Bits: pay your car tax on Amex, sale, beat luggage theft with a gun!

News in brief:

DVLA now accepts American Express

(EDIT: it turns out that DVLA is STILL trialling the use of American Express.  I have been told that you may or may not be given the option of using Amex at random.  This is why some people have reported not being able to pay with it.)

Long-term readers of HFP will know that the ability to pay your road tax with an American Express card has come and gone over the last couple of years as the DVLA has trialled new payment systems.

The new system is now permanently in place and Amex is accepted.  The fee for using American Express is £2.50 which will be up to 2% of your fee depending on which band you are in.

This may not be a great deal if you own a low-tax vehicle.  It would however count towards the spending target for a sign-up bonus or towards your British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

DVLA hotel sale sent me details of a 10 day sale that is running from today until 31st August, although you can book for stays until June 2017.

Selected properties are offering 30% off, based on one or two night stays, or free breakfast.  Full details are here.

It might be worth a look for the Bank Holiday, although I would hold off until Accor releases its list of hugely discounted £25+ Happy Mondays offers tomorrow, as that will cover the Bank Holiday weekend too.

LateRooms summer sale

Stop luggage theft in the US … with a gun!

Finally, I was reading Business Week on my airberlin short-haul flight yesterday (more on that to come) when I found a handy tip for stopping airport employees breaking into your luggage when flying in the US.

A quirk of US aviation law means that guns must be flown in bags which cannot be accessed by a third party.  All other suitcases must have locks which can be opened by TSA staff.  Declare your gun at check-in (you must show that it isn’t loaded) and your suitcase – with non-TSA compliant locks – will be allowed through!

Does Marriott regret buying Starwood and is hoping the Chinese kill the deal?
Important dates for your diary - offers about to close which you shouldn't miss
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  1. What is road tax? If you mean car tax then mine is £20 so £2.50 is 12.5%.

    A road tax is based on the distance you drive, so in the UK it is collected by petrol stations.

  2. There’s always one

    • I agree, let’s not let ‘facts’ get in the way….

      Thinking a £2.50 will be “up to 2% of your fee” shows how little knowledge Raffles has about the subject.

      • The article worked for me… Having just used my Amex to pay for the new electronic version of the round tax disc dated 2014 I still have on my windscreen, this article reassured me that I had done the right thing…

      • If you look at the chart the majority of bands are £100+.

        I will switch the heading to car tax if it makes you happy :-) but that seems to exclude MPVs, light commercial vehicles etc which are taxed in the same way.

        As we’re away, I am limited to about 25 hours a week of working time so more errors will slip through than usual.

        • Although in fairness most modern cars are much lower emission and thus lower cost thus even if more bands are >£100 there is probably more of a skew to the lower bands for newer vehicles.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but £500 here so at £2.50 charge it’s a mere 0.5% and I’m a buyer at that cost

            • yep my main car is just £20 tax pa – but otoh it does drive me up to Heathrow & back (from Cornwall) for about £40 of diesel :)

            • beemer 320D is the way to go

              70 mpg

            • I got it when I was doing a study course in Exeter & had to drive 130 miles a day. My badass 4X4 costs 30p a mile so that looked a bit expensive. Bought the beemer as I have another 20YO one out here and they are good, reliable cars. Very impressed by the fuel efficiency – a very real 70 mpg on motorway – and of course £20 pa is a couple of pints down the pub. My badass 4X4 is a mere £200 pa but would be more like £400 if it were newer, it’s a relic that served me well in the past :)

              Raffles – you’re missing out, cars are fun lol

          • Last time I checked 50-6o% of new cars pay no road tax.

            That is why Osbo had to change it.

            (Excludes comment on Mr Brown’s Pedigree Chum)

      • Honestly, have people nothing better to do than to pick holes in Rob’s articles (which consistently save us lotsa money)?

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          Agreed! What a cheery chap the OP is…
          We should be happy that finally Amex is accepted! :)

  3. Globetrotter7 says:

    All good and well to avoid having your bag being broken into but checking in a firearm requires a lot more than just declaring it a check in. It is a lengthy process which required a 72hrs notice. At the airport the process takes at least an hour, involving special tags which aren’t readily available for obvious reasons, thorough documentation checks, a separate security screening and a £50 handling fee (on BA). Personally, I’d have my bag broken into if needs be…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      As most of the readers of this blog are U.K. based I doubt checking in a gun is a real possibility for more than a small number of them.

      A bit of Sunday light reading and an interesting if not useless fact for most of us

    • Someone did this on a BA flight in Rome I took and they had to be accompanied by a police officer at check-in.

  4. Sandgrounder says:

    I was surprised to learn that you can also use Amex to pay the Home Office for residence documents. Some bonus points for UK-resident EU nationals post-Brexit.

    • wish they’d accepted it when we got my wife her UK citizenship – cost nearly £1000 total

      of course, I moaned at the cost & said why bother, we’re all in the EU, you’ll miss that £1000 when you’re 75

      of course, she was right as usual

      • Citizenship applications are still sans Amex. And so are Passport applications. Residency documentation and qualified persons confirmations take Amex. Considering it’s the same department with the citizenship and registration, it may be a sign of things to come…

  5. I’ve just tried to pay my Vehicle Tax, and AmEx isn’t one of the options given (only MasterCard and Visa). Where did this news come from?

    • try post office, same £2.50

      • But that’s not DVLA accepting it, that’s the post office. The article says DVLA accept it, which I have tried to do online today, and it doesn’t work.

    • On the amex app on my phone it keeps telling me that the DVLA now accepts AMEX.

      Which is nice, but I haven’t owned a car in 4 years.

    • +1 just tried to pay and no option for four code security number for AMEX ! maybe worth a call tomorrow

  6. I’m now wondering whether I’ve actually paid my VED yet. Got the reminder a couple of weeks ago and fell around laughing that it’s only £20, instead of the £205 it used to be. Must remember to check when I get out of bed!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Don’t worry the Government have done away with that from 2017 on newly registered cars

      • Lady London says:

        sorry TGLoyalty… are you saying newly registered cars will not be subject to VED from 2017?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Not at all just no more VED bands based upon CO2 (which is why some cars are £20/30/100 etc) instead £140 for all passenger cars with any tail pipe emissions over 0 and £310 extra for all cars over £40k for the first 5 years including 0 tailpipe emmision cars.

  7. OT bits – just called the automated service to check the balance on my Moneycorp card and the £20 has been added, balance now £72 :) Will try withdrawing £70 from ATM later today.

  8. tomsurfer says:

    I have just tried to renew my vehicle tax, and AMEX is not accepted on line or on the phone, so I think this article may not be correct.

    • goto post office

      • anybody here old enough to remember ‘goto’? lol

        Commodore Pet in my case :)

      • Having to go to Post Office is not the same as DVLA accepting it. Raffles where did this information come from?

        • Richard – the overall result is more important than occasional glitches

          Way to go on cheap RFS flights! :)

          • Not really sure what your point is harry, the article says DVLA accept Amex, yet they don’t (as I and others have found out today).
            You say just go to the Post Office, but that’s not easy working the hours I do. I’d like to be able to pay for my VEL online or on the phone with Amex, which I can’t.

            • OK I apologize.

              Occasionally the info is not perfect or just ends up out of date/ curtailed. Eg my free 12 months Zipcar deal – saving you £50! Sadly ended.

              Some of us try to figure out how to get you the same points result & in this case the easy answer is Post Office.

        • Two readers who emailed me in recent weeks.

          I couldn’t check it because you can’t get into the payment site without a reference number.

          • I can confirm I paid my car tax back in June with my BA Amex – I’ve just reviewed my statement to make sure as my memory is not what it was … 😉 The 2.50 on top of 145 seemed not much to pay for getting those avios!

          • I went to renew my tax earlier in the month, and Amex most certainly was accepted, I thought I’d wait for my statement to close and now today “Only UK Maestro, VISA Debit, MasterCard Debit, Electron debit cards, VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted. “

  9. I heard people check in cheap starter pistols so that their luggage is treated with priority so is less likely to be lost/stolen.

    • O/T but hoping for some advice. I referred my wife to a BAPP Amex credit card the other day with the 9k referral bonus for me and 18k for her if meeting £3k spend in 3 months. After she applied, the next day welcome sign up bonus changed to 26k. I called Amex today to ask if she could get the 26k, however Amex rep on customer service line stated there’s nothing that can be done as they were the terms in place when she applied. If she cancelled the card, she can’t reapply for another six months.

      Does anyone know what else I could try to get the higher 26k bonus? Any advice appreciated.

      • ask a different rep

        or even a 3rd one

      • Send a secure message which gets handled by the team in India. Surprisingly, they can be even more helpful than the Brighton based call centre.

        • Thanks. Do you mean a secure message when logged into my wife’s account?

          • Yes, via the ‘contact us’ option – I know of a couple of friends that have had success via this route

  10. How often do Heathrow hotels show up on Happy Mondays?

    • Very often, on busy weekends they are often the only London options. Ibis can be £25.

      • Thanks. Will extend my bedtime tonight. I’m in Acton but have a 7am flight next tues from t5. Every hour of sleep counts!

    • Heathrow Ibis hotel with breakfast for £25 is a bargain especially when you check in and see people are paying the full amount!

  11. that was very quick reply, thanks

  12. Another OT

    Has anyone taken any advantage of Mastercard priceless cities and mastercard surprises?
    almost all of my current cards are either amex or visa, so cant check it myself.

  13. Arnold Judas Rimmer says:

    Using AMEX directly through DVLA for paying VED certainly was working this year – I taxed one car this way in April, one in June and one in July. Each time there was a £2.50 fee but still worth it for the £230, £295 and £110 tax bands. It was simply a payment option on the normal DVLA web site. Never went near the Post Office…

  14. I used my Amex to pay for my VED earlier. Worked well.

    Will be a shame if they’ve scrapped it!

  15. tomsurfer says:

    As the DVLA are not accepting AMEX directly, I have followed the alternative suggestion and paid my VED at the post office using AMEX.

    • Good idea!

    • Apparently it is a random trial. Some people will see the Amex offer and some won’t.

      • I paid for my driving licence renewal with Amex this year

        ISTR £14 and it came in the post 2 days later

        they grabbed the photo off my passport data

        amazing Brit efficiency – that’s what won us the Olympics! :)

        • £1000 fine if you can’t be bothered to renew yours

          & yes – they do actually routinely fine people for not bothering, luckily I got tipped off by a friendly NatWest bank mgr who noticed mine was expiring

          • anyway since everybody is in bed or so it seems

            o2 sent me my Justin Biebers a couple of days ago, plenty of time to let a more deserving recipient get them as I think they are for 14th October

            OK OK I know music lovers hate me, can it, lol

            it’s legal and just for the record, as a method to do MS it works fine, seems you can’t really lose if you choose the right day, the right artiste

            looking at 100% up after costs but that’s not the point, the point was MS

        • Yep, I liked how they used passport photo – some decent government IT does exist!

  16. No Amex taken for my car tax over the phone! Amex credit avios after ring there customer service.

  17. Paid VED online at the end of July with AMEX (Virgin Atlantic MBNA) without trouble.

  18. Can confirm DVLA website does accept Amex.
    managed to tax vehicle with £2.50 CC fees but works if you are working towards sign up bonus.