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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 8th November

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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 (186)

  • Aliks says:

    The streets of London seem to be as busy as ever, you would hardly notice the lockdown.

    What is Heathrow like at the moment? Which shops, lounges, restaurants are open in T5?

    • S879 says:

      Totally agree. Yesterday I was shocked at how many adults and children were out. So different from the previous lockdown. I wonder how much the rates and deaths will come down this way! I am a teacher and have seen the bad impact lockdown had on primary school children. However, we are in a pretty desperate situation re number of deaths and cases and this half hearted lockdown will not have the big impact our PM is expecting in 4 or even 6 weeks. Just my two cents.

      • Number9 says:

        People aren’t buying the government line, the doom and gloom twins have not been truthful with their graphs of doom and people are questioning why are we being treated like criminals for going to the shops or visiting our family. They haven’t been honest how they collect data or present it. The question should be how many people have died of virus not with it. And how many died with no underlying conditions. They never tell us how many recover, how many have no symptoms, they only tell us how many infected. Just remember all these people closing our businesses and taking away our jobs have zero chance of losing theirs. Wonder if they would be so keen on lockdowns if their actual job was at risk, because there’s no accountability for the MPs for next 4 years and they will be banking on us forgetting all about it by then.

        • Paul says:

          Well said

        • GeorgeJ says:

          All that data is available in just as many ways as you want to cut it. Most people are just too lazy to look for it.

        • Capt Hammond says:

          Spot on – excellent comment

        • KBuffett says:

          Whilst I don’t disagree, I do feel that perhaps the UK government have succeeded and hence hospitals and death rates are low. Without the intervention, who knows where we would be today.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Mostly I agree (not about MPs being worried about their jobs that’s a bit silly) but, to your point about underlying conditions that does rather come across as suggesting those people don’t count in your eyes – which I would hope is not the impression you were trying to give.

          • Number9 says:

            Mps should be worried about their jobs, just like the rest of us. Don’t try and twist my words I thought it was very clear what I had written. You are suggesting I don’t care about people who have underlying conditions which is not what I wrote at all. It’s an important distinction and you know it or maybe you are the one choosing to cherry pick information just like the government is.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Number9 I thought their Jobs was always at risk at least every 4 years
          unless of course the people can be bribed to re-elect them lol
          and of course most people have short memorys lol

      • Brian says:

        Why were you shocked? Being on the street is allowed the last time I checked the rules?

        • Andrew says:

          And surely you were out in order to see “all these people” on a sunny Saturday. Why wouldn’t people be out?

          • GeorgeJ says:

            Absolutely, some people expect to be mistreated and imprisoned in their own homes and are disappointed when they are not!

        • Rob says:

          I was on Kings Road yesterday at 1pm picking up some takeaway and it WAS heaving. Easily as busy as a standard Mon-Fri. It was a bit odd, because – apart from M&S – not many shops are big enough to abuse the rules. (M&S sells food and clothing on the same floor and so keeps it clothing open.)

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Rob i remember you saying only a few months ago that London was safe no or hardly any covid.anywhere in London
            It looks like everbody from up north must have traveled up to London.
            Unless there is another way it’s got into London ?

      • Chris says:

        Personal responsibility would be useful wouldn’t it. If you don’t want to catch or spread the virus then stay indoors. If you want to work or carry on as usual then make that personal choice.

        As someone with double unemployment now in my household, and elderly relatives shielding, I wonder if all this pain and sacrifice is just to save the lazy and ignorant.

        • Callum says:

          How on Earth can a selfish nation like the UK (yes, I know the same applies to most countries) possibly rely on “personal responsibility” to get people who “don’t want to spread the virus” to stay at home?

          Not to mention, millions of people cant just decide not to work without causing the entire country to collapse. (An actual collapse – not the fake collapse people keep insisting the lockdown will cause despite it being obviously untrue)

          • Josh says:

            Where are you originally from Callum? You said previously that you only came to the UK to work here?

          • Dr C says:

            “Not to mention, millions of people cant just decide not to work without causing the entire country to collapse. (An actual collapse – not the fake collapse people keep insisting the lockdown will cause despite it being obviously untrue)”

            Millions of people can’t just stay at home and not work but thats what happening every lockdown, the only difference is that it’s being supported in this country by the furlough schemes.

        • Navara says:

          +1

          • Callum says:

            I didn’t quite say that previously, but I’m originally from… the UK. Not that it’s relevant (my point should stand or fall on it’s own merit!).

          • Callum says:

            Dr C – I don’t think I was clear enough. Millions of people can indeed stay at home without the country collapsing.

            The specific millions I was referring to are the health workers, carers, emergency services, retail workers, logistics workers etc. If they just “use personal responsibility” and choose to stay at home as suggested, we’re screwed. We can live without Primark, but if the hospitals close or we can’t get food…

            I’d much rather we created a way for them not to need to do so – which this partial lockdown hopefully will achieve.

        • Lady London says:

          +1

      • Charlieface says:

        You’re making the assumption that lockdowns actually work. The WHO isn’t convinced.

        • The real John says:

          The UK hasn’t had any lockdowns – a word used only by the media. Greece’s current system is the closest in Europe that could be described as a lockdown, as well as France’s.

        • pauldb says:

          They didn’t suggest lockdowns don’t work: they warned of the consequences for the poor. Hence lockdowns should be a last resort for a quick intervention.

        • KBuffett says:

          Who are not credible.

    • Andrew says:

      No lounges are open at T5. And shops are open in line with the wider law – so WHS, Boots and Fortnums (as it sells food) are open.

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Hi, HFP, Readers need help please, with a trip to Dubrovnik ?
    But Daughter has asked if she can come, going to stop at Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik (i have 3 Hotels.com Vouchers, Hilton Points and Tesco Clubcard points) I’m Gold Hilton, but Gold most Hotel brands although not used any group.(which should i use ?)
    wondering if any group Hotel is 4/5 miles from Dubrovnik, beach hopefully
    What i need to know is ? Are there any recomendations for any beach resorts (Hotel Complex’s) near old town reasonable priced for Daughter and two boys idealy with some sort of entertainment.
    This is not my normal scene lol
    I’ve had a look at “Sun Gardens” Would that be my best bet ?
    Anyone been there, or anywhere near ?
    Croatia is one place We’ve never visited (no idea why missed it out)

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Add boys will be 13 and 8

    • pauldb says:

      There’s a Rixos (Accor) nearer the centre. I believe the Sun Gardens is now independent and some way out.

      We stayed at the Valamar Lacroma which was a decent option sharing facilities with several Valamar hotels including a beach at the President. If you stay in the V Level the food was very good and there’s a reserved area of the beach. Closer to town and regular buses to the Hilton.

    • Pid says:

      We stayed in one of the Valamar hotels, can not remember which one. It was very pleasant, close to the beach and with lots of regular buses to the centre.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      We spent a very pleasant week over half term in Dubrovnik. Stayed at the Palace hotel which is outside of town but it’s now closed for winter. I believe the President and the Rixos are both still open.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Thanks Pauldb, pid, and mr_jetlag, plan is 2021, just planning at mo

  • Liz says:

    Does anyone know if Amex is planning on doing the Dec Small Shop this year. Normally we would see advertising for it by now – I think. Not that I have the energy to do another 70 transactions again but I want to cancel my Amex Rewards card and reset my 2 year clock.

    • Andrew says:

      If it does happen they will wait until lockdown is lifted before even announcing as 90% of places will be closed, so will be for a shorter period. But given the circumstances and that they did it in the summer, I think it’s very unlikely this December.

    • Kevin C says:

      I don’t have knowledge that they aren’t doing it but they referred to ‘this year’s shop small’ when they did it in the summer. Seems unlikely they would do it again.

  • Anna says:

    Apparently the government has finally seen the (sun) light about vitamin D and is supplying it to the eldery and vulenrable for 4 months. Let’s hope people are given the right information to persuade them to take it. I’ve been taking it for 3 years after I was diagnosed as deficient and it was like a miracle cure. I read any studies I can find bout it – apparently it stops viruses attaching to receptors which would otherwise carry them into the lungs (where they do the worst damage), which is why it’s so important for preventing respiratory infections.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      One recent study found that more than 80 per cent of Covid-19 victims admitted to hospital were Vitamin D deficient, compared with a UK average of 25 per cent.

      Pretty damning for something so cheap to buy/supply.

      • The real John says:

        How do they know the UK average is 25%. Was it 25% of people who had a blood test for Vitamin D or was it from an actual random sample of the population

      • BuildTheWall says:

        Makes no sense. If that was the case, there should be no cases in India and Africa where it is always sunny.
        Correlation is not equal to causation

        • Craig says:

          It isn’t just from sunshine, diet pays a significant part too. Furthermore, there are many in India that avoid direct sunlight or spend all day working in air-conditioned offices. There have been surveys that have pointed to widespread Vitamin D deficiency in India.

          • Anna says:

            Same in Mediterranean countries – people have taken on board the message to stay out of the sun or use sun block and therefore are becoming deificient (the first big study of Vit d’s connection to covid was in Spain!). It’s no coincidence as well that the pandemic first hit northern Italy in March, i.e. at the end of winter.

        • Anna says:

          If you read the paper I posted the link to it absolutely shows causation, and the mechanism for it – vitamin d acts by preventing viruses entering the lungs.

    • Number9 says:

      I take extra Vit D, My blood tests always come back I’m deficient, I gave my son a box yesterday he’s a night worker so doesn’t see much day light as sleeping. Tesco have 3 for 2 on offer atm

    • Harry T says:

      I was saying to (my) Anna the other day that the government should supply vitamin D to the elderly and vulnerable! It’s cheap and very useful, even without the potential effect on covid.

      I do suspect that many patients with Covid are vitamin D deficient because covid patients do tend to be BAME and/or nursing home residents – both high risk groups for vitamin D deficiency in the first place. So this is perhaps a decent stimulus to get the government/NHS to fund and support supplementation in these groups.

      • Harry T says:

        Also, I’m getting my vitamin D from Tenerife 🤪

      • Anna says:

        It seems to be very slow to catch on – 3 years ago I was (mis)diagnosed with COPD after a long bout of debilitating chest infections and tested for everything including lung cancer! The very last test I had was done by a newly qualified GP and was for vitamin D levels. I give thanks for that young man regularly as since I began taking supplements I’ve barely had a sniffle!

    • Craig says:

      Just to add, one of the big issues here is that it can take up to 3 months for levels to reach normal levels using supplements!

      • Anna says:

        Yes, I noticed after exactly 3 months that my hair and nails started growing visibly, like they do when you’re on holiday getting lots of sun exposure, even though it was March and I hadn’t seen the sun for about 7 months!

  • Craig says:

    Me too Anna, a multivitamin with Vitamin D all year then topped up with an additional Vitamin D tablet in the winter. It’s so cheap I can’t believe they haven’t advised taking it already? My wife is a practice nurse and tested several of the staff for Vit D deficiency recently, almost all the staff of Asian heritage were deficient some of them to a worrying degree.

    • Andrew says:

      Don’t forget your £5 back at Holland and Barrett!

      • Craig says:

        3 for 2 at Boots is usually cheaper! 🙂

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Try your local independent you might find value packs for a fraction of the price in both.

          • Craig says:

            I’ve got about 20 years worth of supply, thought it best to stock up before the panic buying happened!

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Sounds like you WERE the panic buying, Craig (◔_◔)

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Takes nearly 3x as long to get your daily dose of Vit D from the sun if you are of a darker complexion.

      Also nearly all glass stops the UVB required for your body to make Vit D so it has to be time actually outside with arms etc out.

      • Anna says:

        And you can’t get it from the sun in the UK between October and April anyway – the sun’s at the wrong angle. Interestingly, the absorbtion level is optimal when the sun is highest (i.e. when we’re told to stay out of it!) I’ve read some doctors saying even that skin cancer is being exacerbated by people not getting a safe dose of sunlight in the middle of the day any more!

        • Callum says:

          That’s very intriguing. In what way is that exacerbating skin cancer? I can’t comprehend how that could be true (unless it’s saying something like people are replacing a short period of time at midday with a long period of time a bit earlier/later)?

          • Anna says:

            There’s an excellent new book out by Rober Thomas who is an oncology professor – it’s called How To Live and presents all the latest research on health and ageing. The new thinking seems to be that people are avoiding the sun altogether or using high SPF creams which is causing vitamin D levels not to be replenished by sun exposure – and vitamin is instrumental in preventing a number of cancers, including skin cancer.
            Even as a non-scientist, it does strike me that rates of skin cancer are increasing in direct proportion to the advice given to stay out of the sun.

          • Callum says:

            Thanks for those interesting sources. I’m not convinced the correlation with “stay out of the sun” warnings means much given it doesn’t seem to be followed particularly well though.

            Other studies contradict those findings, but it’s certainly an interesting topic (and I’d caveat that with not getting enough sun exposure doesn’t mean you need to get it in the middle of the day – that’s just the most intense time).

          • Anna says:

            Callum – studies which didn’t find a link between vitamin d and sunscreen only used medium protection sunscreens. These are far more likely to allow some penetration of UV rays than the factor 30 & upwards we slather on ourselves and our kids today.
            Also – the UV rays which activate vit d production can only penetrate the atmosphere (and therefore human skin) when the sun is highest, i.e. between 11 am and 3 pm. The closer it is to directly overhead, the more vitamin d you get from exposure.This is from scientific papers, I’m not making it up!
            https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326167#tips

          • callum says:

            Thanks Anna – don’t worry, I certainly don’t think you’re making this up (you’ve seen how I respond when I do!).

            Though I would stay away from the absolutes. UVB rays certainly do penetrate the atmosphere before 11am and after 3pm, just at much smaller amounts. Which is actually a very good point with the skin cancer explanation you gave – outside those times you’ll need to expose your skin for much longer, meaning a far higher exposure to UVA. Thanks for this information!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Didn’t know that about Oct to March good to know.

          Yes 11-3 is the best time and without sunscreen too, but not for too long 30-40 mins a day should be enough probably less if you’re sunbathing.

          • Chris says:

            The sun is higher at 1pm in October than it is at 4pm in August. Why would people be advised you can only get vit D via sunlight in those months?

          • Sam says:

            One of my friends mum saw a nutritionist who advised to take vitamin K2 with Vit D which makes Vit D be absorbed better so I have started doing that!

          • Jody says:

            @Sam, that’s exactly what I do too, I use a spray rather than a tablet. Vitamin D is talked about a lot on a thyroid forum I’m on, and the recommendation is always to take it with vitamin K2 to aid absorption.

  • Harry T says:

    Don’t know if anyone else has realised this yet, but the student (educational?) subscription to the Telegraph costs £25 a year, and there’s an amex offer for “spend £25, get £20 back”.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, we’ll do an article on this at some point.

    • Jack says:

      I appreciate their COVID coverage (rather than advocacy in my usual paper of choice, The Guardian), but their political coverage of the U.S. Election and Trump has been gross. I guess £5. year net isn’t bad…

    • Pablo says:

      6 months free for Heathrow rewards premium members.

    • Harry T says:

      I like their hotel review articles, but I’ve never subscribed. Would be mostly interested in the travel section. And it would be good to read right wing biased news to balance out my other reading.

  • Ming The Merciless says:

    A few questions:

    1. On an Avios RTW redemption, how are fees/apd calculated. I.e. ba to Madrid, Iberia to the us, is an over 24hr stop sufficient to avoid apd?

    2. How do you register for the times subscription with amex business platinum?

    3. If you get a sup plat business and sup gold credit card with your plat business, do you get a supplement card holder bonus for both?

    • The real John says:

      You would pay the APD to Madrid only if the next departure is more than 24h after your arrival

    • Charlieface says:

      1. APD would be at short haul level if there is more than 24 hour stopover outside the UK (can’t remember the rules for domestics). Fees are in line with other tickets. If you go to ITA Matrix and put through your itinerary, it will show you the breakdown of fees.

      3. Don’t think so. The gold is just the colour of the card, and I thought Plat Biz got unlimited Plat supps anyway (insurance only for card #1)? And it’s a charge card, not credit card.

  • Roger says:

    I have a legacy Marriott travel package certificate expiring in Jan 2021
    Logging into my account I do not see any further extn.
    Has anyone managed to extend the certificate beyond their expiry date?

    • Roger says:

      To answer my query, Marriott as an exceptional case due to COVID19 has extended my expiry date by another 12 months from today.

      • Andrew M says:

        Thanks Roger, I’m in the same position with a travel package. I’ve dropped Marriot a line today asking for an extension.

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