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The HfP chat thread – Friday 2nd April

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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.

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 (300)

  • Ian M says:

    Question for any headforpointers who’s received a Covid vaccine..

    I’ve seen some countires stating they’ll be open to Brits who have been vaccinated. So I wondering how this will be demonstrated. Is everyone who’s been vaccinated been given a certificate with a unique ID number, their name and passport number?

    • Andrew says:

      This is the million dollar question! If only things were that organised. You’re given nothing at the moment – and the government is investigating how best to implement a vaccine passport system for travel and/or daily life (see BBC News today). In the absence of this, your GP can (possibly for a fee) provide you with a letter stating you have had the vaccine – how acceptable that is as evidence for ports of entry around the world is anyone’s guess.

      • Magic Mike says:

        The NHS app will show if you have been jabbed. Possibly this will be used to generate vaccine passports…?

      • Ian M says:

        The idea of a vaccine passport for daily life in the UK is horrendous

        • Craig says:

          I really do hope this isn’t for daily life, it certainly will be required for international travel though I think. There may be some merit in using it for larger events where if you haven’t been vaccinated you can take a test instead but I’d only see this being needed as a stop gap while we vaccinate the rest of the population.

          • Ian M says:

            It doesn’t make any logical sense why it would be needed. Once all the elderly and ‘vulnerable’ groups have been offered the vaccine, surely it’s time to drop all of this and move on. 84% of hospitalisations and 98% of Covid related deaths are from people aged 50+.

          • Char Char says:

            Not sure how you can say it will be required for international travel at all, this is just scaremongering, at best you maybe eligible for not having to have a negative test.

            Either way vaccine doesn’t guarantee immunity or guarantee no transmission regardless.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Char char, that may be logical as the vaccine is indeed not a 100% guarantee of anything, but the reality is that international travel involves 200ish different countries each with their own rules made up on the fly and more dictated by politics than logic, so it’s a virtual certainty that at least SOME of them will implement a vaccine passport scheme. Of course it’s also a virtual certainty that some of them won’t, and nobody is obliged to travel to a country wirth rules they object to…

        • TGLoyalty says:


          • Craig says:

            I agree too, but it will be another few months before all in this group have had their second jab. A vaccine passport may help in the short term.

    • Craig says:

      If Pinnacle has recorded the vaccine correctly it will appear in the NHS App (Not the tracing one), it may take some manipulation by you GP staff to enable data access at their end. Be warned not all staff know how to do this and it may take some persistence. Providing this all works it’s fairly easy for NHS X to create either another app or allow viewing in an existing one. My NHS app now shows both my first and second jab.

    • Rob says:

      GPs already issue letters for yellow fever on request so the worse case scenario is that you get one of these.

    • Carol says:

      I was given a card with the date, name and batch numbers of the vaccines I received

      • Craig says:

        Very easy to forge unfortunately never mind someone borrowing someone else’s card.

        • The real John says:

          Yet entry to certain African countries functioned well enough on paper vaccine certificates before 2020.

          • Craig says:

            It did and a letter from a GP should be just as good, however, the scale here would overwhelm GPS while they are trying to vaccinate and catch up with routine appointments.

          • Lady London says:

            Quite. Yellow booklets with pages confirming vaccination for typhoid, cholera, smallpox, yellow fever used to be an international standard. Why re-invent the wheel?

          • Number9 says:

            Craig my GP charges me £30 for a letter re travel and my meds. Not tarring all with same brush but I know exactly what my GP will prioritise probably with a price increase as well. No I’ve not got a high opinion of my local surgery at all.

    • meta says:

      My birth country now accepts the following. Any official confirmation in English that states that you have fully completed vaccination programme (because of Johnson&Johnson one dose vaccine) or confirmation that you had covid in the last 180 days. No quarantine and no tests required if you have such paper and upload it to online entry system.

    • Blindman says:

      I can see it on my NHS record which is available on-line from my GP.

    • Doc says:

      Only evidence you currently have is the vaccine card and it will go on your NHS notes, which you can get access via the GP (although it is a bit hit and Miss- joys of NHS IT).
      When I was planning a trip to Seychelles, I enquired on their pre-travel email about what evidence I need to show and the reply was a scan of the vaccine card is sufficient. Of course, this might change anytime and also different countries have different rules.

      • Doc says:

        You can access your vaccine history via the NHS app but this doesn’t always work.

        • Sandra says:

          I can order my repeat prescriptions via the NHS app but I can’t see my GP record or vaccine record. It says currently no access to GP history contact GP but the wait on the phone is so long I can’t be bothered at the moment and unless you have an appointment or are getting vaccinated you can’t go in. So I’m not sure if all GP surgery’s are fully aligned with the app yet?

          • Craig says:

            In 2019 it was supposed to 95% of GPs, the problem is the training of staff. There is probably one or two people at each surgery who can make the necessary changes, I sorted mine out by email.

          • Tracey says:

            My covid vaccines are recorded under “acute medicines”.

          • Sandra says:

            Thanks Craig I will try the email route.

      • Jill (Kinkell) says:

        In Scotland , no card. In fact we got nothing. I had to note down for my own records the vaccine and date of jab. Forget batch number!
        I still have very tatty vaccination certificates from 50s and 60s for typhoid, cholera etc for living in Hong Kong

        • Liz says:

          Agreed – no info given in Scotland and we cannot access any records via the NHS Scotland app.

  • Fk says:

    Has anyone had any upgrade links or bonus points for upgrading green amex to gold or plat? Thank you

  • Dace says:

    Can anyone confirm if making a payment to Ernie using Bendy with Creationalists underneath. Can anyone confirm if this is one of those transactions that need credit in place before you do it or if it counts as a regular payment?


  • TJ says:

    Very impressed with Express Test Heathrow Drive Through service. Took the test at 2:30pm today and received the Fit to Fly cert 5 hours later.

  • Dace says:

    Does anyone have any experience with Barclays Premier or CitiGold accounts?
    I have investments that qualify me for these accounts, however I am weighing up the benefits. Citi appeals to me owing to the financial management as I have been self investing and earning an average of 15% but would like to get some advice but don’t want to pay the 2k I have been quoted elsewhere for it.

    Could anyone clarify the other benefits they provide/someone could expect and what type of fees are involved in holding an account with them? I am currently with AJ Bell but they are now starting to prove expensive for me owing to the size of my holdings.

    Barclays appeals owing to the Avios rewards but I have had bad experiences with Barclays customer service in the past so I am not sure they would bit annoy me. Furthermore, I am not sure what I am really getting with them other than the opportunity to pay £12 a month for Avios Rewards. Do they still offer the Picturehouse membership?

    Just as a heads up, I am only able to take these accounts owing to my investment portfolio and not my wage so I cannot do both at this moment in time.

    • Genghis says:

      IMO, you should just look to change broker. I thought AJ Bell reasonably priced for exchange traded products? Or do you own OEICs? Have a look at iWeb, Halifax if you must. You’ll likely save a fortune. I was with Barclays premier a few years ago and you won’t be missing out on much.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      I have experience with Citigold. The financial advice is worse than a chocolate fireguard; avoid if you don’t want to be plied with high expense investment products. The “premier” service was ironically the best vs HSBC or Barclays, however I had to pull out entirely when they closed all their physical branches and left me no way to transact USDs other than online. Moved to Barclays which has been mediocre other than the national trust and dining club benefits (both pulled during COVID!)

    • A says:

      The financial advice you get will not be great and probably push you towards products with high fees. 14% is not a bad return and you could possibly minimise your fees instead as genghis advised.

      • Yorkie Aid says:

        If you’ve got more than £50k in an ISA and are largely looking at UK listed investments then ii are hard to beat on overall price. Avoid for international though as FX is extortionate.

        • AnotherUser says:

          If you’ve got £50k+ invested, choose where to go based on price and service – I wouldn’t pay much attention to avios.

          How complex is the advice you need? £2k seems a lot. Worth tracking how much this type of fee is eating into your investments. I ultimately decided that a relatively simple and passive (and low fee) approach would work better for my smaller pots…

          • Mike1 says:

            What would likely be the best broker if I only invest in funds (due to work) and have c.£50k? I’m on HL due to the wide variety of funds but not the cheapest of course.

          • Lady London says:

            If you initially invested in something using an adviser, beware you can be paying fees to that adviser continuously years after making that investment. An adviser fee may well be embedded in your rate.

            Platforms will currently not generally be proactive about checking if you are “still advised” even years later.

            Obvs if you are still taking advice from that adviser, fair enough. But if not could be worth looking into.

            Another of the finance industry’s dirty secrets. I think Rob said he adjusted one of his investments to reflect that advice was no longer being given and it made a huge difference to money he kept.

          • Rob says:

            This was my ex-bank pension which had a 0.75% commission on it. I paid £200 to an advisory firm on an execution only basis to open an identical pension with the same company, so no trail commission to the advisor. For clarity – same pension, same company, same underlying funds, just a lower fee. It saves me £2,000 per year in fees, so about £20k in the 10 years since I did it, and took virtually no time at all.

  • APB says:

    I’ve been monitoring IHG redemption rates in the US for September (specifically SF and LA) and they have rocketed over the last 24-48 hours. Anybody noticed any similar trends? Trying to work out if it’s localised demand or a general (hesitate to say the word lest I spread panic) devaluation.

    • Rob says:

      Could be an increase, could be an IT mess. I’d give it a few days.

    • Ikaz says:

      Loads of ups and downs. Intercontinental Maldives now 120,000 per night on nights I am looking at (up 20,000)

      • Aston100 says:

        Revisiting some of my domestic bookings, rates have shot up by at least 50% across various cities in the UK.
        However, the cash prices have come down – quite a lot – in a couple of the cities, to the point where I’m tempted to cancel my reward nights and rebook with cash (I need the points for elsewhere anyway to be honest).

        US hotels that I was looking at 2 days ago seem to have increased their points requirements quite a bit.

        Something seems to be going on.

      • Aston100 says:

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen an IHG hotel above 100k before (not counting Mr & Mrs Smith or Six Senses).

        • Rob says:

          …. and Six Senses Maldives is capped at 100k per night, which means some weird stuff is happening.

    • ChrisC says:

      several comments on this is the early pages of the chat

      Something is going on where some rates have increased by a lot but also some reductions

      • Andrew says:

        IC O2 has come down to only 33k whereas a HIX has gone up to 38k! Very odd fluctuation today, hope it settles.

        • Benilyn says:

          Beth Indigo up too 🥺

        • DJ says:

          I thought I would take another look, but looking at the September (17th) rate for IC O2, 169GBP or 65,000 points. 🙁

          • GERRY says:

            Yes Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv beach is 60k points, previously around the 30 mark, crazy

  • Simon Schus says:

    Hi all 🙂

    Do long-haul Avios bookings usually include the UK domestic connecting flight, even for long-haul RFS?

    I’m looking at MAN-LHR-IAD through in Y.
    – The charges have been lower for LHR-IAD on than for a while for this route, presumably due to Reward Flight Saver.
    – It is ridiculously expensive for a cash fare on the dates I needed (even when adding a return component).

    On, It is coming up at 20,000 GBP274.83 for MAN-LHR-IAD but just 20,000 + GBP195 when it is just LHR-IAD.

    (For contrast, It is GBP274.83 on for both routings).

    I’m fine booking them separate as then I’d probably do business class RFS for MAN-LHR but would have the hassle of collecting and re-checking bags at LHR.

    • Peter K says:

      From what I’ve read here, the domestic transfer tagged on a long haul redemption costs no extra avios but does have an extra cash fee.
      What you’ve put sounds like this is happening.

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