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The HfP chat thread – Monday 21st 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 (470)

  • pigeon says:

    Looking for somewhere to spend 10 days after a red-list trip that isn’t HMP Heathrow. Are there any EU countries that take travellers irrespective of their past 14 days travel history?

    • 1ATL says:

      Difficult to suggest when we don’t know where you’re coming from. Perhaps one of the less fussy countries like Spain or Greece might let you in. Perhaps try checking the relative country covid immigration policies?

    • Jonathan says:

      I think it’s attitudes like this is to why the Indian Delta variant of the virus is so much of a problem for the country at this moment in time, how do you know you haven’t got the virus ? The countries on the red list are there for a reason, not just for the sake of it

      • TimM says:

        The ‘red list’ is UK-only. Thinking that the UK Government does things for good reason is naive in the extreme.

        Greece welcomes those who are double vaccinated or who have recently tested negative.
        Greece, sensibly, tests a sample of arrivals with a rapid test. Anyone testing positive must have a full PCR test and if that is positive the Greek Government kindly puts that person and all those on the same flight in a hotel at the Government’s expense.

        Requiring all arrivals from ‘red list’ countries, regardless of vaccination or test status to go into quarantine at their own expense is simply more money to the friends of those in power. Not a good reason.

      • Rob says:

        All the vulnerable have been vaccinated.
        The worrying thing is people like you are still worried about covid and still want restrictions.
        Look at Florida and Texas? It’s time to get on with life.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Rob, looking at Florida and Texas ? Can we fly there now ? ?

          • Rob says:

            Yes you can if you’re American.
            You’re allowed to return home without ridiculous draconian 14 day quarentine in HMP Heathrow.

          • blenz101 says:

            Not if you have been in UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran, Brazil, China or South Africa in the previous 14 days.

            Those of us heading from Duabi, which the UK has put on the red list (for no good reason), or just about anywhere else are welcomed.

          • Andrew says:

            And hotel quarantine isn’t 14 days

          • Rob says:

            Andrew: 10 then!!
            Either way it’s ridiculous especially if you’ve been vaccinated.

          • blenz101 says:

            @Andrew – nobody said hotel quarantine was 14 days. I said you can’t fly to the US within 14 days of being in countries on the US exclusion list.

            From here in Dubai provided I don’t fly home to Covid island I am free to enter the US. For those currently in the UK they must do 14 days in a country outside. Nothing to do with hotel quarantine.

          • blenz101 says:

            Ah – just realised that the 14 days wasn’t for me!

        • Andrew says:

          Florida and Texas? Around 1200 new cases a day in each Republican state.

          They aren’t exactly inspiring.

          • Olly says:

            @andrew, I’m keen to know where you get the figure of 1200 from because according to Worldometer, who I use gives Texas as having 216 new cases and Florida zero new cases yesterday.

          • Louie says:

            @Olly. Florida – 16 June 1,719 cases, 17 June 1,626, 18 June 1,627, 19 June – no cases. You don’t think maybe they just haven’t released the figures yet?

          • mradey says:


      • Paul says:

        No the reason we have the Johnson variant is because too many people voted for Johnson and lumbered us with a narcissist in Downing Street rather than a PM

        • Patrick C says:

          The reason whz the delta variant is so prevalent is because when the red list mattered 8at the hight of India-s case explosion, thew UK did nothing *i.e. India was not on it(, in order to facilitate trade negotiations with Modi.

          So all the costs associated with that stupidity bear out now…

          The UK has always been at the top of making the wrong decisions all the time.
          If you want to know who really spreads the virus, look at private parties, pubs, intra-UK travel, all of which requires no testing or vaccinations whatsoever…

          • Matthew says:

            Everyone is obsessed with the India should have been red list. It was amber before so everyone should have been quarantining at home anyway. Plus cargo flights would have continued and therefore flight crew would more than likely have been exposed to it. Lastly, the delta variant would have come to the UK anyway, albeit perhaps a little later.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The first delta case and death was in Feb. It was already too late.

          The reality is you can not and never will keep these variants out when we rely so heavily on international goods and trade.

          • Matthew says:

            Exactly. Borders are never closed.

          • meta says:

            The thing is that the data has just been published for the big travel review. It’s quite telling and confirms definitely that this government is not led by science. No variants were sequenced from travellers arriving from green and amber countries (and the number of people testing positive is also very low) and only 89 out of about 24.5k brought in a variants from red countries.

      • blenz101 says:

        There are countries on both the red and amber list for no good reason at all. Countries are publishing their data and it isn’t hard to see all of the places with lower case numbers than the UK.

        My mum has just got back from Malta, zero cases in the last week yet she is required by law to isolate for 10 days and take a plethora of overpriced tests. Zero logic.

        The UK government is reactionary and shows zero leadership. It’s popular in opinion polls to restrict travel and when anyone tries to hold them to account they can now just keep repeating ‘we have some of the toughest border controls in the world’. Even if they make no sense, are punitive, force families apart etc.

        The original promise was to base the assessments of risk on the data. This didn’t happen. Now we get off the cuff musings around hub airports, heath care facilties on holiday resort islands and potential new unknown variants. All of this whilst excess deaths are actually below historical norms.

        It’s also pretty telling that previous variants are almost non-existent, almost like they ran their course.

        • Andrew says:

          They just get overtaken by dominant variants.

          • Rob says:

            Dominant variants? 😂
            Statistically more people are currently dying of car accidents every day.
            Vaccinate all motorists at once, it’s so scary.

          • Bill says:

            There were 1,580 road casualties last year, so that works out at a little over a 4 deaths a day. Right now we’re averaging 10 deaths per day due to coronavirus. It’s an interesting question what cost people would collectively be prepared to pay to stop X amounts of deaths from from road accidents, were there a “vaccine”.

        • Rob says:

          A bit like the original promise of
          2 weeks to flatten the curve?
          Or get the jab to get your freedom back so we can unlock?
          Or freedom day 21st of June?
          Ahh yes!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        So much of a problem…what exactly is the problem?

        The c2% of hospital admissions of people with less severe health in delta hotspots or the 1/3 of hospitals with no Covid patients at all?

      • SteveJ says:

        @Jonathan, why is this an issue, of you’re out of the UK for the 10 days since leaving a red country then it’s perfectly sensible and acceptable. 10 days of freedom in Athens far more palatable than being locked in a Heathrow Hotel, and you’d still need a negative PCR, so just as safe for the UK public.

        • Blair says:

          Re OP’s question, Ireland’s ‘Red List’ for hotel quarantine is disapplied for arrivals from said countries who are double vaccinated. They tweaked the law to avoid a judicial review of the wntire measures, after a few US arrivals (fully vaccinated) launched legal action while in their hotels. Quite heartening for the future to know that governments don’t trust these measures to stand up to court scrutiny.

          • Ben says:

            Seems some people (even on here) want us locked down forever!
            OPEN UP…If you are concerned stay indoors for another year or so while the rest of us get our freedoms back.

          • Nick says:

            No, we don’t want selfish people to force us to lock ourselves away so you can do what you want. A bit of patience now allows freedom for all. Those of us who followed the rules and didn’t see family for a year want it to be eased safely, calmly and for good, not with a high risk of yo-yoing back into more lockdowns (like we’ve had over the last year) because cases are going up too fast again.

          • Ben says:

            @Nick. “a bit of patience now”. Just two weeks to flatten the curve.

  • 1ATL says:

    Are there any SLH (Small Luxury Hotels) Amex offers doing the rounds at the moment? I’ve looked at Hyatt to book but they don’t have the full selection of packages to book that the hotel direct does. Ultimately just making sure I’ve not missed any statement credit offers that I may be eligible for.

    • Memesweeper says:

      I have SLH offer on one of my cards. Checked pay on checkout if you can’t find an attractive deal going direct.

    • Harry T says:

      Yeah, there’s a SLH amex offer where you receive £100 back if you spend £300. I have it on a couple of cards.

  • Andrew says:

    It seems the summer vacuum for news on points and offers has begun in earnest – nothing going on at all, even for a Monday. Really does seem the quietest since Covid began, it’s like companies have given up.

  • Crafty says:

    Any good Prime Day tips? Having a browse now, not myself found anything worth sharing to be honest.

    • Freddy says:

      Nah, never are real deals on prime day. It’s all the recycled deals from the last few years. Probably looking at 25% discount at most whilst at all other times you can get heavier discounts if you can wait

    • bafan says:

      I got a 23&Me kit for £74 which I was chuffed by but that’s about it.

    • Chas says:

      If you’re a runner, the Garmin Fenix 6x Pro is reduced to £435 (from £650) which is a great deal – I’ve never seen it cheaper.

      • AndyD says:

        I would have upgraded from the 5 if it was the ‘solar’ version in today’s promotion.

        • Chas says:

          I looked at this seriously a while ago, but the reviews I saw said that if you live in the UK the battery improvement from the solar version isn’t worth the extra cost. You might have a different point of view if you live somewhere with a semi-permanent sunny climate though.

  • Lou says:

    I’m looking forward to the special, HFP edition of chain hotels to holiday at in the UK. Ideally those who are laying on a decent breakfast (buffet is the dream!) and have decent facilities such as outdoor space, spa or close proximity to decent walks etc.

    • Andrew says:

      And which have the best kettles

      • Freddy says:

        And high standard art on the wall!

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        Leonardo Bristol has a nespresso machine and a kettle. Plus nice wall art and stealable hangers. What more can we ask for…

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        And non-nickable hangers

        • Erico1875 says:

          Im going to build my own luxury break for a fraction of Center Parcs
          Pontins Southport, via Sun £9.50 holdays.
          but im bringing my own Smeg Kettle and coat hangers.
          Im going to put my own luxury toiletries in the bathroom too, so I can steal them when I leave.

          • David wakelin says:

            “Im going to put my own luxury toiletries in the bathroom too, so I can steal them when I leave” 🤣

    • Harry T says:

      That describes about 0.1% of hotels in the UK and you’ll pay through the nose for them this summer 😂

  • Oz_Traveller says:

    In true HFP spirit I am reaching out for some advice…

    I am attending a wedding at a Leading Hotels/Fine Hotels & Resorts location for 2 nights. The accommodation has been prebooked (but not paid), so my question is…

    Is there any additional benefit I can gain whilst staying there? I.e. points, free breakfast etc…?

    I have already latched onto the AMEX £100 credit, and yes, I expect I am being too greedy 😉 but worth asking!

  • Gtellez says:

    Has anyone stayed in Trump Turnberry Hotel recently? I have a points stay for this weekend and I am Titanium with Marriott. Looking at their website, they say that continental breakfast (£20) is free for platinum and above. Full breakfast is £36. This is the first time I’m only offered continental breakfast in any Marriott hotel. Is that right? Looking at Marriott’s T&C, as welcome gift at Luxury Collection hotels, I should receive “breakfast at restaurant” (quite ambiguous). Could I challenge them and ask for the full breakfast for free? I’m going to stay 3 nights with partner, so it is quite a difference…
    Any other tips for this hotel? Good restaurants nearby? Thanks!

    • joseph jordan says:

      its a trump hotel, not many people know that trump invented breakfast, and that it’s the best breakfast in the world ever.

    • YC says:

      My understanding is that they are playing within the rules. It’s technically continental breakfast but many hotels offer the full breakfast. Langley is similar and offer continental only

      • meta says:

        At Langely, you can get any breakfast by just paying the difference between continental and full.

    • Aso40 says:

      If you are basing that on the “what to expect” COVID website I would not read too much into it, as that is often just based on some standard wording. Reviews on flyertalk from late last year say it is full breakfast as the welcome amenity.

      I am staying mid-week so will also find out for sure then. Had an SNA confirmed for a ocean view suite, so also interested to see what that is like.

      • Gtellez says:

        Good to know, I’ve the SNA confirmed for the Ocean View Suite too!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Was there last summer and were given a selection of continental items on a stand plus a choice of anything cooked off the menu.

    • Anna says:

      You don’t live in a Covid hotspot do you? Sturgeon is currently playing Delta bingo with us, clearly relishing her power to stop English people entering Scotland while thousands of Scots (potentially from areas with similar levels of infection) are free to cram into Leicester Square and similar places.

    • Dave says:

      I stayed there a couple of weeks ago on points. We got upgraded to a lovely Ocean View Suite using a SNA. The full breakfast is £36 each but completely free for platinum and above. Very nice it was too with great views towards Arran and Ailsa Craig (Paddy’s milestone). One of the best hotel stays we’ve had in the UK.
      Remember to book the spa before you arrive.

    • Alan S says:

      I doubt you’ll need to challenge anyone. I’ve stayed quite a few times and haven’t typically been charged for breakfast even when I was only Gold.

      Their breakfast used to be even better pre-Covid when it was a buffet spread – plenty of high quality local salmon etc and a bottle of vodka/tomato juice to help yourself if you were that way inclined!

      Still good, but a sign of the times that it’s all brought to table now and misses a bit of that wow factor. I can recommend the ‘Burns’ option!

      • Grant says:

        Free (or forgot to charge for) breakfast as Gold also chimes with my recent, albeit pre-covid, experience. I think its a great place for redemptions, especially for families because you can book the double double rooms on a standard redemption rate. But whilst there are (or were pre-covid) a couple of on-site options for eating, its not in the most accessible of locations for off site alternatives.

  • Anna says:

    Encouraging report – very few people returning from green and amber countries testing positive.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Unfortunately Anna It’s clear data and statistics are disregarded and Bojo/Hancock/Priti listen to their gut, the media and most importantly opinion polls (you can see that from Cummings text to Bojo the clown. Didn’t care about health implications of Hancock’s ineptitude just opinion polls)

      Just have to look at the constant droning that goes on here without any regard for the magnitude of data actually being published out there.

      • Callum says:

        Yawn. You mean the “magnitude of data” you pick and choose from – exactly what you moan about others doing?

        As I’ve said many times, I have zero issue with the honest “I think the risk vs reward of scrapping restrictions is worth it”, but the now standard HfP armchair experts who claim they’re all superior infectious disease experts to the actual infectious disease experts is tiring!

        • TGLoyalty says:

          There’s no picking and choosing

          Daily Hospital admissions are extremely low, total hospital admissions are extremely low, 1 in 200 travellers from all countries (green amber or red) tested positive in either of the day 2/8 tests,

          Importantly no where near all virologists and epidemiologist support a view of continued restrictions and lockdowns…the media pick and choose which theyll give more airtime to…

          • Callum says:

            Oh the irony, you’ve just done it yet again. I assume you’re well aware cases are rising significantly yet you’re argument is solely comprised of metrics that agree with your stance. I.e. the EXACT definition of picking and choosing.

            There’s never universal agreement for anything as humans are fallible. Can you substantiate your claim that the media just cherry pick doom mongers?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Boring …

          • Bill says:

            We’re at the bottom of the exponential curve, which if the transmission rate stays above 1, will shoot up vertically. Basically, we’re where we were at the start of last October, with the caveat that hospitalisations are rising perhaps at a third of the rate they were last time.

            So the doubling time for admissions will be much longer, but they will continue to double until we reach the “herd immunity” threshold. If you think we are already close to that threshold then I can understand the lack of concern. But simply pointing to the currently low admission levels doesn’t address the real issue which is the question of what will happen if exponential growth is allowed to continue.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Not to keep banging the drum but I’ve already mentioned many times 1/3 the rate for hospitalisations and they are younger and generally far less severe with less time in hospital.

            96% of over 65’s (those that had very server Covid and lots then died) have had their two jabs + 2 weeks.

            So “herd immunity” from “cases” isn’t the one and knot metric to consider.

        • blenz101 says:

          We had almost 12 months of the government telling us that there was zero reason to close the border as the numbers entering the country and bringing the virus with them was miniscule compared to domestic transmission.

          If the government was making decisions based on the data and a clear published framework for decision making there would be no arguments. Something as simple as positivity rate > X would do it.

          As it stands forcing institutional quarantine on returning British citizens who are fully vaccinated, can present a negative PCR test and returning from countries with lower infections rates than the UK is a farce.

        • ash says:

          Internet ‘know-it-all’s’ This virus is just the latest subject they can pretend to know something about.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Why. Other to read comments on a blog? Surely The internet know it all’s can’t offer you anything worth reading.

            Or are you here to read comments and insight on travel from the know nothings?

        • David says:

          +1 Callum.

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