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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 17th 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 (358)

  • H says:

    Hi, has anyone returned from Mexico recently and used an antigen test to enter the UK? Did you check the specificity rate or have any issues with testing?

    • Pete M says:

      I remember someone mentioning they had a hard time explaining Qured to BA check-in staff at MEX when it started, but I can’t see that being a problem with local tests. From my experience this year the test checks at the UK border are cursory at best (date, name) and they don’t have time to be checking specificity or the like.

    • MQ says:

      I got back from Mexico with an antigen test, without any issues. Border force checks the type of test, result, name on test, how many hrs taken before arrival.

    • Frankie says:

      I used qured two weeks ago departing Mexico City. No issues.

    • Will.LuxuryTravel says:

      Used Qured yesterday to get back into the UK. No issues from checkin or border force. I’d recommend it over dealing with local testings, got my fit to fly cert in about 3 mins from submitting my photo of the antigen test.

  • Gary says:

    VA+ CC app- Has anyone noticed the cash back offers with various merchants disappeared?

    • Dani says:

      Yes…the current deals ended yesterday 16th…

      Await a new batch?

      • EwanG says:

        I’ve checked and the cash back menu link has disappeared too! Noticed there is a new version of the app and updated it (iOS) but link still not there, so unable to see what cb earned or to request payout.

        You would think they would keep the link but have no offers if there were none active! Perhaps this is something more significant?

    • Andrew says:

      It isn’t just that, it was if the option had never been there. The accumulated fund return details have disappeared too.

      Wonder if it was just an experiment.

    • Stephan says:

      Alive and kicking with new offers on both cards for me. (Android)

  • Andrew says:

    Sweaty Betty! Is back after a 24 hour disappearance. The gap on the list was like driving past a DFS when there isn’t a sale on.

    Gymshark has arrived too, irritatingly I had a delivery yesterday.

    • Lula says:

      Also £200 off a £1000 spend on Easyjet holidays.

    • Andrew says:

      I can’t believe the company that shall not be named is back! And always the second or third on the list – they must pay Amex more for the privilege. June has been a rubbish month for offers – perhaps because shop small is on? So looks like there really won’t be a Marriott £200/£50 offer as we hoped for this summer – maybe for the autumn.

    • KBuffett says:

      I don’t understand the dislike of the Sweaty Betty offer. There are other offers that are as good as permanent too. The reason it appears high up of because of the expiry date.

      • Andrew says:

        That’s not the reason for the order – top of my list is Hussle exp 12/10, Sweaty is next at 09/07, then H&B exp 7 days time, then Urban 07/12. They are not ordered by expiry date.

        • JohnT says:

          Really wish there was sort or filter options

        • KBuffett says:

          Fair enough, I have a different offer.
          I’ve got a new Bicester offer today. Sooooo annoying how these keep coming up.

    • Louise K says:

      Wish Lululemon was back. Haven’t had one of them for ages.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Louise K. Just bought from Lululemon went through BA Store quite a few offers reduced bought some Backpacks/bags (made to much)

        • Louise K says:

          Yes, some great prices. I think they put new stock in every week so will have another look tomorrow.

          We have an outlet now at Cheshire Oaks, not sure if this will affect the stock you can order (and collect avios) online.

          • Reney says:

            I have been shopping online and at the Bicester outlet for a while. My general experience is that things go on sale online first, and make it to the store a bit later. But this could be due to the various lockdown.

            Whether they hold some stock back for the outlets, I assume they must do to a small extent. I have seen things fall off the online store turning up at the outlet. A couple of weeks ago the online sale offering was very limited and I thought it was because they were sending things to the outlet but I now think it was because they wanted to do a big online sale drop.

        • Harry T says:

          LLL dropped a huge amount in WMTM the other day, which thankfully we realised before they sent out an email
          To advertise it! An Amex offer would be handy, I agree.

          • Reney says:

            If you live near bicester village, the LLL sells gift cards which could be used online. Last time that counted toward the bicester amex offer

    • Mike says:

      I just found the “You’ve saved with Amex Offers” tab – erm a total of
      £25.70 since 2019… (none at Sweat Betty I hasten to add)

      • Travel Strong says:

        £627 of credits for me on platinum since (plenty of waitrose credits!). They were all 2020 offers though, something valuable needs to be offered soon or i’ll be dropping platinum. Retention offers have kept me hanging by a thread.

        • Andrew says:

          Yes with the current one coming to and end in a few weeks we’re surely due something new soon.

    • Kevin C says:

      Montblanc spend £400 get back £80 is on my Plat.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      Oh for goodness sake, i don’t want sweaty Betty!

  • Anna says:

    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/travel/news/easyjet-cashes-in-on-staycation-boom-with-host-of-new-routes/ar-AAL7bmT?ocid=uxbndlbing

    EasyJet will announce 13 new domestic UK routes today according to this. Though they may not be that popular if the government U turn also leaked by the Telegraph to allow vaccination pax to visit amber countries without quarantine materialises!

    • Andrew says:

      Which it won’t.

      • Anna says:

        What makes you think that? Genuinely interested in people’s views on this! Personally I can’t see them being able to come up with a workable plan before the end of July by which time it will be too late for most people to book anything, but maybe that’s the intention …

        • Andrew says:

          I think exactly that – it will take time to discuss, implement etc and that’s not even getting to the fair access to vaccines debate – younger people more likely to work in services industries where WFH for 10 days after a holiday isn’t possible and they don’t have access to two doses for a few months. By the autumn I think this would be likely be the policy though.

          • The Lord says:

            Can’t win either way. It’s either “why aren’t you letting vaccinated brits travel, where’s the vaccine dividend?” Or “why are you screwing over the young, they won’t have access to a second vaccine for months”. Personally as someone who isn’t due a second vaccine until the end of July I’d say get on with now and let people travel. I just got back from a week away and it was wonderful, been living and working inside a tiny 1 bed flat in central London for 18months now. I’d encourage anyone who can be bothered with the faff or forms and testing to get travelling

          • meta says:

            It will be half-baked like everything this government does, but it will be implemented by mid to end July. This government doesn’t discuss things, they just do whatever serves the poll numbers or their pockets.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            By late July all would have been offered a first and all over 30’s would have been offered a second.

            Since the 18-30 crowd is having Pfizer there is even the possibility of the gap be shortened further to 3 weeks rather than 8 and therefore even more of society having the chance to be fully vaccinated in August.

          • r* says:

            I think everyone is missing the most important factor in terms of countries being added to green list or travel eased – parliament ends on july 22nd, so they will need to have either added countries to the green list by july 23rd or removed restrictions to amber countries.

            If they dont, the cabinet members wont be able to go on holiday. 100% there will be lifted restrictions by then. Stupid amounts of testing will remain to make it costly for everyone else to go.

          • Anna says:

            r* – you mean all these politicians who have been parroting for the past couple of months how selfish, irresponsible and risky it is to go to an Amber country on holiday and that they will definitely be taking a break in the U.K. this year? 😂

          • meta says:

            @ r* Some are already going. We just don’t know about it as they are not obliged to self-isolate as they are in “pilot scheme”!

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Anna Hanging on for US trip Aug 14th Booked, been in touch with Hotels booked n paid for non-refundable.
          All bar one have said as long as i cancel week before they will allow me to change to “up to” next year around same dates, or refund.
          The one exception was one Hotel says one nights stay of my six non-refundable/changeable.
          I take that as a win as I’d got low non-refundable rates less than half what they are now !

        • Yuff says:

          Let’s face it Anna when has Shapps ever done anything expediently.
          However it would not be difficult to organise without being discriminating against young travellers.
          Double vaccinated passengers, no quarantine or testing, single vaccinated passengers who have not qualified for their 2nd jab yet free PCR test on day 2 with no quarantine

          • JDB says:

            @Yuff – I think you are being very generous suggesting Mr Shapps has never done anything expediently! He has however, never appeared to act expeditiously.

    • BJ says:

      Plus the bigger question … what amber countries will let Brits in and what will their requirements be? For some time yet I expect most will be more concerned about UK case numbers and variants than whether we have had two doses of vaccines. Scrapped our idea for Iceland, simply too much hassle and uncertainty persists, no pleasure in it. So still stuck with December at the earliest for our personal overseas travel.

      • Anna says:

        All the major European destinations are currently welcoming Brits, plus most of the Caribbean/Mexico and plenty of other places. The sticking point has been the amber rules, not the lack of places we’re allowed to go!

        If they do implement the proposals, I hope they remember to tell the FCDO or we’ll all still be un insured!

        • BJ says:

          Things may change if cases keep increasing though. Not about what is possible or not for me, it’s more about whether I think it is worth the hassle or uncertainty. Decided it isn’t for a short trip.

          • meta says:

            @BJ All major European tourist destinations are already welcoming double vaccinated Brits this won’t change because unlike in this country and unlike this government they trust the science and the efficacy of vaccines. This variant talk is only blown out of proportion in the UK.

            The headlines you’re reading about EU white list are just that and a bit of political banter. Every EU country is free to make to their own entry rules

            I still haven’t cancelled my Iceland trip for September and intend to go. They will also soon be scrapping the testing on arrival for vaccinated tourists as well.

      • Rob says:

        I’m currently sitting on a super-yacht in Gibraltar and it’s very pleasant 🙂

        • Harry T says:

          @meta
          Good comment. Do you know when Iceland are dropping their testing requirement? I may go in early July if it’s still on the green list and the possible nee UK government policy isn’t kicked in (although gf isn’t vaccinated yet!)

          • meta says:

            The latest I read is 1st July. You will be able to bypass the quarantine if 14 days have passed from 2nd dose.

        • Anna says:

          Looking forward to the review! How quick was the testing on arrival?

          • meta says:

            @Anna I still haven’t gone. It’s planned for September. They’ll probably drop testing on arrival requirement by then and I think as early as 1 July. From what I read, now it’s about 5-6 hour wait in 90% cases, though it can take up to 24h. Then you’re free to go. It’s permitted to pick up a rental car and drive to your accommodation while you wait, but you can’t stop anywhere on the way.

            The great thing is that BA flight arrives in the morning, so by late afternoon should have results and can start exploring. Given long days, it won’t feel like lost time.

          • Rob says:

            I was in the hotel within 40 minutes of landing – and I walked to it.

            If you are front 4 or back 4 rows of the plane (first groups allowed off) then you will be through immigration and tested within 10 minutes if you have no luggage.

            I was a bit slower as the process for getting a Fit To Fly document if you are leaving within 72 hours is overtly complex.

        • Navara says:

          Don’t sail into Spanish territorial waters or you will have to isolate🤣

        • Lady London says:

          Grrrr….
          Any yacht would do here right now.

        • Tomgold says:

          lucky man

      • blenz101 says:

        Or the focus groups and polling information has told them it is going to go down like a bag of sick when vaccine passports start in the EU on July 1st and travel and holidays resume whilst UK citizens even if double jabbed remain restricted to holidaying on the overpriced coasts of covid island.

        I can also genuinely see a situation where the USA reopens to EU citizens who are in possession of their recognised vaccine passports. This would be particularly politically humiliating for the government.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        Just in time for the parliamentary recess? The House rises on 22 July and I doubt our “honourable” representatives want to miss their summer jollies.

  • Pete M says:

    People are truly strange – chatting to an acquaintance who returned from Cyprus last week, he told me who he’d been visited by Mitie to check on his quarantining. Given it’s clearly happening I thought no more of it. Speaking to his girlfriend separately she said that never happen and he made it all up. Presumably to come across as more interesting…

    • Andrew says:

      Or she hates him and is trying to undermine his credibility.

      • Pete M says:

        😂 He admitted to it and said he “didn’t want people tempting him to go to the pub.”

        • Andrew says:

          Hahaha. I have enjoyed that aspect of Covid, not having to see friends I don’t like very much over the last couple of years without the need to invent an excuse.

          • Mike says:

            I agree – total bonus of COVID is not having to go out !

          • Lula says:

            If you don’t like them that much then they’re not your friends.

    • Memesweeper says:

      Two friends of mine were visited by the local police after failing to answer a phone call. Checks may be rare, but they happen.

      • Yuff says:

        My wife was visited last week and called daily until negative TTR results

        • TGLoyalty says:

          For every person that was checked there will be 90 that weren’t. There simply isn’t the capacity to check everyone.

      • Mouse says:

        But if you don’t answer the door they can’t enter the property to check whether you’re there, so unless they catch you in the act of leaving the house there’s nothing to worry about, and even then you could be going our for a permitted reason.

  • Michael C says:

    So….2 jabs = no quarantine from amber?
    Yay – on/off/on/off US trip back on!

    • Andrew says:

      Even if true, it still requires the US to change its rules for entry. Requiring home isolation on return wasn’t going to stop me going – that was.

    • Anna says:

      They haven’t decided whether to exempt unvaccinated children though, which is a huge issue for many people, especially in July and August!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Why? The children are off school … if they weren’t exempt only they have to isolate in the household and the parents can go to work etc (if they were anyway)

        • Memesweeper says:

          Yeah, leaving the toddlers home alone is no problem…

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Even if it is the case that under 11’s won’t be exempt one of you stay home!

        • Anthony says:

          it’s also the cost of currently needing to pay for 4 tests for each of us (double jabbed) and my kids (aged 6 and 9) to return (with day 5 release). We have a trip to Greece booked for late August, and will just suck it up and pay – but I can imagine that many won’t / can’t. I’m hoping the rules change before then simply to save some cash.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It’s surprising that under 11’s are exempt from the pre departure test but not the Day 2/8 tests.

        • Anna says:

          That still gives a very narrow travel window as people would have to return 11 days before the start of term. Also there are loads of issues with children self-isolating, it’s not fair to expect them to do that if the whole family isn’t.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Could wheel out the “we are in the middle of a pandemic” line

            Reality is travel is going to be very difficult in 2021 and it won’t be for everyone.

            Sorry to be blunt but You can either make it work or you’ll be staying in the U.K.

          • meta says:

            Nobody will be checking that you’re self-isolating. They might be doing it now when numbers are low, but if it opens up Track and Trace won’t be able to cope.

        • Paul Pogba says:

          It would seem a bit harsh to penalise kids under 12 when I don’t think there’s a licensed vaccine for them AND they have super immune systems.

      • Tracey says:

        On the other hand, it would be odd to say one set of kids are exempt just because their parents are double vaxxed and another set aren’t.

        • Pete M says:

          14 rows of J on BA from LHR to PMI last week – all full. An A321 to take us back on Monday with 11 rows and the crew told me they were full on the way out as well. I think a lot of people are making it work…

          • meta says:

            @Pete M I agree. Even with my partner’s strict workplace rules on needing to take annual leave for self-isolation, we have found a way to make it work for us for a week away this summer. Can’t wait to try SS DV.

          • Yuff says:

            I did that flight 3 weeks ago and it was only J that had any passengers, there may have been 6 passengers in economy but I could only see 3 on my side

  • KBuffett says:

    Does anyone know if there are Amex hotel offers that stock (eg a hotel group offer that stacks with an individual hotel offer too)?

    • Andrew says:

      I did the Hilton spend £200 get £50 back offer and also bagged just under 11k Hilton points on the triple points promo. If that’s what you mean?

      • KBuffett says:

        Thanks, but what I meant was would, for example, the Hand Picked Hotels (group) offer stack with The Ned (individual hotel). Thus achieving two Amex offer credits for one stay.

        • Memesweeper says:

          Not promising, but overlaps in the past have paid double.

          • Memesweeper says:

            Check the list of participating hotels in the Amex offers section. If you *do* find a double listing be sure to share it here 😁

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I believe only the LHW offer had one but I don’t have the offer so can’t tell.

    • Ikaz says:

      A bunch of hotels will be on small shop… I got the £50 for hilton and £5 for small shop at the Hampton park royal

      • Lady London says:

        Ikaz did you stay at the Hampton Park Royal? what’s it like?

  • Andy says:

    Looking at booking a speculative flight to Europe on avios for August. If I use the max avios and pay £1, if I cancel the flight do I just lose the £1? No cancellation fee on top?

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