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The new HFP chat thread – Friday 29th 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:  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 (209)

  • Alan says:

    ICC Dollar now offering $100 but can’t see me making much use of it as only at the (very overpriced) Harvey Nichols or Fornum & Mason or Uber Eats (that I’ve still got shedload of credit for from Tesco!) – plus 3% forex fee on spend plus forex fee on paying off card.

    Offer only available online at Harvey Nichols, Fortnum and Mason and Uber Eats . Example of usage – spend $30 with Harvey Nichols and you will receive a Statement Credit of $30 back to your Account, plus spend $40 with Fortnum and Mason, and you will also receive a Statement Credit of $40 back to your Account. Spend up to the maximum of $100 combined, with any of the merchants specified.
    Cardmembers will be charged a non-Dollar transaction fee of 3% for transactions made in a currency other than US Dollars. Spend out of the currency of your Card will be subject to foreign exchange fluctuation Foreign exchange fees will not be included as part of the $100 credit and is at the expense of the Platinum Cardmember.
    Harvey Nichols International delivery, gift cards, vouchers and dining within restaurant are excluded from this Offer. Uber Eats Groceries are excluded from this Offer.
    Offer applies to spend on the primary Card enrolled into the Offer, as well as any Supplementary Cards registered to the same primary Card, and is not valid for transactions made using third party Payment Aggregators.
    Maximum $5 of statement credits, only in full increments of $5 each, available per Card Account, up to a maximum of $100, valid against the same level of spend at the eligible merchants only. Spend of less than, but not equal to $5, will count towards the next statement credit, up to a maximum of $100 in total. Any accrued balances less than $5 or not amounting to a value divisible by $5 will be forfeited at the end of the promotion.
    Offer only valid to ICC Platinum Cardmembers who save the Offer to their Card. Credit should appear on your billing statement within five days from qualifying spend but may take up to 90 days after the Offer end date. Awarded credit may be reversed if qualifying transaction is refunded or cancelled. Any misuse, as reasonably determined by us, relating to your redemption of Amex Offers may result in an awarded credit being reversed, and ineligibility from future Amex Offers and other promotions. This reversal may take place up to a maximum of 180 days after the Offer campaign end date. Please note that if an awarded credit is reversed after you have paid your bill you may be returned to a negative balance.
    Offer is only intended for the targeted recipient of this email. Spend must be billed to your Card Account by 27 August 2020 to be eligible for this Offer. If the eligible merchants do not charge your Card during this period, you may not be eligible for this Offer. Enrolled Cards that are replaced during the Offer period may need to be re-registered for the Offer by calling the number on the back of the Card. By saving the Offer to your Card, you agree to the Offer Terms.

    • Spk says:

      Uber / Uber Eats credits in $ cannot be used in UK.

      • Alan says:

        Yep, so you’d need to spend in GBP and incur 3% forex fee to use. Paying off the bill is more of a pain but given degree of rebate I guess is probably still worthwhile – don’t think you can purchase credit direct from Uber though so would need to use Uber Eats quite a bit.

        • Colin MacKinnon says:

          Fortnum’s basic Cotes du Rhone is very drinkable, and good value

  • Sk123 says:

    Curve query – How do you make an AMEX payment by Curve? I’m trying to pay off in bits so the amount isn’t as big. It shows a 5 minute timer and says I need to open my Curve app to verify payment but I am opening the app and nothing happens. There is no text or code via email to enter. I’m quite new to Curve so how does it work?

    • Anna says:

      If it’s the free blue card you have to have it enabled via the account screen to authorise the 1.5% (I think) fee. Otherwise I don’t know, Curve + Amex is no more for me!

      • mr_jetlag says:

        Can’t really talk about fight club, but there’s a way to “go around” this.

        • Wally1976 says:

          ?? Any clues? Or email me elwalters1974 [at] aim [dot] com

        • Shachar says:

          Any chance you can share this as well? Many thanks in advance

          shachar bialick (at) curve [dot] com

      • Sk123 says:

        I have Curve Metal so I don’t know. My main query is when you get the 5 minute timer is on the screen and it says open your Curve app to validate, what do I need to do? I am opening it but there is nothing else to do or any prompt and then the transaction fails.

        • Pangolin says:

          Pull down from the top of the screen to check for notifications. I had the same problem and would never see it in the app. When I checked the notifications there was one from Curve there and selecting that worked/

        • Tom H says:

          If not, just delete the app reinstall and it should work fine, did it for my colleague today

  • BuyEMExternalBonds says:

    What is everyones thought on Freetrade recent crowdfunding? worth a punt? I put in 1k as a punt, plan to claim EIS relief

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      Obviously a risk – felt the shares were a bit overpriced?

      Not sure how they make money apart from charging £3/month for an ISA, when trading 212 gives you that for free

  • Harry T says:

    Anyone stayed at the Gritti Palace? Is it worth 85,000 Bonvoy points for a night in summer? Cash rates are 900 euros flexible, 700 euros prepay (full refund until June 30th).

    • Rob says:

      It is very much ‘if you like that sort of thing’. It is hundreds of years old and you know it, albeit fully refurbished a couple of years ago. The outdoor terrace on the canal is astonishingly nice in Summer but you can go there if staying elsewhere. One time I stayed there I got an incredibly small room overlooking the six-foot wide side street that runs down to the door, so I’d want water view.

      Great location for the shopping and St Marks.

      The new St Regis is another option of course.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks, Rob. Sounds like it’s better to book cash than points if wanting a water view then, unless a Platinum or above with Marriott?

        • E says:

          As a Titanium at the Gritti I got a minor upgrade to a side room which was a bit larger than the lowest level of room. They were quite busy on that weekend but even as a Titanium I wouldn’t say an upgrade is that likely because it’s not that big a hotel.

        • Rob says:

          Agree. If you want big, spacious light filled rooms look at the JW Marriott resort which we have reviewed. Good choice if it is not your first time.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks, Rob. My first time visiting but I’d rather have a great room at a decent hotel and save the Gritti for when my salary is higher.

          • Lady London says:

            The light in Venice is quite extraordinary so I would want to be in a room that benefits from this.

          • Harry T says:

            Thanks for the tip. Any hotel recommendations?

    • EJH says:

      I’d probably pass unless you’re Bonvoy flush as IMO there are better uses of points out there. Stayed there before rates got hiked and shunted (fair enough given a redemption) into possibly the same room as Rob had. Nice place but you aren’t going to be hanging out in the room, and as far as I could tell the communal areas of the hotel are open to non-guests.

    • Ken says:

      Stunning place but you will get a small (but beautiful IMO) room and almost nil chance of a canal view on points. Most dates 100k in summer now.
      Breakfast very good on the terrace but it should be at 53 Euros.

      Personally I’d just go back on the terrace as a non resident for drinks late afternoon. Couple of drinks each 80- 100 Euro. Could pay similar in far worse places.

      • Harry T says:


        • Lady London says:

          Two quite sensible Americans I knew called it “stuffy”. Albeit years ago. One said “it was too nice for me” even though had paid similar rates for business at places like Le Bristol in Paris.

          I think Ken’s advice to go for a drink late afternoon is best. I personally would not do Venice in peak summer. It’s beyond overcrowded even not peak or summer.

          Whatever happened to the Danieli?

    • illuminatus says:

      Stayed there about 3 years ago, paid for by a company I was meeting with. It is quite special of course, but personally the room was ‘too much’ for my taste, and I would never pay the cash rate they ask. I liked Centurion Palace, which I chose for my holiday, right on the opposite side of the canal more overall

  • Billdub says:

    Any tips on applying for an amex gold card when the applicant has no personal income, but an excellent household income (from the spouse). Application rejected and they recommended trying again in 3 months!

    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected] whats mine is hers, & whats hers is hers that gets round the income issue if you get my drift
      Although you will probably have to wait the 3 months they “now” recommend
      i didn’t have a problem “But wasn’t the Gold”
      they didn’t actully ask where the income came from at the time

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Does Accor have smart algorithms installed for pricing rooms?
    Earlier today I priced up a room at T5, returned this evening to check the price and its gone up over £50.😠
    If I leave it a while, do you think it will drop back down if I do not keep pricing up?

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Try a different device with a different internet connection. They may have flagged you as a buyer and put the price up for you, it’s technically possible and a small number of companies do this. Also if you’ve ever logged in on the different device as the same person on the first device, use an incognito window.

      Other than that, there are airlines that drop the price of some routes on Friday night, only to increase them again Monday morning (to suck up price-sensitive tourists at the weekend, and keeping the prices higher for business travellers booking during office hours) – I don’t know of hotels does this, or do it in reverse like you have experienced!

      The most likely thing is that they sold some rooms since you looked earlier!

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Cheers, tried on the phone a 3rd time and prices gone down again.

    • Lady London says:

      i have noticed this on about 3x click same search sometimes but was never sure. Currently logging out and clearing cookies seems to clear it.

      Hertz was doing the same thing a lot and the solutions there are various. but in Hertz’s case clearing cookies was not enough. Currently that seems to be enough for Accor.

  • BJ says:

    Greece open from 15/6 to visitors from 29 countries but it seems the UK is not one of them! A sign of things to come perhaps.

    • Harry T says:

      I’m still hoping for Italy at the end of August but wouldn’t be surprised if they took the same measures against UK travellers

      • BJ says:

        Agreed. If media reports today are to be believed then it seems likely the government is easing lockdown restrictions in England in a way that can probably best be described as inconsistent with scientific advice it has received. If so, then the risk will be greater and prolonged incidence of Covid-19, possibly at levels that will be unacceptable to other countries. Hence, the result will be restrictions imposed on UK-based travellers will also be prolonged compared to those from other countries where incidence is lower.

        • J says:

          The UK could be accused of easing restrictions purely to distract from political issues – nothing to do with the science… That and given the numbers, lots of countries won’t want British tourists for a long time!

          • BJ says:

            Wouldn’t disagree, BoJo seemed over anxious to take charge this week and flood the media with endless premature announcements, it all reeked of desperation. The real questions that need to be asked now are what does Cummings have on BoJo?

          • Lady London says:


        • Harry T says:

          Agreed. Boris definitely wouldn’t allow people to have barbecues on a pleasant May weekend to distract from the scandal around his advisor though, of course…

          • Cat says:

            No, absolutely not, that would be wildly irresponsible.

            @BJ, I wonder if it’s similar to whatever Putin has on Trump. If so, that tapes the p!ss.

          • BJ says:

            @Çat, @Harry, I think it is more likely that under his posturing and bravado Boris just feels insecure and out of his depth and feels reliant on people he can trust to help him get the job done. In this respect what many of us see as shortcomings in Dominic will be seen as essential strengths by Boris. There are parallels with Blair and Campbell but Blair seemed stronger and more competent than Boris from the outset, and became more so as his premiership progressed (until Iraq). Campbell like Cummings was strong and helped to get the job done, but was ultimately perceived as generally reasonable and sensible while there are clearly perceptions of mistrust, soundness etc of Cummings even amongst his own party supporters.

    • Aston100 says:

      What happened to their attempt at a reciprocal arrangement with the UK the other week?

      • BJ says:

        The whole idea of such is just weird in the context of Covid-19.

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