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The new HFP chat thread – Friday 3rd July

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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/2020/07/03/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-friday-3rd-july/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 (127)

  • Geoff says:

    Need your advice please Rob. I hope to fly to Malaysia next month using Qatar Air via Amsterdam. The Netherlands is on the provisional green countries so not a problem but will changing planes in Qatar, which is not a green country count as transiting? In which case I would still ned to quarantine on return or pay a lot more to fly direct. I know its too early to be definitive but will appreciate your opinion to help with my planning.

    • Harry T says:

      I think they won’t be able to count transit as visiting a higher risk country, or the system will be untenable. But hopefully they actually release some guidance instead of leaking various tidbits to the press every few days.

    • meta says:

      @Goeff the list will also be reviewed every two weeks I believe, so you won’t be able to know exactly until closer to your date of travel.

    • Rob says:

      Need to see the small print! Technically you’re walking off a flight from Doha BUT everyone will be transiting (as Doha is closed) so presumably they’d look at where you’d been before that.

  • Ja says:

    I have received the £40 discount on the VA credit card fee. That was quick.

    • Rhys says:

      Did you just renew it for another year? It wasn’t clear whether this would apply to all cards immediately or only on renewal.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Same, got my fee refund this morning.

      Card renewed back in February.

    • Waddle says:

      I got mine as well but my card is due to renew this month. Wonder if I will get another £40 after renewal?

  • TripRep says:

    Anyone get this from Virgin this week?

    “Virgin Atlantic want to make sure that when you can travel again, you’ll still be able to get the absolute most out of all your benefits.

    That’s why they’ve:

    Extended Flying Club statuses by six months
    Extended Flying Club voucher expiry dates by six months
    Stopped Flying Club miles expiring
    You’ll soon be flying again”

    • Rhys says:

      Weirdly I didn’t, although this is all stuff they’ve announced before

      • TripRep says:

        Also mentioned in the same email, a £40 rebate on my Virgin Mastercard…

        We hope you’re keeping safe and well. As a Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Credit Card customer, we know that these last few months, you won’t have been able to take advantage of your Flying Club rewards in the same way.

        So we’re refunding £40 of your annual card fee. There’s nothing you need to do – just look out for your refund landing in your credit card account in the next few days.

        • Rhys says:

          That makes sense – these have been going out all week 🙂

          • Ja says:

            Wouldn’t it be nice if IHG did it on their credit card

        • Andrew M says:

          It would also be nice if the HSBC World Elite card refunded some of their fee as well (for those that pay it!).

          • Mike P says:

            Yes it would but I don’t see it happening. I’m going to downgrade to the free version before my next renewal date in November. I don’t see the value of it currently.

  • DJ says:

    Amex platinum insurance related:

    I am a Platinum account holder, if I open a supplementary card for my father (who also has a personal Amex credit card under his name), would he be covered in full if he purchased holiday, flights etc using his personal Amex credit card (without using the supplementary card)?

    Thanks

    • Andrew says:

      No. It needs to be on the supp card. The only exception is for primary card holder who can spend on other Amex personal cards (like the BA card) and still be covered.

  • Moktar says:

    Extract from a bloomberg article on Virgin Australia:
    What could possibly attract Bain about an airline that hardly ever generates cash? Loyalty is almost certain to be the answer.

    Administrators for Virgin Australia Holdings at Deloitte agreed to sell the second-ranked Australian airline to the PE firm after it collapsed in April owing A$6.8 billion ($4.7 billion). In a sign of what a difficult path lies ahead of Bain, interest from 20 parties was ultimately whittled down to just two final bidders.

    Airlines, with their vast capital expenditures, weak competitive positions, and already-heavy debt loads, aren’t the most obvious places for PE to invest. Most firms look for businesses that can consistently throw off cash before returning to market at an enhanced valuation a few years later.

    Virgin hardly fits that bill: The company has posted positive annual free cash flow just three times in two decades. It’s hard to see how a few years of business in the time of coronavirus is going to enhance its market value much. That’s particularly the case given that Qantas Airways, which spent much of the past decade demonstrating the power of its superior market share, has just strengthened its balance sheet through a capital raising.

    There is, however, one part of Virgin that’s perennially attractive to PE — its Velocity frequent-flier program. It’s not unusual for airlines to be essentially loyalty programs with wings — Qantas’s is often the most profitable part of the business, and Air Canada’s spun-off program Aimia mostly traded at a higher multiple than its former parent until it was bought back a few years ago.

    Velocity has already been a winner for PE. Affinity Equity bought a 35% stake in the program in 2014 and sold it back last year at a A$2 billion valuation. That’s more than twice what it originally paid, and far more than the A$1.2 billion or so that the entire airline was worth before coronavirus struck, not to mention the zero value now put on Virgin Australia’s equity.

    The biggest challenge for Bain will be what to do with the main bit of the business — but that’s not an impossible task. While details haven’t been released of what a post-insolvency Virgin will look like, you’d expect the administration process to bring an end to many of the asset impairments and interest expenses that have weighed so heavily on earnings in recent years, giving an opportunity to spruce it up for selling back to the market. Australia’s stock investors are famous for buying dog-eared companies from private equity and repenting at their leisure.

    Bain has promised to “invest in and see closer integration” of the loyalty program and the core flying business, though it’s not clear that this amounts to a promise never to separate the two. Don’t be surprised if 18 months from now the next big IPO in Sydney is a seemingly-rejuvenated Virgin Australia, shorn of its lucrative loyalty program. Just don’t make the mistake of buying into it.

  • Matt says:

    I’ve just tried to pay NS&I with Curve onto an MBNA Horizon card and been decline repeatedly at declining values. Nowhere near the credit limit on the underlying card. Is this just a glitch, or have Curve widened the Fronted net? Worked fine a week or so back.

    • ian_h says:

      Mine is getting declined for all sorts of transactions at various merchants and with various underlying cards – it seems maybe the new processing solution isnt quite bedded in fully. If your issue was “Fronted” you would be prompted to switch that feature on so its unlikely that’s your problem.

    • Lady London says:

      Once you get a decline in this sort of situation its best to log out, clear cookies, if possible try another browser rather than just keep trying. Sometimes a flag is set on just one failure of some types or maybe two. If you’ve done all that and it’s a more traditional provider then you could even leave it overnight after you’ve tried a couple of times before trying again.

      • Spaghetti Town says:

        I thought there was a fronted charge on Curve NS&I payments now? Unless on curve metal?

        • Doug M says:

          As of 2 days ago you were wrong. Today who knows.

        • James says:

          I have just used my Blue card – Fronted Off and NS&I processed £25 fine

          • BJ says:

            Huh??

          • James says:

            BJ – NS&I purchase not a fronted charge on my Curve Blue

          • BJ says:

            Yes, everything looked fine for me too, no problems at all unless there is a nasty shock from HH card still to come.

          • James says:

            Will be honest first time I have used NS&I and they are a little unstable. Just been blocked from my account

  • berneslai says:

    I’m due to fly on Easyjet to Montpellier on 17/7. Our accommodation has already cancelled on us but I’ve heard nothing about our flights.

    Given that departure is now a fortnight away, do I assume that the flight is going ahead? The departing flight is not bookable through the website.

    • berneslai says:

      Outbound just cancelled!

    • Lady London says:

      if you look at the website they promise to firm up on whether a flight marked as sold out is going, 21 days ahead of the flight. Is this no longer prominent on the site?

  • AndyF says:

    A question regarding the Amex Platinum card. People reports on the personal card getting up to 20,000 bonus points and a double of the trade-in value of each Amex membership point from 0.45 to 0.9p per point.
    Can I ask was it any other offers that were given to help fudge the fee?
    I know the business card has had a reduction of the fee and a multitude of offers on the card.

    • happeemonkee says:

      I got offered 15000 points 2 days ago plus renewal fee payment over 12 months.

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