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The new HFP chat thread – Monday 3rd August

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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.

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Comments (184)

  • Paul says:

    Anyone else in galleries south this morning? I’m relaxing before flight to Corfu Domes Miramare. Got a bargain redemption at about 40 percent price of BA sale even with the resort credits etc if anyone fancies a chat about airmiles im the one wearing a bright pink t shirt!

  • Sunguy says:

    I know this is pretty much a “how long is a piece of string” question….BUT……

    Does anyone here have any ideas as to when the US will open back up to UK travelers and the FCO removing the US from the “all but essential travel” list……not bothered about the “no quarantine on return list”

    Long/Short – off to Hawaii on Halloween from Europe via Canada, *really* want to go, and yes, thats 3 months away, but…..just hoping that the US will start allowing UK folks in and that my travel insurance will be valid!

    • Colin says:

      As you said, nobody knows but I’d guess it’s unlikely before the election in November. Opening up the borders and having imported cases wouldn’t look good politically (it wouldn’t actually be that relevant given that it’s unlikely there’d be a stampede of people wanting to go there at the moment. Also given their shambolic Covid situation at the moment, imported cases would likely be low compared to local transmitted cases).

    • BJ says:

      January 21 before Trump is likely gone then whatever time it takes to clean up behind him so probably Easter at the earliest. (And there is no guarantee he will be gone).

      • Lady London says:

        How does January 21 work, @BJ? I thought out-voted occupiers of the White house had to move out right after the election?

        I was hoping the US might open mid-Nov / early December – but I know you are always right @BJ just not sure where January comes from?

        • BJ says:

          Presidential inauguration is mid to late January to allow for transition after the election. Will be interesting to see how Trump handles that transition and if he will even turn up for the inauguration should he lose. I’m hardly always right, just messed up on a 241 big time at the weekend despite knowing better.

        • ChrisC says:

          Terms off office in the US are set in the constitution. Presidential Inaugrations used to be in March because it took so long for letters to cabinet nonminees etc could be sent to them and for them to travel to Washington DC to be confirmed by the Senare.

          They are now on the 20th January.

          The new House and Senate take office on the 3rd January.

          The UK is rare (even in those countries with the ‘Westminster System’ like Canada and Australia) in having a sudden death immediate take over if the outcome of the election is clear and the existing PM has lost. In other countries there is a longer transition between adminstrations with the old PM and Cabinet acting on a care taker basis with limited powers to act.

          When it’s not clear (like Feb 1974 and 2010) the existing PM remains PM (even if they have lost their own seat) until it is clear who can gain a majority in Parliament and the existing PM can recommend their sucessor to the Queen.

          Even if Trump did lose on the 3rd November and resigned his Vice President (Mike Pence) would become the president until 20th January.

          There are some constitutional shenanigans that could take place but they are a bit off the wall and involve Pence taking over as President then nominating Biden to be his VP, congress confirming that appointment ultra quickly and then Pence would resign and Biden becomes president earlier.

          Pence could also just resign as well at the same time as Trump in which case Nancy Pelosi becomes president for a couple of months.

          • BJ says:

            It could be so much fun but if Trump loses and runs off in the huff then I expect Pence would just try to salvage some dignity and ensure an orderly transition. Seems reasonable to presume he will have one eye on a future bid for the precidency himself.

          • ChrisC says:

            Yes indeed he could be thinking of a run in 2024 so an orderly transition would help.

            Plus there is an Act of Congress that mandates an orderly transition and various things that should be done in advance. But the effectiveness of that also depends on Trump appointees complying with their responsibilities.

            Congress has already published the Plum Book (it’s on line) which lists all the he appointments a president can make from Cabinet members , ambassadors and all sorts of other roles and their current post holder and when their term or office expires.

      • Colin says:

        If it is Easter (or later) and there’s a widely available vaccine (no idea if this will happen) then I’d be surprised if they let people in without having certificate proving that they’ve been vaccinated.

    • Jessiefan says:

      Doesn’t seem to be any problem for professional golfers to fly over to play in events. Perhaps if you have your own jet it makes a difference? Or maybe they are essential workers.

      I think once the current outbreaks start to go down we’ll see visitors be allowed in from UK. Although with the Clown’s management of the pandemic here England will prob top the charts by then.

      • Colin says:

        As it stands, UK cases aren’t the problem it’s increasing American cases, hospitalisations and deaths over the the last month that’s the issue

      • BJ says:

        Most pro golfers who play the US Tour also live there I think.

    • Colin says:

      What happened with the person who went to Turkey for two weeks so they could (potentially) enter the US?

      • Lady London says:

        Well he wouldnt have had a valid ESTA any more as I gather all existing ones were automatically cancelled. So I am wondering what his visa situation was that would let him get on the plane in Turkey.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          They were only cancelled if you actually tried to board a plane

          It wasn’t citizens that were banned it was travelers that had been in certain countries in the past 14 days.

          • Lady London says:

            Really? does that mean i should head to Turkey too for two weeks then my existing ESTA would be valid? Would I additionally need to provide some special reason why I needed to visit right now, as well?

        • Colin says:

          From the Department of Homeland Security website.

          “ What if I am a British Citizen (GBR) and/or an Irish passport holder with a valid ESTA but I have not been present in a Schengen country within 14 days of my travel to the United States?

          Travelers are now subject to the March 14, 2020 Proclamation if they were physically present within the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during the 14-day period preceding their entry to the United States. This prohibition necessarily includes direct travel from, and transit through, the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland within the 14 day period. If you have not been in the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during the 14-day period preceding entry, and you are not departing from or transiting through the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe, or the Republic of Ireland during your travel to the United States, then you are not subject to the March 14, 2020 Proclamation. However, you may be subject to Proclamation 9993 applicable to the Schengen Area if you have been physically present in the Schengen Area within 14 days of travel to the United States.”

    • Anna says:

      Hawaii’s got its own separate travel restrictions, someone told me a few weeks ago they weren’t even letting other US nationals in, let alone foreign visitors!

      • Colin says:

        14 day quarantine for visitors from other states currently.

        Mandatory test from 1st September to avoid quarantine.

  • John says:

    Anyone know if amex £20 credit business bundle works if items cannot be delivered and need to be collected in store?
    Also does it have to be one item of £20 plus or can it be a number of items totalling £20 plus?

    • Rob says:

      Click & Collect is ok.

      Fine to bundle items as long as they are all in stock. If not I guess they may just charge for what they have so there is a risk.

  • Dave says:

    Anybody else finding extra avios being given to their BAPP. For example, I have ~1200 ‘avios to be transferred’ but when i look at my earned avios it only adds up to ~460. I’m sure mystery avios were added last month as well

  • luckyjim says:

    I just got an email informing me that Boon cards are being withdrawn. Account holders have until 3 October to spend any remaining balance.

    For those who don’t know, Boon is (was) a Fintech product similar to Revolut but with no physical card. It ran on the Wirecard platform. You have to give Curve some credit for avoiding a similar fate.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      I used Boon last year but they suddenly decided not to allow payments to other cards. Some of their bonus promos were pretty good I found.

      • The Urbanite says:

        Boon was a boon. Back when it was Apple Pay only I maxed out their generous free cash offers through arbing and topped it up with the IHG card.

        Then one day after 6 months dormancy my IHG card would no longer work to top it up. They sorted it, then blocked the account claiming I had made extraordinary business transactions (£50 spend at a convenience store!) and closed the account!

        Sad times.

  • Travel Strong says:

    Noticing many recent changes to Easyjet schedules.

    Examples: VIE-BRS “Start of Schedule” is nowl late October. AMS-BUD has “No flights between 31st Aug and 25th Oct”. and there’s a reduction of flights from BRS-AMS.

    I am affected by all of the above, and one of the cancelled flights is the 2nd flight on a booking where the 1st flight is *tomorrow*. I do not want to take the 1st flight for other reasons (family medical emergency)… If the 2nd flight is cancelled this surely opens it up for a refund… but they are not likely to tell me it is cancelled until after the 1st flight has been and gone!

    I’ve been on hold to Easyjet for 1hr so far… not inclined to wait on hold all day but will give it another hour.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      For anyone who hasn’t gone for the Tesco Pet Insurance offer, go for it!
      The previous promo they didn’t credit my wife’s account with the 3k points. Various calls to CS finally got esculated to complaints dept. Offered & accepted £50 compo, paid out approx £24 on Installments then [email protected]**k paid out £56 so cancelled policy.
      Then today the wife got an email from Clubcard that 3k clubcard points were auto converted to avios, we had forgotten about the missing 3k points which finally turned up!😃

    • Lady London says:

      Please let us know how it turns out!

      as of about a month ago, Easyjet is sending out cheery little emails saying ‘we want to fly as many people as we can for their holidays so we’ve had to move things around a bit’. Mysteriously this email wont mention your flight number.

      Er…. actually neither of your 2 flight numbers will appear on the email. Neither the flight number you booked, nor the different flight number departing many hours later they’ve moved you to involuntarily after they cancelled your flight. Easyjet is presenting this as a time change. Of up to 15 hours in my case.

      And they dont want to give the right to identify and request a reroute on a later date that works for you when you have one, which they were offering before.
      Because they’ve already moved you involuntarily to another flight 15 hours later, and that flight you dont want has not been cancelled, so they have no way to mark this on your booking as a cancellation. So if you dont fly on the flight you dont want you will be marked as a no show and lose your right to a reroute (refund not wanted and voucher is restrictive also not wanted).

      You will be all right if you have a later date you already know you can travel on or if you like, or let them force you into, a refund as that limits their costs and liablity. If not then this new move by Easyjet, cancelling flights but trying to deny this, and departing from their ok policy to date on cancellations and threatening to make people a no-show if they dont know before the date if their cancelled flight when else they could travel, is a very disappointing move by Easyjet.

      • Travel Strong says:

        I had one of those emails a few weeks ago @Lady London … but nothing has actually changed in any booking! (and of course the email gave no indication as to which was affected out of my 6 booking refs / 12 flight legs).

        I gave up waiting on hold today and emailed customer support asking for 1 travel voucher and 2 refunds… I do not know if they will ever get back to me – but my request is now in writing and later on I can take that to credit card company / insurance, if I need to.

    • BJ says:

      I wish Hilton would get their act together, I’ve never been more frustrated with both their cash and points rates than I am at the moment. Would like to get stuff locked in for next spring and summer but there is something really odd going on with the rates, or nothing going on would probably be more apt.

      • Anna says:

        Hilton have been a bit rubbish but I’ve got a night at the Majestic in Harrogate later this month for 28k points which seems reasonable, especially as I am awash with HH points. Also good value in the MAN Hilton for anyone who needs an airport hotel , usually 30k points for a family room which can be £130 or so at peak times.

        • BJ says:

          Looking for London in Spring and Japan in summer. Would like to give DT KGX Angel a try but some of the nights I want are stubbornly stuck on 60k and I know they should get lower. Hilton Tokyo stubbornly stuck on 70k but I know it should get down to 54-57k at times.

          • Don says:

            The issue is simple. Points are pegged to the BAR which is 25% more. Dream Away is fully flex and 25% cheaper and yet has more benefits such as no early departure fee, early and late checkout.

            Properties have horrendous occupancy and could do with a bit of a boost of even the £30 they get back from Hilton. Corporate are too tight and enjoying the spread on selling points and now little they need to pay for redemptions.

        • Craig says:

          Spent two nights at the Majestic this weekend just gone. Not luxurious but spacious and perfectly adequate. Very convent for the town centre. Hot breakfast brought to your table is one of the few benefits of COVID-19. Hotel totally full both nights which was good to see in these staycation times but did mean no upgrades on offer.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Fair review. It’s just OK, not amazing but is well situated and pleasant if you set expectations correctly and catch a bargain. Just remember it’s a Doubletree, not a luxury brand and you’ll know what to expect.

    • ChrisC says:

      Even without those offers it’s always worth checking your existing stays to see if the rates have dropped.

      I checked the other day and a stay at the De Witt in AMS at the end of August and it had dropped from 30k to 25k points so that got cancelled and rebooked. 5k points is 5k points!

      The cash rates for that stay are also significantly lower. I askled Emyr about a rate a month or so ago and he quoted me €209 a night for the BFR and it’s now €149

      Did the same with some refundable cash bookings for planned trips to Manchester later this year as well and saved myself geting on for £100 as rates had dropped (and not just because of the VAT cut)

    • meta says:

      Bear in mind these are all non-refundable. I wouldn’t book them.

      • meta says:

        That’s a reply to Clive

      • Anna says:

        It says on the link they are non-refundable, however all the hotels I’ve looked at recently state that payment up front is required BUT the stay can be cancelled up to a few days before the stay. It’s worth checking, anyway.

        • meta says:

          This is a new offer of 2 for 1 nights, must be booked by 24 Aug for travel up to end of April 21. This is absolutely non-refundable rate. It says so on the confirmation page.

          I looked at Intercontinental Porto. I am currently saving 45 euros with Ambassador weekend night rate which is refundable. But if I factor in points I would get the limited offer is better. I am just not prepared yet to book anything non-refundable.

          But there are some great rates in general out there!

    • Harry T says:

      I can’t see any decent rates where I’m looking at – just slight reductions from the flexible rates.

    • Aston100 says:

      Thank you. I’ve changed my booking from a holiday inn to a Hotel Indigo for a pound less.
      Never stayed in one of those before. Presumably a higher tier than the Holiday Inn.

  • JA says:

    Re Hilton

    Silly question. Is there anywhere on my Hilton account to tell me when my status ends?. On my IHG account it says my status expires 31/12/2021. Can’t find anywhere on my Hilton account. Am I missing somewhere?.

    • Clive says:

      Not sure if this will help:

      The membership period is when your elite status is active. For Hilton, that begins as soon as you meet the qualification threshold and continues 15 months beyond the end of that calendar year. For example, if you earn Gold status in June of 2016, it will last for the rest of 2016, all of 2017 and through March 31, 2018 (assuming you don’t re-qualify).

      • Ja says:

        That makes a bit of sense. I did a diamond status match in January 2019. I had a feeling that the lady said until March 20 but I’ve deleted all the emails and wasn’t positive about remembering the date. Hilton extended a year so I take it, it will be March 2021. Thanks Clive