Bits: BA credit card fee change delayed, up to 3000 Avios from Europcar, AA article update

News in brief:

British Airways credit card fee change delayed again

British Airways has announced a further, but possibly final, delay to its plan to restructure credit card charges.

This was originally meant to take effect on 14th December but was later delayed until 31st January.  It has now been pushed back to 7th February.

Details of the changes are here with the current £5 flat fee replaced by a 1% fee capped at £20 per person.  This means that a family of four buying Club World tickets could be faced with an £80 fee.

This was great timing by BA, given that Virgin Atlantic has just scrapped credit card fees entirely.

Europcar Accor offer

Up to 3,000 Avios for a Europcar rental

Europcar is running a special rental deal in conjunction with Le Club AccorHotels at the moment.  This could work out nicely for Avios collectors.

The thing to remember here is that an Accor point is worth either 2 Eurocents towards a hotel booking or 1 Avios point when converted to Iberia Plus.  Do not convert to British Airways as you only get 0.5 Avios per Accor point.  (You can move them from Iberia Plus to BA via ‘Combine My Avios’.)

Here is the promo deal:

  • 1-4 day rental – usually 250 points, now 750 points
  • 5-7 day rental – usually 500 points, now 1500 points
  • 8+ day rental – usually 1000 points, now 3000 points

This deal is valid for bookings completed by 28th February.  US and Canada are excluded.

Full details can be found on this page of the Europcar site.

Whilst you can earn a decent number of Avios this way, don’t dismiss using the Accor points for hotel stays instead.  €60 of free hotel room may be more useful than 3,000 Avios.

AA Breakdown hotel discounts

AA article update

Finally, I wrote a piece on Tuesday on how you can get hotel discounts from joining the Automobile Association – even if you don’t have a car.

I said in that piece that the cheapest AA subscription was £29.  What I forgot to mention is that holders of the AA FuelSave credit card get FREE AA breakdown membership for a year.  The credit card itself is also free for the first year and has excellent cashback rates as well.  Full details are on the AA credit cards site hereRepresentative APR 22.4% variable.

(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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Comments

  1. O/T.. another one :-)

    IHG accelerate dashboard, yes its back, but its not right. The targets have not been updated to show ‘completed’ despite receiving the associated points for these targets into my IHG account. So tracking progress isn’t possible. Anyone else having the same…

  2. O/T also on IHG: I’ve had 500 points post for IHGRCbonus points – corporate on 31st Jan, which is presumably for the Iggy comp, but I thought that was for 500 points a day? I should have got 2500.

    Anyone else have a partial amount?

  3. Just noticed the MBNA Virgin cards have upped the bonus to 25K on the black and 10K on the white again. They haven’t done that for a while. Apply by 3rd April.

    • I’m struggling to redeem the Virgin points earned on the last super bonus – all the good upper class redemptions have been snapped up within 10 seconds of release at midnight for the last 7 days.

      I am trying to book for Xmas / New Year 2017 – is this just a very popular time to travel or is it always hard to book Jo’burg?

      • Jo’burg – not 100% relevant but BA is pretty hard to snap up seats for too.

        Assume you are looking to book outbound and inbound separately?

        • Yes – for Virgin you have to try for an outbound Upper Class seat, then when the return flights are released, ask Customer Services for a PE return flight, to be upgraded to Upper Class.

          And yes BA seats are snapped up too, just not all in the first seconds after midnight!

      • South Africa always comes up as a difficult to get redemption. Add to that being Xmas time as well and upper class. I would guess makes it really hard to get.

    • Has anyone been getting MBNA Virgin referral bonuses? I mysteriously got 6,000 miles posted the other day as card spend which I think must have been two bonuses for referring my wife on the black + white cards a few months ago… So seems to work but slow.

      • Never tried a MBNA virgin referral. I believe you can only get those when there is no a enhanced bonus offer on.

    • Yes, onto this, just didn’t have a slot for a day or so. Sunday?

  4. the real harry1 says:

    O/T
    Virgin Trains has been accused of acting like the “Gestapo” after a businessman exploited a loophole to cut more than £250 off the price of his ticket.
    Steve Morrissey, 32, the director of a software company, was accused of fare dodging after booking his 7.38am train from Lancaster to London on Tuesday for £93.
    But he was accused of getting on the train at the next stop, Preston, 25 miles south, where the price is £350.
    The father-of-one was left embarrassed as he was accused by ticket collectors on the train of getting on at Preston, ordered to buy another ticket or be fined and detained at Euston where British Transport Police were waiting.
    Mr Morrissey, from Bispham, Lancs, said: “It was not a pleasant experience. You can obviously feel people are listening in. It looked like I’m a sort of criminal. I’ve never been as embarrassed in my life.
    “Throughout the entire journey, I just felt like a criminal, all the way. When I arrived at Euston there were three members of staff hiding around the entrance, it was obvious what was going on.
    “I was just stood there on the platform at Euston with two British Transport Police and three Virgin staff.”

    Mr Morrissey refused to buy another ticket and protested his innocence until CCTV was checked and showed him getting on the train at Lancaster as he had told train staff.

    After the 40-minute delay while CCTV was studied he said he was given a hasty apology and allowed to go on his way – but by then had missed his business meeting in the capital.

    Mr Morrissey said Virgin staff were cracking down on passengers after the big difference in ticket prices between Preston and Lancaster on the West Coast Main Line was publicised recently.

    • The creepy but ultimately very useful Google Maps app on an Android phone (presumably Apple too) is very handy tool to prove where you (or at least your phone) has been.

    • There may be some civil breach of contract as regards the use of the ticket, had Mr Morrissey actually got on at Preston but it would not have been criminal fraud.

      • Unfortunately you are wrong.

        Mr Morrissey held an off-peak return Lancaster to London Terminals: http://www.brfares.com/#faredetail?orig=LAN&dest=EUS&grpd=1072&tkt=SVR

        This ticket has restriction code 3A which indicates that break of journey is not permitted on the outbound except to change trains. Starting short is the same as breaking the journey.

        If he had started short, he would not have held a valid ticket.

        It is a criminal offence, with strict liability, not to present a valid ticket when asked by an authorised member of railway staff.

        • “It is a criminal offence, with strict liability, not to present a valid ticket when asked by an authorised member of railway staff.”

          That can’t be true. Otherwise I’d be committing a crime every time I boarded the train at Bridge of Allan to pay with cash.

          • BlueThroughCrimp says:

            ScotRail officially have a buy before you board policy, so your *should* be buying where there are ticket issuing facilities.
            As Bridge of Allan doesn’t, then you’re ok.
            When/if it gets a ticket machine, be prepared to change your buying habits.

          • Bridge of Allan does indeed have ticket machines, however as a consequence of vandalism, Scotrail machines do not accept cash.

            So customers presenting cash can buy on board.

          • BlueThroughCrimp says:

            Hmm, not sure it’s *all* ScotRail machines that don’t take cash, perhaps the ne’er-do-wells of leafy BoA have vandalised that one a few times making it card only?

          • There’s a list of them detailing accepted payment methods here:-

            https://www.scotrail.co.uk/plan-your-journey/stations-and-facilities/ticket-vending-machines-tvms – the vast majority of locations are card only.

            Essentially thiefs were touring the countryside and destroying machines for the cash – so a business decision was taken to go card only.

    • Lady London says:

      I do hope the passenger is now suing the railway company for slander due to humiliation in public etc. for which there was no foundation. His reputation has been damaged and that was without foundation.

  5. the real harry1 says:

    O/T thanks for that tip on splitting season tickets, whoever it was – several, istr :

    2 of my kids take the train to school, sticking 2 months into the fare calculator:
    A—>C = £163.60
    whereas
    A—>B = £54.55
    B—>C = £86.80
    Total = £141.35

    crazy

    • no more crazy than air fare pricing ex-EU … :-)

    • the real harry1 says:

      with 2 of them, I think it’ll save me over £300 a year :)

      • the real harry1 says:

        it’s not as good

        next half term x2 season tickets option – cheaper not to pay for whole terms to include unused hols in the middle – shows a saving of c.£16 each

        so with 2 kids about £190-odd saving pa

        I’ll take it :)

        nice lady @ station confirmed my figures & said no need to get off train or leave seat etc

        • the real harry1 says:

          whenever I get dismal about paying £1200 train fares – & I guess my daughter has daily taxi & bus fares so £630 on top – I give myself a little pinch & say – hey! we’ve got 2 of the best schools in the country – some of the best GCSEs, best A-levels – we’re breeding doctors, dentists, scientists, professionals, god forbid City people – and the big plus is it’s state not Rafflesway Independent for another £20K :)

          • Lady London says:

            @harry was that Rafflesway mentioned deliberately? :-) Is that the school in Dubai you’re thinking of?

  6. OT the following link is a fascinating take on one BA Gold Card Holder’s current thoughts on BA https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/have-british-airways-lost-plot-scott-martin

    • Yes, that article sums it up well and the huge number of comments – 989 largely seem to agree. BA management is obviously impervious to all criticism. They don’t think how all the service cuts affect customers. The cabin crew strikes are also symptomatic of a deeper problem with the new cheaper crew. It is only going one way as they won’t address the problem until it is too late when it will be much harder to regain lost passengers. I travel BA long haul in First about 4 times a year and now have my first non BA flight (to Australia) booked for the first time in about 15 years…

  7. O/T – just received an email from Turkish Airlines to say you can now use miles to pay for taxes on reward tickets if you are an elite member of Miles and Smiles – they will truly become free! Calculating seems to give 0.02 TL per mile of value – so around 0.45p per mile. You can usually get around 1p per mile value booking flights in Business, so not a good way to use their miles – but if you are miles rich …

  8. Another OT – for Amex offers, do you have to spend the target in a single transaction, or does it add up separate transactions in the offer period?

    I have “spend £200, save £50” on AMEX travel but I can’t work out how to make it do two separate flights in a single transaction – one is £135 and the other about £80..

    Ts and Cs aren’t clear on this.

    • the real harry1 says:

      some Amex offers have worked cumulatively

      I don’t think anybody ever reported back on whether Amex Travel has been shown to work cumulatively

      I guess several of us would be interested to know…

      • I asked CS, and they confirmed it is cumulative

        • I thought it was non cumullative.
          Good if anyone can confirm that it is indeed cumulativ with real world experience, rather than CS response.

          • No downside as the flights were same price on Amex as airlines sites so I gave it a go. Spend of £133.40 and £67.50 has got me the magic email.

            “Thank you for taking advantage of our American Express Travel offer with your Card (last five digits shown above). Credit should appear on your statement within 5 days from qualifying spend but may take up to 90 days from offer end date.”

          • the real harry1 says:

            well done that man :)

          • @Stu, I’d happily have settled for just the magic offer, mine have been rubbish for months.

          • It’s been sitting on my account for a while, so may have reached quota but you can try asking CS via secure messages to add it. That worked for me with a BA one before Christmas that my g/f had on her card but I didn’t. Full wording is as follows:

            AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL£50 back
            Spend £200 or more, get £50 back
            Save to Card to get a £50 statement credit on eligible spend of £200+ online with American Express Travel by 28/02/2017. Valid once per Card for the first 24,000 Cardmembers to save. Terms and payment restrictions apply.

          • @Stu_N have you had the credit yet? I too had a split payment on this offer (total of £217) and got the email instantly. Doesn’t always mean the credit follows as others will testify. I have had issues with others like Naked Wines splitting the total and it causing the offer to fail. I think Harry experienced this also.

            Amex customer service usually fix it with a call though and did again for me in this case, their correspondence confirms its not cumulative:

            Dear Mr Webb,

            Thank you for your e-mail. I hope you are doing well.

            You will be delighted to know that I have immediately the credit of £50 for American Express Travel offer on your account. This credit shall appear on your account within 3-5 working days.

            I would like to inform you that the offer credit did not apply automatically on your account as the merchant had split the transaction into two (£123.42 and £93.75).

            Should you require any other assistance, then please respond to my e-mail and I will be happy to assist you.

            FYI – I received the credit but manually, not automatically.

  9. O/T I have 3200 flying blue air miles! Does anyone know what’s the best way to get any value out of them? Cheers

    • If another decent pointshound offer comes along and you need/want a 2 night hotel stay you could boost them to enough for a European flight (with stopover in Amsterdam or Paris I believe but I’m not bery familiar with FB).

  10. I am 11k miles short of AAdvantage Miles for a redemption.
    What is best option for me to get these miles?

    I have about 25k Amex MR

  11. the real harry1 says:

    O/T since it’s Friday night I have to confess to a possible failure lol

    I spent about an hour today racking my brains & inbox trying to remember which flight it was that the 3 kids & I wasted 3 hrs of our lives sitting around bored & tired & fractious about 10pm at night

    mostly a chase through 4-6 year old journeys in my emails that I still had details of – I think it probably was just inside 3 hrs but thought it worth checking again

    I had https://beta.flightstats.com/historical-flight/search whizzing away but have to admit failure, I must have wiped it or I am out of time as I didn’t go beyond 6 yrs

    shame, could have been about £1000 :)

  12. OT – SPG Points

    I need about 15K SPG points (to convert to Airline redemption), but do not have any account with SPG or Marriott. Spouse has 30K MR points in her account.

    I am right in assuming that each of us can open a new account for SPG and Marriott and then she transfers required MR to her new SPG account and then onward to Mariott then phones Mariott to transfer points to my new Mariott account. Once in my account I then transfer it to my new SPG account. Once there I then move to my preferred airline.

    Would this work?
    If it does what are the timeline involved.
    American Airlines can possibly hold reservation for 5 days.

    • I was reading about this last night and also understood it just as you describe it. MR-SPG a few days if a new partner, SPG-Marriott is virtually instant, and I would guess the marriott-marriott is probably concluded during the call but that’s only a guess.

    • This will be slow. SPG transfer could be 3-4 days, SPG transfers tend to take 4-5 days (they are manually checked). Transfer to Marriott is then immediate though. However, the Marriott to AA transfer could drag on too. I would want at least 3 weeks to be sure this would work.

      Transfers cannot be done to new SPG accounts either. You must have shared the address for at least 30 days I think.

  13. OT does anyone know if you book transfers or trips on BA if they give you triple points on BA Amex?