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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 14th July

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (354)

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

  • Joe Green says:

    Regarding last week’s curve email:

    If you do have a commercial card which you want to use for personal spending, please get in touch with our Customer Experience team so they can provide you a consumer card free of charge.

    Has anyone contacted them to request personal card was this issued in addition to current commercial or instead of?
    And was there any changes to spend limits?

    • Tarmohamed says:

      They replaced mine, they even had the cheek to try telling me they’re waiving the replacement card fee on a one off occasion. This was a few months ago when HMRC started charging a fee on non-personal debit cards.

  • Nick B says:

    Hi there. I have a holiday booked through BA to the Seychelles in September flying via Doha. It looks like both countries will stay on the red list. How do I cancel the holiday without losing the deposit I have paid?

    • Matt says:

      Check your travel insurance policy

      • TGLoyalty says:

        No need they will cancel the holiday as they can’t offer package holidays to places where the FCDO advices against all but essential travel.

        • Nick B says:

          Thank you for that TG Loyalty. I had not thought about the FCDO advice. Hopefully I should get a refund if they stay red although I would much rather go if at all possible.

  • Si says:

    I’m stating to burn my way through all my current plans and trips. Need more things to look forward to.

    Can someone find the next intern rate please?? 🙂

    • BSI1978 says:

      Somewhat related to your post, but ref. the Sheraton Park Lane deal earlier in the year; I have a Sept booking for one night in the suite. Does anyone think there’s any chance I could ‘transfer’ this to someone else as I can no longer make it (& would prefer not to lose it as they won’t move the suite to another night which is fair)

      • Blenz101 says:

        Usual advice is to add a second name to the booking to allow them to check in ‘before you arrive’.

        • BSI1978 says:

          Not sure that would work if, for example it is my pal & his wife checking in……?!

          • babyg_wc says:

            They don’t have to arrive at the same time.. she could be your mistress

      • MM says:

        @BSI1978 i might be interested. Can you get in touch with me offline message on 07950249102. thx

  • Princess says:

    Good morning! Stupid (and non travel related) question, but completely new to ISA’s world.
    My husband opened Vanguard account for me, I tried to pay money with Curve black but it was declined…any reason?

    • Andy D says:

      This used to work but hasn’t worked since the start of April.

  • JohnT says:

    Did I miss something – have Amex stopped showing the BA 241 voucher spend tracker? Can no longer see it in membership tab in the app. Yuk – going to make it difficult to hold out until 1st Sep!

    • VerdantBacon says:

      Came across this problem last night when I was about to make a large purchase, went to check how close to the 241 it would put me and couldn’t find the tracker anywhere!

      • Peter K says:

        Not on my platinum either. I’m sure it’ll come back soon. Usually does.

    • BJ says:

      Been like that since yesterday. My partner £110 short so currently freezes card to prevent any accidents before 1st September.

  • mark says:

    Just to go on from yesterday’s chat and show that our government are certainly not backed by the data to have put Dubai on the red list as he suggested.

    United Arab Emirates = Red list country
    Total population 9.7 million
    Total covid cases 652000
    Total deaths 1870

    Uk total population = 66 million
    Total covid cases = 5.2 million
    Total deaths = 130000

    In the Uk we have far more cases per per population and also far more deaths in % terms vs the total population!

    Also worth noting is that even though the UAE is a middle east hub they have had far less variants of concern and their citizens have not had anywhere near the amount of restrictions as us!

    So TGL please explain why I need to be locked in a prison quarantine hotel for 10 days on my return to the Uk?
    The numbers aren’t backed by “THE SCIENCE” and I’m sick of people who aren’t able to logically think for themselves.

    • mark says:

      United Arab Emirates = Red list country
      Total population 9.7 million
      Total covid cases 652000
      Total deaths 1870

      Uk total population = 66 million
      Total covid cases = 5.2 million
      Total deaths = 130000

      Website didn’t line it up very well.

      • AndyW says:

        There is no doubt a lot wrong with this countries travel policy, indeed it starts to look even more silly when cases spiral here as they have. However, the risk of a big hub airport/city which generally allows travel from most places is that if a variant appears it could easily get to said hub before anyone knows it exists, and could then be easily imported. I suspect that has a decent amount to do with the red list status, not that I necessarily agree with it. Said here before that with the current system I don’t think they will stop any variant getting in because travel is just too open.

        • Dave says:

          That makes sense when dangerous variants are out there and spreading but it seems overly cautious/OTT when we’re the hot bed of the Delta variant. I get it but if you follow this policy to the nth degree it basically means no transmitting in the Middle East for the next few years. A grim prospect

          • Paul Pogba says:

            but we’re not the hotbed of the Peruvian (Lambda) variant. Never forget, things can always get worse 🙂

      • Andrew says:

        Mark, AndyW is right – this is the reason, and I think that’s been discussed extensively on here over the months. UAE won’t move from red for a long time, best to come to terms with that.

      • A says:

        Population-adjusted total cases ever is a good metric for assessing who has had a better governmental responses but isn’t that useful a metric in assessing relative infectivity rate of a place at a particular time (UK vs UAE) to show UAE less “infected” than UK (which I think is why a you’re trying to do).

        What’s a better metric is cases per 100k tested (but that of course isn’t perfect as it needs adjusting for the nature of people getting tested – but leaving that aside).

        Can you repost with cases per 100k over recent time periods so we can see if that data supports your point?

        • Blenz101 says:

          Even then you aren’t comparing like with like. For example the UAE has been offering free mass testing on arrival so any figures are skewed in any event.

          Generally outbreaks have been in high density accommodations occupied by labourers where again mass testing has been undertaken.

          The Middle East is not the only place with hub airports either.

          What makes less senses now is that UAE residents can head into Europe and mix freely in tourist resorts but can’t return home themselves.

          If double jabbed with Pfizer and a negative PCR test is supposed to be the way out of this then the U.K. government imprisoning it’s own citizens at their own cost on return to the U.K. is surely over the top?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            For example the UAE has been offering free mass testing on arrival so any figures are skewed in any event.

            So you’re saying the high rates are due to lots of incoming tourists testing positive? Sort proves the U.K.‘a point that it being a free for all transit hub makes it a risk …

          • A says:

            Yes you’ll see that I acknowledged you’re not comparing like for like when I said:

            “ but that of course isn’t perfect as it needs adjusting for the nature of people getting tested – but leaving that aside”

            In any event the UAE approach only skews the numbers (versus the UK) if you assume that the extra people tested due to mass testing (versus UK) are more likely to have a higher positive rate than those who the UK are testing. Im not sure that’s necessarily the case – what makes you think it is? You might think that mass testing on arrival or at events is likely to have a lower background positivity rate as there won’t be anyone symptomatic in that group so you’re only capturing non-symptomatic infection, which is inherently a subset of all infection. Not sure which is right. But it’s certainly not a given that the UAE approach results in a comparison that skews the UAE numbers up relative to the UK, is it?

          • Blenz101 says:

            No, I’m saying that the UAE has been testing c.200k people per day with a resident population of only 9m so the numbers are not directly comparable.

            If the U.K. had bothered to test people on arrival, in particular from counties where there is a huge market for forged documents, then perhaps you would have been enjoying the safe and relatively normal life we have been enjoying for the last 18 months far sooner.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Its not just about number of test but the positivity rate.. if you go back to when the rates were higher so were the positivity rates

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Blenz you realise every traveller into the UK was tested at least twice if not three times up until May 17th and everyone is still PCR tested on day 2

          • Lady London says:

            Good comment Blenz101

      • TGLoyalty says:

        As I said yesterday.

        No cherry picking it’s just around the end of the month for the last 3

        7 day Covid rate – 14 day rate

        20/6/2021
        U.K. – 83/100k – 131/100k
        UAE – 150/100k – 292/100k

        27/5/21
        U.K. – 23/100k – 45/100k
        UAE – 103/100 – 226/100k

        24/4/21
        U.K. – 25/100k – 46/100k
        UAE – 137/100k – 273/100k

        25/3/21
        U.K. – 56/100k – 115/100k
        UAE – 141/100k – 298/100k

        25/2/21
        U.K. – 113/100k – 229/100k
        UAE – 240/100k – 466/100k

        Fact is UAE has been well above for months. Perhaps not to be on a red list on its own if it wasn’t an international hub but the government has decided it’s red on that basis.

        Now that’s changed maybe it’ll make amber soon. I certainly hope so. But I expect it’ll stay red as per AndyW’s post.

        • A says:

          This is good data, thanks for sharing and was exactly what I was after.

          • Blenz101 says:

            I don’t recognise those number though. Go onto another dataset and you will see the U.K. has been consistently higher per 100k than the UAE.

            Even if the numbers did show a high number of cases in the UAE the comparison and risks are just not comparable.

            In the winter the UAE lives outdoors anyway, in the summer all of our building are obviously well ventilated, the population is young and the vaccine has been readily available to all adults who want it, all service, hotel and entertainment staff are vaccinated by mandate, people don’t gather in huge crowds here, we live in AC villas and spacious condos and for the most part live within zoned communities.

            When I went home last December I felt far more at risk walking around the streets in the U.K. and having a drink in crowded, hot, sticky tabled pubs than anywhere in Dubai. The QR code on a wet piece of card and a bar tender with a mask half round their chin or walking one way round Waitrose was nothing compared to what Dubai you would see in Dubai. And don’t get me started on the different between DXB and LHR in terms of safe travel!

          • Mark says:

            User A = TGL? 😂😂
            TGL you should get a life

          • Doug M says:

            Mark. You kick off the argument completely unprompted, the same argument which gets played out every day. Then you tell TGL to get a life. Interesting.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            @Mark shown your true colours there. Resort to insults when faced with facts.

            And those rates are verified as the countries official reporting on those dates.

    • Bearing up says:

      Morning Mark, there are many things in life that we may find unacceptable or don’t understand. However, we all make choices when faced with such dilemmas. You made yours fully aware of the consequences at the time.
      Please stop whingeing.

    • BJ says:

      What’s the point of stressing over the reason? It is what it is and no amount of discussion at HfP is going to change it. Best to focus on what we can change and not lose any sleep over that we cannot.

      • Mark says:

        That’s like saying you shouldn’t protest or talk about things you’re not happy with?
        It’s a travel/points chat board.
        I’m talking about travel restrictions?

        • BJ says:

          @Mark, chat’s absolutely fine, stress not. My point is if it’s the later why add fuel to the fire, best just find something more pleasant or rewarding to be preoccupied with.

      • Pete M says:

        I walk past the Park Plaza Victoria often, which is now a quarantine hotel, and it’s incredibly depressing to watch people being led out on balcony walks by staff in high vis. Why anyone would put themselves through this in the UK at incredible cost when you can fly into an amber country (say Greece from UAE), have a nice, cheap holiday for ten days and come back to spend 5 days at home (or possibly not even that from 19/Jul)… I do get not everyone is as savvy as most HfP readers, but I wish people applied a bit move common sense.

        • Blenz101 says:

          All the expats in my office who have gone back to the U.K. have done just this this summer in order to return home to see family.

          The people generally being punished by the policy are those who don’t have the luxury of time. Travelling home to see sick relatives, family emergencies etc.

          I also know some who just declared they were in transit next day and entered the country that way which make the whole thing even more farcical.

          Whilst I’ve no current desire to return to Covid island I do object to the way the U.K. is placing disproportionate restrictions on its own citizens.

          If the U.K. doesn’t want Emirates transit passengers from Asia at this time that is one thing but imprisoning it’s own citizens for completely disproportionate reasons is worthy of comment.

          Rest assured the malls, tourist attractions, cut price luxury hotels and brunches are still being enjoyed by tourists from around the world without the Brits who seem to quite like having their freedoms removed.

        • Bearing up says:

          Today would have been my late father’s birthday. I’m reminded of the advice he gave me when I was a young teenager-
          As you go through life people will tell you to use your common sense, unfortunately, you’ll find it isn’t that common!

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Mark Once again I have to agree with you with our high number of deaths and cases per population
      It’s this government that should be banning “ALL” travel out of this country for the foreseeable future and of course all travel into the UK

      • Ian M says:

        Yes quite right, and all movement within the UK should be banned too. Just lock everyone up in their own homes and throw away the key for their own safety

    • maccymac says:

      Your argument regarding the UAE having fewer variants of concern is simply wrong.

      The UK is one of the leading countries when it comes to viral genomic sequencing. I believe we may be the world leaders having contributed almost half the genome sequences held at GISAID (a global repository).

      Variants of concern (VoC) are more likely to be spotted here than anywhere else in the world because we have the expertise and infrastructure to genome sequence a much greater proportion of our samples and identify VoC.

      We are ahead of most western countries such as Germany and France and may still be clear of the US (but they are ramping up rapidly and will pass us eventually if not already). This is why the US also knows that the delta variant is becoming dominant domestically. Most countries don’t appear to have high levels of variants of concern because they are incapable for genome sequencing at that scale.

      So while it is nice that the UAE are mass testing for the virus, they have limited to nil understanding of what variants are circulating. They may even have new variants that have never been seen before but they are not sequencing enough to know.

      This is also true of European countries who ‘want to keep the delta variant out’. It is likely that the rise in cases are driven by the delta variant (or others) already circulating in significant numbers and relaxing restrictions, but they just don’t know it because they are not sequencing enough.

      I know it’s fashionable to whinge and moan about this country but it is better at a lot of things than many other places and we should take some pride in that rather than be relentlessly negative.

      I hope this also explains to you why you need to quarantine.

      • Paul Pogba says:

        I’m convinced oikophobia v oikophilia is probably the greatest political cleavage in the West. It can’t be a good thing that so many people living in a nation almost have pride in talking down the achievements of their own country.

      • blenz101 says:

        All very interesting but given as Austrialia has proved even with effectivley closed borders there is zero way to keep the virus in any variant form out.

        Whilst it is nice to be able to give it a name and pin it on a particular country the outcome will be the same.

        If the consensus is we are going to have to live with the virus in the same way we do with flu and other infectious diseases then locking up asymptomatic, vaccinated citizen who can present a negative test result is not sustainable.

        More information here on the UAE programme (date is a little older but sucessful outcomes remain the same) …

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8149747/

  • Anna says:

    It was being reported last night that the Balearics reverting to the Amber list – announcement expected today.

    • Andrew says:

      Does it make much difference from Monday though?

      • Anna says:

        If you’re unvaccinated, then very probably! Though as they have reintroduced restrictions on nightlife the islands are probably now not as attractive for younger visitors.

      • MattB says:

        If does for Wales unless Dripford aligns with BoJo today.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        No, not if you’re living in Scotland/England, and under 18 or 1 of 35m fully vaccinated.

    • Andrew says:

      Basically wherever Marriott sends Rhys on a publicity tour, it moves to Amber the following week!

    • lumma says:

      I’ve saw on Twitter that’s there’s a chance it could switch straight from green to red

      • Anna says:

        From whose Twitter account though? It’s unlikely as Spain has a good vaccination rate, and infection rates are very similar to the UK. Also, I would wager some ministers will have booked holidays in the Balearics and mainland Spain!

        • Pete M says:

          Paul Charles was suggesting it…

          • TGLoyalty says:

            that would kill confidence more than anything before it.

            high vaccination rate and no VOC there’s absolutely no reason for it to be red

        • lumma says:

          That’s the problem with separating out small parts of a country, the rest of Spain will likely be still amber but the Balearic Islands are high enough to warrant red.

          • Anna says:

            I’m not sure that’s true in reality – the recent spike was caused by students from the mainland testing positive while in Mallorca, and most of them have now returned home.

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      My OHs brother is very annoyed about this, he was meant to be going out there on Saturday hahah!

      I did ask him why he was even bothering, it’s so much hassel

  • Mycity says:

    Morning, advise please. I’m looking at booking flights for my daughter and family to the states next year, we will be traveling separately. The concern I have is about booking on my credit card and not traveling with them. Is this likely to be an issue? Would it be safer to use her credit card?

    • Toby says:

      Could you add a supplementary card on your account in her name. Then book her bit on that?

      Tbh, I’ve long worried about this rule but never once had to show my credit card at check in

      • Mycity says:

        A supplementary card might be a good idea thanks Toby. I’ve never had to show my credit card a checkin but I’ve heard stories about people that have.

        • idrive says:

          They asked me to show cc when i booked Iberia rewards for myself on my own account at short notice (next day flight)

    • John says:

      Worst possible case is that they ask you to send a photo of the card with a signed authority.

      More likely is that you could show the card at the airport (could be months before the flight – I did that once).

      Most likely is that nothing happens at all. Particularly if 2FA is used when booking.

    • Louise K says:

      I’ve booked flights for other people for years and never had an issue.

      • Sandra says:

        +1 Same here. Our son, when he was a teenager, often flew on his own paid for by me. The only time (age 17) he got stopped & questioned it was to ask him why he wasn’t at school as schools had gone back from Xmas holidays – his hadn’t as it was boarding & he had longer holidays!

    • Lyn says:

      If the flights are on BA, I think they allow for this by asking whether the person paying for the booking is one of the people travelling or not.

      • Number9 says:

        Lyn is correct if booking with BA just tick the person paying not travelling option. It’s as easy and as simple as that.

    • TheInsiderFly says:

      Worst case is transaction flags to BA fraud team (v unlikely unless it hits other triggers such as short time between booking and departure, certain destinations, etc.) and they then ask for the card to be presented at check-in desk. If they can’t present the card, I believe they would have the opportunity to pay on a card in their name at the same price as was originally paid (and the original form of payment would be refunded)

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