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The HfP chat thread – Monday 28th 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 (138)

  • Peter says:

    Air New Zealand has emailed today renewing Star Gold for another 12 months due to Covid – so 24 months extension in total. Maybe others will follow? They are getting in early that is for sure. But New Zealand more cutoff than other places and AirNZ is quite a small operator in the whole scheme of things.

    • Pangolin says:

      Lufthansa hasn’t given me any extension at all, let alone two years!

      Fortunately, I have *G in Aegean and Singapore Airlines (Aegean gave 6 months; Singapore 12 months).

  • BS says:

    Corona isolation question:
    I am currently an ex-pat in Africa, with a low corona level (likely to be due to low testing…). I am returning for Christmas and there is currently a 2 week isolation requirement for England.
    If I flew from Africa to Sweden for example, I could spend 2 weeks not isolated then return to U.K. without isolation. If I went to Sweden for 1 week, would I only be isolated for 1 week on return to U.K., or 2 weeks? Thanks.

  • YC says:

    Datapoint (contrary to what I was expecting) BA status extension – Recently took my 4th BA flight and achieved silver. On my app it’s now showing silver card expiry Nov 2022. After reading Rob’s initial article, my thinking was I will be silver till 2021 as extension sweep was done in July. Anyway pleasantly surprised!

    • BS says:

      Yes – they seem to extend you if you upgrade subsequently (but not requalify).
      It is not clear if GGL counts as an upgrade though

      • Lady London says:

        So does that mean I should upgrade within this tier points earning year? rather than early in my next tier points year which is early next year

        • AJA says:

          It depends, what is your current status? If you are Blue then you will only get Silver for the remainder of your current year plus the whole of the next year. If you upgraded already then the next tier up will only be valid for the current expiry date. If you are already Bronze or Silver your status should have been extended by a year already and so if you move up a tier then you may benefit otherwise I would work on how long you want to retain status. If you earn status early in your next TP year then it should be valid for the remainder of that year and the whole of the next year meaning an expiry date in early 2023.

          • Steve says:

            I started the year on Blue with a year end of Oct 2020. Achieved Bronze and that went up to Nov 22.
            Just achieved Silver and showing as expiring Nov 21.
            The app though is still coloured bronze which I seem to remember took a few days to update and might have changed the expiry date.
            All a bit hit and miss.

          • AJA says:

            @ Steve – That’s odd. Check your online account on the website and not via the app. The date of Nov 2021 would be the end date of your status under normal upgrade rules. The website shows the actual expiry of your Silver status in addition to the end of your current TP earning year.

          • Steve says:

            Thanks AJA

            The website is still showing as bronze so I’m presuming it’s still in the middle of processing (the last qualifying flight was only Saturday)

  • KBuffett says:

    Rob – Are you still planning to go to Dubai over half term? What are the travel requirements/guild elites for Dubai & Abu Dhabi at the monent?

  • Manish says:

    What is the most cost effective to pay my HMRC Tax bill. I want to put it on my Virgin Atlantic Credit Card. The route I was thinking about is upgrading my Curve Basic to Curve Metal, just for a month.

  • Ron says:

    Can eVoucher from BA Holiday use for future flight only booking? Also, does it need to be BA metal flight or just book via BA.com? Thanks.

    • ChrisC says:

      Yes e vouchers be used for a BA hols booking as well (but you need to call).
      I used two e vouchers to pay the balance of a holiday booking.

      You can use it for partner airline flights as long as it has a BA flight number so yes via BA.com or by calling.

      • DZOO says:

        Anyone know if you can redeem multiple e-vouchers against a single new booking? Was told “no” on the phone and obviously can’t do this online? Thanks

        • Nick says:

          &Chris, strictly speaking it needs to have a BA ticket number, the flight number doesn’t matter. For most people admittedly this won’t be an issue, but it’s an important distinction. Interline bookings are acceptable, but you may have to phone if you can’t find what you want online.

          @DZOO no you can’t use multiple vouchers (yet – this is being worked on). If you qualify you can ask for a ‘mega voucher’ to be issued, which is essentially putting 3 vouchers into 1, which can then obviously be used online. The call centre will advise whether it applies for you (depends how simple your original bookings were).

        • martyn ford says:

          I was told by the Gold line yesterday that I could redeem a maximum of three vouchers against a new booking.

          • Rob says:

            You can, but only by phone. Online is 1 voucher.

            For clarity, these are evouchers and not Future Travel Vouchers.

  • Henry says:

    Does anyone know how long the free Ihg night takes to post after the £99 new card year fee has been paid?
    Hit my spend target nearly 10 months ago and the free night isn’t showing yet?

    • Craig says:

      I’m having a huge battle with them at the moment, the spend tracker on the website showed that I had earned the free night in May. There were no refunds or transactions since then and I have a screenshot from June showing the entitlement. The free night didn’t post and the annual statement showed I was £90 short. Just waiting to hear back from the formal complaint, they haven’t replied to email or postal communication about the issue until I went formal.

      • Aston100 says:

        How do you initiate a formal complaint?

        • Craig says:

          By telephone, had an email confirmation 5 days later.

        • John says:

          Say the words “formal complaint” by any communication method

        • dezbez says:

          No harm in ‘threatening’ them with the FOS during your conversations if you don’t get a satisfactory response. This costs them £600 (give or take) irrespective of the outcome so often gives an incentive to companies to resolve, especially if you have a strong case, evidence, etc.

          • Craig says:

            Oh, I will be doing if necessary. Hopefully it won’t come to that, the screenshot is pretty staking that I have earned my free night.

    • Anna says:

      OH’s posted as soon as his 12 month statement generated in July, I was really impressed. Hoping mine is also as prompt next month!

    • pauldb says:

      Same for me: the same day as the statement with the £99 fee was generated. FYI I was told I can now cancel the card and get the £99 refunded as long as I haven’t put a charge on the card after the renewal statement.

      • Crafty says:

        Why would you cancel this card? It’s the best one out there, and no longer open to new applicants.

        • LH says:

          I’ve also been waiting since May for the free IHG night and despite several emails I’ve heard virtually nothing. I’ll do the formal complaint as suggested in these columns. As regards why cancel, I did so as I’m shielding and can’t see me staying in any hotel or flying this year and possibly next. I have a good stash of Melia and IHG points, Hotels.com nights, etc for when I do. I put all non Amex spend on the Tesco Clubcard credit card which has the advantage of being more flexible than IHG on how the points can be used and the marginal extra value of hte fee IHG card meant for me at least the return wasn’t so good when you factor in the £99 fee. I do use my white (fee free) IHG card for items less than £8 as the Tesco CC has that as the minimum to get Clubcard points and I also use the IHG card as the underlying card on Curve for paying Council tax etc.

          I’d welcome advice on whether there is more value with other credit card reward schemes (Virgin excepted as I doubt I would be able to collect enough to travel, when I am able to fly again, to make it worthwhile).

          HfP has transformed my travel since I discovered it two years ago and HfP is the first website I view each morning , and these columns several times a day!. The expertise and knowledge is incredible. Thank you everyone.

        • Anna says:

          Indeed, we (i.e. I) redeemed the OH’s free night certificate for a studio suite at the Kimpton Seafire next Easter which is $900 pn. Got to be one of the best deals for £99!

          • Mr. AC says:

            How did you get a suite with the certificate? I thought you could only get rooms bookable on points?

      • Doug M says:

        Agree with Crafty, not a card you cancel. Do you, errrr, have a Curve card……..

        • pauldb says:

          I’m just debating whether to go back to HSBC Premier WE, having sat out for 6 months to be re-eligible for the bonuses.

        • Bobby says:

          Could you possibly point me in the direction of where I could read up about the IHG card/Curve strategy? I’ve seen a few references to it on this site. I’ve put £18k though the card so far this year, but will struggle to spend enough to trigger Spire Elite.

          • Anna says:

            You’re not that far off – Spire only require 55k points this year, so £27.5k spend on the paid card. Can you overpay your utilities? I think the main Curve strategy is opening a savings account with NS & I, referred to quite a lot on here so I’m not giving anything away.

    • Louise K says:

      This year, mine hit just as the fee came through on the statement. In previous years, it took nearly 6 weeks after fee was paid.

    • Paul74 says:

      Data point, I hit my spend in late July but haven’t received my voucher yet. Haven’t gotten around to chasing yet so can’t comment further at this point.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        @Paul74:
        Just to confirm you don’t get the free night voucher straight after spending 10k. You need to spend 10k and wait for your card membership year to complete.

  • Jody says:

    I’ve got a couple of hospital appointments in London next week, and had previously debated on here whether to go the night before and stay over, or just take the train and have an early start. I’ve decided on the train for a few reasons, so will be buying my ticket on Thursday (can get advance singles that can be used on any train with no time restrictions for £11 each way, as opposed to the peak return ticket of £113 from my local station, or £64 from the one about 35 minutes away!).

    Anyway, I can guarantee that as soon as buy my tickets that London will go into lockdown and my appointments will be cancelled, it will of course be sods law!

    • Nigel says:

      I’d be surprised if London going into lockdown caused a problem for medical appointments. I travelled to London on the train for hospital appointment during the first lockdown. Among reasons to travel, it is a good one 🙂

    • Harry T says:

      I think you’d probably be okay from a lockdown perspective if your travel is for essential health reasons ie you can’t get the relevant care elsewhere.

      • Jody says:

        Thanks Harry. It’s not so much the prospect of lockdown, it’s the concern that my appointments would be cancelled. Whilst my scan and other test are needed, they wouldn’t be classed as urgent I guess, and I know from earlier in the year anything non-essential was cancelled at a lot of places.

        I’ve been on the waiting list for the test since March, apparently I was penciled in for April next year, and that’s as an existing patient. Fortunately for me, I sent a very polite email asking if it would be ok to push my ultrasound scan (that I have yearly) back to April so that I could come on the same day for both tests (it’s what I usually do with my ultrasound and consultant appointment as it’s a bit of hassle to get there given I’m not local), and I was emailed back saying they had found a slot for both tests next week. Totally unexpected, but very pleased.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          There’s real low risk of cancellation just because it goes into local lockdown. Haven’t seen any reports of blanket cancellations elsewhere.

          The idea behind local lockdowns is to stop the rise in its track well before a situation where hospital admissions get too high that normal services can’t carry on as normal.

    • Charlieface says:

      Yeah, save the NHS by killing everyone off