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The new HFP chat thread – Monday 10th 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/2020/08/10/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-monday-10th-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 (187)

  • Waribai says:

    So….for our flight to Italy next weekend on BA, the flight status says now….

    “ Route change
    We’re very sorry, the route of this flight has changed.
    If you’re travelling on this flight and need further information, please speak to a British Airways representative at the airport.“

    The destination though remains the same and when I click for more flight details, it says

    “Re-routed False”

    Any idea what’s going on?

    • Paul says:

      I suspect BA IT is at play!
      If you can still make a booking to you destination on the same day/time then nothing to worry about.
      If travelling on Sunday morning before 10am
      Then the bigger issue will be the vast queues, the lack of staff and being penned cheek by jowl with thousands of others in the same position. Make sure you have your own sanitiser, a good mask and comfy shoed

      • Waribai says:

        Thanks. Yes, I had checked and bookings were still open. Yes, I was aware of the check in queues. My bigger concern is the U.K. Borderforce queue on the way back but we are avoiding the weekend on the return. So, fingers crossed!

      • Lottie says:

        +1 we decided to stay at Heathrow Friday night at the last minute as the hotels are still relatively cheap, so we checked our bags in the night before. Cost us £7 to park in the short stay but 100% worth it as the queues on Saturday morning were horrendous . Even for us to check in on Friday when the airport was almost empty took half an hour due to lack of BA staff.

        • meta says:

          Moving through Heathrow in general is absolutely horrendous. No attempt at social distancing, nobody cares about it either. Use walkways if you need to move between T5a-c rather than the trains. Together with filthy seats on BA planes (surprise, surprise!) this is where I felt most unsafe on my recent trip.

          • Lady London says:

            And the UK is wondering why there’s an uptick in Covid infections….!! Same scary experience out and about in NW and W London a couple of weeks ago.

            I reckon governments have eased restrictions in peak summer period knowing full well infections will increase just hoping by not too much. The reason being almost inevitable Covid will surge again starting end Sept-early Nov, through at least Feb (as @Novice thought). But if they had kept people locked up through the summer peak and lockdown continued through winter they would have civil disorder, riots on their hands etc.

            There has already been rioting in some places jn Europe this month over people refusing to accept social distancing and masks.

          • Stanley says:

            I think any uptick in infections is entirely due to the larger proportionately increase in testing…… Bear in mind there are 57 people on ventilators in the whole of England due to Covid. More relevant and re-assuring data surely……

          • Rob says:

            You’re just being illogical.

            20 people in 100,000 are infected. Most of those know it and aren’t going anywhere. The chance of anyone travelling through Heathrow on the day you fly being infected in low. The chance of that person being on your flight is exceptionally low. The chance of you catching it from that person is so low it virtually doesn’t exist.

            If you’re under 50 and in good health, the chance being killed by it (in the infinitessimally small chance that you caught it in the first place) is also as close to nil as statistically matters.

            I’d be more concerned about your taxi driver crashing on the drive to the airport.

          • Charlieface says:

            @Stanley is right. Given huge amounts of testing of non-infected people, a rate of 1% false negatives is going to skew things massively. This is why mass testing isn’t a panacea. Had you tested 100,000 people a year ago, before Covid was out, you would have got 1000 positives

          • Stanley says:

            45 American children under 15 have died of/with Covid. Last year (a mild flu year), 477 Under 18s died of flu…… I’m assuming similar relative numbers in the UK.

          • meta says:

            @Rob I agree chances are small, but it does not mean that you shouldn’t protect yourself by social distancing and following rules i.e. wear mask where you have to, washing hands, etc. You can also be in seemingly perfect health, but have an underlying health condition which you don’t know about.

            You should have seen terminal trains at Heathrow. It was like morning rush hour on the tube pre-covid. People were trying to squeeze in even though it was obvious there was no space. And it wasn’t just one train!

          • Lady London says:

            I’m more concerned about transmission to
            vulnerable others including extended families by people who run round thinking “I’m all right, so precautions aren’t needed by me”.

            Having said that he the country has to try to get back to normal for all who are not vulnerable, to stem the economic damage. It’s tough on those who must shield and better support for them would be fair. As would others who dont feel themselves in danger, would be fair to follow the fairly minimal level of social distancing requested.

            I think masks are cr*p too but I still wear them strictly as requested.

          • Brian says:

            “ Having said that he the country has to try to get back to normal”

            It might need to, but realistically it’s not happening any time soon

          • Stanley says:

            If you are vulnerable and/or irrationally scared, dont go out to the supermarket or restaurant or pub.

          • Brian says:

            “ If you are vulnerable and/or irrationally scared, dont go out to the supermarket or restaurant or pub.”

            It’s not even about being scared or vulnerable. I can have a bbq with some friends for half the cost, it’s a lot more enjoyable than a pub/restaurant and I can get twice as drunk. Why would I go to a pub or restaurant? A lot of people over the last couple of months (who are adaptable and look for solutions rather than drone on about problems) have discovered this. The weather has generally been great over the last couple of months too.

            I won’t be going back to a pub or restaurant until the weather turns (September is usually a good month as far as the weather is concerned, so October at the earliest).

            I can also do click and collect at Tesco and it takes 3/4 minutes rather than much longer inside. Why would I go back to my previous shopping habits?

          • Brian says:

            Also, many employers are allowing office staff to continue working from home for the next few months and many employees are loving it. They’re not going to go back to normal. Why would they? Hundreds of pounds a month on a long commute? Less sleep? More stress? Sub standard/overpriced sandwiches?

          • Rhys says:

            It’s all well and good if you have a spare bedroom or corner that you can turn into a home office, but lots of people in London don’t. I for one can’t wait to go back to our office!

          • Stanley says:

            Oh I agree Brian. We’ve had fabulous home BBQs with friends and lashings of rose. (Ordering the meat from my favourite London steak restaurants own website). But we still enjoy a visit to a restaurant to enjoy someones else’s cooking (and tidying up) skills, and the general buzz of a good restaurant. My point is, if you are going to moan about people not distancing, or not wearing masks, just dont go out….. some people seem to go out just to tut and roll their eyes.

          • Stanley says:

            And i think many of these people enjoying WFH are going to get a huge wake up call when their employers decide they dont need to pay eg an accountant a London 6 figure wage to work from Pinner. If you cant justify needing to be in the office, i dont see why your job cant be done from a low wage country somewhere else in the world….

          • Brian says:

            That depends on how skilled your job is. Good luck trying to find “cheap labour” for certain professions.

            “ It’s all well and good if you have a spare bedroom or corner that you can turn into a home office, but lots of people in London don’t. I for one can’t wait to go back to our office!”

            I agree with this though. Everyone is different and some people enjoy being in an office rather than working from home.

          • Brian says:

            If it was possible to outsource everything it would have already been done. Companies aren’t stupid

          • David says:

            Stanley and Brian: masters of the universe 🙄

  • Barry says:

    Hi will the BA payment system allow you to pay for the taxes and fees for a booking using the Amex 2-4-1 voucher using a debit card , or does it have to be an Amex card , I know they stipulate using a Amex card however can you use another credit or debit card , will the booking progress to be confirmed / made

    • mr_jetlag says:

      Has to be an Amex, but any Amex (including someone else’s) will do.

      • Lady London says:

        anyone know if a US Amex will work?

        • memesweeper says:

          I’ve never tried, but the fact that BA’s IT does not distinguish between UK issued BAEC Amex and other UK Amex makes me think the check is no more than the CC number starts with a ‘3’. If you check on the public BIN lists for Amex cards the country listed can be wrong – two our of four of mine are listed as Australian. Charge -v- credit is wrong sometimes too. BA clearly don’t get a good data ‘feed’ of BAEC cards from Amex (or haven’t implemented it) so I’d be very surprised if a US card were rejected.

          • Rob says:

            Online, any Amex will work. ba.com just greys out Visa and MC options.

            On the phone, in theory they could check but if you tell them its a BA Amex I am prety sure it will just process anyway.

          • Lady London says:

            Tx to both.

    • Spursdebs says:

      Has to be an amex card

  • TheThunderer says:

    We are supposed to be flying to Joburg on a redemption the first week of September. Is there any chance this doesn’t get cancelled? Thanks

    • Brian says:

      No (I’m referring to the trip rather than the flight. The flight could still go ahead even if South Africa won’t let you in).

    • Harry T says:

      There’s always a chance it won’t be cancelled, unfortunately. It is worth waiting until the last minute to see if BA cancel.

  • Anna says:

    I need 2 rooms for a pre-flight stay at LHR next summer – apart from the Sofitel, which can be very expensive, which is the most convenient hotel for T5? We’ll check our luggage in at MAN the night before but still don’t want too much schlepping around!

    • Andrew says:

      The Thistle?

      Hop on the Pods and you’re at the hotel in a few minutes. There is a £6 fee each way, Rob did a review a few years back:-

      https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/03/10/thistle-heathrow-hotel-review/

      • Anna says:

        Thanks, yes, though it would add £48 to the stay so I’d need to factor that in.

        • Anna says:

          Also – Which website is it where you can book the Sofitel even though you officially don’t know that’s where you’re booking?!

          • Grant says:

            lastminute (dot) com. It sometimes shows as a secret hotel. The description includes some reference about it being connected to the airport or similar. If you search sofitel and the website name, I think Rob covered it in an article a while back.

          • Lady London says:

            secretescapes

          • Rob says:

            No. lastminute.com Secret Hotels. Search for our article and it tells you the wording to look for.

          • Lady London says:

            Hix T4 on IHG points then free bus (not the Hoppa). or if you want to splash out &.5k more points the adjoining CP.

            You might find IHG Staybridge Suites on the Bath Rd could save you a room. Rates cash and points currently ok. They are suites although tend to be on the smaller side at Staybridge they are proper very comfortable suites nicely appointed incl mini kitchen, also a simple free breakfast. Your Amb /Plat might just edge you a bigger one and for three of you in one suite saving a room.

            This is far above your Candlewood or Townhouse in quality. 423 bus (not sure which terminal it hits but train always available to T5 easily from T[1]/2/3 stop.

            Have you checked public service rate for new HGI right at T2? IMV regular rates there are 30% overpriced. But the PRN rate might change this. At their rack rates you might as well stay at the Sofitel.

            Think I’d do a points booking right now if I could, to keep flexibility

          • Jill (Kinkell) says:

            Sofitel is really convenient, but it is pricey. We booked for a one night stay for end of Oct. through last minute.com and it was £102 when their normal rate was about £150. Snag is it’s non-refundable and paid upfront. We aren’t now going on our S.America , so we’ll lose it unless I can factor in a trip to see family.

        • Roberto says:

          Pods currently closed..

          Look at the Hilton Garden Inn at Hatton Cross , prices are good and its just a stop away on the tube. Might sound like a faff but its very quick and simple to get to. Other than that the Premier Inn at T4 is always cheap as chips , although T4 is closed and you have to get a (free) bus from T5 to get to it. Used it often.

          • Roberto says:

            And @aAnna , youre thinking of Last Minute dot com.

            A word of warning about the Sofitel, the food and beverage costs are eye watering. If youre travelling with kids and intending on feeding them the costs add up.. The premier inn would save you a fortune if youre having just breakfast !

          • Lady London says:

            LastMinute has been much reported here for not refunding people and not communicating with them during Covid. In the past they already went bust once.

          • BP says:

            You can always walk to the terminal for food. We got a takeaway from Carluccios to eat in our room as at the time our 7 month old was sleeping.

          • Lady London says:

            carluccio’s chain has gone bust btw

    • Anna says:

      Thanks all. I’ve also had a play on BA holidays and you can get the Sofitel on a hotel/car hire package. Still not cheap but at least you have the benefit of paying later and the protection of a package.

    • memesweeper says:

      The premier inn at T4 is a very easy but somewhat slow bus ride to T5. No tube to T4 at the moment, but if you’re dropping your bags at T5 first you’ll want to take the bus instead anyway.

      The premier inn T5 and Sheraton are a quicker ride (but slightly more walking involved with the Sheraton across the A4, no biggie if you have no luggage).

      If there was nothing in it on price I’d take the Sheraton which is at bargain basement prices at the moment. PI T4 is nice and new, fine for a one-night stop.

      No pods unfortunately. Hilton T4 closed.

    • Michael C says:

      I often use “Premier Inn Terminal 5” (among the slew of similarly-named PIs!), admittedly due to the extra bed/space for our son. Free local bus 423 goes straight to the door, and there are two (423 and…7?) back to T5, also directly opposite. Never waited more than 5 mins. Nice enough pub within walking distance, and PI good cancellable rates at the mo’.

  • meta says:

    Mini report on Pulitzer&Amsterdam. The rooms are nicely appointed and very spacious. Stayed in Classic King. The room overlooked the courtyard. The hotel has a substantial number of artworks in the public areas and concierge even runs a half an hour tour around the hotel. The breakfast was à la carte as expected in these times. Portions are small. We were the only guests at breakfast at 8am. But two more groups (one family and one couple) arrived when we were leaving at 8:45 the first day. There was a bit more people during the weekend, but maybe 5 tables overall in a space that would hold 30ish tables in normal times. All staff wore masks, even in the restaurants. We mostly felt safe in the hotel apart from a few issues with housekeeping. I am actually glad that we didn’t stay at the Kimpton as it is very far from major sights and not anywhere near the canals.

    Amsterdam is practically devoid of tourists. You can feel it most in the mornings till 11am and evenings after 5pm. It’s really quiet and you can find a table in restaurants by the canal easily and elsewhere too. No need for reservations either unless the restaurant is very popular. Wearing mask outside obligatory in the main shopping areas (as of Thursday last week). Lots of people wear them in shops and museums. It was great to be travelling again and really enjoyed the fact that there are no crowds.

    • Harry T says:

      Glad your stay was pleasant in the end. I spent two weekends in Amsterdam in July and both hotels were very empty. Amsterdam itself is lovely, as you say, due to the absence of the usual swarms of tourists. It was a joy to be able to experience socially distanced bars and restaurants too.

      • Harry T says:

        The new policy on masks must have changed the “ambience” a little since we visited. It was strangely pre-covid when we visited!

        • meta says:

          Yes, we just arrived the day an outbreak started. It was really good to see public announcements through loud speakers in main areas (in Dutch, English and German) urging people to social distance plus if you find yourself in that area and don’t have a mask, you’re approached by some officials and given a mask for free! Some people/shops/restaurants follow rules, some don’t. But I guess it’s also down to you how you want to protect yourself. One or two times we cleaned the table ourselves in the restaurant as we felt it wasn’t properly cleaned.

          • Lady London says:

            I always politely ask if I can borrow a cloth for cleaning as I can see they’re busy, which usually results in a quick smiling clean.

          • Brian says:

            I just get up and leave if I’ve gone into a restaurant where the table hasn’t been cleaned (nothing to do with Covid, just hygiene. If they can’t be bothered to clean the table then they’re not getting my money).

  • Keely says:

    Morning , just looking for clarity re Curve please. Am I right in thinking that that the only benefit points wise for the free card is for cash withdrawals? (Other than only using one card of course but Apple Pay negates the need for carrying cards anyway). To be clear, I couldn’t pay off cc cards and recharge to another card without incurring fees? Or am I missing a completely obvious trick…? Thanks

    • Lady London says:

      Hi Keely, you are in the right track. I suggest you access the Category search on HfP (right hand side lower half of screen desktop version), select Genersl category and you will find each day’s general thread like this, neatly filed.

      With even minimal effort, as it happens even just the past 2-4 days, there is more than enough to get you started just lying in the sand.

      • Lady London says:

        for extra ideas take a look at the nutmeg thread also past few days. the key principle is that Curv is a debit card so is accepted some places a credit card is not… so some accept a cr card behind Curv. A few combinations of card-Curv-payee still dont result in you getting charges for this. Others work but you either get dinged 1.5% by Curv if you didnt sign up to Curv metal higher fee pm. Many dont work at all.

        There is plenty in the comments I pointed to above to get you a starter set of which combos you can look at.

        • Keely says:

          Thanks LL. I’ll take a look when I log onto the laptop later as looking on my mobile now.

          (Btw thanks for your tip re the insurance a few days ago. My cheapest quote is currently an eye watering £450 for an annual worldwide policy , I’m trying to work out a way to make it cheaper….!) .

          • Lady London says:

            aaaargh @Keely what a horrible price. Would it not almost be better to take out Amex Platinum card for the insurance included? There are links to apply in several of Rob’s articles on here.

            otherwise insurance is a big favourite of [email protected]@ck sites with decent discount but if your credit record can stand it Amex Plat could be better value overall.

            If you need to declare medical conditions though, then no more than 3 days ago @Sukes gave the best set of tips I’ve ever seen on how to find an insurer for that. It was on the daily chat thread IIRC and it named names.

  • Ian M says:

    TAP Portugal status match…

    Has anyone received their status match from this? I signed up the day the article was published here but still haven’t heard anything back. I thought we were meant to buy some points or something.

    • Sina says:

      Got the status after a week, you should contact TAP I think?! I had to buy points or join a points club.

    • Mr. AC says:

      Crickets for me as well. Sent them an e-mail last night, no response so far.

  • DJ says:

    Hi all,

    Does anyone know if the HSBC Premier reward points expire after certain period? I could not find any reference on their website.

    Thanks

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