Bits: Heathrow’s Christmas ad, two free US Uber rides, Amex shopping offers

News in brief:

Watch Heathrow’s Christmas ad

Heathrow Airport has released an incredibly sweet Christmas ad, reminding us all that Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones.

If you haven’t seen it on TV, I strongly recommend taking a look (click below, it may not display if you are reading this outside our website).  This ad will definitely make it into my top five Christmas ads this year …..

Free Uber ride up to $65

If you are heading to the US between now and New Year, American Express and Uber are running a holiday season promotion giving you two free Uber rides up to $65 each from selected US airports.

Simply enter the code AMEXAIRPORT before ordering your Uber and select an American Express card for your payment.  The code is accepted OK on UK registered Uber accounts.

This offer is valid for Uber rides before 31st December 2016 from the following airports:

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Find out more on this page of the Uber website.

If you don’t already have an Uber account, sign up using the code ‘uberheadforpoints’ (enter it on the Promo Code page once you’ve downloaded the app) and you will receive a £10 free first journey – UK rides only.


Decent Harrods / American Express promotion

Finally, Harrods has launched a new cashback promotion with American Express.

This may – or may not – be showing under the ‘Offers’ section for one or more of your Amex-issued Amex cards on the online statement page.  If it is there, you need to load it to your card.

You will receive £30 cashback when you spend £100 in one transaction before Christmas Eve.  The offer terms state that gift cards are excluded but I’m not sure if that would be correct in practice.  Airport stores are excluded.

Whilst you’re in Knightsbridge, many people will have an offer for £20 back on a £100 transaction at Harvey Nichols.  This offer also runs to Christmas Eve.  I believe that there is also a House of Fraser cashback deal out there.

(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. OT. LBG favourites to buy MBNA

    • the real harry says:

      cut & paste makes it easy viewing

      • the real harry says:
        Lloyds Banking Group has emerged as the leading bidder for Bank of America’s £7bn credit card business in Britain, taking the UK lender closer to its first acquisition since being rescued by the taxpayer more than seven years ago.

        Two people briefed on the process said Lloyds had moved ahead of Cerberus, the US private equity group, in the bidding for MBNA’s British credit card operation after BofA backed down on a crucial sticking point in negotiations.

        Lloyds had initially pulled back from the auction because of BofA’s refusal to share the future costs of compensating customers for mis-selling payment protection insurance. But BofA has now agreed to indemnify the buyer if PPI costs rise above a fixed cap.

        Lloyds has been prevented from making acquisitions since its takeover of failing rival HBOS during the financial crisis, a deal that left it on the brink of collapse and needing a taxpayer bailout in 2009.

        However, the bank has since returned to profit after heavy restructuring and the government has sold more than three-quarters of its stake, which is now below 10 per cent. The Treasury aims to exit fully by next year via a trading plan to drip-feed its shares into the market.

        MBNA fits with Lloyds’ search for acquisitions to expand in higher-margin areas, including unsecured consumer loans, car finance, leasing and fleet management as it tries to offset the impact of low interest rates on its main mortgage business.
        Cerberus was told several weeks ago that there was “a more attractive offer” and its team now believes it has lost the auction, said one of the people, adding that it had “downed pens”. Another said Cerberus had faced difficulties with a “complex” financing package and Lloyds could seal a deal in the first quarter of 2017.

        The board of Lloyds is reluctant to add to its exposure to the PPI scandal, which has already cost the bank £17bn. It set aside another £1bn last month, while saying that was expected to be its last PPI provision.

        MBNA has allocated about £1.6bn for PPI compensation, but it is widely expected to take another charge this year. The Financial Conduct Authority is next month expected to finalise plans for a PPI compensation claims deadline of mid-2019 — giving Lloyds comfort that its exposure is capped.

        There is no certainty that the deal would be completed, the people said. One pointed out that if Lloyds bought MBNA it would control about a quarter of the UK credit card market by receivables, close to the share of market leader Barclaycard, which may raise competition issues.

        A sale to Lloyds could be bad news for the town of Chester, where the MBNA business is based. The UK bank is likely to transfer MBNA’s customers to its own systems and lay off many of its 1,700 staff, mostly based in the town, one person said.

        Analysts have warned that buying MBNA would eat into Lloyds’ ability to pay higher dividends, particularly as a potential economic downturn due to Brexit is likely to eat into the bank’s profitability.

        Lloyds is expected to access the Bank of England’s “term funding scheme” — a new programme to provide £100bn of cheap funds for banks to lend to small businesses and households — to lower the borrowing costs of MBNA, analysts have predicted.

        Five years ago, BofA abandoned plans to sell its entire European credit card business, offloading some operations in Ireland and Spain, while keeping the main UK business after bids fell below its target valuation.

        MBNA made a profit of £166m last year and has 5m credit card customers, giving it about 11 per cent of the UK market by credit card balances. Lloyds has a £10bn credit card loan book and about 15 per cent market share. MBNA is expected to fetch a premium to its £7bn of outstanding credit balances.

        BofA, Lloyds, and Cerberus declined to comment.

        • Damn, that’d be a pain given how much better MBNA are at repeat sign-up bonuses vs Lloyds!

        • I know. I’ve only just started to churn with MBNA too…

        • Cheers Harry

        • You missed a bit:

          “Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.”


        • the real harry says:

          I always think if you give the link/ attribution they won’t mind too much – free publicity for them

          anyway, I don’t think anybody in the UK has ever been penalised for copying a newspaper article to a forum

        • Could be far worse… It could be NewDay!

          It would be a real shame for Chester if this were to happen, they’ve gradually lost a considerable number of finance jobs over recent years.

          Is £7Bn too big for an MBO? Or maybe some form of structured deal with BoA financing.

        • Could be MBO’d – £7bn is mainly the value of the loan book you are buying. The actual equity value of the business is modest. The problem is that FCA approval for an MBO of something this size could be tricky and certainly slow. Selling to a trade player removes a level of uncertainty over whether the deal completes.

    • Oh dear …..

  2. the real harry says:

    corporate is different

    your Amex deal would be associated with you & your card

  3. OT. I’m sure I am answer to this in the comments a few weeks back but can’t remember what was said. I booked an outbound flight online using the 2-4-1 BA voucher but the inbound using the call centre.

    The avios for the return flight been taken but no extra money. The outbound and inbound flights are showing on but there was no confirmation email. Do I need to chase or is it safely booked?

    • If it shows with a ticket number it is booked. These errors happen fairly often ….

    • It can take several weeks for them to process and reissue the ticket with the return flight and also charge the money – mine took about 3 months. As long as it is showing on your account it will be fine.

  4. Brilliant result on both fronts! Well done Andy!

  5. Donald Trump says:

    Can I use MBNA, Lloyd’s etc issued AMEX cards at harrods?

  6. Thanks for the UBER offer!

    Do we know if the offer is valid for AMEX issued credit cards only or it works with MBNA issued AMEX cards too (like the Virgin Atlantic UK credit card? Thanks!

  7. For the Uber deal, will using the Amex Gold Charge Card work ok, or does this have to be a Credit Card? I’m between Amex CC’s right.

  8. The fine print / T&C on the AMEX website says that you may not get the 30 pound back on Harrods if you buy a gift card. Can someone please confirm this?

  9. Shame I missed out on the Uber promo by a week. If anyone is taking an Uber/Lyft back to an airport (or anywhere in the US) we used the code FLYRIDE20 for $20 credit on Lyft from Newark to midtown (advertises in charlotte airport). There are various Lyft promos (I used one for $5 off ten rides too for shorter journeys) out there. If you’re like me an had only used Uber, worth a look to open a Lyft account!

  10. Does anyone know if spend at any of the restaurant concessions count as harrods spend?

  11. Hi, does anyone know if we can use the travelex card (linked back to AMEX) for the uber promotion to save on the exchange fees and commissions? Thx

    • I doubt it, I think Uber will be looking for an Amex card number to be listed in the app. Personally I wouldn’t risk it given the $65 saving in offer.

  12. Maori in London says:

    Just tried the UBER amex deal – it no longer works… limit reached already

    • Yeah I tried the Uber code too and it said limit reached. Has anyone used this successfully from the UK? I am hoping it is just an error because I am out of country and it will work when I get to NYC. Not confident though.

      • Yes, I saved it when it first came out – planning to use it in a few hours when in Chicago! I believe they had a limited number of registrations and have now run out.