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The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 28th 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 (468)

  • Ali says:

    Data Point – After HMRC & Che, WE has stopped awarding points on Beardy & Solihull payments !! Called them to query why I was awarded lesser points than I expected in my recent statement and they confirmed this. The agent was rightly unapologetic about it and warned me to refrain from such transactions in future. Shanghai is tightening up the noose around MS! Be careful.

    • Harry T says:

      You called your credit card provider and demanded you receive points for your MS? No wonder they are tightening the noose 😂

      • VerdantBacon says:

        It’s actually amazing how some people deal with their MS, happy to use code words here but also happy to call up the credit card provider and draw attention to manufactured spend. Hopefully they still called it Beardy and Solihull whilst on the phone with Shanghai so they don’t cotton on to what’s happening!!

        • Chris Heyes says:

          VerdantBacon No what’s more amazing is people on here actually believe that they don’t know ?
          Who’s the thickest people on here or credit card providers ?

          • VerdantBacon says:

            Of course they know, they likely have a multitude of reasons as to why they are letting it slide for now, and why they’re looking to tighten up the controls on this.

            No amount of 007 style code words in a comment section used by a small section of readers of an extremely niche website is going to beat a bank’s statistical analysis of data.

            But calling up a credit card provider to demand points for manufactured spend surely is up there on level of taking the piss with those who are paying off their IHG cards with itself backed by Curve

      • BJ says:

        Hardly a laughing matter Harry but it beats crying.

      • Ali says:

        @HarryT – I called them after some reports here yesterday that Shangai is manually crediting the points. Although I knew which transactions were missing the points, but obviously I did not explicitly call them out. I just played ignorant before they called out my bluff.

        • Lady London says:

          Ahem after your last experience have you not changed, Ali?

        • Harry T says:

          Anyone calling HSBC and asking to have points credited for MS transactions is taking the Michael. And you’ll attract more attention to the matter, which could lead to avenues being closed for others. It’s selfish and stupid.

        • Babyg says:

          slow clap for Ali….

          • xcalx says:

            clap—————clap————clap. Oh dear Ali

          • PK says:

            Also slow clap for those (including JDB) who called HSBC yesterday and did the same thing and encouraged others like poor Ali to call them.

          • JDB says:

            Appreciate the clap @PK. I called re HMRC payments as I can’t see why they are not eligible and I wanted to know for future reference as it is odd that for points purposes these payments are apparently being treated as ‘cash advances’/’cash related payments’ but they are not generally being treated as such since they aren’t attracting a fee or interest. That distinction is not to be found in the card or points T&Cs.

            I have never got involved in MS on any card; I would certainly never have called about that type of transaction!

          • cinereus says:

            Christ, this is why we can’t have good things. The mindset of calling up just beggars belief.

    • Nigel W says:

      Well as other’s have mentioned, paying HMRC via bendy and HK/Shanghai has stopped recently.

    • BP says:

      Looking at my statement dated 9th July, I’ve had full points for all Creative & Bendy Ernie transactions. Will also probably call them and chance my luck if no points on next statement – no harm done if they have stopped my use going forward.

      • Harry T says:

        They aren’t going to credit you points for transactions you shouldn’t be making, but it’s a pretty good way to attract attention to your MS. I cannot seriously believe you think there’s merit in this approach.

        • Youllnever says:

          +1.

          “no harm done if they have stopped my use going forward.”
          Or they could terminate your card if they think you might be ML’ing.

        • BLT says:

          There a lot of people making comments who don’t really know what MS is. How is paying HMRC MS? It’s paying for a service. You use to be able to pay HMRC by credit card, that changed when card fees were banned. So HMRC has no issue with CC payments as long a they are business cards, CC companies never had an issue with paying HMRC previously, so HSBC have unilaterally decided not to award points. Nothing to do with MS, so don’t see the issue in phoning and finding out why. People news to get off their high horse!

          • Harry T says:

            Paying HMRC with Curve linked to a credit card is MS, as you are not meant to use your credit card for that purpose and HMRC don’t accept credit cards

          • BLT says:

            From Google: ‘manufactured spend’ (MS) is short-hand for a variety of different methods that all revolve around spending money on a rewards-earning credit card on things that you can convert back to cash, and then using that cash to pay off your credit card balance.
            Paying a service (HMRC) is not MS. Loading revolut from a CC and withdrawing the money is MS.

          • kitten says:

            Correct BLT. I mean, it’s not as though you are going to have any further access to the money after you’ve paid HMRC, is it? It’s money gone.

            Or are the credit cards saying you’re only supposed to earn points if you’re actually getting something back, ie some service to object that you will receive, when you spend? On that basis you’d be right as it seems a lot of us pay lot to HMRC and don’t receive anything back.

          • BLT says:

            Completely agree kitten. I would suggest that the CC companies have an issue with Curve. If you’ve been in this game long enough you’ll know CC companies have never had an issue with HMRC, points were given prior to the fee cap and still are with other providers. It is therefore either the involvement of curve or a change in how they view these transactions. Either way it’s still not MS!!

          • Babyg says:

            Dont agree with HarryT on this one… paying HMRC with a Curve backed by another card is not MS… however money churning is MS… I will say that i save up my school fees in a creative way, and potentially i could withdraw and resave the school term fees over and over and over – which is what alot of people are talking about on here constantly.. so it will get shut down too. Either way MS chat is lame, its only interesting to hear about MS routes that are closing (eg tesco).. but talking about active MS routes only means they will end too…

      • Rachel Robinson says:

        Full points for mine too on statement dated 16 July.

    • The Urbanite says:

      I got about 50% of the Premier points I was expecting this month but it didn’t even cross my mind to call them! It’s a good course of action if you want it put on your account notes that you’ve been warned off MS and/or want a review of your spending to be performed!

    • Patrick Cold says:

      This is brilliant!

      • Harrier25 says:

        If only it was brilliant, Patrick, but unfortunately….😕

    • Harrier25 says:

      I’m sure it wasn’t hard to call your bluff, Ali.

      • Tw33ty says:

        Lol phoning up you cc to see why you’re Ms points are missing.

        Isn’t this the same guy who got his bank account force closed from lloyds because of abuse for opening new accounts and switching them so much.

        No wonder all this is coming to a close.

  • M says:

    How to find a job in Hong Kong?

    Super random question! But the hive mind might know something 😉
    Is it possible to find a job in Hong Kong from London? I am looking for a software developer position, preferably in finance. Are there any recruiters specialising in HK based in London? Or is my best bet to find a job with a large company and then move internally? Or perhaps just book a cheap place in HK for a few months and look locally?

    Any insights would be much appreciated!
    Thanks, M

    • Pete M says:

      Obviously don’t know your circumstances, but a lot of expats I know living in HK are getting out, as are a lot of HKers who can. Are you sure about your plans?

    • John says:

      Unless you already have residency you aren’t getting into hk for some time

      And if you are an hk resident why ask on here..

      • Jan M says:

        Last time I checked even Hong Kong residents who spent more than two hours (!) in the UK are not getting in…

    • Sam G says:

      Former SG & HK expat here

      You can look around on LinkedIn – you’ll see roles there and find some recruiters to message (plenty of Brits in HK recruitment) but overall I doubt many companies are considering applying for visas for expats currently due to the hassle in getting them approved & getting you into the country through quarantine etc. On the plus side virtual recruitment and interviewing has now become normal so that bit is easier.

      Software developer is one of the more in demand roles currently, especially if you’ve got a specialist skill, so that’ll help you but a lot of it is outsourced to China / India especially in banking so you might struggle to get a salary to make living in HK worthwhile – you need to research this carefully

      You could try researching some big MNC who do advertise jobs here and in HK and go in that way but again unless you are specialist the internal mobility opportunity might not be there

      Even if it were possible I wouldn’t say being on the ground will put you at any particular advantage, for software developers I’d expect to be able to get to offer stage remotely

      Be aware that HK will likely lean towards opening up towards China and therefore being “covid zero” which will likely make travel back to UK or around APAC very difficult for the foreseeable future

      Good luck!

      • Lyn says:

        This sounds like very sensible advice from Sam G. I think people underestimate the difficulty in getting work visas in other countries even if their company is really, really interested in transferring them.

        “Or perhaps just book a cheap place in HK for a few months and look locally?” sounds like one definition of optimism.

        Having said that, I’ll add my “Good Luck” to Sam G’s!

        • M says:

          Thanks Sam G and Lyn, I guess there is no magic way I didn’t know about then 😉

  • Toby says:

    Just had an interesting email from BA. Not going to do it, but might make using avios a decent option if you are flying soon:
    Your loyalty means the world to us. So, for a limited time only, we’ve reduced the amount of Avios needed for seat selection by 75%. Simply visit Manage my Booking to view your options and make your selection.

    But hurry, this discount expires midnight BST 30 July 2021

    • Mark says:

      I just got this too, might jump on it for next year to secure 4 seats together when taking my family away

      • Toby says:

        Good stuff! The other day I asked BA on the phone if I should bother reserving seats for our family of 3, and the (shockingly honest) agent said defo not – as you’re on one booking we’ll always keep you together. Which made me wonder if that’s true? Anyone know?

        • Pete M says:

          The only airline in Europe I know that will actively split you up to make you buy seats, as a matter of policy, is FR. W6 occasionally. Everyone else will aim to seat you together, but it’s obviously not guaranteed.

          • Grant says:

            Just as an aside, if a single adult were travelling with two young children (6 & 4) presumably there is a requirement that the children are sat with the adult, and hence no need to pay to reserve seats in advance?

          • Joe says:

            W6/W9 all the time in my experience!

          • Toby says:

            Thanks. V helpful to know

        • Sukes says:

          I can’t speak for their policy but speaking from experience this seems to be true. Including a flight I had this morning on BA with 3 adults in our single booking. Especially during Covid times it would make sense to seat together those in a single booking.

          • Nick says:

            Yes, BA’s seating algorithm is set up to keep people together wherever possible. The only time it’s ever really an issue though is in some of the tiny Club cabins on leisure routes, but on almost all flights it works well. Playing the ‘book window and aisle and hope the middle stays free’ trick tends only to work if the flight is light-ish loaded – remember that staff are only given seats after check-in closes and may well end up between you and your partner.

            The oft-discussed rules on parents and kids being together are true but what’s often forgotten is that they don’t guarantee you’ll be adjacent – across an aisle or one row forward/back is still considered fully compliant.

    • Alexandra says:

      I need to use this ASAP to get the last two PE seats together on a flight from ORD in September as that flight is FULL. Its quoting me 7,670 avios for the two seats one way (£73 each) – is that right? That sounds like the full freight price?

    • FatherOfFour says:

      Thanks, didn’t see the mail on this. Just reserved seats for 8440 Avios instead of £160.

      • Pete M says:

        I get it that you’re worried if you are a family, but this is crazy money IMHO for some seats!

        • Rob says:

          Whereas I’ve just stuck my kids in an entirely different cabin to me and my wife for an upcoming trip, so unconcerned am I about being anywhere near them 🙂

          • BP says:

            In economy, Gordon Ramsay style I hope!

          • Pete M says:

            My parents used to put me and my brother in the back with the nanny…

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            I point this out to my kids every Christmas….
            In Home Alone: parents fly in the posh bit, kids all shoved down the back to fend for themselves.

          • Rob says:

            Never done it before and if more seats come up we’ll swap, but for Barbados over Oct half term 2J and 2W is as good as I’ll get I reckon.

        • BJ says:

          Also…BA is a real pain when it comes to refunding seat selections … and BA continues to change and cancel flights all over the place.

    • Rahaney says:

      What’s the refund policy on these if paid by avios?? If you cancel or ba cancels? Many thanks

      • FatherOfFour says:

        If you cancel: no refund.
        Seats non-refundable (assume this means cash or Avios) UNLESS:
        – BA Change seat to alternative unhappy with. (Assume this includes a downgrade!)
        – WE CANCEL YOUR FLIGHT
        – You become ineligible to sit in an exit row and you give them 48 hours notice.
        – You’ve paid for a cabin upgrade and don’t wat t pay the difference to choose your seat in upgraded cabin.

  • Harry T says:

    Has anyone managed to add an additional cardholder to the HSBC WE MasterCard recently? It says online that you have to submit a paper form but I was wondering if there is an easier way?

    • Pete M says:

      An easier way with HSBC than a paper form, in triplicate, co-signed by your great-aunt and faxed to an Indian number? You must be joking! 🙂

      • Rob says:

        Last time I tried to do a high value transfer from my HSBC current account, the call centre refused to do it (even though I answered all the questions and was calling from my normal phone) and told me I had to go to a branch. Or, they said, just write a letter to your branch, telling where to send your money, and they’ll do it !!!!!!

      • Sam G says:

        LOL so true

        I’ve added it to my OH Curve card to avoid the fee, but you’ll need the extra card if you want to go in the lounge as it’s one swipe per card FOC

    • JDB says:

      They told me that paper application was the only way back in February but when I did post the form, they added the supplementary card within two days.

    • Grant says:

      One user uses the physical card whilst the other uses it via Apple / Google Pay? I use this method ocassionaly, although not with this particular card.

  • prune says:

    Sorry to ask this again. Are we still able to book the first leg of a ba flight with the 2 for 1voucher online then add on the return leg over the phone when its released?
    also as a data point i was worried that on my booking at the Westin in Malta it had left off my children on the app confirmation as opposed to the email confirmation. This wasn’t an issue at all.
    I am having a great time here. I would definitely recommend this for a break with the family

  • Lady London says:

    Easyjet was refusing to rebook flights they cancelled in May last year, being refused IIRC as early as August-September. Their story was after a short time after the original flight (which varied, they could not say how long) their system meant they could not do it.

    They continued to do this.

    I’d have happily rebooked my cancelled Easyjet flights many many times since. Even during Covid lockdowns as I did have genuine reasons to need to travel including an emergency. Over and over again Easyjet had no flights. I even had to pay cash for a flight on BA as Easyjet had no flights which annoyed me greatly.

    I was about to start travelling again on Easyjet every week in August (job offer) as Easyjet had brought back flights Thursday Friday Sunday Monday on my route. So perfect for a week away working. A week ago Easyjet cancelled all flights on any day except 1 flight on Sundays only in each direction. This being the flight I flew for one summer every week, always 1 hour late in time to find all the train chaos at Gatwick almost every week on a Sunday arriving at home in London often 3am with a 7am departure for Monday work. So basically still nothing I can use to rebook onto Easyjet whe they’re treating my route so badly.

    I hope someone takes Easyjet to court and gets their illegal denial of passenger rights sorted out before I have to.

    Can people experiencing refusal to reroute by Easyjet please keep posting here? I am really hoping they will start to behave reasonably.

    • BJ says:

      I hope this does not cost you the job, and even if the alternatives are not ideal, I hope all else in respect of the job goes well after a difficult period.

      • Lady London says:

        It was one thing that added to the reasons I had to turn it down, sadly, BJ. But thanks

        • BJ says:

          That’s tough, sorry. For that reason alone wouldn’t blame you for frustrating Easyjet at every turn. As always though everything seems stacked against the customers. All the shoddy practices are happening because all the guilty airlines are getting away with them. I’ve been lucky, my frustrations are limited to LH who I believe are intentionally forcing the expiration of my miles. Latest on that story is that I can no longer access my account although it still appears to exist.

    • Lady London says:

      *above for Bill page4
      Wordpress reply auto-repositioning again

      • Bill says:

        I have reviewed page 4. Thanks. I’ve emailed head of customer service, head of loyalty and head of call centre. I believe in eu261 there is no deadline for me to rebook a cancelled sector. Hopefully I get a positive reply otherwise it’s mcol

        • Lady London says:

          you can fall back on EU261 for no time limit Bill. But for the sake of all of us please have a reasonable explanation as to why you haven’t been able to sort out the rebooking earlier or to an earlier date.

          I’ve pretty much outlined mine in my reply to you. Helped of course that last year over and over again Easyjet was refusing to allow me to rebook flights they’d cancelled in May, only 4-5 months later!

          Keep it reasonable and understandable – perhaps due to travel or work leave or companion limitations – because we don’t want airlines to be able to get legislators to reduce the few rights we have due to unreasonableness.

          • bill says:

            @LadyLondon – one passenger had cancer and also my unwillingness to travel. if i dont get a reply I’ll just get a refund next week

          • Lady London says:

            they want you to take a refund Bill that’s why they’re doing it. That lets them off the hook.
            Your rights to rebook at your chosen time with everything still included, at no extra cost, are worth far far more.

  • Muhammad Abdullah says:

    Currently at Conrad SJ, booked Deluxe, got Exec, Diamond status + Impresario. Just as Impresario rate, one cat upgrade. Won’t be back. Bankside has loads of suites.

    I should have resisted the “bargain” of 3 for 2 and paid a touch more to get a better hotel.

    • BJ says:

      Say it here frequently, people targeting exceptional upgrades to suites are best to avoid the most popular high end properties as their best rooms and suites are often almost fully occupied by guests paying cash. Opportunities are better at solid 4* hotels or at 5* hotels with less desirable locations, or which lose booking to preferred nearby competitors.

      • Muhammad Abdullah says:

        You’re probably right. They said something about maintenance. Even so, as a Muslim, I am used to being by-passed for upgrades etc vs a white guy in a suit, I just got used to it.

        Let’s hope the lounge food & breakfast is decent.

        • BJ says:

          It’s an imperfect world and people get discriminated against for all sorts of reasons frequently. So much so that the feeling of discrimination becomes ingrained and manifests itself even where discrimination does not exist. Been there so many times so I do know how you feel. In this particular case you reported that you got the upgrade you were entitled to. Not sure what the basis of discrimination was, all that happened was that you didn’t get what you hoped for at check in. I doubt you were alone, I’m sure others were also disappointed too, irrespective of race or religion.

        • Lady London says:

          I an sure in the case of Conrad SJ they are treating everyone the same way just because of what BJ says. At that level of brand in that location they can.

        • Rob says:

          You are aware that – in normal years – 50% of guests in five star hotels in London in July and August are Muslim? The Dorchester, InterCon and the other Park Lane 5-stars are probably nearer 75%.

      • Harry T says:

        @BJ good points. Most of my best upgrades occurred during 2020 at high end hotels, when occupancy was much lower. Having said that, the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh continues to treat me well – castle suite last time 😊

        • BJ says:

          I have superb record scoring upgrades at Hilton but almost nonexistent at Marriott. I think my strategy works to an extent but at the end of the day if we want a specific room type best way of securing it is simply to pay for it. At Sheraton and Trumps sandcastle you are probably also getting the benefit from being a returning guest. Reception manager at one UK Hilton told me returning guests are the most highly-valued and best rewarded.

          • Harry T says:

            Agreed, BJ. Ultimately the recurrent
            customer is the best customer.

  • Jan M says:

    Arriving at LHR T5 this Sunday at 19:10. The chances of me making the last T5 departures PCR Covid timeslot at 19:50 are slim to none are they? Anyone knows what happens if you arrive late? I’m flying BA business class but with luggage

    • Blenz101 says:

      I’m what respect? If you arrive late and they are closed you won’t be able to take the test.

      If you need a PCR test to fly to your destination I don’t think they do same day so you would have needed to take it at least the day before anyway.

      If this is actually an arrival test then you still won’t be able to take the test but nobody will check anyway.

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