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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 29th 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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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.

By default, HfP shows the last page of comments under the article.  If you want to see the first page of comments and read them all from beginning to end in order, click here: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/11/29/the-hfp-chat-thread-sunday-29th-november/comment-page-1.  The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (201)

  • Martha says:

    can you pay hmrc with curve metal backed by COT?
    Do you need to pay it off immediately?

  • Rob mc says:

    Hi Rob, do you have anyone at BA who can confirm re Dubai and test on arrival at Dubai airport. Spoke to the call centre last night who went through the gov.uk website but not sure if that is good enough and don’t want to arrive at the airport and be turned away. Thanks

    • BrightonReader says:

      You need to be looking at the Government of Dubai or the DXB website for information on the requirements on entering Dubai.

    • PK says:

      Based on flyer talk forum for thread BA& Dubai ,the answer is Yes as BA check in staff at T5 are asking for -ve covid test result and was the answer from Rob yesterday. Should you wish to avail free covid test at Dubai than at home better carry a print out of FCO and Dubai immigration rules.I would send a friend(10mins tube to T5) this week to LHR for his day exercise to get the ground report of the covid rules at check in desks as I am flying to DXB with BA on Dec 16th.

      • Aristeides says:

        Thanks PK. Flying on 14th, but I am confident that you can rely on the test on arrival. I am not concerned about failing the test (what will be, will be) but the length of the self isolation period between test and confirmation ie. Do you have to stay in your hotel room for that period or just your hotel?

  • Ed says:

    Anyone know what happened to VS scheduling the A350 to BGI? Seems like the 787 is back on BGI for January.

  • vickyTM says:

    Just received my Curve card.. hmrc thinks its a corporate debit card, so wants to charge a fee. Is this usual, or is there a way to change it?
    The payment keeps being declined anyway, so not a great product so far.

    • MD says:

      Look at the back of the card. Does it say commercial or business on it? If so, that’s why HMRC are (correctly) thinking it’s a corporate card. You can ask Curve to change it for a personal card, which won’t have this issue (although unless you have Curve metal you will still be charged a fee by Curve for using Curve fronted to pay a tax bill).

    • vickyTM says:

      Yes it’s a curve metal, and the fee is definitely from HMRC as they say it’s corporate card.

      • Isherwood says:

        Ditto – use metal every month and last month for first time a fee from HMRC appeared at ‘check out’ (no changes my end). But it was only .01% so paying £1k means I now get charged a £1 by HMRC.

  • Eric the Half a Bee says:

    Hi folks, I’m wondering what people’s thoughts are on planning to travel to Japan next summer. My view is that there’s likely to be some opening up in time for the olympics and, because of this, could be reasonably safe option for travelling to once the games have finished (second half of August). All opinions welcome!

    • Dave says:

      I’m booked to go to Japan in May. Currrntly they are talking about opening up on a trial basis for tourism in April. With the vaccines etc ans the olympics coming up I’m reckoning it’s maybe 50-50 for my holiday at the moment…

      • Mouse says:

        I’m also booked in May. With any luck private vaccination might be available be then with entry allowed for vaccinated visitors, or failing that countries will have opened up again on the basis of having already vaccinated the vulnerable.

      • Nick says:

        I hope it all happens, I am meant to be working at the Olympics

    • Johnny Tabasco says:

      Don’t forget it’s the Paras after the main games too. I think they finish early Sep (or are due to)
      Ultimately you are asking a question that simply impossible to answer.
      It’ll be a risk if you book it, it’s as simple as that. No one know what the situation is going to look like next month let alone next Summer, even factoring in a possible vaccine.

      • Eric the Half a Bee says:

        All very true, although my main concern around the timing of the olympics was that hotel availability in Tokyo is minimal (to say the least) during the main Games, but opens up completely after 11th August when they finish.
        I am thinking along the lines of booking flights with low(ish) canx fees and hotels booked 100% with points (refundable).

    • Harry T says:

      I booked June in the half price Avios sale with. 241. There’s a chance it may happen and BA seem to cancel all my flights, so may be able to move it later in the year!

  • KBuffett says:

    Do Israel stamp GB passports on arrival/departure and is this a problem if subsequently visiting UAE, Oman and the like?

    • Tracey says:

      They don’t stamp anymore. Haven’t done for a few years.
      Note that you won’t get in at the moment unless you have an Israeli passport or have special circumstances and consent from the embassy.

    • Lumma says:

      They don’t stamp so if you arrive or depart by air there’s no problem, if you left by land, the entry stamp into Jordan/Egypt could reveal that you’ve been to Israel and could cause problems entering some other Muslim countries

    • Rhys says:

      These days they normally give you a little ticket with the stamp which is removable for obvious reasons. But with relations in the Middle East defrosting this may be a concern for the past. Etihad is offering direct flights to Tel Aviv now!

    • Jonathan says:

      It really depends where you might have in your future travel plans, don’t take my word for this, just use it general guidance, countries like Libya, Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen will have a problem. Countries like Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, UAE, Oman aren’t fused by it. HfP isn’t really the best place to be asking about Israeli stamps in your passport, there’s loads pages on the internet where people have travelled to places where it can be a problem, or have heard stories from travellers.
      Generally the countries where an Israeli stamp will be (or almost certainly cause paranoia by the border guards) are places that no one in their right mind will consider going to in the first place the way things currently are! This is not due to coronavirus, the foreign office have been in many cases telling you not to go anywhere near these countries for years due to general security situations, being war torn and just general lawlessness everywhere you could go within the countries. This doesn’t apply to all of them, but most

      • Genghis says:

        I’d say the HfP chat thread is a good place to be asking.

        When I went a couple of years ago I got a slip of paper. Entering the country was easy. On leaving, they didn’t like the look of my UAE, Indonesia, Morocco etc stamps and subjected me to higher security with full search of cabin bag. I’d been there a week and only travel HBO so all dirty clothes. Nice.

        • meta says:

          About 10 years ago, I was subjected to some serious interrogation on arrival. I had none of the MENA countries stamps in my passport, but I asked them to put the stamp on a piece of paper as didn’t want the risk if I had to go somewhere later. This triggered several questions about whether I am going to Syria next. They were really pushy in trying to make me say that I am going. No problems on leaving though which was a relief.

        • Aston100 says:

          I never understood why so many countries are obsessed with security when you are *leaving* their country.

  • María says:

    I’m following it too. I have read that you can do them on arrival and they cost AED250. The issue is if you test positive you’ll have to quarantine. Btw BA is accepting NHS tests for Dubai.

    • Rob Mc says:

      The Gov website states that you can either have a test certificate or tested on arrival, but comments yesterday by Rob saying that BA wont let you board with a test have made me unsure. Have looked around at testing and i dont believe you can even do a home test even if it is checked by a lab either, so will need to be an in clinic test.
      Also for Dubai – 96 hours before, fly Saturday at 2040 does that mean the test can be done Tuesday (exactly 4 days) or Wednesday? (under 96 hours from arrival)

    • Jonathan says:

      You’re an idiot if you use the NHS test for this (ignoring the morals). As someone tested every week, it takes 4-5 days to get a result back at the moment. By which time it’s too late for an alternative. Just pay up here or do test on arrival.

      • Rob Mc says:

        Thanks Rob, just took a look. Definitely just want to make sure I can get in! Out of curiosity has anyone used City doc ? They are advertised on BA with a turnaround of 72 hours for £125. Seems best price at the moment. Am in central London so if anyone has any other experiences with a shorter time that would be good. Thanks in advance

        • DB2020 says:

          Bliss Pharmacy, several branches in London, 48 hours turnaround, £140 including doctor’s certificate confirming that you are fit to travel. I plan to use this for a possible trip in the next two weeks.

      • @mkcol says:

        24-36 hours turnaround time from testing here in Milton Keynes for the last several weeks, maybe you need to choose a different site.

  • María says:

    I have the Langley booked for the Marriott offer but it looks like is going to be on tier 3. Any restaurants where I could still use the offer please? TIA