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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 25th 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 (426)

  • Alan H says:

    So, by way of update to a previous post: I booked Club flights to GCM in the 50% off Avios sale in October 2020. Flights were for May 2021 which were then cancelled by BA and rescheduled to September 2021 which in turn was also cancelled by BA. A call to BA was made with a view to rebooking to October 2021 which was refused as it was over 12 months since originally booked. Despite protestations they maintained that this was their current policy. OH posted protestations on BA’s Twitter site which BA subsequently responded to with an apology for the confusion and offered assistance. By this time GCM’s border reopening policy had changed and so we sought to change flights to January 2022. Via Twitter we were then informed that they’d held space on the flights and invited us to check MMB and confirm that we were happy so they could reissue the ticket. It was pointed out that we were only entitled to one free change when our flight is cancelled, so if we accepted this change any further changes would be as per the rules of the ticket. If the flights were not acceptable, we were invited to provide alternative travel dates for them to check out for us. We were given 24 hours to respond otherwise the space would be released. Flights now confirmed for January.
    Not sure if this represents a change in BA policy or whether we were fortunate to get the response we did.

    • Anna says:

      Finger crossed, Alan H! They can be really helpful on Twitter if you don’t mind the slow responses. We are in a dilemma now as are booked to go for 3 weeks next July but it looks like it won’t happen unless they relent on their stance on unvaccinated children having to do 14 days’ quarantine! It’s extremely annoying as they’ve had all their vaccines free from the UK and used these to jab everyone over 12 who’s willing.
      I suppose as you have your own property quarantine won’t be an issue!

      • Alan H says:

        Thanks Anna: they weren’t exactly quick responses on Twitter but it got the right result (hopefully). The whole situation over there is a mess with lack of certainty and leadership around how to go forward on covid. Even with property, quarantine is a bit of a red line for me: being imprisoned is not my idea of a break.

        • Anna says:

          Quite! The residents seemed very happy about the restrictions to begin with but are now getting a bit mutinous if the comments in the press are anything to go by.
          I know of someone who owns at Morritt’s and managed to go for 8 weeks last winter – 2 of which he spent isolating in what sounded like someone’s loft space!
          It’s now 7 days if you’re vaccinated, up from 5, which was down from 10 …

  • Aaron C says:

    If I book the outward leg of an Amex 2-4-1 redemption as soon as it goes on sale can I then call and add the return leg when it’s on offer a few weeks later or do both have to be booked together?

    • Blenz101 says:

      You can indeed do this. Note that you may well get charged a booking fee over the phone which is technically correct as you are doing something it isn’t possible to do online (as opposed to getting it waived because of a website issue).

      • Aaron C says:

        Thank you.

      • Anna says:

        I’ve never been charged for this – surely it’s waived because you CAN’T add the return leg online?

        • JohnT says:

          Wasn’t charged when we did it. Japan call centre very efficient at our 1am.

        • Blenz101 says:

          I’ve had mixed experience with this. Occasionally charged and occasionally proactively waived.

          The official line was always that if it is a technical website issue which means you are booking by phone they will waive the charge. If you are doing a booking the website can’t handle and therefore you need to use an agents time they will apply it.

          I agree it has been variable hence the warning that the charge ‘may’ apply. Didn’t want the OP to be surprised by this and obviously hanging up and calling again or coming back to question it may see the seats disappear.

  • Toby says:

    Niche question: what’s the best type of mask to wear when on a flight?

    We are due to fly for the first time in 18 months and I’m a little unsure about wearing a mask for 4+ hrs. Does anyone have tips?

    • Eoc says:

      Wear a light paper one then eat and drink at regular intervals , when mask wearing not required – on BA anyway

    • Peter K says:

      Get a medical mask (type IIR). They are comfortable, breathable, help protect those around you and I forget I’m wearing it though I have it on for hours at work.

    • Anna says:

      First of all check whether the airline mandates a specific type of mask. I’ve done a 4 1/2 hour x 2 plus 2 hour x2 this summer and really hate masks (but always wear them when required, obviously). I found that turning the air vent on full and aiming it directly at my face did a lot to alleviate the feeling of being suffocated. Also have a snack or a drink every so often as you can take them off then. It was also handy that we booked lounge access on one trip as you get a table where you can it off for pretty much all the time you’re waiting for your flight.

    • marcw says:

      Surgical mask. Change every couple of hours.

    • David says:

      ideally a fit tested FFP3 – ie 3M AURA.

    • Mike says:

      This depends, if you are flying into France you have to wear the medical mask type (the blue and white type). FFP-2 masks offer more protection than those and are the type that you have to wear on trains and buses in Germany. It comes down to, are you worried about infection or transmission – then go for maximum protection eg n95/n99/ffp2 etc. or maximum comfort whilst obeying the mask mandate – go for a medical mask or a reusable mask. I would try some out, run for a minute then try breathing hard through a mask, you soon finding out how difficult that mask can be. Personally, I use FFP-2 masks but they are awful in hot environments, stressful environments or when rushing about. If you’re worried, take a mixture, on use based on circumstances.

    • Andrew says:

      We are required to wear surgical masks at work (NHS) when we are sharing an office. So at least 3 days a week, I’m wearing one from 8am to 4pm unless I’m eating or drinking.

      I replace every few hours. To be honest, I barely notice I’m wearing them.

      • Jeff Greene says:

        Yeah it’s really not that hard. People make everything seem like a big job these days.

      • David says:

        I know, and people feel ‘suffocated wearing one for a few hours 🙄

    • Toby says:

      Thanks everyone. This is all very helpful.

      I’ve gone ahead and bought some surgical masks and will try them out before we fly. I’ll also make sure we have regular snacks and I’ll defo try the air vent tip.

      Sadly we’re not booked in club Europe this trip! But we can still take a huge amount of snacks!

      I think my main intent is to not spread anything we may have, and comply with recommendations.

      Thanks hfp! You’re the best

      • Rui N. says:

        The main intent is not to spread anything, thus your plan is to be eating the entire time?!

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      i wear masks for 8 hours per day every day and have done for 20 years.
      Don’t use a cloth rag type thing. Waste of time, and uncomforable. Often heavy and badly made.
      Do get a IIR type surgical mask (or just a II; the R stands for water resistant which is not strictly necessary) . They are light, comfortable and cheap and the metal strip moulds round your nose (unless you’re one of the hilariously high number of people who wear them upside down). If you get the tie-behind-the-head variety then it might take a bit of practice to get just right, but you can adjust to your perfect tightness for comfort (ear loop ones can pull on the ears after a while) and also pull down to eat drink with ease and without a chinstrap effect.
      Contrary to some advice above, Do NOT get an FFP2 or FFP3 mask (or an N95/99 or KN95/99 which are the USA version and the Chinese knockoff version of the above respectively). These are filtering facepeices. They are hot and restrictive as designed to filter 95%+ or 99%+ of particles. They are for high danger zones and before 2020 they only really existed in the building trade removing asbestos etc.

      • Peter K says:

        Agreed @SSS
        Cloth masks are poor usually.

        Also FFP2/3 are only very safe if fitted properly…hence the expression ‘fit tested’. Even if you had this done (you won’t have) when you take them off for any reason (eg. to eat and drink) you won’t put it back on properly if you don’t know how.

      • Rob says:

        Lufthansa insists on FFP2 to get into its lounges – not sure if they are also compulsory for the aircraft.

      • David says:

        FFP3 will give you the ultimate protection if it is fit tested and will maintain effectiveness if worn for several hours. A fluid resistant surgical mask will give much reduced protection and once it becomes moist from your breath (in less than an hour) needs to be changed to maintain protection. FFP3/N95 are not for everyone and need to be fit tested but its what I would wear on long haul. I have spent the last 18 months working 12cm from peoples’ open mouths.

        • Peter K says:

          Which is all well and good until most people realise they don’t have the equipment to fit test it.

          Those that can will also not be able to have a drink or eat for 8+ hours long haul (plus pre-departure in the airport) unless they take it off. Then to give full protection it would need to be properly fitted again, which again an average punter is unlikely to do.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I genuinely think that’s massive overkill for a flight unless you have some genuine factor that makes you high risk.

  • His Holyness says:

    I told Curve I never cash recycled and I got this nonsense back:

    “Thank you for getting in touch. Based on your transaction patterns at NS&I, your account has been flagged as likely cash recycling. If you do not agree with this assessment, please provide us with the following information in the next 10 business days.

    All credit card statements, since your first payment at NS&I, for those credit cards that you used as the underlying payment card for the NS&I transaction.

    Your NS&I account statements showing all incoming and outgoing fund transfers since the first transaction with your Curve card with any of the above credit cards as an underlying payment card.

    All corresponding bank statements for the same period for, i.e. those used for credit card repayments and for receiving any funds from NS&I.

    If, following a review of the requested information, we’re confident that the activity undertaken is not in breach of our terms, we’ll reopen your account without delay.

    If however, we do not receive this information within 10 business days, or if the information you send does not provide the confidence we’re required to seek, we, unfortunately, will have no alternative but to close your account.”

    And that’s further from their message that everyone got if ” If we continue to observe this kind of account activity, Curve will unfortunately have to suspend your account until we have been able to confirm that the activity is not cash-recycling and has a legitimate purpose.”

    I made no further NS&I since that message, so that was “warning” meaningless?

    Meanwhile my actual request for help with a transaction sits on the in-App Chat for 5 days now and no reply.

    I’m really done with Curve if this is a genuine claim and not some pro-forma rubbish. Writing to inform I may be in breach and then saying I did it anyway and they will shut me down… What morons.

    They just charged the £140 fee, so I’ll be charging that back if they won’t refund it. Apart from MS, Curve Metal is useless, I’ve never used any of the benefits. The free card suits most people and they make next to no money off that.

    • Anna says:

      So they weren’t going to close your account to start with but they are now?! They’ve really got their knickers in a twist over this.
      I really don’t think I would be sending them my bank statements!

      • His Holyness says:

        Correct, I’ve added up and my total since May 2020 its £17,165 into NS&I. All still there. Hardly recycling and a paltry sum. For 2021 I did £200, 2-0-0.

        Now I feel motivated to burn the hell out of it if I will be shut down in 10 days!

        • His Holyness says:

          Also, note how it says they will “close my account” but they will “re-open it without delay” surely poorly written nonsense. It’s either shut now, or will be shut.

          It’s like someone sat on the sofa writing that while watching Netflix and no one checking it any further to see if it makes any sense. And they have an electronic money licence issued by the FCA? Lol

    • ZW says:

      I paid for Metal in January, cancelled my card on Monday, received about £50 refund to the card I payed my £150 back in January.

    • Mr. AC says:

      What did you expect writing to them? “Ok sorry we’ll remove the warning feel free to continue with NS&I”?

      • His Holyness says:


        • Harrier25 says:

          I’ve felt for a long time that Curve will disappear in the end. What’s its business model. Its a middle man between the credit card companies and the user. The card companies have already started limiting what you can do with Curve and if they are no longer willing to play ball, where does Curve go?

          • JSemity says:

            yes, it will fail unless it dramatically pivots. They’re like many other cash guzzling unprofitable fintechs, when the investor cash stops the party will soon stop

    • JSemity says:

      what a bunch of idiots! They still haven’t got back to my CS request now over a week. Totally useless.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      You told Curve you never recycled because you didn’t think the warning to stop was enough and specifically wanted someone to look at your account? What madness is this?

      • Roy says:

        If you read the thread, he told Curve he never recycled, because he never recycled.

        • His Holyness says:

          Exactly. It’s all still there.
          I’m not convinced my account has been closely checked, there’s posts on the Curve forums with the same template message.

          • Roy says:

            Yup. Sounds like they accidentally sent the original message to all UK customers – although some have no received an apology telling them to disregard.

            Standard response, though, to anyone disputing the cash recycling allegation seems to be a threat to close the account.

  • JohnT says:

    Just checked in to the Forest of Arden Marriott and trying to use part of the Marriott voucher we bought 2 years ago for the USA (€500 for €400!).Hopefully they will know what to do by check out.

  • David says:

    Has anyone had Amex Plat money back from a non-listed restaurant?
    Last Sunday I ate out and the bill came off my Amex – 3 days later its been refunded and the restaurant isn’t on the Amex website.

  • David says:


  • davef says:

    I just opened a curve account and tried to add an IHG MC…. app said no.

    Honestly… you’d think they’d blocked it or something

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