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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 18th 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 (318)

  • @mkcol says:

    Had my 1st vaccine dose at 11AM & boy have I had an interesting afternoon, evening & night.

    I think all the side effects are expected (will check leaflet when I get up) I just wasn’t expecting to get so many of them.

    Sleep now evades me after the worst part started ~3 hours ago.

    I’d still have the vaccine & will still take the 2nd dose.

    • Tracey says:

      Paracetamol is the answer. It should at least take the edge off all the side effects. That said those that do have side effects generally only have them for a short time.

    • Froggee says:

      Yeah – I was surprised too. I got done at 3pm and woke up at midnight with all seven of the very common side effects plus a racing heart rate as a bonus. Basically didn’t sleep that night, and spent the next day in bed dozing. Then I was pretty much fine although tired for a few days.

    • Louie says:

      Which one? I’ve had the AZ one and had no ill effects at all, not even the exhaustion the following day that family reported.

      • John says:


      • MattB says:

        Had AZ at 2pm yesterday, other than the usual light head and sickness feeling I get immediately after any needle I’ve been fine. Although I did have a single bottle of lager last and it felt as if I’d had a lot more.

        Still time though I guess for something to happen.

      • Polly says:


        • Rob says:

          + 2

          Literally nothing, nothing at all, after the AZ.

          • Claire says:

            I had AZ (as did everyone else I am about to mention) and had a sore arm, body aches, headache and dizziness the next day, mild aches the second day and just felt a bit weak on the 3rd day, that was it. My Dad had nothing at all, not even a sore arm and my husband felt like he had flu (man flu lol) my mum and sister felt a bit dizzy & sick on the first night then had nothing but a sore arm. So many different responses ..

          • Mrs_Fussy says:

            AZ wiped me out ( below 40 ) for 36 hrs but fine afterwards

          • @mkcol says:

            I forgot to add – I’ve had Covid-19 at Hogmanay, and anecdotally am hearing that those who’ve had the ‘rona already react worse to the 1st dose. But who knows how accurate this is.

      • Brian W says:


    • Tim says:

      I had AZ and felt very similar! All side effects were transient for me, which made it even more strange. One minute you’re sweating but cold with your whole body is aching, the next you’re feeling nothing at all. Very odd. The paracetamol in the middle of the night sorted my sleeping issues quickly.

    • Princess says:

      It is so personal…I also had mine yesterday (AZ) at 3:30 and I haven’t had any symptoms…I hope you will feel better soon

      • Brighton Belle says:

        The anecdotal observation in our family is the earlier in the day you get the jab the easier it will be to get through the next night if you take some paracetamol too. But getting a booking and a jab beats any other consideration.

        • David S says:

          Totally agree on the timing. I had real shakes at 9pm, so bad that I thought my body was going to come apart but by midnight all settled down. Wouldn’t have wanted this is the middle of the night when OH trying to sleep

    • Anne says:

      Snap. Had mine at 11.10 yesterday, felt ok when I went to bed about half ten last night but by midnight was awake and checking side effects online to see if what I was feeling matched up.

      Feeling better if not perfect now, a very strange night indeed!

    • Sussex bantam says:

      I had mine at 9am yesterday. Felt very tired but no other affects. Hope everyone feels better soon !

    • James Vickers says:

      I found the side effects were different for each dose. I had mild nausea for the first dose but for the second had a terrible all day headache and muscle ache. In both cases though the symptoms lasted 24 hours.

      • Nick says:

        Apparently the symptoms are far worse for those who’ve had covid (regardless of whether they knew they had it or not). The body reacts differently if it recognises the illness, or something like that. Hope those suffering get better soon. I’ll be booking mine for a Friday (if I get any choice!) just in case I trigger anything and don’t want to work, does sound pretty random.

        • James says:

          Nope. Had AZ vaccine 33 days after having Covid. No I’ll effects at all. I can’t see a pattern, some that have had Covid have issues, some that haven’t have issues. Partner had Pfizer and had Ill effects both times.

      • Sandra says:

        Yes first vaccination (both AZ) I just had aching arm, after second (Friday) I felt hot and clammy a couple of hours later so took paracetamol and also took some just before bed but still had a bit of a fever and a headache in the night and yesterday morning headache still & a bit wobbly so 2 more paracetamol. Was ok by mid afternoon. Both jabs were late morning, not sure if timing makes a difference or not.

    • Andrew says:

      Had the achy arm for 48 hours and looked red faced on Zoom that evening…

      Then came the tonsil stones. Now, they are always a sign my body is fighting something. Usually they are about the size of a grain of rice, sometimes a bit of sweetcorn, this time I couldn’t shift for 7 weeks no matter the amount of gargling and gentle massage to the throat from the outside.

      Eventually my tongue managed to get traction on it and with eye watering gagging and wretching draw it out. It was about an inch long and prawn like.

      And now, 2 weeks after dose 2, a fresh one is poking out. A pearl of brilliant whiteness at the back of my mouth.

    • kitten says:

      which one ?

    • @mkcol says:

      So it was Oxford AZ.

      About 4 hours after the injection I started to feel a bit out of it, not quite connected to reality. As I work in a safety critical role where I have to risk assess for others I took a half hour time-out to see if things would improve but they didn’t so I went home early (as it turned out only by about half an hour).
      Looking back I now realise I can’t really remember much of the rest of Saturday, although all I did was sit on the sofa, watch trash on telly & feed the dogs until my hubby got home. Went to be around 2200.
      Some time shortly after midnight I was woken by my left arm (the injected one) twitching a bit and me left leg too. My arm was across my chest & I couldn’t voluntarily straighten it. The twitching increased in intensity to full on thumping my chest while the rest of my limbs, body & head started shaking uncontrollably. I was eventually able to waken my hubby by hitting him a few times with my other arm!!
      I couldn’t speak as I had no control of my mouth or throat.
      My breathing was totally out of any rhythm & was at times gasping huge amounts of air.
      I’d say this out of control-ness went on for about 30-45 minutes. Quite scary.
      As things started to recede I was able to ask him to get our sats probe & attach to my finger – my HR was at 120BPM consistently. To give you an idea my resting HR is normally around 65BPM.
      My torso felt normal temp but my hands & feet were frozen.
      Teeth chattered throughout, but not from feeling cold.
      There was a second & 3rd wave when I moved to go to the loo, but nowhere near as severe as before. I had a mild headache so popped some paracetamol.

      By 0400 I was burning up & took my temp once which was 37.9C

      The rest of Sunday was a write-off.

  • Benilyn says:

    Booked a return flight I with Avios redemption with BA. Can I call and drop the return leg (even if it costs £35), or do both legs need to be cancelled (running the risk it does no go back to reward inventory)?

  • Asim says:

    PE (WTP) on BA from LHR-DXB – flight cancelled so offered Y on Qatar, Becuase QR doesn’t have PE. What downgrade compensation would I be entitled to? And is it easily given or do you usually have to go down CEDR/MCOL route?

    • meta says:

      75% of the ticket. You will have to fly first and then claim. Depends on BA agent whether you will need to claim via CEDR/MCOL. I would actually go back to BA and request Emirates PE as it is a)direct route and b) they have PE. Tell BA that you’ll otherwise be claiming downgrade compensation as per regulations.

      • Blenz101 says:

        Emirates don’t have premium economy product for sale.

        When is the flight? Until such time as the UAE is removed from the red list there will no direct return legs on any airline.

        Qatar seems reasonable to me provided the downgrade compensation is paid. Should help offset the £1700 quarantine hotel bill on returning to the U.K.

      • Lady London says:

        is it 75% ? I have a feeling downgrades between lower classes pay a bit less. It’s on Flyertalk

        • ChrisC says:

          the % reimbursement depends on distance and not cabin class.

          If anyone said that on flyertalk they are 100% wrong.

    • ChrisC says:

      Do not ask for “compensation” as they will turn you down.

      You need to ask for “reimbursement” as that is the wording in the regulation.

      You should receive 75% of the cost of the sector downgraded back.

      Proper taxes and airport fees are exempt from that but in your case you should also ask for and receive the difference between the standard and reduced rate of APD which is £98.

      • Charlieface says:

        To be more precise:
        You should get 75% of the base fare + fuel surcharge (YQ or YR)
        You should also get the full difference of other governement and airport taxes, this may be more or less than 75% of that total

      • Nick says:

        No UK APD out of Dubai (obvs)

    • Asim says:

      Thank you All – really useful.
      It’s actually for 14th May. I booked on the assumption that UAE will go into the green list by the time I come back on 1st June, but BA have cancelled all direct flights to DUbai until 16/5!
      75% back is quite good considering a short stopover, and QR economy isn’t too bad anyway

  • Dean says:

    I have an SQ flight from Heathrow T2 in about ten days, need a hotel the night before our trip for two adults two kids. Any particularly good deals currently nearby? Happy to pay with clubcard points ( or cash if needed but have no hotel status.

    • Tarmohamed says:

      We prefer the Hilton Garden Inn at T2. Always stay there.

    • pauldb says:

      Are you driving??

      • Dean says:

        We are leaving the country for good, so selling our car beforehand and heading to Heathrow by taxi

        • TGLoyalty says:

          HGI T2 is a good choice.

          Good luck with the move 🙂

        • WaynedP says:

          Big decision, wishing you all the best.

          We did it 20 years ago with two toddlers and one more on the way. Good qualifications but no firm job, no extended family / friends network to assist and liquidated life savings divided by ten by currency exchange.

          Some tough times, But all has turned out well in the end and wish you the same.

          Best advice is you make your own happiness wherever you find yourself, with the love and support of those close to you.

          Success & contentment isn’t tied to any physical location, not even your “heimat” (no equivalent English word, but well explained in Wikipedia).

          • Dean says:

            Thank you! We are moving back to Australia to be with grandparents for our kids, so hopefully it will be a great step. 🙂

            Hotel quarantine with a four year and six month old will be interesting though. :O

          • WaynedP says:

            Ah, great outcome will be assured for all then, no doubt – just as soon as you get through the Oz hotel quarantine.

            Just keep on reminding yourself that in years to come, it will be something that you will look back on and chuckle about.

            You’re facing a long journey – Our GP prescribed a mild sedative for each of our toddlers, which afforded us (and fellow passengers) some respite. We used it guiltlessly, and 20 years later can confirm no harm done 🙂

        • Jody says:

          Good luck!

          • Dean says:

            Thanks Jody!

            WaynedP, we can buy the silence of our four year old with TV, for our four month old I think it’s my wife that will likely need the sedation!

    • Harry T says:

      Beat of luck, Dean! Hope the flight and move goes well.

  • APB says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned on here but I think the Marriott intern may be working again. The Sheraton Grand in London has their largest suite available on quite a few dates in June/July for less than a standard room.

    • Tom H says:

      Very interesting, do I remember something similar in the past happening and the rates not being honoured? I can see for 217

      • Saiz says:

        I also saw 217 but they have jumped up to at least 241 on a few days and more on most days. Needed 19th June for DD’s birthday and was available but was gone by the time I clicked again to book. Oh well.

        • Nick G says:

          I did a sat night in October for my birthday for £265……was going to tag it onto a few days break end of may this year when it was £224/night but thought I’d go for my bday as it was £2k down to £265 and hopefully the club lounge might be open fully by then…thanks OP

          Whether it works or not well see!

    • mradey says:

      Thank you!

      Grabbed a July Friday evening Grand Suite overlooking Green Park for 280.

      • Si says:

        I’ve jumped in for weekend away. Worst they can do is say no and I’ll take my refund

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Just booked for a Saturday night in late July. Think I’ll hold off booking the train for 24hrs to see if it gets cancelled.

    • YC says:

      Non-refundable rate made me opt against it (despite how tempting). Does seem to allow changes but you would be essentially guaranteeing £250+ to the hotel in some form

    • meta says:

      It seems it’s available further ahead just need to scroll down on the list of rooms. I booked for end of September for £250. The rate is changeable, but non refundable. I am hoping they won’t take money until later as is usually the case, so not too bothered as I have booked on a card I plan to cancel soon.

    • Raveon says:

      Gone for £280 Sat night. How long til they realise & cancel?

      • meta says:

        I can still see many dates. It’s actually available till end of booking period. You can even book for Christmas period.

    • Harry T says:

      Has anyone actually being charged for booking this rate, seeing as its prepaid?

      • APB says:

        Nothing gone through on my card yet – haven’t booked a prepaid rate with Marriott for a while (unsurprisingly) so I can’t remember when they are normally charged.

        • Harry T says:

          They tend to charge nearer the time, I think. Will be interesting to see if the hotel honour the rate!

          • Ed says:

            How did you best search for available dates and is this the grand suite or the grand park view suite? Thanks

          • meta says:

            Given that it’s refundable within the first 24 hours if they do take, it will be tomorrow.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Harry T The Hotel have to honour the rate, especially if they’ve took the money ?
            Had an interesting conversation (well my solicitor did) with an large Hotel that withdrew the room (for maintenance) then put it back on sale at double the original rate.
            Got a free suite with all meals included, so cost the Hotel more than the gain they was expecting, perseverance is the key

      • Ryan says:

        Are we talking about the 1 bed suite?! Can’t see an less than £1k now, might have closed

    • Nick says:

      Just booked a weekend for my wife’s birthday. Not sure if the rate will be honoured though.

    • Tracy says:

      In it to win it, 2 weekend nights booked March 2022 for OH birthday…..£270 a night

      • Ed says:

        Found the best way to search for availability is to put 2 adults 2 kids, and then you limit the available room options significantly

        • Tom says:

          Thanks for this tip. I was struggling to find availability but found two nights in June using this trick.

        • Babyg says:

          I got FOMO – cant say id usually want to stay there, but couldnt resist… Any thanks Ed – that tip helped, i booked Valentines weekend…

    • BSI1978 says:

      Plumped for a Saturday night in September.


      Let’s see……

      • Rob says:

        I think that’s the one they gave Anika when she stayed to review it.

        Came as a big surprise to her new boyfriend at the time, may have been what encouraged him to tie the knot 🙂

        • Harry T says:

          The suites are lovely in this hotel, which was also overall a much better stay than I’d expected. I was upgraded to the Park Suite as Platinum and my gf and I loved it. Didn’t quite move me to propose though! Maybe the Grand Park Suite will 😂

    • Toppcat says:

      Thank you for flagging this. Just booked a Saturday night in Aug for my partner’s birthday for £280!

      • A says:

        Also booked for a birthday, let’s see how they react tomorrow…

        • John says:

          Also booked but they do not have to honour the rate – law allows contract to be voided if obvious mistake – you only need to look at other suite rates to know it is a mistake.

          • A says:

            The position regarding unilateral mistake is significantly less clear than you make out

  • John says:

    Actually nice, upbeat video on Zurich’s tallest (unnamed) hotel, now hosting students for $100 a week, post-insolvency.

  • Eligold says:

    What’s the deal with Covid testing if I fly into the UK for less than 48 hours?

    • Jonathan says:

      You need to pay for the day 2 & 8 tests but can leave prior to taking the day 2 test. No refunds available for the tests though

    • John says:

      You need a negative test before boarding the flight and you have to book and pay for 2 further tests even if you won’t use them

  • Princess says:

    I had a simple one way flight that had 8 hours time change, so I’m entitled of a refund. It was bought with a future travel (avios/money) voucher. Does anyone know if in this case the refund will be in form of money/avios or another future travel voucher?

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