The new HFP chat thread – Thursday 16th 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!

Where can I fly with Avios from UK regional airports? (Avios Redemption University, Lesson 10)
Government hires Morgan Stanley to advise on Virgin Atlantic bailout, talks ongoing (Sky News)

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  1. Harry T says:

    What’s the best deal for J/F return to Cape Town people have seen for the December to February peak season? I’m willing to go Ex Europe and I’m just looking for a benchmark to know when I’ve found a great deal. I’ve not been to Cape Town before and want to go for my birthday next Jan. Willing to fly to Joburg and connect too.

    Best I’ve found is around £1100-1150 with Qatar exOslo to Joburg for January. Similar price for BA from Oslo to Cape Town in August/Summer this year.

    • Harry T says:

      Should clarify that due to my leave situation and exams I can only really travel in late Dec to Jan/Feb period, or in late August this year (August weather not as good I hear).

    • Radiata says:

      That is a good price.

      The trade off is QR service, food and experience (v good) vs the roundabout journery of 16hrs or so including changeover. I HAVE found BA ex-Amsterdam AMS-LHR-JNB/CPT occasionally keen in price (around £1500-1600). Overnight long haul allows for a refreshed start and, really saves a day at each end of the holiday.

      • Dominic Barrington says:

        It’s also fair to say that QR is a bit of a Marmite experience. Plenty of people on here and other blogs adore QR, and rate is as being far better than BA in Club, and, some would say, BA in First. But there are others – like me – who are less impressed. I do think that for a solo traveler in particular, Q Suites are superb, but the service is sort of pre-programmed, and getting many of the cabin crew to think even slightly outside the box can be really really hard. I’ve not tried the new BA Club Suites, but they would tempt me back towards BA for such a journey in business class. And, FWIW, I don’t think there is any serious comparison between QR in business and BA in First.

        • Harry T says:

          Thanks, Dominic. I haven’t done First or Business long haul in either actually. I’ve heard that BA can be superb if you get a good crew.

        • Call it what it is Dominic…a sort of benign sheep syndrome.

        • I’ve only flown 4 sectors on QR but was blown away by the proactivity of the crew. On one leg I ran into a client and his FD at the gate in DOH. Unfortunately, they were in Y and I was in J. FA came over after boarding to make sure everything was OK, could they do anything etc. I mentioned my colleagues down the back and asked if they could send them a bit of cake or something. Evidently they were quickly served champagne – albeit in paper coffee cups!

          Whilst some of the crew were a bit robotic and I admit it’s a small sample set, i’d be eager to fly with them again – if we ever get back to those days 😫

      • Harry T says:

        Thank you, I appreciate your thoughts. Have you visited in August? That’s when the decent BA fares from Amsterdam are (£1100 per person) and I’m tempted but I’ve heard the weather isn’t as good.

        • Harry August is still winter in SA. If your aim is to go to Cape Town it will not be that warm, temperatures range between a low of 12 and a high of 20 degrees and it will be windy and more often than not wet. Johannesburg on the other hand will also be colder in the morning with a low of 4 degrees with a similar high of 20 (that feels much colder than it sounds) but it will be dry, being much further north it has wet summers and dry winters. It can also be very windy as well which with the windchill factor makes it feel a lot colder. There is an old South African saying “its a lazy wind, it doesn’t go around you, it goes straight though you” I’d suggest you go in December or January in the height of summer

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, AJA, appreciated.

          • Stephan says:

            Throughout December is the major annual school holiday in South Africa – January will be markedly quieter and affordable for accommodation. Worth checking the schools calendar.

          • Genghis says:

            I luncheon at work with a guy from Cape Town. His advice is to avoid Dec and early Jan due to the crowds. Ive always been late Jan / early Feb.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks guys. Shame my birthday is early in January!

    • Reeferman says:

      Have been to CPT many times for both hols and business and def wouldn’t recommend going in Aug for a holiday. End-Jan is a great time.
      I booked with Qatar a couple of months back to go end-Jan 2021. At that time, there were some great prices (and flight times) from BRU – direct CPT and therefore without the need to transfer in JNB.
      Good luck and enjoy!

    • Stephen Johnston says:

      Went BA F at Christmas. ECGC. Concorde Room, ok as usual, food average, staff pleasant.
      On board the A380 to JNB, no service worth the name. I was in 1A. No offer of drinks before or after take off, no diner until we pointed out we hadn’t had any, then reluctantly served a very average meal. No breakfast offered, had to go looking of it. Comair lounges and flights far superior to BA, as are the staff. Upgraded on all flights as well, not expected. Connection through DUR was time consuming but easy, saved a lot of money.
      Not my first time in BA F, definitely my last. As they have a really crap policy so far to status renewal, don’t think I will make the effort.
      If you can fly with LH in F (thanks Rob), its fab, on the ground. QR were doing ex AMS in J for £1600 with a free stopover if that appeals from AMS, less from OSL, and the overall flight times are not much different. Service is on a totally different level, A350’s, Q suites…….

  2. HSBC Premier – how do they confirm the income requirement / do they track on an ongoing basis?

    My salary is close and a bonus received would take me even closer – is there any leeway?

    • There used to be quite a lot if you were on the right career track, eg a 25 year old on £70k would get more leeway than a 50 year old on £70k. Never hurts to ask.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        please let me know rob what job pays 75k for a 25 year old! 😀

        • A job in Financial Services in the city of London.

          • Toppcat says:

            You’re right, JohnnyC – I was taking a bit of licence. But mid-late 20s that is absolutely achievable, particularly in TS/corp fin with more of a bonus culture, maybe not all all practices though.

        • Toppcat says:
          • Harry T says:

            Wish I’d bought a house then! Just didn’t have the capital at two years old 😉

          • I remember looking at a house – a full house, admittedly not huge but a proper house, 1980s built – on the canal in Wapping (about 20 minutes walk from the City for non-Londoners) in around 1997 and deciding it wasn’t worth £85,000.

            What people forget is that rental yields were HUGE 20 years ago. My first London flat was £140 per week (a tea warehouse conversion in Wapping) so I was paying £7k per year. The value of the flat was only £70k – I remember looking at the adjacent, far bigger, one at some point when it was marketed at £90k.

          • Johnny C says:

            Big 4 accountants don’t earn £75k at 25. 3-4 years to qualify, and you’ll be on less than 50. £75k is an experienced senior manager salary, which would take 5 years minimum to reach, more like 6-7.

            Big 4 accountants are typically paid 10-25% less than their counterparts working outside of practice, with the pay-off being that progression is typically quicker in big 4 practices.

        • Genghis says:

          Our first year bankers clear £80k. Perhaps not this tax year.

          • Harry T says:

            Clearly I chose the wrong profession!

          • Doesn’t a tube driver earn much the same?
            @Harry T, what you earn is less important than what you do with it! The £75k figure made me smile as I recalled buying my first house in 1993 for just a little over half of that, how times have changed 🙂

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I Should’ve paid more attention at school 😂

            Though rather have my salary in the midlands than that salary in London.

        • I was earning that 17 years ago when I was 19 working in IT. Easily doable now in the right job, even outside London. I just offered a 24 year old, £75k in Edinburgh working in IT.

    • JImbob says:

      Don’t think they specifically checked my income when I opened the premiere current account, but when I applied for the MasterCard, they asked for 3 months worth of payslips, then gave me a credit limit of less than half of my Amex!

      • I hadnt expected one, but si ce they’ve gone to the trouble of flagging up the fact they have withdrawn Their switching offer, does anyone know what it was and whether its worth hanging on for?

    • On a related note, anyone know if it’s actually possible to upgrade to Premier at the moment (from an existing HSBC current account)? It appears (slightly oddly, but not newly) that online applications are only availabe to non-HSBC customers, and that existing customers have to apply by phone or in a branch. But there’s also a note on the Premier page saying that due to coronavirus they’re not accepting account applications by phone or in branches, so….

  3. rams1981 says:

    Contacted the guy on FlyerTalk on Tuesday about a refund of my cancelled trip. Never heard back and refund has already hit my card and Avios redeposited. An excellent result.

    Ps a reminder any refund will pro rata through any household account you are in. I did wonder at first why I didn’t receive the full amount.

  4. FrenchLondoner says:

    Hi All!
    Have a cash booking with BA (Paris to Vancouver, J upgraded to F with a Gold Upgrade Voucher) for May. One flight has been cancelled so I know I can call and ask for a refund, but I would most likely lose my Gold Upgrade ( It’s a very old one, I used it when I booked last July, and its expiry date was Sep 2019)?
    1/If I ask for a rebooking, what is the window BA would accept me to rebook it to (without having to pay any fare difference)?
    2/ Assuming I can rebook it at a later date, then I guess I take the risk not to be able to cancel if there were travel restrictions still and all new flights would, however, be operating?
    Thank you for any piece of advice –

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      I got a 12 month extension on my gold upgrade voucher! My advice would be to give the gold / GGL a call! The gold line have been fantastic recently and very flexible.

    • Charlieface says:

      Another option is to rebook your current flight instead of taking a refund

  5. Michael C says:


    Analysis by US-based Dollar Flight Club, based on patterns after previous crises, predicts average fare falls of 35% through 2021, but for prices to then double by 2025.

  6. mark taylor says:

    Evening all, found a good deal on Royal Jordanian in business to Kuala Lumpur for Christmas ex CDG.
    Looking for feedback on experiences with RJ in business class please

  7. Peter K says:

    I’ll re-post this tomorrow as it’s quite late. I made a curve payment on my laptop and it needed a verification code but I could not make it work, despite curve being open on my mobile. I then made the same payment on my (android) mobile, again with the curve app being open and the verification was NOT in the app, but rather via a PUSH notification. I pressed it, got asked to put my curve app pin in, then it all went through.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Sounds like there are some issues with the integration of this feature into the curve app as you’re not the first person to mention it.

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