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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 15th May

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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 (374)

  • Andrew says:

    Another email from IHG counting down the days until the “flash sale” starts! I’ll happily be pleasantly surprised but I can’t help thinking it’ll be the usual few quid lower than what you can book now and add in some inflexibility and advance payment for your trouble.

    • ChrisC says:

      You could always book a cancelable rate today and then cancel and rebook it after Monday if the rate comes down.

      I’ve been checking my existing UK bookings and updating the prices and will then compare when the sale starts.

      At the moment I have one booking for the HI at LHR T4 where the price has already fallen by £17.59 since I booked it 3 weeks ago (and I thought the original £82 was a good rate) so not sure how much lower it will go on Monday!

  • YorkshireRich says:

    Hi all, going to stay in Manchester at the end of may for one night and got a 15 pound return for 2 of us from Leeds to Manchester Victoria.
    Currently undecided which hotel to stay at but I have booked a flexible rate at Hilton (gold member).
    I’m tempted with Edwardian as I’ve got 50 pound off on Amex, but doubletree with breakfast £80 is temping-ish. Hyatt looked good but seems a little far out of centre.
    Like the look of kimpton clock tower but I have no ihg status.
    Any recommendations anyone?

    • James says:

      Depends what you want from the stay. If it’s treating yourself after months of lockdown I’d go for the Rad Ed or Clocktower. If your not fussed about higher end choices but still want a decent and good quality hotel DT more than fits the bill. If the latter though, I’d personally go with the Indigo which is right by Victoria. Still relatively new and feels more intimate than the DT imo. Rates have always been reasonable there in my experience, and you can often add breakfast for 10 or 15 quid. However, sounds like you’ll be there for Bank Hol weekend which could be pricier. Might be worth waiting to see what the IHG flash sale brings on Monday in terms of rates.

    • ChrisC says:

      Emyr can get you extra benefits at the Clocktower that aren’t IHG status dependent.

      Check the non IHG member rate and then Emyr can get you free breakfast, ;ate checkout and $100 credit to use for food etc at the hotel.

      https://www.headforpoints.com/virtuoso-agent-london/

      • Anna says:

        Good point – that’s an excellent deal for one night in Manchester!

    • Anna says:

      Hilton Deansgate is nice with good status recognition (we were upgraded from standard room to club lounge access last time – great views over the city), and it’s one of the few Manchester hotels with a pool.
      Clocktower charges £18 pp for the buffet breakfast and isn’t currently offering their much better brunch option. Gorgeous building, though.
      It might be advisable to book restaurants and any activities in advance as it sounds like things are going to get very busy from next week!

    • Degsy says:

      Emirates Old Trafford can be a decent price. Slightly out of town but modern facilities and great if you like cricket.

  • Reney says:

    Curve question, has anyone done go back in time, but the transaction did not post in the underlying card. I accidentally used the wrong card, realised a couple of hours later, so went back in time. The transaction was refunded fine on the first card, on the second that I changed it to it was pending for a while then it fell off. The company I paid seem to have receive the money.

    • Genghis says:

      How long ago did you GBIT?

      • Reney says:

        1st May, a couple of hours between making to transaction and realising I used the wrong card.

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      I didn’t think you could GBIT a transaction at all if was still pending.

  • James Pleasant says:

    Daily Mail commentati up in arms about Boris & Whitty pressing the fear & panic button for another time, without any real scientific justification. They (Daily Mail commentati) happen to be right.

    If it’s just a ploy to encourage reluctant people to get vaccinated, I guess it serves a purpose. But immoral, unethical and deplorable. A lot of people will worry about the supposed dangers of the Indian variant when there is no evidence there are any significantly increased dangers whatsoever.

    Back in March 2020, the SPI-B committee recommended using scare tactics to get the UK public worried about the dangers of the pandemic – and now admit these tactics were totalitarian: ‘SPI-B warned in March 2020 that ministers needed to increase “the perceived level of personal threat” from Covid because “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened”. Gavin Morgan, a psychologist on the team, said: “Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government.’

    • Rob says:

      It does seem a little odd. Guardian article yesterday quotes a study showing that the Indian variant is not more transmissable. It only APPEARS to be, because it is being brought into the country by Indians and they tend to live in multi-generational households where the disease will spread quickly.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They’ve been using fear to force vaccination for months.

      Vaccine passports and the like

    • ChrisC says:

      I fear that if Boris does another on / off / on / off with the June relaxation like he did with Christmas then there will be serious actual unrest in the country.

      People are at breaking point.

      • James says:

        Get a grip, Chris.

        • ChrisC says:

          Why are you so agressive? If you have nothing consructive to say then best to say nothing.

          Not just me saying and thinking it.

          • James says:

            Sorry, you think suggesting that there will be actual unrest and appearing to normalise this as being acceptable if some form of lockdown is extended is constructive? There has always been, and will always be, a fringe element who have always thought such from day 1. Thankfully they are nowhere near any form of majority, though there are a fair few on here at times. I do often wonder how these people (maybe you also) would have coped with WW2 for example and living through blitz restrictions, which went on for YEARS. You’ve been asked to stay at home and limit travel etc, and while I very much appreciate some have really suffered through lost jobs and the impact on MH for some is real, let’s be honest – most people (and certainly most on here) and been able to work from home, if not in the office, have had wages paid through furlough, and been able to fill their time with catching up with Netflix. So yes Chris, in this instance, I’d say quit the histrionics and get a grip.

      • Anna says:

        The threats being directed at specific towns are frankly cruel when communities have been in local lockdown since last summer and the majority are both vaccinated and generally minimising risk. There is some very irresponsible reporting around low vaccine uptake among BAME groups – while percentages may look worrying, these still equate to relatively low numbers as BAME communities are a minority (20% of population at most).

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Take up of 75% isn’t low…even one of the best flu vaccine take ups this year only reached that by end of November.

          Flu vaccine uptake is higher in all groups except pregnant women compared to this time last year. Provisional data suggests uptake rates are:

          75.0% in 65+ year olds
          41.2% in under 65 years in a clinical risk group
          32.2% in pregnant women
          47.6% in 2 year olds
          49.4% in 3 year olds
          19.8% in school age children
          51.6% in healthcare workers

          More people have taken the Covid vaccine than ever envisaged (go back last year and they expected 70-75% take up)

        • Cabal of rabid baboons says:

          Hartlepool has elected its first ever Conservative MP, the Conservative candidate in Batley and Spen will shortly overturn a 3,000 labour majority.
          Isn’t it lovely to live in a democracy TGLoylaty?
          Feel free to continue to knock the government but appreciate that you’re very much in a minority in the rest of England.
          I very much appreciate your travel related contributions , did you ever look at Penina in portugal?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            A 43% turnout in Hartlepool the majority didn’t even bother to turn up 😂

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I actually couldn’t be bothered about which party won local elections or by election but I genuinely don’t believe an election actually reflect people’s view. Low turnout says more about what’s happening.

            Re Penina it looks interesting I think I’ll visit Porto this summer though.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        ChrisC What makes you think people are at breaking point ?
        Or is it all HFPs are at breaking point ?
        Although a Agree with you that Boris shouldn’t carry on with the June relaxation
        4/5 more months wont be much hardship

        • Matt says:

          Chris Heyes: Another 4-5 months? And then what? Another few tales of scary variants that might possibly in the future maybe evade the vaccines and we’d better lock down for another few months….

      • Tariq says:

        I hope there is, about time people stuck it to the bedwetters.

    • Anna says:

      All the online media seem to be running dual headlines suggesting that easing lockdown won’t be delayed and also that it might be!

    • Matt says:

      If you give up freedom for security…..

      The goalposts have moved so far as to be out of sight – remember even Matt Hancock was saying “Cry Freedom” as soon as the vulnerable were vaccinated as recently as January. Now the vulnerable are long vaccinated and there’s still muttering about prolonging this.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I talked about totalitarianism taking over and only this morning there are articles in papers re project fear being a step too far

        There they were on Friday afternoon continuing with it

  • Dave says:

    Hi all. Is there a 2021 version of this article? I searched but could not find:
    https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/01/23/how-to-earn-miles-paying-hmrc/
    Got some tax to pay… Thinking Curve with fronted as no metal, which would add 1.5% (just about worth it for the points + voucher that may otherwise not be generated). Not sure if any better options though… Thanks.

    • Zoe says:

      If you have the Tesco debit card you get a few points

    • Rob says:

      No new version, because there are virtually no options now. You either do Curve Fronted or Billhop, neither of which are great value.

      The Tesco and Lufthansa routes are dead.

  • DK says:

    Checking Madeira entry requirements. Some sources say PCR for children over 24 months others for 12+ only.
    Very confusing

  • Chelseafi says:

    Can anyone please clarify the BA holiday book with confidence. I’m due to go to Algarve 3 weeks today for 5N flight and hotel booked via BA Holiday but now I just don’t know if I will be going if I have to have PCR test before, during and after holiday? It’s just not clear what’s going to be required and I completely understand it’s a fluid situation. I’ve tried calling BA but can’t get through, if I decide 2 weeks before travel do I loose 60% of what I’ve paid. Or can I cancel today for a FTV? This is what is on the booking details ..
    More than 3weeks before travel: deposit
    More than 72hrs before travel: 60%
    Less than 72hrs before travel: 100%
    Fees apply to the total package

    • Harry T says:

      Cancel today and take your deposit as a voucher. That’s your best option if you don’t want to travel in three weeks. You’re going to be allowed to travel to Portugal but you will need to pay for tests. Can’t see much changing in three weeks and BA won’t be cancelling flights to Portugal.

      • Chelseafi says:

        Thank you so would I loose 60% (as I’ve paid balance) if I cancelled tomorrow onwards

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You wouldn’t lose. You get a voucher but it would only be valid for BA holidays.

          PCR test within 72 hrs of departure to atleast until 1st June (could be proof of full vaccination + 14 days after that under EU green pass scheme ilo of pcr test)

          lateral flow test (of correct specificity) or PCR within 3 days of return flight and on day 2 is guaranteed as there’s no review of U.K. requirements until 28th June.

          • Chelseafi says:

            Ok thanks I’m happy with BA FTV is its all for what I have paid and we will both be fully vaccinated (+ 16 days actually). I just don’t understand the BA …. More than 3weeks before travel: deposit
            More than 72hrs before travel: 60%
            Less than 72hrs before travel: 100%
            Fees apply to the total package

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It’s probably worth a phone call

            If it came down to losing the 60% or taking a few tests you have to weigh up the costs of each.

            Expresstest/collinson £80 for pre-departure PCR. Which you might be able to save if the EU green pass is adopted from 1st June.

            It’s a minimum £95 for the two return tests (Qurad and Randox via ba discount codes) that won’t change before 28th June.

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    Following on from yesterday’s Amex Plat retentions. Anyone tried today?
    We called up to cancel wife’s Platinum & nothing offered, not even to downgrade to Gold.

    • HeadingForNoPoints says:

      How old is platinum and what was offered previously? (if any)

      • meta says:

        You need to speak to the Brighton team also preferably during weekdays after 10am.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Previous Plat – 4 x weeks @ 50k
        Wife’s Plat – 2 x weeks – zero.
        Spoke with Brighton.

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