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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 10th June

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (393)

  • Annabel says:

    Morning. One of my staff wants to travel to US mid July for a wedding. He insists the only entry requirement is a negative covid test pre departure with no quarantine on arrival there. Obviously this could change if a UK US travel corridor is announced but I thought that currently non US citizens that had been in UK within 14 days before were banned? He’s aware he would need to quarantine at home for 10 days coming back to Uk. Any advice appreciated. Thank you.

    • Anna says:

      Morning Annabel – as I understand the current position unless he’s a US citizen or got special grounds for entering the US he won’t be allowed to enter just now, although as you say a travel corridor might materialise in the next few weeks. But if he’s just a non-US citizen and been in the UK before travelling he won’t even get issued with an ESTA. He needs to do some proper research anyway!

      • Steve says:

        Actually confusingly I think he will get issued with an ESTA – you can apply for ESTAs right now and get approved, without having to say what your future plans are. I believe the ESTA would get cancelled the moment he checks in for the flight, though.

        • Anna says:

          Ah right – I read previously that all current ESTAs had been cancelled so just assumed they wouldn’t be issuing any new ones!

      • George1976 says:

        It’s bizarre how some people are planning travel without doing any research about restrictions. You could argue that some of the rules are confusing etc but the US rules are very clear!

        Your use of the word “staff” suggests that he’s a grown man too!

    • C says:

      Also an article on BBC news today about UK-US travel:
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57390246

    • Mark says:

      I am a British Citizen (only) in the USA now (parent of USA citizen under 21).
      Regardless of ESTA approval, covid testing… you cannot board a flight to the USA if you have been in the UK, europe… in the last 14 days. When you arrive in Heathrow (or anywhere else) for a flight to USA you will be checked by a Homeland Security agent if you are eligible to enter the USA. If approved ONLY then will you be allowed to checkin for your flight. (Approval will only be given in very few instances eg. You are a USA citizen, married to USA citizen, parent or sibling only if child is under 21 and a few other cases if you are next of kin to a USA citizen… you will need to prove this by showing the agent copies of passports, birth certificates.. There is also a Nation Intrest Waiver that you can apply from the USA embassy but they will only give in very rare cases eg. Life and death or certain specific business travel amongst a few other exemptions. This is a long and difficult process that can take weeks to get permission…) I you are eligible to enter the USA the ONLY thing you need is a negative Lateral Flow within 3 days of travel. Quarintine on arrival is advisory not mandatory… and possibly pcr on day 5 of arrival which is completely NOT inforced…

      Hopefully the ban will be lifted soon…
      Hope this helps!

      • Steve says:

        Thanks for this – it’s reassuring confirmation of what I believe the situation to be (I’m the spouse of a US citizen and planning to travel to the US next month).

        • Mark says:

          Forgot to mention that interestingly enough the USA citizen does not need to be travelling with you or even be in the USA at the time. You are permitted to travel as long as your a relative!

      • Mark says:

        Obviously the traveller will need an ESTA to travel as usual protocol for entering USA

      • John says:

        Massively frustrated with the US embassy in London – they found time to get a ‘national interest waiver’ to Farage back in the day, but you can’t get a visa appointment for love nor money, even for the spouse of a US citizen.

    • BJ says:

      Let’s be blunt, it has been obvious for months and remains obvious that there is going to be no substantive normalisation of travel between the UK and USA, or pretty much any place else for that matter. Don’t be fooled either by the latest news, it amounts to little more than a talk shop for the sake of appearances.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        BJ That’s blunt and to the point no normalisation of travel between UK and USA
        Wow for ever

        • BJ says:

          Didn’t mean forever but I see that 🙂 I think this year is mostly written off while we learn the detailed results of vaccinations. Hopefully next year will see substantive change if early indications of vaccine promise are sustained.

          • Chris Heyes says:

            BJ lol hope your wrong Denver/Boulder/Phoenix/Sedona/Phoenix/Page/Lake Powell Resort/Phoenix/Heathrow booked, plus All Hotels paid for already
            for 14th Aug this year lot of messing if your right lol

          • Anna says:

            Chris, you do realise that’s only 9 weeks off?! Not really long enough to reverse the current restrictions, although I personally don’t think they have any intention of seriously discussing a travel corridor at the G7. Not many people outside the UK care about it!
            You can join my cancellation club 🤣. Book yourself somewhere in Europe where at least you can get insurance for, it’ll be lovely and quiet anyway!

      • Andrew says:

        Agree. Very few of us are going to the USA this year.

        • George1976 says:

          Yes it’s best to be realistic rather than waste time booking something which has little chance of happening. I’ll stick to next year for travel to America.

          • Yuff says:

            Double vaccinated travellers will be travelling, in July, to lots of places.
            Plenty of countries will go green at the end of this month

          • BJ says:

            @Yuff, if they do then they will likely go amber again 2 weeks later and then red again a week or two after that. There is not yet a critical mass of evidence on the impacts of vaccinations or variants to prevent a pandemic of political diarrhea in the face of exponentially increasing cases, even if hospitalisation rates and deaths are lower than previously. They need time for their weak electoral constitutions to settle.

          • Yuff says:

            There is plenty of evidence that shows the vaccine works more than well enough to open travel, it’s just a matter of time.
            June 21st is tight fur double vaccination protection but July/august is pretty nailed on to open in my opinion.
            Vaccine certificates due in Europe next week

          • BJ says:

            Plenty means different things to you and to those involved in health-based risk assessment that informs the politicians. Time is clearly important, and will remain limiting for a while yet.

          • Anna says:

            I don’t think anywhere will go on the green list before September. As I said yesterday, the government wants our money spending here, and has the perfect excuse of the Delta variant not to make foreign travel any more accessible.
            If they can justify Malta, Portugal, Balearics etc being on the Amber list now, they can easily extend this for another 3 months.

          • George1976 says:

            “ Double vaccinated travellers will be travelling, in July, to lots of places.”

            Yes. Cornwall and Bognor 🤣

  • Anna says:

    Annabel’s question above just reminded me that a lot of people don’t understand the current travel restrictions. The discussion at college last night was about holidays and where people are planning to go after June 21st – an awful lot seem to be planning to go to amber countries but have no idea that they probably won’t be insured under their normal policies!

    • George1976 says:

      Most people don’t have travel insure anyway (based on surveys admittedly).

      I’m not sure what they think will be changing on June 21st though

      • TimM says:

        21st June is a pencilled-in date for England domestic changes, not associated with international travel. The latter arrangements are updated every three weeks with the next announced on 24th June for implementation w/c 28th June.

        • Anna says:

          Yes but a lot of people don’t realise that either – they genuinely think restrictions on international travel are going to evaporate along with the domestic ones!

          • George1976 says:

            Fair point. A lot of people are clearly stupid for thinking that. There’s also the point around June 21st looking highly unlikely for all restrictions being lifted. In fact there’s probably close to zero chance of that happening.

    • Ian M says:

      The insurance question is an odd one, everything I had seen suggested that if you travel to an Amber country which the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to, that your travel insurance wouldn’t be valid for a holiday. However a friend is planning a trip to Poland soon (which is Amber and FCDO advices against all but essential travel) and called Nationwide to ask about his travel insurance and they told him he’s covered.

      • Anna says:

        Someone mentioned the Nationwide cover yesterday; apparently it’s one of the few policies which does cover travel against FCDO advice. Our policy which we get through OH’s work and covers literally everything normally, you don’t even have to declare pre-existing conditions, doesn’t cover this. It’s crazy because this means it would cover a 60 year old with multiple health issues to go to Tenerife, but not a healthy 30 year old for a holiday in Majorca. I’ve spoken to the insurer but they are digging their heels in over this – as it covers thousands of employees and their families I imagine it’s going to cause a few issues over the next few months! People were told they could rebook their cancelled trips from last year and work from home during self-isolation but they are now going to find that they’re not insured and not covered for cancellation.

    • TimM says:

      Staysure is the only travel insurer I am aware of offering an annual policy with cover for travelling against FCDO advice (as a paid-for extension).

    • Annabel says:

      Thank you Anna and all of your for your replies. I thought I was right!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Some amber countries like Malta have no FDCO advice against travel either.

      There will be more as the weeks go on.

    • meta says:

      There is an article in the Mirror quoting that 75% of those who have holidays booked to amber list intend to take them and more than 80% for those aged between 30 and 45.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Much higher than the 1 in 5 overall and 1 in 3 between 18-25 I saw yesterday

        • BJ says:

          Popular surveys and stats, largely driven by peoples perceptions, intentions and behaviour are hardly here or there except insofar as they influence political will. The real stats controlling the situation are those underpinning the tug of war if you like, the ebb and flow between evidence-driven SAGE and politically-driven Downing Street. I am not suggesting one needs to be dominant over the other, rather a balance needs to be struck. It does seem that a balance has been struck but that it is somewhat more choppy and less settled than in could have been, government failure are clearly responsible for that.

          • meta says:

            My point was that a vast majority of people will go to amber countries regardless and will probably ignore the self-isolation requirements. If travel only increases 2-3x than the current rates, I bet the Test&Trace won’t be able to cope with contacting/checking everyone.

  • Michael C says:

    Morning, all – without wanting to tempt fate…I have a ticket for my mum to come from the IOM on 25 June, after 19 months without seeing her…fingers crossed!
    On the slightly downside, as my name is nowhere on the e-ticket (although my credit card number, home address and Gmail are, and it was booked through my Silver a/c), they are refusing to allow me to request disability assistance for her, saying she has to do so herself…

    • sigma421 says:

      See if you can do it by email or get a female friend to ring up and do it.

      • Michael C says:

        Cheers, Sigma – had 10 (…) email exchanges yesterday, with all documents, ID, they said no at the end.
        You’re quite right, just getting my sis to do it in a crumbly voice ;o)
        Bit farcical, but when in Rome!

    • Number9 says:

      Can’t you request help through manage my booking. I always book assistance online that way.

    • Number9 says:

      Also for the future get yourself put on your mums BA account as third party representative then you can deal with things for her.

      • Michael C says:

        Thanks for both the tips, especially the second!
        Have always done it through MMB but this time I can’t, I’m guessing because it’s a Loganair flight, albeit via BA.com.

        • Lyn says:

          I wonder if it would be worth calling Loganair directly?

          Disability assistance is presumably their responsibility rather than BA’s and they should be able to see you have paid for the flight.

  • Steve S says:

    Had an email yesterday informing me I am a winner of the Esso Synergy competition highlighted by Rob.
    Check your inboxes.

  • Chris says:

    Just has an Amex shop small confirmation after spending £20 on SeatFrog (auction app for first class upgrades) which might be useful for some readers here.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Amex really have broken shop small, it makes no sense anymore!

  • Anna says:

    I have a charge pending for the full £1200 for my HIE stay in Gib in August – is this likely to go through? The booking terms were that only a deposit would be required. This is really annoying as I don’t want to pay with the card which is currently attached to my account!

    • Stu N says:

      Hotels often take pre-auth and it will drop off. Very occasionally they can be a bit naughty and take the full amount which is why it’s a good idea to have the right card on the booking.

      • Anna says:

        Fingers crossed then – ha, when I make a booking I might not even own the card I intend to use for paying the final bill (though this is less likely since the 6 month churning stopped).

  • Ant says:

    Apologies for reposting but hoping for some advice.
    We are due to fly to Malta with Airmalta this Saturday and back on 27 June. They just sent an email that the 27 June flight (1700) has been cancelled & they have placed us on the 0700 same day.
    This doesn’t work for us as we are coming back from Sicily the night before so will ask to move it to a few days later.
    Are we entitled to compensation as the outbound is in 3 days time? Flights are on one ticket
    Do I need to advice them of my preferred return flight before we fly the outbound? I would like to wait till later next week as then we will have more news regarding the 21 June and our company will decide when we are going back to the office. If remaining wfh we could stay for a few weeks longer.
    Any thoughts? Airmalta are one of the worse for refunds & compensation still waiting for a refund from last May!

    • Blenz101 says:

      No compensation is being paid out by airlines at the moment due to extraordinary circumstances of CV-19.

      You don’t have to call before the outbound to reject the change but the later you leave it given they are consolidating two flights into one there is a chance your preferred flight will not be available.

      If you want to stick to your original plan as closely as possible there is still a Ryanair evening flight on the 27th but can’t see Airmalta booking it for you. Would likely be a purchase yourself and reclaim via the courts job.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        That’s not quite true.

        If you can show it’s clearly due to the airlines (mis)management then compo applies.

        Also duty of care is unaffected. If 3 days later is the first flight available after the one you’re on then DoC should apply.

        • Blenz101 says:

          Well the OP isn’t going to be able to show that. Malta expected to be added to the green list and is very publicly stating that it is purely political and not backed up by the data. This has resulted in the schedule being trimmed back.

          Yes DOC applies but as flights are daily this isn’t an issue. Not sure why if the OP is coming back the night before a morning flight doesn’t work to be honest. Seems more hassle to extend hotel stays / fight for reroute / claim compensation than just to accept a flight 10 hours earlier the same day.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I’d argue Covid is no longer extraordinary. They’ve changed their schedule to save themselves cash because loads are light.

          • Oh! Matron! says:

            “They’ve changed their schedule to save themselves cash because loads are light.”

            And loads are light because no one wants to take a gamble at their hols being cancelled because of a change of conditions due to…. Covid!

    • TimM says:

      My understanding is that it is the customer’s choice of the next available flight or an alternative. However, the airline has then fulfilled its obligation and no compensation is due.

      • Ant says:

        Thank you all.
        The most important for me is that now I have the option to return on a different date. I am Maltese & staying with my parents so easy to stay longer. Thinking if I don’t need to come back for work I can stay an extra week or two.
        Will wait till we are there to decide.

        • Sandra says:

          I agree @ TGL Loyalty. I’m fed up with the ‘Covid’ excuse now. Yes the government changing rules/advice at short notice creates issues but airlines etc have had 18 months to get used to it and adapt. The ‘ because of Covid’ excuse was used by a council I contacted this week regarding a refund, Why?! They have had plenty of time to adapt, for some now it’s just an excuse for poor service!

    • ChrisC says:

      Even in normal times the 14 days applies per flight and not per booking.

      So they have given you more than 14 days of the changes to your return flight so no compensation.

  • Lonegrainger says:

    Some good redemptions on Nectar hotels which I’d not seen before. Certainly a bit hit and miss but many cheaper than the equivalent on Exec Club. Well worth a look

    • Rob says:

      Nectar Hotels simply takes the cash price and divides by 0.5p. This means you will always be better off finding the original source of the Nectar room and booking for cash with some sort of reward stacked on top.

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