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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 7th August

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

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Comments (214)

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

  • Barraclough says:

    This may be non news to some but I was pleasantly surprised this morning when renewing my car tax online through the gov.uk website to find they accept Amex without an additional fee.

    • Bob says:

      Oh! must be new, wasn’t possible couple months ago and local post office refused too

    • Alan says:

      Even nicer when you have to pay £0.00 😉 (EV)

  • Donna says:

    Can anyone advise on how HSBC premier checks the income requirements? I do earn over 75k on paper, but I use salary sacrifice to pay the maximum amount in my employer’s scheme at 40k per annum. This reduces my overall take home pay quite a lot.

    • Ls says:

      Officially you do not earn £75k then. You are not paid it in the first place.
      However there is some discretion by the premier manager so I would explain the situation and see what they say. Apply over the phone with them.

      • Paul says:

        That’s incorrect

        • Genghis says:

          Really? If you’re making pension contributions through salary sacrifice – and OP should to get the Ee NI saving at 2% / 12% and any Er NI saved that employer may contribute – you forgo your salary for such contributions. So really, you do not earn the salary. Now whether HSBC accepts this is a different matter.

      • LessCleverAndrew says:

        If you are paying 40k AND your employer is making a contribution then you are exceeding the annual 40k limit which could get you fined + a nasty tax bill. Speak to a tax adviser as you can use your allowance from the last 3 years.

    • Harry T says:

      They didn’t check my income, as far as I know. But I do meet the income requirements, which you don’t, from an objective viewpoint.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Get a letter from HR that shows your gross income before pension but including other monetary benefits.

      • Donna says:

        My basic income does show on the payslip as well over 75k. My main interest is in the HSBC credit card, once travel resumes. No that fussed over premier banking benefits, definitely not worth forgoing all the pension savings!. Thank you all for your thoughts.

        • SteveJ says:

          Don’t forget the travel insurance benefit too, for when travel resumes

        • Doug M says:

          Exactly. Why wouldn’t they accept someone prudent enough to utilise pension benefit.

          • kitten says:

            +1
            so long as you can show payslip and/or salary rise memo (for example) or contract ( for example) I cant see why they would turn you down if the choice to pay part of your salary in a particular way is proven

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          Once you get premier, getting the card doesn’t involve many checks. You can also apply for the card at the same time as premier. Saves the hassle.

    • Alex says:

      Doesn’t exactly answer your question but HSBC used my gross salary before salary sacrifice for my mortgage.

      • Sloth says:

        Precisely. Your salary is what your contract or yearly comp profile states. How you choice to receive it is neither here nor there.

        • Paul says:

          Exactly. It annoys me when people offer advice or opinions when they obviously haven’t got a clue what they are talking about.

          • Mike says:

            Paul – you would be v annoyed by me ! I spend me entire life doing that – but you would also be amazed by the number of people that seem to think I know what I am talking about ( which I most certainly don’t)

  • Aliks says:

    Regarding the Hilton status match – what does it take to match to Diamond?

    I have IHG Spire Elite, but they turned me down on the basis that I have Hilton Gold currently.

    • Jonathan says:

      They don’t do status matches if you already have HH status of a lower level. Need to empty & close account then open a new one with slightly different details & hope they don’t twig.

    • Iain says:

      They won’t match Spire to Diamond, just to gold

  • meta says:

    You could ask them for a challenge rather than a match. I did a challenge 3 years ago.

  • HH says:

    Re-asking as I had no replies yesterday:
    BA GUF2 voucher expiring in a few months – is there a way of artificially extending it like the 2-4-1s?

  • AnotherUser says:

    Booking a 5* hotel, which is significantly cheaper through hotels.com than direct. Would you email the hotel to see if they’ll match/beat this, or would that be frowned on? I’ve done this with budget places before, but never had call to try doing it at this end of the market!

    • Rob says:

      What’s the point? Even if they match you are losing 10% back via Hotels.com Rewards.

      • AnotherUser says:

        I was hoping they might beat it, or offer an upgraded room for a similar price 🙂 Presumably if I book through hotels.com they’ll be paying fees to them as well…

        • SteveJ says:

          If it’s 5* why not try Emyr? You’ll probably get the same hotels price, plus some extras

    • Luke says:

      I’ve done this at a hotel I’ve been to a few times – when I contacted them and they matched the price, ironically I received one of the smaller rooms. From then on, I just go with hotels.com or alternative and collect days/points etc.

    • JDB says:

      Does the hotel have a price guarantee? If so, you should book the hotels.com and then get the hotel to match it less whatever their % in the guarantee, sometimes 20%. There is a lot of this going on at the moment as hotels aren’t so busy, trying discretely to discount, often using different room category names that you can easily spot. The hotels are so keen not to pay commissions, that if you approach them directly, you can ask for a lot of extras as well, like included dinner, drinks, free laundry, airport transfers etc. Very well regularly tried and tested route for us, even if you can’t get a price match. For 1 or 2 nights the $ credit from Virtuoso etc can be good but, over a week/10 pales into insignificance against what 5* hotels will offer (and breakfast is systematically offered without question) directly to avoid comm, particularly if you are returning guest.

      • AnotherUser says:

        Thanks – all good suggestions! The hotel doesn’t offer a price guarantee, but I’ll try Emyr.

  • Pete M says:

    So a colleague was flying back from Santiago de Compostela last week, took Prenetics tests with her. At check-in FR decided that the Prenetics test certificates don’t meet the UK’s government requirements and refused to let her onboard. She was able to book herself onto VY the same day and get local tests done, but it was a bit of a nightmare obviously. She was only about £120pp out of pocket, so probably not worth pursuing, but just another example of how FR makes rules up on the hoof and there’s really no recourse, bar taking them to MCOL (and not entirely sure if they even pay up going through there?)…

    • meta says:

      Denied boarding without reason, so full EU compensation as well (250/400/600 euros). Despite EU compensation being suspended, it is only for covid-related cancellations and delays. This is clearly not. I’d definitely take them to MCOL.

      • Pete M says:

        Hmmm, good point! Does anyone have experience with taking FR to MCOL? I suspect they’d hide behind the Irish company and it may be difficult to actually get anything out of them, even if you win?

      • Tony1 says:

        Nothing to loose ( well a small fee to the Court )

        There is a FT thread that has given the UK address of FR to send it to.

        Dont forget to add costs and interest.

    • Rob says:

      Who says that the Prenetics test met the requirements? It’s not ‘overseen’ by a medical practitioner unlike Qured which is the requirement.

      Arguable Prenetics was pushing their luck with their definition of ‘overseen’ (which, frankly, doesn’t match any dictionary definition of ‘overseen’).

      • Pete M says:

        That’s a bit misleading, Rob – every Border Force officer I have shown the Prenetics test has been happy with them. Every BA member of staff has been happy with them and clearly thousands of people are using them to come back from various places around the world. It’s not for FR’s ground handler in Santiago to decide what’s acceptable. And, frankly, she’d have had exactly the same problem with Qured, as one of the issues, apparently, was a lack of stamp (which Qured also doesn’t do)…

        • Blenz101 says:

          Well it is kinda up to the ground handler as the government have outsourced the job of checking the test result paperwork to the airlines.

          The check in agent must see hundreds of test results a day and I am assuming FR didn’t fly back empty so other tests results were in a format which was acceptable.

          FR would presumably just defend any claim by saying the pax was unable to present test results in the prescribed format at the time of check in and was therefore refused.

          I think any claim would be extremely difficult.

      • meta says:

        For one thing, Project Screen are on the government approved list of testing providers…

        • meta says:

          @Pete M Ryanair have a UK registered company as well, so MCOL would be simple enough. I’d take them given that Project Screen (Prenetics) are on the government list. In any case, they denied boarding on a made up arbitrary rule. They should really publish then a list of tests they accept pre-check in. They don’t because the government already specifies, so yeah, I’d do a UK261 claim for denied boarding.

        • Rob says:

          Read the line at the top of their website: ‘ UK Government listed. Arrivals testing on Day 2 / 8’

          No mention of Fit To Fly.

    • Reney says:

      Sorry what does FR stand for here?

  • Oliver says:

    A few weeks back we were discussing BA cancelling flights to Bucharest for August.

    Well following the green list announcement, they have reinstated flights on Fridays and Sundays starting 20/08.

    Makes things easy for me, because I’m happy to start my trip a day later than get into a dispute over re-routing!

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