Bits: mystery Supercard charges, LAN Madrid to Frankfurt deal back, Luxury Travel Diary deals

News in brief:

Supercard – the small print we missed

I covered the relaunch of Supercard recently, the payment card which lets you charge foreign currency transactions to ANY Visa or MasterCard without incurring any FX fees.

You can download the free Supercard app and order a card here.

People are now starting to use their Supercard and a strange pattern is emerging.

When transactions are made, they are logged by the app along with the exchange rate used.  A few days later, Supercard is charging a separate – smaller – amount and calling it ‘exchange rate difference’.

This is apparently the difference between the exchange rate on the day of the transaction and the date that it is cleared.  That said, I was under the impression that MasterCard locked the exchange rate on the date of transaction ….

Extra confusion comes from the fact that Supercard does not tell you which transaction these ‘exchange rate adjustments’ refer to.  If you are using it for business purposes, it will be difficult to reconcile the original transactions with the additional charges.

It isn’t clear if Supercard gives you a credit if the exchange rate moves the other way.  The market has generally been one way over the last fortnight as we all know.  One reader was told by Supercard that he had ‘saved £48’ by using Supercard on a US holiday only to find an additional £50 of charges added on as ‘exchange rate difference’!


Fly Frankfurt to Madrid in LAN business class for £120

Last year I wrote an introductory piece on South American airline LAN. LAN is a oneworld partner so you can use Avios points to redeem for its flight from Madrid to Santiago, Chile.

It also has an impressive business class seat as you can see from that article and the photo below.

Few people know that the LAN flight from Chile does not terminate in Madrid. It carries on to Frankfurt.  This allows you to earn some British Airways tier points in style.  Why? Because you can buy tickets just for the Frankfurt to Madrid flight.

If you want to try out the very nice business class seat below, here are the current special prices available on certain days over the Summer as per the LAN website here:

Frankfurt to Madrid one-way – £120

Madrid to Frankfurt one-way – £101

Return trip – £179 irrespective of where you start

You will earn roughly 1,100 Avios points and 40 tier points for each segment. The flight is 2 hours and 40 minutes so you will get a decent amount of time to enjoy the LAN seat. Lounge access is also included.  You will be flying a Boeing 787 Dreamliner which a lot of people have not yet been able to experience.

The timings are not ideal, to be honest. The Frankfurt flight departs at 19.35 and lands in Madrid at 22.10. The Madrid to Frankfurt flight leaves at 15.10 and lands at 17.45.

There probably aren’t many HFP readers who actually need to fly from Madrid to Frankfurt, or vice versa. However, if you are after some cheap BA tier points and fancy trying out a different airline then this is a fun deal.  You can book this on the LAN website here.

If you want to do a triangular trip from the UK to Frankfurt to Madrid to the UK or vice versa, remember that some Iberia flights to Heathrow are operated with long-haul A330 aircraft with flat beds in business class. You can redeem these seats using Avios and it would be an interesting comparison to do that flight and the LAN trip as part of the same journey.

LAN 787 business class

Luxury Travel Diary auctions

Finally, the Luxury Travel Diary site dropped me a line about another wave of its auctions closing this week.

Here is 7 nights in a villa in Mallorca which ends in a few days and is currently very lowly priced.  This 2 night beach break near Athens is also finishing very soon.  Looking further out, there are a batch of 2-night Paris hotel breaks in the system as well as a St Lucia holiday.  Not everything will work for you, either in terms of location, length or dates, but you’ll probably find something of interest if you poke around!

My review of the Hotel des Indes, The Hague, Presidential Suite!
REMINDER: HFP EXCLUSIVE - double IHG Rewards Club base points on ALL of your bookings!
About Head for Points

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  1. Very interesting (and depressing) reading all the comments on here. Sadly Supercard seems to have got a lot worse coming out of Beta, mainly due to this switch to Wirecard (same as Curve) – with all the same issues re. pre-authorisations, etc. Mind you Wirecard also power the Number26 debit card in Germany and it seems to work fine (and still gives free ATM withdrawals).

    I agree with other posters that Revolut has a role over and above just being for those that can’t get 0% fee credit cards. No fess on ATM withdrawals up to £500 per month too is quite decent. Of course the free SEPA payments may well be going for us now thanks to Brexit…

    • Have also just found when signing up for Revolut that they give you an electronic card in the app immediately for use online whilst waiting for the physical one to arrive, very handy!

    • Have to agree with you. Used the Supercard through the beta period and it worked flawlessly. Been on a couple of trips now with the new card and its failed three times at authorisation. It’s also lacking previously available features so you can’t change the pin, no TouchID on the iOS app and the website access has been removed.

      Luckily I have a Revolut card and have been using this all this week out in the US with out any issues.

      It appears that the beta period must have been too successful and the launch has been scaled back to the minimum viable product.

      • I must say I’ve been impressed with Revolut – my card is due soon but they give an instant electronic one to use, have clear live currency rates and some very good security options (eg location-based security for physical transactions, ability to switch off magnetic strip transactions, etc)

  2. Used just once an adjustment of approx. 1.5% on an online transaction in AUD.

    I only used my Supercard as I didn’t have the card I wanted to use in my wallet and I did have my supercard on me. Perhaps not to be used again given I have Clarity and Lloyds cards

    • PalCsaky says:

      Same here. Payment in AUD, supercard added 1.08% extra charge. Best to stick with Halifax Clarity.

  3. O/T Bits – Gogroopie deals

    Anybody heard of this outfit? Obviously in the Groupon mould but with some cheap flights + hotel deals – incl from regional airports.

    Eg 2 nights in Madrid incl hotels & flights from London for £89 PP.

    I think you could work out your carrier fairly easily with some o0f the locations.

    • Search for ‘Go Groopie Limited’ on google and the reviews don’t seem to be too good

    • I bought something from them via a Groupon deal a couple of years ago. There is nothing I can say that could convey what an utter shambles they are. I wouldn’t trust them to cross the road unaided. About the least rude thing I can say about them is that they are downright liars.

  4. I thought SuperCard was fantastic whilst in Beta and signed up for the new version… took lots of chasing for them to get the card out, and I’ve now been chasing them for nearly a week because the app won’t show me the pin number!

    Very happy with my experience with Revolut so far… shame you can’t link it to a point-earning credit card though!

  5. Peter K says:

    Just worked it out. They removed the Tesco option from the main “payout” page and deleted my clubcard number.

    If you find the same go into the “my profile tab” then on the right hand side click on the “payout details” tab scroll down and fill in your Tesco number again. Click, Save, then confirm you want to save it (it crashed for me the first time but was ok the second time).

    Go back to the “payout” page and Tesco is an option again.

    N.B. When I inputted my Tesco number and saved it it said I would need to wait 72hrs before a payout could be made but it let me do it straight away!

  6. I need to get 100 tier points before November to retain my silver status, doesn’t look like I’ll have any more business trips; any suggestions on what they most cost-effective way to attain these would be? (I know I just missed the bargain that was Malta unfortunately for 160TP’s)

  7. With the pound going up, I would have expected a refund. But no. Nothing!

    I am going to refuse the charges.

    There is also no way to know which is for which purchase.

  8. I have Curve, and recently received the Supercard. Should I assume now with these extra charges from Supercard that I shouldnt use it, and should stick to Curve instead?

  9. This is very interesting, how long is it between the purchase date and the clearing date?

    I bought a lot of things in Europe on Wed-Fri last week, pretty much the low vs the euro so looks like in theory I should be receiving a credit?

    • I spent £1500 in New York on the Thursday of the EU vote, haven’t dared to look yet to see if it went through at $1.50 or $1.30!

      • I assume you needed to ‘clean up’ this thread earlier, given my comments (which were in no way derogatory to any individual) have been deleted along with quite a few others?

        • Is it not under ‘older comments’ the comment count is higher than last time I checked

        • Nope!

          • Of my purchases on 7th July, half went through at mastercards 5th and half at 6th rates, and purchases onn8th went through at 7ths rate. So your big purchase should have gone through at 1.50!

  10. I just got an email from Supercard, card cancelled due to PIN issues, new one will be posted shortly, call if abroad or travelling shortly.
    40 mins waiting for customer services to pick up, cards going out first class tonight and tomorrow morning. If it doesn’t arrive before I go away email a copy of my credit card bill and they will pay the foreign transaction costs.
    It turns out they don’t have a service standard for picking up customers calls…

    • Frenske says:

      Got same email from Supercard.

      Good luck with trying to get refund from expenses made on a total different card.

      • I was surprised by the offer, might email and try to get it in writing, but card will most likely arrive before the weekend.

    • I got the same email. I’d love to know whether it has affected all card holders, or just ones who didn’t change their pin, or just those of us who haven’t used our cards yet. So much for the initial testing to iron out all the kinks before the grand relaunch …

      • MrHandBaggageOnly says:

        We have used the card, transactions showing, but didn’t change the PIN and it stopped working on Monday. Same email received today. So it’s either everyone, or just those who didn’t change the PIN.

      • You can’t change your PIN with the new Supercard though?

        • Oh well, if it has stopped working for people who have already activated and used the card, and you can’t change the pin, then it seems like they’ve had to reissue cards for everyone. Is there anyone who hasn’t had the email (or SMS)?

          • I’ve not had an email or anything about needing a card replaced. I applied within a few days of it being announced here and it arrived late June. I’ve not tried changing the PIN as the default one was fairly memorable, and it did work the one time I tried it in a shop on 2nd July.

            I’m not surprised there are problems changing the PIN, my understanding is that it’s stored on the card (used as the encryption key for the card details or something) and normally has to be changed at a cash machine (as it has connections to the bank computers)

            • Genghis says:

              It appears though that the Supercard PIN cannot be changed

            • Nope, not an option on this new card – Supercard have confirmed you can’t change it, which is pretty annoying!

          • Genghis says:

            Nor me

          • I haven’t had the email, can still login to my account and the lack of option to change PIN is something that sadly has been present throughout this new post-beta programme…

            • Ross Williams says:

              Currently abroad. After around 10 days Supercard stopped working unexpectedly. PIN no longer recognised. No contact from them or prior warning. Proving to be a complete waste of time. Have never had this with any other card issued ever. Makes you wonder what the trial period was all about as it looks like it’s still ongoing.

            • Given they’ve changed issuer (to Wirecard, same as N26 and Curve) in reality I’m not sure there’s much carry-over from their previous trial now, which makes it all a bit pointless!! Very annoying for it to stop working whilst abroad like that, the previous incarnation was much more consistent.

  11. Just looking at the LATAM Dreamliner fare MAD-FRA in Business for £100.20 one-way. This books into Premium Business-Z. Is this fare eligible for avios and tier points. The avios calculator on suggests not but I know this isn’t completely accurate, If anyone could shed any light then this would be much appreciated.

  12. Don’t forget with the new card you can’t use it with PayPal or change the pin.

    Yet more charges and no credits!

    Are we being conned?

  13. Well Supercard have just confirmed to me that they’ll be changing things soon so there will only be a single transaction shown & charged.

  14. O/T Treating yourself has never been so rewarding – from 14 – 17 July, you could earn double Avios when you shop online through Gate 365

    Might mean it’s better to use Gate365 instead of alternatives

  15. Just to add to the Supercard PIN news – Both I and my wife got the Cancelled card due to PIN issue email & text.
    Currently in Spain, my wife’s was activated but not yet used, but was still cancelled.
    My card – I had tried to change the PIN in the UK before leaving – which appeared to fail at the ATM.
    The first time I used it here in Spain with the PIN in the app the transaction failed, so tried it again and I used the new PIN I had entered at the UK ATM, and the transaction went through.
    Next day I used the card somewhere else, and this time it needed the original PIN in the app to work.

  16. Slightly OT but still about foreign spend – I got an email today from Amex about my BAEC card, from now until 31st August any transactions in foreign currency attract an *extra* 1 avois per 4 pounds (once converted). I don’t know if the fees are also included in the calculation, but with all the hassle of the supercard this may be a sweetener if you don’t have a 0% forex card

  17. Adele Stratton says:

    Just booked to MAD-FRA LAN flight and used miles to get the A330 LHR-MAD with IB! A nice little weekend away trying new things! I wish I had known about this during the BA sales but hopefully another one will be along soon!!

  18. rams1981 says:

    I complained to supercard. They have sent me a breakdown of the transactions. The dates of authorisation by me vary from 1 to 12 July yet the exchange rate used to book the rate by supercard varies between 9th and 10th. This is clearly fraudulent for me and i have told them they need to refund the money immediately.

    Secondly supercard can’t be used at tolls which I didn’t know. Tried to pay twice which were rejected. The charges went through onto my credit card and have since been deleted out of the supercard app due to being declined. Absolute shambles.

    • heh heh, so far I have refrained from the trite told you so on Curve & Supercard :)

      and I shall continue to refrain lol

  19. Rodger McSalty says:

    Are we sure the extra exchange rate chargers we’re also in the beta but simply wrapped up into the single transaction posted?

    • Towards the end that was the case I believe but to start with the stated amount in the app was the amount charged at the end.

  20. I was just looking at the thread as was puzzled by these “spurious” few pence transactions – one for each main purchase made (while in Italy last week – no other problems). Seems to average about 0.5% of the total £. I had noticed on the App that sometimes a transaction shows as both Processed AND also as Pending for a few days – which had slightly different £ prices. So I suppose they post the initial one immediately (to register the charge), but then adjust once the foreign transaction is processed to them – As you say we should get any refunds due as well !!

  21. chicarg says:

    I have been looking, but for the life of me I cannot find reward flights operated by LAN on the site (particularly on the route MAD-SCL); only Iberia and BA being offered. However, on a previous article this was mentioned as a possibility. Am I missing anything?

  22. Phoned super card who were not interested in the additional charges and wouldn’t refund them. He said they would provide refunds if rates dropped between initial charge and settlement dates.
    Won’t be using it again.

  23. rams1981 says:

    anyone had luck getting the amounts refunded?

  24. Just checked our Lloyds credit card statement and Lloyds charged extra “FX transaction fees” on top of the Supercard fees. Is this the same as what people have seen on their credit cards? Thanks

  25. rams1981 says:

    has anyone heard back from either supercard or financial ombudsman regarding this?

    One thing I’ve noticed HSBC Elite custermer service is rubbish compared to AMEX. Called on Friday to query the transactions and the team dealing with it were busy and promised a call back which I still haven’t received. AMEX would have dealt with it there and then

  26. Just chipping in my two pence worth on the Supercard.

    I had the pilot VISA card and it worked perfectly the entire time, with one exception that a AED cash withdrawal didn’t complete but showed up as a transaction – although no card got charged ultimately so it wasn’t a major problem.

    With this new Supercard, my g/f failed to use it on and a Paypal based payment, mine also failed with Paypal.

    The old card worked perfectly online, at ATMs, and with PIN. Not to mention there are now additional fees.

    She tried calling CS and the first lady she spoke with was clueless and advised her to just use another payment card. What sort of advice is that?

    I called back and spoke to someone else, he was more knowledgeable and told me that 3D secure type payments won’t work.

    Looks like they have messed it up!

    Also as an FYI, I received a 2nd card and my g/f didn’t.