The new HFP chat thread – Wednesday 8th April

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We have decided to run this new daily chat thread on Head for Points.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the defacto repository for random comments and questions.  It is unlikely that the news flow will be so big over the next few weeks that we will need many ‘Bits’ articles, however.

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 stuck at home self-isolating, we want the HFP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as its keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

By default, HFP shows the last page of comments under the article.  If you want to see the first page of comments and read them all from beginning to end in order, click here: The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

We will continue to monitor how this is working:

we could potentially split it into a daily travel and non-travel chat thread

we may install some basic forum software

we may start suggesting potential topics for daily discussion

Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

How to upgrade British Airways flights with Avios points (Avios Redemption University, Lesson 3)
Coronavirus: Airlines allowed to defer €1.1 billion in European air traffic control fees

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  1. Can I buy Premium Bonds with my Curve linked to HSBC Prem CC without incurring interest?

    (not even MS!)

  2. Hi @Genghis, I’ve opened the Vanguard ISA with 88% in the FTSE Developed World UCITS ETF (VEVE) and 12% in the FTSE Emerging Markets UCITS ETF (VFEM) but struggling to understand when is the best time of day/month to trade (if there is such a time), is it best to set up regular monthly payments? Thanks!

    • Genghis says:

      Just accept that it’s not possible to “time the market”. As such, I just use the Vanguard bulk purchase of ETFs which is free. If you are going to use the £10 or whatever per trade option, don’t trade as soon as the market opens or late on for liquidity reasons. Some say that it’s best to wait until the home market is open to get a fairer price, i.e. if buying a S&P 500 ETF to wait for New York trading to open, but I don’t worry about this.

      I don’t use the Direct Debit function as I prefer topping up manually.

      • Thanks Genghis, is the bulk purchase option on Vanguard the ‘next trading’ option when you click on ‘invest now’ (as opposed to the live ETF’s which has the per trade fee)?

        • Vanguard really likes Curve/Virgin…

        • Genghis says:

          Yes. During lockdown I suggest having a good read of the Monevator website. Follow me on Twitter and I’m then happy for you to DM me to ask any more Qs, @genghis1232.

  3. The FCO is now advising against all but essential travel *indefinitely*. Presumably means that we now can’t book any travel at all, even for later in the year / next year, if we want to be covered by travel insurance (e.g. Amex Platinum charge card insurance)??

    • Not sure on the insurance part but ‘indefinitely’ to me suggests that they cannot predict when things will improve and therefore do not want to suggest that that non-essential travel should only be cancelled until 30th April or whenever they say. Easier to state indefinitely and then lift when things improve.

      • I agree it doesn’t mean stay in the UK your whole life 😀 was just the insurance thing that hit me – since most (even great) insurance policies won’t cover you if you book a trip for a time when there’s a travel ban… and an indefinite travel ban technically means that’s what you’re doing

        • Indeed – and just received a reminder email from Amex about the cover provided in respect of Coronavirus.

    • If your travel insurance excludes cover where the FCO advises against all or all but essential travel (as most policies do), then yes, given the current FCO advice, you will not be covered should you book any travel or commence any travel.

  4. Roger says:

    IB booking

    To share lessons learned with IB Booking:

    In one booking where IB is still operating flight (flying this weekend), I filed for a voucher request online. IB has come back saying my booking does not qualify for voucher as it is either On Business or Travel agent / holiday agent booking.
    None of that is true as the booking was directly with IB on their website or app.

    I suggest anyone in similar situation remove OB and BA number via QR/AY first before you send a voucher request.

    I contacted IB customer service and they are now looking into it.

    • roberto says:

      “IB customer service” …. Now there is an oxymoron

      • Roger says:

        To be fair, in current circumstances at IB has managed to answer calls and even offered me refund (at least on one booking already received); forget about BA with its trickery.
        I would rate IB higher than BA in this situation.

  5. RussellH says:

    Citizen’s Advice have redrafted their info on cancellation and compensation for flights. Nothing new, but it is very claer and readable, so potentially useful for those who are unsure.

  6. Hi all hope you are all doing okay. I’m trying to make a payment to Brighton from Curve. It asks me to open the Curve app to verify the payment but when I open it there is nothing to verify. Obviously this is likely to be something I’m getting wrong as I’m pretty sure the last time I did it I needed to ‘flick the app away’ then reopen it.
    Please help, thanks in advance

    • I’ve never seen this before. Have you got the latest update of the app?

    • Doug M says:

      I’ve not seen this either, but it was mentioned by others. It seemed to point to Curve being slow, you just have to wait or try again. Is this on iPhone, as I don’t see it on Android.

    • Genghis says:

      – update app
      – make sure notifications switched on within the app
      – before making payment, open the app
      – make payment
      – wait for alert to pop up to approve. Sometimes takes a minute, literally.

    • Alastair says:

      This happened to me yesterday – I did exactly what Genghis described and it went through OK but I did have to wait nearly two minutes before I got a notification. In fact I cancelled the first payment and tried again – then a second notification came through a few minutes later so it is delayed.

      Transferwise has a similar arrangement with their debit card except that it works instantly and flawlessly!

      • This has been working fine for me over the last couple of weeks. Today I upgraded to Curve Black and now I’m not getting these verification prompts in the app, even if the app is open before I click ‘pay’.

  7. Blenz101 says:

    Hi good people. Does anyone have any experience of how Hiton treats rooms booked and part paid for with Tesco vouchers? The website seems to make you book best flexible rate which is fine as the 3 x face value of the vouchers when converted still makes this a decent deal.

    I was thinking of doing a status challenge when things get back to normal but wanted to make sure those nights would qualify.

    Anybody here with experience?

  8. Has anyone renewed a passport recently? My son’s one expires in September and we have a family holiday booked in August, which for the time being I have to assume will go ahead. I thought now would be an ideal time to get the application in, but the Passport Office website is saying only to apply if it’s an emergency.

    That doesn’t make sense to me – might as well join the back of a short queue now rather than waiting for a return to some semblance of normality, possibly in June or July, then get caught up in a rush of other applications.

  9. Will we get an article on Virgin cancelling all passenger flights last week of April?

    • Probably not, given how few their were going to be in the first place (and mainly repatriation flights at that).

      • stevenhp1987 says:

        Only an hour after your reply, the article is up!

        • Rhys never asked me 🙂 First thing I knew was when he told me he’d written it, so it seemed a shame to waste it. We got some other interesting stuff in there though as you saw.

  10. Hi,
    Im trying to cancel a BA Avios (with £1 booking fee) on the BA website.
    I have managed to cancel other ones but there is one that I just cant seem to cancel.
    It is for myself, my wife and a baby.

    I get the error:

    Invalid get itinerary details request

    I dont really want to waste the call centres time as its not to May. Is there anything else I can try?

  11. I just rang BA to cancel some flights where I selected the 50p plus Avios option (because chance of cancellation even without Avios was high). I know I should wait for the flights to be cancelled, but for £5 (5 people, return), I just wanted to get the Avios back in the account.

    I was told that the policy had changed and that the cancellation costs was now fixed at £35 per person, per flight (so a total of £350 instead of £5!). Did I miss this change? I just cancelled a flight 3 days ago and they only charged me 50p… Surely they can’t change the terms of cancellation for a flight I already booked?!

    • even with COVID*

    • Harry T says:

      The 50p cancellation charge is an IT error. The official policy is to charge £35, and this is outlined in the Executive Club T&Cs. If you ring, they will enforce the T&Cs.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It was always £35 or lower if the cash paid was less wasn’t it?

        As OP chose an option that let him pay 50p and forfeit more Avios shouldn’t they only pay 50p?

        • No, that was the effective policy for online cancellations. The official policy was £35.

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