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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 22nd 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 (338)

  • Ben says:

    Hello,

    Does anyone have any inside knowledge of when/if the Berkeley rooftop pool will reopen this summer? The website says Summer 2021 and the staff member I spoke to on reservations wasn’t sure.

    Thanks

    • Andrew says:

      Best to call front desk rather than reservations probably.

    • JDB says:

      The whole building is covered in scaffolding and some sort of plastic on the roof as at yesterday…

      • Ben says:

        Thank you, maybe Summer 2022 more likely then. I’m staying in London mid-Aug and a nice outdoor dip would have tipped my choice of hotel

  • Sam says:

    Made an advance purchase booking on Hilton.com…careless and booked my trip by a week earlier. Is this a gone case or will they make an exception if I reach out?

    • BP says:

      Generally very helpful if you phone them. Even more so if you have a silver or gold membership with them. They have sorted this exact situation for me previously.

      • Sam says:

        Phew…thank you. Should I ring the hotel or the general Hilton line? I do have Gold yes.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Phoning the hotel directly and explaining will normally get the date shifted in under 5 minutes; particularly if you make it clear you’re happy to pay any price difference.

    • Jonathan says:

      Unfortunately hotels.com can be rather spineless when they want to be, hiding behind it’s the property’s decision in making major changes to a booking.

      I had this problem when I booked a hotel in the US for June 2020, the date I made the booking was before coronavirus was heard of, and before anyone knew what it would do to the world’s population, and I was forced to accept a credit note that would expire within 12 months of issue, and the stay also had to be completed before the note expires as well ! When this was issued the US borders were and still are closed to just about all UK arrivals. Hotels.com simply hid behind their spineless attitude of being offered a refund on a hotel stay (non-refundable booking) is the hotel’s discretion, ignoring government travel advice and not being to get into the country !

      Given the way things currently are, no one should make a non-refundable hotel booking regardless of the circumstances, this is of course the case while coronavirus is a threat to everyone’s health throughout day to day life

      • VerdantBacon says:

        Original post is about Hilton.com

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Jonathan I have a different experience regarding non-refundable hotels including Hilton or any other if I’m honest
        I still book non-refundable even now
        I Had 6 Hotels 4/5 * in Boulder, Sedona, Lake Powell Resort everyone of them refunded me or Transferred booking to Easter 2022
        Only one Hotel kept a one nights deposit
        It was the same 2020 admittedly higher end Hotels so easier to absorb the booking.
        In fact I’ve found Hilton to stand out by not only changing my dates but forth-coming with an up-grade the icing on the cake

  • Sam says:

    Anyone knows if I’ll need a PCR test for Turkey (red list I know) if I’m buying 2 separate tickets: STN – IST (on Pegasus as only timing that works) then IST-SIN (on SQ J, 49k miles)? Assume I’ll need to pick up my baggage and re-check in so not sure if that’s a transit…

    Alternatively just bite the bullet for SQ J for 92k and £200+ for LHR-SIN.

    • H says:

      I’d go for SQ J, a great experience. Check the SIA website for more information re the transit requirements.

    • roberto says:

      Looking at the gov.uk site…

      It says “From 1 June, passengers arriving from UK, Iran, Egypt or Singapore will require a negative PCR test taken within the 72 hours prior to arriving in Turkey. This is not required for those passengers transiting Turkey en route to another country.”

      However there is more detail so suggest you read through this

      https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/entry-requirements

    • C says:

      Unless it has changed due to COVID, please note that Pegasus flies to SAW, not IST. IST is in the European part of Istanbul (or rather, north of Istanbul), while SAW is in Asia. You will need to allow sufficient time for a ground transfer; I would suggest overnight or at least a full day, in the event of delays or traffic.

      • kitten says:

        Other than the bit of water known as the Bosphorous, surely the Asia side airport is much closer to Istanbul town than the new IST which is far away? ISTR there are some very nice hotels on Asia side.

        • QwertyKnowsBest says:

          Traffic in Istanbul is horrendous, always allow lots of time and some, for road journeys.

        • C says:

          Lots of good hotels all over Istanbul, and the new IST isn’t as far outside of the city as I had been led to believe. The issue will be the choke-points that are the Bosphorus bridges.

        • ankomonkey says:

          SAW (Asia side Istanbul airport) is also pretty far from the centre of the city, although, pre-Covid at least, there was a direct bus from SAW-IST.

    • Blair says:

      SQ J seats are frankly hard as hell. I ended up with painful hips afterwards enough times to now avoid them. Also nigh on impossible to reserve a bulkhead seat to avoid the weird sleeping position you need to adopt.

    • Clive says:

      You will definitely need a RT-PCR test to even board SQ

  • Tom says:

    I’m going to Copenhagen for work in a couple of weeks. Monday morning outbound, Thursday midday return. If I get a test at LHR outbound, as it’s less than 3 days until my return – will that count as my pre-return departure test and then book another for when I land back on Thursday (for the day 2). This will be first trip since covid so just want to make sure. Thanks all

    • Pete M says:

      My understanding (https://en.coronasmitte.dk/covidtravelrules) is that you need a PCR test, which you wouldn’t get the result for quick enough if you take it on Monday and travel on Monday morning. So you’d need to take the PCR earlier, which would be more than the 3 days before your return. I was also under the impression that as the UK is now a red country you have to quarantine on arrival? I am due to go to Denmark in August as well, so would be grateful if you could share your experience on your return.

      • Tom says:

        Interesting. On that site it says: ‘Residence in the UK is considered as residence in an orange country.’ However you are correct the map looks red to me. If that’s the case I wouldn’t travel. If orange then this is what is stated:

        You can travel to Denmark without presenting a negative test, but you must instead present proof that you have been fully vaccinated or previously infected.
        You are not required to get tested and isolate upon your arrival, but you must instead present documentation that you have been fully vaccinated or previously infected.

        So it was more the tests for returning to UK and Day 2. I’ll see if I can call up to check

    • kitten says:

      That is how the UK is counting the days. I’ve done it myself to another destination

      • kitten says:

        True it was when only antigen was required by both countries

        • CE says:

          The UK as a whole is rated as orange by DK government…however…if you live in England, Scotland or NI these “regions” are rated as Red. Wales is still rated as an amber region. I would base whether you need to isolate in DK on the region you live in – which would mean mandatory quarantine, 2 weeks since double dose of vaccination, pre-boarding PCR test & a worthy purpose to travel (which work, I assume, is covered).

          The wording they use is very clunky…

          • Pete M says:

            CE – what’s the process at CPH if you’ve been recently, please? Does this whole thing work on an honour system or do they have a PLF, etc.?

  • Bearing up says:

    Advice/confirmation requested please.
    I currently, and for several years, have the BAPP and a Tesco MasterCard. The latter was clearly for Avios etc. I carried on with it following the deletion of Avios as I need an alternative card for those occasions when Amex not accepted.
    Lately, Tesco teed me off by delaying a sizeable refund payment, c£15k, and I’ve overcome my usual apathy and decided I need to take on a different MasterCard/Visa etc. I had a Barclaycard for approx 40yrs before switching to Tesco.
    I’m thinking of the Virgin fee card given the better points return over Tesco and the sign up bonus. That said, we’ve never flown Virgin and don’t use chain hotels but do ordinarily holiday and travel long haul.
    However, is there a better alternative combination?
    Thank you in advance for any recommendations.

    • Harry T says:

      Remember you can use Virgin miles on KLM, AF and Delta as well, including for short haul.

    • SteveJ says:

      Might be worth thinking about alternate rewards. John Lewis Card if you shop there or Waitrose, Amazon card likewose. Santander All in One if you have enough non ex spend to justify the fee. IHG card.

      • Bearing up says:

        Thank you Harry T and SteveJ for your suggestions. Apologies for the delay, I’ve been celebrating the reopening of our village pub after God knows how many months closure!
        Given the circumstances I’ll go with the Virgin option and see what transpires.
        On the other hand I might be wasting my time when The Clown brings in another lockdown.
        Good luck and Bon voyage to all!

  • Panini Boss says:

    BA peak/off-peak dates for 2022. Do these adhere to a specific, predictable calendar or are they prone to change? I’m looking at SeatSpy and can’t predict if a specific date will be listed as peak or offpeak (e.g. 5th July is off-peak, 7th July is on-peak for N. America). I’m interested in dates in mid-July and start of September for redemptions but am not sure what the redemption value will be.

  • YC says:

    Has anyone tried redeeming harvey nichols gift card at one of their restaurants? e.g. burger & lobster or zelman?

  • Michael says:

    Anyone have any thoughts on either the Liverpool Crowne Plaza or Accor Pullman? Stopping off in Liverpool for a couple of nights on a trip to Wales.

    • Chris says:

      Like a lot of the UK CPs; Liverpool is average and could do with a refurbish/ brighten. Been over a year since i have been though. Compared to more modern hotels fewer sockets. Don’t recall the quality of the kettle 😉

      Rooms had small windows which is a shame with the river outside. The AC worked ok. The location along the waterfront is nice for walking after work. Its not too far into the city.

      It has a BIG car park which may be a plus (indigo sends you to an ncp.) Lounge was small compared to number of users when i stayed.

      Usually eat at the Malmaison that is almost next door if I’m staying there. There is lots of other choices in the city though.

    • Red Flyer says:

      Pullman is in a good location for walking to Albert Dock and L1 shops and entertainment. Crowne Plaza a bit of a longer walk to food & entertainment but closer to Pier Head and museum. Personally I would go for Pullman as is a newer and brighter building.

    • bill says:

      Pullman has only been open a few years. CP more like 20 – but I dont know when it was last refurbed

    • Ikaz says:

      Pullman is nice, but parking was £25 last time I went, and not very secure

      • Red Flyer says:

        There is a secure car park next to the traffic lights/McDonalds (3 mins walk away) for @£8 a day.

    • Aston100 says:

      Have you considered the Indigo?

      • Red Flyer says:

        Hilton, Doubletree or Aloft are also solid choices with good central locations.

        • E says:

          Hilton used to be a good bet but think it’s been poor lately…not clean room and common areas and disinterested staff on my last stay and comments from others on Tripadvisor saying similar. Plus they wrote a note for me at reception and when I turned the paper over that they’d written on, it was a list of every guest’s name, room number and status! The Staybridge Suites is a good option and it’s also close to Albert Dock.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for the info and suggestions, much appreciated. @Aston100 – no I hadn’t but will have a look.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        I stayed in the Pullman over the last lockdown so view is of a very empty hotel I’m afraid.
        If you get a corner suite in the NW corner then the view is truly spectacular, especially at sunset. Mersey out full length front windows, Royal Liver Building out of side window.
        Nicely furnished and modern as you would expect; in fact furnishing standard was excellent.
        Can’t tell you about soundproofing – nobody else was there to make noise.
        Really good location for Albert Dock and waterfront museums.
        Plenty of choice of parking – if you don’t like the Pullman prices then use the arena. (I didn’t pay as figured nobody would check during lockdown … I was right).

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