Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Saturday 9th January

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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 (278)

  • Craig says:

    Thanks for the comments about my volunteering from yesterday, I didn’t get chance to read them until late last night. Out again this morning, we should break the 1000 vaccines given by lunchtime today. Similar again for me next week with hopefully a few more volunteers and half days rather than full ones. Some of the old folks visibly skipped when they came out after having had the vaccine.

    • Andrew says:

      I would too if I’d just got the vaccine!

      • JohnT says:

        Been helping with admin at a clinic in Sussex that started yesterday, good throughput despite the age range but everyone so delighted to be finally recognised as worthwhile citizens!

      • WaynedP says:

        +1
        You’d have to be thick as mince to refuse vaccination 🙄

        • Paul says:

          Aid, NZ and Taiwan holding back on vaccines and they have had a much superior approach than us to containing the virus. I’m not a vaccine denier just happy that I’m not due until August according to Covid calculator so any ‘issues’ will hopefully have been ironed out by then.

          • Rob says:

            If Australia and New Zealand were taking vaccines which could be more effectively used elsewhere I’m sure there would be far more complaints.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Everyone will have their own story or reason. Not all thick as mince (the 5G and Bill Gates conspiracy morons are of course)

          But let’s hope a vast majority of phase 1 take it up and the pressure starts to come off the heavily underfunded NHS.

          Then when the next election comes every recalls the situation that a government which underfunded vital health services for the past 10 years helped cause.

          It won’t all get better by banging pots and pans on a Thursday evening.

          • Nick_C says:

            Healthcare expenditure has grown in real terms since 2010, and we cannot afford to resource the NHS to cope with a once in a 100 years event.

            Where I do blame this Government, and the current PM in particular, is failing to be alert to the dangers of Covid 19. We were three weeks behind Italy. The first lockdown should have been three weeks earlier. The lockdowns should have been stricter and properly enforced. Had we done this, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved and the NHS would not have been stretched to breaking point.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It has grown at a rate that’s c5% lower than the one under Labour. research on per capita, spend as % of gdp and per aged population not headline £ number.

          • Paul says:

            Hear hear, Johnson may not be responsible for COVID-19 but he is entirely on the hook for the catastrophic handling of the response.
            Initial denial of the problem – ignoring 5 separate COBRA meetings to deal with personal issues. Followed by an insane heard immunity policy which gave way to what followed and where we are today.

            BBC reporting that a property company are offering £5000 to GP staff (a charity of their choice or to them individually) if they let them have unused vaccines!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Disgraceful from the company.

          • kitten says:

            I agree with you however have known many people who worked in or contracted to the NHS over the years and been told many times the waste and mismanagement and numbers of useless non-clinical managers is shocking.

            Until this is sorted out money of the British taxpayer is being wasted and any more going in should be ringfenced for very specific purposes.

            Sorry TG as I’ve worked out likely you have a professional interest?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I have 0 professional interest in NHS funding. Only a social one

            Plenty of the waste has been introduced by government policy.

          • Magic Mike says:

            There’s an infinite demand for healthcare. Tax revenues are not infinite. If healthcare is to be state funded, it has to be rationed.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Magic Mike

            There’s a massive difference between under funding and infinite funding …

          • Nick_C says:

            Funding has increased in real terms over the last 10 years. The Conservatives are now spending more on the NHS in real terms than Labour ever did.

            Andy Burnham, then shadow health secretary, urged the government to withdraw plans to increase NHS spending in real terms year on year back in 2010, saying that otherwise the commitment would visit real damage on other services, such as social care.

            https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/jun/16/andy-burnham-nhs-spending-health

            But funding is only part of the issue. The inefficiencies need to be addressed.

  • Jan M says:

    Flew AMS to BER yesterday morning with KLM. First time on a proper airline since October. I was surprised how normal the lounge felt. There was not food and alcoholic drinks even though all bars and restaurants are closed. Very unlike the first lockdown back in May when all the lounge was offering was tap water!

  • John says:

    Thames Valley police reportedly at supermarkets asking where people live and telling people to only go to their closest supermarket.

    • Andrew says:

      Good to hear.

      • Lumma says:

        Unless you’re getting public transport what’s the issue?

        • BLG says:

          Think about it.

        • Nick_C says:

          The guidance says stay local – stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.

          But that is not law, and Police can only enforce the law, not the guidance.

          The underling issue is the virus doesn’t travel on its own, it relies on people spreading it. That’s how it got here from China. That’s how the Kent variant has spread across the country is finding its way across the world with devastating consequences.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Nick-C if it’s not law only guidance does that mean i can leave my house meet up with 12 others go wherever we want without being stopped because of course if it’s not law they can not even question what reason we are traveling for or where we are going ?

          • pauldb says:

            You’re missing the point. The “local” part is guidance, or somewhat implicit in the law. The rest, particularly gatherings, is very much law.

        • Nick_C says:

          Added to which, the further you travel by car, the more likely you are to need to interact with other people. Buying petrol more often, increasing the risk of a breakdown or RTA, and coming into contact with mechanics, emergency services, medics etc. Not noticible to you as an individual but significant when you scale it up.

          • Mouse says:

            I would disagree – the interactions you highlight are insignificant even when you scale them up. The stay local thing is utterly pointless.

    • Nick_C says:

      Can they tell them which supermarket allows them to earn Avios?

    • Mark says:

      Serious question
      With the obvious spread in supermarket’s (as nothing can be truly covid safe) why don’t we just ban store shopping for everyone except the elderly and vulnerable and go delivery only?

      • Nick_C says:

        Capacity?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I logged on Monday 4th to see when my next available delivery slot would be

          I saw a message saying I had priority access to slots .. great ….

          It turns out I can get food on the evening of January 16th. Great I’ll starve for c8 days.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            TGLoyalty i use Tesco although i have priority slots i don’t use them i log on to Tesco at 5 to midnight look for the latest slot have to wait about 10min it says i’m in a queue then goes to book slot
            All slots are then available on that day i work it out so we have a delivery every two weeks it’s easy if you know how could do it every week but two weeks is fine by us

      • Nick_C says:

        And many people are still unhappy paying for things on line. Some people still don’t have Internet access. And supermarket deliveries are probably not available in all parts of the country.

        • Andrew says:

          The NPCC have said that rather than issue fines for people who travel out of their local area “but are not breaching regulations, officers will encourage people to follow the guidance”.

          • Anna says:

            Chris, no, because the LAW is that you can only meet with 1 other person outside your household for a permitted reason!

          • Anna says:

            That’s complete nonsense if correct because either they can issue a fine or they can’t, and traveling out of your local area per se is not an offence.

          • Andrew says:

            Yes Anna it’s on the BBC news homepage now.

          • Anna says:

            It looks as though it’s been poorly worded by the BBC. “Rather than issuing fines” should read “there is no power to issue fines”.
            I suspect that in this case (the 2 ladies walking in Derbyshire), the FPNs may have been issued by PCSOs, who receive minimum legal training. It’s not their fault and they are often required to undertake tasks which are way outside their remit, but there’s little understanding of this outside police forces as they as just seen as “uniformed officers”. The regs state that PCSOs can issue FPNs for covid breaches, but I can guarantee there won’t have been much training provided in respect of this!

          • Nick says:

            Anna the Derbyshire cases were definitely full police officers. It was in the story, confirmed by the local force, and some of the procedures they followed also gave it away. Not to say the girls didn’t also exaggerate certain parts of it of course, but not that bit!
            Derbyshire police have been heavy-handed all the way through the last 10 months, and have discredited themselves throughout. It’s a real shame because enforcement is so clearly required, but things like this gives those doing it such a bad name.

          • Anna says:

            Nick, can you humour me and post a link to that? I’m struggling to comprehend how badly trained they were if they were indeed warranted officers. Glad to see my former colleague Mike Barton saying pretty much the same thing I did about the whole incident!

        • Anna says:

          Agreed – and there are people who genuinely can’t afford to spend £40 at a time on groceries which is usually the minimum spend level.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Anna not a minimum spend level of £40, but a minimum spend level to avoid a £4 extra charge
            Which of course some may not wish to pay, or others simply can not afford to pay.
            Anna i read your post regarding training police with interest for two reasons (i have no faith in British justice although i admit it’s better here than most countries)
            I have a friend (well long while since)
            Who went to Crown Court 3 separate offences was found not guilty the 3 times But was guilty on each occasion, just had the same very good Lawyer each time
            1) Was poaching Trout at a trout farm at midnight
            2) Was speeding with police cars chasing him (cars not car) in Scotland poaching Deer
            3) was playing football opposite footballer called him a donkey he jumped up on next attack elbowed him and broke his jaw and said who’s a donkey now got found not guilty because one of the witness for prosecution said he kneed him on the floor another said elbowed him jumping up and heard what was said (ref didn’t see anything or hear anything)
            So i always say when i hear a not guilty verdict, could just be a good lawyer
            Off topic i know lol

          • Anna says:

            I don’t think that’s the case with a lot of retailers, Morrisons, for example, won’t let you check out your order unless you spend £40.
            Were all these cases in Scotland? It’s an entirely separate legal system to England and Wales (as in NI) so there’s not really any such thing as “British justice” lol!

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Anna No two England Trout farm was near Blackburn was using a large trawling net he was using works Van they never caught him just got the work Van reg he said he had left the keys in the Van someone must have took the Van whilst he was asleep and returned it after using it (without around 300 trout lol)
            Unbelievable it was believed ?
            The Football one was Blackburn 4th/5th Division despicable that one he knew exactly what he was doing
            The Deer poaching one was awkward poaching in Scotland (Royal Estate) Police cars never caught up with him, English police took over chase but he evaded them (1 car only) abandoned car went across fields was picked up by a friend,stopped his house for a few days was at Crown Court Preston (was due to be in Scotland later date)
            Said car was his but he wasn’t driving it, didn’t even know it had been stolen or if one of his friends had borrowed it (it still had a dead deer in boot) When he was found not guilty for some reason Scottish police dropped case

          • Anna says:

            Lol, Chris, East Lancashire courts historically had some of the highest acquittal rates in the country!

          • Jody says:

            @Chris Heyes as a retired police officer I can totally believe it. Semi decent solicitor will get you off an awful lot of things. Unfortunately I usually think with a not guilty verdict that it was either a good lawyer, or that there was enough doubt thrown into the mix to not prove beyond all reasonable doubt that they were guilty (even though you know full well that they are), or a combination of both. The whole criminal justice system is a bit of a shambles, and I’m glad to be well out of it.

          • Anna says:

            When did you retire Jody?! I think I timed it really well to go earlier this year, though my retirement certainly isn’t working out as I’d planned it!

      • Sam says:

        Too many exceptions and simply not practical:
        – relies on supermarkets having enough staff/slots
        – not everyone is online. Just ask teachers who have to deal with online teaching (or not in some cases)
        – what if you live in the sticks?

        I do agree there should be a push to stay local. My dad for whatever reason only known to him, goes out daily, first to get the paper, and then to buy food. Not from the same closest shop though. He may take a bus to the next town or even further. And he lives with mum who is higher risk. Won’t listen to any of us. He needs the police to have a word or fine him

        • Louie says:

          Were we separated at birth? We seem to share our parents (though my 89 yo dad still drives). I’m getting increasingly angry/frustrated/upset about it because he just won’t listen and my mum stands no chance if she gets covid

      • Dave says:

        I would love to not have to go into a supermarket but I haven’t been able to get any delivery slots from any supermarket. There just isn’t the capacity to do it unfortunately

        • kitten says:

          +1
          they wont deliver where I am. Even click&collect was full or not being offered everywhere I tried, solidly not available 5 weeks ahead.

          Morrisons not being willing even to make up a bag for you to collect if it’s less than £40 round my way is particuarly annoying.

      • Mouse says:

        Online supermarket shopping is something like 12% of the total – there’s no way the supermarkets have the capacity to scale that up to the 80ish% you want.

      • Phil W says:

        My mum can’t leave the house*, lives 300 miles from me and the current wait time for a delivery slot is 3 weeks. Luckily she has a good neighbour who can get things for her but the supermarkets just don’t have delivery capacity.

        *She’s on the national list of extremely vulnerable people but this doesn’t seem to make any difference to availability of slots.

      • Paul says:

        Not sure the evidence backs this up. My daughter works in a supermarket and did from start of lockdown 1 almost full time. Only when she went to university did she get sick and in under 2 weeks.

    • Number9 says:

      Well my Sons nearest supermarket is 50 yards away across the road, unfortunately the one where he works is 10 miles away.

      • Andrew says:

        And what if you live near something like a Morrison’s and want something of a higher quality like M&S?

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Andrew or higher quality still like Tesco lol ?

          • KBuffett says:

            The M&S near me is a big one. Since March, they have forced people to walk through the massive clothing area before they can get to the food section. They increased the density of the clothing stand etc. Whilst small retailers who don’t sell food have to close.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Glad I don’t live in derby.

          I’m more than 4-5 miles from any one of my local supermarkets. I’d be looking forward to my weekly shopping bill increasing exponentially.

          • Anna says:

            As mentioned above, the BBC is reporting that Derbyshire police are now “reviewing” the FPNs, which I suspect were issued by over-enthusiastic PCSOs or very inexperienced PCs. I absolutely support legitimate enforcement of the regulations, however all Derbyshire police have done in this instance is create unnecessary work (the FPNs will probably be withdrawn) and alienate 2 seemingly perfectly nice young women.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It’s the “bringing a coffee = picnic” part that had me in hysterics. What a bunch of absolute tools.

            And the original statement from the force just confirms what everyone thinks already and that’s that they will do anything to protect their own. I’m glad it’s now being reviewed (I’m sure after they’ve been told to by the NPCC) but my view of Derbyshire police as an institution is now pretty low.

          • Anna says:

            I know, it does sound like they were making it up as they went along. I was incredulous when I read about it as it was Derbyshire who got a load of stick first time round for getting it wrong; they need a word with their press office. As expected, some human rights lawyer popped up to point out their errors and make them look completely stupid.
            Similarly before Xmas North Yorks police bosses were letting it be known in the local media that they would be stopping and fining people for travelling there from Tier 3 areas (again, not an offence per se at that point). I was actually quoted in the Independent for calling them out for misleading the public. The people who get the flack are the front line officers who have to deal with an alienated and hostile public who quite understandably think the police are dishonest and untrustworthy when they see things like this. (They’ve overwhelmingly not, they are often just let down by their leaders).

          • William R B says:

            “Derbyshire born,
            Derbyshire bred,
            Strong in the arm,
            Thick in the head.”

            – old Midlands saying…

        • Phil W says:

          Though. A person’s desire for quality isn’t more important than being considerate to society. They should shop at Morrison’s.

          • Phil W says:

            Response was intended for KBuffet’s comment.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Ah the most virtuous of virtue signallers.

            People can shop at which ever supermarket they like and no one should be made to feel bad about that.

          • James says:

            Its not virtue signalling, TGL, its just being a sensible and decent human being who is respectful of others and understands potential risk. Sorry to see that it looks like you’re not in that stable.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Complete BS.

            There is absolutely no difference if I drive to Morrison’s 4 miles away or Waitrose 5 miles away or M&S 7 miles away. Or whatever the actual distances are.

            The potential risk on COVID spread of choosing one vs the other is none. None at all.

            I’m not even going to get into the relative risk of the routes people have to drive to each one and which one is actually the safest.

            People can shop wherever they prefer as long as it’s local.

          • sprout says:

            Well said James and Phil W!

  • Wollhouse says:

    Question regarding BA flight only v BA holiday- I know there are different policies between the two; if a flight (and car) is cancelled by BA do I get the right of a reroute or is that only applicable to flight only and I have to accept a FTV or refund? Not clear on the differences between flight only and holiday bookings, TIA

    • ChrisC says:

      Some answers to your questions in yesterday’s post about the BA holiday sale.

    • Nick says:

      For a Holiday that would be a ‘change of destination’ rather than a ‘reroute’. What that means in practice is that it becomes ‘subject to availability’ of the non-flight elements of your booking, and you could be asked to pay more in certain circumstances (this will be detailed in your package Holiday T&C), and they do retain the ability to refund you if there’s no suitable alternative. At the same time though it does also give you more flexibility in a way than a flight only booking, as you’ll be discussing a ‘comparable alternative holiday’, which doesn’t have the same distance guidelines as flight only policies.

      • Wollhouse says:

        Thanked all- by reroute in this case, I actually meant rebooking exactly the same flights (w car) just later in the year when they’re (hopefully!) flying. Just wanted to avoid having to “rebut” whether after refund or FTV as original deal was v aggressive. Will look at BA holiday from yesterday, thx again

        • Doc says:

          The 12 month ticket validity for your flight kicks in though. I had a booking with BAH last year and wanted to move it to this year when the flights were cancelled but it was more than 12 months since I made the booking, so BAH refused to move me beyond the ticketing validity and so got a refund. Seems a bit silly rule but they wouldn’t budge and I booked with a different airline.

        • ChrisC says:

          Ah right reroute is defnitly the wrong term but rebooking is (I thought rerouting got mentioned yesterday as it’s different rules to a rebook on the same trip)

          Rebooking is to future flights with a year of the date you booked not the date of your first flight. Needs to be same routing or as close as possible.

          No extra to pay unless the non flight element hotel / car price has changed – as told by BA hols to me a couple of weeks ago. I double checked specifically asking about fare difference (as opposed to change fees) and agent said nothing more to pay other than car / hotel changes)

  • BP says:

    Random question… Thinking of booking Madinat Jumeirah – Dar Al Masyaf. If I’m half board with a 1 year old, does the baby eat free and does this include in room dining? I seen some 2-year old comments that suggest it does.

    The main hotel contact email address is not staffed by someone who understands simple questions. No doubt a HFP reader has visited recently and will have the answer!

    • Manya says:

      I was at DAM early 2020 with my then 1 year old and 3 year old. Kids do eat free – I think it’s under 4 years or under and that included ice creams etc too at the poolside and all the eateries in the complex. I can’t remember if it included in room dining but we certainly were able to get warm milk for the kids free of charge.

      DAM is a good choice for a young family.

      • BP says:

        Thanks

        • Rob says:

          I think it is a general Jumeirah policy in Dubai, because the same kids menu turns up everywhere. It’s a bit odd actually – you go to their award winning Thai restaurant and then they pull out the standard kids menu and let them order a hamburger!

  • Louise K says:

    Replying to @TGLOYALTY from yesterday.

    I got a ping from the NHS app telling me to self isolate for 7 days as I had come into contact with someone who tested positive. This def came from the supermarket as it was the only place I had been to as work from home. I did not have the virus myself and I did a test.

    I believe it may have come from the woman in front of me in the trolley self checkout. Although I was at a distance behind her, she prob took 10-15 mins or so to checkout and that was the longest I was stood still.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Ping is a ping based upon some metrics or time and distance it doesn’t know if there are protective screens in place. Like at supermarket self checkouts etc. The app even says if you have physical barriers between people for long periods please turn off the contact tracing etc

      It said to self isolate for 7 days so the contact was 3 days prior (or if it was under the old 14 day rules it was 7 days prior)

      However, crucially the hardly anyone catches it in a supermarket remarks are not debunked because you were pinged and you didn’t catch it …

      • Nick_C says:

        Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets – packed with the virus – into the air. These can cause an infection if they are breathed in, or potentially if you touch a surface they have landed on.

        So going shopping and mixing with other people does carry a risk. That is why social distancing – keeping at least 2m (about 6ft) from others – is so important, and many shops are enforcing it.

        Supermarkets can provide an “ideal setting” for virus transfer, says Prof Bloomfield. “Many people are touching and replacing items, checkout belts, cash cards, car park ticket machine buttons, ATM payment buttons, paper receipts etc… Not to mention being in the proximity of several other people.”

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52040138

        Prof Bloomfield is a Consultant in Hygiene and Infectious Disease Prevention at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Chairman of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Fully aware of the droplets in the air argument but it is affected by fresh air ventilation and viral load. It’s not as simple as just quoting stuff from the bbc.

          Supermarkets are still incredibly low risk and they are an essential service … we all need food. Just cut down the number of trips you do!

          Everyone should feel far safer in a large supermarket than a small poorly ventilated shop.

          Stay safe. Stay home.

  • ao40 says:

    Has it been posted here that Amex Plat is dropping the Shangri La Golden Circle benefit?

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Already 5 times so far. Article coming…

    • JohnT says:

      Yes, apparently article coming..

    • KBuffett says:

      Unsure why the HFP team would rather have a long wordy article scheduled to be published for days after other sites have published things. Why not just put up something up. It’s like reading a newspaper sometimes (old ‘news’)

      • Rob says:

        It is less important than other stuff that is going on, and we need to do multiple articles to cover, for eg, the Star Alliance Silver status that Shangri-La indirectly gets you.

        Shangri-La is probably the leased used Amex hotel benefit given they have a grand total of 2? 3? hotels in Europe.

        • KBuffett says:

          Fair enough. But in the world of fast online news, hits go elsewhere. ‘Important’ is like the old days when the editor would say we don’t have column space this week! It really doesn’t need to be a lengthy article to begin with (or at all!).
          Just my opinion, not intended in a negative way.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            If you want fast rough news then there’s twitter.
            I often see bits of news on other sites first.
            Then I read it 2 days later on HfP where the detail, the maths and implications are analysed properly in a way nobody else has managed. I’d much much rather have that.

          • Rob says:

            Our editorial judgements are the one and only reason that no-one has even come close to our success over the last eight years. We don’t get it 100% but near enough.

        • Max says:

          Have never used the benefit before this Xmas where I used the Taj status match to get 2x club room upgrades at the Taj JLT in Dubai. Longwinded but easily saved £200+

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Anyone know what it’s being replaced by? Perhaps a monthly £10 credit for London Eye or Madam Tussauds or something else I one outside of London has any chance of using.

      • KBuffett says:

        Perhaps for a credit for TFL as everyone wants to use public transport now!!
        It may be replaced by nothing, like when the Cathy Gold Card was removed.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Virgin silver

  • David says:

    Might have been answered before but I have an Amex companion voucher expiring this summer (its already been extended).
    Will these be extended again? As someone in the vulnerable category I feel this summer is probably a write-off for holidays, for me at least.

    • Rob says:

      We don’t know – and I guess BA doesn’t know yet.

      However, just hack the extension. Book London to Manchester. Cancel it. Take the Future Travel Voucher.

      This extends your voucher to 30th April 2022 (last day to travel) because that is the expiry date of the FTV.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        But it locks in your +1 … so may not be the hack you’re looking for.

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