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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)

  • Jon L says:

    We booked BA LHR-SFO, SJC-LHR and the return was cancelled a few weeks ago. I hadn’t accepted the change to SFO-LHR to preserve the option to cancel or change dates.
    Covid tests came back negative so we are definitely going, but the option to change for free is nice. However, I can’t manage my booking online until I accept the change to the return flight. Is there any way around this? I’m curious if I will I have to accept the change anyway at some point before taking the outbound?
    (We are dual US/UK citizens so entry requirements are manageable.)

  • Phil says:

    Germany / Austria. My wife and I were due to fly MUC tomorrow and then head to Austria for two weeks. With Austria not letting in UK residents, we’ve opted to stay in Bavaria.

    However, I’m wondering if after 10 days of residing in Bavaria whether we would then be permitted to enter Austria for a few days at the end of the holiday?

    We are both double vaxed. My wife has dual UK/Polish citizenship.

    Thoughts?

    • Pete M says:

      Given that you will be inside Schengen it’s extremely unlikely anyone will care / check.

      • Jan M says:

        Checked the German foreign office for you. If you’ve been out of the UK for more than 10 days and spent it in Germany (on Austria’s green list as it were) you’ll be fine.

  • AY says:

    Have around 100k of Hilton honours points, any suggestions on using them? No plans to stay at a Hilton before 31 December when they expire.

  • Sam says:

    Would you use a Monzo or Amex to pay for a watch when on holidays in Europe?

    • Rob says:

      For rock-solid legal protection, not Monzo and not Amex if it is a charge card. You want a credit card – obviously Amex credit cards OK – for full Section 75 coverage. It will ‘cost’ you 3% though in FX fees.

      • Sam says:

        Thanks. Believe there’s an excess of £50 only right?

        Assuming it’s a £10k purchase:

        Amex – 20k MR + 3% (£300)

        Assuming 1p per point, that’s £200. So still losing out by using Amex but allows for the £50 excess.

    • Harry T says:

      100% Amex unless it costs £20. Worth mentioning that currently the 3% FX fee on Amex Gold is offset by the current spend more offer on that card as you would receive an extra point per pound, plus the usual extra point per pound for outbound spend (total of 3 MR per pound, MR is worth 1p).

      • Sam says:

        Thanks a lot Harry. Unfortunately used that up already but I guess Amex just for the slight peace of mind!

    • YC says:

      U should also be able to get tax refund if shopping in Europe. The refund of which can be put onto a different card if you wish (e.g. free fx, non-points)

  • Keely says:

    Bit of help please if anyone has already completed passenger locator forms for Malta . Malta site shows you have to complete Public Health Declaration Form and Passenger Locator Form but there only seems to be one form ? Any advice please?

    • Lottie says:

      Are you doing the electronic version? If so, its just one form, if you are doing the paper version there are two separate sheets in the one form (if that makes sense!) you can check it on the malta airport site

      • Keely says:

        No that’s answered my question thanks, think it’s 2 separate forms in the paper version.
        Are you back now Lottie?

  • YC says:

    Quick review of hotel arts barcelona – Got upgraded to a suite (same as rob’s review) with marriott plat which had great views. However, club lounge was closed and no substitute given which I thought was fair for a free upgrade (so if you are paying cash for club floor double check what you will be getting). Its not the most enjoyable walk to the centre in 30degree weather but having 2 full size pools are great. Infinity pool loungers get taken up quickly but could find spare loungers in the main pool. Service was very good throughout and highly recommend on current healthcare rate. If rates are equal, I would go back to the Edition (only downside is that it has a tiny pool)

    • Harry T says:

      Thanks for the Arts review – we are now down the road at the W. Checked out of EDITION yesterday.

      Stayed at the EDITION on a date booked through Emyr called STARS and Save – 20% off the flexible rate, free breakfast for two daily, plus 50 euros of food and beverage credit per day. Cost 290 euros a night, which was decent if you factor in the cost of breakfast plus the extra credit. Was upgraded to Loft room as Titanium after one became available (they said to ask if anything better came up), after being in Deluxe room for the first night.

      • YC says:

        Ah had not asked Emyr if he had any special rates (would have been very tempted!). How is the W? Out of curiosity why did you choose W over the RC with the RC rate at 170euros?

        I did also do the Kimpton which was great central hotel and can see it being a decent deal in peak normal season on points. Stacked AMB + Amex offer meant making sure you stuff your face with food and drinks by the pool/terrace! I felt it was in between the W Amsterdam and Barcelona Edition in terms of room/hotel vibe

        • Harry T says:

          RC wasn’t that cheap for the dates I was looking at! W had a cheapish prepaid rate (£248 vs £400 for flexible – my app is pricing in GBP due to settings) and we’ve always wanted to try it – will probably be double the price next summer. Free breakfast at W also looked good, and we preferred the location. SNAs worked well to secure a suite.

          EDITION is very very good. Would be my first choice for Barcelona but would like to try the Arts and Cotton House too. Thanks for the mini reviews of Arts and Kimpton.

          • Harry T says:

            W is actually pretty good. The suite is big and reasonably sensibly designed for a W. The gym and spa are very good, which was a priority for us. The buffet breakfast is brilliant. It’s busy here but not too crazy – it helps the staff are very efficient and organised.

        • Gtellez says:

          How do you get 170 euros rate in the Arts?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Btw RC (arts) wouldn’t provide lounge access to a plat+ nor does being upgraded mean you automatically get lounge access either, in fact the website is clear that comp upgrades exclude lounge access

      • Rob says:

        That is Ritz Carlton global policy.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Yep hence why I went with RC and arts in brackets.

          Ofcourse hotels can individually do what they like and treat their customer however nicely they want (or don’t want)

  • Babyg says:

    Are there any referral options for the The Platinum® International Currency Card ? Can i refer from a UK based card (amex plat/gold/ba) or even another ICC? I do see there is still the 30k sign up bonus (as written about in previous HFP articles). Also has anybody worked out a way to easily do the monthly payments from UK funds?

    • Rob says:

      No.

      Assuming you get the $ version, you pay the bill by sending the cash to a Standard Chartered account in New York. I can do this perfectly well from my HSBC current account which allows foreign currency bank transfers, albeit at a rubbish FX rate. The only caveat is that your bank needs to be able to add a 15 character reference (ie your card number) to the payment.

      I never actually use my Green ICC except from the Membership Rewards benefits, unless I am actually in the US, so I don’t make many payments and the FX fees I pay are nominal.

      • Babyg says:

        cheers rob, thats a clear NO then, note im getting the Euro version as ill be doing a year in Portugal and the school allows me to pay the school fees via amex so will hit the bonus pretty quickly! ill probably trade down to a green/gold version once i hit the bonus if thats possible (assuming a pro-rata refund)…

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      You can’t be referred from a UK based card as the ICCs are issued by a totally different legal entity. They do have sign up bonuses on the Plat ICC from time to time but I don’t know if one is currently running. Paying off a Dollar (or indeed Euro) balance is easy and cheap if you have a Revolut account.

      • Babyg says:

        cheers GG… thanks for the additional info… im guessing Wise virtual account should work OK too then.

  • Marie says:

    Help clarifying Republic of Ireland entry for teenagers please .
    From my interpretation they have “done a Malta ” where I, fully vaccinated am welcome to holiday there , but my teenagers over 12 and not vaccinated are required to isolate .
    Many thanks Marie

    • Blair says:

      Summary for people (including Irish citizens) arriving into Ireland from outside the EU after 18 July

      Arriving from a non-designated country/a country with no emergency brake applied:

      Vaccinated – No PCR test needed for entry to Ireland. No quarantine required

      Unvaccinated – Negative PCR test before travel. Self-quarantine (home isolation) – PCR test on Day 5

      Children aged 11 or under will not require any pre-departure tests to travel into Ireland.

      Children aged 12-17 will be required to present a pre-departure negative PCR taken in previous 72 hours before arrival.

      Children of any age travelling with vaccinated or recovered adults will not be required to self-quarantine post arrival. Where travelling with adults who are required to home quarantine, children should also home quarantine

      Children aged 12 and over must take a PCR test no less than 5 days after arrival and, on receiving written confirmation that the result of this test is negative/ ‘not detected’, their period of quarantine can end.

      Day 5 tests may be pre-booked before arrival in ROI and are currently free.

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