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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 30th 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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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 it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

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Comments (126)

  • Barbs says:

    So South Africa has finally announced their list of “high-risk” countries, and the UK is on it, so not allowed in. Question now being, does this include the Channel Islands, or not? I know this is probably a shot in the dark, but also wondering what the impact of this would be on BA flights there.

    • WaynedP says:

      Virgin too – I’m booked on the first VS flight out to JNB on 18 October. Guess I should expect a cancellation, much like the four times cancelled, five times re-booked BA flight now scheduled for December – sigh.

    • Anna says:

      I’m assuming you would have to pass through another country (if not England) to get to SA from the Channel Islands so it may depend on the situation at the departure point.

    • WaynedP says:

      I don’t see any “list of countries by classification” yet, Barbs – how are you getting that UK is on the high-risk list ?
      Just by virtue of the fact that number of infections and deaths is higher than SA reported cases ?
      Which in itself is a specious classification method because it deals with absolute numbers (rather than infection rates as a proportion of population), and it doesn’t properly allow for the differences in proportion of population tested.
      Unless they’ve published a list that I’ve missed, they are definitely going to have to clarify this announcement to include something more scientifically and statistically robust.

      • WaynedP says:

        Media reported list of high-risk (not allowed) countries at https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/international-travel-high-risk-countries/
        but I can’t find anything official on gov.za website yet.

        Will need to study this categorisation more closely.

        A few weeks ago, HfP comments included suggested credible websites for comparative Covid infection rates. I’d be grateful if someone would re-announce.

        Sorry, I should have made a note at the time, thanks.

        • WaynedP says:

          Got it, thanks.

          In 27 August article entitled Cuba removed and Switzerland, Jamaica and Czech Republic added to UK quarantine list

        • WaynedP says:

          This list can’t possibly be accurate.

          It permits travel from Belgium (with a 7-day infection rate of 103 per 100k population) but bans UK (with 64 per 100k) according to statista.com.

          Allows Denmark (62 per 100k) but bans Greece (20.5 per 100k).

          Something doesn’t add up

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I believe they also looked at the number of passengers they get from a country.

          • WaynedP says:

            @TGLOYALTY That’s very noble of you to ascribe such sophistication to what was released to the world’s media today.

            Truth is, the first page of high risk countries was omitted at the press briefing, explaining why countries like Brazil and Belgium weren’t classified as high risk, but UK was.

            Embarrassing enough, but still no sensible explanation for why Spain (7 day infection rate more than double the UK at 140 per 100k population) isn’t on the list.

            If number of tourists was considered, and classification favoured higher tourist volumes, I can’t believe that Spain delivers more tourists to SA than UK.

            And if classification favoured lower tourist volumes, I can’t believe that Czechia (which is on the no-fly high risk list as “Czech Republic” with similar 7-day infection rate to Spain) delivers more tourists to SA than Spain.

            Sadly it’s a plain and simple embarrassing shambles.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I don’t disagree. No better or worse than the crap coming out of the British government’s either.

  • Nathan says:

    I am currently without any AMEX cards as I cancelled my/wife’s cards in 2018/19, with the aim of restarting our churning cycle after 24 months.

    The first card we cancelled was my wife’s BA amex on 2/10/18, so from my calculations she will be eligible for sign up bonus again this week (I will wait until 3rd October until applying). With the new rules, what is the best way of maximising our sign up bonuses (24 month cycle for my BA amex is April 2021 and platinum card August 2021, while my wife’s 24 month cycle for Platinum is April 2021).

    Hope that makes sense.

    • Rob says:

      I would double-check the date with Amex first, because if you are 1 day out (on their calcs) you are stuffed for another 2 years.

      This is the article you want – https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/07/06/earn-178000-avios-from-amex-bonuses/

      • Nathan says:

        Thanks Rob. Had a quick look at article – I am assuming that would apply in scenario where all AMEX cards (for me and wife) were cancelled at around the same time, so 2 year cycle was similar for all cards. The problem I have is my 2 year cycles are not in sync – the 2 year cycle only resets for my wife’s BA card this month, while my BA amex and wife’s platinum 2 year cycle is not until April 2021. Would it be worth just applying for my wife’s BA amex first so I at least have an amex card for now (rather than waiting until April before I can apply for any of the others)?

  • New Card says:

    I recall some comments a few months ago where people were able to get Tesco Clubcard vouchers refunded which had been used at Hotels.com for hotel bookings which were unable to be used because of Covid. Annoyingly I can’t find those comments now. Would anyone be able to please point me in the direction of how I might be able to get a refund? Many thanks.

    • Rui N. says:

      Contact them on whatsapp and explain the situation.

    • Andrew says:

      Just been through this process myself. You can only get refunds on booking made prior to March. You need to cancel via hotels.com website (not via chat) then wait 30 days from the end date of your stay. Replacement vouchers should arrive by this date but probably won’t. At the point start chasing Tesco (not hotels.com) – they will chase hotels.com for you. Replacement vouchers have Dec 2022 expiry date for stays up to Dec 2023.