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The HfP chat thread – Monday 27th 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 (472)

  • Benilyn says:

    Bodrum / Antalya / similar
    Any recommendations? Cash / Points
    Looking for a week couple and a baby
    I see a lot of places offer AI

    • Rich says:

      I loved the old town in Antalya when we went last Jan. It may not be your cup of tea if you’re thinking of all inclusive resorts, but worth a look. Plenty of nice independents on hotels.com etc.

    • Harry T says:

      Bodrum EDITION is a good, Skynet-free option.

      • fivebobbill says:

        Doubletree Bodrum, not a large resort hotel but very happy with my stay a few years back. Beautiful tranquil pool area, spotlessly clean throughout, superb and cheap food, and right on the marina! Just a nice wee oasis. Weren’t awfully sure of the Hilton benefits, no mention of an upgrade and I had to insist I got breakfast as Gold at the time, but the Queen Deluxe Room was more than big enough for us (couple) and we would go back there again in a heartbeat.
        Think it cost around 100 euro a night for a Sept 2020 stay.

    • Zara says:

      Barut Lara has always been our go to in Antalya.
      We are going to Hilton Dalaman for October half term (pending negative PCRs) !!

    • Can says:

      I went to Hilton Sarigerme this summer. Great all inclusive and isolated. So great with little kids. No bar noise etc. and their kids club was amazing if they are still open

    • Can says:

      I went to Hilton Sarigerme this summer. So great with little kids. No bar noise etc. and their kids club was amazing if they are still open

      • Zara says:

        Yes that’s the Hilton dalaman I was referring to. The kids club is excellent. This time we are taking family and their kids too so hoping the baby’s passport comes in time! Which sort of room do you think is best? I know it’s a huge resort.

        • Can says:

          We’ve got pool access, top floor with sea view. It was just great. Don’t expect too much from the sea view though. It is a bit far. They are good with upgrade if you have status.

          • Zara says:

            Thanks. We are diamond but they’ve sold out of rooms on their website for the half term so I’m not so sure.
            Their customer service is hit and miss so not really sure to try. When we went previously, we thought the hotel was fantastic for kids but there was something considerably lacking in their service, especially front desk.

  • Kevin says:

    I did see someone commented here (eg Gordon Ramsay) that Amex £200 dining cash back is accumulating over restaurants rather than once off from only 1 restaurant. Can anyone share the experience.

  • Michael says:

    I know htis was discussed here before, however which energy companies do accept AMEX and ideally have no early exit fees. My provider is going bust unfortunately so looking for an alternative and referral link.

  • Avi says:

    Hi all has anyone noticed that the refer a friend code in the BP Rewards app has disappeared? I tried to find my unique referral code today and couldnt

  • Zara says:

    Hi. Has anyone applied for a first time child’s passport recently? I naively left it very late and now I am worried! It’s been 3 weeks and each stage so far has been slow. Took them 10 days to acknowledge the receipt of documents from when special delivery had delivered it, it’s now been another 10 days since they say they’ve received the documents but no further progress. Should I be worried for Oct half term? I only just read about the 1 week service today!

    • Benilyn says:

      The gov website does say 5 weeks lead time. Can you still apply for the 1 weeks service if an application is pending?

      • Zara says:

        They said you have to retract the application first and then reapply for it. But then you also need to find availability. Eg the next London appt available for the 1 week is 12 October so I may even get her passport by then but I won’t know what date to select I suppose until retracted? I’m not too sure tbh

    • Craig says:

      https://www.passportwaitingtime.co.uk/

      Crowd sourced averages, you ‘should’ be OK?

      • Zara says:

        Suggests I should receive her passport this week if I can go by averages. But from the statuses on her passport application, I’m
        Somewhat dubious, but hopeful!! Thanks so much for that. Atleast I can give it until this time next week before really panicking!

  • His Holyness says:

    Curve still sticking to their guns by asking for all my credit, NS&I (what statements?) and bank statements. Can they really ask for all that, it’s so many pages, and so much information I am not comfortable sending.

    Might this be an unreasonable request?

    In any case, to issue a warning and then say they will close it anyway, doesn’t sound very clear, lawful and in good faith. If I refuse, they will shut me down, so taking it to the Ombudsman seems worthwhile in either case.

    • BP says:

      What led to this? Replying to the “suspected breach of terms” email or continuing to use curve for NS&I payments?

    • EwanG says:

      I think you said over the weekend that all the blended investments are still in with NS&I? If this is the case and you don’t want to supply everything Curve are asking for (neither would I). In my position I would either: 1) ignore their request and potentially let them close you down; 2) provide some of what they want, specifically the NS&I statements showing your deposit and the current balance, plus Curve screenshots related to each deposit – and say that’s all that you’ll provide. This proves you’ve not recycled, which rebuffs their original email and reply. You can then take it further if they still proceed to close you down but they didn’t need source of funds previously and shouldn’t need them now either!

      • His Holyness says:

        That’s right. I do a lot of everyday spending with Curve. I travel with it too. NS&I made up a small fraction of my spend. I’m on Commercial, so I’d imagine Curve are making a few bob from me.
        Never have I withdrawn cash in the UK.
        That’s why it’s very odd they have picked on me. My payments to Brighton are many times that of NS&I, another supposed benefit of Metal.
        I can show them the NS&I balance.
        What also ticks me off is the demand for ALL statements, when it’s just a few months in 2020, why do they need all that data?
        I’m not even sure how to send this, I’d have to Dropbox it. It would be huge files. I think I’ll have to scan them in as some of the credit card statements are no longer showing online.
        Plus, they want me to do all the work, rather than pointing out to me the dates of the transactions they suspect of cash recycling.

        • Reney says:

          I’m not sure they picked on you. It sounded like they went into their data and anyone who has so much as done one transaction in the past got the email, no matter the scale.

        • JDB says:

          I think the fact you are on a commercial card may be the issue as these NS&I deposits or PB purchases are obviously personal. Curve can ask for all this info, but you can refuse and then it’s up to them how to proceed. Curve is obviously under huge pressure so wants to show that it is going what it can to stop both cash recycling and the mixing of business / personal cards which is something Amex also doesn’t like.

          • Lady London says:

            And given Curve apparently was playing the system by issuing commercial cards to private users who hadnt applied for a commercial card and didn’t even notice Curve had issued them a commercial not a private card.. i think it’s really sneaky of curve to somehow claim it’s the customer’s fault

        • blenz101 says:

          Can you just highlight the relevant transactions and redact everything else on your bank statement if you don’t want them to see? I’m sure you can send by post if you are not able to shrink a PDF down.

          NS&I do produce an annual statement so just send them that, comes first week of April each year.

          In terms of reasonable you should ask yourself what law are you accusing them of breaking. I doubt they will be happy with payments to Amex either but their current focus is clearly NS&I.

          They can request to see what they whatever they want to satisfy themselves you are not cash recycling. You are of course not obliged to supply these documents. They can then decide they don’t want you as a customer.

          What are you expecting the financial ombudsman to investigate and find? That Curve took action once it became aware that NS&I was being to cash recycle in breach of its own conditions and potentially the T&Cs of the underlying credit card(s) and NS&I itself. They contacted customers to notify them. In your case you were asked you to evidence you are using the accounts legitimately – nobody here knows the reason why you.

          What loss do you suffer if they no longer want you as a customer? You have no right to a Curve account and to use its services. The Ombudsman will award what?

          If you don’t want to do business with them because they don’t treat you as you wish then walk away and let them know why.

          If they subsequently flag you via CIFAS for suspected dishonest conduct then you have something you can actually challenge and made right. To do this you may will end up having to supply the same documents you don’t want to give Curve to the Ombudsman or if it gets that far CIFAS directly.

          • Rui N. says:

            Why wouldn’t Curve be happy that a customer is using their product to pay Amex as they promote it for?

          • Blenz101 says:

            @Rui If the customer has a commercial card and is paying a personal Amex? If the underlying card does not all cash like transactions? If the commercial relationship is undesirable to Curve?

            They can check if they suspect something is up, in fact they have an obligation to do so.

          • Rui N. says:

            Where does in the Curve promotion of Fronted does it says that you cannot pay a personal Amex with a commercial Curve? If Curve started complaining that customers use a service they charge for, now that would be indeed something to bring to the attention of the Ombudsman.

          • JDB says:

            @Rui N – it is one of the terms you agree to when signing up to a Curve commercial card – “You can only open a business account if you are a sole-trader or a self-employed natural person and intend to use your Curve account exclusively for business spend. You cannot open a business account for a company or partnership”.

          • His Holyness says:

            Please read up on Fronted and the key purpose of the product offer. Fronted is exclusively designed to enable credit card payments where they are not accepted by “fronting” as a debit card. For example to pay off a credit card bill, government services etc. Its a product designed to get around restrictions card companies have put in place themselves. The very purpose of the product is to bend the rules aka Bendy.

            Based on this, another interpretation would be, they’re advertising their Card for these uses but when you come to use them it’s a breach of their terms. Sorry but no, that’s not how it works.

            That’s where the complaint to the Ombudsman would arise. The volume of information they require is disproportionate to the value of the transactions (£18k).

            Redacting is a good idea, but is it permitted? I don’t know, I’ve asked them all this.

            As long as I get a proportionate refund of my Metal fee, that’s fine. That could be the basis of my complaint, they might decide to keep it all because I am in so-called breach of their terms. Then the Ombudsman can get involved to see if that is fair, proportional and lawful to withhold my fee refund.

            Curve contacted everyone who has ever made a single payment to NS&I. I made no further transactions after that warning-in fact I hadn’t for many months before anyway. When I pointed out all funds were in NS&I and why was I sent this email they they accused me of being in breach of their terms. 48h had barely passed since the warning.

            The poorly written message said my account would be “re-opened” but it wasn’t closed in the first place. The message doesn’t meet the basic standards you’d expect from a Financial Services company, but it does meet the Curve standards LOL

            I’d wager there’s more chance of Concorde taking to the air than Amex working with Curve again.

            The Commercial side of things is a relic from when Curve launched. It’s only cos of HfP I know I have Commercial and what that means.

          • Rui N. says:

            Well, then that’s another thing to complain to the Ombudsman. They’ve changed my account to commercial without asking me (when sending the replacemente card; I actually asked about it and they ignored my question, so i didn’t follow through) and my OH’s is commercial despite choosing the personal option when signing up.

          • Rui N. says:

            But again, I’ll say that’s immaterial to the question at end. Our colleague here is arguing that Curve is not happy that you might use their card to pay an Amex. That’s of course BS. The whole purpose of Fronted is, on Curve’s own words, “pay your UK taxes or credit card bills with another credit card”.

          • Rui N. says:

            (My last to 2 comments where in reply to @JDB)

          • Blenz101 says:

            Curve is clear that you should use the commercial card only for business transactions rather than personal ones.

            I said if the customer is paying off a personal Amex then Curve may have an issue. Curve can (and is required) to carry out checks to verify the transactions are business related (they may well be).

            NS&I by its very nature is going to be a personal transaction given they don’t offer anything but personal accounts so will have breached the terms of a commercial card.

            They may well seek to verify his/her directorship as part of their investigation.

            Curve (after getting its fingers burnt with Creation) can also take reasonable steps to ensure customers are not using its product to breach the terms of other financial institutions and protect it’s business and wider client base.

            The very fact the OP is complaining on this particular website talking about their payments to Brighton should be all the clues you need. Nobody likes to be shut down but acting victimised and the drama over good faith, breaking the law and taking it to the ombudsman is a bit OTT. Game is almost certainly up for this particular player with Curve and serves as a warning to others.

          • Rui N. says:

            Now he’s breaking the law jeez. Send the Curve police to “His Holyness’s” house! You might have noticed that nowhere in Curve’s correspondence did they mention the card being a commercial one being relevant for the matter. So, that’s only an issue for you, because for Curve certainly doesn’t seem to be. And also please keep ignoring that Curve promotes Fronted to pay credit cards.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Er, the mention of “the law” was in response to the OP where Curve are being accused of breaking it.

            When Curve launched it was exclusively for ‘businesses’ although this was of course never verified or enforced and was how they were making the card profitable. The personal card came much later. The OP will know which card they originally signed up with.

            If the business card is being used to top up a personal savings account or pay of a credit card which contains personal transactions then the Curve card terms have been breached. No argument.

            Putting that aside, the OP has woken up Curve’s compliance team originally due to their historic NS&I transaction and email reply. Curve is looking to go through their account and cross reference transactions. They can comply or not; complying may see no action taken.

            As a suggestion getting bank statements into XML format could be an option which would hopefully make redaction of the description of non-relevant transactions easy.

          • Rui N. says:

            Just to show how ridiculous this conversation about Curve somewhat caring about cards being commercial or not is: as I said, I have a commercial card. A few weeks ago I had a KYC check with them. First item on the list of what they asked? Payslips from my current employer.

  • Imran says:

    Just booked a flight to India to go see my family after 15 months. Booked a BA flight on Avios, which went through all okay. But when I visit the MMB section, there is a message popping-up saying that I need to upload the negative Covid test and complete the declaration under MMB. I couldn’t locate these details anywhere under MMB. Can someone guide me to the appropriate location please.

    Also, since I am flying after ages, I am a bit rusty on the latest Covid rules. Am I correct in thinking that:

    1. I don’t need a pre-departure test for UK, but will need it to enter India since I need to fill and upload the test on the self declaration.

    2. I don’t need a pre-departure test from India since I am fully vaccinated and returning to the UK after the new rules kick in on 4th Oct. But I will need a Day 2 test and that Nationwide is currently the cheapest and most reliable option for the Day 2 test.

    Thanks in advance to all you lovely and helpful people. 🙂

    • Anuj says:

      You will also need to fill in the Indian declaration form online (air suvidha)

    • Cats are best says:

      I think the link in MMB to the upload page only appears 72 hours before the flight (assuming it is active for the flight, not all flights use it).

      But it’s no big deal really, you can always do it at the check-in desk. I use PDF copies of test results, entry forms etc. on my phone for this, but I suggest print a copy as backup just in case of phone trouble, flat battery etc.

  • barnaby100 says:

    Flying back from Canada , landing on the 5th October early pm at LHR. I should only need a 2 day lateral flow. Any advice onto where to get one done at straight away at LHR or by post? Companies I am looking are still selling PCR for 2 day testing and lateral flows seem few and far between.

    • meta says:

      You still need day 2 PCR test. This hasn’t been changed. Media have floated the idea, but the official rules are still PCR test for day 2. The only thing that changes on the 4th is no return to the UK test.

    • blenz101 says:

      As things stand you will need a PCR test. Just follow the advice on .gov.uk.

      The traffic light system goes on the 4th October. PCR testing there is no confirmed date.

      Airline websites have lists of providers and discount codes as well as MSE and .gov.uk

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