Lots of small stories today as I try to clear a backlog after my trip last week. And speaking of that trip ….
The worst example of Dynamic Currency Conversion I have ever seen
I was in the Waldorf-Astoria Ras al-Khaimah last week which I will review soon. It is a very impressive hotel but, at check-out, I experienced the worst Dynamic Currency Conversion scam ever.
Hotels like to give you option to pay ‘in your home currency’ because they use an exchange rate far worse than the one your credit card company uses. The total cost will be higher than if you paid in local currency and then paid the 3% FX fee on your card. If you have a Post Office, Lloyds Avios or Halifax Clarity card, there will be no FX fee.
You MUST be offered the choice of paying in local currency. A hotel is violating its credit card agreement otherwise. Some hotels will ‘try it on’, however, and give you a card machine which displays a Sterling figure. You need to reject this and insist you are charged in local currency.
What the Waldorf-Astoria did was worse. I was given the card machine and the amount showing was in Dirham. I entered my PIN. The screen then flashed up ‘£ XXX.XX charged’ as it processed the transaction – in Sterling.
This was clear theft. What was even more shocking is that the payment slip that came out of the machine showed the total in Dirham and only in small print did it say that I had actually paid in Pounds.
I immediately told the hotel to reverse the transaction. It turned out that this particular card machine had been especially programmed to do this and could not work in any other way, so a different card reader had to be found.
Using the 2nd machine, I was given the option of paying in Pounds or Dirham. I chose Dirham and charged it to my Curve MasterCard which has a 1% FX fee.
Because you see instantly the value of Curve transactions on your smartphone, I could see within seconds that I had saved £30.36 compared to the first transaction. This was 4% of the total bill meaning that the hotel had charged me 5% for the ‘privilege’ of ‘paying in my home currency’.
You should ALWAYS reject the option to pay in £ when overseas, even if your credit card has a 3% FX fee – you will still be better off.
Flybe Super Size Spring Sale launched
Flybe has launched another short term sale – the key difference with this one is that it covers May half-term and all of the Summer.
Flights are priced from £24.99 and must be booked by 8th March. Travel dates are from 12th April to 19th October.
Remember that you collect 4 Avios for every £1 spent on Flybe flights, excluding taxes. Full details can be found here.
Earn 480 Avios in Iberia Plus with a new wine offer
Finally, Iberia Plus has launched a new offer with its UK wine partner Vinoseleccion.
As you can see here, £48 gets you six bottles of 2011 Rioja. This includes free UK delivery. You will also receive 480 Avios into your Iberia Plus account, which is one way of activing it in order to use ‘Combine My Avios’.
A few HFP readers have used Vinoseleccion in the past and the general feedback about the wine has been positive.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)