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The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 19th October

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

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Comments (627)

  • GaryE says:

    In response to Anna re my Easyjet Holiday (Page 2) – they are not offering a refund. All they are offering is that the deposit can be converted into a non transferable voucher. The Easyjet flight website states as the flight has been cancelled I can change flight or ask for refund – but I have no idea if I clicked thru if it would let me proceed as the flights are part of a holiday package and as I have only paid the deposit how would they assign the funds!

    • bill says:

      what date, time and route are the flights ?

    • Anna says:

      I can’t understand why you don’t just test it. The system should tell you how much the refund will be and you’ll be given the option to accept or otherwise before you make a final decision.

      • GaryE says:

        Have just tried it and as I suspected it has come back with message saying as this is part of an Easyjet Holiday I need to contact them! – I just think what they are doing is unethical and they won’t own up to anything even though they know the flights are not going and any changes would be a significant change, Do you think if I cancel I could take them to the MCOL to reclaim the deposit for their behaviour

        • Blenz101 says:

          Not unless you act reasonably. Call them up and discuss your options then report back.

          • GaryE says:

            Have finally spoken to someone as Easyjet Holidays who has accepted that a) flights have been cancelled and b) that any alternatives would not be acceptable due to their flight schedule. He asked what did we want to do – and I stated that we wanted a refund of the deposit – which after speaking to, presume duty manager. they have agreed to do. Now had confirmation from Easyjet Holidays that it has been cancelled and refund will be back on card within 5-7 days.
            Got there in the end, and thanks to everyone for their help and advice. It is pity that Easyjet Holidays could not have been proactive and contacted us rather than wasting so much time calling them. Will definitely not book a holiday via them again.
            Maybe the rule is HUCA until you get someone who will listen to you and action your request!

          • Lady London says:

            Well done GaryE.
            Actually I think the lesson you’ve given is is keep watching that the flights in your holiday booking are still running and act and persist quickly if they no longer show available.

            What would have happened there would be that as they didn’t advise you, you would have paid the rest of the money on top of your deposit and would have had a possibly even bigger fight to get your money back.

            Well done you.

  • Steve R says:

    We have 3 RFS for next August ex LGW, which is not the world’s most convenient airport.

    The flights have been showing as we “We’re sorry but we can’t find any flights matching your search ” for at least a month, but the flights are still showing in My bookings

    Any ideas when BA will make their mind up & let us know if we are being switched to LHR

    • Sam G says:

      The latest is that LGW should be happening again so likely they’ll come back on sale. They transferred a bunch of routes to LHR already so I think the remaining ones will either be LGW or gone for good

  • YC says:

    Recently completed a stay at the Grand Universe Lucca (Marriott). Overall, it was a very good stay with good service, decent rooms and great location. Can’t see this hotel staying at a cat4 for long with rates of £250+ and definitely a sweet spot redemption. Recommend for a stay if driving around this part of Tuscany or flying from Pisa

    • Harry T says:

      Good to hear some feedback on this hotel. The points price seems essentially always stuck at peak across the summer, in keeping with the general dynamic pricing devaluation.

      • YC says:

        The recently renovated grotta giusti also looks potentially a good redemption but I decided not to stay as many of its facilities are closed due to the season/covid.

        • JH says:

          We’ve just got back from Grotta Giusti. Very good, outdoor thermal pool and hydromassage pools were open but cave closed. Free breakfast for Platinum, my SNA went through no problem. Well worth 25k points IMO.

  • KP says:

    Ny thoughts of how I can get sky sports month pas on NOW TV for less than £33? It used to be around £25 per month. Keen to turn it on this month to watch the cricket world cup. Thanks

    • Andrew H says:

      Come on KP… you’ll be commentating surely so won’t need to watch it on Sky?

    • Shaw West says:

      There Is an offer running for £20 a month. Min term though is 3 months

      • KP says:

        That offer expired earlier this month unfortunately

        • Shaw West says:

          Shaw, for just £20 a month for 3 months, experience all the drama of the T20 World Cup. Join Eoin Morgan and his star-studded team to the United Arab Emirates and Oman for the ultimate comeback. Plus, catch the Premier League, the unmissable Formula 1 and much more.

          Don’t miss out – offer ends 21 October.

    • Fazzy Bear says:

      Normally they give offers it you say you want to end the pass.

      May not apply to you obviously but for those with a existing pass they may benefit.

      • GaryE says:

        Hi – go onto the ‘chat’ with Now TV – we did it at the weekend and got 3months for £16.99pm

        • KP says:

          Thanks everyone. Ill chat with them
          And see what happens. Thanks for the advice

  • HH says:

    The Switzerland exemption allowing non-Swiss Covid certificates for indoor dining ends this Sunday 24th. I see they now have an online process to convert foreign Covid certificates into Swiss ones, but they’re charging 30 CHF for non-residents. Is anyone aware of a way to avoid this charge? It’s a bit ridiculous when France and others manage to do it for UK automatically in-app.

    • Andrew H says:

      If you can afford to eat in Switzerland you can afford 30CHF…?

      Last time I went skiing there, £25 for a burger up the mountain in Wengen – not even with any chips!

      • Andrew H says:

        Oh, and the mountain spring water was “free”, but with a 5CHF service charge… was cheaper to buy a bottle of Fanta…

        I’m sticking to Austria…

      • fivebobbill says:

        2 shots of Bushmills in Geneva last Saturday night… 44CHF! 😲

      • HH says:

        Enjoying £100pp+ dinners out and wanting to save 30 CHF fee if there’s a legitimate workaround are not mutually exclusive…

    • Sandgrounder says:

      It is down to the canton, Basel ask you to email the details and don’t mention a charge, as far as I can see. If you are going elsewhere, maybe consider a refundable hotel booking?
      https://www.coronavirus.bs.ch/en/covid-zertifikat.html

      • HH says:

        Thanks, I’ll try the email route as I fly in/out of BSL (now that BA have reinstated the route).

      • HH says:

        Emailed Basel-Stadt but got a reply now directing me to the 30 CHF online process. Guess I missed the window to do it for free.

        “ We kindly ask you to register for your COVID Certificate via the new platform that is available as of now: https://covidcertificate-form.admin.ch/foreign

    • Sandgrounder says:

      France do let you add NHS certs to the app, but they don’t convert it, they have chosen to accept them. The Swiss cert will be fully EU compatible and should work in other countries too.

      • manilabay says:

        I can confirm a working workaround which produces a Swiss/EU DCC –
        Download the Swiss Covid Cert App from Apple App Store, Google Play Store
        Go to tracing-valais.ch/en/certificat (this is a government website of the Swiss Canton of Valais)
        Complete the form, uploading a copy of your passport & the NHS Covid pass – this can be downloaded as a PDF from the NHS app or website
        You will need to take a screenshot of a dummy/fake flight booking to Switzerland – I took screenshot from Swiss.
        From the Swiss Covid Cert App – you will need to get a transfer code. This allows them to send you the Swiss covid pass digitally direct to the app
        Submit the form it will just say “todo texte confirmation”
        Once this is all done, you’ll have an EU-compliant Covid pass issued within around 48h (mine took 5h). I’ve tested and it works with the scanner of the German, Dutch & Danish apps – so assume it would work across all EU/EEA Digital Covid Certificate countries. My pass is valid until July 2022 – around 1 year after my second jab
        Yes it’s a lot of messing about…but could make it easier for when travelling in Europe (particularly Switzerland& Netherlands). Found this info via MainlyMiles on Instagram

        • YFP says:

          Thanks for posting, just tried it tonight for my wife and I. will let you know how it goes. will be really good if it works, simplifies the faff

      • Bill says:

        UK is apparently on the brink of joining the EU covid pass scheme

        • manilabay says:

          The only thing is they seem to have been ‘on the brink’ for weeks now… it could be very soon or it could be weeks away, didn’t want to risk it for a trip I’ve upcoming for NL

    • TGLoyalty says:

      “It’s a bit ridiculous when France and others manage to do it for UK automatically in-app.”

      It’s not really though it’s just a copy of your QR and it’ll fail any actual scans.

      • HH says:

        It absolutely doesn’t fail scans, I was in Provence last month and – with the exception of one venue who hadn’t updated their verif app – it gave a green tick everywhere I went.

        • Laura says:

          yup, as I mentioned a few days ago, my friend managed to use the French app in Latvia, when her UK codes weren’t accepted.

  • Sammy says:

    How long do Randox take to provide test results from express boxes? I know the lead time says by 11:59pm the next working day but wanted real timings… also need to consider to use them for a weekend flight.

    • BLT says:

      We dropped them on the Thursday last week before 4pm, results came through next morning at 8.30am and 11 am.

    • admg says:

      Dropped at box 11am on Sunday, result back 0330 next morning

    • WaynedP says:

      Dropped two Day 2 tests in Randox collection box around noon on Sunday 3rd Oct with collection time of 3pm. Both results received minutes apart by 07:20 the following Monday morning.

  • r* says:

    I mightve missed this being mentioned, but priority pass sent an email with lounge updates on it and one is that the aspire lounge at gatwick north closed permanently on oct 1st. Wonder if they are streamlining their lounges now that no1 is part of the group?

    • Lady London says:

      Noooooo! That means QR’s contract will switch to No.1 and make it even harder to get into when it’s still half-empty as their contract with QR will require them to save the seats.

      Not that No.1 North is a great lounge, but it’s the best grotty Gatwick has to offer.

      • Alan says:

        I tried the Plaza Premium earlier this month and thought it was a step up from the Aspire Lounge.

        Decent breakfast with a couple of glasses of champagne set me up for our 100%full Easyjet flight to Dalaman.

    • Rob says:

      Well spotted, I thought I was the only one who saw this!

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Morning all.
    What is the consensus on booking flights with 3rd parties, in particular, Expedia? The review sites tell of many horror stories (both hotels and flights), but I have never had a bad experience albeit I have never booked a flight with them (and had no COVID cancellations to manage etc).

    I understand that if there are flight changes or cancellations/amendments required, it can be painful …but what about otherwise? Are the prices too good to be true? (note: staying away from the likes of Kiwi who seem to have no reputation whatsoever to trade on)

    Thanks.

    • Harry T says:

      I would essentially never book flights with an OTA after hearing innumerable horror stories about how terrible they have been to deal with throughout the pandemic.

    • Elizabeth Wright says:

      We booked some Turkish Airlines flights with Opodo for last March, and some domestic flights were also booked direct with Turkish to coincide with the trip. Turkish refunded the domestic legs pretty pronto, but it took 4 months of chat bot and many hours on hold to Opodo to give up on the LHR-IST return and go through Amex. Opodo resisted the first time, but we got the refund on the second attempt with Amex. Painful. Fingers nearly burnt. Lesson learned. Never do it, unless flights are tomorrow…

      • fivebobbill says:

        Had a shocking time in the last few weeks trying to deal with Opodo (impossible!) after an airline cancelled one of my flights, however you can’t even speak to an Opodo agent on the phone a week before you cancelled flight unless you take out their “premium” service! The automated service just cuts you off once you’ve entered your booking reference!
        Awful company, first and last time for me, steer well clear.

        • Shaw West says:

          I had a flight booked them with added checked in bag. They conveniently didn’t add the checked in bag to the ticket and we had to pay at the airport. After calling them few times, they didn’t reimburse the money either. This was in 2019. Never used an OTA after that. If you see any comparison website they normally offer the tickets at least £50 cheaper than the airlines itself. but in the current climate with flights being cancelled left right centre, it is better to avoid them

    • Sandgrounder says:

      I trust Amex Travel and that’s about it these days.

    • Sam G says:

      I actually haven’t found Expedia too bad the couple of times I’ve had to deal with changes (pre covid though!) . Opodo absolutely terrible and should be avoided which is a shame as they often seem to have better pricing or routings than others offer

      Overall though unless it’s really a killer price better to try and stick to booking direct

      • Laura says:

        I got burned by Expedia. Took months to refund us for flights in March 2020

    • Aston100 says:

      OTAs are just doing what they’ve always done, but don’t forget that some airlines have suddenly been pretty poor with refunds, especially last year.

      In these Covid times, you’d be silly not to book directly with airlines & hotels, thus cutting out at least one middle organisation if it comes to claiming refunds or date changes etc

      • Lady London says:

        And always pay with UK credit card to get s75 protection.

        Otherwise you’re reliant on chargeback which is much less covering unless it’s Amex

        • Froggee says:

          I thought s75 doesn’t apply in such a situation as the travel agent is acting as an agent. Much in the same way that using Curve or PayPal takes away s75?

          • Lady London says:

            This needs to be clarified in court Froggee as good spot and it appears some people have been told this and put off.

            But often when you buy from an agent it’s the airline that will charge your card directly and in that case it’s unambiguous you have s75 coverage for the transaction on your statement (and under s75, the possibly higher cost of replacement of what that line purchased, is covered).

    • AJA says:

      I have BC (before covid) booked flights with Expedia and got away with it. If all goes according to schedule then it’s fine BUT if it goes wrong then you have to deal with Expedia rather than directly with the airline. I nearly came unstuck with Expedia back just before Xmas 2010 when LHR was shut down due to the snow. My BA flight was cancelled minutes before boarding and I had a bit of a struggle to get a refund as trying to get rescheduled on another flight was impossible, BA just told me to phone Expedia as that was who I had booked through. Expedia did refund though it was not as easy as I’d hoped.

      On the other hand Expedia were brilliant last May when BA cancelled my Israel flights. I’d booked the hotels separately via Expedia and they handled the refunds automatically. I got emails from them telling me what they were doing and when.

      In the current climate I would only be tempted to book via Expedia if the fare was particularly good but remembering the old adage “you get what you pays for”. Otherwise just book directly with the airline and whatever you do pay for it on a credit card especially if the amount is over £100 per passenger – s75 protection applies.

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