Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 26th September

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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.

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Comments (285)

  • Josu says:

    Anyone tried topping up Ernie since the email wrath?

    • KBuffett says:

      It’s probably worth spending 30 mins reading this weeks comments. It appears as though some people are continuing their activities.

    • SteveJ says:

      Any new sign up offers? I’m thinking of closing my player 1 Bendy, with all it’s, ahem, history and starting fresh with player 2.

    • PK says:

      Scaremongers have reported being shut down, but I guess you can see for yourself by making a small deposit and leaving it there. Do not recycle the cash at this time. I am also planning to do the same closer to the payday.

  • Zumi says:

    Morning all. We have 3 return tickets booked for Japan in December this year: a pair by taking BA 241 voucher (expire Sep2022) and the other ticket is full fare booked separately. Looks like Japan is yet to open for tourism. By when BA will notify whether the flight is operating or not? In the event of BA cancellation, I guess more freedom on rebooking anytime next year? many thanks.

    • Andy says:

      Based on previous comments, it seems BA has done away with the policy of allowing people to rebook up to 1 year from the travel date, and is insisting on 1 year from the date you bought the tickets. So in the event the flights are cancelled, you might have that constraint. So they might insist on giving you a refund instead – you could fight them on that but that’s not something I’ve looked into, although there are plenty of similar questions each week so if you look at some of the earlier threads you will find your answer.

      If the flights are not cancelled, normal rules would apply, although you could of course convert both the Avios 241 booking and the cash one into FTVs, valid until September 2023 (I think that’s the latest extend FTV date)

  • Definitas says:

    We are flying to Canada next week for 2 weeks so we will no longer be classed as unclean and can fly into the US. Unfortunately, I am confused by the Covid test requirements for the US. There appears to be a different set of requirements for US citizens and the US government website says a viral test is required for us that can be a PCR or an Antigen test. It gives a raft of details about types of PCR but pretty much nothing about antigen tests. PCR tests in Canada seem to average $200 so an Antigen test may be preferable if its cheaper. Have any non-US HfP readers successfully entered the US with an Antigen test and, if so, please can you shed some light on what it is? Thanks

    • Pete M says:

      I know several people who have happily entered the US from Mexico and Europe/UK with Prenetics/Chronomics/Qured certificates.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      The same rules apply to everyone, it can be an antigen test but unupervised self tests aren’t allowed (but video link is ok). There is stacks of information on TripAdvisor to point you in the right direction.

      • Definitas says:

        Thanks. I had read the CDC guidelines but my question is, what counts as an antigen test? I.e. does it mean the so called rapid tests? The CDC gives multiple examples of a NAAT test but none for an antigen test

        • Patrycja says:

          NAAT tests are PCR or Lamp test. It looks like you only need a rapid antigen test to enter and a fit to fly certificate issued after your test

  • Ryan says:

    It’s been years since my previous Ryanair flight so I’m unsure on their boarding pass requirements…

    I’ve checked in and have a PDF of the boarding pass (their foldable A4 sheet) does this need printing or can I show the PDF on my phone?


    • Ikaz says:

      You no longer need a paper copy, why not download the app or see if they offer to download a mobile boarding pass?

    • Anna says:

      If you don’t want to download the app you can take a screenshot of the boarding pass on your phone which works just fine.

    • Sam G says:

      Their app is good as you can store your covid docs there too so it’s all ready to show in one place

      Took my first Ryanair flight in years recently and no idea if I was just lucky but found the whole thing very chilled – early both ways, no militant gate checks on hand luggage, crew very cheery and the sandwich & coffee purchased on board perfectly good and fairly priced. All for a great price even with seats & priority boarding add ons + it took me to the regional airport I needed to get to anyway. Stansted was even an acceptable experience!

      • Anna says:

        +1 for both my trips this summer. Full exit row each for me and OH en route to TFS. Also on arrival back at MAN there was no other flight arriving at all so we were straight through passport control.

    • Laura says:

      Rules might have changed recently but it used to be the printed a4 sheet OR the boarding pass on the app.

      My friend had to pay a ridiculous fee a few years ago when she tried to show the pdf boarding pass on her phone. She had to get a paper boarding pass printed as they wouldn’t accept it

  • TOBIAS L says:

    Bought a return ticket FROM the US to UK for November through Expedia and received an e-mail saying the departure leg has been cancelled. I now need to call Expedia ‘to discuss options’.

    I’m quite rusty on my rights as I haven’t travelled in a while, and this flight originates in the US (though through Lufthansa operated by United).

    Am I entitled to rebooking on a comparable flight/earlier one if more expensive? The same flight leaves the day before but tickets are 2x. What if they say no? I don’t want a refund as prices have gone up since and im relatively flexible on dates (+/- 1 day).

    Want to be sure I’m armed with knowledge before this call!

    • Blair says:

      Take the refund asap and chalk this up as experience to avoid using intermediaries during the lockdown era

    • Richie says:

      United operated flights from the US are not covered by reg 261.

    • Lyn says:

      Unfortunately I don’t think the normal EU cancellation rules would apply in this case. It is the operating carrier that is important – so United rather than Lufthansa.

      Your departure flight is TO the UK/Europe on a non-European airline, which is the exception to the rule. Only United flights FROM Europe/UK would be covered. Or Lufthansa flights in either direction.

      So I think you will have to rely on Expedia, Lufthansa and United and their rules or generosity in this case. If it had been booked directly through United I would have expected them to simply rebook you on the day if requested before since they cancelled the flight.

      Hopefully someone else can correct me if I am wrong, or offer suggestions.

      • Richie says:

        I didn’t experience ‘generousity’ when I travelled United, they tried to charge me extra for luggage that was already included, so lower your expectations of ‘generousity’.

    • Harry T says:

      No EC261 rights when flying a non EU carrier into the EU. Get a refund and GTFO. Although your explanation is a little unclear and I’m assuming this is a one way from US to UK.

      • Lyn says:

        It is described as a return ticket with the departure leg cancelled, so it sounds like a round trip rather than a one way. Transatlantic dialect differences perhaps.

        I don’t think I agree with the advice here to get a refund. Presumably the flight back to the US is still running and that would be covered by EU/UK rules. It may also be less likely to be cancelled if later in November or December with the recent news. So why not just ask for the outbound to be changed to the day before if it can de done without extra cost?

        Having said that, I have no experience of using third parties like Expedia. The biggest risk I am prepared to take is booking a partner award on a different airline to the frequent flyer programme, and even that is always with fingers crossed!

    • Sam G says:

      They’ll rebook you FOC – Look up what flight you want and give Expedia a call

  • Rosie says:

    Sorry maybe a silly question , i understand that if you book economy flights on BA website to Europe for example sometimes when you go into manage my booking there is a special upgrade supplement for club Europe … do you still get that upgrade option even if you buy the cheap Basic ticket with no bags

    • Richie says:

      Yes, I’ve seen it there when I’ve booked HBO fares.

      • Alan says:

        Does it work out cheaper than just buying club in the first place?

        • Rosie says:

          Mmm hand bag fare 60 , in economy 1 way club Europe 390 one way … not booked the flights yet but hoping the upgrade won’t be the difference between

          • Save East Coast Rewards says:

            If there’s no promotional offer the website will offer the fare difference upgrade so keep checking back. The promotional upgrades will never appear in the first 48 hours. This was something introduced pre-covid to stop people booking a flight, seeing there’s no offer available and then cancelling free of charge during the 24 hour cooling off period. It’s a great way to earn tier points

        • Ikaz says:

          It can sometimes be the same price or more than the difference between the prices, but the promo fare is typically cheaper, I used to pay £39-£59 extra per direction on the GLA-LON route at the start of the year, and have upgraded about 25 flights like this (mainly for the tier points)

      • Mark says:

        We booked an HBO (Basic) and Plus fares for the same flights on separate bookings as wanted to check one case between us (we each have OneWorld Ruby so seat selection not an issue) and were offered exactly the same upgrade Price of £204 each, each way. In the case of the Plus fare that would have totalled nearly £600 return Club Europe to Chania, around £550 from the HBO fare! I’m sure the headline CE fare at the time of booking was somewhat less than both of them – certainly not a bargain!

    • Paul Pogba says:

      I’ve been booking lots of trips for next year and have been looking at upgrade options for many of them. In every case I’ve looked at it was cheaper to cancel via Book with Confidence and rebook as Club Europe. One was a £65 economy to Zurich, upgrade was £99 each way or £180 to rebook. Plus if you check the price on Momondo/Google and find a cheaper rate, PDF print the payment page of the third party travel agent and make a claim under Best Price, you should get a voucher for double the difference.

      • David S says:

        Between £69 and £79 each way going to Faro. BA seem keen to take as many upgrades as they can to fill up to row 15 on the flight.

        • Rob says:

          Athens was £129 each way when I upgraded my wife last week (work trip, I wasn’t there).

    • Pid says:

      I have always found upgrading at the airport good value and cheaper that via the app in advanced. Not guaranteed available though.

  • Graham Walsh says:

    Anyone had any luck with IHG extending the CC vouchers? Have two expiring by the end of the year.

    • Benilyn says:

      They extended last time very late on the in there calendar year…

      • Benilyn says:


        I’m not holding my breath

        • Reney says:

          It might have been Rob who mentioned in the chat one day that hotel
          occupancies have pretty much resumed to ‘normal’ in the US so less incentives for major hotel groups to extend their status and free nights. Based on this, I have just used up all my free night vouchers (just checked out of Moxy Edinburgh). Some of them were extended at least twice.

          I do have one ‘free’ night left (not worth much) but looks like I can just extend that by booking something small so think that’s ok.

          • Graham Walsh says:

            I’ve got 5 hotels dot com nights too but I’ll use one when visiting step son at uni in a few weeks.

  • BP says:

    Stayed at Marriott The Glasshouse in Edinburgh last night. 1 cat upgrade as a Gold on the NHS rate.
    Can’t quite believe it’s a category 7 hotel. The rooms are a really odd layout and the furniture old and tatty. The plumbing and aircon is incredibly noisy. Fortunately I was drunk as a skunk and slept through the noise. Can’t really comment on the service as I checked in at 1am and left before 12.

    The location is very central. At £89 a night and a 5 minute walk from the wedding I was at it was perfect. People paying £300+ a night for a room would likely be unhappy.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Rooms were “refreshed” in 2018. Guess it was on the cheap.

    • Reney says:

      I am also in Edinburgh! Stayed at the Moxy Fountainbridge last night. First time staying at a Moxy, not sure I will do it again. The decor is nice, the room is quiet, despite being right next to the elevator. But the lack of kettle in the room and tiny bathroom puts me off.

      • EwanG says:

        Did you venture out for breakfast this morning or dinner last night Reney?

        • Reney says:

          EwanG were you the one who gave me recommendations? I took a screen shot but it cut off just below your name. I did go out for dinner but ended up at a place my friend has been before.
          I was going to try Loudon’s after my morning walk, but I took a wrong turn and my walk ended up being 3 hours long and needed to check out promptly and head to the airport 😅. Currently eating at the Aspire lounge instead.

          • EwanG says:

            Yes that’s right. The Moxy’s location is great – IMHO preferable than the other two you were considering unless you had plans near them – not so good that you were disappointed though! I’ve heard good things about the Voco and there is a Hampton and Mercure nearby which covers the main chains for next time!

    • Tracy says:

      I stayed at the Sheraton grand Edinburgh last night on the NHS rate, £83 for the night. Platinum upgrade to castle view suite, lounge access where food was back to buffet but drinks still table service & breakfast in the lounge. Hard to complain about much at that rate. (Did complain last time at the same rate as restaurant breakfast experience was the worst I have EVER had in a hotel, ended up leaving with no breakfast after 1.5hrs!)

      • Reney says:

        🤣 it is like we had a socially distanced HFP meet up in Edinburgh where we each go to a different hotel from the same chain. Didn’t Marriott sponsored the last party?

      • Harry T says:

        Lounge breakfast is better at the Sheraton Grand, IME. I appreciate not everyone has access to that but you should do as Plat. It’s a very good rate and I much prefer the SG to the Glasshouse, which has an odd decor and really needs a refurb.

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