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The HfP chat thread – Monday 20th September

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

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Comments (509)

  • Simon says:

    The Creation/Curve imbroglio… M&S online have just put a refund back onto the card I paid with (Curve) – and the Curve app is showing that they’ll apply it to my IHG card as that backed the original purchase. Is this going to work, or am I going to have to chase Curve for the money? (I know I could ask Curve but I suspect the speed and quality of response will be better here.)

    • The Urbanite says:

      On the few occasions I’ve had a refund on Curve it has worked ok.

    • Duncan says:

      I saw Curve on Twitter reply to someone with the same question. They confirmed that the refund wouldn’t be affected, and would be successfully processed onto the Creation card even though new purchases would fail.

    • avstar says:

      I’ve experience this situation – refunded to Curve Cash.

  • Princess says:

    Good morning everyone! My Avios booking in first class to China has been cancelled (as expected). For the next year BA seem to still fly the same aircraft 777, but there are no first class tickets available, not for money or for Avios booking

    Question: when I call them to move the date of cancelled flight (I’m aware of the 1 year validity reinstated ticket policing), what should I expect if they only offer business class?

    • blenz101 says:

      You can expect things to potentially change again before you fly.

      You can ask to be rerouted in first on your new dates and if they can’t / won’t have the option to enforce this right by suing them but may require you to first pay for first class tickets on another carrier.

      You could take an involuntary downgrade and ensure it is marked as such and after flying get back 75% of the Avios and carrier fees for the downgraded leg(s).

      First class may well appear again but they are not offering it until more certainty exists so they aren’t on the hook for downgrade compensation for future bookings.

      • Yuff says:

        Hi Blenz

        Do you know of a website that details the testing requirements to get into Abu Dhabi and Dubai from the UK.
        I’ve tried looking but still can’t work out if it’s better to fly to Dubai, or Abu Dhabi, if we are heading straight to Dubai from the airport.
        My preference is to probably stay in Abu Dhabi as our flights get in late at night and travel to the Atlantis the following morning but not keen to get hit with loads of pcr tests.
        I do have a cancelled flight in F with BA I can use to Dubai but haven’t accepted the downgrade yet

        • Sandra says:

          For travel to either you need a PCR fit to fly test, 48 hours before flight departure for Abu Dhabi + download & completion of Al Hosn app and 72 hours before Dubai flight. All info can be found on Etihad/Emirates websites and you need to keep checking as it could change. If you are going to Atlantis the sensible option for me, unless you need to go to Abu Dhabi first for some reason, would be to fly to Dubai in case anything changes at short notice at the border on the drive across (unlikely but you never know).

          • Sandra says:

            *test and negative result certificate within 48/72 hours of flight departure respectively. You really need to be reading the info on the sites regularly yourself in case advice changes/you need to download more/apps change etc!

          • Yuff says:

            Thanks Sandra
            It’s easier to fly to Abu Dhabi, as 2 of us are flying from Madrid and the other 2 Manchester.
            We all have a booking from Heathrow to Dubai.
            I’ve left if as late as possible to change just in case things change.
            Thanks Blenz101, for the update.

          • Yuff says:

            Although I would rather avoid tests on arrival just in case something changes, so maybe Dubai is the way to go

          • Michael says:

            Hi Sandra,

            Sorry to butt in, do you know if the randox at home PCR tests are okay to use as a Pre departure to Abu Dhabi with Etihad? It reads like it has to be a test done in person but can’t imagine they would know if it isnt.

            Thanks

        • blenz101 says:

          The border controls have now been removed between Abu Dhabi and Dubai so you can now take your pick with little extra hassle.

          Both will require a test within 72 hours before departure from the UK. Abu Dhabi will require an addtional free test on arrival.

          The previous biggest hurdle of inter-Emirate testing has gone and border posts are being dismantled. Positivity rate is about 0.2% currently so little chance of things changing rapidly. Abu Dhabi will also be hoping to pick up some trade from Expo.

          • blenz101 says:

            Sorry – just to note, AUH is 48 hours rather than 72. Both require full PCR tests.

    • AJA says:

      Your EC/UK261 rights apply. You are entitled to choose either full refund, or re-routing to your destination on BA or another airline in the same cabin at the earliest opportunity OR a date that suits you subject to availability of seats. BA will say the subject to seats clause means reward seats but EC261 does not specify this so as long as there are seats in the cabin for sale you can have them. It might be a battle.

      BA will probably also say no 1st class so rebook in Club. If they do you are entitled to 75% fare downgrade reimbursement (for both passengers). They will try to argue that you should be refunded the difference between 1st and club Avios but you should say you are involuntarily accepting the downgrade. Make it clear on the call that you are being forced unwillingly to accept the downgrade from 1st to Club as you still want to travel and that you ate not expecting any Avios to be put in your account as a result of the moving your existing reservation.

      if they do reimburse the difference I would wait until after the flight and then go for downgrade reimbursement.

      NOTE be careful when they do this that they don’t refund you and rebook as that may result in a repricing. Insist that BA confirms before they make the change that your PNR does not change as a result of the move and that no repricing will occur.

      • Princess says:

        Thank you all for the advice and explaining the details. I will be careful stating the involuntary downgrade.
        Let’s see what’s happening! I’ll post an update in coming days!

  • SG says:

    Thanks Travel Strong
    I shall get on the phone to Amex!

  • Eric the Half a Bee says:

    Morning folks,

    I have had the first (AMS-LHR) of a BA holidays AMS-LHR-LAX in July change time to cause a misconnect at LHR. I want to cancel the trip but am wondering whether this will self-cancel at some point (still showing in MMB), or if I need to try to make the dreaded call to BAH? TIA

    • Sam G says:

      It’ll get corrected to a viable connection at some point. You can call in and get something preferable but if you leave it then you’ve always got the option open to make changes nearer the time, schedules will almost certainly change again between now and then!

    • Eric the Half a Bee says:

      Do’h – sorry meant November!

  • Lula says:

    My husband and I are going travelling for 7 months from December. Starting in Mexico and seeing where else let’s us in. Any recommendations for long term travel insurance?

    Thanks

    • cinereus says:

      You’re stuck with the usual set of providers that offer medium term travel insurance. I’d just do a comparison and pick the cheapest that covers your activities. Utterly bemusing that most policies assume travel of less than 30 days in one trip.

      • jack charlton says:

        “Utterly bemusing that most policies assume travel of less than 30 days in one trip.”

        When 99.9% of leisure travel is less than 30 days…I’d say it’s utterless unbemusing.

    • JDB says:

      Have a look at gap year insurers on google – many offer long term insurance to people of all ages, but some don’t cover FCDO ‘non essential’ countries (ie Mexico currently).

    • Lula says:

      Thanks both.

    • JDB says:

      @Lula – by the way, if you are going to Mexico for a longer trip, I hope you are going to have time to go the west coast in Guerrero state – Zihuatanejo/Playa Blanca/Troncones. Very beautiful, unspoilt, empty beaches and good accommodation right across the range.

    • Sam G says:

      Yes I think the sticking point will be long term + travelling against FCDO advice, I have a long stay coming up in one such country and from my initial searching I couldn’t find any of the usual gap year type policies that would cover outside of Europe. Do update if you find anything!

  • Harrier25 says:

    It does make me laugh. These small energy companies sell gas and electricity at rock bottom prices to attract customers and then want a taxpayers bail out when it all goes wrong and they can no longer afford to trade. Tough luck guys. You took the risk and your fragile business model failed.

    • Rich says:

      No energy company can balance the books at the moment, unless they are 100% hedged. The price cap is way below the breakeven point. Even the big ones are wondering if their pockets are deep enough.

    • Relay says:

      The one I don’t understand is Bulb… they don’t offer fixes, so can’t claim to have been caught out on this. So in effect, the variable tariff rates, i.e. the price cap, can’t be covering the wholesale prices… or their overheads are too high? Confused.

      • JDB says:

        Companies like Bulb are no longer able to buy energy at or below the price cap and haven’t hedged enough. Other companies that offer fixes have probably hedged that part of their book – CEO of Octopus on the radio this morning said 60% of their customers were fixed. He didn’t say it, but clearly they too are in trouble.

      • Rich says:

        It’s two things. The price cap is lower than the wholesale cost, right now, so nobody can make money.

        And even though it’s a variable tariff, it still has to be set at some point – they can’t (I think) keep raising it week after week. Bulb notified me in August that the price was going up from 3.5p to 3.95p, and promised no further price rises for 6 months.

        Since then, wholesale costs are up 70%, and the cheapest fix in the market is 5.5p.

        • JDB says:

          Is that the gas prices you are referring to? We don’t have mains gas near us so no idea of the pricing units. What is the equivalent electricity price? In the spring, there was a lot on the chat about Bulb, Octopus, Amex etc. which people were jumping at whereas many of us were suggesting fixes at around 16p/kWh. It looks as though that is now 21p+ before an October price rise. For us that’s already £875 p.a. saving.

          • Harrier25 says:

            Yes, I fixed with OVO for 1 year back in April. For once I think I’m quids in now!

          • Rich says:

            Yes, that was gas, sorry.

            For elec, I’m on 5.5p for 5 hours overnight, 13p the rest of the time with Octopus. Which seems absurdly cheap right now! Boy am I in for a shock when that fix ends.

            I’m seeing electricity fixes of 16.5p, but with a small provider that may not be around next week.

        • BJ says:

          + their model means that they have probably lost large numbers of customers to fixes available elsewhere and will continue to to do so every time they hike their prices. Their model is probably only robust during fair weather, not during storms.

          • ken says:

            Have you tried to get a fixed price deal recently (last 4 weeks) ?

            As the cap is only changed in October (already announced) and April, then you are likely to be far, far better off on a variable tariff.

            The fixes (1 year, dual fuel) I was offered would be about £700 a year more than the October cap.

            The market is so broken (by the cap) that no company wants new customers on the variable tariff

          • BJ says:

            @ken, no, I usually switch and fix in early spring and did not realise it had got as bad as that. About two months ago Scottish Power CS offered me a 2y fix but I wasn’t interested as I had so much hassle with them. With benefit of hindsight I should probably have taken it. Now I have to wait see what happehs when current fix ends
            31/1.

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      This is exactly why policies like price capping that play well politically are terrible in practice. The sooner we get building reliable base load modern nuclear power stations the better.

      • BJ says:

        Wishful thinking, cost of Uranium is headed in one direction long term. It has also spiked recently.

      • Sandra says:

        I would get a decent fix for electricity ASAP if you can because short term things won’t improve. As well as high gas prices, last week there was a lack of wind/solar generation due to weather conditions, outages due to both maintenance and breakdown and the gas inter connector breakage in the south which will probably mean a 50% reduction in the gas supply from that stream for about 6 months. Oh, and for winter I’d also make sure you have a few candles/battery powered lamps just in case because until more generation, like nuclear, is on stream things don’t look good! They have been running last resort coal stations that are due to close shortly in order to keep up with demand.

        • ken says:

          Sorry Sandra this is largely nonsense.
          We / you have missed the boat on getting a decent fix for either gas or electricity.
          IMHO most people will be better off with a variable capped rate unless you have already fixed – and hope things are better by spring.

          Its also the electricity subsea cable inter-connector that’s broken not the gas.

      • ken says:

        In fairness before the cap, the market worked very well for those who regularly changed.

        For the 25% of people who never (and I mean never) changed their supplier – they were royally ripped off and were often the poorest in society.

        • Sandra says:

          Yes sorry Ken I made the mistake and said gas when I meant than electricity but nevertheless it will be up to a 6 month disruption. I have a fixed rate already for electricity, don’t have gas but I’ve filled our oil tank for winter before oil rises more in price too. I did say fix ASAP IF you can get a decent one. It’s not nonsense, I don’t know if you work in the electricity generation business but many of my family & friends do.

          • Sandra says:

            Fact is many suppliers have been allowed in with lower prices that are not sustainable and have not paid to hedge their costs. Why should other companies who have been sensible bail them out and why should the rest of us have to pay to bail them out either – I know that doesn’t help and is hard on those who were encouraged to switch to them and you can be fairly sure that the directors/boards of those going out of business will have taken their money out already! Unfortunately if you want competition in the market you have to accept the consequences if an abundance of suppliers are allowed in without adequate checks on their financial stability to withstand sudden market changes.

          • Sandra says:

            And if you are a electricity trader what they have to say about the majority of traders & their knowledge is unprintable!

  • cinereus says:

    Returning from Switzerland before 4 Oct. Will have visited France and Italy. As I understand, if you are double vaxxed all that is needed is take a test before returning to UK and book day 2 test.

    Can anyone recommend a cheap day 2 test provider that allows a home test (won’t be in London)? All the ones on the gov site seem to have different prices to those advertised.

    • The Canuck says:

      Have only good experiences with Randox. 43 GBP with the BA discount code

    • Cathy says:

      I have just used Randox at £43 with BA discount, from dropping in box to result, 18 hours, much quicker than expected

      • Tracey says:

        Nationwide pathology is only £40 and uses Royal Mail pre paid for return in priority boxes. Our results came back in 24 hours.

    • idrive says:

      I used Nationwide Pathology £40, twice

    • cinereus says:

      Thanks all. But frustrating when the gov site mentions several options at £20 but there you go…

      • Tracey says:

        They are click bait. Fine if you just want a code or are happy to pick up a self administering test that is only open 2 hours a week from a single location. If you do go down this route check that they give you the code for your plf when you buy, not when you collect the test.

    • cinereus says:

      Oh please could someone share a discount code? My flight is with easyjet who they have partnered with but I don’t seem to have received a code.

  • Paul Pogba says:

    Did I see in the comments somewhere recently that Rob hinted there would be a new Star Alliance card this week?

    • Rob says:

      No. There is some cool card stuff this week though.

      • DI says:

        Not chase, not star alliance, hmmm

        I think not IHG either…..

        Hilton will be back!!!! 😁

        • Sandgrounder says:

          Is no Chase news a bluff though, a ‘current account with rewards programme’ does appear promising on the surface……

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Any hints? IHG Prem?!

      • Rich says:

        Diamond Club coming back with 2.5 miles on a Mastercard? 😉

      • Travel Strong says:

        Halifax Clarity moving to a glass card (with numbers on the back, of course)?

      • ankomonkey says:

        Creation and Curve getting back together with identical cards made from recycled swimming trunks?

      • Paul Pogba says:

        If I was thinking of applying for a Virgin card (more as new card to place behind my Curve rather than a love of FC/Virgin Red) would you wait?

    • David says:

      Barclaycard avios earner

      • BJ says:

        Likely all wrong, cool to Rob means a big sponsored ad from amex? Or perhaps a QR card, or a Virgin Red SUB on VS or other Virgin cards? All of those would be cool for HfP balance sheet.

        • David says:

          Potential Barclaycard tie up been intimated a number of times previously here.

        • Rob says:

          You are actually 50% correct in that list.

          Your cynicism is uncalled for though! We generally only get paid on stuff if readers take it up. There is a massive correlation between what is good for the reader and what is good for us. If Royal Brunei launched a credit card it wouldn’t matter what they paid us, our total revenue would still be £0.

          • BJ says:

            Not cynical, just realistic. I ‘ve commented many times over the years that I have no problem with sponsorship directly of indirectly. And, commented too on numerous ocassions that you would even highlight what was in best interests of readers even where it was contrary to your own; this seemed to happen quite regularly, especially in the early days.

          • Paul Pogba says:

            Sponsored Ad from Amex = possible, maybe a KrisFlyer bonus/improved transfer rate?
            QR card = probably not, oneworld not Star Alliance.
            Virgin = probably not, not Star Alliance and strong links to SkyTeam.

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