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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 21st 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 (240)

  • Mr. AC says:

    £50 off £300 at the Google Store appeared on my BAPP and Gold cards, and supps as well – so 4 separate offers, all same spend and discount. Coincides with a rather large discount for the Pixel 4a (which is what I wanted anyway) on the Google Store itself – 279 instead of 349. Time to stock up…

    • BJ says:

      Hadn’t you noticed that the masses here are poor misguided apple fanboys… 🙂

      • Andrew says:

        Indeed – most of us prefer to shop for quality rather than price.

        • Rui N. says:

          Except when it’s about cellphones it seems.

        • MD says:

          @Andrew If you think buying Apple means you are getting quality over price then you truly know nothing about technology.

          • AndyF says:

            For me when referring to quality it is aesthetic and the quality of the materials. Most mobile phones are cheap plastic and horrid to the touch. Apple however are expensive but you can not doubt their manufacturing capabilities and the quality of materials used… far superior to any competitors. I believe that was what andrew was inferring too.

          • Yorkieflyer says:

            It’s the user experience

        • andyT says:

          @ Andrew – so why do most of you travel on BA?

    • N says:

      The 4a is excellent!

  • KBuffett says:

    Has anyone traveled to Dubai recently? Or planning to go in the next couple of weeks? Is everything fairly smooth with regards to Covid testing etc?

    Also, are Emirates good for cancellations and flight rescheduling if required?

    I’m thinking of going soon.

    • KP says:

      Im travelling tonight so I shall let you know

      • KBuffett says:

        Thanks. Are you travelling business/first? Please let me know how it all goes.
        It seems getting a PCR test for the return leg is very easy in Dubai, they will even come to your hotel and do it. This type of convenience appeals to me.

        • KP says:

          Travelling on BA, economy on outbound and club world on the way back. Have taken pcr test from collinson at o2 arena. Also bought travel insurancr coverage for covid as apparently for dubai they are checking it (ive been told). On the return im going to do a chronomics rapid test £22 each though in Dubai pcr is c. £30 each.

          • KP says:

            Ps: yes agree that in-hotel pcr testing is convenient l. I wouldnt want to spend my precious holiday time running around dubai looking for clinics to do covid testing

    • Amo says:

      I’m going in a few weeks for a short trip. I’m flying out Thursday night (landing Friday) and return flight is on Monday. Am I right in thinking I will need to take a PCR before Thursday and then again before Monday?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes

      • John says:

        Don’t need a pcr to board a flight to the UK

        • Matthew says:

          That’s what I thought. PCR within 72hrs of departure to Dubai then LFT within 3 days before returning to UK. Then day 2 PCR of fully vaccinated when home?

    • Blair says:

      Reposting my journey details from earlier in August, first appeared 02 Aug: Did MAN to DXB this weekend for anyone interested in latest process. PCR test within 72hrs; did Collinson at the airport and result came back within 18hrs. Vaccination status appears to count for nought.

      MAN check in moved pretty slowly; many passengers connecting in DXB with forms to be checked for whole family group. Check in staff appeared to be doing a lot of phone calls to clarify who could travel through to final destinationx

      Emirates check in staff gave a voucher for entry to the T1 Escape Lounge in lieu of the Emirates lounge. They said the lounge will re-open once they move up to twice-daily frequency, but have no plans to do so at present. They confirmed double-daily 777 service rather than any return of the A380.

      Escape lounge was perhaps half to a third full seat-wise, but many single occupants of tables meaning staff were assigning arriving guests to tables. Food is self service buffet.

      Emirates meal service back to normal bar plastic perforated covering on the bread rolls and a plastic dome over the mixed nuts. The no amenity kits on day flights rule does just seem stingy though, and counterproductive as the staff offer the items individually anyway.

      Arrival in DXB Terminal 3 was quieter than in the past 12 months with many carriers moving back to Terminal 1. Airport staff check for a negative test result, in a cursory manner. Then immigration desk only want to see passports. The free tourist SIM cards from Du are back, being handed out by the immigration officers.

      Overall it was pretty unremarkable. Even MAN security played ball; 5 trays in, 5 trays out, no secondary screening track of doom.

      To add: if flying first, Emirates will send a greeter and buggy to collect you from the aircraft door and see you to the first priority line for immigration (spoiler: there is no line)

      • Blair says:

        Also re flexibility, I changed my itinerary 3 times during my fortnight there via Emirates live chat. Swapping between UK and Dublin airports accrued no change fee; the agent suggested since they’re in the same geographic zone it made no difference.

      • KBuffett says:

        So no test is required prior to leaving DXB?
        Only a day two test in UK?

        • Rob says:

          Obviously you need a fit to fly test.

          Only Ireland is exempt.

          • chabuddy geezy says:

            I had issues with an emirates redemption when they cancelled one of my flights. They would not rebook me into F onto the same day as there was no reward availability. I really had to fight them.

  • krys_k says:

    Any recommendations for a midweek hotel in Birmingham please. I’m there for business for the next six months two / three nights per week. Parking and gym would be great. I’ll be working in West Bromwich but happy to drive to centre. Thanks.

    • Andrew says:

      Indigo is really nice – especially if you value a decent gym and spa.

      • OP says:

        The AC next door is a solid option too if you want to earn/redeem Bonvoy points. Water/canal view rooms are nice.

    • Tariq says:

      The new Aloft is on Groupon for £49/night. Hotel is new, service is pretty good, decent location not right in the centre.

      • Harrier25 says:

        The Holiday Inn in Great Barr, just off the M6 junc 7, is an acceptable 3 star hotel with all the gym and spa facilities while being approx 20 mins from West Bromwich town centre.

    • MrHandBaggageOnly says:

      Staybridge Suites worth a look. Gym (but no pool) and small kitchen/lounge area makes it feel less like a hotel. Also benefits from being very close to the Corporation Street tram stop, so you could get the tram to/from West Brom.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        Second that re the Staybridge Suites

        • Jimmy says:

          Third this – you cant beat the location, although there is massive roadworks outside at the moment so you may wish to ask for a room away from the road.
          Staff are good, food is decent too.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      In centre: Hyatt was very good (although not the cheapest in Brum; I’d go for it if someone else is paying though).
      Radisson Blu ….. wasn’t.

    • Aston100 says:

      I don’t think a central Birmingham hotel is going to be good for driving to/from West Brom.

    • MrHandBaggageOnly says:

      Also worth noting that central Birmingham is now a Clean Air Zone so, depending on your car, you could be paying £8 per day for the luxury of driving in. Most modern cars are exempt, but mine – a seven year old diesel, is not. The tram from West Brom central to Corporation St is only around 16 minutes.

      • krys_k says:

        Thanks for all replies. Will have a look through all the recommended hotels.
        Thanks for heads up on clean air zone too.

  • Munch says:

    If I apply for the Platinum card will the new referral offer of 24000 points / referral appear on my new card or is it for existing cards only?

    • BJ says:

      The new sign up bonus is open to all so perhaps the 24k referral bonus is open to all now too. Shouldn’t be long before somebody confirms.

      • Claire says:

        I’m interested in this too. Contemplating upgrading green amex and then doing a referal to husband this would sweeten things.

    • TomL says:

      I signed up 2 days ago with the new offer. I have the upgraded referral terms – 24,000 for each referral.

  • Jeff Greene says:

    Might have already been covered but Athe ban on non essential entrants from Canada to America has been extended until 21st September. Therefore there’s almost zero chance of America allowing non citizens from the U.K. in for another few weeks at least (I doubt anyone was realistically expecting this to change in the next month anyway)

  • pauline says:

    Has anyone stayed at the Amilla Fushi in the Maldives. Hoping to meet up with my son and girlfriend who are keen divers and their 2 bed pool villas look good. Any other suggestions for a luxury but relaxed resort with spacious 2 bed pool villas, a house reef (I like to snorkel but probably won’t dive) good food, with either AI or a good beverage package.

    • Mrs_Fussy says:

      It’s great ! We loved it and if it’s good for Beckhams, it would do 🙂

    • LST says:

      Have a look at Ayada or Outrigger Konotta, both involve a domestic transfer, but the journey is worth it. Remote atoll, so heavenly bliss. I would use a Maldives Specialist agency like Purely Maldives or Simply Maldives, they are well informed and can usually get you great deals.

  • Paul says:

    I was hoping to use Singapore KrisFlyer miles to redeem on Air Canada, but for the past fortnight that I’ve been looking there’s been no availability, not just on what I actually want to book but seemingly in any class, between any of the major Canadian city pairs, for the next 6 months, which is of course sounding rather suspicious. Multiple call centre reps have confirmed this and that “Air Canada aren’t releasing any partner redemption flights”. This seems very odd to me, since there’s plentiful AC availability showing via other Star Alliance partners – United has lots of options to redeem on AC for exactly what I want to book. Anyone know more than me about how the system works? Does AC release availability on a per-partner basis (and plausibly isn’t opening to SQ) or is it released alliance-wide? Any suggestions about how to convince SQ to find it to allow me to book?

    • Sam G says:

      Try complaining by email with the dates that you know are available on other sites. I once had an issue with pricing and pushed a couple of times by email and eventually someone very competent called me back and and got it booked. They could try “long selling” it but finding someone to do that will be hard !

      That said a usually reliable Turkish Airlines office recently told me they couldn’t see Air Canada for a routing but I thought perhaps it was because it was a bit of a detour so there might actually be an issue, I believe AC completed a move to a different platform recently

  • Joe says:

    Random query for the collective wisdom.

    Fully vaccinated.

    Travelling from a green list country to U.K. – say Sunday. Pre departure test taken and Day 0-2 PCR booked – no issues.

    Following Friday (5 days later) travel to Ireland. Entry with no test (but complete Ireland PLF). All fine.

    Following Monday – return Ireland to U.K. I had thought no need for U.K. PLF or testing as travel within Common Travel Area, but the Government website seems to suggest that being within a country not in CTA within last 10 days (ie our original green list country) means we have to complete PLF. Website also says passengers from Ireland don’t need to test.

    BUT… it’s not possible to fill in PLF (but not buy test package) with that set of circumstances. The form only allows you to declare travel in last 10 days and book test package.

    I’ve looked at the regulations themselves – they seem to suggest a requirement to complete PLF (Reg 3(3)) but not complete a test (Regs 4-10 do not relate to passengers arriving from CTA).

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/582/contents

    Anyone come across this before or know the answer??

    • Sam G says:

      I’d just play around with the PLF ref on the form until it accepted something that said NA in, NA1111111 etc. No one is going to check the form as there isn’t any ID check on return to the UK from Ireland and if somehow someone calls you then you can explain

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Put the reference from the first test in the second PLF

    • Blair says:

      In practice, no one will ask you for a PLF at check in in Ireland and you’ll be bussed or guided past border force on arrival in the UK as a CTA arrival. So your worries are moot practically speaking; granted the law requires it.

    • John says:

      If they wanted to, they could have an immigration officer stand at the airbridge for targeted checks, but I think this only happens if they think someone is evading hotel quarantine, and it probably requires the Irish immigration authorities to detect it when the person enters Ireland

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