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The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 18th 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 (397)

  • James Pleasant says:

    Given all the money already spent on the pandemic, I can’t see why there isn’t a big govt advertising campaign explaining why the vacc hesitants should get the vaccine.

    They (vacc refuseniks) are bloody selfish but some may have legitimate (albeit false) fears that need countering by argument & persuasion. And ffs write it in Urdu if that helps (apparently they haven’t done that so far). Too many people worried about offending somebody, somewhere.

    • David says:

      Legitimate but false. Good luck squaring that circle.

    • Tracey says:

      They need more outreach – community leaders telling people that they should get vaccinated, for the religious preaching that the obligation to save lives / doing good deeds / serving your god commands you to get vaccinated. Couple that with outreach clinics – taking the vaccine into community centres and pray halls staffed by medics and volunteers from within the communities concerned.

    • Not an anti vax says:

      What, the same selfishness of people that try and get around quarantine the past year, some on this site given the questions asked on a daily basis (legitimate but morally questionable). Argument runs both ways. If everyone stuck to the rules in the first place we wouldn’t be in this position but hey ho we are where we are.

  • a270 says:

    Is the red by Dufry registration not working? Need to register so I can get a 10% discount at Duty Free. Somehow gave an error when I tried using a refferal link on an article here.

    • kitten says:

      website used to work better than app for most stuff. app was truly terrible.

  • Tracy says:

    I’m having an issue with my trip to Madeira on Friday. TUI are saying (I have phoned, tweeted & messenger) I need a PCR test to fly, same answer from all 3. However, they have also said they will be following FCDO advice, which as far as I can see will accept a medical certicate if had covid in last 90 days with no need for PCR test. I’m just worried if I arrive for checkin on Friday with no PCR test done I will be denied boarding. Advice?

    • John says:

      Go to the airport tomorrow and see what happens on the ground?

      Stick to your guns, end up having to postpone your trip and sue TUI?

      • James Pleasant says:

        Maybe. vs losing 2 weeks in paradise for knowing she’s right but still not getting on board?

        • Tracy says:

          I don’t want to argue the toss at checkin. I just get conflicting advice from TUI. I’ve been told they follow FCDO as to what is required (no PCR test) but then get told I need a PCR test……

          • bafan says:

            I’d go with tons of time and ask them to check Timatic etc and be prepared to be polite but firm. You don’t need a PCR for Madeira. They are wrong.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      FCO advice is about how to get back into the country. TUI are probably on about. Medical actually letting you into the country

    • Anna says:

      As per paasan69’s comment below, FCDO advice and an individual country’s requirements aren’t necessarily the same thing – recent media reports also say you need a PCR test so I wouldn’t risk it!

      • Tracy says:

        Thanks Anna, I have replied to paasan69, not sure if I’m missing something….

    • MW says:

      If you do a requirements search by the country (I do it through EF), it seems clear that the Covid-19 positivity in the last 90 provides an exemption:

      – Passengers entering or transiting through Portugal must have
      a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result. The test must have
      been taken at most 72 hours before departure of the last
      direct flight to Portugal.
      – This does not apply to passengers younger than 2 years.
      – This does not apply to passengers traveling on a direct
      flight to Azores or Madeira.
      – Passengers traveling on a direct flight to Azores must have
      a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result. The test must be
      taken at most 72 hours before departure.
      – This does not apply to passengers younger than 12 years.
      – Passengers traveling on a direct flight to Madeira without a
      negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result of a test taken at most
      72 hours before departure are subject to an RT-PCR test upon
      arrival and quarantine until test results are ready.
      – This does not apply to passengers younger than 12 years.
      – This does not apply to passengers with a COVID-19 recovery
      certificate issued at most 90 days before arrival.
      – This does not apply to passengers with a COVID-19
      vaccination certificate.
      – Passengers traveling to Azores must:
      – complete a “Health Form upon arrival at the Azores” and a
      “Draft statement for inter-island travel” upon arrival; or
      – submit a Questionnaire for Risk Assessment and Early
      Detection before departure at
      – Passengers traveling to Madeira must complete an
      epidemiological survey before departure at
      . This will generate a QR code which
      must be presented upon arrival.
      – Passengers could be subject to quarantine for 14 days.
      – Passengers are subject to medical screening.
      – Passports and/or passport replacing documents issued more
      than 10 years prior to date of travel are not accepted.
      – Visitors not holding return/onward tickets could be refused

    • Craig says:

      Most airlines actually use Timatic. Have a look here, looks like you are correct with regards to the 90 day rule. Asking the check in agent to check Timatic usually solves the problem, if necessary ask for a supervisor.

  • Keely says:

    Barclays have sent me a message saying they want to discuss my premier account …..I’m hoping that it’s because they haven’t realised I’ve already signed up for the Avios rewards and they want to sell it to me – rather than they’ve reviewed my account and worked out I’m not eligible any more 😳😬. Either way I’m ignoring the message for now…!

    • Yorkie Aid says:

      I would get back to them one way or another if I were you. IME banks don’t like it if you ignore them and they might even put a temporary block on your account.

      • Keely says:

        You could be right – but it didn’t have an urgent tone to it – seemed more like a marketing text …but I’ll pop in next time I’m off ….I haven’t done anything wrong so I’m not that worried !

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          That’s some pretty advanced paranoia. I’ve ignored my bank’s requests for meetings between me and my “personal account manager” for at least 15 years; with no ill effects, and I’m sure 90% of customers do the same.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            Not paranoia but personal experience. However I don’t bank with the black vulture so don’t know their MO.

          • Andrew Mc says:


    • The cyclist says:

      Get back to them, firstly feign ignorance, then mollify, placate and continue to do nothing, a tactic I’ve used for over two decades when dealing with senior management. It’s a winning formula. you know you want to.

      • Keely says:

        Lol thanks for the advice …I’ll report back how successful it is …!

    • Alex says:

      Don’t worry about it too much. Been Premier for years now and they do this once a quarter – basically a call to try and sell you additional cr*p.

      • Keely says:

        That’s what I think it is 🤞🤞

      • Steve-B says:

        I had one of those marketing type texts from Barclays last week and plan to ignore. Quite clear that its generic and not an urgent account issue.

  • Paasan69 says:

    Most airlines follow the guide on (which isn’t always current). The following advice is given for Portugal, Madeira and The Azores: There is no mention on this page that if you’ve had Covid-19 in the past are exempted from providing a negative PCR test during check-in.

    • Tracy says:

      This is copied directly from that page – states further down about exclusion if recovered from covid…..or am I reading it wrong?

      “Entry to Madeira and Porto Santo
      Before you arrive in Madeira and Porto Santo:

      Complete and submit a traveller questionnaire
      Take a COVID-19 test 72 hours before you travel and upload your test result. Make sure you have a test that uses the RT-PCR methodology.
      Screening on arrival
      If you have not uploaded your RT-PCR COVID-19 test result, you will be asked to show it on arrival.

      If your airline has allowed you to travel without a RT-PCR COVID-19 test, you will have to take a test on arrival and remain in government provided accommodation until the results are known. This will take about 12 hours.

      If your test is positive or inconclusive, you will have to repeat the test until the result is negative.

      Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status

      If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, or have had both doses of the vaccine at least 15 days prior to travel, you will be exempt from showing a RT-PCR COVID-19 test on entry. If you live in England, Madeira will accept your NHS letter to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status. Other travellers will need to show a medical report as evidence of your status. You cannot use a handwritten NHS COVID card as proof of vaccination for travel purposes.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        The FCO can be a bit slow updating pages for all 200 countries when things change every week. Which is why they link you to the portougies immigration page….

      • Paasan69 says:

        Please accept my apologies, I didn’t read that far down the page. You are absolutely right. Being able to provide recovery from Covid-19 or having had both jabs 15 days prior to travel should do it. However, some of the CSA’s at the airport can be quite tricky to convince. Speaking from experience. Should you take the chance without a negative test? That will be your call.

  • VickyTM says:

    If you were a betting person, what odds would you put on USA opening their borders to UK prior to Sept?

    • Harry T says:

      I would bet on them doing it by end of July.

      • Anna says:

        Finger x’d – booked to fly to MIA on the 30th!

      • Doommonger says:

        How much would you bet?



        • Anna says:

          Dear Doomey, I wouldn’t bet anything, that’s why I have Plans B & C lined up.

      • David says:

        Love how peeps are shifting their guesses into the future!

    • Travel Strong says:

      I’d be willing to put a £30pp bet on, and book a refundable flight with miles!

    • Craig says:

      I know one of the Directors of VA. He assured me that travel to USA in September will not be a problem for the fully vaccinated.

      • Rob says:

        Won’t disagree but I promise you that the directors of VA don’t know any more than you.

        • Harry T says:

          I reckon the Directors of Virgin Australia have no idea about the future of transatlantic travel 😊

    • Louise K says:

      Goodness knows. Tomorrow’s papers are full of gloom for summer travel.

  • Degsy says:

    Is anyone else still waiting for their 1,500 Virgin points to land from a Disney+ subscription? Mine posted as pending quite quickly back in February but then nothing since. In fact, they are now showing as 1,430….
    Query raised with Virgin but not hopeful

  • lev441 says:

    anyone have a referral code for Utility point energy?

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