Bits: The Economist on ‘class war in the [BA] airport lounge’, 22 months 0% balance transfer on Post Office credit card

News in brief:

The Economist’s 1843 on ‘Class War In The Airport Lounge’

Intelligent Life, the quarterly lifestyle glossy from The Economist, was recently relaunched with a new title 1843.

The new edition features, on its back page, an article by Adrian Wooldridge.  It outlines his journey through British Airways Executive Club status.  He is clearly not a Head for Points reader, however, as it seems that he missed achieving Gold by 30 tier points and didn’t seem to know a) that he could ring BA for a one week extension or b) how to get 30 tier points quickly and cheaply.

It is well worth a read and you can find it here.

Did you know, for example, that in The Republic Plato argues that citizens come in three types:  Gold, Silver and Bronze?

As the article concludes:

We Britons understand the value of keeping the classes divided while holding out the possibility of social promotion.  BA’s slogan is ‘one world’ [er, no!] but its genius is to understand that, however interconnected humans become, it still pays to divide them into gold, silver and bronze.

Plato The Republic

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

The Post Office dropped me a note last week to promote a new 22 month 0% balance transfer deal on its Platinum MasterCard.

I feature the Post Office card on HFP because it is one of only a handful of credit cards which are both FREE and have no foreign exchange fees on purchases abroad.

Whilst the Halifax Clarity card is a little better than the Post Office one for overseas use because Clarity also has no FX fees on overseas cash withdrawals, the new offer of:

0% interest for 22 months on balance transfers, and

0% fee on your balance transfer

will be interesting for some people.  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 early 2018.  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.

You can still make new purchases without impacting your 0% balance transfer as your monthly repayment must, by law, be used to pay off the highest APR transactions first – which means paying off your fresh spending.  This would still allow you to benefit from the 0% fees on foreign exchange transactions which is, of course, the key benefit for HFP readers.  More details of the Post Office Platinum card and this offer can be found here.

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.

(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.)

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  1. As an existing card holder we were sent 24 months for a 1.5% fee. Not bad.

    However I think if you purchase anything, yes they will pay off the purchase first, but you will pay 19% from time of purchase as the card is not fully paid off. I assume if you pay the purchase amount immediately then this is reduced.

    • Has any existing card holder had the 0% and fee free offer?. I was offered 2.9% and my wife 3.5% charge so we’ll be declining this time.

    • This is my understanding too

  2. Few bits of mild humour in that article, I’m hoping that its tongue in cheek, otherwise he comes across as a totally pretentious €$¥$¢¥$£%&£

    • And woefully ill-informed – Bronze gets business class check-in and priority boarding. One expects more from the Economist.

    • oh don’t be so po-faced – it’s a well written, quite funny, article… :)

  3. I would however add that lounges do make great people watching arenas.

  4. Charlie says:

    In the article you mention that he could have called BA for a weeks extension and taken an extra flight to get his 30 TP to make gold. Is there anything that can be done “the other way”? – This year I flew on NYE but my tier points year ended on 8th Jan. The points from this flight were wasted – I was already bronze but still a long way from silver.

    What I’m wondering, is had I removed by BA number from the booking just before flying, and then added it retrospectively to claim the points after 8th Jan, would the TP have credited to the next year, making it easier for me to hit status in that year, and not be lost on the reset?



    • James A says:

      Nope, it’s the flight date. That ship has sailed for you sadly.

    • Afraid not, they’d still post with the same flight date and there’s no leeway in that direction, only at the end of your TP year.

    • Charlie says:

      Thanks for your replies, thought this would probably be the case! Oh well, looks like I might need to plan next year’s ski trip a little better!

  5. vindaloo says:

    I’ve been reading HFP since soon after it launched, and I didn’t know you could get a one week extension to your tier point collection year! Learn something new every day…

  6. Frankie says:

    Please can you advise how can one get 30 tier points quickly and cheaply? I’m going to need 40 soon but from my research I’ll need 4 short haul return flights earning lowest points (8 flights) to get my 40 points (5 points per flight)

    • A trip that involves a one way Club Europe to e.g. Amsterdam and/or return/outbound in economy.

      • Frankie says:

        Thanks Danny. For 60 quid extra I can secure silver for nearly 2 years due to the timings of my tier points year end. A real saving for me (and my partner) as I regularly pay for seats upstairs on 747 to Phoenix and Vegas (using amex 2 for 1) so that will now be free.

        • whiskerxx says:

          If you book economy fares categorised as K, L, M, N, S or V you will earn 10 tier points rather than 5 for the Q, O and G categories.
          The fares will likely be more expensive but you will only require 4 flights instead of 8.
          To find fares use ITA Matrix:
          Click advanced routing codes and enter:
          BA /f bc=k |bc=l |bc=n |bc=m |bc=s |bc=v
          in the outbound and return boxes.
          This should force the available fares within those buckets.

  7. Sorry for OT but does anyone know from a past booking whether Qatar Airlines use Dynamic Currency Conversion when booking an ex-EU flight?
    I purchased a 2 for 1 flight the other day and the ‘pending’ amount on my Lloyds Avios Reward credit card amount is more than I was expecting. Wondering if Qatar converted DKK to GBP and then billed my card? Thanks.

    • Frankie says:

      The exact same happened to me. was £80 more than I was expecting on the Lloyds Avios CC. I guess there’s nothing we can do about it now

      • Really frustrating as they are not allowed to do this without offering an option. Also I didn’t think American Express supported DCC.

        Has yours posted to your account yet Frankie or still pending? Until it’s posted I it’s not possible to see the original transaction currency.

        Was thinking about contacting Qatar but can’t see them doing much.

        • Frankie says:

          It’s posted. I’ll just have to forget about it or it’ll annoy me too much. Still a great deal albeit a wee bit dearer than I expected.

    • I’d recommend booking Qatar airways flights through American Express travel – I found that you get the same price as booking direct but they dynamically convert to GBP at pretty close to the market rate. This means you can use your favourite points earning Amex card to book without incurring additional costs.

      Note: I haven’t verified this across a wide range of flights so it is worth comparing the total against the price to book direct at the time of booking.

      • For clarity, they show the GBP total for ex-EU flights at time of booking so there are no surprises when the transaction clears.

      • It’s not DCC, it’s the IATA rate – the same rates are used to convert your foreign airport taxes and fees to the departure country’s currency

        • Sorry I don’t follow John, what is the IATA rate? If I am departing CPH and I purchase a ticket priced in DKK why would there be any conversion to GBP involved. Qatar should have billed in DKK but they have decided to convert to GBP and take a 3% commission. Are you saying it is common for airlines to do this conversion?

      • Agreed Matt and John. Just did a comparison on the flight I booked and the Amex travel price is competitive. I usually prefer to book direct with the airline where possible but in this case would’ve gone via Amex travel had I known Qatar do this crappy conversion.

        • I actually prefer to book with Amex travel over booking direct. Earlier this year I was stranded in New York during the blizzards and found the Amex travel support exceptional. They booked me on a flight back home with another airline that meant I got back on the earliest possible flight departing from JFK once the travel ban had been lifted. This was after making 2 separate changes to my original ticket due to flight cancellations.

          • That’s good to hear. By comparison a friend booked with Opodo and they were horrendous to deal with re changes.

            • Lady London says:

              + 1.
              Couldn’t even get basic fare and change rules information from Opodo after I had booked a fare and thought I might have to change it.
              Never again will I book with them no matter what the incentive.

          • Interesting thanks Matt, will look at using them next time.

  8. O/T anybody got any thoughts on this snippet? –

    IAG is also in codeshare talks with China Eastern and China Southern and is thought to be considering bids for Wizz Air, Hungary’s low-cost airline, Norwegian Air, and the UK’s Monarch Airlines.

    • Monarch’s CEO is Adrian Swaffield who was previously the MD of Avios, so that rumour is not totally crazy.

      Norwegian – unlikely in my view. Wizz Air – no reason why not, could merge it into Vueling.

      • I might be missing something obvious, but why does the CEO of Monarch being the ex-MD of Avios increase their chance of acquisition? He’s passing secret information back to his previous employers?

        • That’s how it works. If you know and trust the CEO it gives you more confidence over the numbers and forecasts they give you.

          I built my old career on this – befriending CEOs 3-5 years before their business was sold so we knew if they were worth backing in an MBO.

          Would you rather buy a second hand car off a mate or a stranger?

          • Stranger definitely – I know how my mates drive :-) And sending the AA inspector around might offend.

            • Pretty much!

              I did buy a car from a colleague’s disable father. He did about 3000 miles a year, so it was in mint condition.

      • Wizz would be very willing sellers.

        IAG does seem very serious about scaling up in Europe – expanding the Vueling model ie ‘hybrid, full service and not really LCC’ (so they claim) would be a natural move.

    • Norwegian won’t sell. Kjos wouldn’t give up control for start.

  9. Mark T says:

    Wow, I didn’t like that Economist article, thinking the worst of people. I think it’s pretty horrible to think people get BA status for one-upmanship. And tbh, does he really think anyone is going to be impressed because someone has BA Gold, an Amex Platinum, or indeed any other card/status.

    We get the status for the benefits, and because we value how it enhances the way we live our lives. If he’s doing it for any other reason he’s pretty sad.

  10. James Alexander says:

    Yes this reviewer is talking nonsense. If he was that good at tracking his tier points he would have noted his year-end coupled with his shortage for status.
    He also sounds like a name dropping w*nker.. Sadly there’s many of his type in T5 Gold lounge too !

  11. Mark, James – I’m pretty sure he’s caricaturing himself. The paragraph before the split for the ad is pretty obvious self-mockery, non ?

  12. Michael says:

    Does anybody have the code for 15% off Priority Pass that was in highlife magazine this month? I forgot to note it down and I can’t find it online!

  13. Topp2015 says:

    Raffles – can you make multiple balance transfers to the post office card?

  14. My girlfriends tier point collection ends on the 8th of next month; right in the middle of a trip to Hawaii. The extension would allow her to include the return leg and make Gold. So she phoned the BA silver line… and they told her to phone back AFTER she completed the trip, and they would add the extension then….. She told me and a few alarm bells are going off in my head, does this sound right? or was it an operator that didn’t know the rules.

    • bsuije says:

      Sounds right to me, because that was my experience when my year ended back in Feb and I needed just a few more TPs to maintain Silver.

      Don’t be surprised if she gets an e-mail saying she’s down to Silver – the Gold one should follow a few days/weeks later.

      What I’m unsure about is whether the TPs in that additional period get “double counted”, i.e. do they count for status in the year that has just passed AND the year that’s currently running. Is there anyone who could share their experience of this?

      • AndyGWP says:

        Likewise, sounds about right to me. I’ve read this on Flyertalk before now.

        Thinking about it, they wouldn’t want to action it sooner in case the extension wasn’t needed :) you may have more flights that come up that would make an extension redundant