Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Sunday 14th March

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Comments (287)

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  • Liam says:

    I’m just at LAX waiting for my flight to LHR. I have to say, the VeriFLY app worked quite well. My uploads were verified quickly and when I got to check-in the agent seemed pleasantly surprised I’d used the app and all it took was a five-second look from her to see that I was all good to go. I don’t know precisely how many seats are taken but the agent described it as “wide open”.

    No lounges open in the International terminal—usually I’d have a choice of the OneWorld lounge or the Amex Centurion Lounge—but there is an Admirals Club (AA lounge) in the next-door terminal 4. It’s one of the domestic-focused lounges where they still charge you for most items. In these times you’re given a free snack bag with some carrots and ranch, cheese cubes, a cookie, some pita chips, and what looks like some kind of cereal bar.

    This flight had one of the biggest differences between cash and Avios prices that I’ve seen. A one-way cash ticket in Y was about $1,300, with a return around $1,500. Alternatively, it was 16,500 Avios + $64 one-way. I am not going to enjoy a 10-hour overnight flight in Y but at that price I couldn’t say no.

    • Harry T says:

      Safe flight! Great use of Avios.

    • Lyn says:

      Hope you had a safe flight and found some extra space to stretch out even in economy. Thanks for the current update.

      This is definitely one of exceptions to the rule when Avios come in handy in economy.

  • Yuff says:

    I see in the Times today they are trying justify not opening holidays abroad this summer because of spiralling cases in Europe, lack of vaccine programme etc
    They are saying that if you go abroad even if you have the vaccine you’ll still need to quarantine etc potentially in a hotel
    They’ll need some great justification to enforce hotel quarantine, on trips to the Costa del sol, which will kill European holidays.
    They are also going to struggle to continue to charge £210 for 2 PCR tests when they are encouraging children to take lateral flow tests every week and won’t allow a negative PCR to override the in school lateral flow test, albeit they will if the lateral flow test is done at home.

    • BJ says:

      Things are looking very good, personally I think they should just ban non essential overseas travel from/to the UK through end of Septemberr. Get most of the population through their second vaccine and see what happens here in UK as things return to ‘normal’. I don’t see the need to muddy the waters further by indulging peoples travel wants as opposed to needs, the public health need should come first. I want to travel as much as the next person and tgere are days I find it very frustrating that I cannot do so, but I think it would be better for all of us in the longer term if we give ourselves the best chance of getting our own house in order first.

      • K says:

        Many of us, actually, millions of us have very close families abroad. It’s not just a luxury that we can be without for a while.

        • BJ says:

          I have not seen my parents in person for a year and they are only 4h away.

          • K says:

            Of, course, everyone has different stories. But I know of children suffering as they have not seen their parent/s etc.. Grandparents who have been widowed and are desperate for seeing their family to bring some comfort. Especially in Europe, families are very mixed, each with a story to tell.

          • BJ says:

            I get it K, I know it has been very hard and for some much more than others.

          • Yorkieflyer says:

            I presume you aren’t close in that case as it was perfectly possible last summer, outdoors if you were cautious, as we were with our parents

          • Colin MacKinnon says:

            My mum is 35 mins away and I am due to see her the week after next for the first time in more than a year. And my grandson in the USA will be two this summer and I haven’t seen him yet. No real complaints – we do have FaceTime etc and the whaling fleet from Leith used to sail off for South Georgia for two and a half years – no radio, no email, no internet. And no complaints!
            Or read Eric Newby’s The Last Grain Race!

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            @BJ – same here, have not seen any family for well over a year. These are the precautions we take to safeguard all persons involved & others.

      • John says:

        We should ban anyone who proposes a ban from travelling until 2022

        • BJ says:

          It’s not about banning travel, it’s about trying to get ourselves into a position where short term restriction give rise to sustainable longer term travel freedoms without the public health, economy and travel industry going up and down like a yoyo. Granted, what happens here in the UK will only be half the story, we will always be subject to what is happening elsewhere too but I don’t think that means we should give up and not try.

          • Anna says:

            There won’t be much of a travel industry left if no one is allowed to go abroad this summer. Plenty of people took summer holidays last year, both in the UK and abroad yet infection rate stayed flat until after schools re-opened in September.
            Also – how is having a holiday in the UK less risky than having one in a country with similar infection and vaccine rates? If people are forced to take domestic holidays we’ll just see horrendously crowded beaches again and coastal towns being overwhelmed.

          • BJ says:

            I didn’t say it was less risky . It is a chance to see and understand better the effects of the vaccine program and use that to better inform future possibilities. I’m fully aware that it could be a waste of time but I think it is worth the risk for tve sake of a few more months.

          • Yorkieflyer says:

            BJ, polite enquiring if you are from the Celtic fringe of the UK?

          • BJ says:

            @Yorkieflyer, no, it might surprise you where I am from. My parents sadly can no longer go outdoors and are extremely vulnerable. I will go see them after they have had their second vaccine (which should hopefully be any day now), and after it is possible to do so.

      • Yuff says:

        I would have no problem with that if it is properly enforced, which I am sceptical about, but personally I would like to go to Dubai on holiday at May half term where all their population will potentially be vaccinated.
        By the time holidays open up everyone will need a booster 🤦🏻‍♂️

      • Andrew says:

        Totally agree BJ. I’d like to travel too but it will just muddy the waters here if widespread travel goes ahead this summer. Hopefully the review due to be published mid-April will advise the same.

        • Erico1875 says:

          Here in Scotland, the Scottish Goverment have more or less told us to forget any ideas of going abroad for holidays this summer

          • IanM says:

            Well I think we’ve seen how far we can trust the Scottish Government – ie not at all!

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            Isn’t that basically the Same in Wales this year? I thought I read that someone is trying to stop all international travel for the Welsh people.

          • Rob says:

            Drakeford wants to keep Wales in lockdown until Christmas.

          • Andrew says:

            I think the Welsh government’s proposal is that they don’t want people leaving or entering to or from other parts of the U.K. even.

          • Freddy says:

            Once the vulnerable have been vaccinated where’s the justification for a continued shut down

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            The Welsh position does seem particularly extreme, although not sure how much is political posturing. It would be interesting to see whether it would be legal to restrict entry into Wales at a point where relatively free travel in England/Scotland was allowed, as this would de facto make it an independent country and introduce a hard border if they made a serious attempt to enforce – with uncertain legality and likely legal challenge. My money is on all talk, no action.

          • Anna says:

            Drakeford has said that if English people are allowed to go abroad this summer they shouldn’t be allowed to enter Wales! This would pretty much kill the Welsh tourist industry though, so may just be political posturing. Maybe put it to the English where they would rather holiday – Rhyl or Rhodes?!

          • Andrew says:

            Do you think it will be the same Scottish (or Welsh) governments on the 7th May?

          • Charlieface says:

            Wasn’t Drakeford the same idiot who said they should slow down vaccine rollout because they will run out of doses and the poor vaccinators will have nothing to do…

        • Rob says:

          With 5m holidays already booked for post 17 May?

          • Anna says:

            I desperately want to be able to travel and have a number of flexible options booked, but I do think an awful lot of people are going to find it very difficult indeed to go anywhere faced with the triple whammy of vaccine passports, PCR tests and potential quarantine on their return. And that’s without considering that it’s still as clear as mud whether/where unvaccinated children will be able to travel at all (and who will be covered by travel insurance?)
            Interesting to see how the government intends to manage the expectations of all those who’ve booked holidays!

          • BJ says:

            That’s the result of idiot politicians succumbing to pressure from multiple directions to put meaningless dates on the table. If they wanted to quantify it at all they should have done so on the basis of some combination of infections, hospital admissions, and vaccination data as opposed to dates.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Rob Wow 5m holidays already booked, I Honestly didn’t realise there was 5m over “idiots”
            hope the bookings was for well past 17th May
            “Data not Dates” ?

          • WaynedP says:

            Booked with suitable ABTA cover and/or refundable/flexible rebooking terms, I would say this constitutes perfectly rational behaviour by anyone with a sunnier disposition than your own.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          Unfortunately the Patel/Hancock axis feeds into this Little Britain Xenophobia which has to find a way of expressing itself since they got their Brexit done

          • Secret Squirrel says:

            There are so many people who have already booked may 17th to fly.

        • Rupert says:

          “Drake Ford wants to keep Wales in lockdown in until Christmas” don’t know where that information was from. We don’t have to stay at home anymore, and much is beginning to open up.

          • Rob says:

            This from a press interview last week. He is begging Johnson to drop the 17th May and 21st June deadlines and said that this preference is for Wales to remain as it is until Christmas.

          • Rupert says:

            Well it doesn’t sound like lockdown to me. Wales it seems are opening up faster. I’ve booked an appointment for my wife at the hairdressers tomorrow! Tennis, golf etc are also now open. So to accommodation from Easter. Doesn’t seem extreme to me, as in an earlier comment

      • AJA says:

        Much as I’d love to book a holiday I won’t be going anywhere, nor indeed even booking anything, until I have had both vaccinations. Right now I am hoping to get the first once before the end of March, meaning the second one should be before July. So that means a holiday in Aug/Sep should be possible but assumes other countries accept my vaccination as proof I am lower risk. I also want some reassurance the risks are mitigated in the destination. But if I’ve got to factor in higher hotel, airfare and covid test costs as well then I won’t be going anywhere even then.

        Not sure we need a ban so much as people taking responsibility for their own actions. It just needs people to be sensible about it all. No point going somewhere for two weeks and then having another spike and further lockdowns. That said that is exactly what I am expecting.

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          We have seen how effective it is to allow people to take responsibility

        • Rob says:

          Maths was clearly never your strongpoint then. If a vaccine is 80/90% effective and then also reduces transmission by the same level, it’s not happening.

          I still think we are waiting for the first global death of someone who had two shots of the Astra vaccine. This is the bit people ignore. The vaccines are 100% effective (with a rounding error) in reducing hospitalisation and death.

          • AJA says:

            @Rob, I am not saying everyone should follow my example. I also disagree with BJ’s suggestion of a ban until September. I am saying a holiday in August or September should be possible. I am not stopping you going away in May, I just won’t be joining you. I am clearly more risk averse than you.

          • Rob says:

            My kids are in school, not going anywhere with the family.

            Looks like we are about to get the first press trip in the diary for June though.

          • Harry T says:

            I agree with Rob. Not allowing travel this summer will kill the travel industry off. Considering the massive numbers of the population we will have vaccinated by the summer, the seasonal decrease in covid numbers we saw last year, and the impressive efficacy of the vaccines, there will be no compelling argument against travel abroad this summer for the British population (or at least England, where the government are eejits but not draconian to the extreme). The issue for British travellers will be which countries let them in, as Europe has shit the bed on vaccination and many countries that have handled covid more effectively are not rolling out vaccines at pace. It looks the USA and UK could form a mutually beneficial travel corridor this summer, as both countries have done an excellent job of getting jabs into arms. Southern European countries can’t take the hit to GDP of another lost summer, so I imagine Greece, Spain etc will welcome us with open arms too.

            Covid is here to stay but there is no reason to keep the population restrained when the majority of the vulnerable will be very comprehensively protected against death and hospital admission. We need to learn to live with Covid when we have controlled the virus with vaccines. The single greatest risk factor for mortality from covid is old age and Britain has vaccinated the bejesus out of the elderly. I’m personally looking forward to a summer holiday after working hard throughout the entire crisis, especially as I will be one of the people who pays the most for the pandemic in the future, whilst having benefitted the least.

          • BJ says:

            Winter 2020, we had Harry and the Pussycat virus … in spring the first way hit …. then we had Rob and the rudimentary probabilities … then the second wave hit! What’s it going to be this time – more of the same? Or can we not just take a more cautious and informed route to stopping the yoyo effect? Sure people have died from covid, and others have and will die from it indirectly and sure, people die from other things too, but those other things don’t cause the same havoc on society or the economy as covid does. The comments on HfP alone are testimony to the upheaval, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, depression, financial hardship and loss covid has caused amongst other things, and we here might have handled it better than the average person in the street. Do we really want to keep the cycle going or do we want to take the best chance possible to break it?

          • Anna says:

            Harry T – is that medical terminology in respect of vaccination? 🤣🤣🤣

          • BJ says:

            @Harry T, the yoyo effect is serious impacts a lot more of the economy than just the travel industry. When it comes down to it I very much doubt the majority of the population would want to sacrifice their High Streets for BA and Tui.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        People should be forced to watch hospitals’ ICU for half an hour everyday to remind them of what’s the alternative to staying put at home.

        • Pete M says:

          The number of Covid hospital admissions is falling incredibly rapidly, with some seeing none at all in the past few days. When will be a good time to reopen then? When the whole world is vaccinated? In 2023? 2024? Not at all?

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Pete M That’s the best suggestion this morning wait while the “world is vaccinated if it takes until 2023? 2024? i agree with you

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Yup we should show videos of what can happen from car crashes, biking accidents etc too on loop every 15 mins so no one leaves their house.

          • HJT says:

            Well said, the current zeitgeist of COVID being the only issue society is facing needs to be redressed. It is bad, yes, however life cannot stop until it has gone.

            If people are not comfortable leaving their house for the next few years, then don’t leave. However don’t expect the rest of society to join in with the same mindset.

          • Rob says:

            There is the question, of course, of whether morally we should remain locked down to protect people who refuse to be vaccinated.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            There’s no moral question for me.

            If you are Phase 1 at risk and you refuse the vaccine then you’ve made your choice.

            We can’t not and never will save anyone. The amount of anti depressants being dished out by doctors is increasing daily.

        • Eric the Half a Bee says:

          @BuildBackBetter Today’s biggest bed-wetter comment so far. Congrats!

      • Rob says:

        There is no travel industry between Sep and March – kids are in school, Europe is wet. You can wave goodbye to the entire U.K. travel industry, including Virgin. IAG will be close to the edge too.

      • George1976 says:

        If you want to know what will happen it’ll be the exact opposite of whatever Rob predicts based on his previous “predictions” 🤣

    • Tariq says:

      The bedwetters were never going to give up the stranglehold on freedom easily.

      • Capt Hammond says:

        Very true, Tariq. And plenty of them like to come on here each day (a site dedicated to travel and travel related stories) to lecture everyone about how terrible we are to think about travelling

        • AJA says:

          I am not lecturing or saying that my view is the only legitimate one. I am just saying I am not going anywhere until I have had two jabs of the vaccine.

          I disagree with BJ suggesting a ban on international travel until September. I don’t think it’s necessary. You can go on holiday if you want to. I am not stopping anyone.

          • Harry T says:

            @AJA that seems like a sensible idea, especially if you’re a bit older or have some medical issues to grapple with (I’m not making any assumptions!). I hope you manage to get both your doses soon. It’ll probably be July before my gf gets a jab but thankfully most of my family have already (gf not exactly high risk anyway, I’m sure I can drag her along on a few holidays).

          • BJ says:

            Nor me, I am not trying to lecture anybody on what they should do. People probably can and will book and travel during this summer. I myself have booked travel throughout the pandemic preferring to be optimistic but prepared for the disappointment that came to be. I am only expressing a view that this year I think the government should try something different. I have zero problems with anybody on HfP who does not share my views on whatever we are discussing. I do have a problem with people who appear here only to throw insults at commenter but never have anything to contribute to the discussion one way or the other themselves.

          • AJA says:

            Thanks Harry. I hope you manage to get at least one holiday this year.

          • BuildBackBetter says:

            +1. Get the two jabs and start travelling.
            If u r happy to face quarantine, testing costs, it’s ur choice.
            But if u fall sick by travelling before getting jabs, you should be charged for NHS costs.

          • kitten says:

            How many months are you protected for once you’ve had your second dose of the vaccine @AJA?

        • Lord Doncaster says:

          I have to agree. Who are these loonies who want everyone remaining in the UK until the entire world is vaccinated?

          • bafan says:

            The same people who probably never went anywhere or did anything in the first place. Easy to miss something you never really had whilst lecturing everybody else. My partner lives in one country and my family lives in another – this is not great. OTOH I am the only person I know who has been vaccinated so Rule Britannia on that front!

    • Blair says:

      “THEY are trying justify not opening holidays abroad this summer”, “THEY are saying that if you go abroad even if you have the vaccine you’ll still need to quarantine”, “THEY’LL need some great justification to enforce hotel quarantine, on trips to the Costa del sol”, “THEY are also going to struggle to continue to charge £210 for 2 PCR tests.” Without getting on my soapbox, may I point out that THEY are not some insulated decision making box. THEY are politicians, who work for US! And who are craven enough to move with the public mood. We have a great opportunity during May elections canvassing to make OUR views known. And if THEY want to maintain their stance, THEY can deal with the political fallout of protest parties making inroads. Sometimes I wonder how many people actually write to their MP. In the absence of community circulation, MPs are horribly out of touch with genuine public sentiment and are following the Twittersphere. They need reminding. Sunday’s a good day to type a letter….

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The majority of these regulations have taken place with 0 political debate.

        This is dictatorship not democracy.

        • Anna says:

          When are they going to publish the new regulations (which apparently started last Monday when we were allowed to meet another person without exercising)?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I don’t believe the SI needed changing … just their advice

          • Anna says:

            TGLoyalty, of course it needs changing, it’s time limited and will cease to have effect in a couple of weeks. Advice has no legal weight whatsoever.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Yes It will need changing for the changes on March 29th but that isn’t what you asked.

        • George1976 says:

          The last Lockdown regulations were voted for by a margin of 95% plus I believe. You lost, man up and get over it.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            There was no debate it was yes or no with no amendments

            There was plenty of “I will vote for it but I don’t like it comments” because there was no alternative.

        • James says:

          Get a grip TGL.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Yup all is well out there

            There’s no “Ban” on peaceful protest and women aren’t being dragged off in handcuffs

            I’m the the one that needs to get a grip 🤣

      • Lord Doncaster says:

        The MPs most active on Twitter are usually those most deserving of being booted out.

        Then there was an MP who encouraged locking men away at 6pm…an SNP MP no less…

    • Will says:

      The greatest risk presently is a mutation that is resistant to the current vaccines.

      Until the vaccines are rolled out and we start mixing we won’t really know if that’s an issue.

      A vaccine resistant mutant probably didn’t have a competitive advantage pre vaccine, so other variants would proliferate.

      If that mutant or mutants do exist then it will quickly become dominant once were in an un socially distances vaccinated world.

      Bonkers to risk anything non essential prior to the result of that experiment,

      People going on about not having a travel industry, we’re existing literally on printed money and by the looks of it will continue to do so for years to come even if things go well from here and we don’t go back into restrictions.

      If the travel industry is cutting your foot off to save the rest of the body then that is far better than the alternative.

      Are we really saying we’ll risk starting this up all over again to go somewhere sunny for a week or two?

      Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

      • Terri says:

        More than 5 million holidays cancelled last year, I think there will be lots of people getting more vouchers this year if unwise enough to have booked non-refundable options.

        If the Brits exodus to the wider world this means the wider world coming into Britain – planes take passengers in both directions. As most of the world is unvaccinated I can’t see travel opening up in just 8 weeks time. Not everyone in UK by a long margin has even had a 1st vaccine yet.
        Brits leaving in large numbers without incoming holidaymakers also leaves the UK travel industry with empty beds.
        We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world – made more so by our variable weather. I am taking time this summer to explore places I have never been, and there are so many, without using a plane.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Everyone doesn’t actually need it.

          Outside of phase 1 cohorts the risk of having severe Covid is extremely low and dying is near on non existent.

          I’ll repeat this daily but having the vaccine will not give you carte Blanche on the globe. The most important thing will be the countries progress in vaccinating their equivalent of the UK phase 1 cohorts.

          UK, Channel Islands, Gibraltar, Seychelles, Israel, USA, UAE, Malta, Cayman Islands, Maldives look most likely to actually be in a position to open up to each other. There will probably be exceptions to allow incoming tourism for those countries with very low infection rates too.

          • Anna says:

            Cayman Islands aren’t opening up to anyone without 10 days quarantine (or 14 days if there’s anyone in your party who isn’t vaccinated). This is only going to change if they get a new government brave enough to overturn the current decisions. A lot of Caymanian voters don’t want tourists back, full stop, as in general they don’t rely on tourism for economic prosperity.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Gives xenophobes an outlet doesn’t it

      • kitten says:

        +1
        Also agree with BJ in holding off a bit longer is low cost for potential high benefit.

        When things start again I want things to stay open and not be jerked around opening and closing. Anyone that understands markets knows that uncertainty or unexpected negative change is the killer. Not known bad knews as @Chris Heyes put it.

        I hate to see good businesses going down in this but for the sake of public health I’d let airlines etc go. Actually thet could do well folding, losing all the liabilities including lots of own cancelled tickets’ EU261 liabilities, then forming new entities.

        I want none of this to happen and have my own family pain due to travel ban but longer for now would be worth it till things progress further.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Sorry but that’s the talk of deep recession.

          That will be good for no one.

          • kitten says:

            We’re there already @TG.
            We’ll have to inflate our way out of this at least so far as inflation of all compulsory costs paid to government, local authorities, and things like insurance are concerned.

            Polarity will increase and in 10-20 years the middle class may have disappeared.

            We’re already facing this. (Although for the wealthy and many businesses I think we’ll come back up again surprisingly quickly.)

            But for the sake of another 6-9 months of caution I don’t want everything everyone has been denied so far, to be wasted.

          • BuildBackBetter says:

            Yep, who cares if another 10k or 100k die? Our right to travel abroad should never be take away!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I disagree we are already there. The next 9 months will be vital in deciding if it’s “just” recession or deep depression.

        • The Lord says:

          Bonkers talk. We have a vaccine that pretty much reduces the chance of death to zero and hospitalisation by 90%. Life isn’t risk free

          • Ben says:

            Wow! What a crazy comment kitten “ I hate to see good businesses going down in this but for the sake of public health I’d let airlines etc go. Actually thet could do well folding, losing all the liabilities including lots of own cancelled tickets’ EU261 liabilities, then forming new entities.”

          • Will says:

            We do have such a vaccine, we don’t know if any mutations are resistant enough to it to render it ineffective or will become so.

            All it takes is one person going abroad and catching such a mutation and returning to the UK with it and you render the initial vaccine roll out ineffective.

            There is already evidence of recombinant strains in existence.

            Very few people want to remain in this situation for any longer than necessary, but I think our eagerness to return to normality over the last year has ultimately drawn the restrictions out longer and cost us more both economically and socially.

            The risk of rendering the vaccine ineffective should not be dismissed as zero and it would be a catastrophic development so even if it’s a very small risk it should be taken very seriously indeed.

            Economically, we’re in uncharted waters already. Despite measures like surging house prices and apparent confidence Shown by low borrowing costs all of this is propped up with printed money and no clear plan to a time when printing will cease which poses a huge question mark over the strategies sustainability.

            There’s no shortage of examples of printing money wrecking economies, there’s a lack of examples of it solving problems.

          • Rob says:

            There is no evidence of any strain which would hospitalise or kill someone who had been vaccinated AFAIK. At worst, you may get slightly ill when the normal strain would have had no impact at all on you.

          • will says:

            I agree Rob, but such a strain may not have any competitive advantage right now.

            The “Kent” strain quickly proliferated due to it’s increased effectiveness in transmission. With vaccines effectively suppressing most known strains, we have an unanswered question as to whether or not a vaccine resistant strain exists and if it were to get a competitive advantage (ie it resists the vaccine which inhibits other strains) whether or not it would be capable of spreading rapidly and causing serious illness.

            There is no evidence for that presently, but we are lacking data on vaccinated populations without social distancing in place so until we have that we cannot be certain it is not present or will not emerge. Seems very risky to rush into any more lifting of restrictions that is necessary until we have more data on that.

            The whole Covid saga has been an attitude of “that cant happen” followed with “woops it happened”.

          • kitten says:

            @Will I totally agree with you

            Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind.

            As one whose dearest relative may die before I am allowed to go see them as well as professionally economically badly hit by the restrictions, I think it’s still safer right now to be ready for a travel ban and restrictions for all or most of the rest of this year.

            We don’t know enough about transission nor how long vaccines are effective. Nor have we enough experience about new variants and how likely they are to outsmart vaccines. The rapid spread of the Kent variant throughout other countries starting with just one case shows the risk.

            Let’s keep restrictions a bit longer till some of these basic unknowns become known. And I say this as someone who is really far, far worse off due to the restrictions that far outrank my own level of personal susceptibility.

    • Nick Burch says:

      The price of the 2 tests is coming down already – as of the 11th March they’ve added a bunch of new providers for the days 2+8 tests. Several options at only £190, and I’d expect that to fall further once the competition hits in and everyone gets the hang of it.

      Probably still looking at £100 for the two tests on return, plus there’s £35 for the lateral flow before you fly back, plus possibly £30-£80 for a test before you set off. Going to make a quick cheap weekend break on Ryanair unaffordable, but possibly not the end of the world for a Club Europe + 5* hotel break…

      • Rob says:

        I don’t see the vaccinated public putting up with sort of nonsense, frankly.

        • Paula says:

          I agree Rob we will soon be upto 35m people vaccinated, but what can we do about it if they say no leisure travel on 17th May or even 21st June, airlines will cancel flights as they have done now.

          • Rob says:

            Given the elections in the first week of May, I doubt Boris will want to be cancelling holidays.

        • The Lord says:

          Not when deaths are at 150 per day and falling 30% a week

          • Paula says:

            Average weekly deaths will be under a 100 in a weeks time. I’ve been told we will be doing 800k jabs a day from this week so if that continues for 3 weeks that takes us to 41m people vaccinated by Easter, but still in lockdown doesn’t makes sense.

          • The Lord says:

            Zero sense

          • Yuff says:

            I look forward to the government trying to get foreign travel banned/inaccessible through regulations post May 17th with over 40m vaccinated under the pretence a vaccine resistant mutant might get imported…………..
            I suspect the CRG might not be so accommodating………
            Everything in the Balearics is being geared to the summer tourist season, caution now to protect the summer is the mantra here currently……

        • Paula says:

          The CRG kick up a fuss and talk the talk, but they don’t actually do or achieve anything unfortunately, any legislation will get passed as Labour will back it.

  • BJ says:

    Approaching my mid 50s and with time on my hands whilst watching golf yesterday I decided to run some life insurance quotes. I was very surprised how reasonable prices were, particularly amongst some of the biggest players like Aviva and L&G. Also of note was that their % of claims paid trailed Virgin Money, Vitality and Budget all of which were 99 5% plus whilst the majors were as low as 97%. I have decided I will take out another policy and was wondering if there is any good points/miles angles to exploit? The difference in price between the top ten r so most competitive quotes were very small so factors other than cost are likely to be more important to my decision. Vitality is not a brand I’m familiar with but I know it has been discussed here in relation to health cover and the associated niche card. Would be interested to know how positively readers using, or have previously used Vitality and other insurers rate them? Thanks.

    • Erico1875 says:

      Have you tried quotes from Cavendish BJ

      • BJ says:

        No but I’ll have a look, thanks.

      • EwanG says:

        +1 – use a discount broker such as Cavendish or Moneyworld (I’ve used the latter for plans purchased personally as well as and relevant life, they’ve been excellent on both occasions over 7 years apart) and focus on getting the cover you need at the best price ie with minimum commission.

        • BJ says:

          Thanks Ewan. You are in west of city IIRC. Any thoughts on new Cammo Meadows housing development off Marybury Road? I was wondering if it might be a good buy but in back of my mind I have a picture of those fields under water at one time. I guess it is also not going to help traffic on Queensferry Road.

          • Fred says:

            just had a look, it appears to be the same old bland offering…with integrated ‘garage’

            I’d love to know what the actual usage of such garages is (for cars that is, not family junk) – any I see are always closed with the car parked outside on the driveway.

          • BJ says:

            @Fred, storing junk. I don’t want to live there, just contemplating if apartments there might be a good investment. I think it is overpriced, pretentions of Barnton which it isn’t.

          • EwanG says:

            @BJ yes you remember right and just along the road from me. I like how they’ve laid the place out to keep sight lines to nearby Cammo, however having used Maybury Road daily for commuting (by bike!) for half of the past 15 years the junctions at either end could not cope already, never mind with thousands of extra people living just off it and mostly driving. So that would definitely put me off. Sad also to lose another bit of green belt, and the same happening to Craigiehall soon too!

          • BJ says:

            Thanks @Ewan for confirmation. I will leave well alone. Agree on the greens, there are lots of pockets of brown sites still dotted around that would actually benefit from decent development. Another problem at Cammo is that as usual there will likely be little or nothing in the way of new services so adding further to congestion, even outside rush hour.

          • EwanG says:

            @BJ Agreed on the brownfield sites – and think some (e.g. massive redevelopment at Granton) could end up being a be better investment opportunity than Cammo. Amazed at what spaces now being built upon e.g. opposite Meadowbank. Busy road but good connections into town and excellent facilities nearby. No idea about yield on such a place, but I think no trouble to get tenants.

        • Isherwood says:

          +1 – successfully used Cavendish online a number of times – pay them a small fee up front for lower monthly rates (commission free policy) – efficient / transparent

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Another +1 for Cavendish. Be wary of any variable premiums (vitality was one of them).

    • Gruntfuttock says:

      Mrs Gruntfuttock and I have been with Vitality for a few years now and have no complaints, worth a punt 👍

  • James says:

    Good morning all. Looking for some hotel recommendations for Antigua for a couple. Thanks!

    • Doc says:

      Depends what you are after since there are a lot of variety of hotels in lot of differing areas in Antigua and different price points.
      We stayed at Cocos last year pre-pandemic and it was good for couples.

  • Dan says:

    Morning, how long does it take for Virgin SA PoRtal transactions to track? Went into Mozzas’s yesterday for GCs but no e-mail yet? For online ones, I normally get one one or two days after – same for in-store ones too?

    • tom1 says:

      The last time I used it extensively, the email conf was 3-5 days after the transaction. Think weekends made the difference. Don’t panic!

      • tom1 says:

        And this was mozzas/virgin SA combo.
        Not like the Amex ones that came instantly as SA has to wait for the card transaction info to be passed to them.

  • Steve says:

    Seen lots of mention on here for Bulb referrals etc. I’m not after one (at the moment). Just trying to understand why so many on here plump for them over other providers? And what does the referral get you vs going direct?

    • Roger says:

      Referral gives both parties £50 credit.

      Bulb have a single tariff, “100% renewable” energy. More modern technology/approach than the big boys.

      • Charlieface says:

        You do realize most of them are 100% renewable these days?
        And that in any case you electricity comes from the grid the same way, just how Bulb offset it with their suppliers against the input power?

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Simple tariff, good customer service, less likely to fold (two of my previous providers closed down), more importantly, can set up dd for £5 and top up rest using Amex!

      • memesweeper says:

        Good customer service? not in my case! terrible experience here, can’t wait to move on

    • BJ says:

      Bulb were by far the most impressive energy company I ever used. Good systems and communication, simple products, and they pay exit penalties. Left them only because I found a substantially cheaper fix elsewhere but might go back as I am having one problem after another at the moment with Scottish Power.

    • Steve says:

      Good to know, thanks all. Would a referral and Voldemort double stack, or one or the other?

    • Gavin says:

      They are the cheapest provider for my area (electric only, Ecocomy 7). Plus, their referral system is good. On my 1 year joining anniversary, they doubled the referral to £100 for a period and I manage to refer over 15 people! Not sure if they are still doing that. Had no bills to pay for nearly 2 years.

    • Andrew says:

      I thought free snacks and water was the current position?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        A free snack and a bottle of water I believe plus anything else pre ordered from BOB

        It seems the complimentary bar trolley will return to Y

  • Mike says:

    HL says withdrawal from my account goes into my bank account but sometimes it gets refunded onto my debit card instead. Anyone knows why?

    • KBuffett says:

      Goes to back to you debit card if it hasn’t been invested or less than 60 or 90 days since the card transaction

      • Mike says:

        Thanks! So it’s ‘or’ and not ‘and’. So once it’s fully invested and if I sell it I can get it back right away. Interesting.

        • Red Flyer says:

          Not right away no, as a fund on HL is generally T+3 or 4 to settle with a contract note and enable funds to be returned.

        • Jonathan says:

          Either way, you’re not going to have a leg to stand on if they refund to debit card which they may well decide to if it’s obvious what you’re up to.

          The fact they have the policy in the first place shows that they are aware of potential abuse.

          FOS isn’t going to back you in a complaint if you’ve had your money back.

          • KBuffett says:

            The policy are actually standard Visa and MasterCard polices. ‘Refunds’ must be onto the original card. Any merchant that doesn’t do this is actually breaking the merchant agreement.

        • Roberto says:

          Fully invested and get back?
          You only get back what you put in if the asset or equity you purchase goes up in value …You also have transaction costs to account for and what happens if the asset you’re buying goes down? LOL

          • Roberto says:

            This is why NSi was such a better way of MS as the depreciation risk on the investment was not part of the equation.

          • Eric says:

            Time for you to look for something that is fees free and dosen’t fluctuate like that then (of course capping upside too). Tons out there.

    • The real John says:

      To prevent people using them to extract money from credit cards using Curve.

    • mark says:

      Looking forward to the day when whatever your “investing” in crashes and you lose 20-50% of your capital.
      Remember it only needs to happen once (and trust me it will do ) and you’ve lost way more than any points you’ve gained.
      Completely brain dead way of trying do MS!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Absolutely agree it’s not a place for MS.

        Doesn’t mean you can’t fund an actual ISA.

        • Genghis says:

          If in equities, a 50% fall is almost certain to happen again but if you’re happy with that exposure, then it’s all good. Ie you earn points doing something you’d do anyway.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        mark But it doesn’t only happen the once it happens every few years
        That’s how easy it is to make money
        When everyone’s buying it’s time to sell keep your profits
        When everyone’s selling it’s time to buy build up profits
        The market goes up and down every so often
        done it all my life, the gains far outweigh the loses

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          Wouldn’t recommend that for everyone as it’s very difficult to get the timing right.
          Have you compared against what you’d have earned just investing regularly?

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