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The new HFP chat thread – Friday 24th 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 de facto 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/2020/07/24/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-friday-24th-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.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HFP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (169)

  • Bill says:

    OT: where is the cheapest place to buy a new and genuine Tag Aquaracer watch? I was wondering if a specific duty free or country was best. Or even a good old shop. I found a place in the USA that claims to sell new watches and the prices are good but they’re grey imports. Since its for personal use I could be open to this possibility since it’s for personal use

    • Grant says:

      You should be able to negotiate a discount at any Authorised Dealer at the moment. If you are travelling through Heathrow and can benefit from duty free then Watches of Switzerland would be my starting point.

    • Andrew says:

      Keep an eye on TK Maxx, they occasionally have Tags.

      Other than that, have you tried Bicester Village?

      • Reeferman says:

        Re. Bicester Village – might be worth checking your Amex offers. I have £50 off a £500+ spend on my BAPP (TAG is listed as one of the participants)

    • Neil says:

      Lots of places sell TAG so if they have the model you want in stock then definitely haggle and would also look on Chrono24 etc. to get an idea of what your model sells for new / nearly new.
      Imports can be tricky if you get stung for the duty but depends on how “good” the sender is but given the increase in online shopping in the last few months it may get through without any problems.
      Lots of good watches around for TAG money so if your flexible have a look around the dealers while you’re in – can’t think they’ll be busy except for Rolex waiting list enquiries as always

    • bill says:

      Thanks everyone

  • WillPS says:

    Datapoint –

    Took out Green in June
    Upgraded a few days later to Plat
    Got to £4k and MR payout on Mon 20th (phew!)
    Called just now to cancel –
    Offered free Gold for a year (declined)
    To my surprise, I was then offered 15k MR just for deciding to stay… didn’t expect that on a card open for less than a month!

    • Manny_D says:

      Did you use the upgrade link to move to Platinum at 20k for 4k spend? Further, how easy was the upgrade process?

      Considering doing the same as i have some large spend to do and would hit the target for the points.

      • WillPS says:

        I did. Fee was charged correctly on first statement though (good old days of free upgrades from Gold are over I guess).

        In my case £2k was achieved by ‘paying in’ at a well known chain of customer-owned convenience stores into a well known hip app-based bank account. £2k in cash for £2008 on Amex…

        It’s not quite as lucrative now the double points/double statement credit bonanza is gone but still a few quid to be made if you go quick, and the added perk of some hotel upgrades (although the only one I use is Hilton and they’ve never taken Gold from me from any of my previous platinum freebies).

        • Manny_D says:

          Brilliant, I may have to give that a go for the 20K points, would do well in topping up my VA Flying Club miles, then maybe do a downgrade to the gold.

          Did you just follow the online link and upgrade? Further, was it fairly instant, or did you have to wait for it to be approved.

          Apologies for the questions, just interested in the upgrade flow I will be expecting.

  • Jtz says:

    If curve asks for approval from ernie, and I go back to ernie and nothing changes, has it gone through? Showing in curve but not on the other site???
    Thanks

    • Lady London says:

      late in month receiving end does not show up till 7thor so of following month apparently

  • Darren says:

    Stratford Upon Avon, any thoughts on the Hotel Indigo.

    • BJ says:

      It has had excellent feedback on here.

    • mark2 says:

      It dates from the 1600s and is in the centre of the town. They have just spent millions on refurbishing it and it is amazing. The Woodman restaurant is also awesome (as long as you eat meat).

      • Darren says:

        I’ll make a booking for the restaurant as well, thanks both.

    • Pat the Postie says:

      Excellent hotel and excellent facilities, got an upgrade to a suite on redemption night as spire but had to ask second time around for an upgrade.

    • Anna says:

      I booked 2 nights there for my birthday weekend next year, it was either 15k or 20k per night in the recent points offer.

      • Darren says:

        I’m not a collector of hotel points, so it was a 3 for 2 offer which tempted me. It was non refundable with the caveat that it can be rescheduled to another date if needed.

  • jamie says:

    Does anyone know how to use a UK based credit card or Amex to pay for fuel at the pump in the USA? It never works for me cos the pump always asks for a zip code, and I have to go into the kiosk. Be nice to know if there’s a way around this??

    • Rhys says:

      Yes, massively annoying. Never found a way around it during my year there…

    • Ghosty says:

      use the 3 numbers of your postcode followed by 3 zeros works for me

    • Andrew says:

      Zip codes are 5 digits, so to create your Zipcode from your postcode take the numeric elements and suffix with zeros to make 5 digits.

      For example.

      EH1 1YZ becomes 11000
      BN88 1NH becomes 88100

      Some are set to accept 00000 for when International cards are presented.

      Others simply don’t work whatever you try.

      • Rhys says:

        This never worked for me. I also tried using the Zipcode for where I was living (card was registered in UK) and that declined too.

      • stevenhp1987 says:

        This is what I do.

        Works with my Barclarcard Travel Card no problems.

    • Doug M says:

      Yes any Amex will work as they don’t validate the address the way Mastercard/VISA do. When it asks for ZIP code just use 90210, or any valid ZIP, 10010, 10011 etc.
      Never successful with non Amex, but Amex works fine.

      • Rhys says:

        Just be aware you’ll be paying FX fees if you use an Amex!

        • jamie says:

          Not a consideration when you are paying 50p a gallon LOL!!!

          • Doug M says:

            Not sure where you’re buying. California more like $3 to $3.5. Don’t forget US gallons smaller than UK. So about 90c litre, still cheaper but the 50p days are long gone.

        • Doug M says:

          Of course, but worth it for the ease of use.

  • Paul says:

    Curve related for hsbc premier credit card to Revolut – anyone know if hsbc treat as a cash transaction and charge?

    • ashish says:

      I heard you can use this withouth fee. Please anyone kindly confirm?

      • Benilyn says:

        You can do HSBC CC directly on Revolut without charge. I did quite a lot until Revolut gave me a warning for churning so I have stopped.

        • Zana says:

          No longer the case. HSBC processing any Revolut top-up as “money transfer” (not cash advance), so you don’t get charged the 3% cash advance fee but you do get charged interest from day 1. Immediately paying it off still works, provided that you don’t hold any balance on the card or haven’t made any other purchases on the card since the last statement date.

          The Premier card has the same interest rate for money transfer as purchases, so if you transfer funds immediately to cover the top-up amount, it just gets applied to your earliest balance amount, regardless of whether it is a normal purchase or a money transfer. In my case, I still incurred interest, because unknowingly what I paid off was offset against the purchases I made earlier in the month, not the Revolut top-up amount.

  • meta says:

    Does anyone know the current walk policy at IHG? I’ve only been able to find one from last year, but unsure if anything changed post-covid.

    I have a points booking at Kimpton Amsterdam (booked on dynamic pricing) and I suspect the hotel is closed as there is no availability cash or points and there is banner on the app stating temporarily closed. My stay is in 2 weeks time. I haven’t heard anything from the hotel either.

    • Harry T says:

      Yes, I think it’s closed too. I would try and contact the hotel proactively, to see if they can rebook you somewhere else. The Amstel is open, so you may get lucky!

    • ChrisC says:

      Looks like it reopens on the 25th August. I have a points night booked on the 31st August.

      They do have office staff working. I emailed them a while ago – using the ‘info’ address – when full lockdown was on about a billing matter and they responsed very quickly.

      • meta says:

        Yes funnily enough I received an email just now from them. It’s a total shambles. I don’t fully understand what they meant, so am awaiting confirmation.

        Basically they offered to move my reservatation to Pulitzer, Intercontinental, QO or Crowne Plaza. But then they wrote further in the email that it will not be possible to stay at Pulitzer on points as it is not part of IHG. Also further down the line that they say they will refund my points booking and I can rebook IHG properties on my own. So very unclear email.

        I only booked flights four days ago. Thinking it’s ok as the hotel was still selling rooms for cash/points. It was booked with Future Travel Voucher. I don’t even know what happens if you want to cancel a booking with FTA voucher. Do I get it back?

        • Lady London says:

          unless the Pulitzer was uograded I was quite disappointed with it the two times J stayed there on business.

          If by Interconfinental they mean the Amstel then jump at it andask then to rebook you there immediately. I would not expect to be charged any more in the circumstances so get it switched then check. They are clearly messing around so get it moved.

          • meta says:

            Yes, in the same email I asked to rebook me free of charge at Intercontinental Amstel. I suspect because they are different owners, there is is no easy way of doing it whereas Pulitzer is their property. In addition, there are no reward nights available at Amstel while Pulitzer rate is 410 euros a night. Have also copied IHG rewards and Ambassador in the email. Maybe they will work together…Fingers crossed! Will keep you posted.

      • meta says:

        @ChrisC Kimpton was selling rooms for my dates only four days ago. If I were you, I’d make stand by arrangement as it seems they are only cancelling reservations 14 days before. I’ve just now booked Renaissance across the road for cash as an alternative. So much for great deals with dynamic pricing! They are turning out to be cancelled…

        • ChrisC says:

          Thank’s I’ll add it to the list of things to think about for my weekend away.

          I was due to fly home AMS-LGW on the 31st August but BA cancelled that (got refund as paid cash). Am now getting the Eurostar out.

          Really don’t want LHR but they were restaring up LCY on the 1st September so booked that using part of a voucher.

          Used points for a night at the DeWitt (rest of the trip is in the Park Plaza using the €90 odd per night rate advertised on here ) so could fly into LCY.

          LCY got canned yesterday. OK stuff happens but my patience with BA is running thin at the moment.

          The other day someone castigated people for not booking flights ans supporting BA but here I am willing to travel and booking flights but fluffing BA are the ones stopping me from travelling!

          Luckily all hotels are on points or cancel for free. Eurostar outbound can be changed. Will get another voucher for the cancelled BA flight (would rather have a cash refund but that’s not going to happen is it?)

          Need to get my thinking caps on

  • Aston100 says:

    Hello there, does anyone know what would be a good credit card for someone who has never owned one before, and who has a bit of a bad credit score. They are hoping the card will help to start rebuilding their credit rating.
    Should I presume all Amex cards are off the table?
    They are reluctant to start applying willy nilly in case rejections add (negatively) to the bad credit score.

    Thanks.

    • Grant says:

      MSE is probably the best place to start with this. There is a section dedicated to cards which help rebuild your credit score.

      https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/bad-credit-credit-cards/

      There is also an eligibility calculator so he / she can check liklehood of being approved without leaving any footprint on his / her credit file.

      https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/eligibility/credit-cards/search/

    • Chris Heyes says:

      [email protected] years ago (a lot of years though) i had a bad credit score and i mean bad
      Not due to me being foolish. But not realizing how the system works i thought my credit score would be 100%.
      Because i never borrowed any money, no credit cards
      I Always paid cash for everything, my credit score was zilch couldn’t fig it out
      i had 1000s under bed, went to every Building Soc in Blackburn and opened a account £1000 each (that paid off as well as they converted to Banks lol)
      Spoke to someone at NationWide he told me it was because i only used cash, he opened a card
      for me and told me if i don’t like them just pay off before end of month done that ever since Credit Srore 96% ever since (no idea why never 100%)
      Aston100 i know different now but get them to get a card and pay in and out regularly, but most importantly make sure balance is 0 day before payment is due
      A ex Building Soc is more likely to look favorably
      not sure regs allow me to recommend any to you but one above lol

    • Andrew says:

      Key thing is to avoid every lender that promises to “rebuild your credit history”.

      First step might be your own bank. If I was in your position I’d probably go for Barclaycard or a Halifax Card.

      Don’t forget, little things add to your credit history. Contract mobile phone is the most obvious one, but Talk Talk and Thames Water also figure on my credit report.

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