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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 23rd September

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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 (187)

  • Lady London says:

    better to do an exchange – most shops wont take your incentive back if same value or higher

  • Paul says:

    Hi GC. Re 1, you can always keep the card from the cancelled account to show at the airport next year if they ask for it (I’ve only ever been asked once out of 100s of flights).

    Re 2, it’s true that Amex will say any unused vouchers are lost but they stay safely in your BAEC account for use before expiry. The only caveat is that taxes on the 241 booking have to be paid with an Amex card (any Amex)

    • Anna says:

      I stand corrected, I now know of one person who’s been asked! What did they want it for, to check you were the person who had made the booking? This could be quite awkward if you’d used a card belonging to someone who wasn’t travelling, as we often advise to do on here! Can the check in staff see that you’ve used a 241, as opposed to just knowing you’re on an award booking?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I think OP means asked for the card used to book out of a 100 flights as I’d be amazed if anyone has managed 100 2-4-1 flights, it would be some achievement.

        Qatar once asked me for a sale fare out of BHX to DBX, no one at check in had seen the msg before and no idea what they were meant to do lol

      • GuyC says:

        Yes it seems a bit strange to me too, I would have hoped a passport was better ID – and it makes little sense given cards can expire (or get lost) – figure I’ll just hold on to it for even if its not working.

        Thanks for the replies everyone!

    • Lady London says:

      Always keep the credit card you paid for a flight with even if it’s expired. It’s a very remote chance you’ll ever be asked to produce it, but asking for it is one of the ways urban legend says agents will try to offload people off of overbooked flights because most people can’t produce it and so technically they can deny boarding without compensation to you.

      I think I was asked once for an expired card in the US and there almost seemed a disappointed air to the agent. Or maybe just shocked that I actually had it.

      • Sukes says:

        +1 to ‘ Always keep the credit card you paid for a flight with even if it’s expired.’ 4Y ago I had to change date of a long haul BA booking & wouldn’t let me do it without reaffirming full details of the Amex used in the original booking. This was about 6M after the card had been replaced due to fraud…thankfully I had actually held onto the defunct card. Taught me to hold onto expired cards rather than chop up straight away.

  • BJ says:

    Anybody else having issues with Hilton reservations? I’ve tried booking several hotels at different dates (5 for 4) and many are requiring the sum of the points needed for 5 nights as opposed to the sum divided by 5 and then multiplied by 4 to provide the free night. It happens in both the app and website but isn’t affecting all hotels. Take care you are not overpaying.

  • Wollhouse says:

    Just a heads up so no one ele is caught out…. having had my IHG credit card in a drawer, I pulled it out and started using it again. Apparently in the T&C’s, if your card is inactive for 12 months, they cancel your direct debit. Not realising this, I was stung for interest and a late fee. When I looked, I could see online that the DD had been cancelled, but wasn’t able to reinstate. The agent i spoke to credited the late fee, but not the interest. £72 ouch! My fault I know, but annoying!

    • memesweeper says:

      thanks for heads up Wollhouse… not an obvious gotcha at all!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They sent me a letter when they cancelled mine.

    • Spk says:

      Have you not used it even online? Or just physically unused? I use it in curve every month.

    • Nick_C says:

      In normal times, all DDs expire after 13 months of inactivity.

      “All banks or building societies hold details of Direct Debit Instructions on file for a minimum period of 13 months* from it’s lodgement date, in the event of no collections, or from the date of the last payment. After the dormancy period has passed, the bank or building society will remove details of the Instruction from their system. Before claiming further Direct Debit payments the organisation must obtain a new Direct Debit Instruction or your authority to continue collecting. If this is not done your Direct Debit payment may be returned by your bank or building society.

      *This has been temporarily increased to 24 months to minimise the impact of payment holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic.​”

      https://www.directdebit.co.uk/FAQs/Pages/InactiveDirectDebits.aspx

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Thinking of a quick break to Lake Como – would like to be car free!

    Can get Ryanair direct into Bergamo, or BA CE via Linate outbound and Bergamo return.

    Any good hotel ideas, and ideas from airport to hotel?

    And thoughts on Hilton Como?

    • Lady London says:

      My option needs a car – Villa Serbelloni at Bellagio. Stunning views on the way up.
      Hotel du Lac there if you’re feeling a bit cheaper.
      Pizzeraia alle Scale (think that’;s what it’s called it’s half way up a staircase from the lake, nearish Hotel du Lac) really good pizza.

      Como is basically same station as Chiasso, there is a bus that runs from Malpensa was usually 2x per day, I think one leaves from MXP in the afternoon.

      Easy also to access from Zurich by train, Lugano for sure by road, forgotten if train station is in town at Lugano though.

      Milano Como is a train – yes, but can’t remember if from Centrale or another station. MXP defo easier o reach Como, than LIN I think.

      Bergamo miles away wrong side of Milan. If you want to fly into Bergamo then you might as well stay at the other lakes it’s right on the edge of – very picturesque (although chillier).
      MXP + bus or, I think, train Saronno and correspondence there
      LIN would be rail from a Milan station. there may be buses leaving from next to Stazione Centrale but I wouldn’t bet on it. I am not aware whether there is a bus to Como from Linate because I’ve never needed one.
      BGY – no (might as well stay at other lakes ins tead)
      Brescia – ditto

      Venice – you could do car-free and tourist-free, for once in your lifetime, right now.
      there is Venice airport, and several other airports within easy driving range of Venic e (you have to leave cars outside at, I think, Mestre so if there is a flight to Venice airport or somewhere that will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel in Venice grab it)

      This I would do in preference to Como (sorry but I;ve always thought Como is a bit of a dump even though I know it’s kind of got the Villa dell’Este.)

      honestly, I think you need a car unless your idea is just a chauffeur from the airport and collapse into the Villa dell’Este.

      • Lady London says:

        PS if you really, really want Como when you could have Venice (really?) train direct from Zurich as well as Lugano isn’t too bad

        • Lady London says:

          PPS if you really are up for MIL to Como then just checked some detailed records and train, bus and taxi do exist 9 subject to covid which is another randomiser on any day now , taxi quoted at 100 including small tip.

          Are you sure you can’t fly into Venice instead for the once in a lifetime experience of finding it empty? not sure if FR still doing Trieste even that’s not a million miles away. Or Bologna for a foodie weekend, something I have in my sights.

          the ‘other lake’ if you are using BGY, was Lake Garda

          Please let us know what you decide, and how you find it when you get there 🙂

          • Gavin says:

            I was in Venice first week of September. It wasn’t particularly empty, although apparently quieter than normal. Large queues for some of the museums, and popular restaurants were fully booked. The main square and the streets around that area, and between there and the train station (roughly), were pretty full of people.

        • BJ says:

          I would take Como over Venice any day.

        • Nick says:

          Karen don’t be so judgemental, if someone wants to go to Como then try it absolutely can! I for example have been to Venice, loved it, but don’t want to go back… if the OP asked for advice on a Hilton then hopefully they can get that rather than a ‘you’re stupid for wanting to go’ answer.

          As for the option of going via Switzerland… yes, well, maybe in normal times. But that opens up a quarantine requirement that I imagine the OP might like to avoid.

          • Lady London says:

            Haha you are right @Nick.
            Btw I don’t ever want to go back to Venice either. It ranks with my last visit to Florence as the most overcrowded experience of my life. Crowded in Venice today, is probably actually “empty” for Venice.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I think the word got out that Venice was quiet.

            I found it just busy enough with only a couple places being fully booked but able to find a way around it by juggling the nights etc.

          • BJ says:

            If looking for somewhere new in Italy…discover Basilicata, wonderful place 🙂

  • Lady London says:

    Sorry for this late day post hoping someone can help.

    Is Italy letting people from UK visit without problem currently? Just received an invitation to go there. Quarantine on return to UK is fine just wondering are therr forms to fill or restrictions on someone arriving from the UK.

    • Dan says:

      Just back from Tuscany this last Saturday. Lots of form filling which sometimes are and sometimes not collected. Other than that, all fine.

      • Lady London says:

        Thanks Dan. Do they hand you the forms at the airport or does the airline provide them online? is there just one form? no quarantine at the Italian end?

        • Dan says:

          No quarantine in Italy. There is a form to download – google “Italy FCO”. Now… this form is collected on the plane by BA crew. They give you another form (similar, but different). This I offered to passport control but wasn’t accepted and stayed in my bag. On the way home, another form was handed to me at check-in to be completed before boarding. This was collected at boarding, funnily enough by the same English BA staff who must have moved from check-in to boarding!

          • Perkypat says:

            Went via Schiphol 3 weeks ago. They send all the Italy passengers to one gate, temperature check and collect the forms you are given. All very easy and friendly done in 5 minutes. Very mask compliant in Italy itself(I was in Puglia).

          • Lady London says:

            Thank you very much indeed @Dan and @Perkypat.

            Now to find a flight when so many have been cancelled….!!!

    • Jerrry Butler says:

      Just got back from Italy, being part Irish, I came back with Gaelic breath.

  • The Streets says:

    Just received an email from ‘Avios Email’ telling me i have earnt an Upgrade Voucher courtesy of my Lloyds Avios Rewards card! Cant work out if its a fake.. or a bug in the Lloyds IT systems!

  • Aston100 says:

    There was some discussion a month ago about the amounts you could put into the Revolving bank via IHG card.
    Some people felt one should do a number of small amounts every few days, while someone reckoned they were able to put a large amount every day provided they paid it off instantly.
    There was talking of using the Bendy intermediary and whether that makes a difference or not.

    Anyway, I spoke to the Creative issuers of the IHG card about something the other day, and they happened to mention that I have a £2k cash limit. This is separate to my overall credit limit. Apparently everyone has different cash limits. This is amount you can go up to when paying the Revolting bank (and suchlike). This would explain why I was able to make payments in excess of £1k at a time. I believe it was Peter K on here who experienced something similar. So long as you immediately pay it off, then there is apparently no need to go via Bendy, and you’ll avoid cash interest charges. Need to be really careful as the repayment (even if made the same day) might not clear the amount you sent to the Revolting bank straight away. I think there is a way to make an overpayment from your bank in advance of any Revolting transfers. Not sure how the Creative people will take it though as I think finance companies generally don’t like you to be in credit.

    Hope this is of some use.

    • Aston100 says:

      Oh and what I forgot to say is that based on this and the testing I did recently, you can probably keep making transfers to the Revolting bank every day so long as you keep clearing / resetting your cash limit.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Or until the Big R warns you, and then closes your account 🙁

      • Anna says:

        You can overpay IHG – just pay your balance, then pay it again before the first payment clears. This will leave you in credit and (presumably) liable for less interest. I would worry more about being shut down by the Revolutionaries rather than anything Creation would do (didn’t you get warned the other day?!)

        • Aston100 says:

          Indeed I did get warned the other day.
          Ironically, I’m not even cycling and my payments are all for legit purchases and services.

          Just thought this info would help settle the mini-debate / argument from a few weeks ago about whether you need to make small numbers of random payments or not.

          • Peter K says:

            It was me that said about the up to £1.5k direct top-up from IHG. I do it quite often but only maybe £7k a month max to avoid getting my account blocked.

          • rams1981 says:

            Topping up with a credit card and using it for bank transfers is clearly not the type of business revolut are after. It’s a cash advance essentially without the fees. You may not think it’s cycling but it’s hardly standard behaviour