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The HfP chat thread – Friday 2nd October

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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 (139)

  • EB says:

    Hoping for some help please.

    I have official heathrow parking (T5 short stay) from this morning until Monday. I’ve had to change my flight to tomorrow and leave the car park.

    Can I return on the same booking that I’ve paid for? Will all be within the paid period, not an amendment.

    • Jonathan says:

      Won’t work I’m afraid. Otherwise you’d have Uber’s booking 2 weeks parking to dodge the £4.90 pick up fee!

    • MrHandBaggageOnly says:

      No solid answer, sorry, but I would just give Heathrow Parking a call and explain what happened. It might mean you have to call on the intercom when you arrive again tomorrow and when you leave giving them your reference each time. Heathrow, like many in the travel industry, are keen to keep everyone as happy as possible at the moment. They have nothing to gain be insisting you make another booking.

      • Jonathan says:

        Not sure I’d agree with this. If you look at their parking prices over the last few months you’ll see they’re very much adopting a high value, low volume pricing structure than the opposite. They’d also be losing an additional booking by allowing multiple entry so I’d be very surprised if you got an official ok for this. The alternative is to chance it on intercom at exit.

    • Doug M says:

      Call and explain, Heathrow Parking always been understanding of my shortcomings with registration number memory and time changes.

    • EB says:

      Thanks! They wouldn’t let me cancel, not even cancel the unused days on the booking so I would at least hope I could use what I’ve paid for

      • Lady London says:

        multiple entry/exit is always specifically excluded on airport parking sonin normal times there is no way they would help. Your issue would be at the entry not at the exit.

        I have a gut feeling if you arrive at the entry barrier within 24 hours of your booked time there might be some discretion. I’d suspect in normal times even with someone willing to use discretion it might have to be same calendar day and not 24hrs but have a backup plan and give it a try.

    • EB says:

      Good news, and surprisingly excellent customer service. She said it wouldn’t be a problem at all, and if the ticket doesn’t work automatically then she’s left a note with the parking team to let me through if I need to intercom at the barrier

      (and quite clearly a UK call centre which was nice, especially after the morning on the phone to BA..)

  • Rich says:

    Anyone have any experience of using the current SLH Amex offer successfully at a hotel not on the participating hotels list? Do they bill as the hotel name or SLH?
    I know some chains are more flexible than others and have no previous experience of SLH.

    • Rob says:

      As the hotels are all independent they will all have totally different merchant IDs in the Amex system – and none will show SLH on the statement – so I’d say there is zero chance.

      • Rich says:

        Thanks, probably not worth chancing then; the 3% FX fee puts me off.

  • TomD says:

    Would it make sense to book hotels for January now? Looks like fair bit of offers going on, on top of the Amex promos.

    Off to Istanbul (added to the list yesterday I know), anyone got any hotels that they really like there? W seems pretty cheap at £100/night or so. Otherwise might go with Hilton as I’m a Gold, so free breakfast + potential upgrade atleast.

    • Anup says:

      I stayed at Romance Istanbul Hotel last year September and it was fantastic. Lovely room, really friendly and helpful staff and perfect location. Good breakfast offering as well. I would definitely recommend it

    • Rich says:

      Highly recommend the Witt in Istanbul; it’s part of the design hotels group although not one in the Marriott tie in so no status benefits there.

    • Nick says:

      The OG Hilton is lovely, had a few good stays there. IMO don’t get the Conrad, it’s really not worth it and the managers there are a bunch of crooks (long story!) – most disappointing hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Otherwise there are a few cute-looking small hotels in the old town which I’ve been meaning to try. Probably no points but maybe Hotels rewards or something.

    • Louie says:

      I’d recommend the catchily named “The Galata Hotel Istanbul MGallery By Sofitel”. Rooms a bit small but great location and views and a lovely roof bar.

  • Nick says:

    Belfast hotels… have great price offers for Hilton and the AC. Does anyone have a recommendation for which of these you’d pick?

    • KD says:

      I stayed in Hilton Belfast as Gold last month. Hotel was quiet but was upgraded and given lounge access. Free pour spirits and plenty of food. Service from hotel was excellent including cooked breakfast. Highly recommend.

    • John says:

      Hilton a lot more walkable, beside Waterfront Hall, adjacent to George’s Market, few minutes from City Hall.

      AC a good bit further into docklands territory. Unless you’ve business meetings near AC, Hilton is the better location.

    • Harry T says:

      I stayed at the AC Belfast in September for my first trip to Belfast. I paid something like £59 a night on a healthcare rate. I actually thought it was decent quality in terms of hard product, for the price point. I was given a room overlooking the river (I booked a lower room and there was no mention of an upgrade or my status as Gold at checkout in, but it appeared to be a superior river view room). They did give me 2pm checkout as Gold. They refused to look after my bags after checkout though, due to some strange covid policy about not touching bags.

      So, in general, I liked the location and my room – river view was nice. Service was unremarkable and sometimes unhelpful, but it’s a cheap hotel. I didn’t say there because I don’t eat or drink at cheap hotels, and we wanted to explore the city (there are much better options).

      The Pocket Flat Iron does the best flat white I’ve had in the UK and their breakfast was great. FYI very few restaurants and cafes are taking advance reservations, apparently due to covid – this seems incredibly counterproductive and stupid to me. We often ended up waiting for a table at places, when a simple online reservation system would have prevented such logistical inconvenience.

      • Harry T says:

        AC is across the river from the Titanic Museum, which I would recommend. The walk there from the AC is pleasant.

    • memesweeper says:

      They are two of the best hotels in Belfast. I tend to favour the Hilton as the lounge is nice and they sometimes comp me an upgrade. The AC is an absolutely fine alternative if budget doesn’t stretch to Hilton.

      Down the coast a little is Rayanne House: http://www.rayannehouse.com
      would be the subject of a ‘my favourite hotel’ if I ever get round to writing one 🙂 … fabulous indie BnB.

      • Nick says:

        Thanks everyone. I’ve booked the Hilton, it was cheaper than the AC and from comments it seems pretty good. It’s not for a couple of weeks anyway but I’ll let you know how it is once I’ve stayed 🙂

    • Alison says:

      Stayed at Marriot AC end of September. Great deal inc D, B&B (with parking for 36 hours and bike (did the Comber cycle route) for £150(ish) for 2. Great location right opposite Titanic museum and a stones throw from shopping etc. Highly recommended.

    • Tazzy says:

      I live in Belfast. Hilton slightly better location, although merchant, bullit or fitzwilliam much nicer. In terms of restaurants I would definitely advise booking ahead. Some that are worth trying include ox, muddlers club (both fine dining), Mourne seafood (casual and would need booked), Tedfords kitchen and stock. That said our numbers are rising and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a local lockdown within the next month.
      Enjoy- it’s a great wee city!

      • Sukes says:

        I’m a Norn Irn native. For anyone else looking at Belfast I recommend you book Hampton by Hilton in Belfast City Centre. New 2-3yrs ago, high quality spec, less than a min walk to Great Victoria St train & bus station ( you can enter through ‘back entrance’ to the station beside the hotel) fantastic location for the city centre bars and shops and currently selling around £55pn. Would echo the comments about lockdown restrictions tho….there is talk of trying 1 or 2 ‘circuit breaker’ lockdowns in NI. For those thinking of flying in/out the lounges are closed at the two airports. BA are selling CE upgrades for £59/sector.

  • KD says:

    Has anybody had any offers for trying to cancel premium IHG recently, in the past (over a year ago) when I tried to cancel I was offered interest free on purchases for 12 months to stay. I was thinking about chancing it!

    • Jonathan says:

      You know it’s now closed to new applications? I’d think very carefully about cancellation as it’s probably the HfP regulars’ favourite card at the moment. I’d think it pretty unlikely they’ll be working hard to retain customers in current climate.

  • Axil23 says:

    In regards to the Waitrose £100 on the personal Amex Platinum has anyone been offered anything on the Business Platinum? The last time around they followed up a week later with the offer for currys on the business. Nothing this time?

  • Rahaney says:

    Any news of a better IHG card than the free?? Is that the only way nowadays?? (apart from conversion)

    • Tw33ty says:

      There was a survey sent out from memory a while back along the lines of a card up from the premium version, not heard anything since. with the current climate I think the chances may be remote.

  • Colin JE says:

    Travelling through Edinburgh in a few weeks time. A month ago the BA lounge was closed. Any news on when it (or any BA lounge outside Heathrow) might re-open?

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