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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 21st February

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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.

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Comments (200)

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  • RussellH says:

    I am still chasing a Hilton hotel for a refund for a cancelled stay under their Covid-19 policy. Making a chargeback claim (German bank so no S.75), I have been asked for written proof that **totally cost-free** cancellation was available.
    Being unable to find anything on the Hilton website giving details of the Covid canx policy in April 2020, I e-mailed Hilton to see if they could let me have a copy.
    Their reply did not address the question, but does say that they offer the option of them making the refund by USD check.
    Qu. Anyone know if they will make the US equivalent of a BACS transfer instead? (I do not have a US bank a/c, but do have a Transferwise multi-currency a/c which comes with the uS equivalent of sort code + a/c no.).
    Alternatively, would they issue a check in the name of my brother instead? (lives in Calif.)
    Asking here because the answers might be of interest to others here.

    • AJA says:

      If they will issue a cheque to your brother why not get Hilton to do that and then get your brother to use transferwise to send it to you?

      • RussellH says:

        I was wondering if anyone knew **IF** they would sent a ‘check’ to another family member.
        It looks as though no one else has has followed up on this option, so I shall just ask Hilton, and report back.

    • Lady London says:

      @RussellH are you mentioning your transwise thing does ACH? in both directions?

      • RussellH says:

        As far as I can see, it is payments into my a/c only.
        But I can make payments out using the debit card details – done that a few times eg buying a few points here and there.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Not looking good for Beoing at the moment… imagine waking up to an engine cassing in your front garden…

    • mark2 says:

      Isn’t the fault with the engine manufacturer, probably GE?

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        All the general public see is a Beoing aircraft, not good news for them

    • Andrew says:

      I imagine Pratt & Whitney would be quite pleased that people think it’s a Boeing engine that suffered the failure.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        I imagine they will be zipping there lips shut for however long they can

    • Doug M says:

      Superb that an engine can explode on a large 2 engine plane like this and it still lands safely. That the wing could handle the damage, done, and the pilots land it. Impressive.
      Agree it was a P&W engine on the old United 777s.

      • RussellH says:

        I quite agree that the engineering is impressive!
        As a point of comparison, there is a full page interview in today’s Sun Times with Mike Dooley, the founder of Trailfinders. He says that when he started in travel, 51 years ago, so 1970, “there was a fatal plane crash practically every other week.”
        I do not remember things being that bad, but as the first time I ever went on a plane was Christmas 1971, I probably did not pay muchb attention to such things at the time.

  • Charlieface says:

    I see Hancock trying to excuse his ineptitude once again. One wonders if there is not something criminal going on.

    @Rob Didn’t you have some info on shady goings-on in the “halls of power” re purchases of PPE?

    • kitten says:

      They got away with not having to put it out to tender which iz normally required.

      But the least they could do is publish within the 30 days.
      They could give it to some secretary to get it done.

      IIRC Rob made a remark that there was some query about Matt Hancock’s ex-pub landlord (now contactable in Barbados?) landing a multi-gazillion contract to supply PPE …apparently without any experience in PPE.

      Knowing the UK that would be the correct PPE that got supplied, and the other more regular winners awarded probably the ones that turned put to supply incorrect PPE
      …. 🙂

    • the_real_a says:

      Can you imagine the outrage back in March/April last year when the NHS was low on PPE and Hancock said we needed to save money and put it out to tender… just give us 2-3 months…

      • Rantallion says:

        That’s what the EC did with vaccine procurement and see where that got them….

        • TGLoyalty says:

          It isn’t quite.

          The UKs success in securing doses is far more than just the tender process but rather it’s approach to supporting the research and manufacturing processes while also backing Oxford-AZ to produce large batches the UK could purchase and store when they were still under trials.

          • r* says:

            It should be remembered the only reason the uk has this many doses is because they panic bought before their ‘experts’ had finished the plan. Once the plan was complete their advice was to only buy enough vaccine to give to the at risk which is why they ended up with less of the non-az vaccines because only the az vaccine had been bought with the intent of giving it to everyone.

      • meta says:

        Well, you can do a tender much quicker if there is a will. My country of birth started monitoring situation very early on and put out a tender for PPE end of January. The winning contract was selected within two weeks and enough initial supplies delivered by the time the first case was reported.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I think the real question is why the tenders didn’t go out in January.

        • meta says:

          Yes, exactly. My friend who works at 3M EMEA told me in mid-January they were preparing tenders for PPE. Chinese suppliers were already requesting tens of millions of masks so that was a clear indication for any sensible government around the world to do the same.

    • Andrew says:

      The only really shady thing going on was the number of NHS Procurement Managers who suddenly had slopey shoulders.

      With stores full of expired kit, it suggests that a self-employed corner shop owner has a better understanding of stock rotation of his Chocolate bars than the average MBA holding procurement manager in the public sector.

      • Lady London says:

        This is why if the Labour Party promise to “keep pouring money into the NHS” I’ll never vote for them.

        Whichever party says “we’ll sort out the huge waste, inefficiency and overload of non-clinical management in the NHS to make sure money in the NHS is invested properly” has an excellent chance of getting my vote

        Known too many people in the NHS over the years who’ve told me about the waste and inefficiency in the NHS.

        And no Boris, the answer isn’t to privatise and let your chums and the Americans in. Privatisation is ok where used now and acts as a useful comparator of NHS costs and efficiency but should not take over.

        Maybe float the BBC on the stock exchange and use the money where it will count for the NHS. And maybe even keep the NHS a golden share of 20-35% or a hypothecated flow of funds to the NHS in the deal.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          There’s huge amounts of waste and inefficiencies in most large corporations

          Forever going through “transformation” programmes.

          • Sloth says:

            ‘Transformation’ programmes that are normally run by consultancies which then becomes an even bigger waste of money…

        • Super Secret Stuff says:

          The thing is you can’t improve things without investment, so expecting people to fix and improve things without the funding is why they are in this situation in the first place.

          Also, floating the BBC is the last thing this country needs in a day of disinformation, foreign state sponsored targeted campaigns and multi billionaires trying to cover up news they don’t like. I dont think the BBC is perfect but it’s a lot better than Sky and such like

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Agree with all that and as Harry T says if you think the NHS is well funded per capita you’re sorely mistaken.

          • Bazza says:

            “disinformation” the bbc are the masters at this and they always have been. Watch the 6 o’clock news and there agenda driven news is right in your face every single night!

        • Harry T says:

          The NHS needs more money AND better management. You can’t expect first world healthcare standards with second world levels of investment.

          • Aston100 says:

            Harry, when I worked in the NHS, it seemed every trust in the country had it’s own independent IT department that was largely replicating a lot of the R&D work and wasting money on solutions that other trusts had already paid for and found earlier.
            Connecting for Health was a step in the right direction. However, it seems that it is only in very recent years that NHS trusts have started grouping together and pooling their resources for the common good, rather than acting independent from each other. Sure this led to workforce reduction (non clinical staff), but I would argue this was money worth saving.

          • Charlieface says:

            There are quite clearly a lot of managers with pretty cushy jobs doing not much of anything to justify the amount they are being paid.

            It feels like every time there are cuts, it’s never the managers who go.

          • Chrisasaurus says:

            Indeed compare our per capita spending to say the Scandinavian countries, or Germany…

          • Bazza says:

            You can’t expect free health care for any citizens of the world with only the UK paying for it.

        • RussellH says:

          While I would agree that there is waste in the NHS, please name me an organisation of that size anywhere in the world that does not have waste – or even one just 5% of the size, which would still be a huge organisation.

          As to inefficiency, many of the problems are down to a lack of inefficiency. Long waiting times show just how efficient the organisation actually is – no resources sitting idle anywhere. Just like Ryanair.

          When people say they want more efficiency in the NHS, what they actually mean is that they want doctors and nurses to be sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for someone to need treating. That is **not** efficient.

          And I do know something of what does on in the NHS – my partner is a retired consultant, and I have been to any number of gatherings where I have had to listen to complaints from medical staff…

        • Alan says:

          No one is ever going to sort out inefficiency in an organisation the size of the NHS and I would not vote from anyone who claimed they were going to. The best you can hope to do is make it less inefficient than the alternative ways of organising health care.

          International comparisons show that the NHS is already one of the worlds most efficient health services. There are no doubt things we could learn from the very best but who would you trust to try to make the changes.

        • Callum says:

          The NHS is regularly found to be one of the most, if not the most, cost effective and efficient health systems on the planet. “Waste” is a very small percentage of the budget and is virtually impossible to eliminate in such an enormous organisation – you do realise they have 1.3 million employees and a budget the size of a large country?

          The NHS being top heavy with managers is yet another myth that can be easily disproven. They have only about a third of the number of managers that the average UK company would have, and I guarantee if they start getting rid of them then people will start complaining about how the NHS is too centralised and can no longer prioritise local health needs etc.

          And when has a party ever not said they want to get rid of waste? I know it’s far too damaging to the concept of democracy to insist on this, but I really wish it was practical to force people to inform themselves adequately before voting! These are life and death decisions – it’s a shame so many people just make them on a whim.

          • Aston100 says:

            I’m amused when I see Tory voters clapping for the NHS, as if they care.

          • Lord Doncaster says:

            Get rid of the inept procurement managers and the other nonsense pen pushers. Stat.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          LL The Chis Party (formed just now) says
          “we’ll sort out the huge waste, inefficiency and overload of non-clinical management in the NHS to make sure money in the NHS is invested properly” has an excellent chance of getting my vote
          There i said it lol can i have your “vote” lol

          • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

            You’re quite right Aston 100, how very clever of you?
            None of us 14 million Conservative voters have ever used the NHS or felt any need to invest in its future .

  • Alan says:

    I am about to change energy supplier to Octopus, has anyone got a referral link I can use.

    Thanks in advance

  • KBuffett says:

    Question about AmEx Gold
    If you hit your target to spend £15k and get 10k points and the upgrade to Plat, do you still get the points (as usually you would only get the points after your anniversary date)

    • Genghis says:


    • Jay says:

      Ring them and look at options. J soent £15k told them I wanted to upgrade but would lose 10k bonus as before the anniversary date. They gave 10k MR for the spend bonus plus 20k for the upgrade so it can be done. They will then do the upgrade app for the Plat over the phone.

  • andy says:

    Is anyone else having problems with the avios e store? Everytime I try and login I get a really weird error message

    • ChrisA says:

      It seems to have been OK for me today.

    • Matt B says:

      Yes have been having trouble for the past 24 hrs, trying to sign up for the Disney+ offer before the price rise. Ended up going through the normal BA site instead of direct e store link.

  • Ali says:

    Just got an email from Qatar extending validity of the healthcare promo for two free tickets (minus taxes/surcharges) to be booked by 30 Sep 21 for travel until 31 Mar 22.

    Hopefully international travel for leisure will be a realistic prospect before then…

  • Rich says:

    For anyone who was following the Apple TV+ conversation the other day – it’s just become available on Chromecast.

    Typical, just after I’d shelled out for a second-hand Apple TV box!

    May be worth a look for anyone who couldn’t be bothered to watch TV on the laptop.

    • Optimus Prime says:

      It’s been available for a while on Fire TV. The 4k stick goes on sale at £30 from time to time.

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