Bits: Virgin Azuma trains named, 0% on balance transfers and no fee with Post Office credit card

More short stories:

Virgin names its new trains Azuma

Virgin has announced the name of its new train fleet for the East Coast line – Azuma.

And here is a pretty picture of one:


Currently being assembled by Hitachi in County Durham, they are due to come into service from 2018.  The trains will have the same 1-2 seating layout in First Class, pictured below, as the existing fleet.  The top speed will remain at 120 mph until line upgrades are completed, albeit that improved acceleration is expected to reduce London to Edinburgh journey times by 20 minutes.

A variant of these trains will debut first, in 2017, on the Great Western line.

Azuma First Class

0% fee and 0% interest for 18 months on Post Office Money Platinum MasterCard

There are a handful of credit cards which are both FREE and have no foreign exchange fees on purchases abroad – Nationwide, Halifax Clarity etc – plus the Post Office Money Platinum MasterCard.

Whilst the Halifax Clarity card is marginally better than the Post Office one – because Clarity also has no FX fees on overseas cash withdrawals – there is a new reason to take a look at the Post Office card at the moment.

For a limited period, it is offering:

0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers, and

0% fee on your balance transfer

This means that you can move an existing balance from any other credit card, fee free, to the Post Office card and pay no interest until Autumn 2017.  You should definitely clear your balance at that point, however, as the representative APR is 17.8% variable.  This is NOT a card where you want to be paying interest.

More details of the Post Office Platinum card and this offer can be found here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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  1. Since when have you (Rob) become interested in 0% offers?

    One of the very first questions I asked on HFP 3 years ago was regarding this very thing, and you said you thought carrying large balances would hurt your credit rating or something like that.

  2. Peaceful Waters says:

    If you carry a balance transfer across from another card and then make a purchase overseas you’ll pay interest on that purchase element of the overall balance.

    • This is true and often overlooked. If you don’t pay your balance off in full, regardless of whether it is 0% balance transfer offer, you lose the 56-day interest fee grace period that normally applies to purchases.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Correct. This undermines the value in the 0% FX after the first three months.

      Halifax have a 23m BT offer with no fee (although nb that Halifax offer a shorter BT length about half of accepted applicants).

  3. Tilly71 says:

    Robs breaking into the Credit Card market, Rob Lewis in the making.

    • I think it’s ok here as the Post Office card is used by travellers.

      • I only mentioned it because I happened to be looking at the PO site yesterday (due my legal obligation to make sure all the APR stuff is up to date) and this popped up. I would hope that HFP readers on high-interest rewards cards are not carrying balances on them but I know from the occasional email I receive that this is not the case.

  4. OT: I completed my IHG Accelerate tasks on 11/3 – task list updated 17/3 to show completed and points all posted into my account today including the Achievement Bonus ! Wasn’t expecting them to post for a few weeks! Although the bonus of 1000 pts for purchasing points back in Jan has not yet posted. There was a problem with the IT and it now shows completed but have raised a claim for the missing bonus. 97k easy points!!

    • Nice one Liz. Currently at the Crowne Plaza Gatwick finishing my target.

      Not a bad spot for a stopover although it’s in Crawley rather than attached to the airport. I was picking up the Mrs at midnight rather than flying out early though so less of an issue. Most of staff very new it seems, shocking service at the bar but front desk pretty good with status welcoming etc.

  5. Hitachi Rail are one of my customers, off to visit one of their Depots in 2 weeks!

    • Jordan D says:

      One of my client’s previously. Can proudly say that I’ve played a (small) part in these trains coming to fruition. Even been to Newton Aycliffe when it was a field.

  6. Nick Burch says:

    Top speed remains 125mph not 120!

    Apparently, they’re being designed for 140pm (what the electric hauled trains currently running were also designed for), but it needs signalling upgrades (planned for the next 5-10 years anyway) and upgrades to the overhead electric system first.

  7. Azumas are similar to the southeastern high speed trains which is a very nice train to travel on.

    ICE 3 is still my favourite train to travel on.

  8. I have the PO credit card (for the zero foreign currency fees) and not a great experience. It’s actually a bank of Ireland run card and customer service is not great – I had a problem with an overseas disputed charge and they were of no use/support at all. Would obviously not recommend.

    • Worth submitting a formal complaint. I had issues with the card being blocked and then not properly unblocked whilst abroad (incurring lots of international calls) and they provided appropriate recompense.

  9. I hope this site will keep being focused on one specific topic – which is miles , hotel points etc , sometimes “less” is “more” so it is probably better not to post news at all when there is no real travel related news than to try be a site about “everything” which just would be a road to become many of the useless travel blogs around the web

    • Radiata says:

      HfP a pleasure to read. Insightful, illuminating and rather fun.

      Perhaps that any “deviation” from that thought to be good form met with sharp riposte a sign of love..

      Mildly OT, albeit on the cc front, Barclaycard today insist one can have both the HHonors and IHG cards simultaneously when I rang to try to switch to the latter..

      • Please let us know once you actually receive confirmation that your account is open – I’d like to go for the IHG premium but was turned down in Oct/Nov due to already holding the Hilton card

      • Website says you can’t!

    • Long term 0% interest cards are entirely on topic. Last summer, I bought a new car. I took out 2 airline cards and split the £4k deposit between them to earn the elevated sign up bonuses, then immediately switched the balance to a 33 month 0% interest card, as soon as the points hit.

  10. I think a deal such as the PO cc advertised is apt for the site. We achieve points using credit cards, some readers may not as they should pay off their full balance each month, therefore this card would be a no brainer for those who have accrued a large balance be it from some normal shopping as well as for accruing points, this on the basis however that they pay off the full balance by the end of the 0% term and learn their lesson! It is also quite rare to get cc’s with no BT fees and 0% interest for a period of time!

    • I usually pay all my cards in full but applied for a 0%/0 fee balance transfer in Jan – spent as heavily as possible on my usual cards and transferred the balance rather than paying the statements for a couple of months… Now have 5k earning a bit of interest in the background… £200 or so – which seems reasonable for a sign up bonus.

      My credit score did drop off… If it seems to have a major impact/doesn’t recover then I can just pay the balance and see it as a lesson learnt, but my understanding was that it was good to use a proportion of your available credit?

      • I do this too, my credit score shows as improving when I set up a standing order for £1 in addition to the minimum direct debit payment – as it doesn’t flag as ‘only making minimum payment’.

        The PO card is relevant for travellers due to the lack of fees for currency exchange, the 0% offer is worth noting IMO, especially if you have a couple of spending targets on at the same time and are buying vouchers/prepay cards to hit the targets so need some cashflow for the balance.

        Seconded that PO/Bank of Ireland customer service is terrible. When I had this card the only thing you could do online was apply – couldn’t even check a balance or get a statement.

  11. Apparently Azuma is Japanese for East…

    • Yes, same kanji but different reading for the usual word for ‘east’, ‘higashi’

  12. I have had the PO card and service was dreadful..I have no idea why the Post Office associates itself with BoI – must have got a good deal I guess.

    • The online service IS dreadful – you cannot pay your bill via the website and the transaction data is ‘thin’ to put it mildly. As long as you go with paper statements and direct debit payments you’re fine though. My wife has had one of these for a couple of years.