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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 11th 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.

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Comments (200)

  • David says:

    Hi all, re 2-4-1 BA voucher extensions. I’m sure theres been chat on here already but i dont review regularly (now that i dont commute!). We’re into q2 and my vouchers are stuck at dec 2021 maturities. Any further thoughts (or success) on the potential extension route by booking (speculatively) and cancelling if non viable for a 2023 voucher (with 241 still available)?

    • Anna says:

      It’s still the situation that you can cancel an avios booking for a FTV valid until 2023.

  • HughM says:

    Hello. A question about Curves. With most debit cards, you get a new one through the post when the plastic expires. My Curve blue expired at the end of March, is not working and no automatic renewal. Am I supposed to order the renewal? The delivery charge on the first issue was waived through this website. Am just wondering if the blue is renewable free. Anyone had this happen?

  • The real John says:

    I had a BA FTV from August and I am pretty sure that the value should be 51 euros, it was a simple Germany to UK cash booking, and I found the transaction on my card statement.

    I just got an email from BA saying it has been converted to an evoucher with a value of 45 euros.

    I am not getting mixed up as I only booked 8 BA flights in 2020, of which 2 were 50% avios long haul for May, I flew 4, FTVed 1 and evouchered 1.

    So I have lost £9 as the pound has strengthened, but given that I don’t need to call BA to use this any more, I can’t be bothered to take this further.

  • Aston100 says:

    Amex Plat referrals from a new card.

    I reported here in the past couple of days of not having the ability to refer from a new Platinum card.
    This afternoon, the referral ability has appeared (12k + 12k).
    Took about 3 days after activating.

    If you recall, I mentioned that live chat and telephone support both stated that new cards cannot make referrals and that you need to have spent on the new card and it will be reviewed.
    Well, we still haven’t spent a penny on this card and the referral ability has finally appeared.

    Not sure if Amex CS actually bothered following up in the background after giving me a load of BS, or something else.
    I know I’ve been able to refer pretty much right away on previous (non Plat) cards in the past so don’t know what actually happened here.
    Seems OK now.

    • Harry T says:

      Just clunky IT IMO. Restricting referrals doesn’t fit with their recent moves to incentivise new sign ups and referrals.

      • Aston100 says:

        Spoke to soon.
        Tried to make a referral and an error pops up “Your account is temporarily unable to access the Referral Programme”.

        Bugger.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Why not spend something on it? There’s a month til the offer ends

          • Aston100 says:

            Do you think that will make the referral link work?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            What’s the harm? Put a few small transactions through. Tbh I wouldn’t have waited 3 days to spend if I was told that and wanted to refer before May 12th.

        • The uncivil servant says:

          Ask the “wife” to apply instead!

          • Aston100 says:

            OMG she is real!
            Yesterday I had to tell the cyclist that too.

            I’m not making it up!

  • BrianFRY says:

    Is there a sign up offer at moment for ihg ambassador? Thought I saw someone mention it on the chat earlier in week but can’t find anything. Thanks

  • Louise K says:

    I am looking to purchase my hubby a nice watch for his milestone birthday.

    Hopefully we will be headed to US later in the year – is it still worth it buying it at LHR? Will this be cheaper than the high st?

    • Aston100 says:

      I struggle to find anything cheaper than on the internet.
      That said, I haven’t been looking for high end watches, but just assuming.

      • Louise K says:

        Interesting, I will have a look.

        I’m thinking a Rolex – assumed that they would not be heavily discounted anywhere.

        • mutley says:

          Watches of Switzerland same as organisation as Goldsmiths. They do 4 years interest free credit on Tag, Breitling, Omega etc if you want it, but no discount on the high street. I bought two watches ( both TAG) from them 4 years ago in Brent Cross and got a 22% discount after 20 minutes of haggling but no interest free. If you want Rolex you will get 5%discount max.

          If buying at Heathrow it may be cheaper and you can get Heathrow Reward points into the bargain.

        • Lady London says:

          most of the duty free shops will apparently let you pre-order at LHR – personally I think I’d call and check cost and availability now. Then order whenever they say, plus one week earlier than they say ahead of your flight, to avoid snafus.

          I have a teeny tiny feeling Rolex may be one of the very few brands that actually keeps duty free prices not much off high street. Your main benefit could come from FX difference depending where you buy it if rates have changed from last time they set it, or buying it somewhere like Harrods when there is another incentive for a certain spend.

          • C says:

            While shopping for an Omega a few years back, I found airside prices at LHR to be significantly less than the GBP equivalent of the retail price in the US. However, the selection was smaller.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Interesting question which due to travel restrictions I haven’t explored

      I believe tax free shopping has ended in the U.K.?

      We will now be able to shop vat free across some European countries that allow it. France and Italy come to mind?

      • AJA says:

        Be careful with this approach as I think you will be hit with UK VAT on import into the UK if the product(s) you buy cost more than £390

        • TGLoyalty says:

          do you always declare everything you buy outside the U.K. on your return?

          • Pete M says:

            I always declare my exotic fruit – makes for an enjoyable time at Customs! 🙂

          • AJA says:

            No. But if you are going to try doing VAT free shopping in France or Italy you are taking the chance that they won’t share that info with the UK. You might get away with it. That said I can’t remember the last time I bought anything of significant value outside of the UK.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Shared with the U.K. are you for real?

          • kitten says:

            Well @TGLoyaly your surprise is likely to be absolutely correct right now.

            Interested drivers may be pleased to learn that since 1st January 2021 the UK is no longer sharing drivers’ names and addresses from the DVLA with EU countries. Naturally the EU countries are anxious to reinstate that arrangement, but apparently sadly if someone in their UK car accidentally exceeds a speed limit the UK currently has no process to share their details.

            Government and taxes etc being what they are, I doubt this situation will persist but currently I understand things like this are not being shared.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Also it’s no different to buying at LHR you should be declaring it and paying the VAT if you’re bringing it back in.

          • KBuffett says:

            I’ve heard that Switzerland shares tax free purchase information with UK

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The Swiss are known for their openness in sharing financial information to be fair.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          AJA, Buy it wear it, but not where it can be seen under a long sleeve jacket or jumper is always best.
          That way you should walk through, this approach works
          but if they see it they may pull you if it looks expensive !
          Rolex isn’t heavily discounted though
          (bought a few fake ones Canary Isles lol get a good price from idiots)

    • Craig says:

      Had a good experience with Watches of Switzerland at Heathrow. Did lots of research in advance and then emailed them and was happy with the price. Watch was ready to pick up the day we passed through.

    • Bs says:

      I wouldn’t do at the airport. There is a theoretical risk you would get stopped by customs and charged duty/VAT. Additionally many major high street retailers will match the price of an airport outlet if you haggle.

    • MattB says:

      Depends which Rolex range you want, they rarely have stock of the in demand sports models etc usually your only options are the blingy types that noone else wants.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Don’t forget to get a new Amex card and put the spend in it – atleast get some signup bonus on it.

    • TicknBash says:

      The ladies at Rolex T5 were very accommodating and ordered in the model I wanted for the Mrs.
      Collected and paid the next time I flew via T5 again in a couple of months. Got just under 5% off but pre Covid of course.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        In more mundane affairs I wonder whether duty free has returned for the like of Dixons at T5?

  • Stuart Evans says:

    Trying to plan a trip to the US West Coast (into SFO; back from LAX) using BA Holidays, and want to go outbound in First and back in Club World. This doesn’t seem possible via BA Holidays, but a normal booking can be made in two different classes. Am I missing a trick, or do I need to Call BA Hols?

    • GT says:

      I find if you go through the process of making a flight only booking, once you have selected your mixed class flights you will be offered the option to add a hotel, which turns it into a holiday package.

      • ChrisC says:

        That’s a n option – which I would use to get an idea of the prices.

        BA Hols agents can sometimes beat the online price as well

        And if you have an FTV to use you need to call them anyway

  • Tom1 says:

    Yes the gift cards are accepted at petrol stations. Sometimes have to persuade them they can take them, as not all staff know.

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