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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 23rd August

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We have decided to run this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the de facto repository for random comments and questions.  With the news flow being lighter, we are running fewer ‘Bits’ articles.

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 at home, we want the HfP community to have a place to chat.


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Comments (97)

  • Tanya Wade says:

    I am booked to fly to Verona on 29th August for 1 week. Getting anxious that Italy could be next on quarantine list. What are others thoughts? I can’t work from home as am a doctor. Should I have a back up Portugal trip in case this Thursday brings the dreaded news? I know no one can tell but would be interested in your thoughts!

    • meta says:

      No one knows. You didn’t mention for how long you’re away. If it’s a few days/ weekend I wouldn’t worry much as at the moment Italy is safer bet than Greece for example.

      • meta says:

        Oh sorry I see now that you did mention how long. I’d think that would be ok still.

        • Tanya says:

          Yeah just a week. Even if quarantine rules changed when I’m there I would be ok as work would let me do admin from home, but if it changed before I went they would expect me to cancel. Fingers crossed

          • First Class Fiona says:

            @Tanya, your best back-up plan could be a staycation? Foreign travel is riddled with stress and unknowns at the moment – not the best way to spend your well earned downtime. We have abandoned two holidays for later this year, that we had booked in January, one to USA and one to Malaysia. The Lake District now calls, Spa Lodge 75 at the Gilpin with lots of bubbles!

          • Stoneman says:

            Has work given you explicit instructions to this effect?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Keep an eye on

      At 12 per 100k I’d say no danger but if it’s 25-30 before you leave then may have to worry.

    • Gavin says:

      Keep checking the 14-day case number here:

      Italy is increasing slowly, and is one of the lowest in Europe. There are many countries that should be added before Italy unless things change dramatically for the worse there during the next week.

    • JC says:

      My thoughts are that Greece is NOT very likely to be added to the UK Government’s quarantine list on Thursday given that the 7 day rolling average of reported cases per 100,000 of the population is “only” about 14 currently. Looking at the other countries that have been added recently, that number seems to need to reach 20 cases to be added to the UK Government’s quarantine list.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Thursday bringing the dreaded news is not too much of a problem. The Thursday after (while you’re there) is the big problem – and a week is a long time in a disease capable of exponential growth (as you will know as well as anyone).

      I work in healthcare too. Only you will know what’s right for you and also what policies your employer (LAT/trust/hospital?) has in place – if your employer is generous or you are likely to get lost in the system then two weeks paid to surf the internet at home may not be so bad. If you have a high level of responsibility for patients that need your specific skills, or your employer is doing what, frankly, they should (zero pay if you choose to risk travel fully knowing that work-from-home is not an option and the risk of suffering imposed quarantine regs as a result) then this may change your decision.

      • Jonathan says:

        We’ve been told in no uncertain terms by our trust that it’s unpaid leave if you go abroad now & have to quarantine which I think is fair enough given the impact on patients if you are lost for 2 weeks.

        Book yourself a one way Avios ticket home on the Friday from Milan (plenty of availability currently) & you’ve got a flexible bail out plan in the bag.

        • Tanya says:

          I’ve had colleagues who went to away and had to quarantine and worked from home. I would not mind if I had to take unpaid leave as it would help with my AA allowance but I doubt this will be an option.

  • Donna says:

    Can you pay the HMRC taxes with a revolut card?

    • Peter K says:

      Not sure with the Visa card, but you can do a bank transfer from Revolut to HMRC. Don’t forget to put your reference in though!

  • Anna says:

    A bit obscure but someone might know –
    I’m due to book the return legs of 2 x 2 4 1 bookings for next summer, on separate PNR numbers as one voucher is mine and one is my OH’s. Do I need to book the return legs on the 2 separate accounts to get the avios refunded by BA, or could all 4 seats be on one booking? I can see BA saying that to refund the avios the bookings need to be on the different accounts of the voucher holders (even though we have a HHA of course) but I’m slightly anxious that someone might snap up the remaining 2 seats while I’m booking the first 2!

    • meta says:

      Yes, I would think so as you’re booking from two separate accounts initially. I don’t rather call BA at midnight for return legs, clear security for both accounts before and let the agent grab the seats for you.

      Have you monitored the route for a week at least? Lots of routes have more than 2 seats released at the moment.

      • meta says:

        * I’d rather.

      • Anna says:

        Yes that’s my thought as well. We’re coming back in Y as it’s still a big saving on cash prices and 4 seats are the most being released at the moment (yes I track it daily!). As there’s very little cash difference on the “taxes” I’ll probably just book it online as that will be quicker than trying to get through to BA then doing all the security clearance.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Anna when i book for 3 of us, using a 241 plus Avios for partners brother, going and later for return the agent makes a “note” on booking
      some times we are all three on same tab (sometimes only 241 on one tab and a separate tab for other) depending on BA Agent.
      But a note added that all three are together (so free seat selection for all of us)
      I should add i ring at 6.29 am to get through 6.30
      never used a voucher though,

      • Anna says:

        Chris, I’m not using a FTV voucher, it’s purely the return legs of 2 bookings using companion vouchers. I’m booking online so it doesn’t matter about being able to get through to BA as I can call at leaisure to get the avios refunded. The only dilemma was whether I should make 2 separate bookings for the return legs, as the companion vouchers are on 2 different accounts. Having reflected, as meta says, it should probably be 2 bookings. I’m 90% certain nobody else will grab the seats and also have a couple of days leeway either side to play with if I can’t get 4 Y seats on a specific date.

    • Colin JE says:

      Hi Anna, Are you trying to get them on one booking ref because only one of you has status so you get free seating?
      Not had the pleasure of this problem but couldn’t you book over the phone to a BA call centre in far east?
      Are you the Head of the HHA? If not you might need your OH to okay it on phone.

      • Anna says:

        I’m the head of the HHA (I think, though I have a password for OH’s account in any case). No – it’s just slightly easier to make one booking for 4 than 2 bookings for 2. Not bothered about free seating as I’m going to pay for the exit seats as soon as I complete the booking!

        • Genghis says:

          Set yourself up as a third party nominee on your husband’s BAEC then you’ll be able to discuss the refund of avios on the 241 booked on his acct.

          • Anna says:

            I meant I have the password to be the 3rd party nominee, not that I have his account password lol!

  • John G says:

    Morning everyone – what is most efficient (and cheapest) way to top-up Revolut from a credit card? I have the Barclaycard Hilton, IHG+, and Lloyds Avios at my disposal. Happy to pay of the balance immediately.

  • Will says:

    BA have just cancelled my outbound flight to Inverness next Thursday with 12 days notice. It includes a car hire. BA no longer appear to fly to INV from LHR on a Thursday so this is going to be a major headache.
    Can’t get through on the phone at the moment. Anyone know what I am entitled to?

    • Andrew says:

      Do you still want to go?

      SNP supporters were out at Edinburgh Airport last week protesting about virus laden English people infecting Scots.

      Plenty of alternatives.

      easyJet is still flying to Inverness from London.
      Loganair is flying from Manchester to Inverness
      Loganair is flying from London City to Dundee

      Sticking to BA metal fly to Dyce instead and pick up a hire car there? About a 2 hour drive.
      Or just Glasgow or Edinburgh with a 3 hour drive.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      You are entitled to a full refund for all flights on the ticket, or for them to book you on another flight with another airline (or even the train). It’s your choice – work out what you want and then call them. They might be difficult at the start, keep pressuring.

      • Harry T says:

        Chris is right.

      • Will says:

        Cheers – if I can get them to move the whole booking to Aberdeen then would just about work.

        • ChrisBCN says:

          See if booking new flights to Aberdeen is cheaper than the refund you are entitled to for your original trip….

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Some thoughts on a trip to the USA:

    It appears that Brits aren;t banned from the USA, it is only people who have been in the UK or the Schengen zone for the 14 days prior to planned entry.

    So Ireland is exempt?

    Can I go to Dublin and stay in an AirBnB for a fortnight and then be good for US entry?

    Has anyone done this, and how do the USA check this?

    Is it with receipts etc? I obviously wouldn’t have restaurant or bar expenses since I would be subject to the Irish quarantine for those two weeks.

    I can see us needing to go to the USA for family reasons and more than able to self-isolate back in the UK afterwards. But had read of someone going to Turkey, but a lot can happen in two weeks and Dublin would be easier to get home from if winter flu kicks in!

    • Colin JE says:

      Didn’t think Ireland was requiring quarantining for UK arrivals?

    • John says:

      Ireland not exempt unfortunately.

      Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996 and the subsequent proclamation issued May 24, 2020:


      The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe;

      The Republic of Ireland;

      The 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland)

      The Islamic Republic of Iran;

      The People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau

    • blenz101 says:

      Even the most basic research would tell you that you can’t do this. From the website – “Since 16 March, it is not possible for many British nationals to enter the USA if they have been in the UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, or China within the previous 14 days.”

      They won’t be relying on your bar tab to grant you entry either. Given to do what you want means getting a passport stamp and arriving from outside of the forbidden list your travel history will be clear.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Thanks for the above.

        In the mess if info on the web I had missed the latest version of the proclamation.

        Looks like Turkey for a fortnight then.

        • blenz101 says:

          Turkey should be fine and is on the UK travel corridor list. May be worth looking across the wider ME to any of those with a hub in the region, currently some great deals on hotels.

        • AndyGWP says:

          I had friends who were moving to the US, and they had to go to Croatia for 2 weeks (unsure if that is still an option)

        • Lyn says:

          Croatia may be an alternative to Turkey.

          • Colin MacKinnon says:

            Can you fly direct from there to the USA – was thinking best to be where you can fly direct, since adding a 3rd country increases hassle risks.

            Even a transit in Schengen bans you from the USA!

          • Lyn says:

            Sorry, I hadn’t thought about the lack of non-stop flights.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Can’t believe this bizarre ban is actually still in place.

  • VickyTM says:

    Does anyone have any experience of flying Georgia Airlines LHR – Tbilisi in business class? I’m just looking for a little feedback on the airline in terms of comfort, meal service (in usual times) etc.

  • Doug M says:

    The link for page 1 of comments is broken.

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