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The HfP chat thread – Tuesday 15th June

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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 (414)

  • bafan says:

    Flying to Sweden next week. As of now, they are accepting Antigen test results on arrival but they are saying the test has to be within the last 48 hours. Have Qured sorted our their problems, or should I go with Randox?

    • Blair says:

      Not sure if an option fir you but perhaps useful data point. Last week Collinson got my PCR test result back in 5hrs; their video call antigen-in-a-box (ideal toy for a girl or a boy) test took about 45 mins after returning the photo of the completed test to issue a travel result cert.

    • Cal says:

      I thought Sweden had banned U.K. citizens from entering?

      • bafan says:

        I have other passport options :).

        • Cal says:

          As do my family who want to go, if you don’t mind are you going to enter via Denmark or just fly directly? If you have an EU passport but fly from the UK are you allowed in?

      • Bagoly says:

        Apart from going “home”, I thought all civilized countries’ restrictions were based on where one is travelling from, rather than citizenship?

        • bafan says:

          No. EU is allowing EU nationals in for the most part. Thankfully.

          @LadyLondon I’m going to visit my fiancé for the first time since October! Very excited. He has a small cottage on the archipelago that we can go to – quite the drive but that’s ok. I just want to see him and something that isn’t GB at this point :).

    • NC says:

      Qured was fine for me a couple of days ago

    • Nick Burch says:

      Qured has been fine lately for me. Ordered on Wednesday afternoon, test kits arrived Thursday. Booked a slot on Saturday (having forgotten…), got pretty much my ideal time on Monday. 10 minute wait for the video call to start, PDF within 30 minutes of emailing off the test + ID photo

    • Ben says:

      Have used Qured 3 times and never had an issue.

    • bafan says:

      Great – thank you guys. I’ll go ahead and order the kit. I was just panicking about the delays I’d read about. So I can order it today and hold off taking it til next week when I’m about to travel right? Did they produce the result quickly with your passport info etc?

    • Ikaz says:

      I did an antigen test at Manchester airport before flying to Portugal this week, results back in 30 minutes and I was on the flight 2.5 hours later. Similar offerings at GLA and EDI, plus others I guess

  • Nick M says:

    What usually happens if a hotel temporarily closes?

    I have a (points) booking at a Park Inn Radisson in a couple of weeks time. The reservation is still showing as normal, but looking on the website they are “temporarily closed for the foreseeable” and aren’t taking bookings until August. There are 3 Radissons in the city but 2 of them are showing as closed at the moment. If nothing changes will they just cancel the booking or should they provide me with alternative accommodation?

    I need to travel on those days and have plans booked accordingly, but don’t have the money/points to book into the hotel that is open. Should I just wait and see what happens or be more proactive in making contact with them? (Are there timing issues like with flights where it makes a difference depending on how much notice they provide?)

    • Anna says:

      There’s no consumer protection comparable to EU261 for hotel bookings, your only option would be to take them to court for breach of contract if they cancelled on you and failed to provide an alternative. Your best bet is to contact the hotel now and ask to be moved to a property which will be open at no extra cost – @meta is the expert on getting hotels to co-operate in these circumstances!

    • Paul says:

      The Intercontinental O2 is simply dumping guest with no help. They have refused to assist and IHG are not helping either.

      • mvcvz says:

        What “help” is required? Just make another reservation elsewhere. Problem solved.

        • paul says:

          Thank you for your customer driven insight but alas its not that that simple.

          I was using a Ambassador weekend night certificate that is due to expire on July 31st. I could have booked the IC Park Lane for the for not much more at the time I booked but the O2 was the more convenient hotel. Now the prices are twice as high as the O2. The only other option is Kimpton but again the rates are sky high.

          IHG are offering no support either to re accommodate or to extend the voucher which for much of the last 12 months it has not been possible to use.

          IHG could easily have dealt with this in a way that would have created some goodwill. Most of us are aware of the bigger picture but you just don’t dump guests like this.

    • Andrew says:

      Agree, all that will happen is your booking will be cancelled and refunded if applicable. Even before Covid I’ve had IHG hotels cancel my reservations due to late opening (when they are new hotels), and just given a refund etc with no alternative accommodation provided.

      • Will_ says:

        I’ve had the opposite with IHG. I had a points booking in Glasgow cancelled at short notice last year and they refunded my points and put me up in a Hotel Indigo for free. I don’t know if that was because I was Spire or not but couldn’t complain about that.

      • Paul says:

        I have been dumped by IC O2 despite being Spire Ambassador. This is in marked contrast to Hilton. I booked a night at the Hilton DPS airport which then delayed opening and I was transferred to the Conrad!
        I would expect IHG to offer a room at a similar rate, not necessarily the IC park Lane. But to simply be dumped is scandalous.

        • Sarah says:

          I had same with IC 02.

        • IanM says:

          Yeh me too, no replacement of credit card free night for O2 closure. Complained vis IHG website but no response, Spire Ambassador also.
          Went to Park Lane on another credit card night and it was very disappointing, small room with twin beds the size of skateboards, hotel totally dead, almost like we were the only guests.

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Nick M It happened to me a few years ago and as Anna says your only legal alternative would be Court action, I would contact them and negotiate directly ?
      In my case I didn’t (but my solicitor at the time was free)
      They closed the expensive Suite, I’d booked cheap the year before for refurbishment, so they said, but reopened it for a large booked party.
      After quite a few solicitor’s letters before Court they agreed to let me have the Suite for free on another date of my choosing plus a inferior room on my original date. I thought a success
      But I’m the type that never let anyone get away with ripping me off, that’s not always a good point

      • meta says:

        It’s a question of fiercely negotiating. IHG are the worst in helping you. I had a booking in Amsterdam last year and contacted their press office and told them to get their act together. They ignored, so I posted a short negative comment on their IG account. Following that it all went smoothly and I negotiated an excellent deal!

        Have no experience with Radisson, but it does help you are in the same country! So I’d follow @Chris Heyes advice. Actually you could just book yourself in another hotel and go to MCOL if they don’t respond.

      • Lady London says:

        Good story @Chris H. very good to know things are possible.

    • Memesweeper says:

      I’ve had few experiences of this, but when it’s happened I was moved at the hotel’s expense, to somewhere else, equally good or better. So my expectation is that is what a good hotel will do.

      Sadly judging by other comments this cannot be relied on. Unless all other hotels in the destination were booked/more expensive or I was loosing out on points/free night very I’d not kick up a fuss personally, might just as well rebook for cash.

      Give you have a points booking you might want to politely make it very clear to the hotel you expect them to honour the deal.

    • Nick M says:

      Thanks everyone – will be proactive about it and see what happens…

  • PM says:

    Visit this website before making any travel plans for this or next year:

    As long as the Blackpool Brigade, critical mass of furlough loving voters, supports restrictions, there will be no hassle free travelling. This is regardless of how much of the population we have vaccinated, how advanced our health system is and how many other countries open up.

    If you love travelling, if you have family abroad, if you work in tourism industry you are now 48.11%.

    • Lou says:

      With the Delta variant rates rocketing up, and some countries are already closing their borders to us/demanding long quarantine periods, what makes you think we would have been able to have been going globe-trotting over the next 5 weeks?

      • Andrew says:

        Absolutely – the restrictions imposed by our elected government are only part of the story.

      • Paul says:

        Entirely possible had the Johnson variant been kept out of the U.K. He was given the data on April 9th and accordingly put Pakistan and Bangladesh on red list. But India was left off in a deliberate and desperate act by him to try to protect his fantasy global Britain trip.
        Let’s be in no doubt, this was, like much of the covid disaster, entirely avoidable and the consequence of this governments staggering incompetence.

      • Alan says:

        As Delta is a much more transmissable varient it will soon be the dominant one everywhere so things will even out.

    • Anna says:

      Who are the “Blackpool Brigade” and what have they got to do with the survey?!

      • Mike says:

        Indeed who are the Blackpool Brigade ? What are their specialist skills, can they be mobilized at short notice, are they fully manned, are they part of the new Army Ranger concept ?

        • PM says:

          They can be mobilised by Cambridge Analytica.

          They do not have friends or family abroad, do not have second homes there, their kids have no intention to study or work overseas, are happy to spend their free time in their gardens or on Blackpool beach.

          As long as pubs and shops are open that is normality for them.

          Keeping borders closed, according to them, prevent the spread of virus (not the original one as we are vaccinated, but the new variant, not the one that does not kill in hundreds, the other one Nepalese variant that even WHO has not heard of, or any other new variant or mutation as long as it is named after a foreign land) and criminality.

          We were supposed to flatten the curve in 4 weeks. This was now 15 months ago and despite a vaccine rollout and empty hospitals we are more and more restrictive, can travel to fewer countries and it costs more in money (tests) and time (quarantine).

          Achieving covid zero here would take years (if it is even possible). But then you will have to be restrictive even longer waiting for other countries to sort out their vaccination programs.

          This is a permanent lockdown that only the richest can escape.

          • John says:

            Absolutely on the money with this comment.

            You’ve all been played like a fiddle by the government. It’s truly a beautiful sight to behold. It’s amazing just how naïve the majority of the U.K population are when it comes to trusting the chimpanzees that are running our country. Everything they have told you up to now is simply not true.

            It will be the bi-annual booster shots that will become mandatory in order to maintain the validity of your upcoming vaccine passports that you’ve all been clambering for up next. You’ll have more needle holes in you than an addict in Needle Park in New York by the time they’ve finished with you, that’s if you live that long.

            Have a nice day!

          • David says:

            Well. I don’t think I have ever heard somebody say so many wrong things, one after the other, consecutively, in a row.

          • Ash says:

            “They do not have friends or family abroad, do not have second homes there, their kids have no intention to study or work overseas, are happy to spend their free time in their gardens or on Blackpool beach.

            As long as pubs and shops are open that is normality for them.”

            I am guessing that you are the opposite of them?

            The tone of your post sounds like you think you are better than them, is that correct?

      • IanM says:

        Never mind the Blackpool Brigade, who thought it was a good idea to host a Euro football tournament with tens of thousands of fans mixing, and add in alcohol. Must be some big footie fans in the Cabinet

        • meta says:

          The same ones who went to Portugal and then not isolating.

          • Alan says:

            Portugal which despite hosting the football and for some reason being put back on Amber status still has a lower infection rate than us.

    • Anna says:

      So unlimited numbers of (potentially unvaccinated and untested) people are going to be allowed into wedding venues, but a half filled plane of vaccinated and/or tested passengers is a public health crisis?!!

      • Yuff says:

        Anna, don’t get me started.
        After my brush with the incompetence of the testing providers, I hear that someone walked through Heathrow with hardly any checks on a flight back from Mexico, whereas my law abiding wife ( to be fair she is a member of the judiciary) and daughter had to jump through hoops just to get a TTR test.
        What is the point in having a vaccine leading programme if we are worse off than the rest of Europe regarding restrictions.
        Mind you I still have to wear a mask on the running machine at the gym, that’s not fun

        • TGLoyalty says:

          What English gym requests you wear a mask while exercising?

        • Frankie says:

          Why do you wear a mask while running on the treadmill? It’s not mandated, and I’ve never seen anyone wear one while exercising. Only when moving around the gym.

        • PeterJohn says:

          What exactly did you hear about the person from the Mexico flight? Maybe they had everything in order and ready for the border officer so their checks and entry in the U.K. was quick and efficient?

      • Callum says:

        Who is trying to hold half-capacity vaccine-only social functions on planes?

    • Craig says:

      I’m really struggling to see where the vaccine dividend is? It’s about time we started allowing those that are double vaccinated more freedom, this balances the health and economic impact. Domestically this should only be a temporary arrangement until we get to where they want with the rollout. What’s the phrase for when something goes beyond illogical?

      • JRC says:

        So what you are saying is that all the young people who have not yet been vaccinated who have sacrificed jobs, freedoms, last in the queue to get vaccinated etc for all of the overweight, unhealthy older people have to stay put whilst the very people they have been protecting can do as they please?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Unbelievable isn’t it.

          The baby boomers are the most entitled out there!

        • Anna says:

          How does restricting the freedom of vaccinated people disadvantage those who aren’t, exactly? I’m sure a younger unvaccinated person working in hospitality would rather have older, vaccinated guests keeping the business they work for afloat rather than it go bust and leave them jobless.

          • PMG says:

            I think it really depends how they are implemented and what the freedoms are.

            If they are related to wearing masks or not then I don’t think that is an issue.
            However, if it turns into “only vaccinated can go into pubs” (as was proposed a couple of months ago I believe) then it becomes unfair to those that have not been offered the vaccine at all. It also depends then if someone could get a temporary vaccine passport but testing negative for example.

          • Craig says:

            Agree wholeheartedly PMG, for day to day things then one rule fits all is entirely reasonable. But for travel and large events then lets start opening like the US has done.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Because you can do everything they can’t!

        • Craig says:

          So we all stay at home until nobody has to stay at home?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Yes just like the young did for you oldies

          • Anna says:

            But there was a quantifiable benefit to that, TG. When my mum was vaccinated but I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have begrudged her meeting up with friends and family or going to a restaurant if she’d wanted to. Nor did I begrudge anyone getting furlough payments while my OH carried on working all hours on the frontline for his usual salary.

          • Craig says:

            Completely with Anna on this; I’m hardly an oldie and allowing the vaccinated to travel would ensure there is still a travel industry for when the youngsters want to hit the clubs of Ibiza.

        • AJA says:

          Less of the ageism please and also less of the generalisations re older people being unhealthy and overweight.

          As for vaccinations elsewhere in the comments it has been noted that they are now open for anyone aged 23 or over. It seems to me that we are now rapidly approaching the point, if not already there, where we will soon not be able to say that anyone has been discriminated against.

          In any event the lockdown restrictions, such as they are, are still in place for all of us (in England) until 19 July.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            That point is July 19th in the U.K. (when everyone will be offered to have a first dose)

            If the restriction was on fully vaccinated then it wouldn’t be until mid September (assuming everyone can have after 8 weeks)

      • Harry T says:

        It takes an appalling level of entitlement to argue that the vaccinated older generations should enjoy the privileges of travel and unrestricted leisure activities when the younger generations have sacrificed jobs, their social life, their mental health and their financial security for the benefit of older people, who have comparatively largely profited from the pandemic.

        • Harry T says:

          And for the record, I’m a double vaccinated key worker who has worked throughout the entire pandemic.

          • Anna says:

            Harry, that is complete rubbish, especially coming from a doctor! There is no scientific basis whatsoever for requiring the same restrictions for everyone – are you really saying that the elderly who were vaccinated back in December should have been forced to remain in isolation to make younger people feel better? Is that what you expected of your parents and grandparents?!
            Plenty of middle-aged and older people have made the same sacrifices as your generation.

          • TGLoyalty says:


            Yes the old should have all stayed home and isolated while the young continued as normal for the past 16 months. You can’t have your cake and eat it!

        • Craig says:

          It’s not about entitlement, certainly not for me. It’s about now starting to balance the health and economic implications. I’ve been staring down the barrel of redundancy now for well over a year, there are many more of my generation that are in the same position.

          There are parts of the US that have almost completely opened, they are having similar infection levels to those parts that have maintained restrictions. If we aren’t careful we will end up with rolling restrictions that run into next year as we lose the weather benefits and infection creeps up again with the winter effect.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The USA has opened up vaccines for all

            Therefore everyone has equal opportunity that’s not the case Until July 19th in the UK

        • bazza says:

          Was this written as a joke or have you gone for a new job at the Guardian?

        • GS13 disciple says:

          Considering I still have about ten days to go till my first vaccine, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been a good boy since March of last year to supposedly protect the at-risk groups, and now that they have been prioritised for vaccination they are supposed to be able to enjoy greater freedoms than those who had to wait? At this point I couldn’t care less if furlough has to go on for another couple of months, it will be my generation paying for it anyways for the next 2/3 decades…

        • Rantallion says:

          Some would say that 128,000 (mostly older) people paid the ultimate sacrifice.

      • Degsy says:

        ‘Vaccine dividend’ is exactly the phrase – we’ve jabbed the hell out of the country and it feels like this ought to have yielded more benefit than it has, both at an individual level and at the macro one (although BoJo’s flirtations with India really haven’t helped).

  • meta says:

    The survey results have nothing to do with travel. People support measures as they don’t want to return to the office and in general at the moment the restrictions in UK are minimal in most parts. It’s not a full lockdown.

    There was another survey a few days ago. The results were that 80% of people who have holidays booked to amber countries intend to take them and do not intend to self-isolate on return.

    • Yuff says:

      I suspect you are probably right, they checks are every day and they did turn up to our house. However the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing and when my wife said they had had a negative TTR test they said they would remove them from the list, no proof needed.
      I will not quarantine when I return if the rules say I still have to, because the rules are a farce.
      I’m double vaccinated, returning from an area where the Uk would be happy to have cases numbers similar and I will have a negative test to get in.

      • Newbiew says:

        Someone over at The Guardian said they turned up at their place at 7:30am. If I’m quarantining, WFH and don’t have to log in until 9:00am, good luck waking me up.

      • Newbie says:

        Someone over at The Guardian said they turned up at their place at 7:30am. If I’m quarantining, WFH and don’t have to log in until 9:00am, good luck waking me up.

    • Memesweeper says:

      Perhaps, but >80% of the normal numbers of people booked to Amber countries at this time of year aren’t booked. Those that have booked are much more likely to be die-hard optimistic or have holiday homes abroad and no concerns about a week or two of isolating on return.

      Most people aren’t booking to go anywhere outside the UK. The evidence for this is in the schedules (or if you live near an airport, above your head!).

  • Toby says:

    We’ve booked an Airbnb for a UK escape soon and the owner has got in touch to ask that if during the stay any of our party gets any covid symptoms at all we vacate immediately, return home, and get a test at home. No refund would be issued.

    I haven’t travelled since covid do am not sure if this is normal. My son goes to nursery so quite frequently has some form of covid symptom, which results in us getting him a test so the above policy makes me slightly concerned.

    • MattB says:

      How would he even know, sounds absolute rubbish.

      • Toby says:

        Exactly! And we were planning to take some tests with us as we rest regularly anyway….

      • Callum says:

        I know it’s an alien concept to a lot of people, but some people do in fact try and follow laws and rules even when there isn’t an effective means of enforcement.

        • Toby says:

          Is there a law / guideline about this Callum? I haven’t seen anything like this in guidance which is why it surprised me.

          • Callum says:

            Sorry if I was unclear, by “rules” I literally just mean any rule and not specifically from the government.

            I’m not aware of any government advice on this specific scenario, but if there was going to be any then I would imagine it will be more along the lines of “stay where you are” with “get home ASAP without coming into contact with others” only if that’s not possible.

    • Tracey says:

      Probably just trying to avoid you isolating for 10 days in his property and messing with his future boookings.

    • C says:

      Use common sense. While I can appreciate that the owner does not want to be running a COVID ward, unless this is a term of the contract the owner also has a contractual requirement to provide the accommodation to you, and it is impossible (and potentially illegal) for the owner to check on your health status every minute of the stay. I expect that if anyone in the family actually did test positive for COVID you would in any case be heading home ASAP. Just don’t cough when saying good morning.

      • Toby says:

        Thanks C, yes, if we did test positive we’d load up the car and get home where we know we can isolate without need of support, and the healthcare we know and trust. I think you’re right, we will just avoid coughing when we arrive!

    • Anna says:

      There’s not even an absolute consensus on what the full list of symptoms are so that’s clearly an impossible demand. Nursery age children often run temperatures as well and very few of those will be Covid-related.

      • Toby says:

        Good point! I saw last night the BBC reporting the current most common symptoms are those of a cold. And if that’s the bar, our toddler would be tested every week.

    • Michael C says:

      Tell him a couple of hours before departure on the final day that you’ve all suddenly developed symptoms, and that unfortunately you’ve been coughing into the towels and sheets.
      And curtains.

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    No new amex offers but at least sweaty Betty finally expires tomorrow 😊

    • Andrew says:

      But wait for it….it’ll be back tomorrow for sure! Like the co-op will writing one is back – until October!! I’ve actually done that annoying thing of saving the offer so I don’t have to look at it. Certainly has been a barren landscape of offers this month.

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        I’m genuinely going to cancel my gold sometime soon and switch to BAPP. I know I need to bite the bullet at some point for the bonus avios but want to use the hilton offer first!

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Super Secret Stuff You can keep your Gold, we have until the 15k spend kicks in ours is early July. (June anniversary)
          Apply for BAPP We applied because of additional bonus offered
          So we have both for a short while

    • MJ says:

      Actually used the Sweaty Betty discount the other day, stacks nicely with student 20% off (could have used NHS 25% but that dropped me below the spend threshold!)

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Interesting, which student discount app?

        My OH has her birthday soon so if I can get the price down to a reasonable level might consider it

    • mike says:

      Therefore I expect Sweaty Betty to be relisted as an offer the day after tomorrow !

      • Beardless Hipster says:

        Is Sweaty Betty an Ann Summers for the unwashed?

        • Rob says:

          No, it’s a bit like Lululemon (which you won’t have heard of either)

    • Tomgold says:


  • EvilGazebo says:

    Very niche question – I had a short haul Avios economy booking for 4 people using an Amex 241 which I cancelled and turned into FTV(s).

    The HFP article says you can’t add a 241 to a FTV booking that doesn’t already have one. Is the implication that you can add another 241 if there is already one on the booking?

    I’d like to turn it into a long haul CW/F booking but that only works if I can add the 2nd 241.

    • Anna says:

      I think that means you can add a return leg to an outbound which has been made using a 241, but they won’t apply it to a complete booking retrospectively. You could call and ask, there have been reports of a couple of CSAs being uncommonly helpful with 241s lately!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I really can’t see what they wouldn’t add a 2-4-1 to a booking when redeeming an FTV voucher. It’s just your Avios and cash suspended in a voucher whenever I have redeemed all they did was credit my account with all the Avios from the voucher then debit them out again for the new booking.

  • Anna says:

    Rob – are you still going to Gibraltar this week? It would be interesting to know how busy it is!

    • SteveD says:

      I bet it’s rammed, mostly with people who’ve paid £500 / night to stay in a room with a £10 kettle…

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Lol the trolling from this has escalated 🤣

      • Anna says:

        Not me, I’ll be at the £120 pn HI having my coffee fix with my free breakfast!

        • Travel Strong says:

          I’ll be doing the same for 16k IHG points pn 😀 making so many speculative bookings is finally on course to pay off for the first time in a year!

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        And hangers that couldn’t be nicked…

      • Si says:

        £8.33 kettle.

        No VAT in GIB

      • Aston100 says:

        Or filled with peoples cleaners who can’t afford to be there, checking the place out.

    • KBuffett says:

      I’m looking forward to the review. Last time I was there some years ago, all the hotels were shat in comparison to what I’m used to (I’m being serious!)

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