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The HfP chat thread – Sunday 19th 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 (390)

  • Louie says:

    Quick question – about to apply for an Amex Platinum card but the supplementary cardholder needs insurance coverage ASAP. If I apply to both cards as part of the application, will I get the supplementary card bonus MR points when I add a second supplementary cardholder once I have received the card? I think so but not 100% sure.

    • Rich says:

      I don’t think you get the points for the supp if you get it during the main application. You have to wait and add it later.

      You’re probably only talking a couple of days though. You will have main card in your possession very quickly, then you can add the supp and get the points.

    • Rich says:

      Data point, I applied for the PRG at 6pm.on Tuesday, and it was on my doormat on Thursday morning.

    • SteveJ says:

      You only get a supp bonus on first supp. If you add at sign up then you’ve forgone any bonus. No bonus for a second supp.

      • Aston100 says:

        But they have been known to mess up and give you points for a 2nd supp now and again.

    • Louie says:

      Thank you everyone.

  • HH says:

    Question on the new Swiss measures implemented on 13 September for indoor activities. My understanding is that unlike France, the Swiss system doesn’t automatically recognise our UK certificate but it is possible to manually request a Swiss certificate at vaccination centres etc.

    However the FOPH states that “You can obtain a COVID certificate on request if your vaccination meets the following requirements:
    1. The vaccine is authorised in Switzerland.
    2. The vaccination must be complete; in other words, it must include the number of doses of vaccine specified in the FOPH recommendations.
    You also get a COVID certificate if you received one dose of AstraZeneca abroad and subsequently received a second dose of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna.”

    I received 2 AZ doses in UK, and AZ has never been authorised in Switzerland. Does this mean I won’t be recognised as vaccinated, and would be turned away from all indoor places unless I submit for testing every 48-72 hours? Is there anything I can do to avoid this?

    Thanks for any insights – I travel frequently to Switzerland, so I’m really perturbed by this change.

    • JDB says:

      AZ is allowed in Switzerland as it has been authorised by the WHO. The FCDO has further advice and local Swiss links about testing requirements for travel and once you are there + certification etc. required from tomorrow.

      • HH says:

        Thanks! Though it sounds like only a temporary relaxation from the gov.uk wording: “From 20 September to 10 October, foreign vaccination certificates, including NHS certificates, will be valid for access to events or facilities requiring a COVID certificate.”

        • JDB says:

          @HH I understand it is expected that the UK pass will be allowed soon. I don’t know what the outcome was, but the Geneva Canton advice says: “Furthermore, on 17 September, the Federal Council is expected to decide on a possible authorisation to obtain the COVID certificate for persons vaccinated with vaccines recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This will include a full vaccination after 2 doses of Vaxzevria®.” If agreed, that should pave the way for a foreigner to get a Swiss pass easily as one already can in many European countries.

  • Ian says:

    BA has cancelled my flights to St Lucia and moved my flights to Costa Rica by 1 day. Both trips were booked using Avios & Amex2for1 vouchers.
    If I want to rebook elsewhere do I need to find reward availability in both cases?

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      No

    • Sam G says:

      If by “elsewhere” you mean to a different destination then yes you will need award availability. But both could be rebooked to alternative dates to the same destinations without it

    • Lady London says:

      They still need to get you to St Lucia on same or nearest reasonably possible date, or alternative later date of your own choice, at no extra charge even on another airline if they’re not flying there themselves.

      Still true even if 241 and even with avios. You are entitled to any seats that can be found in same cabin class they cannot insist on avios seats.

      • Ian says:

        I was hoping to leverage the opportunity to choose different destinations as I’ve got an additional problem – it turns out my 1st dose of AZ vaccine was from the batches Boris imported from India and neither St Lucia nor Costa Rica accept them so I’m limited to the 59 countries that accept the Indian produced version rather than the 145 countries which accept the UK/EU versions.

        • JDB says:

          I was under the impression that in St Lucia, the NHS pass is accepted, irrespective of vaccine type. For Costa Rica (on the FCDO) since August you can enter unvaccinated as long as you buy a special insurance and I haven’t seen that the Indian AZ version isn’t allowed for CR anywhere. Interested in this as scheduled to go to Mexico in Nov, but checking alternatives in case it stays red or whether to return via US. I had the Indian AZ first dose.

          • JDB says:

            Sorry, meant to say for CR, it is still on the FCDO ‘non essential’ list.

          • Ian says:

            According to https://visaguide.world/news/vaccine-checker-proof-of-immunity-for-travel/
            there are 145 countries currently accepting AZ (UK/EU) vaccinations but only 62 accepting AZ India aka CoviShield.
            This is a massive problem for me as my first dose was 1 of the 5m CoviShield doses BJ bought from India so apart from messing up my pre-booked hols to St Lucia in Dec and Costa Rica in Mar (assuming it comes off red list by then) it also means I can’t visit my elderly relatives in Poland or Lithuania. The booster jab won’t fix this either as it’ll either be Pfizer or Moderna so I still won’t have had a double dose of the same vaccine as far as most countries view it.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          How do you find out which countries are saying no to the Indian variant ?

  • Aaron C says:

    We’ve got a holiday in Jamaica booked for January (with BA). Assuming it doesn’t change to red list and we can travel we intend to. However, I am unsure how to insure the trip given that the FCO advises against non-essential travel there which rules out most annual policies. The holiday comes to just under £10k (£5k each) so we need a reasonable level of cover. Any thoughts?

    • Sam G says:

      I used battleface for a trip to Colombia last year – staysure is another one I’ve seen mentioned here too

      • Sam G says:

        Though does BA operate packages to destinations that are advised against non-essential travel?

        • Aaron C says:

          Thanks, Sam. I did see Battleface but their standard cover only offered £2k cancellation which isn’t enough. I will contact them nearer the time to take out a policy seeing as they cannot be purchased this far in advance.
          I think BA does offer packages to non-essential travel destinations – I went to Cyprus in June and got additional cover from I think StaySure but they only offer that extension for trips within Europe.

          • JDB says:

            It’s worth having a look at the Nationwide FlexPlus insurance for this. It does cover travel to FCDO non-essential countries and although they have tightened up the pre-travel cancellation part, it may still work for you. You need to check with BA Holidays, but I think they will refund if it goes red.

          • Sam G says:

            I was thinking mainly for medical, if you can’t travel on a BA package (say because you are covid positive) BA will change the package trip for free so you need to be sure that you’d get a pay out in that scenario anyway

          • JDB says:

            Nationwide does cover for medical, including if you get Covid abroad, and all the other sections for non-essential countries.

    • Aaron C says:

      Thanks JDB. I’ll look at that. They seem to offer a decent level of coverage.

      • JDB says:

        Also worth noting that unlike many ‘block’ policies, with this one, you can buy out pre-existing conditions. I pay £30 extra for high blood pressure (which affects 25%+ of the population), but that still makes the policy @ £13/month + £30 = £186 to cover a couple for a year which seems quite good value.

        • Aaron C says:

          Yes that seems good value, compared to many policies. £5k per person cancellation coverage too which should be enough for our needs, with £10m medical and cruise cover as an option for £40.
          We used to get complimentary travel insurance with BUPA but they have stopped offering any travel cover at all now.

          • xcalx says:

            The optional £40 cruise cover includes port schedule changes £xxx per missed or changed port stop ( only changes after set sail are covered), delayed luggage, missed departure on port visits, all other cover if on a cruise is included in the standard policy.

  • Blenz101 says:

    Looks like the original list of countries where the fully vaccinated will be recognised in the U.K. wants exhaustive.

    UAE is set to join as well …

    https://whatson.ae/2021/09/vaccinated-uae-travellers-will-soon-be-exempt-from-uk-quarantine/

    • Sam G says:

      This is the proposed current list (+EU, US) – (was discussing with a friend yesterday as he was confused about whether he needed to now quarantine due to green list being scrapped as he was vaccinated in Singapore)

      Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan

      UAE seems an obvious omission so no surprise that is getting added – good news for UK expats out there!

      • Blenz101 says:

        Agreed! I had my Pfizer in the UAE way back at the beginning of the year when the UK was still focused on over 50’s. The omission was discussed on Rob’s article on the changes so the change is welcome.

        Hopefully other ‘trusted’ countries will get the same treatment if their citizens have been vaccinated from the approved list.

        Countries that where forged documents are the norm can be treated by the exception with additional testing requirements etc.

        • Sam G says:

          Well the US has the flimsiest system ever + no reciprocity and made the list so that doesn’t seem to be a criteria to be on it! 🙂

  • Alan says:

    Advice wanted please.
    I have a Virgin flight to the US going out on the 1Oct. It’s obvious that we won’t be able to travel but Virgin still shows the flight as operating and has sent out the standard looking forward to your flight email.

    I had a look on their website and the seat plan shows about 25% of the seats are booked. Despite this our two UC tickets are today priced at over £21,000.

    Does this indicate the plane will be cancelled and Virgin are playing a game of chicken with their passengers, hoping to get them to move their flights to next year (paying 2/3 times the cost of last years sale prices).

    • Sam G says:

      Put the flight number into flightradar24 – that’ll give you an idea but at this stage likely it’s going. Virgin are operating some US flights as Americans can use them + cargo etc. Unfortunately if the flight is operating and you can’t travel on it then there isn’t anything you can do other than avail of their voucher/rebooking options

    • Blenz101 says:

      Not really. There are groups (including US citizens and green card holders etc.) that are still allowed to travel as well as a healthy cargo operation.

      You can check back and see if the service you are booked on has been running previously.

      Depending on when you booked any fare difference may be waved anyway, take a look at their website to see what applies to you.

    • ChrisC says:

      Seat maps mean nothing. Lots of people don’t select seats until they check in.

      If VS cancel the flight then you”ll be able to rebook for free.

      If the flight operates and you want to change then you’d need to pay fare difference etc

    • Alan says:

      Thanks for the replies.

      Unfortunately it looks like I have picked the only flight still running on both our out & return dates.

  • Zara says:

    Does anyone have a subscription to the Sunday times as apparently they seem to have an article clarifying the rules for under 18s travelling where DfT seem to have “backtracked” on prior quarantine requirements. Would be useful to know!

    • Sam G says:

      https://twitter.com/PPaulCharles/status/1439501451869495297? Paul Charles is tweeting it – not that any of his green/amber/red list predictions have been particularly accurate!

      The Times says this

      Must you still take a test to enter the UK?
      From October 4 fully vaccinated arrivals into the UK will not need to present a negative test certificate at the border. All under-11s are already exempt from pre-departure testing for arrival in the UK. All arrivals will still be required to complete a passenger locator form before returning.

      What about children?
      Unvaccinated arrivals over the age of 11 will still be required to produce a negative test result ahead of travel to the UK, unless they are under 18 and travelling from one of the 50 plus countries where vaccines are recognised, including the whole of Europe and the United States. In such circumstances under-18s are treated the same as vaccinated passengers and are not required to take a pre-departure test to come to the UK.

      • Zara says:

        Thank you that’s super helpful. And with that our return flight is fully booked argh!! I hope someone cancels or this delay on clarifying the children situation may have cost my nephew a holiday…

  • jek says:

    Since our flights from AGP to LGW were moved to LHR, the original cancelled LGW flights and the rebooked flights to LHR appeared under the same booking. I have changed the LGW flights to LCY, but the LHR flights are still in the same booking and both flights appear as confirmed and I would be able to select seats (paid). Instead of two ticket numbers for two passengers, I also have four ticket numbers.

    Could this cause any problems? I don’t want to spend hours in the call queue to sort the mess. Can I just checkin for one of the flights?

    • AJA says:

      That’s weird. If I understand you correctly you want to fly from LCY to AGP and back to LCY but you also have flights booked LHR to AGP to LHR for the same date on the same PNR? Which flights depart first, LCY or LHR?

      If they are all on the same booking I think you should check-in for the flights from LCY and then try calling BA to let them know that is where you are flying from and that the flights are duplicated with a departure from LHR.

      Otherwise you might find you have are marked as a no show when the LHR flight closes for check-in and your booking cancelled which might screw up the LCY departure.

      • Jek says:

        We flew from LHR to AGP. It’s the return that is duplicated. I tried to clarify the situation during checkin at LHR, but the agent could not help. I now hope that this can be sorted at checkin at AGP. Both flights are within 10 min.

    • Louie says:

      I had something similar. Flights changed from LGW to LHR. I selected an alternative flight on the same day from LHR and ended up with both flights confirmed and ticketed. Flights then cancelled, a few days later the original LHR flight date changed to 2001 (ie 20 years ago) and now I can’t do anything online, I have to call. Wonderful. Not that any of this is of any help to you, sorry!

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