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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 5th August

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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.

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 (283)

  • Andrew says:

    Just booked a (Oxford University) ContEd class for Spring 2022, not only will it be in-person teaching, but they are now take Amex.

  • Sina says:

    I booked a flight yesterday with Amex Travel (BA – LHRMAD) and wanted to cancel or get a voucher today, but was told by Amex that there are no cancellation or voucher options! it’s not even 24 hours yet! I thought the BA policy applies to all tickets regardless of who booked it!? Does anyone have any wisdom re getting BA to issue a voucher?

    • Jonathan says:

      BA won’t issue a voucher. Amex should give you the equivalent (ie. a credit note) but you will have to request from & use it through Amex. I believe Amex vouchers are locked to specific passenger unlike a BA evoucher

      • Sina says:

        Thanks, got off the call with Amex and they provided a credit of the same amount with the ticket number but only the destination can be changed and there is a £20 fee for any changes now.

  • Marie says:

    Assuming bank account holiday insurance is not valid – who can I get insurance with for a family trip to Azores this summer? What will it actually cover ? We have our EHIC cards. Thanks

    • ChrisC says:

      Check what the EHIC (now renamed GHIC) actually covers.

      It does not give you NHS cover but the same cover as a locsl resident would get which could include paying for things that are free over here.

    • JDB says:

      Check the wording of your bank insurance policy document. Some will be OK, but many are not.

  • Simon says:

    Question regarding the IHG Platinum credit card free night vouchers – I earned one voucher in the 2019 CY and got an additional one via the IHG IT glitch (?) before it would have expired in the 2020 CY. I booked two nights at the IC Bordeaux for this month, currently going at 85k points. I tried to change it to a different date in August (with award availability still at 85k) but on the phone they told me there is a 40k point cap on the vouchers.
    Is my memory playing tricks on me? I thought the vouchers were uncapped when I earned them but since the card is now closed to new customers and I have since cancelled it I can’t easily check. Either way, seems silly they wouldn’t let me move it between dates going for the same points rate (and the new dates are mid-week, so lower cash rate too). Do I have options beyond sticking with the original date or cancelling and sucking up a 40k point cap?
    On the phone they said that both vouchers are valid til end of the year, but the IT glitch one originally was expiring end of August, which doesn’t help the clarity of the situation.

    • Lyn says:

      The UK credit card free nights should not be capped. The US ones are,

      • Jonathan says:

        The bonus ones in lieu of an extension have slightly different T&C’s eg they are stay by not book by but I’m not sure they are restricted to 40k points. HUACA.

        • Pid says:

          Definitely not capped as used mine for higher than 40k. If I recall at the time when they were first issued customer services were giving out conflicting info. So just ring again to see if you get a different answer.

        • Genghis says:

          Indeed, the extension ones are “stay by” but there’s no cap.

        • Simon Eberz says:

          Hm, I tried canceling the stay to get the vouchers back and rebook but the stay by end of August voucher disappeared. Probably not a smart move on my part then?

  • Rui N. says:

    Non-travel related question: baby is starting nursery later this month. I intend to pay it via the tax free childcare government website. Can I pay the full amount via there? (i.e. load funds with “debit” card and make the payment there) Nursery is pressuring me to sign for direct debit to pay the “amount above the tax free childcare”, but I was under the impression I can make the full payment from there.

    • Simon says:

      My childcare vouchers turn up every month i am paid, in the computershare account. Never seen a way to load the account directly. They get sent from my employer, depending how much I agreed to. I then send a payment to the nursery. and pay the balance to them directly. Bear in mind you get the 15 / 30 hours free every week, before they charge you on top.

      • Zara says:

        Childcare vouchers are different to the tax free scheme. I was on the voucher scheme so have kept on it but on the tax free new scheme it may be different rules. I can’t see it being a problem paying the whole amount if it’s been debited from your employer but unfortunately I only use the vouchers abs use the voucher site for monthly payments.

      • FatherOfFour says:

        @Simon The employer scheme is different to the government scheme. I have been in both (but not at the same time!)

        @Rui, I think you can pay as much as you like into the government scheme, you just wont get a government top-up for it. So it would be simpler for you to load it all in there via your “debit” card, then make one transfer to the nursery.

        • Zara says:

          @fatheroffour do you have any travel wisdom travelling with 4 children? We now have 3 and it’s such a struggle. We don’t need multiple rooms a lot of the time as the children are under 4 so can’t be separated most of the time. 2 of them still come and sleep in the bed with us (well the baby is cosleeping!!)
          Finding properties that don’t break the bank but are nice and pleasant given the children requirements is a challenge. Any ideas?

          • Jonty says:

            I’m not fatheroffour but have 3. Our kids priorities were room service (pizza with In the Night Garden), a swimming pool, and places to hide. HI Maidstone/Sevenoaks (currently closed) has rooms for 5 and 6 available on points and very family friendly, Voco Reading likewise. DT Docklands doesn’t have a pool but has rooms for 5 at reasonable prices. While your youngest is cosleeping you can probably get away with rooms for 4 anyway. Staybridge suites 1 bedroom suites can also work well. All of these options come with the benefit of not needing family long haul travel. Disbenefit is they may not be what you’re looking for!

      • Zara says:

        15/30 only from 3 years for most so this may be for someone younger

    • Genghis says:

      Yes. I pay in monies via “debit” card, get the £500 HMRC top up / qtr max and have set up an effective “standing order” from this account to the nursery for the full amount every month. I check once every couple of months there’s sufficient money in there.

      Seems like @Simon is talking about the old childcare vouchers scheme, no longer available.

    • Simon says:

      Apols for my out of date ramblings….

    • Rui N. says:

      Thank you all. I figured as much from what I read previously, but wanted to double check 🙂 these are not indeed childcare vouchers, and for someone a bit younger than 3 still 🙂

      • Toby says:

        One weird quirk I’ve discovered is that if in one “quarter” you pay in more than your allowance (to get the government top up) they will pay you the top up In your next “quarter”.

        When I say “quarter”, it’s not a normal quarter. It’s the three months from when you applied or where accepted into the scheme.

        It’s a very messy system. But once you get it working for you it does work.

  • Hugo says:

    Anyone that has been to Lisbon am interested in the requirement to prove vaccination to visit hotels etc – do I just show my nhs vaccination certificate or do I need to do something else? Thanks in advance for any help

    • mr_jetlag says:

      Have just come back from Porto. In practice they check on Thu Fri and Saturdays for all venues (restaurants and hotels) but not other days; easiest is to bring a printout of f the NHS cert. Some get confused as it’s not EU issued, but most are good with it

      • Sandgrounder says:

        You can download the German Corona-warn app and add your vaccinations (each dose separately) it will show your QR code as ‘Vaccination Certificate: EU Digital COVID Certificate’. It will contain all of your vaccination details, it will give a positive message when you click the ‘verify’ button. It doesn’t work if they scan it in with a reader app though because the data is in a different format. It will be fine for anyone who wants to just do a visual check though. Hat-tip to whoever suggested this a few days ago!

        • Sandgrounder says:

          Ditto the ROI ‘Covid Tracker Ireland’ app, uploads fine.

          • WaynedP says:

            Likewise for the TousAntiCovid French app which I’ve downloaded and updated with my NHS vaccination status proof without problem.

  • Gtellez says:

    I have flown from BCN to EDI this morning with Vueling. Probably the emptiest flight in my life, only 13 passengers in total. In Edinburg, no other flights arriving at the same time, so it took less than 10 min to be out and I even checked my bag in. Border officer asked to see my PLF and CTM covid test booking, so beware booking it with different providers (someone was asking it yesterday). However he didn’t asked to see my proof of vaccination (good because I only had a photo of it).

  • Tom says:

    Does anyone know whether the 100k points limit on transferring between Marriott accounts is strictly enforced? I have 270k points and OH has 130k and we need all 400k points for the free 5th night. If it is strict is it per 365 days or calendar year?

    • Rob says:

      As you need to call to do the transfer anyway I would ring up and explain what you want. If you tell the agent they can do the booking for you there and then, once the transfer is done, they may be more willing to override (if they can).

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