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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 14th 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 (196)

  • Tazzy says:

    We have had our December Christmas stay in gleneagles cancelled. I’m frontline NHS and really need a nice break. I’ve 3 weeks off from 9th December. Looking at Dubai or Tenerife. Am I mad? We went to Italy in august and found the travelling and stay very safe.

    • Anna says:

      If you can manage the logisitics of PCR tests and possible quarantine rule changes, I don’t blame you one bit! I imagine the weather would be more guaranteed in Dubai – Canaries temperatures can dip a bit in December & January so you might not be comfortable in beach wear.

      • Rob says:

        Pretty sure we’ll be in Dubai over Christmas.

        It will be pretty flippin miserable in the UK, guaranteed.

        • Harry T says:

          @Rob are you using Avios or just paying the Christmas prices? I was considering a trip but options are grim from the NE unless willing to invest rather heavily in BA (I’ve used my 241 for next June – half price Avios sale).

          • Rob says:

            I think it will be Lufthansa down and Emirates back. Will to do an Amex transfer to Skywards. Can’t risk Lufthansa coming back, even though it is far cheaper, because the transit in Germany would force quarantine.

        • Brian says:

          Nah. It’ll be fine it you retain a positive mindset

          • Rob says:

            You try keeping 2 kids busy for 3 weeks if all the shops, cinemas, Winter Wonderland etc remain shut and none of the grandparents can visit ….

      • Chris Heyes says:

        We used to go away every January didn’t call it a holiday (but of course it was lol) only problem partner always got a bad cold every time and most times a lung infection when we got back.
        So we decided to knock it on the head, mostly all the Canaries 3 weeks each, including Madera found January to be around 70 mostly

    • Craig says:

      If I had three weeks off I’d be tempted to go for 2 weeks on the gamble that one week would be enough when I get back for a test and reduced quarantine. On the basis that I don’t I’ve bought a hot tub instead!

    • Sukes says:

      Check your insurance v carefully for what you woul

      • Sukes says:

        screen just jumped to the top in mid-writing…cool… anyway just saying you’re more likely to get insurance with some form of Covid cover for travel within Europe than beyond

    • Harry T says:

      Book using Avios, if you can. You will need a PCR test before travelling to the Canaries. Dubai does offer testing on arrival. Both are excellent choices for Christmas sun.

      You can either book last minute to be sure you can travel, or book now if you have decent travel insurance that would cover you if they were taken off the travel corridor list.

      I would not travel on 9th December. Good chance the National lockdown is continued in some form for another couple of weeks, at least. The real wildcard is what happens with local restrictions when the National lockdown is lifted. I would travel as close to Christmas as possible because that’s when they are likely to allow travel and leaving home etc, because for some reason our annual capitalist love fest must be saved.

      • Harry T says:

        If you are an NHS worker, you can book the Marriott HJH (healthcare rate) and make a significant saving on hotels. I have stayed at the Sheraton and Ritz Carlton in Tenerife. I would recommend both – Sheraton is cheaper at about £112 a night on HJH. A Villa Deluxe room at the Ritz-Carlton Abama is £212ish a night in the HJH rate and you receive lots of extra perks at their Villa Club. If you have the budget and only want to pick one, I’d choose the RC. I stay at luxury hotels a lot, and have been to a fair few during covid, and the RC is top notch. You will save at least £100 or so a night at both hotels if you book the HJH rate with Marriott and it’s fully flexible (cancel up to day before).

        Please don’t hesitate to ask for advice – I’m just finishing my eleven night stay in Tenerife.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The lockdown will automatically expire on dec 2 and any further extension will have to go back to parliament. I believe there is a good chance it’ll be lifted as the data was dodgy as hell.

        Under the tier system there’s no actual restriction on going abroad.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Just to add I know there’s actually no restriction now but you can be fined for leaving your house without a valid excuse , of which going on holiday isn’t one. But there’s no such requirement under the Tier system.

        • Harry T says:

          @TG I think the lifting of the lockdown will depend on the R number and rate of hospitalisation etc at the time, which is obviously rather difficult to predict. I can see it going either way, so I think it’s wise to err on the side of caution – everyone’s evaluation of the risk will be different though.

          I’m unsure if they will lift the advice against all travel abroad immediately, but would be surprised if they didn’t by mid December.

          The only thing you can count on is this government making a hash of it either way 😂

          • TGLoyalty says:

            There are no caveats in the SI it ends Dec 2nd. I’ll trust the parliamentary process for now. Also Wales lifted it as agreed as they didn’t want to break the promise to the nation I feel like the same holds true for England.

          • Tazzy says:

            I am actually based in Northern Ireland so should be able to travel, as we haven’t had the same level of restrictions. We would be Belfast- London- Dubai

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Even better.

            I’m surprised no one has mentioned Turnberry as a gleneagles alternative. A nice relaxing break for a few days.

      • Harry T says:

        You may well be right, TG! The only thing that gives me pause is that the government (although we can’t trust Gove) have hinted at extending it, and I doubt Labour would vote against it Tories are whipping for an extension.

        Turnberry is a good idea for Christmas if the UK is sunny enough for the OP. It’s bookable for points.

        • Lady London says:

          I hope they do extend it forwards continuing from 2 December. It’s far from under control and we know that politically they wont have the guts to keep us locked in over Christmas. For one thing if they do that then there’s a significant contingent of selfish idiots of all income levels who will simply refuse to obey.

          I hope they let us out shortly before Christmas and re-lockdown on 5th or 6th January. Infections will still be huge after that short gap. January we have to stay locked down as the bug loves that weather.

          If we want to start some semblance of normal life from sometime in March people have to maintain distance, work if they are not vulnerable and stay at home if they are.

          Letting us out before the political decision they’ve already made about Christmas will only make things worse for longer. When would you prefer to be locked up – first half of December, or March?

          • Rob says:

            All hell breaks loose if people can’t travel for Christmas. People really won’t stand for it. Everyone sees the end in sight now. Boris would almost certainly accept a few deaths instead of that.

          • Tariq says:

            LOL I fear you are right. Keeping people off the streets will make sense so that the Government can focus on dealing with the mayhem in the first week of January when there’s no food in the shops because of Brexit.

            Riots will be well justified; no number of lives saved are worth the inhibition of our civil liberties.

          • Lady London says:

            Just as well there isn’t really a deadly disease about then.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @LL in a democracy you rely on the population understanding and buying into the rules. I can already see people aren’t buying into this one and going any longer will just raise the level of dissent.

          • Anna says:

            @Tariq, what utter garbage. Firstly, the worst case scenario would be slightly raised food prices in the event of no deal (I’m not downplaying the hardship that will cause some people, but it’s far from what you’re suggesting). Secondly, are you seriously saying you would rather sacrifice the lives of people you love than temporrarily restrict your civil liberties?

          • Zoe says:

            We did 14 days when Spain got changed at short notice. We 100% complied but it was hugely frustrating. Now self isolating as my daughter and her boyfriend (living with us) have positive tests. This time around even waiting 5 days for their result it has felt like there is a point for the sacrifice. Overall it seems lots of people view all these regulations like drink driving, some assume they are not much at risk and put their personal desires above the common good. We all make our own choices but I heard an expert quoted that trying to protect the most vulnerable is like designating one lane ‘wee free’ at the swimming pool.

        • Anna says:

          Always hoping that Trump doesn’t fancy a European getaway to one of his properties to escape the election controversy (or even worse – decides to relocate!)

  • Ikaz says:

    Finally received my barclaycard hilton points this morning.

    • TGLoyalty says:


      • Anna says:

        +1 – I blew a load on 5 nights in a suite at the Conrad Emirates Tower yesterday, tempted to add a couple more nights on now!

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      + 1/2

      Look to have received one chunk – my card and my wife’s are both linked to my HH account.

      I’ll add it up, but it it doesn’t look like it could be enough to be both and it’s usually posted as two txns as you might expect

      • TGLoyalty says:

        As these have been sorted manually you might find they’ve just picked up on something that should’t be allowed to happen.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Not impossible, but while they have run a process that transferred the balances ‘manually’ its not as though a human has done each one by hand so I’d be surprised if anything was picked up differently to normal…

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You’d be surprised but even if you design scripts or excel spreadsheets humans have a habit of putting in checks which reflect the actual t&c’s.

    • AndyW says:


    • Ali M says:


  • Lee says:

    Registered my cards for Virgin in store shopping a couple of days ago first time, still showing no active offer for Morrison’s. Will it appear soon or should I just forget about it this time as I was hoping to buy some GCs. Thanks

    • Tw33ty says:

      Does this work the same way as airtime?
      Do you a link or whatsit called so I can search.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Well unsurprisingly the name is banned.

        It’s called sh0ps away on the virgin website and works exactly like air time. Register your card wait 24 hrs then shop away. However be careful having the same card registered across platforms.

    • Reney says:

      On Airtime, I got the offer, went for a normal shop last week (<£50) and the transaction still hasn't tracked yet. I added the card 24 hours before I went shopping.

      Separately, I have the spend £30 get 10% off offer from Amex in Morrisons. Since it is a one time only offer, I brought quite a lot of gift cards. Check your receipts! My Amazon gift card was declined I walked straight over to customer service who said they can't do anything. Just spent 10 minutes on a call with Amazon who said they had to escalate it and will get back to me between 24-48 hours. This has happened to me before and always for Amazon gift cards. Its very annoying.

      • My Cat Voted For Biden says:

        takes a fair bit of time before airtime tracks

      • Josh says:

        You should have insisted the store sorts it out. It’s not really anything to do with Amazon. Morrisons is the retailer. This issue sometimes happens when the cashier scans the same gift card barcode twice

        • Doug M says:

          That depends, for each gift card you should have an activation receipt showing the last 4 digits of the barcode card number, this is what you purchase. If you don’t have that it’s a Morrison’s problem assuming you paid for it. If you do have that and the number shown under the rub off panel doesn’t work, it is indeed an Amazon problem.

          • Reney says:

            I have the activation receipt and it says decline. Amazon didn’t send me away straight away so wait and see.

          • Doug M says:

            If it says decline then M shouldn’t have charged. I’d go to them if the shop receipt shows it was charged for.

        • Reney says:

          I insisted, they said it wasn’t their problem.

          • Lady London says:

            It is the shop’s problem as they are supposed to.sell you valid product. If escalating in the store didn’t work then could youvdo a chargeback?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It’s absolutely their problem as they are the point of sale. I have only ever had one not activated and the store quickly removed it and scanned a new one.

          • Polly says:

            Happened to us with Homebase GCs a few years ago. Manager in Morrisons immediately replaced them. But l had ended up using my card In Homebase anyway, as my GCs failed at the till. Now check every activation slip to see if activated.

  • Kevin C says:

    While I love HFP I’m having a real problem using the site on mobile (safari). I’ll be reading the comments and the page just resets up to the ‘Subscribe to our emails’ box. Happened five times today and it just happened while I was writing this message on desktop. Any tips?

    • Harry T says:

      Maybe try clearing your cache? Rhys and Rob always seem to suggest that!

      • Rob says:

        It is a known bug which seems to be linked to the fix we did on the Reply button. We are trying to work out what is causing it.

  • Harry T says:

    Anyone know if the Sala Montana Roja lounge at Tenerife South is open at the moment? We are flying out later.

    • marcw says:

      According to the AENA website it’s closed.

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks. Looked like it would let me book it on one website (dummy booking, I have priority pass) so that’s disappointing.

  • David Butcher says:

    I used my Harrods offer online on 2nd November but have not received my £100 credit. I was mailed the offer in advance as a “reward” but it has never appeared on my account offers online, which I was released about. I chatted with Amex yesterday – at first the agent said he couldn’t see the spend on my account – I don’t know what he was looking at because I had it on the screen in front of me. When he did find it, he said there was no problem but it may take up to 90 days to be credited. I know that is a condition on all offers but I have never had to wait longer than a few days in the past so I am not confident that I will get this credit. Is anyone else waiting like this?

    • David Butcher says:

      Sorry – “relaxed” not “released”. Damn predictive text.

    • Andrew says:

      As always my advice is not to waste your time with chat – ring Brighton for an answer. Does it show in your saved used offers? Most people, myself included didn’t see the offer listed until the moment the transaction was approved – mine was in seconds of me tapping the card in store, then showed as a saved offer. So might be you were missed off the list accidentally, but you’ve got the mailer so you’re covered. But ring and ask to speak to Brighton if you want to know for sure.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I find if it doesn’t happen within a couple days of the transaction it always happens within a few days of the offer ending.

    • JAD says:

      I’m in the same position – rang Amex yesterday and spoke to Brighton. CSA confirmed they can see the spend (and that i’m eligible for the offer) and I will get the credit – but it may take some time (within the 90 days) to come through. Will keep an eye on it.

  • Dan says:

    The Lufthansa M&M card has stopped accepting applications now and will only restart in Summer 2021 according to the website.

    It is also going from a Mastercard to a Visa.

    • AlexT says:

      Yeah, I was about to report the same. The website now redirects to a new CornerCard version and it seems to have different login details, so I can’t access my past CC statements…

    • AlexT says:

      Looks like they are moving in the right direction with the new card. Not sure whether it will be a credit or a charge card (not even sure there are any VISA charge cards out there, but guessing its up to the lender to decide the repayment schedule), but it sounds like it will support ApplePay. The mouse-click away management does suggest there still won’t be an app for card management though…

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The current MasterCard works fine with Apple Pay too.

      • Rob says:

        Charge card, it’s in the FAQ. Likely to remain a prepaid debit card because that Cornercard’s niche.

        You don’t need an app. The website is PERFECTLY set up for mobile use. In fact, it works better than MBNA’s dedicated app. Put a link to the webpage on your phone home page and you’re good to go.

      • David says:

        There certainly are VISA charge cards, although not that common in the Europe region.

    • 747_Brat says:

      Looks like they have dumped both Diners Club & Mastercard, and got in bed with just Visa this time around!

      Good thing is the earning rate remains the same!

  • Roger says:

    Spain is introducing the PCR test certificate from 23 NOV before allowing entry to most EU and other countries by sea/air.
    Does anyone know if there is any facility at Heathrow that can be used?

    • Pete says:

      I believe the Sofitel package at LHR includes a saliva PCR test?

      On a broader point, as much as I understand the logic, I think this is going to majorly hurt Spain. I suspect I am not alone in thinking that paying £150pp for a test to go on a long-haul holiday is possibly justifiable, it really isn’t for a few days in Spain (unless you were going for a while, I suppose!).

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