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The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 25th 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 (166)

  • BJ says:

    So, where does the virus and our travel plans go next? IIRC daily cases were about 900-1000 when we went into national lockdown. Now they are over a 1000 daily for several days but holding steady around that mark. Much less people in hospital than back in March and survival chances seem to be much improved without digging too deep in the stats. Schools in Scotland have returned and cases associated with schools might be largely attributed to infection outside schools. Local outbreaks across the UK seem to be being managed with some degree of success. Is all this signs for hope or
    are rapidly increasing cases elsewhere in Europe just a warning of tougher times to come? I have more or less given up hope on our Xmas vacation but now feel more optimistic about summer 2021. I have my doubts that any of the more cautious countries will want to welcome European visitors until the winter flu season is over.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The official cases number back then was probably 20-30x lower than it actually was as only a limited number of tests were taking place.

    • Charlieface says:

      Mostly false positives due to much higher testing rates of asymptomatic people, the false positive rate is between 0.5 and 2% (of people who should be negative), so do the math on 160,000 tests

  • Martin says:

    Has there been any conjecture from HFP or other travel sites regarding when the U.S. might open up travel from the U.K.? I guess it’s basically decided by Trump? When the U.S. open things up, is it expected that the U.K. will allow travel there?

    Appreciate any insights (or guesses!) those more learned than me might have.

    • Harry T says:

      Nobody knows. Trump probably won’t think about allowing UK/EU visitors in until after the election, as part of his general xenophobia platform which involves blaming foreigners for covid. The US numbers are frankly incredible at the moment and it will take many months for them to reach a level where they would be allowed an FCO exemption – assuming there isn’t a second peak in winter too. I personally wouldn’t plan to visit the US until at least 2021, and I wouldn’t book anything this year.

      • Martin says:

        thanks so much – really helpful thoughts

      • TGLoyalty says:

        50k cases a day with a 330m population

        It’s 15 per 100k which is lower than most european countries. But it’s possible that those numbers are due to a reduced testing regime or perhaps a loss of focus on increasing testing capabilities.

        If you were to break that down to states there are some that are unbelievable but that can be said for cities and regions all across Europe too.

      • Lady London says:

        @Harry T you are probably right about the politics of this.

        What would your opinion be about the health aspect? with care, do you think visiting US states where the infection rate is lower, is any worse than visiting the UK or, say, Spain?

        • Harry T says:

          @Lady London
          Really hard to say, I’m by no means an expert. New York/East Coast cases seem low. I know they have been asking visitors from most other states to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. I think that you should be able to track down numbers on the places you would consider visiting, and also research their general attitudes and policies.

    • Louise K says:

      Def nothing before November election and then who knows.

      Like Harry says, their number are terrible at the moment. Just think how long it’s taken to get ours under control, US are far away from that.

      I am booked to go to a Hawaii next June / July and I don’t that will even go ahead. They have twice delayed opening up for citizens and I can see it being delayed again past October. There are approx. 250 cases day on Oahu.

      Locals are complaining about lack of testing and lack of track and trace – bit like here really. However, Yale have just developed a spit test that has been approved so that might give some hope.

  • Oli says:

    Does anyone know if RFS bookings benefit from book with confidence?

    • Andrew says:

      It’s very unclear how Avios bookings are dealt with under booking with confidence and how you can cancel and get what back – a voucher for Avios and a voucher for cash or a voucher for cash and Avios back? And can you really change the date of your booking to any date regardless of availability if they cancel your flight?

      • Anna says:

        There have been artciles on HFP about this!

      • Rob says:

        Yes to the latter, up to 1 year from when you paid the taxes on the original.

        It’s why many readers are off to Barbados for Christmas when there is never Avios availability and cash tickets are ludicrous 🙂

  • Simon says:

    My son has a ticket to Tokyo via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines in November. At the moment people from the UK are not allowed into Japan. Can anyone advise of the passenger’s rights in this situation?

    • David says:

      Travel insurance job, I’d say. If the flight is still going, then the airline has done its bit. He may be lucky and they make a change which gives him a chance to cancel for a refund, but otherwise I’d be looking for the claim forms, nearer the time.

    • Rhys says:

      If the flight goes ahead but he can’t travel then he needs to claim on travel insurance. If the flight is cancelled then Turkish Airlines are bound by law to offer a refund or rerouting (his choice).

  • Diydegsy says:

    Any recommendations for a 3 night break in an Intercontinental hotel in Europe looking at maybe Estoril Portugal, can’t seem to find out if they have a club lounge or not? Have been to Potto so that one is out but other suggestions welcome.

    • Anna says:

      If you go to the “Club Intercontinental” page on the IHG website, there is a list of IC’s with lounges, however not all of them are open at the moment, you would need to contact the individual hotel to find out.

    • Dan says:

      There wasn’t a lounge in 2018 when I stayed. It is a lovely hotel with friendly staff. Cascais, a fifthteen minute walk along the sea wall is a nice place to hang out and eat.

    • Pid says:

      There is no lounge. They used to offer a club experience instead But I think that has gone now too. Nice hotel and planning to go again for a few days in Oct. Fingers crossed as it Was booked in Feb.

    • Harry T says:

      No lounge but reviews look very good.

  • BP says:

    Planning a few days in London with my wife and 1 year old. We’ll mainly be walking to tourist sites and doing some shopping. What hotel would be best with an executive room – Marriott Park Lane or Conrad St James.

    Both are roughly the same price and I’m gold in both membership schemes.


    • Mark says:

      Conrad shows up a lot in comments lately, looks like HfP place of choice.

    • Michael C says:

      Hi BP, I’ve stayed in both, with a slightly larger toddler.
      Just fyi, the Conrad lounge right now, while open physically, only has empty tables and a fridge with Coke etc. in it. You have a free bar (while being served small appetisers) 1830-1930h. However, the breakfast is anything off the à la carte, and is fabulous. As regards location, great if it’s sunny (ha!) as you’re right next to the park, just a few mins. from Westminster, etc. Room, service, etc. all lovely.
      Don’t know what the MPL lounge situation is at the moment, but when we went (under normal circumstances), it was excellent. Tube right outside, of course, and v easy to get to my nº 1 small kids’ attraction: Princess Diana Memorial Playground.
      Conrad also has a tube, so I guess at the end of the day it depends on what you’re thinking of visiting – either choice will be great. Maybe MPL this time as you’re keen on shopping too?

      • BP says:

        Thanks. MPL has moved to a similar Executive lounge model with a full breakfast in the restaurant and drinks with canapes in the restaurant in the evening. I think I’ll go for MPL as the pool is open. The little one was doing swimming lessons pre-covid and it will be great to get her in a pool again.

  • Anna says:

    Booked my return flights from GCM, which for various reasons will be in Y. I was intending to book exit row seats but chnaged my mine when I saw that these are now £93 each to reserve, the same price as some CW seats!! Instead I paid for 2 of the “twin” seats near the rear and 2 middle row seats for my son and nephew. It looks on the seating plan like there’s a bit of extra room to stretch your legs sideways in the aisle twin – has anyone sat in one of these to confirm?

    • Anna says:

      *changed my mind”. Clumsy fingers from the late night!

    • Louise K says:

      Only sat in the twin seat on a B747. From memory there was room to store my bag under the window seat in front. Couldn’t rest my head against the window though as it was too far away.

      • Andrew says:

        You also get “flutter” at the very rear of the aircraft where it moves from side to side and turbulence is worse. And of course you’re last off and last into the immigration/health-check line. If you’re Gold or One World Emerald you can book exit rows free of charge.

  • Anna says:

    Better value though (if it actually goes ahead, which is still far from certain!), I’ve used 280k IHG points plus a free night certificate to book a room at the Kimpton Seafire next Easter. Even in ordinary times the hotel charges around $1k per night so this has to be one on the best IHG redemptions out there. I need a plan like Rob’s in New York now to squeeze full value out of the eye-watering $75 pn “resort fee”😬

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