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Forums Daily chat thread Click here for today’s chat thread Chat thread – Friday 24th May

  • Rob
    HfP Staff
    2,303 posts

    This is today’s chat thread.

    If you have specific questions about Avios, hotels or credit cards, please ask them in the appropriate forum and not here. This thread is a good place to post interesting deals you have spotted or your general thoughts on travel and all things miles and points. Thank you for contributing.

    aviosnewbie33 11 posts

    Can I apply Virgin vouchers to an existing booking at any time? I am planning to book for next April, but don’t have the upgrade vouchers in my account yet. I am expecting to receive the voucher only by August. So can I book today with full points and then call up in August to apply the voucher and get a points refund?

    thanks all!

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    From what I’ve read other people post, VS won’t refund you any points, but would let you use the voucher for an upgrade (which I have done recently).

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,160 posts

    VS reward pricing is peak for all Easter week 2025 FYI. I had an alert set as this morning the Easter Sunday flights became available.

    I will stick with what I have – BA with Barclays voucher on the offpeak days either side of Easter weekend.

    ChrisP 14 posts

    Greetings from a still very soggy West Lancashire!

    Just back from a fabulous 2 week trip to Japan.

    I had been in 2005 and always wanted to return but it was my partner’s first visit.

    During the 2 weeks you have to choose what to see and what to miss out but we think we did quite well.

    We had an introductory bus tour of Tokyo – walked over the Shibuya Crossing several times – but otherwise used a two week rail pass (loved the Shinkansen!) to visit Karuizawa from Tokyo then on to Kyoto for 4 nights. From Kyoto we visited Osaka (had the delicious octopus balls), the Toji Temple, Himejii JO Castle, Gion & the Philosophers Walk. We wanted to go into the Imperial Palace gardens but it was closed for a parade which in itself was fun to watch.

    We had a day trip to Nara and made friends with the bowing deer then had 3 nights near Hiroshima which we explored and another day went to Miyajima catching the cable cars then walking to the top of Mount Misen. Finally, back to Tokyo staying in Tokyo Bay and a last rail trip to Nikko.

    The two weeks went over far too quickly but it was all effortless. We arranged it completely independently and all worked really well – not bad for a couple of 68 year olds!!

    We used AVIOS to fly Business Class via Doha on Qatar from Manchester to Narita (all good but the A350 leg from Manchester best) and came back on BA vis Heathrow (the LHR to MAN crew great, less sure about the Haneda to Heathrow, but we kept saying, it’s only costing us taxes!!)
    We stayed at the Marunouchi Hotel (handy for Tokyo station with cases); the Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, (again, close to station); the Royal Prince Hotel near Hiroshima which overlooks the sea but has a free bus to Hiroshima station and the Intercontinental at Tokyo Bay (handy for the monorail back to Haneda). All hotels were lovely with fabulous views from the rooms, although the Kyoto one was very large and seemed to cater for large tour groups more.

    The price of the rail pass has risen in 2023 but we think we had good value from it.

    Finally, we were surprised at how reasonable the prices were – decent wine in restaurants (how I judge a country) around £17 a bottle. All in all, much cheaper than the USA.

    I am now dreading going back to the harsh reality of Northern Trains and Trans Pennine Express (surely inaccurate under Trades Descriptions!) after the bullet trains!

    Laura 14 posts

    Doing Ride LondonEssex on Sunday, Caledonian Sleeper down last night cancelled.

    No availability on the sleeper tonight and not a single bike reservation available on LNER today or tomorrow.

    So flying BA down to City this afternoon and hoping my bike a) actually makes it down to London b) doesn’t get broken on the way.

    Chaos

    BJ 659 posts

    BIG NEWS: Virgin has devalued ANA awards without notice!

    BBbetter 775 posts

    Late by just 15 hours. BJ lost to TJ!

    BJ 659 posts

    Late by just 15 hours. BJ lost to TJ!

    Ah ok thanks, I’ve been out the loop for over two weeks. That’s my Virgin plan ruined, back to Plan India.

    yorkshireRich 225 posts

    Greetings from a still very soggy West Lancashire!

    Just back from a fabulous 2 week trip to Japan.

    I had been in 2005 and always wanted to return but it was my partner’s first visit.

    During the 2 weeks you have to choose what to see and what to miss out but we think we did quite well.

    We had an introductory bus tour of Tokyo – walked over the Shibuya Crossing several times – but otherwise used a two week rail pass (loved the Shinkansen!) to visit Karuizawa from Tokyo then on to Kyoto for 4 nights. From Kyoto we visited Osaka (had the delicious octopus balls), the Toji Temple, Himejii JO Castle, Gion & the Philosophers Walk. We wanted to go into the Imperial Palace gardens but it was closed for a parade which in itself was fun to watch.

    We had a day trip to Nara and made friends with the bowing deer then had 3 nights near Hiroshima which we explored and another day went to Miyajima catching the cable cars then walking to the top of Mount Misen. Finally, back to Tokyo staying in Tokyo Bay and a last rail trip to Nikko.

    The two weeks went over far too quickly but it was all effortless. We arranged it completely independently and all worked really well – not bad for a couple of 68 year olds!!

    We used AVIOS to fly Business Class via Doha on Qatar from Manchester to Narita (all good but the A350 leg from Manchester best) and came back on BA vis Heathrow (the LHR to MAN crew great, less sure about the Haneda to Heathrow, but we kept saying, it’s only costing us taxes!!)
    We stayed at the Marunouchi Hotel (handy for Tokyo station with cases); the Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, (again, close to station); the Royal Prince Hotel near Hiroshima which overlooks the sea but has a free bus to Hiroshima station and the Intercontinental at Tokyo Bay (handy for the monorail back to Haneda). All hotels were lovely with fabulous views from the rooms, although the Kyoto one was very large and seemed to cater for large tour groups more.

    The price of the rail pass has risen in 2023 but we think we had good value from it.

    Finally, we were surprised at how reasonable the prices were – decent wine in restaurants (how I judge a country) around £17 a bottle. All in all, much cheaper than the USA.

    I am now dreading going back to the harsh reality of Northern Trains and Trans Pennine Express (surely inaccurate under Trades Descriptions!) after the bullet trains!

    fantastic first post, thankyou.
    Did you have the Q suites on Qatar out of Manchester. I believe I’m right in saying you would have?

    slidey 294 posts

    VS reward pricing is peak for all Easter week 2025 FYI. I had an alert set as this morning the Easter Sunday flights became available.

    I will stick with what I have – BA with Barclays voucher on the offpeak days either side of Easter weekend.

    Think its all of april for VS. Its showing higher prices from March 28 to the current end of bookable sched.

    Ant M 85 posts

    Greetings from a still very soggy West Lancashire!

    Just back from a fabulous 2 week trip to Japan.

    I had been in 2005 and always wanted to return but it was my partner’s first visit.

    During the 2 weeks you have to choose what to see and what to miss out but we think we did quite well.

    We had an introductory bus tour of Tokyo – walked over the Shibuya Crossing several times – but otherwise used a two week rail pass (loved the Shinkansen!) to visit Karuizawa from Tokyo then on to Kyoto for 4 nights. From Kyoto we visited Osaka (had the delicious octopus balls), the Toji Temple, Himejii JO Castle, Gion & the Philosophers Walk. We wanted to go into the Imperial Palace gardens but it was closed for a parade which in itself was fun to watch.

    We had a day trip to Nara and made friends with the bowing deer then had 3 nights near Hiroshima which we explored and another day went to Miyajima catching the cable cars then walking to the top of Mount Misen. Finally, back to Tokyo staying in Tokyo Bay and a last rail trip to Nikko.

    The two weeks went over far too quickly but it was all effortless. We arranged it completely independently and all worked really well – not bad for a couple of 68 year olds!!

    We used AVIOS to fly Business Class via Doha on Qatar from Manchester to Narita (all good but the A350 leg from Manchester best) and came back on BA vis Heathrow (the LHR to MAN crew great, less sure about the Haneda to Heathrow, but we kept saying, it’s only costing us taxes!!)
    We stayed at the Marunouchi Hotel (handy for Tokyo station with cases); the Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, (again, close to station); the Royal Prince Hotel near Hiroshima which overlooks the sea but has a free bus to Hiroshima station and the Intercontinental at Tokyo Bay (handy for the monorail back to Haneda). All hotels were lovely with fabulous views from the rooms, although the Kyoto one was very large and seemed to cater for large tour groups more.

    The price of the rail pass has risen in 2023 but we think we had good value from it.

    Finally, we were surprised at how reasonable the prices were – decent wine in restaurants (how I judge a country) around £17 a bottle. All in all, much cheaper than the USA.

    I am now dreading going back to the harsh reality of Northern Trains and Trans Pennine Express (surely inaccurate under Trades Descriptions!) after the bullet trains!

    Having recently returned from 3 weeks travelling across the USA by train, the scary fact is that TransPennine could probably be considered as express in comparison to Amtrak. I’d still prefer to travel via Amtrak though as they’re more reliable and punctual and are a far better service.

    I do want to go back to Japan sometime – I spent a lot of time there around 25-30 years ago but so much will have changed since then.

    baec_newbie 88 posts

    Morning (just!),

    Does anyone have experience of accessing the Qatar FF lounge at LHR T4 when flying economy on Royal Air Maroc as a BA Gold member? The OW lounge finder suggests access is permitted (it lists Qatar but also says “Access for eligible customers traveling on any oneworld member airline”).

    Just want to avoid any potential issues with the lounge dragon.

    Thanks!

    ChrisP 14 posts

    Thanks Ant M. Yes, we had Q Suites on both the Manchester – Doha & Doha – Narita sectors. The A350 was less than one year old whilst the B777 on the second sector was 15 years old. Q Suites on both were great but interesting to see the difference in an older design (eg the B777 has much smaller overhead lockers).

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    @ChrisP, sounds like a great trip! I am currently sat at Bolton station waiting for one of those Northern Rail (not) bullet trains 🤣

    ChrisP 14 posts

    Northern Lass, I know Bolton station well. Fingers crossed it actually arrives. How I miss the army of cleaners and the train staff who bow at their passengers with respect. I have seen some gestures from Northern Trains but not bows!!

    Michael C 705 posts

    @ChrisP, sounds like a great trip! I am currently sat at Bolton station waiting for one of those Northern Rail (not) bullet trains 🤣

    If you’re chatting to any locals, ask them how they got on against Oxford Utd ;o)))))

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    lol, no, just an army of jobsworths! Train was 3 minutes late, but as you say, it has actually arrived 😂

    I stayed at the Bolton HI last night as well so I’ve had the full 5* deluxe experience 🤣


    @Michael
    , oh no, did they lose?! I have the BWFC-loving branch of the family coming for tea 😱

    Aston100 1,451 posts

    We stayed at the Marunouchi Hotel (handy for Tokyo station with cases); the Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, (again, close to station); the Royal Prince Hotel near Hiroshima which overlooks the sea but has a free bus to Hiroshima station and the Intercontinental at Tokyo Bay (handy for the monorail back to Haneda).

    Thanks for the report.
    Can you let me know how much time at each hotel please?

    NorthernLass 8,262 posts

    Mini review of Bolton Holiday Inn:

    Good –
    Cheap
    Handy for Bolton
    Great diamond recognition- given 2pm check out without quibble. 2 bottles of water and a 4 finger KitKat in the room (though annoyingly not in the fridge, so it had started to melt!)
    Quiet
    Clean

    Bad –
    Room was 25 C. Windows don’t open and after having the air con on all night, temperature was 24.5 C.
    Breakfast. Get points or a drink and have brekkie at Gregg’s.
    Late check out meaningless. Arrived back at room at 1pm to find it in the process of being cleaned. Language difficulty meant that I’m still unclear as to what the plan was for my belongings!

    meta 1,470 posts

    @BJ Still it’s not much. Only 25k extra for return or 12.5k one-way. It could have been a lot worse. No Amex MR points?

    zapato1060 720 posts

    The ANA by Virgin are like hens teeths anyway especially if not solo. But terrible to bring in 2 no notice devaluations in what seems like as many months.

    Singapore airlines now to suspend service when seat belt sign is on. Won’t be surprised if it becomes an industry wide precedent.

    Hbommie 218 posts

    A friend lucked out when travelling to Tokyo last month on a 241 booking, BA plane went tech with no agreeable alternates until ANA was suggested which was gladly accepted. An unusual outcome and one I thought BA would resist.

    strickers 720 posts

    @Northernlass You should be glad you caught the train from Notlob, the M62 Westbound was gridlocked as I headed East.

    executiveclubber 307 posts

    Singapore airlines now to suspend service when seat belt sign is on

    Provided the seatbelt sign is only on when actually necessary, I can get behind this! If cabin crew are meandering, people think it’s ok to go to the toilet, etc, and in turbulence that tiny toilet is not where I’d like to be…

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