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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 11th March

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We are running 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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Comments (463)

  • Jimbob says:

    Gut instincts on whether the US will open up for Summer?
    Need my Florida fix but in two minds as to whether to book, flights are in the pricey side (£800 in economy) suppose I could always accept a voucher 3 weeks before, if I need to cancel………

    • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

      I’m thinking the US will allow us in when both populations are vaccinated as much as possible, I’d imagine an announcement in June and travel commencing in July.

    • Andrew says:

      Current US Stats are 64.1 million vaccinated
      (The number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine)
      52.6% of the prioritized population
      19.3% of the total population.

      Those are good strong figures 3 months after the first vaccination given. The Washington Post reports good availability of vaccines across all states.

      So if you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t live in Wales or Scotland, and you’re thinking of late August or early September. I think you’ve got a fair chance.

      • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

        New York Times are today suggesting most people could be vaccinated by late August so pretty much as Andrew suggested.
        I’m off to Washington DC in November and fancy my chances, less so Vancouver in September.

      • IanM says:

        Why not Scotland? Much lower rate of infection than rest of GB?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It should open well before at whole population is vaccinated.

    • Harry T says:

      Don’t pay that much for economy. There will be a price war when America opens to the UK this summer.

      • Anna says:

        Also loads of avios availability if you don’t want to pay cash prices.

  • Harry T says:

    @BJ
    My return flight from Tokyo has been cancelled. Looks like the BA app will let me move the flights to any available date in the existing calendar. When would you recommend visiting Tokyo? I’m happy to move the half price 241 booking to new dates rather than getting a refund.

    • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

      October is the sweet spot temperature wise, it’s stopped being hot and sticky and isn’t yet chilly.

      • BJ says:

        Or spring but it attracts a cherry blossom premium on hotels.. Not certain but I think spring is supposed to be a bit better for Hakone and Fuji. We are opting for spring to combine with Songkran in Thailand in event we still cannot get there over Xmas and NY.

        • meta says:

          October/November is good for autumn foliage viewing. If you want to go for cherry blossoms mid-March to early April, I’d wait another 2-3 weeks for the schedule to be released. You don’t need to rebook immediately.

          If you arrive around 10 March and stay till about 25 March it shouldn’t be too much of a premium. Cherry blossom season can start as early as that. February is also good for plum blossoms although it can be cold in some parts of Japan.

          • BJ says:

            Just recalled Harry was on a 60% avios ticket so that effectively decides it for him if he wants to preserve value. I read recently that a plan to plant thousands of cherry and plum across the UK is being considered.

          • meta says:

            @BJ UK will never be able to do it the way Japanese do it. They’ve been doing for several hundreds of years. It’s not just the actual trees, it’s also the whole culture of picnics, etc. My London borough did plant quite a few and if I want a little fix that’s a start. Sadly Kew Gardens or Japanese garden in Holland Park are too far away now…

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @BJ never understood the fuss about cherry blossoms until I started reading HfP comments.

            My part of town has lots of amazing cherry blossoms …

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks everyone. My main issue is I will likely be sitting my final set of postgraduate exams in April next year, unless the timetable changes. So that’s probably going to be a tricky time to visit. Would May be okay or late April?

      • meta says:

        Avoid late April/early May – it’s Golden Week and all Japanese have time off work, it’s packed and very expensive! I’d seriously think about the autumn. I love it. It’s very similar to cherry blossoms, but less touristy. The colours are amazing in Kyoto at that time.

        • BJ says:

          At the end of the day I don’t think there is any bad time to visit Japan but obviously best to try and avoid main holidays for usual travel regions. I’m not sold so much on cherry blossoms, I tend to dislike when travel experiences get the theme park twist with too much hype so I get TGs comments and yours that a trip to Japan can be be equally or perhaps even more rewarding in the autumn. Don’t think the scheme to plant cherry and plum in UK in in ant way meant to try to copy Japan but just to add some variety in some areas. I would welcome that as I’d be happy to see a lot more and wider variety of tress planted throughout the UK. My partner and I are members of RBGE and it gets us access to some great gardens here and also into Kew for free. Highly recommend the Botanics to any visitors to Edinburgh. Obviously it is much smaller than zjew bt in is much nicer too, both indoors and out. Anybody visiting Edinburgh or the Borders should also consider a visit to Dawyck garden as it is beautiful, especially the spring and autumn.

  • Grant says:

    Quick sense check – haven’t had a BA Amex card for 26 months but have had other personal Amex cards in the interim. Am I right in thinking I am now eligible for the sign up bonus on the BAPP?

    Thanks

    • Jimbob says:

      You’ll be fine

    • AndyW says:

      Yes

    • BJ says:

      Yes, and optimum time to be referred for it too.

      • Grant says:

        Has the bonus increased from 26k Avios?

        • BJ says:

          No, still 26k but most people are currently enjoying higher bonuses for referrals and ince such referral are often made by OH or close family or friends then it’s a good time.

          • Grant says:

            Ah I see. Yes, I saw reports of higher referral bonuses on some accounts. Sadly not on ours 🙁

          • BJ says:

            No harm in your OH asking, they can only say yes or no. When the system asks why you are calling say “cancel my account to get somebody in Brighton with some clout then tell them you’re not really cancelling but disappointed at the lack of incentive to refer. Obviously your OH needs to do this not you,.

        • Alan says:

          30k with a referral link being offered on the BAPP card.

          • BJ says:

            Thanks Alan, must look again as my partner has the boosted referral but I was sure the referred was showing as only 26k, must have missed it.

          • Rob says:

            These are targetted.

  • Mikey says:

    So Virgin and Bendy don’t work for NSI / HL right? What else can I use it on?

  • Paul says:

    What does solihull mean?

  • Harry T says:

    Does anyone know if using Bendy backed by Solihull earns points fee free if topping up Vanguard Investor accounts?

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