Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 21st October

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Comments (440)

  • Jonathan says:

    What can you do to claim chargeback on a seagulls card and keep the rewards from the transaction ?

    I spent around £3k in two transactions on holiday bookings some time ago, one was for a hotel booking made in December 2019, the other was for a flight to the US, that booking was made roughly 7 days before their borders shut to most passenger traffic from Europe (the flight was never unfortunately cancelled, and my only option was to turn my ticket into an open ticket).

    Don’t ask me about the ins and outs of the hotel and flight bookings (that were separate from each other) I can’t really be bothered to go into details, but I do have confidence that the chargeback claims will be successful.

    I’d just like to know what will happen to the rewards I earned from the transactions on my card, I know that if a refund takes place, then they’ll debit the amount you would’ve earned based on its current earning rate. If the card account is closed (which mine isn’t), then they’ll ask your bank sort code and account number for a BACS transfer, and they’ll forget about rewards you earned for spending when the card was used.

    Anyone who’s had any idea what happens to your rewards when you make a successful chargeback claim with a seagulls card, please comment below, thanks !

    • ChrisC says:

      When a refund hits your account the credit will adjust the points you earn in the current year.

      • Jonathan says:

        I know that, sorry if I haven’t made it clear above

        • Blenz101 says:

          The chargeback will be a reversal of the original transaction so very much like a refund. The points will be reversed as well if the card is open and if you have already moved them out of MR you will go into a negative balance.

        • ChrisC says:

          What are you asking then?

    • JDB says:

      As ChrisC said, the MR will be deducted from your current balance even if that makes it negative (and some have reported they can attach this to any MR card you have) and when the refund hits (rather than the suspension of the charge) at the end of the chargeback period that sum will also be deducted from any earning counters. Essentially, they put you back in the position as if you had never made the transaction. They don’t usually but can also unwind any promotional credits/points.

      • Blenz101 says:

        And if you had a ticket for a flight that wasn’t cancelled you just couldn’t get entry I wouldn’t be 100% confident on your chargeback success. Plenty of reports on the airlines defending these claims.

      • Jonathan says:

        I know that promotional earnings aren’t usually clawed back, but I remember reading a few weeks ago about someone who brought some flights when their card was BA Blue, then upgraded to BAPP, flight got cancelled so got a refund, and instead of 1 Avios point per £ being deducted, it was at the rate of 3 Avios points per £, as that’s earning rate of the account they now hold.

        Whether or not Amex would’ve adjusted this accordingly, we don’t know, but in that sort of case, it’s worth a shot

    • JDB says:

      Also, for what it’s worth while you say you are confident the chargebacks will be successful, as some Ryanair passengers have discovered, a successful chargeback doesn’t mean you have acquitted your debt, if it was owed. It is highly unlikely but not impossible that there will be some follow up or blacklisting so tread a bit cautiously if you plan to deal with the parties again.

      • Jonathan says:

        The other major UK airlines were asked for their stance on returning customers who had previously claimed chargeback, and all of them said they wouldn’t take up a similar stunt similar to what Ryanair did.

        What will be interesting is if someone takes Ryanair to court over their behaviour…

        • JDB says:

          The fact they won’t follow Ryanair means nothing. The question is whether the airline or hotel will put up a decent defence to the chargeback that will satisfy Amex not to accept it. You need to have good reasons to justify a chargeback; it isn’t simply a way of circumventing T&Cs/overriding a contract as otherwise nobody would ever pay.

      • Nick says:

        The recent CMA decision that they can’t take action against airlines for not refunding flights that still operated means that chargebacks for these are even more likely to be defended (and likely won) by the companies involved. I wouldn’t be so sure you’ll be successful. In fairness it’s also exactly what insurance is for.

        • Jonathan says:

          Travel Insurance has proved itself to be not worth the piece of paper it’s printed on, they’ll insist that you try to claw back any money through your card provider first, and will also say that if a voucher has been offered, we won’t cover you (we couldn’t care less what type restrictions there are attached to the voucher, and credit notes are also considered vouchers, even if you can’t get anywhere near the only place that it can be used)

          Something the government needs to buckle down on heavily, but let’s not get hopeful !

          • Blenz101 says:

            Complete rubbish! You were unlucky that the airline fulfilled its part of the contract but you personally were unable to enter the US and take the flight.

            Airline was under no obligation to offer you a voucher. Credit card is under no obligation to cover you. Travel insurance cover depends on your policy, they certainly don’t ask you to do a chargeback first.

          • ChrisC says:

            Insurance is your last and not first port of call.

            You need to mitigate their losses and they will assume that you have done so by e.g. claiming APD and airport fees from a cancelled flight from the airline. They will even assume you have done that and deduct it from your claim even if you haven’t

            Same as if you are ill abroad in Europe – insurers will assume you have an EHIC/GHIC and not pay out anything that would cover – even if you don’t have one of those cards.

          • BuildBackBetter says:

            Have you read the paper it’s printed on?

    • David says:

      I just don’t understand in any way why you think you should be able to keep the rewards/benefits of a purchase that would be (effectively) refunded.

      • Blenz101 says:

        And that is on top of keeping the voucher the airline has issued as a goodwill gesture given the circumstances allowing him to take another flight. Amazing really!

  • GT says:

    I thought I might share my experience in re-booking reward flights to SYD which had been cancelled by BA. Over the last few days I have spoken to 5 agents to request re-routing onto flights in Jan. The 1st 4 were adamant that we could only be re-booked onto flights operated by BA unless reward seats were available on partner airlines – contrary to EU261. The 5th agent on hearing my request said “don’t worry, if there are no reward seats available I can move you on to commercial seats on Cathay Pacific flights” and promptly did so.

    Just shows that persistence pays off. Very happy with the outcome. We booked using a 2-4-1 voucher back in May. The cash price of the 2 seats we have is currently over £17,000 on BA’s website.

    • Sam G says:

      BAs standard customer guidelines for a cancelled flight – https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/traveltrade/bookings-policies/policies/standard-customer-guidelines#cancellations – Option 5 – should allow rebooking to Qatar +/- 3 days by my reading. If you were trying to change dates further then you’ve done well to get CX out of them! But your EU261 right is for a future date of your convenience – usually would need MCOL / CEDR to get there though judging by experiences on here

      • Pete M says:

        That’s a rather excellent outcome, well done!

      • J says:

        Some of those customer guidelines strike me as being at odds with EU261 statutory rights? E.g references to only booking into same fare class (options 4, 6), not covering consequential costs for change of airport (option 7). No wonder so many people are having trouble!

      • GT says:

        I don’t think SYD is included as a destination in the BA/QR Joint Business. QR was specifically ruled out by all agents.

        • Sam G says:

          you are right – I googled and saw Australasia but actually Sydney is specifically excluded from the JV

          So per BA standard guidelines they don’t have anything to offer for a cancelled flight on this route and I can’t see any specific protection or COVID guideline, whereas for example Bangkok has a specific protection onto Finnair. I imagine it was too expensive and they’ve taken an active decision that most people will take a refund rather than fight. Pretty poor show

          • Sam G says:

            CX is Option 8 on that list actually isn’t it? The wording is a bit confusing but I think it means reroute via any Oneworld flight within 24hrs of the original departure time.

      • Lady London says:

        So BA is putting in writing their illegal policy?

        Why, oh why, is the CAA ( or any regulator) not sanctioning them.

      • manilabay says:

        @Sam G – thanks for sharing. Is anybody aware of anything similar for Virgin Atlantic? Have a somewhat similar situation just with VS not BA.

        • manilabay says:

          (referring to a VS equivalent of the BA standard customer guidelines for cancelled flight).

          • Magic Mike says:

            VS are generally being reasonable about customer rights, by most accounts on here. If not HUACA…

  • den says:

    For anyone who took out the BA OnBusiness CC in June with the 50k bonus promotion, my bonus points finally posted 2 days ago. This was after livechat saying I would not get them as I have the AMEX Business Gold card. I explained those are the T&C’s for the current promotion and the one in June didn’t have that clause in. Over three different live chats over months they have yo-yo’d from “yes they are coming no problem” to “no you aren’t getting them” to now finally sending them.

    • AR says:

      Had the same chat experience, but still no bonus points posted yet. Did they appear on BAEC account or on the card?

      • Den says:

        The CS agent for Amex said they would be posted by BA directly into BAEC account. After I waited a while and nothing happened I contacted Amex again and said it would happen within a couple of days and it did.

  • Jim T says:

    We are flying to spain tomorrow on Easyjet from Luton. I have a new phone and when trying to access my Vaccine travel pass on the NHS app, it asked me to re-register. Gone through all the steps but still no luck a few hours later. It says it could take 24 hours. I have a tatty old print-out that is dtill in date from last time which I will take with just in case but it is in very poo condition. Does anyone know whether they scan the barcodes at the airport at check-in or security or whether they just look at them?

  • memesweeper says:

    I decided to book the Clermont for a business trip after getting an incentive on Guoman hotels from Amex. The hotel is attached to London Victoria station. It used to be a sad place, but clearly someone has dropped a ton of money on it, and it’s delightful. Banging bar, lovely rooms, albeit a bit small (London, typical) — the room even has a *real* plant in it. Recommended.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      seems the Victoria one will closed this month until March 2022 so perhaps more renovations on going?

    • Sukes says:

      Plant species is commonly known as ‘mother law’s tongue’. My dad liked it so much he took a cutting. Currently growing in his conservatory. Stayed their in Sept and agree it is a truly excellent hotel.

    • memesweeper says:

      Oh, and a free drink from the bar on arrival, and I didn’t even book direct. Nice touch. Also forgot to mention: in the room a cheap kettle but steal-able hangers 🙂

  • LessCleverAndrew says:

    Just dropped Randox (PCR fit to fly) boxes at the Randox drop box this morning in Eden Centre, High Wycombe. Lady at the desk said they are only collected once daily at 5.30pm. If this is true and the turnaround time is 24 hrs from when they are received at the Randox laboratory (in NI) then this means the results might only arrive on Saturday?

    Since I fly on Saturday to Spain (Balearics) I am getting very nervous.

    • BLT says:

      Our tests last Thursday were dropped off after 3pm. Had the results next morning by 11 am and no problems getting in to Spain.

    • Rob says:

      I really would not be using a postal service for a pre-flight test …

      I was worried enough doing mine in person at 9am last Monday with a 10pm Tuesday guaranteed return for a 11am Wed flight – although I got it around 11am on Tuesday. This was ExpressTest on Kensington High Street.

      • LessCleverAndrew says:

        ExpressTest 3 hour service at Heathrow is 120 pp if I recall. For a family that’s simply not an option.

        • Rob says:

          Obviously it is an option, you just choose not to pay it. We paid £312 for four on Monday. If you can afford to go away over October half term – the most expensive week of the year, except Christmas, for most ‘hot’ destinations – you can afford the test, to be honest. The flights are probably £120 each cheaper than they would have been in 2019.

          Or look at it this way: pay £480 at Heathrow and get a guaranteed holiday, pay £200 for a postal test and take a 50/50 gamble on getting a holiday with no refund if your test provider doesn’t deliver. One of those options is clearly more attractive.

          • allycat says:

            Rob, I believe you are currently in Barbados (twitter source). We will be going at the end of November. They seem to mandate that pre-flight PCR tests have to be administered by a healthcare professional. Is that partly why you chose express test, and do the results state that they were administered by such a person and did BGI check it in detail?

            We are in York and my obvious in-person test centres are Boots in York or NPH at Leeds Bradford for a “professionally administered test”, both without guaranteed return times! Any Yorkshire folk with experience of Barbados entry recently?

          • Yorkieflyer says:

            Answer to Alleycat. Express test in Leeds city centre £80 pcr guaranteed next day result

        • Ryan Gill says:

          Andrew, who is correct? The UK govt site or the Spanish regarding whether or not a RAT test is ok for our teenager’s to enter Spain. Likely to be the Spanish, but it is annoying that there is fundamental info that is wrong, especially when so many on here act as though people are daft when they ask questions that flipping Governments answer incorrectly.

        • Bob says:

          Collinson is £95 (pre discount) and randox do a cheaper 6 hour option around £60

    • Tom says:

      Perhaps I’m missing something perfectly obviously, but I didn’t think a PCR test was required for Spain?

      • Marina says:

        Presume not vaccinated if getting PCR test ?

        • Anna says:

          IIRC, this is for children over 12. Collinson 3 hour test at MAN was £70 last time I looked so not sure why there is no comparable service at LHR. You don’t need a PCR test for Spain, LAMP/RAT fine.

          • LessCleverAndrew says:

            Unvaccinated children over 12 need a PCR test. Antigen tests are only allowed in certain limited cases. At least those were the rules last week.

            “The Spanish government requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK (excluding children under the age of 12 years old) to present on entry one of the following:

            documentation certifying that you have undertaken a COVID-19 nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT – e.g. PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain and tested negative. Antigen tests can only be used in certain limited circumstances”

          • Anna says:

            @LessCleverAndrew – they definitely don’t need a PCR test, hence LAMP etc listed as acceptable alternatives. Of course it’s a bit late now but take it from several of us here who have already travelled to Spain with children this year (twice in my case).

          • Ryan Gill says:

            Anna, although lamp tests are accepted for teenage children, I don’t think RAT tests are, except in limited circumstances. We have booked a lamp test at Heathrow due to the sub 3hr wait. I think an antigen test would be OK for my step daughter who is travelling on a UK passport with her mother who is a Portuguese citizen travelling on a Portuguese passport.

          • LessCleverAndrew says:

            “@LessCleverAndrew – they definitely don’t need a PCR test, hence LAMP etc”

            Ah, ok. I got confused because the UK providers I found only offered PCR and antigen tests. I’ve never found the option of “LAMP”

            This could be a case where the UK gov site:

            “Antigen tests can only be used in certain limited circumstances (as outlined in section ‘k’ of the ‘Entry requirements for entry in Spain from third countries’ on the Spanish Ministry of Health ‘Travel and COVID-19’ page)”

            … is wrong when compared to the Spanish site.

          • Anna says:

            Yes, it’s always better to go off the website of the country you are visiting. Hope you get your results back in time anyway!

        • Pete M says:

          I am fairly certain you will be fine, LessCleverAndrew. Every time I have used Randox they have marked the samples as received in NI in the early hours of the following day and results have arrived by noon of the following day. Think you’d have to be very unlucky for them not to arrive before your flight. They run their own logistics for sample collections, which differentiates them from pretty much everyone else.

    • Patrycja says:

      I’ve used Randox twice in the last 3 months. Collection both times was at 5.30pm, results were delivered to the lab at 3am first time and 9am the second time. I received the results at 1pm and at 5pm so you should be fine

  • BJ says:

    Still wrestling with my first ever package holiday booking via BA Holidays, and hamstrung by indecision and unwillingness to commit. What happens if I book the part I am happy with now and pay the £250 deposit to secure but then decide to add or even delete elements later? Are those extra elements just added to overall package and subject to same flexibility, or do I need to pay extra deposit, in full or what? Can such changes be made via MMB or would I need to call? Thanks.

    • AJA says:

      I think adding or deleting elements later will reprice the whole package which is not necessarily going to help you. You might be better off buying separate bits ad hoc on new bookings although you may then have to pay in full for those extras. I also think you’d be looking at calling BA Holidays to add bits unless MMB offers you the possibility. How many potential changes are you looking at?

      • GaryE says:

        Check the pricing for the individual extras or adding to existing booking, and then check the pricing as if you were doing it as a new BA holiday package. If the latter works out cheaper, then pay the deposit, and cancel the original booking for a FTV, and then apply the FTV to the new booking.

    • ChrisC says:

      ANY change to a BA Hols rebooking needs a call.

      You can’t even rebook a cancelled flight via MMB (which if they allowed would reduce the number of calls massivly)

      You could do a simple book flights + 1 nights hotel as that would allow you to pay a deposit and lock in the flight prices and then book the other elements later.

      Once you have firmed up your plans you could then reprice your trip on the website and then make desisons on what to do – keep the individual elements or cancel the existing booking for a voucher and then rebook it as a new fuller trip.

    • BJ says:

      Thanks very much all, now clear. The most likely situation is I might want to chop and change hotels but thanks to your feedback I now get how to do that and implications of doing so. I think I’ll keep it simple for now with only the flight and Biltmore LA. That at least works on price and the hotel, although old and suffering the usual consequences if that, is intriguing. If it makes sense to do a more complex itinerary later then I will go via voucher route as you suggest. However, given there are no avios involved wouldn’t this be a regular evoucher I could apply online instead of a FTV?

      • ChrisC says:

        Holidays are always FTV not e-vouchers.

        Not that you can apply an e-voucher online for a BA holiday. booking – you need to call to do that.

      • AJA says:

        I think cancelling BA Holidays only results in an FTV even for cash only bookings. But it doesn’t matter anyway as you can simply reply to the email which you receive when you get an FTV saying please apply this FTV re booking PNR ref XXXX1 against booking PNR ref XXXX2.

        • BJ says:

          Thanks Chris and AJA. Always thought package tours were supposed to be the easy option …but not the BAH variant I guess 🙂

          • ChrisC says:

            Well normally they are.

            It’s the vouchers that cause the problems!

          • AJA says:

            As ChrisC says if all you want to do is buy a holiday combining flights and car or hotel or all three and know exactly what you want when you come to book then BA Holidays is great and usually cheaper too. Its not so great if you want flexibility to change your plans. And there’s the reason it’s cheaper as it has less flexibility than booking flights separately and hotels on refundable rates. The big benefit is only paying the deposit and the balance 3 weeks out. I think given the current climate unless you are certain of what you want you are probably better off buying separately.

  • Travel Strong says:

    Disappointing Datapoint: Interactive Investor is now triggering curve fronted for me (new behavior, did not used to). Although… it was for a fee payment, not an account top-up – so there’s a chance its a different MCC.

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