Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 17th August

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Comments (394)

  • Mr H says:

    Mrs H and I flew LHR to PHL in July and came back a week ago.
    We were originally booked in BA first via an Amex 241. So 160K Avios + taxes.
    BA cancelled the flights and after talking to them we ended up on AA in business class (no first class on the AA flights) on the same days as the original booking. I am aware the 241 voucher is BA flights only.
    I sent a request to BA for a refund of 40K Avios (difference between First class and business class) and received a “Dear valuable customer, we are very sorry for the inconvenience” email – promising a refund of Avios.
    When I checked my account today they have actually deducted 80K Avios (ie charged 2*120K for the AA flights and refunded the original 160K). The Amex 241 voucher was not refunded.
    I’ll, obviously, get on to them but any advice appreciated.

    • will says:

      How far in advance of travel did they cancel the flights?

      • will says:

        Take a look here:
        https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm#reimbursement-cancellation-1

        Reimbursement, re-routing or rebooking in the event of cancellation
        The airline must offer you, on a one off basis, a choice between:

        the reimbursement of your ticket and, if you have a connecting flight, a return flight to the airport of departure at the earliest opportunity
        re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or,
        re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.
        Warning
        Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, carriers are issuing vouchers you can redeem later as an alternative to reimbursement.

        In this case, as a passenger, you must always be given the choice between a cash reimbursement and a voucher.

        As soon as you have chosen one of these three options, you no longer have rights in relation to the other two options. However, the airline may still have to provide compensation depending on the distance of your flight and the length of the delay past your original planned arrival time.

        If the airline does not comply with its obligation to offer re-routing or return under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity, it has to reimburse your flight costs.
        If the airline does not offer you the choice between reimbursement and re-routing but decides unilaterally to reimburse your original ticket, you are entitled to an additional reimbursement of the price difference with the new ticket (under comparable transport conditions).
        If you booked an outbound and a return flight separately with different airlines and the outbound flight is cancelled, reimbursement is only due for the cancelled flight.

      • Mr H says:

        The flights were cancelled approximately 8 weeks before travel.

    • Harry T says:

      You shouldn’t have asked for a refund, you should have asked for downgrade compensation, after making it clear you did not accept the downgrade as equivalent. Now you are going to spend some time chasing the complex refund team, I imagine. My advice regarding that is to use the official complaints form and then chase up with a call a week or so later.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      you’re owed 75% of the cost of the flights back for the downgrade NOT just the diff between first and business!

      • Lady London says:

        quite. bit of an own goal here to go after a tiny avios difference.

        As compared with, per seat, receiving 75% of what you paid back, for every seat even on a 241 based on the cost of the first seat, for involuntary downgrade from First.

        I know which I’d pick.

    • will says:

      The contentious point here is did you agree to the original cancellation and refund for it or did you explicitly request a re route before the ticket was formally cancelled?

      If its the second then TGLoyalty makes a good point.

      • Mr H says:

        As the flights were cancelled 8 weeks or so before travel I was of the understanding that EU261 (ie 75% of First price) is not applicable.

        • meta says:

          It’s always applicable. It’s a lie BA tells you when you call or write to them.

        • AJA says:

          You were technically entitled to downgrade reimbursement equal to 75% of the fare and fees and charges excluding APD. The downgrade reimbursement is payable regardless of when the downgrade was notified to you.

          It is not compensation it is a reimbursement of fare and it should have been 75% of 160k Avios for each of you so you should actually receive 240k Avios back!

          What BA appears to have done instead is reimbursed your original booking in First on BA and charged you for a new booking in Business on AA. As you say the 2-4-1 is not applicable to flights not on BA metal. hence the 2 x 120k Avios charge. Did your PNR and ticket numbers change?

          Since you have not had the 2-4-1 voucher refunded you now need to explain again that what you were claiming is the 75% downgrade reimbursement for not flying in the cabin you originally booked and paid for. I expect BA will stonewall and say that it was a completely new booking.

          I would ask for a copy of the recording of the original conversation when you were rebooked onto AA business. It will be crucial to determine whether they explained that it would be a completely new booking. You may have to go legal with this.

          • Lady London says:

            AJA you have hit on a very good point there. BA won’t be able to deny the AA booking is still connected to the First BA booking. This is because they didn’t return the Amex 241 voucher. If they were truly separate bookings (as BA may try to claim to say the AA travel in Business was voluntarily requested by the customer), then BA would have refunded the whole of the First booking ie including also returning the voucher.

            The fact that they didn’t makes the link stronger between the BA First booking and the AA Business booking. So it will be easier for you to say you only accepted AA in Business because First on BA was cancelled, you still needed to travel on same day and you were told First not available and so you had to accept it.

      • Lady London says:

        different part of the EU261 legislation. Currently the only part airlines can avoid is the compensation part by claiming Covid as an extraordinary circumstance as provided within EU261, which exempts them from the *compensation* part of EU261 for their cancellation of a flight. They shouldn’t complain because that’s getting them off around £220-£550 per seat compensation per flight cancelled less than 14 days ahead.

        Separately, and still very much applicable, are the duty of care parts and the downgrade compensation parts of EU261.

        Duty of care is the part that means the airline can’t just abandon you it is responsible for your transport from your booked origin to your booked destination at their expense even if it now costs more.
        And even if transport now needs another airline if your booked operating airline has no seats or flights. The Airline is also responsible under duty of care for all extra meals, refreshments, hotels, transport to and from hotels needed, and comms (eg a couple of phone calls or hotel internet) if extra time is needed until transport brings you to your booked destination. Duty of care is due no matter how far ahead your flight is cancelled.

        Compensation for involuntary downgrade is also still due.

        Just as a matter of interest if the airline refuses to pay involuntary downgrade compensation after your flight and you do have to do a money claim online (MCOL), which is a simple process, a rule of thumb for valuing each avios within the 75% you are due back is 1.6p per avios as has been accepted by court. Per seat. Based on the avios cost of the first seat, for each seat of a 241.

  • BMarsh says:

    DP/mini review: just got back from two weeks on the Polish coast and I would heartily recommend to anyone wishing to go – obviously weather will soon start getting colder but alternative Christmas markets maybe? As you may well be aware Poland only require double vaccinations to go, so getting there is a breeze and Verifly on the way home worked very well too, so from that point of view, it makes travelling as stressful or not as before COVID – test to come back to UK can be booked online at centres across the country or Warsaw airport has four different testing points. Once you’re there, for those who want an antidote to COVID restrictions, you are in the right place – masks are all but gone, no social distancing. People are out having fun and enjoying themselves. There is no “new-normal”, this is just normal. Plus, if you choose not to wear a mask, your freedom to do that is respected unlike, in London, where you are looked at with a mixture of disdain, smugness and pity. Stayed in the IC Warsaw for one night as BA cancelled our flight – very nice, clean, functional hotel. I am Amb but refused the upgrade due to requiring connecting rooms but got the room credit, which all but paid for breakfast as status meant one adult breakfast was free and the kids were both free. Facilities very good, so would recommend but would not recommend Warsaw for a long stay – there are better towns and areas to see. Didn’t stay in hotels for the rest of the stay as party size (Polish in-laws were with us) meant self catering was chosen as more appropriate, so can’t comment on other properties, however, I do know using points for rooms is good value – the IC was 22,000. I also do know the Sofitel in Sopot and the Hotel Wentzl in Krakow are both very good. Value for money is not as good since we were last there in 2019, our spending money doubled in the intervening two years but overall I would recommend Poland for an alternative to the upcoming Christmas market jaunt.

  • Shoreham says:

    BA has just changed my outbound flight time by just over 6 hours… is this enough of a change to allow me to cancel for a full cash refund? It’s an avios booking and wondered if I can avoid the £35 cancellation fees because of this change…?

  • mr_jetlag says:

    Amex BAPP… BJ raised some interesting points (pg1 today) so have a conundrum now.

    I have some spend coming up (£18k) which I can put full/partial payment on the BAPP (current balance £5.5k). Do the HFP hivemind think the optimal approach is –

    a) trigger voucher now by paying £4.5k, cancel, then reapply and pay the rest post Sept (triggering a “new” voucher)?

    b) SO currently doesn’t have a BAPP so could get a 2nd voucher through her card, trigger both post-Sept?

    • JDB says:

      It rather depends if you are a gambling man or prefer certainty. Nobody can give you a definitive right/wrong answer at this stage. My personal view is that waiting until 1 Sep carries risks I wouldn’t run, but I have no doubt others will continue to advise you to be more cavalier.

    • AJA says:

      When does your BAPP collection year end? Remember the new conditions on the BAPP 2-4-1 apply to vouchers issued after 1 September and you cannot combine a “new” 2-4-1 with an existing 2-4-1 to get 4 people on a plane (if that is relevant for you).

      If your BAPP collection year end is some way off I’d be inclined to go option b and delay spending the £4.5k to get the voucher until after 1 Sept and get your SO to apply for a BAPP now ie before 1 Sept to pay the old fee (remember you should refer her and get the bonus Avios for that)

  • Stu N says:

    In case anyone is interested, I applied for a GHIC card (the replacement for the old EHIC one) at the end of July and it’s just arrived now, so just under 3 weeks to process.

    • DI says:

      Were you asked for additional documentation?

      I applied a few days ago and they requested proof of residence (which I provided).
      Just wondering whether I should expect similar wait times or much longer 😉

    • Ade says:

      Did you receive an email confirmation after you submitted your application. I did mine last week but received nothing which I thought was rather odd.

  • His Holyness says:

    Anything cheaper than £35.99 Expert Medicals for the Day 2?

    • Pete M says:

      It’s just £28 now as they don’t charge shipping anymore.

      • His Holyness says:

        And while its probably a scam… (I can just imagine the name of the person behind that company which has no company ID, nothing comes up at companies house :D) as long as we send it off, put the reference on the PLF, that’s our obligation over?

        Does it matter to put the accurate flight details on their site, because I suspect they prioritise orders by flight date and we would like the tests sooner rather than late? Surely its the activation and the code on the PLF that matters

        • Pete M says:

          I am not quite sure what you want to hear? If you want a more reputable option for your own peace of mind, go for Randox.

          • His Holyness says:

            I don’t mind. If this outfit tosses them all in the bin I don’t care. As long as that won’t come back on us if we completed the tests and sent them off and declared the right info on the PLF.

          • Anna says:

            Put whatever date you want on – I experimented with a couple and they do seem to send them out in priority date order. So if you want it to arrive before you go away, just put an earlier date. There seems to be no issue with the fact that you’re not actually flying on the date you state you are!

  • Michael G says:

    Good afternoon my fellow frequent travellers, hope everyone is well!

    I have, after 6 months of trying, managed to get enough points for a trip to the Conrad Maldives for 5 nights!

    It is showing as 95k points per night and even stays the same when I add my 2 children to the room (beach villa accomadates 4 according to the website)

    If I book this, I’m not going to be stung at check in am I where they try to make me pay for the kids? I’m sure I read a story somewhere of this happening but not sure of the circumstances. Anything else I should be aware of?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Rob says:

      The ‘room rate’ details should list any extra charges for rollaway beds etc which you would need to pay, as you would on a cash stay.

    • Babyg says:

      when i was with a 5 year old on a reward booking there were no additional charges.. also kids eat for free (from the kids menu too), but you will be paying around £300-500 per day for a couple on the conrad to eat/drink… so i wouldnt say its free, rather its built into the prices 🙂

      • Babyg says:

        ps it was a few months ago…

      • Aston100 says:

        £300 to £500 per day for f&b?
        They’d better be cutting the food up and feeding it to you for that price! preferably served off the back of a hot naked waitress.

        • JDB says:

          Ridiculous isn’t it, but seems as though that is what the hotels can get away with when you are captive on an island, nowhere else to go out and virtually all the food has to be imported (and thus mainly frozen and not that good). Never understood the enthusiasm for the Maldives.

          • Tracey says:

            Always AI in the Maldives for that reason. If you are using points for your stay, first do a comparison of like for like costs. Also means you are not restricting yourself to hotels that are part of international chains.

          • Aston100 says:

            I think I fancy the concept of an overwater villa, but not the remoteness – at least not so remote that you can’t go anywhere.
            I did a quick check on overwater villas elsewhere in the tropical parts of the world, and am really struggling to find anything suitable.
            There are some on the southern parts of Malaysia but very crowded.

            No middle ground anywhere it seems.

          • Babyg says:

            yeah not many places I go where I feel I don’t have enough money, but maldives was one of those places… note £300-500 per couple was us sticking to a budget and skipping lunch most day… you could easily double that… from memory any of the set meals (bbq on the beach) were around $200-300 per person…. then there are the drinks… conrad wins because of its amazing lagoon thou… its one of the best in the maldives…. but you could certainly do better value wise if you went all inclusive somewhere..

          • Babyg says:

            I agree with JDB, but the wife was super keen, so i figured there was no better time due due to the low numbers of people travelling – and when we went the Maldives was on the greenlist etc …we also got the special BA 747 £999 tickets to fly club to Maldives (thou ended up flying Qatar)… that said i dont have any interest in going back.. it was nice to tick it off the list…

    • Genghis says:

      No. A MAMS hotel tried to charge me for the extra bed for my son when I’d booked a room for 3 using IHG points. The guy was shocked I was challenging it but very quickly backed down.

    • Pauline peddie says:

      Check out the cost of a cash stay at the moment which may include transfers. It might work out better

  • Sina says:

    @Rob Can we get an update to the Wyndham rewards article? or is it not really worth the time? I see some opportunities for the status match but would be interested to know more details!?

    • Rob says:

      Until Wyndham actually get some decent hotels, not really.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Caesar’s Palace? 😉

        • Sina says:

          Yep! 🤓 not sure how it works tho!

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Haha well I meant there are some interesting hotels available on Wyndham points but anyway….
            Basically Amex Plat for 1 month -> HH Gold (and others) -> Wyndham Diamond -> Caesars Diamond = NO RESORT FEES (around $45 per night) + a $100 dining credit (and some other less interesting stuff).
            The big problem right now is that Wyndham has suspended status matching until further notice., so unless you already have Wyndham status or very close, it’s unlikely to be worth the effort.

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