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The HfP chat thread – Friday 24th 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.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as it keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

Old chat threads are hidden from the HfP home page.  If you want to look for something in an old thread, click here.  This brings up all the articles in our ‘General’ category which includes the chat threads.

Comments (484)

  • Philip says:

    IMO The Curve card is the most useless card around. I recently used it with an underlying card that doesn’t charge FX fees and got charged an FX fee.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Can’t comment on the FX stuffs but for me and my HMRC payments, it is fantastic.

      • Greg says:

        Me too. VAT, Corp Tax and Self assessments all went through last week, plus my accountants bill (who only accepts debit cards)

    • Reney says:

      did you the transaction at the weekend?

    • VerdantBacon says:

      I think everyone should think like you do about Curve and just shut down their Curve accounts.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Sounds like you don’t know how curve works rather than it being useless.

    • Andrew H says:

      There’s a limit for free cards, and there’s a charge at weekends. Doesn’t matter what the underlying card does, you are using Curve itself for the transaction

      Why would you use it if the underlying card doesn’t charge fees?

    • Sina says:

      doesn’t matter if the underlying card “say” they don’t charge any fees, I have checked with many cards and always Curve’s rates are better, even when there are no FX charges by the underlying card!

      In an example recently from Creation (before the doom!) I had two $4000 transactions on Curve with IHG under and one with IHG direct, the one from Curve was £8 cheaper!

      Also, I personally think Curve is a fantastic product with lots of innovations, and adding features all the time, I have Metal and have paid for it since they introduced it, used its insurance and other features, and personally think it has a bright future!

      The remark that Curve is done or who will use it if there is no MS, is very funny! I mean the world does not revolve around MSers, and Curve certainly lost a lot of money paying for all these NS&I payments! so don’t think you made a favor by using Curve for all your MS!?

      • Rui N. says:

        Without MS, how would they show that Curve is so widely used? It was a constant pitch when they sold their shares.

        • Sina says:

          That’s exactly why they were willing to pay the fees for our MS, but it doesn’t mean that they’d be out of business without us!?

    • Char Char says:

      So who charged the FX fee Curve or the underlying card?

      You need to set the currency on the card within Curve incase this wasn’t done

  • KBuffett says:

    Have readers changed their investment/savings strategies to try and counteract/profit from inflation?

    • John says:

      No

    • mr_jetlag says:

      not really, bonds still terrible in comparison to shares, but any assets are better than cash.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      If you plan to hold cash for long term, better to invest in funds like CGT or vanguard LS40. You won’t get much returns as these are defensive funds, but over long term they’ll return better than banks’ savings rates.

    • LS says:

      No. I am anticipating a correction in the next 6 months though. I am slowly cashing in the shorter-term profits I have made, and just leaving these as cash for the moment. Obviously longer-term stuff remains invested.

    • Swiss Jim says:

      I hold a fair amount in investment property. When you compare capital growth + rental return to share price growth + dividends the return is surprisingly good. But only due to impact of major dips (banking crisis, covid). So really a strategy as part of a diversified portfolio. Maximising shares in pension (watching out for growth and lifetime allowances), ISAs, junior ISAs etc best long term strategy – and then I’m one for high risk investments over 20+ year time horizon.

    • JDB says:

      Yes, inflation is something my broker has been talking about and acting on for the best part of the year heralded by QE and Brexit. I would however be more concerned about stagflation as inflation is always something to factor in to investment decisions – ie companies with strong market positions, valuable technology/IP, powerful brands, difficult to replace products etc. so that they have pricing power. Currently, pandemic recovery themes/stocks as well as green, healthcare, infrastructure etc. seem important as well as countries like Japan where some inflation is rather welcome.

    • Babyg says:

      half my investments are in crypto now…. nothing has come close to crypto over the past 5 years…

      • JDB says:

        I’m probably a complete Luddite, but I don’t think crypto really constitutes an “investment”! Lack of transparency, price discovery, proof of ownership and security of ability to cash out. The fact that governments and regulators hate it also doesn’t help.

        • J says:

          Might depend which crypto we’re talking about 😉 Big difference between Bitcoin (hardest currency ever yet invented etc) and the vast majority of the others (so called altcoins, or less politely but usually more accurately, sh*tcoins). I’d suggest well worth having a finger in the Bitcoin pie (no more than you can afford to lose etc, usual caveats) but it’s such a massively asymmetric risk/reward play that if you can stomach the rollercoaster and treat it as a 5+ year investment (although this Dec/Jan might get interesting) then it could usefully have a place in a diversified portfolio.

          • Yorkie Aid says:

            “Bitcoin (hardest currency ever yet invented etc)” – I love someone with a sense of humour. Bitcoin has been in “existence” if you can say that about something virtual for less than 13 years. The only hard currency is gold which has been in use as a monetary asset for 7000 years. Don’t get me wrong, I have dabbled in BTC and ETH and made good money but you cannot confuse cryptos with a “hard currency”!

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        As long as you are prepared to lose it.

      • CarpalTravel says:

        I am in several cryptos but purely as a gamble, using only money I am prepared to lose. It in no rational way can be considered an investment.

      • LS says:

        I have a small amount in crypto (<5%) as I was just interested.
        For me it has been a high risk, low return investment…

      • Paul Pogba says:

        I put a third of my savings in to crypto a year ago, its now two thirds of my savings with no change in allocation. Another few years and I’ll be joining Raoul and retiring to GCM 🙂

  • Anna says:

    Are BA refunding FTVs (minus £35pp)? I have 3 of these; 2 have companion vouchers tied up in them so will need to stay as vouchers but one is for 4 x RFS which I cancelled online. Given how difficult it is to contact BA to use these I’m considering asking for a refund via Twitter and writing off 4 x £35 to get the 100,000 avios back which I can then at least use for a new booking if I need them. Thinking as well we may see a devaluation before the vouchers expire in 2023!

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      Yes…I asked for a refund. Got 241 and all Avios back almost instantly. Cash taking up to ’21 working days’
      Got a message last night re: our BA holiday booking with 3 options to pick from. Accept new changes , take a voucher or refund.At last…click on refund. Saves a long wait on the phone.

      • KBuffett says:

        Did the 241 come back into your account with the original expiry date?

      • Anna says:

        Thanks Jill, I have uses for all our 241s so will leave them as vouchers and hope the phone lines are less busy in early 2022!
        Grr. If BA holidays can do refunds online, why can’t other departments?!

  • Anna T says:

    Morning. Got the same warning email from bendy about ernie yesterday. If I’m brave enough to do another transaction ( I’m not MS ) and reports are they freeze the account until you can give evidence of not MS – does that transaction stay in limbo i.e. credit card debited but funds are floating? Thanks

  • Scott says:

    Can’t we have two separate chat threads?
    One solely for card talk, the other for anything but?
    Very messy having to look through pages of chat for something that might be useful!

    • Erico1875 says:

      A forum would be more usefull. I read in the morning when there is a handfull of comments.
      By the time i get in at night there are often upward of 500 comments.
      Too many to just go through and many just arent relevent to what Im interested in

      • HH says:

        I may be in the minority who prefer one consolidated chat thread over a forum. Scrolling through a few chat pages each in the morning, lunchtime and evening allows me to read stuff I’d never individually click on in a forum.

        • Reney says:

          I’m with you HH. I pick up all sorts of things that people ‘randomly’ discuss. Some tips I might use today, some maybe useful months away. Since replies are in grey boxes, I find it quite easy to stroll to the start of each section to see what it should be about and scroll passed all the replies if it is a topic I’m not interested.

        • JDB says:

          Yes, I agree HH there are a lot of gems of advice/information, hiding amidst the MS talk etc. that one might not otherwise see.

        • Rich says:

          Same here. It’s nice to scan through, although there are days when I do, and many more days where I don’t

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          +1

        • Rob says:

          I think, initially, we will run both side by side and see how it goes. Some topics may get nudged over to the forum. We will then see what is left here and whether it justifies itself or simply confuses people.

      • Mark says:

        There is a HeadingForPoints forum on boards.net

        • Rhys says:

          Nothing to do with us!

          The wheels for the forum are in motion. Rob has given me some money to spend 🙂

          • Babyg says:

            Money to spend? forum vs lay flat bed to madrid… i can see where the money went 🙂

          • Graham Walsh says:

            How about a Discord channel or even a slack channel?

          • Rob says:

            We don’t do anything where we do not have complete control.

            What possible value would there be in either of the above? At least a forum would wash its face commercially since we’d pick up 1p or so per page view from the ads.

          • John says:

            You can set up a discord channel and post it here, but I don’t think Rob will want it to be called HFP

    • VerdantBacon says:

      There is no shortage of useless comments and comment chains in the chat thread. Thing is everyone’s definition of useless is different and if we start splitting off threads into different categories so you only have to read what you’re interested in, well that’s a forum.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      There are a great many benefits to a forum but in recent years their use has declined massively, it is a real shame. They are a fantastic source of information, with how-to guides and people asking similar questions to ones I have.

      These days though the likes of Facebook (urgh) and changing consumption methods seems to of destroyed them. Car forums, like Scoobynet used to be huge, with over a million threads and 11m posts. Now it is practically a desolate wasteland. 🙁

      Thankfully Pistonheads seems to be coping quite well, with a hardcore of enthusiasts, am hoping this site will do the same.

    • Chris says:

      Scott – it feels like there’s 3 subjects that seem to dominate the chat thread now:
      1. MS
      2. FTVs and vouchers
      3. PCR test providers.

      I find all 3 rather boring and repetitive, but I read through them all in case I find a useful nugget of miles/points earning advice or info.

  • Mark says:

    Or spend over £500 in a foreign currency in a one month period on the blue card? Don’t forget that Curve uses a mid-market rate that is usually better than that offered by MasterCard, so even with the 0.5% euro/US dollar weekend loading it may not work out much more than a fee-free MasterCard transaction. In that case, though, I’m not sure why you’d use Curve.

  • Tom says:

    Morning. Travelling to Portugal on Monday and trying to find the link to the Portuguese government statement that double vaccinated do NOT require a pre-departure LFT anymore to enter. Does anyone have it? The language on the Visit Portugal website says now “ a valid Vaccination or recovery certificate issued by a third country, under reciprocal conditions” but there is no definition of “reciprocal conditions”. This has changed over the last 48hrs. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    • Tracey says:

      Tripadvisor forums are usually good for this sort of info.

    • Dave says:

      This isn’t what you asked for but what it now says on TAP

      https://www.flytap.com/en-gb/alerts-and-informations?accordionid=f09bb288-5a14-40a1-85dd-9b4baec90209

      The weasel word within there is “reciprocal”. In other words the UK vaccination passport is only accepted by Portugal IF the UK are accepting the EU one. Is the UK doing so? I’m blowed if I can find out either way.

    • Anon says:

      I am going to Portugal tomorrow and I was re-reading the rules and this has got me worried as well. I was double vaccinated in the UK over two weeks ago. I haven’t arranged a pre travel PCR test.

      You can’t get the Portuguese Covid vaccination certificate with the NHS vaccination certificate. It doesn’t accept it. The term ‘ EU Vaccination Certificate’ is a little misleading because every EU country issues their own certificates which conform to an EU standard.

      I think I may have found a loophole however by using the French Covid app. The French Covid app, does let you get the French Covid certificate with an NHS vaccination certificate and I am hoping this is enough. I’m not really worried about what happens when I arrive in Portugal as I doubt the Portuguese immigration authorities are enforcing this so strictly.

      I’m more worried that the airline won’t let me board the plane in London and I don’t know whether showing them the French Covid certificate will convince them that I’ve fulfilled the pre-entry vaccination and test requirements.

      Can anyone share their experiences about going to Portugal recently and how rigidly these things are being checked?

      • David S says:

        We are in Portugal – to be safe we did a PCR test beforehand because it mentioned a certain type of standard for a lateral flow test and the only things being checked on arrival were Passports and Test Results. PS Supermarkets selling test kits here for 2 Euros and Continente selling 50 masks for less than 2 Euros. Everyone is still wearing masks here

        • Pete M says:

          I would definitely recommend holding a test result – a lateral flow is fine. A friend who went a couple of weeks back said that’s the only thing he was asked for by both the airline (FR) and passport control. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/entry-requirements

          • Luke says:

            The salient point is that Portugal have changed their entry requirements in the PAST FEW days and we are seeking clarification that the UK Vaccine Passport is now accepted without the requirement for test before entry, as had been stated in several national newspapers

  • Nick B says:

    I am a lucky man today.
    On the phone to BA.
    My call is IMPORTANT to them.
    So here I stay.
    On the phone to BA.
    I am a lucky man today.

    • Spurs drive me mad says:

      Good luck in your quest Nick B

    • Polly says:

      Nick B. A great Limerick!

      • AJA says:

        The last line which is a repeat of the first invalidates it as a limerick which only has 5 lines. And strictly speaking the 3rd and 4th lines should also rhyme and differently to the first 2 ie aabba.. But it is funny. I hope Nick is singing that while he waits and that BA is recording the call 😀

    • BJ says:

      In a moment of optimistic madness I called at 8am … still waiting … obviously 🙂 Three refunds required today, annoyingly two are sub£35 so avios refund only but still cannot get them except via FTV online.

      • Anna says:

        BJ – I have cancelled avios flights on Twitter! You could do this while on hold lol.

      • AJA says:

        Here’s a haiku using BJ’s words:

        moment of madness
        optimistically called
        Still waiting sadly

        • Pangolin says:

          Nitpick: people generally don’t pronounce the ‘a’ in ‘optimistically’ (elision) so it’s actually 6 syllables 😉

      • Simon says:

        I keep on just moving the avios booking out that I want to cancel in the hope the phone situation or BA will cancel the rebooked flight for me.

    • Dave says:

      Did you know fully-flat bed Club World business class offers unrivalled levels of privacy and comfort?

    • Andy says:

      On the other hand, I’m very pleased with Virgin today. Got through in a couple of minutes at 7 and managed to book some ANA flights

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