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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 12th 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.

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Comments (618)

  • BP says:

    Just had my Curve card renewed. Daily limit stayed at £9k with £1.6m annual. A different experience to most people I think.

  • Definitas says:

    I should start by saying that we have no connection to BA, nor do we have any status (other than being a basic Blue BAEC member). We booked reward flights last year to fly transatlantic and, due to Covid, the flights were subsequently cancelled. Due to the cancellation, we were permitted to rebook new dates without restriction. Unfortunately, due to aircraft change, we would have been downgraded on the replacement flights. To avoid that and despite the rules, BA allowed us to change the dates again. Subsequently, once again due to aircraft change, we were also due to be downgraded on the new dates and, yet again, BA allowed us to move the dates and extended the ticket validity to accommodate the return flight without any charges or fees. I read quite a lot of negative comments about BA on this and other sites but, with regard to this booking, BA have gone out of their way to make this happen and shown excellent understanding and flexibility. Three cheers for BA.

    • meta says:

      Yet, they didn’t advise of all your options. Namely, that you were due 75% refund of the original ticket cost for being downgraded, the fact that you have the right to be re-routed on any other airline, etc. It might have not suited you, but regardless don’t go on thinking they’ve done it out of goodness of their hearts.

      • ChrisC says:

        Definitas would only get the 75% reimbursement if they actually flew the downgraded leg. Sometimes that fact gets forgotton about.

        Sounds like they didn’t want to do that and are happier with changing the dates of the flights.

        • meta says:

          Sure, I just illustrated what they failed to mention. How can anyone make an informed decision without having all facts presented?

      • Lady London says:

        That will teach you to be nice about BA Definitas! 🙂

    • Harry T says:

      I have also benefitted from a lot of flexibility and assistance from BA throughout the pandemic. The customer service on the chat function is awful, but the staff manning the call centre have been terrific. BA Holidays in particular have done a lot to help me move my repeatedly cancelled CPT holiday, whilst being unfailingly good natured and understanding. One of the things I appreciate about BA staff is that you can have a laugh with them.

      • ChrisC says:

        I’ve found the chat to be OK for general questions but it’s not suited for anything where needing your credit card details is required. They really need some sort of secure mesage function you can only access when logged in for that sort of functionality.

        And yes despite some longish waits on the phone the staff have always been helpful and cheerful.

        Saying that I may need to go into battle with BA Holidays over something their Bremen office have done (or haven’t) …

      • meta says:

        BA Holidays are a different entity as they are governed by different laws. YouFirst can be great and yes you can have a laugh, but it’s all part of the spiel. I have benefited early on, but as the pandemic progressed, so has the staff become worse. That’s natural, but good airlines strive to be consistent across the board regardless of wordwide problems. BA is certainly not one of them!

  • Oafcmetty says:

    Best IHG properties with outdoor pools for kids in Europe (or close by)?

    • Harry T says:

      Can’t think of any off the top of my head. The Amstel has an agreeable indoor pool on the canal level, which is as close as you can get to being outside whilst in an indoor pool!

    • Blair says:

      There’s some generic HIs in south of France with pools. HI St Laurent du Var is relatively large but I think it’s the place where someone recently complained about the beach being closed. IC Estoril has a very nice pool area but its ambience does not scream kid-friendly to me.

      • meta says:

        Six Senses Douro Valley, IC Athens, IC Cascais, IC Istanbul… Crowne Plaza in Cyprus I believe too.

  • Freddy says:

    Any fortune tellers wanna predict the likelihood of going to USA August next year?

    • Harry T says:

      I fancy your chances. I’ve just rebooked to the east coast for May 2022, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking those flights.

      • David says:

        Hmm, you were more than pretty sure you’d be going to the US in May this year too, if I remember correctly! 😉

        • Dave1985 says:

          Japan for the Olympics too?

          I’m planning on going to America in May too. No point trying to predict too much! Just make sure everything is refundable!

        • Harry T says:

          Was meant to be going this weekend, David! I’m very surprised that the US hasn’t opened up. I am willing to admit I was wrong there. God help us all if the US borders are still largely closed by next May though!

      • Michael C says:

        Will just miss you in BOS, Harry – we swapped to April! Fingers crossed all round.

    • Blair says:

      I’m redeeming M&M for USA West Coast but starting from DUB as I suspect the EU’s chances of securing/maintaining entry are higher. The UK will continue to be the wellspring of home-grown variants whilst it sequences (some) tests; and the EU keeps its mouth shut.

      • ChrisC says:

        Except the UK & RoI are linked by a shared border as per the Presidential Proclamation.

        • Blair says:

          May have to start in AMS so. M&M go up in smoke if unused or returned to me. High stakes!

  • Peter K says:

    Anyone else finding that they click “load to card” on the nectar 20k competition on the nectar app (mentioned page 1 of comments) but it doesn’t actually ‘save’ to their card? Instead it goes to the nectar website. Then on the nectar app the option to save to card is still there.

    • Chas says:

      I had similar hassles, but also it told me that my account was no longer connected to my Avios account, and I had to reconnect them before I could transfer.

    • AJA says:

      I found similar with the £500 BA Holidays voucher competition as well as the 20,000 NP competition. I clicked save for later for both competitions. That moved them to my saved offers tab. Then clicked on the BA Holidays competition from there and it took me to the Nectar transfer to Avios page but first asked me to log in and sent a verification code by text. This gained me access to the usual transfer NP to Avios page. I did a transfer of 400NP for 250 Avios, got another text verification code and it all went through. Got an email confirming 400NP exchanged for 250 Avios and Nectar app updated. I’m not sure if transferring the 400 NP gets me automatic entry to both competitions or if I have to do each separately. Nit sure how they know which competition you’ve entered.

  • Triath5 says:

    Question for the hive mind…who here has bought property in Spain being a British UK resident?

    I know there are multiple websites with info, some with conflicting views and differing agendas, but looking for some real life experience. Specifically with things like:

    * Getting a Mortgage from a Spanish vs UK bank
    * Whether the diff in interest rates for non-residents vs. residents torpedoes an opportunity (and how to get around it)
    * Any typical pitfalls, things to look out for / not to assume / take for granted.

    Looking to embark on this journey sooner rather than later, hopefully before a full blown recovery post-Covid.

    Thanks!

    T

    • Genghis says:

      IIRC there is no spousal transfer of assets on death. All becomes liable to IHT. Can be gotten around with a mortgage on local property. Take some proper advice.

      • JDB says:

        +1 we went through this in France. You need proper advice and carefully consider all the options re the local AND UK tax situation for CGT on any future sale and inheritance tax purposes. Also, who will be the owner(s). So many people we know ploughed on without planning carefully and it has proved very costly. If you are doing works keep all the receipts forever!

    • ChrisC says:

      Get a proper Spanish Property Lawyer!

      No guarentee the advice you’d get on here would be any less contradictory than on other sites.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Not really a direct response to your questions, but 80% is the maximum LTV here before interest rates shoot up and choice drops. Also you need to pay stamp duty, it’s different by region and maxxes at 10%

    • ChrisBCN says:

      You could also go to a broker to see what they would offer; for example plug your details into credimarket and wait for them to call so you can explain you are non-resident, they’ll have staff who speak English if you need it.

    • Sam G says:

      from my brief conversations with a couple of specialist expat brokers 70% max LTV on a non-resident Spanish mortgage seems to be the norm. Rates are a bit opaque so it’s worth shopping around a bit and seeing whats on offer. If you’ve any equity in UK property it can make sense to remortgage those to release some cash.

      We’ve decided to look at Portugal instead, our retirement is a way off but their NHR tax regime is attractive and remote working visas seem to be easier – get a lot more for your money in Spain property wise though!

    • JDB says:

      One additional thing I haven’t seen mentioned, although you asked re Spanish vs UK mortgage is the currency of the mortgage/repayments which can have a big impact over a long time period and it’s very difficult/impossible to predict exchange rates over that period or euro interest rates vs GBP ones over the period.

    • Tony1 says:

      Not everyone who speaks your native tongue in a foreign clime is your friend.

      Builders who do the DFDS conversion course must have their own tools ( ie not yours )

      RENT do not buy for a few months. Pay money for a gestor or lawyer. Dont trust the bank ( well that’s universal ). Dont assume what the property agent tells you is true ( they earn from you and the seller and most sellers have the property on more than one agents website at a different price )

      We have a “holiday project” in Catalonia, and are duel residence. ( no stamps on our British Passport now – have had it since 2000 ). If you want to get in touch , and if Rob allows Spain @ raincliffe dot com

  • George K says:

    Did we ever confirm whether the new Amex Plat FHR booking that gives x5 MRs means that you forgo status/points ? Almost positive that this is the case, but wanted to see if anyone verified it…

    • Rob says:

      Never had any feedback.

    • Liam says:

      FWIW I’ve seen comments from people elsewhere confirming that as far as the US Platinum goes, status is still honoured and points are still earned when booked via Amex FHR. But I’m yet to confirm that personally (and no guarantee that the same would be true of UK Platinum bookings, I suppose).

      • George K says:

        Yes, that certainly is the case for plain-vanilla FHR bookings that you pay at checkout and give 1MR/£1, but the new option to pre-pay Amex directly at the time of booking and earn 5MR/£1 appears to still be untested.

  • Blindman says:

    Curve
    What’s the experience on time on a reply to increase the daily limit for spening?
    And would it be successful?
    Asked on the APP

    Recent experience has been abysmal.

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