The new HFP chat thread – Tuesday 30th June

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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!

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  1. Dezbez says:

    Given the uncertain outlook for the US, presumably Virgin might be considering more non-US destinations, ie ones it’ll be able to fly to sooner with passengers (Canada and some more Eastern routes instead perhaps?) I’m really not sure how easy it is to switch and how long these things take to do, clearly it’s not straightforward, but it seems like it could be an opportunity to diversify and not have all its eggs in the US basket?

    • Andrew says:

      Won’t that clash with the evolving Delta and Westjet partnership?

      I don’t have any objection to saving Virgin, but not at the expense of a well run Canadian airline.

    • ChrisC says:

      Any switch would depend on the availability of slots.

      Toronto and Vancouer are both slot reestricted

      VS has flown to both of those in the past.

  2. Roger* says:

    I have a 2-4-1 redemption to South Africa in Jan/Feb 2021 LHR-JNB//CPT-LGW.

    SA is closed to international tourism until at least Feb 2021. I’ve just spent a couple of hours looking in vain for signs of a change to this. It looks like we won’t be allowed in.

    Have I any options? Postponing the flights could jeopardise the validity of the 2-4-1. (Sorry, I can’t remember the original expiry date.) I could perhaps use the 2-4-1 elsewhere.

    Grateful for your advice.

    • I would wait and see unless you 100% know where you would like to go

      • Roger* says:

        Thanks, Rhys. Sadly in the circumstances, I’d normally be looking at North America, but that’s clearly out for the time being. I’ll look elsewhere.

        I assume if I cancel now, I’ll be hit with 2x £50 fees. That wouldn’t apply if I cancelled just before the outbound date, I guess. Decisions, decisions.

    • Aston100 says:

      Why are people certain SA won’t be taking tourists until Feb 2021?

    • WaynedP says:

      There have been at least two court challenges to the South African government’s Covid regulations. One is moot (Tobacco industry challenging ban on sales) as prohibition has since been lifted.
      Another succeeded in getting parts of the regulations declared “irrational” and “unconstitutional” by the High Court (google SA covid regulations constitutional court challenge).
      It is low season there now, but if travel restrictions remain in place as SA moves into spring and tourism-dependent operators gear up for the summer season, I predict more court challenges.
      Obviously no guarantees, but in the absence of a Brazil-like pandemic, I’d be very surprised if the SA government doesn’t re-open borders to international tourists this side of Christmas 2020.

  3. Lost+confused says:

    Can anyone tell me about the current Gatwick experience? The family (1 adult and 4yo) are flying out tomorrow on a flight around 2pm from the north terminal with 1 case to check in. The website says that only Boots is open, but they don’t look like they are updating it much.
    I’d appreciate thoughts on how long we should allow for checking a bag, how long for security, and is anything other than Boots open?

    • Matty says:

      I went through Gatwick last Friday.

      Bag check was empty. I saw only two people in the terminal building before entering security.

      Just me and one other guy at security. It took him an age to get through – had packed the kitchen sink and it spewed everywhere when he opened his case to get the contents of his bathroom cabinet and desktop / monitor / modem / cuddly toy etc. He was still on his hands and knees, landslide, as I left the security area. All the tray positions were open along one machine. Plenty of staff.

      Just Boots open airside. No WH Smith or anywhere to get a coffee. Maybe around 30 people in the terminal. There are hand sanitiser points here and there. Only 14 flights scheduled that day.

      Flight called a little early. Boarded those sitting at the rear first. Nothing much moving around the airport when I looked out of the window.

      Your breath begins to stink after wearing a mask after a few hours even if you change the mask, so pack a few mints.

      You’ll be no more than 10 minutes at bag drop and another 10 minutes at security.

  4. Has anyone had issues with vouchers for stays that have been cancelled? I received a voucher for an incorrect amount (although only pennies) and it won;t let me replicate the booking which I originally made, meaning in effect I am getting only 50% refund. I have contacted them numerous times only to be told each time that the issue is being ‘escalated’. Starting to lose patience and wondered if anyone had similar and got a satisfactory resolution>

    • I’m in the same boat re a similar issue – just keep getting bounced between an the voucher issuing company – it’s a nightmare with no resolution in sight. Part of the problem stems from the fact that there is no email address for Hotels.

  5. James says:

    I have an Amex Platinum Card which currently has an offer for double value statement credit which makes each point 0.9p instead of 0.45. Does anyone have any ideas on a gift card or quasi-cash I can purchase online with my Amex card. I’m essentially looking to convert my statement credit to a cash equivalent..

    • Stanley says:

      Tesco, Waitrose, M and S, John Lewis, Amazon gift vouchers……..

      • James says:

        Thanks. I’m looking for something like Love2Shop vouchers which give me wide selection of shops. I can’t seem to find something like that which accept Amex..

        • Stanley says:

          Brent Cross and Westfield both sell vouchers.

        • Andrew says:

          Where are you looking?

          The Gift Card racks are usually quite prominent in the major retailers.

          • James says:

            I have over 70,000 points that I’m looking to convert. I don’t think a high street shop would let me buy £600 worth of gift cards, hence why I’m looking to buy them online

          • mark2 says:

            Morrisons sell gift vouchers e.g. One4All which are very similar to Love2Shop. £600 no problem (split) , you can even do it self service.
            I think that you will struggle to buy gift cards online.

  6. Is there a way to retrieve the 28 Apr rules referenced in this article – they seem to have been superseded by later updates:

  7. Doog1000 says:

    Hi there
    Booked a flight to italy last week with ryanair – clear as day that for bookings in July / August no change fees – however I now look to move it to a few weeks later and a £45 change fee appears
    Anyone else have experience of this?

    • eligold says:

      why do people still touch Ryanair, i’ll never understand

      • onlysuites says:

        If you don’t live in London there isn’t much choice if you want direct flights.

      • the_real_a says:

        Why not? Very cheap, more legroom than BA and go point to point to exactly where i need to be (which isn’t always a big city). I do treat myself to a priority pass so i get lounge access too…

    • Harry T says:

      I had to move my flights by a day and just had to pay a very small fare difference. This was for flights in late August.

  8. Has anyone had any experience with refunds from TAP Air Portugal? Just wondered how reliable they have been processing refunds? They’ve told me my refund for cancelled flights will take 30-60 days.

  9. rams1981 says:

    Tesco claim their gift cards cannot be used to buy other gift cards such as Amazon. Is this what other have found?

    Morrisons for example don’t seem to have an issue with it.

    • mark2 says:

      I have done it in the past during an Amex offer at Esso stations (one with Tesco Extra shop). But that was some time ago.
      Best to try a small amount, and buy a few groceries, and choose a dozy cashier!

      • Genghis says:

        +1. But not done it for quite a while.
        I can’t find the terms online but similar terms business gift cards and volunteer Carer gift cards don’t mention this). What do the terms say?
        Prob just jobsworth not taking it.
        If challenged, perhaps just say “put it through and see if it works” and it will.

    • Peter K says:

      I’m pretty sure that is the case at Tesco and has been for a long time.

    • Pat the Postie says:

      You can’t buy Tesco gift cards with the Tesco gift cards but third party used to be ok, I use Morrisons now and definitely not an issue there.

  10. Andrew says:

    EasyJet has announced that it has begun consultations on plans to close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle.

  11. I suspect this might be of interest to some here: The Fees for Payment of Taxes, etc. by Card Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/657) were published today. The explanatory note reads:

    The Regulations, with effect from 1st November 2020, revoke and replace the Fees for Payment of Taxes, etc. by Credit Card Regulations 2016 (S.I. 2016/333) and the Fees for Payment of Taxes, etc. by Credit Card (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (S.I. 2017/1262).

    Regulation 2 provides that a fee is payable whenever a business credit or debit card is used to make a payment to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”). Under the revoked legislation, a fee was only payable to HMRC in relation to payments with specified business credit cards and was not payable in relation to payments by any debit cards. The Regulations accordingly increase the range of cards in respect of which a fee is payable. The fee is determined by the formula in Regulation 3 and is equal to the sum of the three fees ultimately incurred by HMRC when receiving payment by card.

    A Tax Information and Impact Note has not been prepared for this instrument as it contains no substantive changes to tax policy.

    • The Urbanite says:

      Interesting – one to watch. The taxman is a generous source of points.

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