Bits: HFP on CNN, Kenya visa changes, £1 foreign currency transfers

News in brief:

HFP on CNN

I was featured in a frequent flyer article on cnn.com last week.  You can find it here.

Most Head for Points readers won’t learn much new from it, but it did allow me to wheel out that photograph of me behind the bar of an Emirates A380 again!

It is also the first, and probably last, time that one of my tweets has featured in a major publication ….

Kenya

Change to visa rules for Kenya

If you are planning a trip to Kenya, be aware that the visa situation is changing from September 1st.

Whilst you could previously get a visa on arrival as a British passport holder, you will now have to apply for one in advance.  British Airways will not accept you for travel if you do not have the necessary paperwork.  You can learn more on the Foreign Office website here.

Azimo 2

Foreign currency transfers with Azimo for just £1!

I have written about money transfer group Azimo before – it has been very successful in shaking up the market with its very low fees.  They sent me details of a special £1 promotion which runs until tomorrow (16th).

You can send money to any country that Azimo covers – which is almost all of them – for just £1.  Full details can be found here.

It's back - 500 Clubcard points (1,200 Avios) for joining TopCashback
Important dates for your diary
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. I have been using Transferwise lately and I am very happy with it. According the calculator it is cheaper than Azimo by a small margine.

    • Agreed, Azimo’s £1 fee is a headline grabber, the actual exchange rate they offer makes it a bad deal when comparing to other services. I am surprised it featured at all today.

      • If you go back to my original article, the Azimo rates were very good. I did not go back and recheck them yesterday – if they have started being less generous on the rates then I will be more cautious with their promos.

        It also depends how much you are sending, of course, since for a small transfer the commission is more important than the rate.

        • I looked at them for £1k and £10k and in both cases Transferwise beat them, even after fees. They also have a limited number of currencies where you can transfer in to GBP (I think mainly Eurozone at first glance). Good to have more competition at the market but always worth checking rates as well as commission as you say.

          In general I’ve found the transfers (GBP to AUD and vv. plus AUD to EUR) have listed been pretty speedy, within 3 days.

          • Pszczolka says:

            I have used Transferwise in the past with good results. I just checked the rates on sending £2,900 to the US and Azimo actually beat Transferwise on the exchange rate and then also the fee due to the £1 promo.

  2. OT bit: I will be using my Travelex Supercard for the first time this week. I linked it to my Diamond Club card. Do I need to advise MBNA I will be overseas even though I am not using thwe card directly? Thanks.

    • Transactions via supercard will appear on your your MBNA statement as “supercard” so no need to advise them.

      The supercard statement shows the details of the actual foreign currency transaction.

      • Thanks Tim, would be curious to know if you, or anybody else, has experienced any issues with their linked card being blocked by MBNA for exampme, due to the frequent multiple supercard transactions?

    • I’ve been happily using my Supercard in KL and around Vietnam. Had an internal flight yesterday from Hanoi and without a Proirity lounge in that terminal we paid $10US each in cash to use the Vietnam Airlines lounge. It was nothing special but working wifi and comfortable seating with a couple of drinks was well worth the money.

      • Also hot Vietnamese Spring rolls when I passed through in Feb! I thought it was rather nice, good coffee too.

    • Raymond Hennessy says:

      Just curious..do many peeps still notify their bank/card issuer of their travel plans? I haven’t bothered for years without any issues.
      Is it still necessary ?

      • No, I never do and rarely have problems. Always carry cards from multiple issuers, though, just in case one causes you trouble.

        I did have an issue with MBNA a couple of years ago. They blocked my card because apparently the following pattern of transactions was “suspicious” – make a purchase at Heathrow airport, seven hours later buy a metro ticket at JFK in New York ….

        • I asked Amex and was told we didn’t need to but the Virgin card definitely wants to know by phone or by text on their online page otherwise they will block your card.

    • I did not inform barclaycard when it was linked to supercard and travelled to the U.S. last month and it worked fine. Barclaycard did temporarily block their card due to multiple transaction with supercard but as they sent me a text to ask for confirmation that they were official it was resolved within a matter of minutes.

      • You must all be lucky. I seem to have abproblem with nationwide 100% of the time despite notifying them where and when I will be.

        • Don’t notify them and see if that helps

          • Peter Taysum says:

            Co-op blocked mine when I was in HNL as they thought it was fraudulent due to several transactions. I called them and worked again…

  3. You don’t need to advise mbna you will be abroad if just using supercard as all their transactions come from the UK.

  4. While on the subject of visas, from today the visa requirements for British Citizens to obtain a visa for India are much simplified. They can be obtained in advance electronically – just a few days ahead of travel. The cost has also been reduced from £100+ to about £40. For anyone who has obtained a visa previously (a tortuous process to say the least!) this is a very welcome move – especially as I’m on a 2-4-1 to Mumbai but returning from Delhi next January!

    https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/entry-requirements

  5. OT Bit: For those collecting Etihad Guest miles the Heathrow Rewards offer has now changed from 1000 miles for spending £25 to 2600 miles for spending £75. Discovered this today when I went to register my credit card for the premium level. It should be noted the new offer is valid until 30 September whilst the original offer is valid through end of year. Difficult to say whether registering for the new offer will overide the original offer. It may do so if admin is done by Heathrow Rewards but probably not if it is done by Etihad. I have previously been advised by Etihad that where members register for multiple unstackable offers only the first one you register will teceive the miles. For this reason, and given frequency of Etihad promotions, it seems best wlways to hold off registering until last minute before booking in event a better promotion may come along.

    • Yes, this is good – better than the Lufthansa ‘2 x £50 spends’ offer for the same bonus.

      Might to get another family member account opened – at a different household address, otherwise it won’t be allowed.

      • Thanks Rob, U’m travelling timorrow so no time for a new card although I could do all the registrations and keep the receipt. However, cannot think of anything I need £75+ and I seem to recall reported issues with buying giftcards and Heathrow Rewards. So, likely I will just buy the chromcast I was planning on and bank the 1000 points for a £25 spend.

  6. Apologies for this being completely off topic, but hoping someone can help answer this! I want to use my avios to book tickets to Rio for the Olympics next year. The outbound seats I want get released tomorrow, and the inbound ones a couple of weeks after that. Are there any advantages/disadvantages to booking a return vs two singles? I’m just worries the outbound seats might be gone before the inbound ones become available a couple of weeks later…

    Thanks

    • Sometimes (this applies mainly to the US) you pay more taxes on 2 x one-ways than a return ticket.

      However, it makes no difference in your case. Do the booking tomorrow.

      Then do an experiment and see how the taxes on 2 x one-ways compare to a return. If a return is cheaper, ring BA when the return opens up and add it to your existing booking (£35 fee). If 2 x one-ways are cheaper, book that separately.

  7. Azimo is great for Argentina as they use a rate similar to the blue dollar instead of the official rate. Perfect if you run out of foreign cash to change (never use an ATM or pay in pesos by card there).

  8. I don’t recommend transfer wise, I had an account with them and played around a bit just to figure out the exact charges and rates etc. next time I logged in to my account to do my first real transfer I got a message my account is blocked.when I contacted customer service they told me my account has been closed for good due to “security concerns” and no further details can be given. tried all different departments same answer no explanation. so certainly not recommended.

  9. JoshBosh says:

    Kenya believe it…. Ahem..

  10. AZIMO-DO says:

    Thats a bit misleading:
    Azimo allow you to see their conversion fees and rates on their main page. GBP -> JPY is shown as £1 fee based on direct to bank deposit…

    Yet once you sign up for an account it turns out they only permit iSWIFT for JPY transfers so you always get hit with a £10 fee!

  11. Nice spot, PalCsaky.

    Have made a GBP to EUR transfer with this – as you say superb deal on first transfer.

    Rate wise they’re pretty competitive – 1.3629 vs 1.3771 with TransferWise– however when sending larger amounts after their £1 promo has finished it might be better using the latter.