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The new HFP chat thread – Monday 18th May

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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: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/05/18/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-18th-may/comment-page-1.  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.  Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

Comments (211)

  • Ronster says:

    Good morning

    I have a Lloyds voucher with BA that runs out at the end of May. They are not been extended as the 2-4-1 vouchers by 6 months.

    I wonder if anyone has any advice, on what is the best tactic?

    I had thought about taking a stab in the dark on a flight location and see how the world situation pans out for late August or early September.

    Have I misheard or have people having their 2-4-1 voucher flights with BA cancelled, by the airline, have now had their vouchers returned and 6 months added to their expiration dates?

    Might this be a possibility with the Lloyds vouchers, on similar future cancelled flights?

    Thanks

    Ronster

    • Zap says:

      Hi Ronster. I’m in the same boat. My Lloyd’s Avois upgrade voucher expires at the end of this month. A poster on here a couple of days ago said the they had managed to extend theirs using “online chat”. Not sure what online chat this was. BA.com don’t appear to have an online chat, but perhaps it is possible.

      • The Streets says:

        Ring the Avios number 03444933349 and they should be able to extend it for you

      • Doug M says:

        Avios . com has live chat. The website still operates. You login with either your aer club or Vueling details and there is a live chat option.

        • Ronster says:

          Hello

          The online chat facility has already confirmed that the Lloyds voucher cannot be extended, past its current end of May date.

          Thanks

          • Zap says:

            Ronster – I called the telephone number provided The Streets this morning and once I got through (about 10 mins wait), they extended my voucher for 6 months. No problem.

          • Ronster says:

            Hello Zap

            Thats great news

            Thank you again to everyone for their help

            Kind regards

            Ronster

  • Zander says:

    If your vouchers have been used and then your flights are subsequently cancelled then they will add 6 months onto the original validity.
    I’m not sure what happens to unused vouchers that are coming up for expiry though. In the worst case I’d like to think that they would add the 6 months when you went to us it.
    Keep us all posted if you find out please.

    • Nori says:

      Flight booked with Lloyds voucher for this August. I’m no longer flying. Will cancel the flight and get my avios back. What about the voucher? Am I likely to lose it or can can I move it to another flight?

      • Ronster says:

        Hi Nori.

        This is what I would like to know as well.
        Be it that I have not yet used my voucher up and have only have until the end of may to do so.

        Kind regards

        Ronster

  • Heath says:

    Datapoint the gadget insurance with Curve metal through Axa is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.
    Nobody ever picks up the phone on the number provided on the app.
    Literally spent hours on hold for the number to just cut off.
    V frustrating.

  • VJ says:

    IHG/Curve/200/ATM – I wonder if someone can confirm it’s working without any charge at either end.

  • mr_jetlag says:

    Update on the Curve hack on my account. I had to get replacement cards for three accounts in addition to the Curve card itself; as of today all three cards have arrived but the new Curve hasn’t. Charges have all been reversed pending investigation, but the utility of this service is obviously zero until that arrives and pretty low if you have to unfreeze the card every time you use it…

  • Grant says:

    Anyone with a crystal ball want to predict if HSBC will cut its 5 year standard fixed rate at the beginning of June?

    Trying to decide whether to switch rate now or wait to see if the rates changes at the beginning of the month. Current deal expires end of June.

    • Harry T says:

      Tbh pretty much every single decent savings interest rate has been cut across the board. Not familiar with this account but I’d be inclined to jump on it now if it not inconvenient for you.

      • Peter K says:

        Sounds like a mortgage. I’d have thought that mortgages will be expensive or nonexistent for high risk (90-95% LTV) but good for those low risk (60-65% LTV). I’d wait if I was in the second category and was employed. I think that banks will be looking to lend to low risk customers and try to tempt them.

        • Harry T says:

          Good point, Peter K! Looks like I need another coffee.

        • Grant says:

          Sorry, yes it’s a mortgage deal. We are <60% LTV and both still employed so might be worth seeing what happens at the beggining of next month. I'm assuming its month end / start when deals get changed??

      • Rob says:

        As the Bank of England admits today that we’re heading to negative interest rates soon, you might want to wait. Soon you’ll be able to borrow £250,000 and your lender will pay you each month, not you paying them ….

        • FloriGuy says:

          Hate to disagree with your expertise but do you really think negative interest rates will be passed on to retail borrowers (or even savers)?

          LIBOR and EURIBOR have both been negative for a while but Mortgage and Savings rates are still positive (even if the latter only marginally so).

          • MJ says:

            I think it’s possible, depending on how far negative we go.

            In Denmark, negative rate mortgages already exist (https://www.businessinsider.com/danish-bank-offers-mortgages-at-negative-interest-rates-2019-8?r=US&IR=T)

            And on top of this, I believe a number of banks that have accounts for HNWIs have imposed negative interest rates over Europe.
            I can’t imagine this would happen to regular current accounts given the backlash a bank would face from the general public but I don’t think it’s inconceivable to get negative rate mortgages.

          • Lady London says:

            Switzerland has historically offered bank accounts at negative rates. I wonder how that really translates into the real economy. Short term and if it’s normal for the economy it seems to keep the currency high. But what if every major economy is doing it? is this seriously sustainable for the UK?

        • Lady London says:

          if that happens (deflation) will we be in completely uncharted territory for the UK economy.

          what other effects might this have?

          • Rob says:

            Two key problems with deflation.

            1. If prices are falling, people don’t spend. Why buy a washing machine today if you know it will be cheaper next month, and even cheaper the month after that? This lack of spending causes demand to fall even further which causes more deflation etc.

            2. Debt becomes a serious problem. If there is deflation, your pay will get cut but your debts remain the same, even if the servicing costs are lower. Companies have the same issues – less money coming in (even if sales are flat) but the same amount of debt to service.

          • Optimus Prime says:

            Could anybody with a background in finance explain to me like I’m a 5yo what the consequences of negative interest rates would be?

            Would retail customers be charged for having their money in a bank account? Would this lead to people ‘storing their money under their mattress’ ?

            Thanks in advance 🙂

          • Rob says:

            Yes, it is very possible that you will be charged for keeping your money in the bank. This is because the bank is charged by the Bank of England for looking after it on their behalf.

          • MJ says:

            @Optimus Prime

            It is technically possible for banks to charge negative interest rates however very, very unlikely for your average consumer current account in my opinion. The average consumer doesn’t have a large balance and a negative interest rate would probably do more harm than good for a bank with negative publicity compared to the fees they’d get from most people. It is more likely they do it only for individuals with very high balances and maybe some savings accounts (e.g. instant access)

            This link should explain it but I’ve drawn out some examples below (https://www.moneydashboard.com/blog/how-negative-interest-rates-impact-your-money)

            In Switzerland, where the central bank rate has been negative for years, UBS and Credit Suisse charged fees on balances over 2m and 10m CHF respectively.

            In Denmark, as I mentioned above there is a bank offering a fixed-rate 10-year mortgage with a negative interest rate (-0.5%). However this bank charges a 0.6% fee on balances over 7.5m kr

            But those fees by UBS, Credit Suisse and Jyske Bank onl applied to balances around £1m and above.

            In the article, however, it says “In Germany, a Bavarian co-operative bank, Volksbank Fürstenfeldbruck, is charging a negative interest rate of -0.5% on instant access savings accounts even if you only have a deposit of €1! It was the first time that a Bank passed the cost of negative interest rates to customers with a small deposit.”

            I don’t believe any current/checking accounts have ever had negative interest rates, both in the UK and world for normal consumers but this article from 2016 has numerous quotes from banks showing it is something they would consider doing and for business accounts, they have already amended terms to allow them to charge negative interest rates if the BoE base rate goes negative. ((https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/billsguides/article-3709622/Natwest-warns-charging-current-accounts-NEGATIVE-rates-mean-you.html)

          • Doug M says:

            Citibank introduced a fee for Euro deposits over €100K once the rate stayed negative.

        • Optimus Prime says:

          Thanks Rob and MJ.

        • Michael says:

          Lockdown to save the boomers looking like a superb decision as each day passes.

          Deaths of U40 in the tens, millions of healthy workers under lockdown and the economy on the dump for what?! 500,000 dead? Nope. Not even a tiny tiny tiny minuscule close.

          • Callum says:

            So the deaths of over 40s don’t matter? What an utterly vile person you are!

            Hint: If your opinions start aligning with Trump’s base, you really need to have a look at your life…

          • Rob says:

            We have always traded life for money. If you need a cancer drug in 10 years time and it costs more than £100k (TBC) per year then the Government will let you die instead. The general Treasury value placed on a life is £2m – this is the figure used to justify for road safety improvements etc. This is no different.

            (£2m is actually quite generous in itself. If a relative – not direct family – of yours was going to die unless they got a £2m treatment and you had £2m and not a penny more to your naem, would you pay it?)

    • Mike P says:

      I’m in almost exactly the same position albeit my fix ends a month after yours does. I’m also looking at the HSBC 5 year fix at 1.44% and wondering if it will drop. I think I’m going to hold off as I think it’s extremely unlikely it will get more expensive so the likely worst case scenario is that it remains the same.

    • Sean says:

      With swap rates falling (with the markets expecting a small short term negative position) and with Banks desperate to lend under the BofE TFSME scheme, then rates are unlikely to rise very much in the short term. How much wriggle room HSBC have to cut rates further is another matter though as they are already funding mortgage with zero cost funding already.

      Mortgage rates will not go negative, neither will savings rates as many banks terms and conditions don’t allow for it adequately.

    • Richard says:

      I work in banking and can safely say that it is far, far more likely to go down than up. Make sure you do the sums on changing provider as well though, as the best deal may well be with a less high st name.

      • Mike P says:

        Thanks Richard. The 2 year rates are even better (1.19 with HSBC) but I’m leaning towards the increased certainty of a 5 year fix. Any thoughts?

        • Grant says:

          I am of the same mind. I have also probably left it a bit late if I wanted to move lender but still can’t find anything to meaningfully challenge the HSBC 5-year fix.

          Do HSBC change rates at a regular point in the month?

        • Sean says:

          current 2 and 5 year swap rates are about 7bp different (7/100 of a percent). In effect this should mean no differential in 2/5 year mortgage rates and could in reality mean 5 yr mortgages are cheaper.
          The ten year swap is only 10bp more expensive than the five – the financial markets are expecting rates to stay pretty close to zero for a long time.

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see year low ltv mortgage rates touching 1%.

        • Richard says:

          How long is a piece of string. Depends on your risk tolerances, and your LTV as that will change the spreads, especially if rates go back up.

          Because negative interest rates aren’t going to happen, and the bank has to make at least little money on the loan, rates really can’t fall much further. So for me, there is limited upside to taking the 2yr fix over the 5yr fix – realistically in 2yrs time you might get that 2yr rate again or perhaps a little lower, but what you lose by “overpaying” for the 5yr – for me – is worth the security that if post corona world sees interest rates returning towards historical averages, you won’t have 3yrs paying a 3/4/5% mortgage when you could still have had something under 2%.

          But that doesn’t mean that the 5yr is “right” or the 2yr “wrong” or vv. Totally down to how you view risk and I am quite conservative when it comes to these sort of things.

          • Mike P says:

            LTV something below 40% so not worried about that. I do wonder about the wisdom of taking a 2 year fix now and then locking in for longer in 2022? I think that might be a better strategy than locking in for 5 years now but it’s a bit of a guessing game

  • Richard says:

    Just had an unknown charge of ~£250 for Next hit my curve card. Haven’t shopped there in years. Oh dear, card locked for now

  • Rob says:

    Bit of advice if possible.

    Amex has £600 credit of mine on a closed card. I originally asked for this to be sent to my bank account. They said 21 days.

    21 days later I ring back so ask why I still haven’t had it. Told to resubmit my bank details again and it would be with me in 10 days.

    10 days later, no money received.

    Should I raise a formal complaint? Threaten ombudsman etc? I’m sure other people may be experiencing similar issues.

    Thanks

    • Harry T says:

      Did you have a direct debit linked to your account in the first place? I’m told that makes it easier for them to transfer, as they already have your details. I would probably ring back and express my discontent, see what they offer. Unsure it’s worth you escalating to a formal complaint unless you really needed that money, as it could be a bit of a faff.

      • Doug M says:

        If the card is cancelled the DD is deleted, and very quickly it seems. To do the refund they do typically want a copy of the bank statement linked to the details you give them. If you have a pdf of it you can login into your account and find the upload portal. Quick and painless, and does make the refund happen. My recent experience of Amex refunds is about 10 working days, quicker by a day or two if the account is not closed and you have the DD in place to confirm the bank for refund.

    • Peter K says:

      Add for a cheque to be sent in the post. A pain yes, but likely to be much faster than another 21 days!

      • Doug M says:

        I haven’t used or received a cheque in several years, I wouldn’t know what to do with it 🙂

        • Rob says:

          Most banks lets you pay them in via your mobile phone now. You take a photo of the cheque and upload it to the app. Works surprisingly well, did it with my HSBC account for the first time recently.

          • Doug M says:

            Interesting. I’ve used Citibank for about 20 years or more, I wanted a US$ account, and then later a Euro account, and they were a good option. Citi removed cheque books from my accounts about 4 or 5 years ago I think, I don’t think it’s ever been a problem for me.
            Scanning is a good solution I guess, but still not convinced of the purpose of cheques any more.
            In terms of Amex it’s unlikely to speed anything up, it’ll be the processing time for the refund, not the actual transfer that takes time. All asking for a cheque is likely to do is add the postal time and uncertainty to the process. As you or Rhys say below about post, my home post now seems to come once a week.

          • Lady London says:

            +1 Doug M I’ve had really serious delays both sending and receiving by post. I’m not sure why when surely most post handling is low contact and items spend long enough in transit for virus on them not to be an issue?

          • Doug M says:

            Without any knowledge I’d guess absenteeism is really high right now in any industry, and making it hard to operate anything approaching normal service. My own home post has at best been 2 to 3 times a week for years. I remember when the Royal Mail announced that the second delivery was ending, I hadn’t had a second delivery in 20 years.

          • AJA says:

            The mobile phone banking app cheque scanning deposit feature is really easy to use and works really well. Lloyds Bank also allows you to deposit cheques at special deposit ATMs inside branches. They effectively do the same thing and scan the cheque as you deposit it.

          • Chrish says:

            [email protected] Cheques are out dated but had a Cheque Book (for ever) I used mine to send Children Cheques Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, made out to share Acc even though in same house lol
            carried on from birth to 18th Birthdays
            Was learning them about the Value of Shares & Compound investing.
            Carried on same Tradition with Grand Children (6 of them so expensive but tradition lol)
            All six Grand Children use “The Share Centre” (managed by their Mothers) but only in one share
            i know no need to send Cheques but works for me

          • Lady London says:

            @Doug what are Citi like to deal with as a retail client? I was tossing up between them and HSBC (for the Jardine connection) as and when I make a move, but thought Citi had withdrawn from retail in the UK for some reason.

          • Doug M says:

            Citi are not great, and I stay because of the ease of their single debit card, spend in £ € or $ and it just debits from the matching currency account, and of course what you know is easiest. I believe they have largely withdrawn from UK retail banking, outside of the high earner wealth service they offer.

          • Doug M says:

            I think they leave legacy customers in place, but don’t seek new business. I certainly don’t fall into the high net worth category.

        • Rhys says:

          Most banking apps scan them now!

      • Rob says:

        Depends how often you get mail these days … we seem to be down to Saturdays only, when we get a massive chunk in one go.

        • @mkcol says:

          How bizarre as the Saturday services are meant to be suspended (except for parcels) – I can confirm this has been the case in MK.

          https://www.royalmail.com/d8/saturday-services

          • Lady London says:

            i will take a bet that Rob’s Saturday delivery is not being done by normal fulltime staff. It will be a part timer or a temp. The regular fulltime staff in a lot of parts of public services seem to have gone AWOL.

            Our Post Office haa 2 people actually working aince lockdown covering 12 people who’ve gonw AWOL across 2 Posr Offices (they spebd more time in the other one because no one’s turning up there at all). Nice for some.

            Meanwhile UPS and another courier service seem to be delivering whenever they get a parcel as normal.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          I’m a fair way away, so not expecting Royal Mail next day, or even next week delivery, but mail from the UK is taking over a month to get here now – I got a letter postmarked 28/3 in early March, and one dated March 2020 from First Direct on Saturday.

          • Peter K says:

            Post is arriving at our house Mon-Fri like normal.
            Couriers within the UK are going very slow however. Faster to send a parcel to the US than the UK!

    • fivebobbill says:

      Getting wildly off Robs issue guys, so back to the initial point if I may.
      I had almost exactly the same problem Rob a month or so ago, I had a credit of £200’odds on my Amex Plat account after cancelling and asked them to pay it off my BAPP card. Didn’t happen, and had to chase it up on no less than 3 occasions, each time confirming they had the correct account details to credit. After a month I asked to elevate it to a formal complaint and they offered me 3k avios immediately. I refused, got a call from customer services a few days later and settled for 5k avios – the missing credit was applied 2 days later.
      Doesn’t hurt to complain now and again if you get shoddy service.

      • fivebobbill says:

        I might add, they said the credit had been applied but to an old card of mine… apparently…