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The new HFP chat thread – Thursday 6th 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.

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/2020/08/06/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-thursday-6th-august/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 (269)

  • Marc Werter says:

    Hi

    Looking for advice please. I had booked via mile and a companion voucher 2 x return flights to Barbados per March 20. The outbound has been cancelled but the inbound is still running. I am being offered a voucher. Q- Do i get my miles and companion voucher back if i accept the voucher

  • tical says:

    any rumours regarding a possible bonus on transferring points out of HSBC? thanks

  • Dominic says:

    Had an interesting offer of 250 reward points for £5 spend on Deliveroo or Morrisons or Pret on my Amex Gold.

    Seems like a very random but welcome offering!

  • Darren says:

    Pension advice,

    I’m looking at a Vanguard SIPP for my other half, to make monthly payments and lump sums but they are not working at present. They have a DC pension also, will this affect things?

    I’m up to my annual allowance in a DB scheme and would like to add to our pots and thought SIPP would be a good move.

    Thanks

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Yes a simple low-cost SIPP and some very low-cost tracker ETFs will outperform 98%+ of high-fee “fancy stuff” over the long time frames involved in pension investing.

    • Lady London says:

      Up to 40K contribution per annum possible across all a person;s pensions – unless they’ve breached this MPAA; amount by having drawn down more than the taxfree 25% from any pot over 10k (which would mean they’re likely to be over 55 -and I don’t think that’s you Darren 🙂 ) in which case the annual contribution allowance reduces to a truly horrible and mean £4k which the Chancelor refuses to budge on.

      Assuming you’ve got the time for it to grow before needing it I am sure @Genghis would save pretty much the same as @Savage Squirrel – leave it for the time, don’t pay active management unless there’s a reason, and take the lowest cost trustworthy platform as fees have a high impact on funds right now due low market growth and low inflation.

      Or… have I missed the point of your question.

      • Lady London says:

        PS pretty sure your partner can still go back and use previous years’ MPAA allowance to invest in DC pension(s) (40k pre-tax from income for that previous tax year) for each year, if the full 40k was not put into pension(s) in those previous years. I’m hazy how many years they can go back bringing contributions up to 40K for but think it’s 2 full tax years – hopefully someone here actually knows this stuff and can advise! .So, if they did not contribute full 40K total across DC pensions plans (assuming they have no DB) in previous year(s) obviously you’d use the MPAA up for previous years before this one.

        • Lady London says:

          And if you’re lucky enough to have used up all your available years’ full 40K MPAA for DC contributions, there’s always a further £20K or from an ISA each tax year each that can shelter gains. The Chancellor may get a bit mean about the current reasonably generous capital gains tax allowances soon… so any shelter is a good one 🙂

        • Lady London says:

          PS for others, if you do breach the MPAA thus pushing your maximum taxfree investment each year across DC pension(s) down from £40K to £4k, the £4k p.a. limit is then *permanent* i.e. that then becomes your maximum contribution each year *for life*.

          So anyone that might have had to draw form a pot over £10k for temporary needs in this Covid mess, if you had taken a cumulative total of more than 25% (the taxfree amount) from any pot, at that point your MPAA for future contributions to any DC’s annually goes down to max £4K contribuable taxfree each year and you are stuck with that for life (never returns to the 40k). Jus’ sayin’

          Sorry for the OT

          • Genghis says:

            Note that the MPAA (£4k contributions pa). has nothing to do with taking more than the 25% lump sum. It also makes sense so as individuals cannot recycle the cash back through the pension scheme.

            The AA is £40k. And you can use up in the current year the AA not used up in the previous 3 tax years.

          • Lady London says:

            Sorry @Genghis if you do take more than a total of the allowable 25% that is currently taxfree from any DC pot, if that DC pot value (pre the taxfree withdrawal) is over 10k then the moment you take the first penny that takes the total withdrawal from that pot above the 25% that can be taken from it taxfree, the amount over the 25% is a taxable withdrawal from a pension pot so your MPAA is reduced to £4k total into any pots p.a.forever for you.

            The exception on your MPAA being reduced from 40k to 4k is if the pot being withdrawn from is less than 10k. But if course if you exceed the cumulative 25% from any pot the amount over the 25% is always taxable.

            Just trying to warn people a taxable DC withdrawal which some people might contemplate in these times of Covid has that impact of decimating how much they will be able to put into DC pots each year, forever.

          • Genghis says:

            You’re right. I was confused by your use of MPAA to refer to MPAA and AA. Your AA only becomes an MPAA once triggered.

      • Darren says:

        Thanks for the detailed reply LL, not over 55 but not that far off! My plans have been ok but the OH needs a boost and we can use up the previous years shortfall.

        That’s a useful warning re MPAA, I’m using up shortfalls myself.

        • Lady London says:

          PS No one will probably see this as it”s a day later, but if you do get busted down to only bei g sllowed £4k DC contributions p.a., your employer’s contributions count towards using up your £4k allowance p.a. This is realky nasty as your employer’s contributions would normally be 3% of your salary and yours would be at least 5% perhaps a lot more. So if you were earning £50k upwards you would have to walk away from your and your employer’s contributions ifbthe two together would total more than £4k for the tax year.

          So you can take the taxfree 25% of any DC pot without incurring this very nasty risk. But 1 taxable penny taken from any DC pot over £10k and you are st*ffed for life.

          I used to work with people who were paying their entire earnings into a pension and withdrawing taxfree because they were just over 55. The closing of that pension recycling loophole has unfortunately brought this danger.

          Darren is also right fo keep an eye on the lifetime allowance which has some traps if you have a DB as well. IMV even the initial size of the lifetime allowance, IIRC was £1.8m, was always totally inadequate if we could get the historical lwvels of inflation in the UK economy kicking off again and that was obvious righf from the time it came in.

    • Genghis says:

      So as long as you remain with the annual allowance and the lifetime allowance, the DC pension has no further impact on a SIPP. The Vanguard SIPP is good. V simple and whilst it’s not the cheapest on larger pots, I like the transparency and the customer service (by message only) is excellent. My wife has one.

      So if your wife doesn’t have an income currently, she’ll be able to pay in £2,880 into the SIPP, which HMRC will add another £720 in 6-8 weeks. Given you’ll be able to access it soon, it’s a reasonable approach. Just choose your funds wisely depending on when you actually plan to withdraw. Ie a globally diversified equities pot watered down with a global bond fund, but how strong / weak the blend all depends on that time horizon.

      • Darren says:

        Thanks, the people on MSE pension forum appear to be using HL and effectively recycling the cash after a year to avoid fees. That’s not my aiim but I can see the attraction.

  • xcalx says:

    Monese refund

    I am afraid I skipped over some recent comments regarding refunds to a Monese card as I thought it didn’t apply to me.
    Fast forward to today and I checked the payment card used to pay for a cruise which was cancelled yesterday and it’s my Monese card. Am I right in thinking I can transfer the refund to my UK bank or did I read that the money is locked in Monese money card. I do still have the Virgin card that was used as the underlying card.

    Thanks.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Or you could deposit it all with ERNIE or a top up a HL account etc?

  • VJ says:

    With lots of gift card discussed today

    I got about £200 Tesco CC vouchers, looking to achieve £450 for them i.e. 25% off on Hotels/Uber.

    Any taker.

    • Andrew says:

      Uber exited Clubcard as a partner a while back.

    • BJ says:

      Oh, if we’re playing Swap Shop (anybody remember that except Noel himself?) today then I have LNER vouchers and I would like Hilton Honors points 🙂

      • The Original Nick says:

        I remember Swap Shop clearly but that’s showing my age at 44

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        I’ve got a lot of plums threatening to go rotten on the tree and I’d like an italian supercar

  • AJA says:

    According to a report in the Guardian LGH Hotels plans to cut hundreds of jobs due to coronavirus pandemic

    Hundreds of jobs are at risk at hotels managed by LGH Hotels in England and Scotland as the company looks to cut costs in response to the coronavirus crisis. LGH Hotels Management runs 47 hotels under brands including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Hallmark from Aberdeen to Guildford and is understood to employ 2,500 staff. LGH described the impact of Covid-19 on the business as “dramatic” and said it did not expect hotel occupancy to rise above 20% of capacity for the remainder of 2020.

    Staff at the Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport, which has been shut since March, were informed in a presentation by the hotel’s general manager Denis McCann in late July that 88 out of 92 workers were at risk of redundancy.

    The hotel is due to reopen in September with a skeleton staff, with only four senior managers to be retained. The remaining 88 workers have been told they can apply for seven to 10 new “hospitality service expert” roles, which will require employees to work flexibly in all areas of the hotel.

  • AJA says:

    Oh yippee. Following up on other comments earlier in the week about ERNIE premium bonds wins I just received an email saying I won in the August draw. Turns out it is £25, better than nothing and follows on from the £50 I won in June. I wonder what email you receive if you win one of the £1million prizes?

    • BJ says:

      Enjoy your winnings…tempting me to have a go 🙂

    • Connor says:

      If you win a million, someone comes and pays you a visit, although in the current situation it’s a phone call.

    • dezbez says:

      +1. You get an email from NSI on the 4th or 5th and you think is this the big one and of course it’s just £25…!
      That’s twice in three months though, which is marginally ahead of the advertised return. (And not forgetting the main motive is for the points so any winnings are a bonus.)