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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 28th 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 (321)

  • Ati says:

    Anyone has a T212 code?

  • 747_Brat says:

    I just noticed that my M&M card doesn’t appear on my Experian & Transunion credit reports. Is the M&M card reported to credit agencies at all?

    • Sina says:

      I don’t think so, as mine is not showing either!

      • 747_Brat says:

        Thanks Sina for replying.
        It is unfathomable why a card issuer is not reporting data to credit rating agencies, or it could be that they report it only for delinquent card accounts?

    • Venturelog says:

      Probably because it’s seen as a charge card?

    • Andrew says:

      It’s not unusual for accounts not to be reported to agencies.

      I have several current accounts and three credit cards, with generous limits from mainstream banks, that aren’t reported to any agencies. Really handy for putting larger payments through as they don’t reflect on %utilisation.

      • RussellH says:

        I likewise have more than one UK current a/c, and Experian seems not to have heard of two of them. Maybe they cannot get their heads around the idea that someone now living in England may have opened and retained an a/c in Scotland?
        Perhaps Experian is secretly supporting the SNP?
        😉

      • John says:

        Are they old accounts that are from before you had to agree to credit reporting as part of account opening?

  • FCP says:

    I use Clearscore and all they show is the original ‘hard search’ to open the account, by AFFINTURE

    • 747_Brat says:

      If they have left a hard search on your file, they are clearly using credit agencies to check applicants. Not sure why they don’t report monthly data to agencies then!

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Thailand follows Seychelles in opening up to those vaccinated:
    https://mainlymiles.com/2021/01/28/thailand-plans-quarantine-free-trips-for-vaccinated-travellers/

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Will see if it actually happens.

      Unless it stops transmission which must start to happen soon in Israel having the vaccine doesn’t make anyone over 50 with a vaccine less of a worry than anyone under 50 without it.

      • Yuff says:

        Jonathan Van Tam is pretty confident any vaccine with a 95% efficacy will affect transmission of the virus.
        Initial stats from Israel and the uk, 68k down to 20k cases in 18 days, isn’t down to just the lockdown IMO, are looking highly promising

        • Relay says:

          Yes, but my concern is that I didn’t think the AZ/Oxford ‘workhorse’ of our programme had a proven 95% efficacy?

          • Yuff says:

            It had over 90% efficacy with a bigger gap in dosage which is what is being implemented currently.

          • meta says:

            @Yuff Az/Oxford had a better efficacy with half dose first then the full dose. However, it hasn’t been tested properly, so it is only approved as two full doses which are being implemented.

          • Nick_C says:

            “Az/Oxford had a better efficacy with half dose first then the full dose.”

            That initial speculation was not upheld by the MHRA.

            “(Reuters) – Oxford and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine can be 80% effective when there are three months between shots, an official involved in approving the vaccine in Britain said, but there is insufficient evidence to back a regime involving a half dose.

            Quote:

            “Effectiveness was high, up to 80%, when there was a three month interval between first and second doses, which is the reason for our recommendation,” Munir Pirmohamed, Chair of the Commission on Human medicines expert Working Group on COVID-19 vaccines, said on Wednesday.

            “We also looked at the half dose regimen, which has been publicised quite widely, but we felt that the results were not borne out by the full analysis,” he said at a news conference where the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) presented its decision.

            https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-britain-vaccine-mh/oxford-astrazeneca-vaccine-can-be-up-to-80-effective-with-a-delay-between-doses-uk-official-idUKKBN294128

          • Rob says:

            Efficacy is your chance of not being infected. More importantly is that no-one who got the Oxford vaccine has ever ended up in hospital.

          • TechnoT says:

            The effectiveness figures for AZ and Pfizer/Moderna aren’t entirely comparable. Have seen mentions that AZ’s trial involved testing everyone on regular intervals, so caught asymptomatic infections, whereas Pfizer/Moderna tested only the participants who developed Covid symptoms. If true, this would significantly undermine the headline effectiveness figure for AZ given a virus that presents asymptomatically in 30%+ of the population.

          • Nick_C says:

            Efficacy/Effectiveness seem to being used interchangeably in the media and communications with the general public.

            Technically, “Vaccine efficacy only provides information about how well a vaccine works under the conditions of the clinical trial. Vaccine effectiveness tells us how well a vaccine works under real-world conditions once people outside of clinical trials receive the vaccine.”

            https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-is-vaccine-efficacy#Efficacy-versus-effectiveness

          • Tiff says:

            Many people (including Rob, apparently) don’t understand “efficacy” but it’s remarkably simple. For example, the Pfizer trial included 94 positive cases. 9 of these were in the vaccine group, and the other 85 were in the placebo group. Hence efficacy = 85/94 = 90.4%. That’s it. It’s not to do with your chance of being infected. Rob, this is the second day in a row you’ve posted misleading information (yesterday was about life expectancies); please stop doing this.

        • Nick_C says:

          While not disagreeing in any way with JVT, I think the reduction in cases is more likely to be as a result of three weeks of lockdown. The reduction in cases is of course welcome, but the number of new daily cases is still very high.

          I don’t think we are seeing any effect of vaccination yet. It takes three weeks for an immune response to develop, and people who have been vaccinated will have be told this and personally advised that they must continue to take appropriate measures to try to avoid becoming infected.

          • Chrisasaurus says:

            They’re also disproportionately people that were not mixing anyway

          • meta says:

            Yes, and there is not enough evidence about efficacy of just one dose and the majority has received only one dose.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You have to look at the effect after it complete opens up not when significant restrictions are in place

          • Jonathan says:

            To meta, majority of efficacy is from first dose, booster is primarily about longevity although does give a small boost to antibody levels.

            AZ trial was initially single dose with a subgroup getting 2 vaccines at 28 day interval. Significant antibody levels at 28 days were achieved in 91% of single dose & 100% of 2 dose group. T cell responses were consistent across both groups so no boost from 2nd dose.

            This small uplift in antibody response is what led to protocol changing to 2 doses at 4 week interval. The early trial participants had received their initial vaccines more than 28 days prior to this change so the booster was given at the 90 day follow up appointment. All of the half dose/full dose cohort were in this group who got booster at 90 days.

            The delayed booster is actually thought to be the reason for better results in this group rather than the lower initial dose due to an early booster being given at the time when antibodies & T-cells are at their peak. The immune system therefore finds it relatively easier to eliminate the booster induced spike proteins & the viral vector. An easier response gives a lower level stimulus than if the booster is given later as antibodies & t-cell levels start to wane.

            The decision then is to follow the study protocol exactly or to use knowledge from the subgroups, other vaccines & wider immunology research & lengthen interval.

            In normal times you would stick to study protocol but in the face of vaccine shortage it shifts balance significantly in favour of delaying 2nd dose to increase coverage. It’ll be very interesting to see our outcomes vs Europe, I am confident this is one off the few big decisions we’ve got right.

          • Nick_C says:

            Many parts of Canada have delayed the second shot until 6 weeks. Quebec Province has extended to 12 weeks.

            https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/provinces-pfizer-vaccine-stoppage-1.5886791

          • kitten says:

            For Jonathan : do you think some over-65’s might overreact to the part of the vaccine that’s deliberately made stronger in vaccinations for the over-65’s (is it the antagonist?) and make it dangerous for those of them that are already very weak, or conversely have more robust immune systems than normal for that age?

    • marcw says:

      They are talking about Q3… not earlier… and knowing Thai Gov… won’t happen before Q4, if it happens at all.

      • BJ says:

        Thailand will likely change their minds again by quarter to 3 this afternoon!

        All the chatter in HfP comments regarding vaccines, transmission etc is something else, good job nobody is being asked to provide peer-reviews for even the least rigorous journals.

        • ankomonkey says:

          “Thailand will likely change their minds again by quarter to 3 this afternoon!”

          Best comment I’ve seen for a while 🙂

  • John Caribbean says:

    The discussion about Hilton Gold yesterday and the free breakfasts had me trying to remember how I’d managed this previously.
    I can’t understand why I’m offered free breakfast as a MyWay benefit if I am already getting it. Other than memory how am I supposed to know that Hilton Garden Inn doesn’t have it free and needs to be MyWay but everywhere else is cool?

    • Doc says:

      Look at the Hilton website under what each status gets you. It’s on the small print.

      • Anon says:

        Will it say garden inn is excluded from free breakfasts?

        • John Caribbean says:

          I don’t think it does.
          But it also doesn’t make any sense for anywhere else to have it as an optional MyWay benefit when it’s already included as a Gold benefit

          • Brian W says:

            Free breakfast is a Gold Benefit “at selected brands as a MyWay benefit”. It’s always been listed and described as that, same for Diamond. I’m sure there used to be a brand where it wasn’t an option for Gold.

          • Rob says:

            I was refused breakfast at HGI Hilton T2 as a Gold because I had not set it, pre check-in, as my My Way benefit.

  • Relay says:

    I desperately want it to be true.. but as pointed out, think we need to keep our fingers crossed and optimism up for a few more weeks yet to see the evidence.

  • APPL says:

    After not getting any offers on my Amex cards since late October, some have finally started appearing this week. I had to call twice for them to activate £175 Waitrose offer on Platinum last week, and after it was saved in my offers, more started to appear.

    • Anne says:

      Same here, except not had any offers added manually since Shop Small.

      Whatever the reason – very pleased to have offers flowing again!

    • Amy says:

      Is it worth ringing Amex to cancel the Gold Preferred card, as no new offers? Other readers said back in Nov they were offering good retention offers, not sure about now..

      • Anna says:

        Good offers now, a few of us have got 10k bonus MR points for £2.5k spend (posted straight away for me) and one person even said they got 10k points for nothing! Give Brighton a call.

    • babyg says:

      try creating a brand new AmEx account, de-register the card and re-register.. spend some money, offers should come in a week or two, this has worked for me on two occasions now, I havent tried moving a working card to the new account, so unfortunately ive got 2 AmEx accounts(logins) with one card in each now – but i do get offers.

    • Rum says:

      Not the case for me. Platinum £175 offer added manually after two calls. Same with Shop Small in December. Still no response from exec office after escalating the issue to them a third time. For shop small, their first response was the usual “it’s not part of your card terms…” so I kept insisting that something is wrong and they need to look at the account/their IT. Threatened to cancel all my accounts with them.
      I’ve not had a single new offer on Plat and BAPP since October – the existing ones are now queueing up to expire one after the other. An absolute joke given how good being a Plat customer was and how many offers you could get.
      Tried removing and adding cards to my account but to no avail.

      • Rum says:

        I think I may just end up downgrading both accounts or cancelling them altogether. I’m itching to make a move soon. Once my 241 is banked, the BA card won’t last either.
        Meanwhile, going to max out on the HSBC WE.

    • Philip says:

      I had an Amex Plat and BAPP and on all my cards the Shop Small had to be added manually and i never received one offer on Plat card.

  • Ed Bramwell says:

    BA cancelled our flights to Seychelles in April. In terms of my options, my understanding is:
    1) Reroute on another airline (will likely have to MCOL)
    2) Ask BA to push flights out
    3) Change to a nearby destination

    What are the chances of combining 2 & 3? As BA are no longer operating this route after April by the looks of it. It’s for a special occasion so I can attempt to pull on the agents’ heart strings. Flights were booked in the 50% avios sale so I don’t fancy my chances.

    • Anna says:

      You are entitled to re-routing but Seychelles is on the quarantine list at the moment, which might affect your decision. I think BA don’t run the route in summer which would be why you’re not seeing availability. You might get it moved to next winter if that suited you? You might struggle with destination change as I can’t think of anywhere within the 300 mile rule!

      • Ed Bramwell says:

        Think they’ve dropped the route completely which complicates things

    • babyg says:

      @ED Your options are
      Refund
      FTV
      Re-Routing qatar maybe? – BA have done this for BKK, MLE + loads others.. you just need to keep ringing – note best to check out flyertalk – some agents will insist on the old rules of +/-3 from original outbound and +/-14 days from original inbound, but there is updated guidance on this (eg move dates up to your ticket validity)

      • Ed Bramwell says:

        Looks as though the rebooking policy applies to BA metal only. I certainly can’t rebook on QR using the online form – might call up and give it a try.

        • babyg says:

          yes you have to call up.. “sometimes” MMB lets you pick QATAR if they are flying that route as a CODESHARE

        • kitten says:

          Note your EC261 rights supersede all and any of BA’s terms and conditions, rules, policies, etc. Even the “1 year of ticket issue date” seems an admin issue (that airline can overcome easily by just issuing a new ticket in order to provide your rights)

          • Ed Bramwell says:

            This is helpful – I guess “re-routing at a later date at your convenience under comparable transport conditions, subject to the availability of seats.” could be interpreted several ways, especially if BA aren’t operating flights anymore.

          • Alex says:

            Am having the same issue, refused any rerouting despite multiple requests. Have gone down the MCOL route.

          • kitten says:

            @Ed that wording doesn’t in any way get BA off their obligation to reroute you on another airline if they themselves chose to no longer fly that route. Fact.

            In other parts of EU261 text there are also specifics relating to this fact of their obligation to reroute you on other airlines if flights of their own are not available.

            Don’t let BA weasel out of it, or bully you.

          • kitten says:

            Ed : obviously always try to ‘help BA help you’ by being nice and asking a few times first, and being flexible if possible.

            If you paid by UK credit card a claim to card under Section 75 could get you the cost of an alternative ticket paid even if higher and you would not have to shell out.

            MCOL if after trying to be nice to with BA, if Section 75 is not available to you. If you do have to MCOL BA still loves it as they get to keep your money for months and months for that process before you win. So since they’re banking on this and keeping your money to preservr their cashflow is part of their strategy, if you do MCOL claim absolutely every cost you can think of including your time at your profesdjonsl rate, any comms expenses, hotel and meals and any extra transport costs for any extra days between original and best available replacement flight… all plus 8% statutory interest pro rata pa till settled. It has to cost BA more putting you through this.

            If I could advise you to charge them for mentsl anguish as well I would but sadly in the absence of any physical injury that would be going too far 🙂

    • Tracey says:

      We were faced with a cancelled Seychelles flight in November. Our solution was to take a FTV and book a trip to the Maldives in December. Unless you have a particular need to be in the Seychelles the advantages are:
      1. Seychelles require a negative PCR within 48 hours of departure vs Maldives 96 hours – much easier to arrange
      2. Seychelles give you a second test a few days into your holiday and you are confined to your hotel until then; no second test in the Maldives.
      3. (Didn’t apply in December), Seychelles is on the red list so compulsory quarantine back in the UK.

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