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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 19th December

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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.

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.

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 (372)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Michael C says:

    Morning all!
    Just a fyi regarding Test for Release (after 5 days’ quarantine): the new confirmed official supplier is by far, far the best: Collinson, located at LHR T2. It’s the cheapest (GBP 78), open I believe every day (certainly on Sunday 27 Dec.), and results back the same day.

  • JP-MCO says:

    Is anybody else starting to get a bit fed up with the poor standard of Curve CS? I recently completed the spend £100 with Amazon and receive £10 Curve cash and despite completing more than the required spend the £10 did not post. I reached out to Curve CS by email and enquired about it. A few hours later I got a “we know it’s not right and we’ll investigate it” type response. I fail to see the value in such holding responses – especially where the resolution is so clear. I’ve had to reach out to Curve on a couple of occasions recently and each time it’s taken around a week to resolve a simple query. For the £15 a month fee I pay for Curve Metal I do have a somewhat higher expectation.

    I suppose my question is, “What has happened to Curve CS?” They used to be really good but in recent months it’s all gone to ……….. does anybody know why?

    • Wollhouse says:

      Similar experience with CS. I asked to have my card changed to personal as they had (against my request) issued a corporate one. An email arrived saying they’d done so, but no new card has turned up. It’s been weeks now. Possibly due to Royal Mail? but I’ve emailed them multiple times as they cancelled my old card immediately (without telling me) so I have no curve, right in the run up to Xmas, and when the promo for Amazon was on! I have tax bills due so was trying to push my limit. I’ve had no response to my CS emails for over 3 weeks. I gave up months ago on trying to get communication within the app to work. Reloaded, all the suggestions on here, no joy and again, no response to my emails to CS. As you say, historically, they did seem to be more responsive?

      • JP-MCO says:

        After a long running issue about 1-2 months ago and little to no help via email I tweeted them. It got sorted within a day. I still always try (initially) to use the ‘official’ route to reach out to CS but it’s becoming more and more apparent that things don’t get actioned until you publicly call them out. That’s disappointing.
        Historically HfP seemed to have a good relationship with Curve so it would be nice if a representative came on here and offered an explanation for the quite noticeable deterioration in customer support. I would have accepted COVID as an explanation 10 months ago but not now. There’s no excuse for a tech company not to have adapted working practices at this point.

    • The Streets says:

      My underlying card was charged twice for the Amazon purchase and took a few goes with the CS to get it right

    • Danny says:

      Curve CS sent out a standard holding response to everyone…and if they are aware of the issue, why not just pay up, what is there to investigate?!

      “Thanks for getting in touch and I’m sorry to hear you haven’t received your reward! We know that something’s not quite right but rest assured, we’re investigating the issue and will give you an update as soon as we can. Apologies again and drop us a message if there’s anything else we can help with in the meantime.”

    • Ja says:

      They have just posted my £10 at 9.59am today

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I know everyone expects everything today now days but it’s a couple days late. What’s the value in chasing the £10 now?

      I’ve never done badly out of waiting it out a week or so before chasing anyone and it’s usually sorted quickly.

      Patience really is a virtue.

      • JP-MCO says:

        Came on here to ask a question about people’s experience with Curve CS and ended up getting a lecture from a stranger about patience. Virtue signalling really is the most sycophantic invention of the 21st century.

    • Doug M says:

      I like Curve CS being rubbish. I still feel that if Curve were competent it would be a lot less useful.

  • Nick_C says:

    “What has happened to Curve CS?”

    Many big companies CS has been dreadful in recent months. Surely a lot of it is due to downsizing, sickness, not having the right IT for homeworking, and not having easy access to supervisors. I’ve had really poor service from Amex, BT, and Lloyds Bank, spending hours on the phone trying to get various issues sorted. (The worst by far has been BT. )

    • avstar says:

      I see your BT, I raise you Virgin Media…

      • TripRep says:

        And I raise you Shell Energy Broadband

        • Sandgrounder says:

          And I raise you Scottish Power. 6 weeks to issue a final bill that their website says was generated 5 days after my switch, have to cancel your DD because they will want to take a further payment in this time, and then 3 weeks to issue a cheque to get your money back. Not that I’m bitter or anything 😃

        • KBuffett says:

          TM Lewin has been more than dreadful. Covid cannot be the excuse 9 months down then line. If anyone knows how to contact the current CEO or equivalent, please do share.

          • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

            I think you need to set your expectations low when dealing with a company that has had basically no revenue for nine months, gone through administration and made the bulk of its employees redundant.

          • Crafty says:

            Pretty sure they went bust..?

          • Tom1 says:

            I find the Resolver site very helpful. Not sure if it works for TMLewin but has worked for me several times – taking the hassle of getting things sorted. Compiles the complaint, sends via email, automatic audit trail of all correspondence and makes chasing/escalations a piece of cake. Often these complaints go strait to a team that actually knows how to resolve issues.

          • Bazza says:

            John Lewis broadband band…. Just don’t try it no matter what Mr Lewis says.

        • James. says:

          I’ll raise you PayPal.

        • The real John says:

          Shell Energy Broadband has been ok for me, effectively £10 per month and leaving contract early because of the price rise. Let’s hope they get my final bill right, as they agreed to waive the “cease charge” (which really should have been more prominently displayed at signup time).

          The only odd thing is that since October, at 2059 every day it disconnects and reconnects, not going to complain since I am leaving anyway

      • Lady London says:

        You’ve clearly not had to deal with Equiniti.

    • KBuffett says:

      Curve and Revolut CS are pretty much non existent.

      • Peter K says:

        I found in November that curve’s systems don’t pick up long CS messages sent. Send them a short message after the long one with the details and they may well see it and action it.
        They were quick to sort the problem after I did that.

        • the_real_a says:

          This reminds me of contact center CRM solution i was working on about 20 years ago. We initially allowed the agent to pick any query from the queue whilst at the same time the orgnaisation incentivised number of tickets closed… of course what happened was cherry picking of the easy to close items!

          Of course it always older people with nice handwriting that would write chapter and verse over several pages, when only a sentence was relevant to fixing the query.

  • Simon says:

    Has anyone tried booking both their old and new IHG free night following the extension yesterday where the extended free night appears in the account alongside the Dec 2020 expiring one?

    • Jane says:

      Where do you see the certificate ? I’ve just had an e-mail saying mine has been extended and I don’t think I have one (only got standard credit card not premium!)

      • Anna says:

        I think all card holders got an email, but standard card doesn’t get the certificate! Sounds about right for Creation. I doubt I’ll get a second certificate as my night has been extended to May 2022!

        • Jane says:

          They got my hopes up there for a minute ! oh well, just happy to have got my spend through for spire elite with two days to go 🙂 can’t believe I only just realised about that benefit when it was mentioned here a couple of weeks back.

        • Rob says:

          My wife cancelled her card 2 years ago and got the email.

      • Small Shop says:

        The email said IF you had a certificate expiring 31 December THEN you’ll get a new one by way of extension.

    • Reney says:

      I have the US card, because IHG decided to issue a new certificate rather than extend the current one I have one that expires in 12 days another than expires in 8.5 months. As someone here said the other day the US free night is stay by not book by. Given we entered tier 3 today, I have no where to go in the next 12 days… If you have both and is stay by why not book a weekend next year and let us know if that works?

      • Benilyn says:

        My vouchers are appearing as when I book:
        31-Dec-20 expiry – book any date
        Nov-22 expiry – book any date
        But the new one applied
        30-Aug-21 expiry – only allows me to book up to Aug-21, not like the rest of our UK vouchers 😕

    • Benilyn says:

      I think it does work, I booked 2, then got to the final step of 3rd but didn’t finish it off.

    • Small Shop says:

      Numerous commenters and some bloggers have said they asked IHG if you could use both and the answer was yes.

      It also seems that the new “extension” certificate is “stay by” rather than “book by” like the original.

      • jil says:

        I can confirm it works, I booked 3 night using 3 certs (1 is from “extension”)

  • James says:

    So just got back from Antigua. Virgin cancelled the flight on the Monday and put me on one two days later on the Wednesday. No issue there other than the additional two days accommodation and food, which via messaging they said to keep the receipts for and they would pay.
    They are now saying I need to claim through Travel Insurance and they won’t pay.
    No compensation is due (EC261) because it was done more than 14 days before we flew, but the inconsistency in messaging is annoying me. Which one is worth pursuing? Virgin or the Travel Insurance?

    • Matt says:

      It should be Virgin who pay, but I’d be tempted to try to claim from travel insurance – they might pay out and then claim it back from Virgin themselves, so it might be easier. If your insurer says no initially then forget them and go after Virgin all the way

    • Anna says:

      Virgin is absolutely responsible for this, duty of care applies regardless of when cancellatios occur. I suspect your insurer would refer you back to Virgin in the first instance as it’s clear where the responsibility lies. They must be reading off BA scripts!

  • Duncan Stevenson-Price says:

    Silly question on Shop Small… I know they don’t like folks splitting transactions across multiple cards to game the system, but does the same apply to supplementary cardholders? E.G if I go for lunch with a supplementary cardholder, are we likely to be breaking any rule if we split the bill and each benefit from our Shop Small offer (despite both cards being the same account)?

    • Craig says:

      We’ve done this several times, its normal behaviour after all. They might question two charges of exactly £10?

    • Travel Strong says:

      Haven’t Amex already dealt with the ‘gaming’ of shop small by the introduction of the Limit of 1 credit per card per retailer, and the £50 cap overall?

      I feel like every story of amex taking issue with shop small behavior – comes from the days before these limits came in.

    • RussellH says:

      Different question on Shop Small.

      Why do so few businesses taking part promote it? Or even seem to know that the place they work takes Amex.
      Most ridiculous experience last night. My partner inisted on asking the waitress if they took Amex, in spite of my telling her not to.
      “No, I don’t think so. Let me check with the boss.”
      “No, I’ve checked. We definitely don’t take Amex.”
      Me: “That’s odd. I only found out about you through the Amex website.”
      “Really. That’s very odd.”
      Me: “Please, just let me try. If you do not take Amex, the card will be rejected.”
      I tap card on machine. Card gets approved. Waitress amazed.
      Shop Small e-mail received by the time we get home.

    • Doug M says:

      That’s going to be fine. I think the targets of Amex over this were those doing it on an industrial scale 🙂

      • avstar says:

        indeed… at one establishment in london the guy behind the counter told me every shop small one guy would come in with 16 amex cards and max out two oyster cards…… i think this is why some people got banned from amex over abusing this promo

        • Genghis says:

          I got talking to the guy at Jasmine News just north of Smithfield a few years back whilst doing my top ups and he mentioned that one guy had come in a few days prior with 42 Amex cards!

          As I no longer do it, I don’t mind saying: you’re better off getting new Oyster cards, £5 deposit with £5 top up. It flies under TfL’s over-zealous AML radar better than topping up one Oyster with multiple credit cards and allows you to cash out a week later.

          But buyer beware!

          • The real John says:

            Ahh, you are behind the times now Genghis.

            From 23 February oysters no longer have deposits…. instead you pay a £5 fee, which is supposed to be loaded onto the oyster as credit after 1 year. If you cash out before that the £5 is lost.

            The refund was planned to be made via Faster Universal Load, which means that you need to use the oyster for a journey, between exactly 1 year and 1 year 4 days after purchase. (Heathrow T23 to T5 would work if you don’t want to pay anything.)

            If you aren’t in London at the time then you wouldn’t be able to get the fee refund. TfL was thinking of solutions to this, then COVID-UK happened and they must have put it on the back burner as the problem can wait until February 2021 when the first oysters under the new model are due for the fee refund.

            Since then TfL has gone almost bankrupt twice so they probably don’t care that much about this any more. And the other casualty of TfL needing to save money is that in the new year they will be removing cash handling equipment from all ticket machines, which means no more Oyster refunds in person at all – thus having to provide personal details to get refunds.

            Anyway, if you top up the same Oyster multiple times at a Shop Small, TfL will not know or care, because they just get a single aggregated payment (weekly? monthly?) from the shop for all Oyster transactions.

          • Genghis says:

            @thanks for the update. Not used an Oyster card for a few years now. But I disagree with the last point about tfl not knowing. It has happened to me.

    • Charlieface says:

      Shops have got into trouble with this before, because it looks odd to Amex especially when supplementary holders don’t live together. You are better off using the same person’s cards, rather than two different people.
      And don’t do exact £10

  • NC says:

    Does anyone how I can select seats for a flight without “accepting” a new flight? We’ve been downgraded from F to J and we don’t want to “accept” the new flight if that will jeopardise our claim for a 75% refund under EU261. Someone asked this in the past and I suggested using the Finnair website but that doesn’t work – it just refers me back to BA for seat selection. Someone else said there was a way of manually accessing “old” MMB but I can’t figure that out.

    Any ideas please?

    • meta says:

      You can accept the downgrade, but you need to make sure that you have a proof that it was involuntary. Either contact CS where they refuse or call them again and record the call or if you have already an email that confirms the downgrade that should be also be fine. You will need to fly before you can claim though.

      • NC says:

        I have an email fro BA that says: “We’re very sorry to let you know that due to operational reasons, your cabin of travel on the BA*** flight to *** on *** 2021 has been changed. You have been rebooked to travel in Club World.” Are you saying that “accepting” the new flight via the BA website won’t jeopardise my EU261 claim for 75%, because the email provides evidence that it was involuntary?

        • meta says:

          Yes. If you want to be 100% sure, get another email or record a call with CS. I’d do that not because it’s necessary, but because it reinforces your case later.

  • Matty says:

    I tested positive for Covid last month. If I need to travel and I have to get a test, what will it show? Will I be allowed to travel?

    • Matt says:

      There is a risk that you will still show up as positive – I don’t think we really know how long for, or what proportion of people will test positive for a prolonged period. There were (still are?) some people trapped in quarantine in Italy because they weren’t allowed out until they tested negative.

      We have home test kits to do each week from work (NHS) – we’re told not to use them for 90 days after a positive PCR test.

      • Matt says:

        My previous comment might be a bit pessimistic – you may well test negative now. You will have to accept/manage some uncertainty though

        • meta says:

          Some passenger locator forms/health questionnaires require you to declare whether you had covid before. Not sure what that means if you tick ‘yes’ box.

      • The real John says:

        I think Italy changed the rules to something like symptom-free for X days

    • BS says:

      People have tested positive for weeks after getting it. Most will be negative after 4 weeks though (usually sooner). So my prediction is you will *likely* but not definitely be negative.
      You cannot guarantee anything – there really is nothing that can be done if you feel you need to travel, and you will need to mitigate this and recognise you may well not be able to travel.
      If it were me, I would get a private PCR test now and see the result. If it is negative then I would go ahead and book the travel, recognising the test 48h prior to travel is very likely to also be negative.

      • Matty says:

        I think that’s a good idea – I’ll get a private test after I’m four weeks clear of the end of my isolation period to see if anything is still showing in my system. I’m still breathless, I have the occasional cough and I still get a regular splitting headache that nothing will shift.

        • BS says:

          I don’t want to give specific medical advice, but I would be concerned about ongoing shortness of breath if considering a flight – the lower pressure will make any symptoms worse, and if you need treatment because of this you may be putting yourself at risk and/or might not be able to travel back.

          I would touch base with your GP who can give specific advice and consider tests like checking your o2 sats.

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