knows is he’s been told there is no lounge access for BA passengers.

    • Tim says:

      Love the idea of having to blame someone for a perfectly reasonable situation…

      • Pete M says:

        How is it perfectly reasonable? BA are still charging the same for J seats, just not providing a service that is an advertised part of the offering on their website… And then lying about the reasons for the move. My experience is local staff are usually more than happy to confirm that BA have simply stopped paying for the lounge and ask you to write in to complain.

        • Blenz101 says:

          Lounges have always been advertised as “where available” when travelling in Club. IAG posted a 1bn EUR loss for the first quarter of this year and this summer travel is still anything but normal. Spending on third party lounges at outstations is hardly a necessary cost.

          Lounges are a pleasant way to start a trip and a nice place to wait during a layover at a hub but hardly an essential when returning from a holiday island. If a glass of wine and food is required they are provided free onboard or can be purchased at the airport.

          This wasn’t a surprise. What is odd is repeatedly asking staff for access to something you know isn’t being provided just to see what they say and then looking to apportion blame and accusing the handling staff of telling lies.

          • Keely says:

            Don’t argue with people irl so don’t want to do it here but just clarify :
            I asked at check in as it was almost a month since the email and things may have changed . He said no because of Covid & social distancing – I said but the lounge is operating normally ? He said no it’s Covid related . I was perfectly polite and didn’t repeatedly ask- the queue was too big for that and I wouldn’t hold anyone up….
            As with anything in life , it’s about how things are handled not that they’ve happened. I liken this to ordering steak and chips but only getting the steak and the waiter saying potatoes are no longer available when it’s just that they haven’t purchased the potatoes ….! As my mum says, always best to be honest …

          • Blenz101 says:

            @keely I think the reason sympathy was perhaps lacking is that you originally said you knew lounge access wasn’t available but asked anyway as you just wanted to see what they say. And then went on to press them again as to the reason, which you also knew. And then went to the lounge and tried yet again, again asking the reasons.

            The decision to cut back some of the frills on short haul holiday routes isn’t down to the staff on the ground. Trying to ‘catch them out’ or call them liars isn’t a great look.

            If you want to complain then let BA know how you feel directly. Posting here will inevitably get you varied feedback from those who think it reasonable for the airline to cut some some third party spend right now and others who think a free glass of cheap wine in a glorified waiting room is an integral part of their ticket.

          • Ben W says:

            >glorified waiting room

            I quite like lounge at Luqa. It’s even got an outside terrace.

          • Louie says:

            @ Blenz – “others who think a free glass of cheap wine in a glorified waiting room is an integral part of their ticket”. What else of value do you get with CE? Same seats as economy. Waste of money at the best of times but this extra penny pinching is likely to backfire on them as more people conclude they are paying a premium for zip.

    • dk says:

      I was yesterday in Zagreb lounge which was working but receptionist clearly said: “BA did not extend the contract with us”. Lounge had 5 people in it and they were working for other airlines, Priority Pass, Lounge Pass etc… so not covid but contract related.

  • QwertyKnowsBest says:

    Treating my daughters to a London trip. As they are travelling alone can anyone suggest any central (theatres, museums etc) recommended decent rate hotels? Hilton and IHG seem to have quite a few sub £100 per night. Thanks

    • Blair says:

      If you’ve found a decent price with IHG and Hilton, do you want to name the hotels on your shortlist and the collective wisdom will tear any to shreds that warrant it. Let me start by saying avoid Holiday Inn Mayfair or Holiday Inn Express Oxford St (ish). Both look like they were last refurbed in 1995.

    • Anuj says:

      Hilton Curio collection, Hart Shoreditch. Felt like being on some lovely 4/5* hotel on holiday and not being in London. Great free breakfast with some turkish twists with Hilton Gold and I think I only paid £104 for the night (hilton amex offer on top too)

  • Keely says:

    Wow …you seem a bit angry ….I ‘assumed’ that because they (airport lounge ) had already confirmed to me in writing prior to the trip that BA had suspended the agreement (I knew it was a small lounge so was checking if I had to reserve a place) ….and other posters on here have had similar experiences in small European airports . And yes I do expect staff who work for BA and check in people every day to know whether the lounge is available to access as part of their ticket ….

    • Keely says:

      Was meant to be a reply to Doug M

    • Blenz101 says:

      Not really sure what the issue is. You already knew you didn’t have access which you had confirmed with the lounge in advance. The oneworld website or MMB on ba.com would have also told you the same thing. You then waste time at check in asking again to be told “no access” and, presumably to get rid of you, you were invited to check again directly with the lounge who again told you “no”. In each case the information was correct.

      If BA have suspended the agreement with the lounge it will be to preserve cash during the Covid 19 pandemic and downturn in business. Nobody seems to have lied at each stage you were told you don’t have access currently which is correct.

      Not sure if you were you expecting BA’s handling agents to be party to these negotiations and have another level of detail to share with you?

    • Karl says:

      It seems like poor form to me from BA. The list of lounges for BA passengers around Europe seems to be ever-dwindling. Cost-cutting/COVID-excuses aside I’d image CE passengers to Malta at this time of year would be paying a £200-£300 extra for the privilege. As well as another bag, an empty adjoining seat and a reheated onboard meal it would be reasonable to expect a couple of complementary volovants and a glass of wine in the lounge to accompany such a “premium” service.

      • Jonathan says:

        Flights are dirt cheap at the moment compared to usual August prices so I’m not sure I buy that anyone is being ripped off.

        The genuine high fare passengers aren’t travelling at the moment so not unreasonable of BA to cull some of the frills, especially when they’re low quality outstation contract lounges.

  • Laura says:

    Afternoon.

    I stopped at the Hard Rock Hotel last night on the anniversary offer and I loved it!

    Admittedly, I am usually at the Travelodge/Premier Inn price point, so I don’t have masses to compare it to.
    The last ‘nice’ hotel I stopped in was the Park Plaza Westminster (also on the offer) and I much preferred the HRH, despite being in a more basic room.

    Staff are all brilliant, the room is a touch small but it’s central London and they always are. ‘Stealable’ hangers, but slow kettle and instant coffee sachets. Robes are hidden away on the wardrobe shelf, rather than in the bathroom, which I thought was a bit odd.

    Soundproofing was excellent, my room overlooked Great Cumberland Place (main road) and there was road works, but I couldn’t hear it with the window closed.
    My only real complaint about the room was the bathplug didn’t fit properly and it drained out within about 15 minutes.

    I mentioned when I booked that it’s my birthday on Wednesday, and I got some complimentary snacks, cokes, chocolates and prosecco left in my room, plus a little hand written note.

    Good cocktail menu, all charged to the room ok, although the staff assumed that I was going to pay with my card each time and had to ask to charge it. Normal London bar prices (ie. more expensive than the rest of the country, but could be a lot worse!). I think I paid £35ish for three cocktails.

    I didn’t have breakfast, when I called this morning to check the price it was £18.95 (I think) and I decided against it, however, with hindsight, breakfast seemed expensive elsewhere nearby anyway, so if I stopped again, I would probably go for it, especially as it’s a buffet.

    Honestly, I’m regretting not booking more nights there!

    • Blair says:

      The only thing worse than a slow kettle is a slow kettle paired with a thimble-sized mug. Within an instant the drink is gone/gone cold. I’ve gone full Partridge and started bringing my own.

      • Laura says:

        I travel with a plastic pint glass and a travel mug.
        I drink up to 6 pints of water a day, I can not be bothered with tiny hotel glasses.

        One advantage of travelling on my own is that I make myself two cups of coffee at the same time when the mugs are tiny.

        • Blair says:

          Hi Laura, this water – is the hotel bathroom tap or bottled?

          • Laura says:

            I drink the bathroom tap water but there was two bottles of complimentary water in the mini-bar.

          • Lady London says:

            I always carry my own. What comes out of bathroom taps not reliable.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      Laura, this is great info – I’m staying for my son’s birthday next Tuesday night also on the anniv rate.

      • Laura says:

        Make sure you let them know in advance that it’s a birthday to hopefully get some nice goodies.

        Have a brill time!

  • bafan says:

    Has anyone been to Cluj before? Looking at getting another trip in before my next job starts at the beginning of September and was considering Romania / Bulgaria.

    • Jamie says:

      Yes – spent 3 nights in Cluj back in 2018. Flew out with Wizz and back with Blue Air. Fantastic city! Friendly locals, very cheap booze, cuisine very meat heavy…. Highly recommend checking out the Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) if you do go.

    • Alan says:

      Yes, one week before the first lockdown.
      It’s a beautiful place to visit for the scenery, wine, food, value for money and has friendly locals many of whom speak very good English.

      If you fancy Bulgaria Sofia is also a very good choice

    • WaynedP says:

      I was surprised by the evident economic deprivation when I visited Constanta (Romania) in 2014 or 2015 (similar size city to Cluj).

      Despite my vigilant approach, I managed to get mugged by a trio of low, level, opportunistic crims who surrounded me pretending to be legit plain clothes cops on the hunt for drugs.

      This was less than five minutes away from a large, central square with several armed, uniformed police/military types patrolling around.

      I got away with only elevated adrenalin and the loss of 70 euros by a combination of luck, foresight and possibly my Guardian Angel working overtime, but it highlighted to me that it doesn’t take much in such a relatively poor country to become a victim of opportunistic crime.

  • Kai says:

    Has the 300/500/700 rule undergone some change recently? I am only able to put £300 every week from Solihull to Seagulls.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Not for me.

    • Sal says:

      What do the figures mean?

    • Ls says:

      Maybe ring them up and ask? Fully detailing the system you are using, the benefits gained, and inevitable costs to the card provider by doing this?

    • DarrenS says:

      It has always been a bit hit and miss for me. I think it’s more the number of days rather than the amounts that seem to fluctuate a bit.

    • Blair says:

      Hundred a day is fine

  • idrive says:

    Hello! OT: does E.on accept Amex? i re-read the previous article and it was not mentioned (march 21). Thanks!

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.