Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Thursday 8th 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 (390)

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

  • aDifferentSimon says:

    massively off topic: can anyone recommend a 3d printing company to make a little 2x5cm box? Only one required. I have the .amf file. Thanks!

  • LessCleverAndrew says:

    On the rules for entering England from an amber list country if you are twice vaccinated:

    – pre-departure testing and day 2 testing measures to remain

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/quarantine-free-travel-to-resume-on-19-july-for-fully-vaccinated-passengers-returning-from-amber-list-countries

    Does anyone know what this pre-departure test is? It seems to be a PCR test. I am travelling to France, returning on the 1st August. Reuters reports that tourists need to pay for tests in France (understandable) but has anyone had experience (or done the research) to get a private testing provider in France?

    • meta says:

      It can be any test, including lateral flow one. Cheapest with Prenetics – £26 and Qured – £33 with discount codes via Virgin and BA respectively.

      • LessCleverAndrew says:

        Ok, found it on the gov.uk site below.

        It seems lateral flow tests are acceptable. So I could take lateral flow tests with me and do it there. Since its trivial to cheat I cant hel but think there is more to it than this.

        You must make sure that the test provider you choose can meet the standards for pre-departure testing.

        The test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.

        This could include tests such as:

        a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
        an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device

    • Anna says:

      I keep reading that the pre-departure test can be an antigen test but need to check it out properly. A lot of airports seem to be offering them, it depends where you’re departing from. E,g, –

      https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/services/covid-19-test-pcr-antigenic

    • LessCleverAndrew says:

      Partial answer to my own question: you can find a list of COVID testing providers for your region (in france) here:

      https://www.sante.fr/cf/centres-depistage-covid.html

      But its still not clear to me if this can also be an antigenic test or must be a PCR test.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The pre departure test to the U.K. can be a rapid lateral flow test as long as it meets the standard.

        It can also be a LAMP or PCR test if you can’t get hold of a rapid test. But since a rapid test takes 30 mins for a result I really don’t see why you’d bother with anything else.

        • meta says:

          I’d rather take one from UK as then you’re sure it meets the standards than faff around abroad with unknown providers. I am taking both Qured and Prenetics one on my trip this weekend as you never know if they might turn up inconclusive, so it’s better to be sure. I can always re-use it for another trip.

          It also seems more countries have been added to Verifly. Hopefully this saves me some time at the airport.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            You think anyone that looks at the cert has any idea if it meets the standard?

            Most airports have a testing facility with rapid tests.

          • meta says:

            @TGLoyalty Somebody reported here (Pete?) that they verified in detail his certificates. You don’t want to be one of the 3000 that they check thoroughly. Better safe than sorry. It won’t much cheaper taking a lateral flow test abroad either and for the sake of odd £5-10 here or there, it’s not worth it.

  • SteveJ says:

    Men’s final tickets a few just dropped on the main site, £240 each

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Been to St Ives today on our Devon and Cornwall holiday (last Friday to this sunday). The beaches looked like they where from the Mediterranean, the water felt like it was the artic.

    Overall 9/10 for St Ives as a holiday destination. Loses a point for being busy with lots of holiday makers and very narrow streets (to be expected in an old town)

    • Aliks says:

      Some very good restaurants there too

    • Christina says:

      You went to one of the most popular tourist towns in Cornwall on holiday and you don’t like how many other holiday makers there are.

  • Oleksandr Dudko says:

    off to oxford for the weekend 17-18th of July with OH and kids. Only hilton hotel available DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry. Price for cash a bit steep 220-280 gbp but only 40k on points. Assume breakfast would be included for gold members. Any thought or experience with this hotel recently?

    • Genghis says:

      Never stayed there but the hotel is nowhere near Oxford. If you’re wanting to experience the city, not a great choice IMO.

    • Tim says:

      Depends what your price range is, how busy Oxford is for the time you are there, and if you are carless. I used to commute to Oxford from Brussels and stay in hotels 2 or 3 nights per week. Often overlooked is the Best Western Linton Lodge, 15 minutes walk from centre, which typically still has good prices when the rest of Oxford goes silly. The Holiday Inn is a points option – it is right next to the park and ride. If prices all round are silly, then the Malmaison is a fun experience if you get one of the old gaol rooms. The Barcello (which I think is now a Jury’s Inn) is OK if it is between that and a poor quality B&B but it’s a good forty minute or so minute walk (though buses and a good base if you drive into Oxford and want to dump your car at the hotel). As said, Best Western often overlooked. Its in a residential area – 15 minutes walk to centre, has car parking – a good all rounder if silly prices (more than £150) for higher end stuff.

      • Oleksandr Dudko says:

        thanks for the suggestion, all other options are 200+ or sold out for my dates, like holiday inn on Oxford Parkway station or Jurys Inn

    • Tim says:

      Also Courtyard is a good option and only Marriott category 2.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It’s a great option for both cost on points vs weekend cash rates and location. It’s a shame it wasn’t something more upmarket as the location was worthy.

        • Nick Burch says:

          It was originally going to be a Hotel Indigo, but that changed at some point between them doing the open days for locals before the planning application and building commencing. Shame, as the plan for the Hotel Indigo was very nice, including a micro-brewery. Restaurant / bar is pretty soulless, and nothing local, but I’m told the roof terrace is very nice

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Agree it’s soul less now.

            If they wanted to go Marriott it could’ve been a lovely autograph collection hotel.

            I think it was an investment decision that with probably end up costing them more when they refurb and rebrand.

    • Andrew says:

      Depends on your plans. If you’re planning on going into central Oxford, allow 60-80 minutes each way door to door via the park and ride. It’s £30+ per day to park in the City Centre. City of Oxford College students sell spaces for £5 a day – have a Google.

      If you are feeling sneaky, you can park at the railway station, buy a return ticket to Radley or Oxford Parkway. Go onto the platform and use the displayed code to pay for parking – approximately £12 altogether.

      If you happened to stay in the Premier Inn (Cowley) instead. You can cross under the roundabout to the Dulux decorator centre and take the 11X luxury coach which is sponsored by BMW and runs every 10 minutes non-stop to the City Centre.

      Plenty of things to do in Oxfordshire with going into the city centre though.

  • YC says:

    Thoughts on Hotel Arts (RC) Barcelona? Good healthcare rate but location does not seem good. Marriott Plat if it helps (don’t expect much at RCs). Is there any recommended F&B walking distance?

    • Rob says:

      We have reviewed. F&B seemed pretty good. Location … well, it’s on the beach, so if you want beach, outdoor pools etc then it’s great. It is also acceptable for the city centre, ie walkable. This compares to the W which is not walkable into the centre.

      I was there when Flybe was sold to Virgin, I remember doing a radio interview from my room whilst staring out of the windows over the city far below.

    • Gtellez says:

      I stayed last Christmas and for me it is the best Marriott in Barcelona (I have stayed in W, Renaissance, Cotton House and few ACs). As titanium, we were upgraded to a huge executive suite. Breakfast very good, dinner good but very expensive. Good location if you want beach. For tourism I would choose Cotton House (if you have Amex Platinum, it is part of FHR)

    • ChrisBCN says:

      I can’t speak for inside, but for me the location doesn’t work. Very close to the beach, but the busier beaches (for the quieter ones head towards diagonal mar).

      There’s some noisier bars around the port, great if you are the very young touristy crowd who doesn’t want an authentic experience, not so good for others. You can take a walk to town (30 minutes, depending on which part of town) or take the metro.

    • Harry T says:

      Tagging on to this – has anyone stayed at the Barcelona EDITION?

      • Rob says:

        I had a tour when I was staying at the Arts. Very smart looking, cool but not huge rooftop area, some rooms have amazing bathrooms with floor to ceiling windows so you can look down the street! Very central location. It hadn’t opened at this point though.

      • YC says:

        I stayed when it first opened. They were confused with elite benefits and ended up getting breakfast. Service and location are great! Rooms are typical Edition. Would go back if price was right. I walked around Cotton house (better location IMHO) but was happy to have chosen Edition

      • Harry T says:

        Thanks all!

    • YC says:

      Thanks all – The high suite to room ratio bodes well for upgrades (I know still slim chances). Very torn as hard product and facilities look great but 30min walk (could taxi) is a fairly long to pop out for dinner and don’t plan on getting gauged by RC F&B given the great food in the city

      • AnotherUser says:

        Depends what type of trip you’re planning. Hotel Arts is 15mins walk from nice places to eat/drink in Barcelonetta, and further from the city centre – I’d find getting round mildly annoying. I’d rather stay more centrally myself (there’s usually a good choice of nice 4* hotels for reasonable prices) and spend the money saved on eating my own weight in jamon and seafood 🙂 If you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the hotel, though, or the rate is really good, public transport is good and taxis are pretty cheap in Barcelona (the cabify app is useful) – I’m sure Hotel Arts would be quite doable.

  • planeconcorde says:

    Jersey Government have published changed to arrival rules, effective from 13th July.
    – Traffic light system is scrapped.
    – if you’re fully vaccinated you will need a test on arrival and don’t need to isolate.
    – if you’re not fully vaccinated you will need a test on arrival and Day 8, and isolate until your first negative test result.
    – if you’ve visited a country on England’s International restricted list, you will need a test on arrival, Day 5 and Day 10, and isolate until Day 10 negative test result.

  • Ben says:

    Malta moving the goal posts on which vaccines they will accept from today:

    https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/travel-information/important-information-for-customers-travelling-to-malta

    Bugger…

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Malta have always said EMA approved vaccines only, no exceptions.

      This isn’t a change as Covishield is not EMA approved.

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.