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The HfP chat thread – Thursday 16th September

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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 (538)

  • Frankie says:

    Are BA still not selling drinks on board in economy short haul? If pre ordering is still required does anyone know how far in advance I need to order drinks from the pre ordering system?

  • FFoxSake says:

    Any Amex BAPP people ever tried these virtual tasting menu evenings?
    https://www.gastronomous.co.uk/a-flavour-of-my-city/

    Just had an email promoting them (£50 per 2 people).

    • Kevin C says:

      Yes, I did a Tokyo one last time round which was fun. See also https://www.gastronomous.co.uk/my-country/ These have come down in price from last time from £100 (I think) to £60. They come with a bottle of wine and a lot of food.

      • Anuj says:

        Is there anything stopping me ordering one with just the free BA card?

      • FFoxSake says:

        Thanks for the info Kevin C.
        It’s not fully clear to me the logistics of the event but do I assume that you (try) to recreate the food offerings in the hamper for yourself in real time while on a zoom-type call?

        • Kevin C says:

          Yes something like that. For the more ‘main meal ones’ you make most of the food and then watch the interview. For the snack ones, you prepare most of it in advance and then have a tasting as the chef talks about each dish.

          I have experienced the four different types of Amex gastronomous ‘makeaway’ boxes and my experience is that you can book any of them with any Amex card.

          • FFoxSake says:

            That’s great. Thanks for the additional explanation.
            It does sound like something worth trying and pretty good value too.

  • manilabay says:

    BA Amex Business Card – what consitutes “a business”? Would selling on eBay be enough to be eligible or do you have to be submitting accounts etc?

    • Reney says:

      would being a landlord count?

      • the_real_a says:

        Reney, Yes a landlord is fine. Amex even partner with the landlord buying clubs to offer incentives from time to time.

    • Benilyn says:

      They don’t check unless you get flagged for non-biz spend, then they ask for bank statements showing biz transactions.

    • Anuj says:

      Think Rob commented yesterday that being a sole trader on eBay is sufficient, but do you actually have to be registered as one with HMRC (is there such a thing as registering as a sole trader anyone?)

    • JDB says:

      They may ask for proof of Business Trading Address – Please provide ONE of the following:

      Bank, Credit card, Credit union or Building Society statement – online/internet printed statement must be stamped by your local branch
      Utility bill – Electricity, Gas, Water or Landline Telephone
      Cable, Satellite or Internet bill
      Formal property rental agreement
      Council Tax statement
      Annual Mortgage statement
      Bank loan correspondence
      HMRC issued correspondence/ documents, i.e. Tax bill, Income Tax bill, Local Rates bill, Municipality Rate bill or letter addressed and received by you from the tax authority

      • KBuffett says:

        It’s possible to be a sole trade and not have any of the above in a business name.

  • Triath5 says:

    With South East Asia looking substantially complex to get to, I’m thinking about a trip to the Caribbean ideally in November if possible. Maybe Punta Cana.

    Has anyone been to Punta Cana recently / heard any news on Covid restrictions / entry / etc. they’d be willing to share? Could it be a decent destination?

    • Anna says:

      Isn’t the Dominican Republic on the red list at the moment?

    • FatherOfFour says:

      I find the sherpa website really useful for determining what restrictions are in place at any time for visitors. The map view will give a really good guide as to whether that country is open / open with restricitions/ restricted etc. based on you vaccination status, place of departure and destination.

      The only thing it is missing is the ability to highlight that you have children of a certain age, for which testing/restrictions may be different to those of an adult.

    • Niall says:

      I am in Punta Cana now. It is red list but I was spending time in Spain either side. Couldn’t have been easier coming here. Fill in a short immigration form online for a QR code and then give proof of vaccination (NHS cert fine) to board the flight. Stamped the passport on arrival and that was it.

      Covid rate in the country is incredibly low and vaccination rate reasonable, especially in Punta Cana. Hopefully will move from the red list soon.

      • Anna says:

        Realistically, though, how much testing is being done? And do you mean infection rates (which only reflect on the number of tests being carried out), or positivity rates, which are not the same thing?

        • Niall says:

          You are right of course. The testing rate is tiny compared say the U.K.

          I’m actually surprised it is so low because the government offers free tests to people on departure if required for their home country AND say they test 3-15% of people coming into the country. I would have thought those tests alone would be more than the stats on google show.

          But I am saying the cases are low based on relative rates for the country and not compared to others. Testing has been consistent and positive rates are way way lower than they have been. Deaths too are the lowest and while vaccination rate of approx 50% would impact, it still looks like a positive picture when the deaths are so low compared to peaks, even if you don’t quite trust the death stats.

  • Ron says:

    Has anyone renewed their passport recently and how long did it take? It says 5 weeks on the gov website, but previously we had it back within two weeks. We’ve booked FNC for Oct half term, then realise one of our kids passport expired last month! Thanks.

    • Craig says:

      Child renewal looking like 24 days.

      https://www.passportwaitingtime.co.uk

      • Ron says:

        Thank you. We go in 5 weeks tomorrow. We will do the renewal online tonight, then hopefully, it will be back in time! Fingers crossed!!

    • Aston100 says:

      Took three weeks because I forgot to include my middle name, so they thought I was attempting a name change.

      But now I’ve got a lovely blue (actually black) passport.
      Yay Brexit.
      We got are (made in a forinn country) passportz bak.

    • Louise says:

      Yes – took 4 weeks for me, got mine back two weeks ago

      • Harley says:

        About 5/6 weeks, had to really push them for an update as i fly on saturday but got it today thank goodness but yes leave extra time where possible

        • Ron says:

          Glad you got it in time! We just done it online, so fingers crossed. Was yours just a straight forward renewal?

  • Craig says:

    Moved to Outfox the Market, Amex top-ups are permitted and managed to lower the Direct Debit to £50, didn’t want to take the mickey. Solar panels went in a few days ago and my old analogue meter is now going backwards!! I’ve asked them for a smart meter and they’ve put me on the list, Ive also told them I’ve had the system fitted. As far as I’m concerned I’ve met my obligations? Does anyone have similar experiences and should I be worried apart from making sure the next meter reading is higher than the last?

    • Ryan says:

      When panels went in for us, the meter rolled backwards for a few days when usage was very low. Apparently this is normal as the system sorts itself out! Years on, the meter will occasionally roll slight back slowly at times of net generation. Nothing to worry about (if the meter does read lower, then just say its a bit higher than it is…)

      • Harley says:

        As Ryan mentions, sometimes if the meter is old it can happen too. If continues they should be able to send a engineer out free of charge to replace the meter with a newer one

    • lumma says:

      I wouldn’t use Outfox the Market even if it was free. They’re a nightmare to leave when things go bad too.

      • Craig says:

        Too late, they were the cheapest when I switched and everyone else is much more expensive now. Found them OK so far?

      • Brighton Belle says:

        Opposite experience here. Leaving went smoothly. Then we came back from another switch and just got their smart meter installed. They took several Amex payments to hit a spend target and returned a large slice of my credit balance back to my bank account and reset my direct debit back to full fat and Santander’s 123 now gives a few quid off.

        We were just lucky I expect. It can go horribly wrong.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    10% long Covid stat was always nonsense

    The ONS estimates that 5% of people who have been infected with coronavirus are still experiencing symptoms* three months later, compared with 3.4% of people in their study who had not tested positive for coronavirus.

    This suggests that roughly 1.6% of people infected with coronavirus are still experiencing symptoms due to coronavirus three months later, since the rate in those infected was 1.6 percentage points higher than that in people who weren’t infected.

    Not all people experiencing these symptoms had them all the time – about 3% of people who had tested positive reported long-term Covid symptoms throughout the three months (vs 0.5% of people who hadn’t tested positive).

    This is substantially lower than estimates based on self-diagnosis of long Covid.

    • Harry T says:

      Self diagnosis 😂

    • the_real_a says:

      The problem will be that when contracting Covid many people will also be on the onset of other health issues. As happened to a family member its impossible to determine if the symptoms were down to covid or the other ailment. To give context, when my family member was in hospital for investigations for the original health ailment – 23 people caught covid in that week across the ward (all in for non-covid investigations) who did not enter the hospital with covid.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The other side of the in hospital with Covid stats.

      • Lady London says:

        I’m immediately thinking that’s a hospital that’s not kept clean enough / filthy staff.

        Does anyone else agree someone with another condition should not be put in conditions that means they acquire a Covid infection in hospital?

        • Rhys says:

          UK hospitals are all filthy. When my mum came from Germany in 1989 she said the UK hospitals were disgusting compared to the ones she trained in in Southern Germany…

          As a general rule, hospital really is the last place you want to be with any condition.

          • KBuffett says:

            100% Agree.

          • JDB says:

            I think that is a terrible generalisation. We are more or less equidistant between two major hospitals in two different trusts. One is out of town in a mixed oldish and modern part and generally very clean, notably in the more modern parts, is well organised and highly respected locally. The other is in a very old city site, mostly ancient buildings and filthy. It is also fairly chaotic. It is a question of good management and discipline.

          • Magic Mike says:

            General rule: stay out of hospital, they’re full of sick people…

        • Jonathan says:

          Impossible to stop airborne transmission unless you isolate everyone which is clearly never going to happen.

          You get tested for Covid on hospital admission (or 24-48 hours pre admission for elective surgery) & we never put Covid +’ve or suspected alongside Covid -‘ve patients. If your in hospital you are by definition vulnerable & will have a suppressed immune system so makes you a sitting duck to contract from brief/minimal contact with an asymptomatic staff member or fellow patient who was in incubation phase when admission tested.

          I guarantee hospitals are cleaned much more frequently than anyone’s home environment but obviously when you concentrate that many ill people plus staff & visitors in confined spaces there will be bugs galore floating around.

          In general though I agree you don’t want to be in hospital unless you need oxygen, IV medications or invasive investigations/treatment.

          • Tracey says:

            Elderly family member was taken into hospital by ambulance, put on a geriatric ward. They tested for covid the next day, got a positive result 2 days later and moved him to a single room. By which time he had been infecting others on the ward for 3 days!

          • Lady London says:

            Those comments agreeing make me very sad.

  • MinR says:

    BPme Rewards to Avios is 40 to 25

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