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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 19th 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 (452)

  • DI says:

    I have a BAPP card, therefore I am not eligible for platinum Amex welcome bonus.

    Anyone ever tried phoning Amex to ask if they are willing to give some kind of welcome bonus in this situation for trying platinum?

    • DI says:

      To clarify: I have both BAPP and free rewards card.

      • JDB says:

        It’s the free rewards card that is blocking you from getting the Platinum welcome bonus. In respect of negotiating round that, as my old boss used to say, there are two types of hope, Bob Hope and no hope.

        • AJA says:

          I like your old boss. A slightly more up to date reference possibly is to quote Bebe Glazer in Frasier: “Darling there’s always a chance!”

  • Joints&Piles says:

    Any experiences with Prenetics pre-departure (return to UK) testing?
    It seems there is an app you have to use to submit the test but the app won’t let me log in with the same credentials that work on the web.
    With it being an unsupervised test (which isn’t made clear when you buy it), are there any reports of it being rejected by airline staff?

    • James says:

      Used it coming back from Portugal, no issues, very quick service. Currently boarding and using again

      • Joints&Piles says:

        Did you use a mobile app? The FAQ says you use a mobile app and “you will need.a smartphone” to perform the test, but a (hard to follow) customer service reply told me “our mobile app is only for corporate testing programs”

        • ankomonkey says:

          I have used Prenetics to enter Portugal and return to the UK. You can administer the test and submit the photo on the website. The only thing I used my phone for was to take the picture and uploaded to my laptop where I was on their website.

  • ChrisC says:


    I just hit ‘send’ on application foa a BA Hols FTV when a text came through reminding me I have until 23.59 tonight to pay the balance!

    • ChrisC says:

      And another text.

      Hope they aren’t going to be coming every half hour!

      • Reeferman says:

        I had exactly the same an hour or so ago – 2 texts one after the other.
        My booking was cancelled for a FTV at 8.05 this morning. HOWEVER, the agent (on the phone) did say the booking may stay live in my account for a few days until the backroom team deal with it – so expect it’s a timing issue and the correct chronological sequence of events will prevail without the need for a tedious amount of follow-up with BA!

  • Nick Booker says:

    Need to purchase a piece of Jewellery from Blue Nile. What is the best way with lowest charges to get some benefit from the purchase such as Amex/Avios points or will there be a foreign transaction charge?

  • Mark says:

    Just got my NHS covid pass! BUT, it doesn’t have my middle name. Will that be a problem? If yes, how can I rectify that

    • Joints&Piles says:

      It will never be a problem. Unless someone wanted to make it a problem in which case they’re the problem.

      • Mark says:

        Thanks. Just got a picture I’m my head of a grumpy border agent making my holiday a nightmare

    • ChrisC says:


      Is your middle name even in your GP records?

      Mine is but it’s not on the covid pass, nor on the printed version they sent me or on the invite letter to have the jabs.

    • Blair says:

      I had no problems travelling with my covid pass without my middle name (which is on passport)

    • John says:

      It may be a problem in Asia

      • Thom says:

        Yea, but then you’ve also got the problem that the COVID pass list first then last name so obviously won’t match your booking … (whilst this sounds ridiculous I’ve had this problem with a check in agent claiming my name didn’t match my BA status card for exactly this reason)!

  • Blair says:

    Expert Medicals first timer here. They said I’d receive an invoice and a unique ref number. I’ve received just 1 email, not 2. However invoice email includes an invoice number EXMEDxxxxxxx. Is this the one I need for the England PLF? Or do I need to wait for a 2nd email?

  • Roberto says:

    Does anyone have experience of using their Amex for charitable payments?

    I made a charitable donation recently for a low four figure sum and was pleasantly surprised to see that they accepted AMEX.

    A list of charities or charitable websites which use PayPal or Amex directly would be a useful resource.

  • tom1 says:

    Any hotel recommendations? First week September so most of the Amex offers expired by then I think.

    At the moment Rhys’ report on the Moxy looks favourite, cash at £70 a night seems a steal.

    Also restaurant and things to do suggestions welcome thanks!

    • Pete M says:

      We enjoyed the IC.

    • Phil W says:

      IC Lisbon is nice but a little out of the centre. Personally we prefer IC Estoril and a train in.

    • Blair says:

      How fit are you? It’s very steep in places. The IC is nice and you could nearly roll yourself down from there to the waterfront. But you’ll feel the burn returning uphill. Tivoli Avenida Liberdade is on Amex FHR and is top notch. Between there and the waterfront are a clutch of good hotels – Pousada de Lisboa, Avenida Palace, Altis Avenida, Sofitel. If you wanted a cheaper option (moderated word removed), opposite the Tivoli on Avenida Liberdade is NH Collection Lisbon Liberdade. It’s got a rooftop pool and bar area. If you have time you should get the train from Cais do Sodre Station to Estoril and Cascais. Journey to the end of the line at Cascais only takes 40 mins and drops you steps from the beach. You can then pop into the Time Out food market on your return back to Cais do Sodre; the market is opposite the station. Beware of pickpockets/scammers at the station.

      • tom1 says:

        Thanks – Tivoli looks smart, and will check the Sofitel, but I think the Moxy value with rooftop pool is going to be hard to beat!
        Will definitely visit Estoril/Cascai, appreciate the tips.

    • Allthepieces says:

      Memmo Principe Real, part of Marriott, was great for us back in June, stayed 3 nights.

      • DZOO says:


      • Matthew says:

        +1 for Memmo from me as well. I just got back from there a few weeks ago and nothing to fault it. The on-request egg items and breakfast overall were notably good as well. If you’re specifically looking for a pool, there is only a mini plunge sized pool on the restaurant terrace, although it is heated. I also stayed at Penha Longa for one night and found it to be one my favourite stays ever. Service and staffing seemed to have improved significantly from when Rhys visited. I did stay in one of the newer refurbed and bigger Cascais/Sintra suites which is not the typical room most people would be staying in. The pool area and hotel surroundings were incredible and very serene if you’re looking for a bit of relaxation out of the city centre.

    • Matthew says:

      As for things to do, I did a guided group sailboat tour which I found to be a good way to see many of the Lisbon sights without all the hills and walking. I would highly recommend booking one – I went with Get Your Guide. Was around 30 euro per person for 2 hours on the water (with beer, wine, and soft drink included) which I thought was a pretty good price.

    • BP says:

      Also on Lisbon 1st week in September. Picked up The One Palácio da Anunciada on an Agoda special for £120 including breakfast, room upgrade and welcome cocktail.

      Stayed at the Iberostar last year and it was nice but down the street from the IC so not the best location.

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