Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 7th July

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (492)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Chris says:

    Morning all, I’m planning on flying from Majorca to UK this weekend. Any recommendations for 2 day tests. Thanks in advance.

    • Yuff says:

      I used nationwide pathology, £40 a test.

      • Chris says:


      • Anthony says:

        Has anyone else used Pathology? I Was going to use a Randox but Pathology are slightly cheaper and has the option to post it back rather then having to find a Randox drop box.

      • Frankie says:

        Thanks for the heads up on this. I’m in Ibiza currently, and thought Testing For All was the cheapest at £55.

    • Kipto says:

      I stand corrected but am I right in saying that if you have had both jabs you do not need a test before going to Majorca just proof of double vaccination. You do need a test before flying back and on day 2 once back ?

      • Anna says:

        This is the current situation, yes.

      • idrive says:

        for completion of data, i would add: the NHS app showing double jab is accepted (therefore as soon as 2nd jab shows on the app, no need to request a letter and wait two weeks+ letter to be sent home), which means: i take a 2nd jab today, i can leave tomorrow or as soon as the app shows it. Is this correct?

        • Simon says:

          No, it needs to be 14 days after second jab, before you arrive in Mallorca…… if you are unjabbed, or its less than 14 days you need a negative PCR test instead. Last Friday I was pulled over to check the dates of my jabs – showed them NHS app and all fine…..

        • The Original Nick says:

          Can anyone help me out on how I can request a paper copy of my 2 covid jabs. I don’t have the NHS app so that’s not an option. Do I can my GP to send me a copy?

          • Simon says:

            If you cant download the app, i’d borrow a phone or ipad to do it. Then you can download the pdf to print out, or email it to yourself to print.

          • Pete says:

            You can request a hard copy version from the NHS online (Not via your GP)

          • Anna says:

            Yep, just google “request nhs covid vaccine letter”. I ordered mine on Friday (in case something goes wrong with app!), and it’s just arrived now.

      • chris says:

        good to know ( I have my Jabs from Austria) I should image that it not going to effect me leaving the country

  • Maciek says:

    Does the AmEx offer for IC/Regent/Kimpton work on cumulative spend? I swear I have seen this question asked in the past few days but can’t find the question (or the answer) anymore :/

    • Hannah says:

      Also keen to know the answer to this as have a stay coming up!

  • gareth says:

    Morning all. Just one for opinion really- I posted previously about this during my stay. Booked 2 [email protected] Reading using points, gold member for myself wife and 9 month old baby. Called hotel and asked how much to guarantee a bigger room- offered junior suite for £50 per night extra- agreed and receptionist told me that room was guaranteed and would add notnot . room on the app changed to suite so I was confident all okay. On check in we were told the guest from previous night had decided to stay an extra night and as such we were given a deluxe room. I wasn’t happy but hotel full and manager said couldn’t do anything. Gave us a different room 2nd night with comp interconnecting room for baby. I’ve complained to Hilton who passed to hotel, they have called and said they think they have made it right by giving me second room on second night. Am I being in reasonable thinking this isn’t good enough?

    • Paul says:

      Any upgrades offered by the Hilton app are subject to availability and are never guaranteed. I am sure the reception staff meant well but if there is only one suite and a guest stays not sure what they could have done! If you didn’t pay for the second room or and upgrade fee then I don’t think you have much of a argument.

      • gareth says:

        It wasn’t through the app- so not an estandby upgrade. Nothing was mentioned about subject to availability. I was simply looking for some form of gesture to acknowledge the situation- eg free drink at the bar or a menial return of points

      • Bobby says:

        The guest should have been told the room was already booked and if they wanted to stay another night they would have to move to a different room.

      • A says:

        Pretty easy to come up with a suggestion as to what the hotel should have done told the guest in the suite that it was booked already for that evening so if they’d like to overstay they’ll have to move to another room.

        Presumably the reason they did not is the guest in the suite was paying a higher room rate than Gareth was. They made a decision on the economics – don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some additional compensation to reflect that fact – some token number of points, as Gareth suggests. You had a contract with them to deliver a suite @ £50 extra and they failed to deliver.

        • BJ says:

          The guest may also have been a regular at the hotel which I’ I’ve been told by a Hilton reception manager carries more weight for them than status or rate paid.

    • @mkcol says:

      Did you get your £50/night refunded?

    • David says:

      You hot a free connecting room. Yes, you’re being unreasonable IMO.

      • David says:

        * got

      • Oh! Matron! says:

        “I was simply looking for some form of gesture to acknowledge the situation” You got a gesture: You saved £50 and got a free room. I think that’s more than reasonable.

        • A says:

          A free room for one night of a two night stay? That’s insufficient in my view. For various reasons some parents are less keen on interconnecting rooms with young children than a suite.

          Bear in mind also the marginal cost of providing that unused room was very low to the hotel (assuming it would otherwise have been unoccupied).

          I don’t think Gareth is being unreasonable in asking for some number of Hilton points to make up for this situation which was entirely of the hotel’s making when they decided to allow the overstay

          • VerdantBacon says:

            The suite at Reading Hilton is just an interconnecting room with the door between rooms taken out, the second room door permanently locked and a few sofas replace the bed in the other room, couldn’t the same thing be achieved in an interconnecting room by propping the door between the rooms open?

            I don’t have children so just an honest question as on the surface it feels the same to me, appreciate that it might not be though!

          • Lady London says:


          • A says:


            In that case sounds like the difference between a suite and two interconnecting rooms isn’t huge (wasn’t aware of situation at that particular hotel).

            Reason I prefer suites to interconnecting rooms with my kids is security – I prefer knowing there’s a single point of entry that I can lock, and that I’d hear if someone came in. I don’t like the idea of having my infant kids in a room that albeit I can lock, staff (or another guest following a keying error – happened to me twice) may have a key to, and could more easily enter in interconnecting than a suite. Small difference, but enhanced peace of piece.

            Also usually end up with better living space to spend time when the kids have gone to sleep in a suite, but not always.

          • VerdantBacon says:


            All things very understandable of course, perhaps Hilton’s main failing here is not mentioning to Gareth what the suite is like at that particular property.
            Though the key difference would still be that the second door wouldn’t be permanently locked.
            In the suite the second door was locked with a dead bolt.
            I’m rather familiar with the suite as I stayed there for 10 days last year for work. I was one of very few in the hotel so they upgraded me to the suite for the whole stay. While it’s not an amazing suite, the extra space was definitely appreciated when hospitality was take away only!

  • Si says:

    Morning all,

    Anyone stayed at Cliveden House? Thoughts?

    Stumbled across it on IHG Mr and Mrs Smith. Very reassuringly expensive at cash rate (for even the most basic of basic rooms – £500+). Available very sporadically on occasional nights for points but seems set at 0.4p/point – so number of points required varies massively depending on which rooms are available (they offer various levels of room for redemption on different dates). Last night was looking at deluxe double for nearly 200k points pn. Points cancellation is 30 days so don’t want to make speculative bookings and get caught out.

    Would burn massive hole in my IHG stash for 2 nights but may be only opportunity to stay in that luxury hotel as def can’t afford the cash!

    Would they recognise my Spire level or Mr/Mrs Smith properties not do that?

    • Anna says:

      You can visit the house and grounds free as a National Trust member! I was always rather intrigued by it after seeing the film Scandal as a teenager.
      I think Mr & Mrs Smith is a slightly separate entity and doesn’t have to recognise status, but I don’t know if certain properties do.
      I would honestly save your points and use them for 3 or 4 nights somewhere at the top end when IHG dynamic pricing allows.

      • Si says:

        Interesting to know. That might quench my thirst for a visit and explore but I’ll keep eyes open for a SSDV or Sheraton situation and try to swoop on it then.

        Hopefully they’ll employ a neive intern soon enough!

      • Lady London says:

        I considered it for small top end work meetings over the years and always ended up choosing somewhere else. The National Trust idea seems best if you want to visit.

        Where do people stay these days if they’re eating at, say, Roux’s Manoir aux Quatre Saisons or Heston’s in Bray?

        Definitely hold on to your points unless you have a magic wishing well giving them.

    • Rob says:

      Cliveden is a National Trust house, part of which is leased as a hotel. Astonishing building obviously, astonishing grounds (shared with day trippers). Hotel now run by Chewton Glen. Rooms are apparently dated but National Trust obviously won’t allow for the sort of rip out refurbishment required. Absolutely worth doing once in your life.

      • Anna says:

        The grounds are indeed lovely and big enough that when we were there in the height of summer a few years ago it didn’t feel at all crowded – I think most visitors were there for the house tour (also worth doing if you can get a slot, but this should be easier at the moment with the pre-booking system).

      • Andrew says:

        “Dated” worries me, especially with old hotels. If what you can see is bad, goodness knows what’s going on with electrics, smoke detectors, fire alarms and fire breaks.

        • Lady London says:

          It was redone when it opened as a hotel, quite a lot was done then actually

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Mr/Mrs Smith on-property benefits are driven by Ambassador status: you get an upgrade subject to availability. If it was a revenue stay, Spire would get you 100% bonus points.

      • Genghis says:

        And get Smith extra. I got some Bramley shower gel 250ml at the weekend, £14 retail apparently but I wouldn’t pay that.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          Doesn’t everyone who books through IHG get the Smith extra?

    • @mkcol says:

      It featured as a stop on a Thames river cruise Jane MacDonald did recently on C5 – looked stunning.

    • Reney says:

      Sorry for jumping in. Is there a way to find availabilities for Mr and Mrs Smith beside typing in every single date option? I’m looking for places with nice grounds to spend a couple of days with elderly parents, recommendations welcome!

  • Paul says:

    Just been charged in full by Crowne Plaxa hotel Verona for an upcoming stay despite have a book now pay later rate that can be cancelled up to 24 hours before arrival. Hotel has agreed to refund but their T&Cs ( they sent me) are not the same as those I can see when I view the stay.
    Has anyone else come across this from other hotels?

    • MKB says:

      I have a reservation at another IHG hotel where:

      – At time of booking, it said 4pm day-before cancellation
      – Email confirmation says same
      – Website currently shows 48 hour cancellation policy on reservation
      – But when I click to cancel, terms then displayed revert to 4pm day-before

      IHG IT is a mess!

  • Oli says:

    Yesterday there were almost 30,000 new Covid cases but only 37 deaths. Is the ‘new cases’ statistic still relevant now that people are jabbed? We can’t keep the travel restrictions forever to contain the spread of a virus that isn’t that deadly any more. Just my opinion but interested in your – travellers – views

    • Crafty says:

      Death is not the only known negative outcome of Covid.

      • Freddy says:

        The rationale for lockdown was to prevent mass deaths and not overwhelm the NHS. The vaccines are doing that. Job done. Deaths and number in hospital should be used, but listed alongside other health reasons for some perspective

      • @mkcol says:

        There are multiple negative outcomes of Covid, not just death.

        It’s just that death is the worst case scenario.

    • BJ says:

      With most now vaccinated, focus has shifted to hospital admissions and deaths as opposed to cases … as it should. Cases are going to surge here and across Europe as restrictions are lifted. People need to have confidence in the vaccines, restrictions are no longer sustainable if hospital admissions can be managed.

    • Paul says:

      The travel restriction are still predominately other nations keep residents of plague island well away from their shores. That won’t change till infections start to fall. Virologist has just said on R4 that this rush to heard immunity via vaccination and infection (100,000 a day by July 20th) could lead to new variants and such an outcome could negate vaccination. This is a gamble and like much of Johnson’s career he’s rolled the dice and we will see what happens

      • BJ says:

        It is not as bad as it sounds, UK and other nations can return to a stringent lockdown PDQ if the need arises. It is also time the notion that mutations are only bad news be laid to rest.

        • Lyn says:

          Some countries probably wouldn’t return to a stringent lockdown though. The US being a case in point.

      • Anna says:

        But clearly it it changing, Paul, for example the removal of the requirement to quarantine on arrival in Germany in the last few days. Herd (sic) immunity hasn’t been mentioned much at all recently, I think it was agreed early on that it wasn’t a realistic strategy.

    • Ls says:

      Most pressingly the number in hospital matter, followed by those dying. Use of NHS resources is a massive societal cost, and is the reason we locked down etc.
      Yes – as others have said, things like long Covid also matter, but these seem to be reduced by vaccination.
      If vaccines turn out to just turn COVID in to a cold/flu, we are fine. Sadly it doesn’t quite work out as perfectly as that.

    • Ben says:

      The UK is testing somewhere between 10-15x more than most of Europe and the US.

      Positivity rate is roughly the same.

      I am not an expert but would be interested in some analysis on whether we should read into this however it doesn’t seem like something the media care about.

      • The Lord says:

        This plus I don’t understand why we are going to become some petri dish for variants when we make up less that 1% of the worlds population

    • Steve S says:

      Interesting stat is there were 689,629 deaths in 2020 which is 84,922 higher than 2019

      • Lady London says:

        12.7% up on normal…. Looks like Rob has always been right…the biggest impact has been on people who haven’t been able to access diagnosis and treatment for other diseases and medical conditions due to Covid.

    • Lady London says:

      Continuing transmission gives virus chance to inhabit more hosts : the more hosts it can pass through the more opportunity to mutate into a variant that one day might keep transmitting, circle back a d potentially be one that can beat the vaccines people have had.

      That’s why even asymptomatic transmission – say amongst schoolchildren – is something worth stopping

  • Crafty says:

    Keen to get a second Pfizer jab ASAP, I haven’t yet reached 8 weeks. Anyone heard of any places in the Manchester area that might jab me?

    • Andrew says:

      It was in the news at the weekend that NHS England are cracking down on rogue locations offering shorter than 8 week windows.

    • Chris says:

      Check out for location by location reports. Hard to get now in London but North West more likely. I got mine at 6 weeks via a booked appointment via link my original Bolton vaccination site.

      • IanM says:

        Why would you get a second jab at a short interval that isn’t effective?

        • BJ says:

          Travel I suppose, and it’s just less effective not ineffective which I guess is what you ment anyway.

        • Anna says:

          I thought it was AZ which was more effective after 12 weeks?

          • secondvaxxes at gmail dot com says:

            Correct. For Pfizer around 6 weeks is sufficient time for max immunity.
            Though if you live in an area with a high number of delta variant covid cases, then benefits of the increased immunity from having the second jab may be just as beneficial as waiting to gain the full effects of the first.

        • A says:

          It is the interval recommended by the manufacturers

          • BJ says:

            The chemical industry also recommended DDT etc…

          • John says:

            Because they didn’t have time to try out longer intervals. If they wanted to try a 12 week interval, we would still be doing 70 year olds now

        • TGLoyalty says:

          There’s no evidence that’s the case for Pfizer / moderna.

        • Andy says:

          Most European countries do the Pfizer 2nd jab after 4 weeks for a reason – because its effective

        • Chris says:

          Mine was Pfizer so the line touted by the government on 12 weeks (and then 8 weeks) doesn’t really wash. There is one study looking at antibody response in handful of older people which showed a higher antibody responses but they frankly have no idea if that translates to better protection. I’m surprised studies haven been published yet but there might just not enough with “earlier” doses in the same population to get the data.

          Word on the ground is the main holdup and reason for NHS England telling some centres off for <8 weeks is regarding supply. Until 2nd order kicks in during August there just isn’t enough to give EVERYONE a 2nd dose ASAP and still be giving 1st doses out. Areas of concern have been handing them out as early as 21 days often without fuss.

        • John says:

          Pfizer is effective after 3 weeks (as per the trials by the manufacturer) but more effective if you wait longer. 3 weeks was chosen to speed up the trial.

          By getting it at 3-5 weeks you are trading slightly better longer term protection for slightly better immediate protection which may wane sooner, but nobody knows if it will still have good protection in 18 months time anyway (or whether that will really matter)

          And if you are young and healthy you probably won’t have serious illness anyway

    • Anna says:

      Crafty I got my 2nd jab at St John’s shopping centre in Preston a few weeks ago, they were telling people that anyone over 18 could turn up and get Pfizer. I’m not sure why that couldn’t also apply to the 2nd jab (as long as you’ve had the minimum 3 weeks or whatever). Worth looking into, anyway.

    • secondvaxxes at gmail dot com says:

      Don’t know anywhere specifically, general advice would be:
      End of day spares, local pharmacies are a good place to try as if numbers have been low they may feel inclined to have open more than one vial for spares.
      Outreach pop up clinics are also more likely to relax the rules in order to reach their targets, as they won’t be back in that location for a while. Don’t worry about not being in the “target audience”, word spreads and they are open to all.

  • Andrew says:

    A positive step: trail of fast-track arrivals at LHR for fully vaccinated from selected destinations:

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Would it be better if they segregated green arrivals so they can use the egates/get through quicker.

      They stick the fully vaccinated in a queue but don’t understand how it’s “fast track” since your vaccine status means diddly squat for arrival in U.K. still need a PLF, a negative test, a day 2 or 2/8 test etc etc just like someone without a vaccine.

      • Anna says:

        Agreed, there’s going to be nothing “fast” about it!

    • Rhys says:

      It is still completely ludicrous that these checks are being made at the border and at check-in.

      I’m still not sure why the government can’t make those checks in advance. Let passengers upload their documents to (or let airlines manage it via their apps with the IATA travel pass). Verify remotely then waive them through at the border.

      But once again nobody at Border Force seems to have had any foresight that checks would be necessary despite the fact we have been in this pandemic for 18 months now….

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.