Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Refresh your NHS vaccine pass before travelling to Europe

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

We wrote an article last week listing the 45 countries and territories that would now accept your NHS covid vaccination pass as an equivalent to the EU or other national pass.

If you are travelling to the EU or one of the other countries included, don’t be caught out.

Any NHS covid pass downloaded before 1st November will not work outside the UK despite being valid, in theory, for 30 days. You risk being refused to access to hotels, bars and restaurants.

update your NHS covid pass before travelling to Europe

If you pull up your pass directly from the NHS app each time, you will be fine. This problem only occurs if you have printed off your pass or saved it in your smartphone wallet.

This is, reportedly, because the QR code generated in the NHS app was adjusted on 1st November. This was done to move it to the EU standard and so readable when scanned outside the UK.

You can verify this by looking at gov.uk here and scrolling down to “Using the NHS COVID Pass for international travel”.

Comments (64)

  • Chas says:

    Can anyone help me to understand how the Covid pass will be treated in France when it is scanned for a 15 year old with just one jab? We’re heading to Paris over New Year, and when looking to book various excursions the T&Cs state that anyone over 12 must show proof of being fully vaccinated, but obviously she can’t have any more than one jab currently. I’m less worried about the same situation for my 17 year old given the rumours that Anna highlighted yesterday that 16-17s are likely to be allowed their 2nd jab soon. Both parents fully vaccinated – will the single jabbed kids be allowed in?

    • Cheshire Pete says:

      Download the Free Netherlands App “Scanner” which is what venues use to scan QR codes. You can check your barcodes before you leave. Very useful as an EU DCC checker.

      • Chas says:

        Thank you.

      • Cheshire Pete says:

        ‘Coronacheck’ is what you need to search for. It installs as ‘scanner’ lol!

        • Cheshire Pete says:

          Then ‘Scanner for Coronacheck’ is the actual verification App!

          • Chas says:

            I got the correct app on the 2nd attempt – now to try and prise the phone from my daughter to scan her NHS pass…

      • Speedbird676 says:

        Why would they use the Netherlands app to check whether their pass will work in Paris?

        I downloaded a few of the apps linked in the earlier article (Italy, France, Switzerland and Netherlands). When I scan my dose 2 pass in the Italy and Switzerland apps it works just fine but the France and Netherlands apps say the code is invalid.

        Both the NHS England and Scotland apps both say my code is not recognised, too.

        • Nick says:

          It’s up to each country what they accept as ‘fully vaccinated’ and any exemptions they may or may not give to children. Most do not consider one dose (of a two dose programme) to be enough, regardless of what our clowns in government have decided. So whatever applies to locals there will apply when you visit.

        • Cheshire Pete says:

          The NL App is simply EU DCC compliant only, it won’t validate a non compliant NHS code as the Netherlands never acknowledged just the NHS vaccination status until the EU adopted it. Other countries did and so their scanners accept both systems. Hence the discrepancies.

          • Speedbird676 says:

            That implies that my code is not EU DDC compliant, then? Would you happen to know what is likely to cause that? It was generated on 3rd November.

          • Cheshire Pete says:

            I know what from I’ve read you need to scan the barcode for the 2nd jab and not the 1st one. Also if you’ve had a booster 3rd jab that also won’t validate, you need to carry on using the 2nd vac barcode only! Even the NHS says the boosters need a App update or something to be recognised.

    • Chas says:

      So back to my original question then…. What happens to 12+ year old in France whose NHS apps show only 1 jab – can they enter places (e.g. Eiffel Tower) whose entry requirements stipulate 12+ fully jabbed only, if travelling with family members who are fully jabbed?

  • apbj says:

    Don’t really understand the double tier points article. Mine haven’t posted, retrospectively or otherwise, and it’s well over 50 days; I am far from alone. Not sure this ‘explanation’ holds much water.

    • Cheshire Pete says:

      I had to raise a CS case after 30 days to get my bonus TPs. They then posted a few days later.

      • WearyTraveller says:

        You don’t need to wait 30 days. You can email them and raise a complaint as soon as your regular TPs are posted and they will post the bonus ones within a week. Don’t just wait idly for 30+ days because most likely they will NOT get posted automatically!

        • WaynedP says:

          +1

          I used chat to request TP credit 3 weeks after a qualifying return flight because my wife’s upgraded BAEC status level depended on them.

          Chat agent passed my details onto BA back office who made the requisite manual adjustment one week later.

          My wife’s BAEC status was also simultaneously upgraded as expected.

        • sayling says:

          BA say the bonus points will post within 30 days, yet you feel it is right to complain before then and use up the time of BA staff that could have been spent helping someone with a genuine complaint or problem.

          Nice.

          • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

            +1 – The fact that the screenshot above shows
            a narrative of ‘Adjustment’ rather than something more bespoke suggests to me that it is a manual process. In that case 30 days seems reasonable for their admin to work it through – and as the tier points are back dated you don’t miss out. Unless you desperately need the status immediately for another trip, I wouldn’t bother them just to try and jump the queue.

    • ChrisC says:

      The article is about HOW the double points are posted to BAEC accounts which is a question that has been asked before.

      It’s not about the WHEN they post. Rob wrote about that here

      https://www.headforpoints.com/2021/10/23/double-tier-points-from-ba-holidays/

  • Phillip says:

    For a BAEC account I manage, they took a flight 2 days before the tier points collection period was over and the points got credited a few days later (with the correct dates), but the system did not recognise these and still downgraded the account as having not collected enough to maintain status. It took an entire year of battles to get it sorted! So keep an eye out if your status depends on the retrospective tier point credits after your year changes.

    • planeconcorde says:

      Agreed. I have had this happen to me. Some tier points did not post before my tier point earning year expired. My account was downgraded. When the tier did finally posted with the correct date the BAEC system did NOT automatically workout I should not have been downgraded. I had to call up, it took two months to resolve with a manual adjustment. Which resulted in my membership year end being changed to a different month going forward.
      To avoid that hassle, if the tier points are required to retain or upgrade status then chase the tier points to be posted prior to your tier point earning year deadline.

  • Andrew says:

    Not quite correct to say a pre-November pass won’t work outside the U.K. – it just won’t work in the 40 countries that participate in the EU scheme. USA for example you’re fine with the existing one.

    • Michael C says:

      And the hardcopy letter from the NHS just works anywhere, any time, right?

      • Quark999 says:

        That doesn’t even have a QR code, so if someone insists on scanning “something” the letter won’t help – although most people would probably look at it like they would at a CDC card and be fine with it.

        I don’t think the old QR codes actually have to be refreshed and I don’t think they have changed. The signature should still be the same, but is now trusted by more apps/the EU gateway. I wonder whether it is more to do with the built in expiry date in the app and they don’t want people to be caught out.

        My PDF download from July seems to work in all the checker apps I can find, which wasn’t the case a week or two ago.

    • Jamie O says:

      My pass downloaded in October worked just fine November 3rd in Norway.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Point of Fact. This promo is also showing with Iberia Holidays for “BA flights”, which sounds more confusing as the codes are usually IB and on a mix of metals! This currently, for instance, is the only way to book a package deal to destinations via Alicante, as BA Holidays won’t route you via Madrid now they’ve abandoned direct ALC for the season.

    • WaynedP says:

      Better take a screenshot with cursor on bottom right of screen to capture current date of screenshot.

  • TS77 says:

    Does the BA holiday TP promotion only refer to flights starting in the UK?

  • David Walker says:

    I believe it is only the outbound flight that needs to be completed by 31st March 2022. Inbound can be later than that, or am I wrong?

    • AJA says:

      That’s how I read the T&Cs . Just make you book your holiday by 22 March.

    • Miss London says:

      Yep I agree. When you search for a holiday from 26 March to 2 April the “double tier points offer” banner shows. @Rob can you please confirm as this is the second time I’m seen travel *completed* by 31 March mentioned, when BA says booked by 22 March and *outbound* travel by 31 March.

  • DZOO says:

    Holiday flights upgraded with Avios – assume I will receive 2x TP for the higher cabin (MMB is reflecting 1x TP for the upgrade)?

    • Qrfan says:

      I doubt it. I believe MMB is incorrect for upgraded flights but the actual posting of tier points was “fixed” by BA a few years back and the paid for cabin now posts, not the higher cabin.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.