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The HfP chat thread – Friday 17th September

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

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Comments (588)

  • Ant says:

    As our flight to South Africa has been cancelled we now find ourselves with some days off that we need to take in October or November.
    Any ideas for a week away not more than 3 hours away?
    So far the only thoughts are Porto/Douro valley – enough to do for a week in Oct?
    Spain – San Sebastián

    • BJ says:

      How about Iceland for something different. @Meta is/was going this month so hopefully some feedback soon.

      • meta says:

        Still here in Iceland. I am loving it. If you like to be wowed by the amazing geology, feeling like you’re on another planet, then that’s the place to go to. Absolutely stunning vistas.

        However, it’s not cheap and you feel like they are trying to rip you off at every corner. Hilton properties in Reykjavik are excellent and service great. Everywhere else, they are downright rude. The waiter at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon last night dropped the bottle of water on the table, barely looking at us. It has been like that since we left the capital. Also stock up on alcohol in duty free shop at the airport (somebody here said that before). Government controls all alcohol sales.

        So the best advice is ignore the people, enjoy the scenery and this is absolutely self-drive destination. You can’t see the best places just by being in Reykjavik.

        Iceland definitely for something different. I am not sure I’d go in October/November as the temperatures are too low for my liking though. September/early October is usually the best for autumn colours. And you can still see snow and ice on the peaks from afar!

        @Ant Regarding Porto/Douro Valley – October is a great time for Douro Valley. Other options are Crete or Croatia.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          How low is low Oct/Nov meta?

          • meta says:

            Up to 5 degrees max. Now it’s 10-12 and quite good weather actually. Tonight some aurora activity as well, so wish me luck! Off to drive, so will check in later.

        • Ant says:

          Thanks Meta, enjoy Iceland. Went there a few years back and we absolutely loved it for its unique scenery, drove all round the island.

        • Kevin C says:

          We are staying at that Fosshotel for a night in November. I hope your waiter has cheered up by then.

          • meta says:

            Don’t count on it. Basically, everyone from check-in to check-out is rude and surly. If I didn’t experience it elsewhere on the trip, I’d thought it was an isolated incident. It’s just the way it is.

        • maccymac says:

          Who did you use for your car hire?

        • Super Secret Stuff says:

          +1 for Iceland. Beautiful country but very expensive. I’d live there if I had a WFH job…

          • meta says:

            I could never do that. Driving around when there is 50cm of snow and all the beautiful scenery is covered in snow and skies constantly white. I’d go totally blind. Plus all the road closures…

        • Alikd says:

          I’m sure there are lots of good folk in Iceland, but you really have to count your change in bars. One place in Reykjavik, the young bartender didnt bat any eyelid when I complained he had short changed me. He just handed over the correct change and moved on.

          • meta says:

            No one uses cash anymore here. All done by card and no tips either. Explains why they might be so surly…

      • BJ says:

        Thanks @Meta. Some good feedback. When we go it’ll be on HH points Shelved for tge moment as my partner has decided to renew his passport at this time. Now thinking Cuba in December pending the detail of their reopening November, and what happens both in Thailand and with our BA cancelled flight. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    • Anna says:

      It depends how important weather is – you’re more likely to get a bit of sunshine in places like Malta and Madeira, both of which are a 3-ish hour flight away.

      • BJ says:

        The British obsession with and perception of ‘good weather’ and ‘the weather’ is a bit weird to say the least. They will head off to tropical shores to guarantee it then grumble if it rains for a week despite that being within the norms of the tropics. A great pity because tropical stops in themselves are amazing. Same with walking holidays, fair weather walkers will grumble if it is not dry with blue sky and sunshine all the way. Only, the real beauty of tge countryside and tge hiking challenge is revealed better under ever changing weather conditions and its effects on colour, light and shadows. Si, personally I’m never too thus about ‘the weather’ except a little disappointed if it doesn’t snow (in the hills in winter I mean) 🙂

        • Dave says:

          Bit of a generalisation BJ!

          • Spurs drive me mad says:

            BJ it’s one of our national pastimes discussing the weather you cannot trounce years of tradition lol I’d just be glad to get away anywhere, I worked out this week I’ve not been out socially for nearly 2years not one evening out, not even to the kebab shop let alone a nice restaurant.

          • BJ says:

            I guess you know a more interesting and exciting bunch of people than me then 🙂

          • BJ says:

            @Debs, A bit like 1066 you mean?

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          Agreed. Never understood the obsession with ‘sunlit’ uplands.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          I want it lush and green and interspersed with babbling brooks but goddamit if it rains just one day….

        • JDB says:

          It goes beyond the obsession with weather-rushing off to long haul places with ‘guaranteed’ sun but almost nothing else and being stuck in tourist restaurants for 2/3 weeks. There are so many places where one can combine the weather with incredible scenery, beaches, culture, activities, real local food/wine and meeting real people. Rain shouldn’t spoil a trip when there is plenty to do and you are in good company.

          • BJ says:

            OT @JDB, fortunately, it seems like our shared concerns on the amex BA upgrades etc were misplaced ( at least for the moment) .

          • Anna says:

            I’ve never found myself stuck in an a restaurant for 2/3 weeks, JDB, where have you been visiting?!

          • JDB says:

            Indeed BJ! Everything is apparently the same until it isn’t, or as Mike Tyson put it rather better:- “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

        • Anna says:

          Lol BJ, if you lived in the north you’d understand the obsession with getting away from the damp! It’s a genuine health issue – it’s well documented that drier and warmer climates improve a whole host of conditions. Hence TB patients used to go to the Swiss mountains in bygone times. If you observe the British ex-pat communities in places like Spain there are amazing numbers of people in their 80s and 90s who are unbelievably fit and sprightly.

        • Dave says:

          I do know lots of interesting people BJ, thats why am on a travel forum! I love travel whatever the weather. Late afternoon monsoon rains are a delight in India and South east Asia. Majority of my close friends are all into travel and feel the same. Cant control the weather so why worry about it
          Maybe there are people out there obsessed with “good weather” as you suggest but i don’t know them..

        • Lady London says:

          Spoken as someone who grew up in Scotland? or, perhaps, The Peak District?

          Some parts of the world just make you long for a soft rain or mist

      • Ant says:

        Thanks Anna. Malta is my home country & one of the benefits of last 18months is that i spent a lot of time working from there. Had forgotten how hot it can get in August!

    • Memesweeper says:

      Just back from Porto — highly recommended.

      Lanzarote is well worth a visit if you want good weather and some extraordinary scenery, and bizarre man made things like the cave theatre.

    • Harry T says:

      Doesn’t fulfil your flight criteria exactly, but Tenerife is very nice at that time of year, weather wise.

    • Michael C says:

      SanSeb / surroundings lovely but v possibly pouring down.
      Open-jaw Porto to Lisbon? Taking in Coimbra/Figueira da Foz/Nazaré/Óbidos?

  • The Original Nick says:

    Can someone advise on what options I have on now paying for the what was the free TFL buses around Heathrow? Can I just tap a credit card to pay?

  • Gareth says:

    Could anyone recommend a family friendly hotel/resort hotel in Europe for May half term? Travelling with a 1 year old and prefer the idea of a suite for better sleep. Currently looking at Domes of Elounda but looks a little hilly with no town nearby to walk to. Have plenty of IHG and Hilton points too but impossible to book room type required as standard booking. Thanks in advance

    • Peter K says:

      I know you said about a standard booking, but if you take the hit then you can book a suite (or indeed any room type) on Hilton points.

      • Rob says:

        Domes is walkable (15 mins) to the VERY little town up the road. It is a very hilly resort though and I wouldn’t want to be pushing a buggy around.

        • AndyW says:

          Very small I agree, but I found it quite nice for a meal out as a change. Certainly walkable no problems

        • OP says:

          It’s a really lovely little village (Plaka). It’s more walkable from the Blue Palace though definitely walkable from Domes, there is just one bend in the road to be careful navigating. Interestingly, the manager talked about extending their resort shuttle (which spends 90% of its time carrying fresh air) to Plaka, which would be great if they have. Restaurants in Plaka are of varying quality, Parilia is good though on the more expensive side.

          There are some decent restaurants in Elounda itself though nothing fancy, and there’s a really great restaurant/Piano bar in Agios Nikolaos called Migomis that is worth the trip. Book in advance and ask for a ‘front row’ table.

          The new (ish) Blend restaurant at Domes was fantastic and food of top London restaurant quality this year.

          • Rob says:

            For Elounda, the key is to walk down to the watersports centre and bung the guys a few Euro to take you in their speedboat. You get to see a bit of the coast too.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Generally better to book the base room then contact the hotel about paying cash to upgrade.

        • Gareth says:

          Considered this with the Hilton in Malta, don’t have enough points for the premium pricing at most Hilton’s for a week. Thanks for the replies though 🙂

  • Frankie says:

    I’m flying to Mykonos tomorrow from Heathrow on a cash flight in economy. I’m silver and reserved 12c economy exit row seat ages ago. Yesterday when I looked for my seat it still said 12c confirmed but the seat plan was only showing from row 13 onwards so I couldn’t see any seat for me as was still saying 12c. This morning I’ve checked again and my seat selection has disappeared. I assumed I’ve lost my seat as 12c is now CE. However I now seem to be in Club Europe and was allowed to select a seat there. Is this an IT mistake and I really haven’t been automatically upgraded and I’ll find out a OLCI? I’ve never heard of such a thing. I’m concerned I’ve no seat reserved really and I want to ensure I have an aisle regardless of cabin. Though of course a bizarre upgrade to CE would be great. Thanks in advance for any replies.

    • John says:

      Just choose another aisle seat now.

      If you do get upgraded they will give you another seat later

      Also possible, but less likely, that row 12 will move back to economy, in which case you need to be quick and choose the seat again before someone else does

      • Jonathan says:

        Agree. The curtain has moved & at this stage very unlikely to move back as it can only be at row 9/10 or 12/13 so they’d have to cull 3 rows of CE to move it back. They only shift curtain at LHR as well so may only need 12 rows CE for return leg.

        In my experience CE cabins are consistently 12 rows (the max for A319/320) at the moment though so I would always take row 13/14.

  • BJ says:

    So have readers cancelled BAPP since triggering new style vouchers this month? Are vouchers being clawed back or do we still get to keep them same as always?

    • Anna says:

      Should trigger ours today – very excited to see where we’ll be able to go!!

      • BJ says:

        Definitely see evidence of it boosting availability but sadly not fir SFO next June when I want to use the one my partner just triggered. Plenty of time yet so will wait and see.

    • Claire says:

      Cancelled my husbands yesterday. Was warning voucher couldn’t be used but when I said we had a supp bapp in my husbands name and would use this agent did not argue

    • Jimbob says:

      Same as always, mine is still in my BA account, 10 days after cancelling my BAPP

    • BJ says:

      Thanks to Claire and Jim Bob, good enough for me. My partner triggered his voucher 2/9 and will cancel after triggering the current £5k/10 bonus offer as no point in keeping the card through April.

      • A says:

        I rang them this week to ask about retention. After an explanation of how the voucher on the BAPP was far better than on the free card, I was offered a retention bonus of spend £3k in 3 months, get 10k Avios. Should stack nicely with the already-saved spend £5k/get 10k avios offer.

        • BJ says:

          Interesting thanks, my partner already has both the 2k and 5k variants saved on his card. He has £2700 still to spend so if they offer him this then it could be 30,200 avios for a £5,300 spend. A bit more if some of remaining spend is on BA.

  • Swiss Jim says:

    Max £1 eBay seller fees on my account this morning. I feel blessed…..

    • Andrew says:

      I got max £3 fees.

    • John says:

      Probably a recurring offer.

      I made a new account on a VPN and bid on my own item, didn’t pay obviously, but they then gave me 3 free sales to “apologise” that “things didn’t work out”

      • Blindman says:

        Isn’t shill bidding illegal?

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Wow that’s a lot of effort to rip off eBay for a few quid.

        Especially since whatever you sell with your new account will likely sell at a discount due to the fact it’s a new account…

      • Beardless Hipster says:

        Why not ask a mate to put a few bids in?

  • Shaw West says:

    A week since first transaction and still no offers showing up in BAPP

  • Andrew says:

    Anyone with the Mr Porter spend £500, get £100 back offer and also in the market for a Rimowa case or bag, they are a new designer at Mr Porter with selected items available. The new customer discount is excluded.

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