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The HfP chat thread – Friday 2nd July

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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 (316)

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  • PMG says:

    Signing up to the Costa Coffee App this morning and it has a “Referral Code” field. Does this give me/the referrer any bonus? And if yes, does anyone have a referral code to share?

    • Manny_D says:

      Code – I81AN. Think we both get 200 points when you use the app.

      • PMG says:

        Thank you – used it while signing up 🙂
        Sorry Dave…

    • Dave says:

      Yes indeed – code YWQC6 will earn 200 free points after your free purchase. Enjoy! 🙂

    • Kevin C says:

      If you have Vodafone rewards you can get a free Blueberry or Lemon Muffin today at Costa.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Thanks I’ll pick one up on the way back from the gym.

      • Andrew says:

        And if you’re on O2 a free breakfast roll or sausage roll from Greggs.

        • Pete M says:

          Don’t need the gym in that case! 😂

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Ha my gym is just a few doors down from Costa. I’m sure Someone in the house will enjoy it with a cuppa later

    • Patrick Cold says:

      Why not just refer yourself with a different name and email time and time again?

      • Sam says:

        Surely that means you end up with lots of email adds with random names? Seems more hassle than it’s worth…

        • Patrick Cold says:

          But you wouldn`t ever use, or even create, the email address.

  • Martin Short says:

    Amex Gold Business, do we automatically get a Dell £50 credit from 1 July or does it have to show somewhere?

    • The Streets says:

      If you enrolled for the first half of the year then you continue to be eligible

  • TOBIAS L says:

    Any recommendations for car hire excess insurance ahead of a trip to Balearics?

    Govt no longer advising against ‘all but essential travel’ so they should be easy to come by?

    Part 2 of the trip is then in France but I’m assuming trickier to get car hire excess insurance for that destination?


    • Matthew says:

      Try Questor. Good reputation.

      • Jack says:

        Would second this. Had a tyre destroying puncture and they paid out very quickly (relatively small claim but still you never know how good these excess policies are until you come to claim)

      • kitten says:

        Questor are good to deal with IME. They also cover more types of vehicles that most others don’t offer cover for

    • GavinK says:

      You can compare various providers at

    • Rich says:

      I always used Insurance4CarHire before I got Plat. Paid out very quickly and easily on two claims.

    • TOBIAS L says:

      Thanks for the prompt responses as usual everyone.

    • JDB says:

      Following on from @Tobias L’s question, doesn’t anyone know if any of these policies will cover you for third party/public liability as well? They seem to cover any excesses if you damage the hire car, but not the any excesses if you damage another car. In many countries the car comes with a high locally required minimum LIS, but in others e.g. Mexico the minimum is worrying low (and one really doesn’t want a local driver hoping to milk a foreigner) and upgrading it is very expensive but I have never been able to resolve this conundrum without paying up.

      • Rich says:

        I think this is because Mexico takes its lead from the US, where car hire market is geared to US renters who are covered by their own car insurance.

        The solution is to rent from a UK agent, or the UK website of the internationals, who will sell a product geared to the UK market. Or Amex Plat, which provides any cover that your rental contract doesn’t.

        • JDB says:

          Thank you @Rich. I think you are right in principle, but I think the car hire desk people where we go in Zihuatanejo all make their money from selling the add-ons which they scare people into buying. They tell the Americans that their US insurances aren’t valid in Mexico so they end up buying it at the counter. It’s probably all a great scam, but for peace of mind and avoiding hours of discussion, hard to avoid. The only clean solution is to start with the very lowest basic rental charge – last year we got a Nissan X-Trail for 1 peso(about 4p)/day with Hertz via Aeromexico and with additional driver etc.came to £40/day which for there wasn’t too bad a result!

      • Anna says:

        It’s my understanding that the excess cover applies to the excess specified by the hire company and this should in theory apply to any claim, regardless of which car was damaged. I hope I’m correct!

        • JDB says:

          I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that is correct. My understanding is that the third party liability is separate from the CDW/TP cover. When they refer to LDW, that is the CDW/TP + LIS combined. I don’t think the car hire excess insurances cover the third party/public liability aspect although in many countries, especially Europe, it is compulsorily included at the locally required cover level which will be very high.

    • ready to fly says:

      I was told last year in writing by both Questar and Insurance4carhire that the policy would be effective despite FDCO advising against all but essential travel….. Well.. that is what they said, at least…. i never had to make a claim….

  • Grant says:

    Does anyone have any experience of the ‘Surprise Room Upgrade’ offers from Park Plaza? Have stays booked at both County Hall and Westimster Bridge and the offer is showing on both for £99.

    At County Hall this could mean an ‘upgrade’ to a city view room which is available guaranteed for £15, but at Westminster Bridge the next categrory of room up would be £145 to guarantee it now.

    The cynic in me is saying it will just be a one category upgrade, or in the case of County Hall, potentially only a sideways move to a city view, but has anyone done really well out of the £99 punt?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      The suites at PPWB are pretty cool (especially the ones with balconies overlooking the river) and often start at only £200ish above the entry level rooms. I’d contact the hotel directly and see how much they would charge. You may well rather pay £200 for a guaranteed great room than £99 on a punt.

  • jek says:

    I don’t know if it has been mentioned: The European COVID passport scheme does not allow the 5 million AstraZeneca batches from India that the UK used. Check your record for the batch numbers – if you have 4120Z001, 4120Z002, or 4120Z003 you had the AZ from India and you cannot travel to the EU under the vaccine passport scheme.

    Before the EU-bashers cry out: There is nothing the EU can do until the Indian producer applies for a license in the EU. It’s different to the AZ situation in the US where a license has been applied for by AZ but the US has not granted it.

    • jek says:

      Just to note that I have received my first dose from the listed batches. Not happy.

      • KellyK says:

        Me too, 4120z001, I’m not happy either. thanks for the info

    • Craig says:

      Even though the EU pass wouldn’t recognise this I’m fairly certain the big holiday destinations would do so. EU member states are free to set their own rules, it’s just another bit of EU bureaucracy.

      • meta says:

        @Craig Not so sure. It’s only five million and that’s peanuts to the big destinations, especially as probably around half of those won’t consider holiday abroad.

      • Cats are best says:

        UK and other countries with rules based on vaccination status all have the same approach, if a vaccine hasn’t been approved by local regulator (or in some cases WHO) then it doesn’t count.

        Approval coves the entire chain, if a vaccine is manufactured at an unapproved facility then it is not approved.

        States either have an approval mechanism or they don’t. It may be inconvenient for those impacted but that’s tough, the alternative is no control of quality/effectiveness/safety.

        The EU is correct here.

        I’m in the Novavax trial, until it’s approved I’m seen as unvaccinated (even though I was actually vaccinated late 2020 with a proven effective vaccine) and will have to test to travel, I don’t expect the USA/EU or any other country to waive the rules for me, nor should anyone else.

    • Jane says:

      I was reading this earlier too, I got Pfiezer but my husbands second dose of AZ is one of those batches so it looks like I might have to leave him at home if I go anywhere this summer 🙂

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Does it still show as Vaxzevria on the PDF record on the NHS app?

        • Louise K says:

          Yes, it does but they can check for the individual batch numbers.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            They can check but do you really think they actually will? Big fuss over nothing. By the time people want to travel I’m sure all the countries will be accepting it anyway.

          • Rich says:

            Question is not ‘will a border agent check batch numbers?’ – they surely won’t. Question is ‘will SII batches generate an acceptable QR code?’

            I don’t know if batch numbers are encoded in the QR code. But if they do, it’s trivial to put a block on certain batches and reject those travellers.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Since it still shows as vaxzevria made by AZ ab on the majority i very much doubt it wouldn’t produce an acceptable QR

    • Louise K says:

      This applies to us. Just as well I have no travel plans until next year!

      Will also apply to any country that has received doses under the Covax scheme as they all came from India.

    • Rich says:

      I saw reference to this yesterday, but the advice was that all the AZ batches – even the 5m manufactured by SII – would show up under the Vaxzevria brand on the NHS record.

      Either way, I would assume it will be solved fairly rapidly. It’s really just a rubber stamp, isn’t it?

      • meta says:

        @Rich Not true. One of my friends has Serum institute listed under manufacturer.

        And no it’s not just a rubber stamp, they need to apply for approval which they haven’t. It’s a different manufacturing process, though vaccine components are the same.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Their GP/Vaccine site must’ve been a little too on the ball

          Plenty don’t say it.

      • Pete M says:

        I cannot but feel this is another storm in a teacup, like when we all got excited about the US not accepting the AZ jab. For Jen Psaki to say yesterday they do not intend to ask for any vaccines…

        The NHS app and vaccination certificate clearly states Vaxzevria for everyone in the UK and shows AZ AB as the manufacturer. Do we really think border agents will be checking the batch number against a list? See here:

    • Quark999 says:

      But this is just speculation by the Telegraph, isn’t it – they saw that Covishield isn’t accepted (due to not being licensed in the EU), and then put 2 and 2 together to get 5. The article even mentions that the MHRA are saying that all vaccines in the UK are treated as Vaxzevria, so it really is a question of whether the EU Covid passport can distinguish the specific batch numbers. I don’t think it will, but it’s certainly not confirmed either way.

      • AJA says:

        I checked and I luckily don’t have one of the affected batches. That said have nothing booked so it makes little difference.

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Scottish Covid forms don’t mention batch numbers.

    • Keely says:

      Oh for flips sake . We had these for first dose . Not sure what this means for Malta….?

      • Keely says:

        Actually I just rechecked . Paper card shows batch numbers objected to, NHS app shows Vaxzeria and different number so should be ok?

  • Zoe says:

    I also have a jab from the batches listed above, do we have links to what this is likely to mean in practise. I hope this isn’t the cluster @@@@ it might be.

  • Zoe says:

    At least Wimbledon will let us in with it! Looks like we will be joining the ticket resolution queue again today as mobile ticketing is still not robust,

    • Alex says:

      Accidentally accessed my tickets through a shared laptop of a colleague. Tickets deposited to his account now as he was already logged in trying to book his tickets… I think I will be joining the ticket resolution queue myself.

      Any idea if I can join the queue later today since I live locally? Tickets are for Monday.

  • JP-MCO says:

    Which AMEX card have people received the Four Seasons spend £1k receive £200 back offer? I can’t find it on mine or my wife’s BAPP or my Platinum.

    • Charlie says:

      These things are usually random and targetted

      • Rob says:

        I think it may have been pulled. Not found anyone who was actually able to register.

    • MQ says:

      It appeared on my Platinum card, but couldnt save it and it disappeared after.

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