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

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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!

Comments (155)

  • Concerto says:

    I am one of those few hfp readers who does need to fly Germany-Madrid from time to time and FRA is just an hour and a half train ride from here! I guess you might want to call it LATAM Airlines from now as that’s what they’ve rebranded themselves into, although I’m not sure if the planes have been repainted yet.

    Apparently you can continue to TFN (Tenerife) on this deal for €279 if you get the right dates. But there’s an overnight in MAD in both directions, which push the costs up, and onward flights are with Iberia Express.

  • Andy S says:

    Cheeky baskets! I spent 11.50 Eur on 2nd July and was charged 9.51 Gbp “saving 63p”, since reading this article I checked my statement and see on the 10th I was charged 13p. Don’t think the euros changed much in that time.

    Glad I’ve not used the card any more yet – I won’t again. Time to write a scathing review on the google play store as well!

    • John says:

      Thanks for providing an example of the transaction amounts. Well, the euro did change significantly in that time though not for small amounts.

      2/7 interbank rate was 1.1913; €11.50 = £9.65
      10/7 interbank rate was 1.1722; €11.50 = £9.81
      (note both were non-working days so the interbank rate remained the same all day)

      I checked the Mastercard rates and the only days that make sense for your reported numbers are:

      30/6 Mastercard rate was 1.209502; €11.50 = £9.508
      1/7 Mastercard rate was 1.194125; €11.50 = £9.630, 12.2p difference rounded up to 13p?

      So it seems you still got “the rate on the day”. Sometimes with normal bank cards (including Amex) you can see the authorised amount converted to £ in your “pending transactions” yet it changes when it gets processed. From your single example this appears to be the case.

      However their handling of this is rather dodgy and so like you I doubt I will use the card again. I will be disputing any extra charges with the card provider.

      • AndyS says:

        Thanks for the insight, I don’t feel so bad now (and it is only 13p) but they should be more open about it, at the very least it should show in the app

  • James says:

    Note that the Iberia A330/40 gets in to Madrid from LHR too late to connect to FRA same day

  • jovanna says:

    Speaking of sharp practice, did anyone else receive an email from Curve at the weekend asking what function / benefit that you’d like to see from the Curve card?

    • Genghis says:

      Linking to Amex??

      • Andy S says:

        I thought curve already did! I would certainly get one once they make an android app.

        • Alan says:

          They withdrew Amex support months ago and I’m beginning to doubt if they’ll ever come up with an Android app!

          Very disappointing to hear of these charges with Supercard, it worked very well during the beta and this sort of thing is just totally unacceptable.

          • Frenske says:

            As far I understood, AmEx told Curve not to accept AmEx until they investigated it further.

          • Mr Dee says:

            Amex kicked Curve out because their system doesn’t work and no support for customers with problems.

            Curve is like a third party food delivery service serving a top end restaurant and delivers the food cold and when the customers keep phoning the restaurant to complain, the restaurant decides they have had enough of this Curve as they don’t answer the phone and are making us look bad.

          • Genghis says:

            Good analogy Mr Dee.

  • John says:

    I used the card when GBPUSD interbank was 1.294.

    The app shows my purchase was converted at rate of 1.303.

    My IHG barclaycard was charged the amount in the app.

    The rate is now back up to 1.33. Let’s see what happens when the app updates from “pending”.

  • Mark says:

    Sounds like was right not to bother replacing my Pilot Supercard with a launch one…..

    In practice I wasn’t using it much anyway – ultimately the Avios Rewards and Halifax Clarity Rewards made more sense for purchases (since I’m collecting the upgrade voucher on the former anyway), and the fee on cash withdrawals means I might as well go back to overseas cash withdrawals on the Clarity card.

    • Genghis says:

      And the £5 pcm reward on Clarity when spend / withdraw £300+

      • John says:

        You don’t get the £5 on withdrawals unless you found a way to get it charged as a Purchase. See T&Cs 11a.

        I tested this out for myself last month having read it on HFP (from you?). I withdrew £300+ overseas and made no other transactions. I didn’t get the £5.

        • Mark says:

          Correct. Putting it through Supercard does achieve that, although the ATM fee on the new Supercard more than offsets the benefit of having withdrawals treated as purchases. I tend to pay the cash advance off immediately so no/very low interest charges.

        • Genghis says:

          Thanks John – I wasn’t even aware of that myself. I only use Clarity for transaction abroad and don’t really aim for the £300 spend – the £5 just appears now and then.

        • Will says:

          Stick £200 through curve as an ATM withdrawal.

          If you have a supplementary cardholder with their own curve card that’s your £300 a month as cash

  • rams1981 says:

    The supercard charges are a piss take given they don’t return you amounts when rates move in your favour. Where is the t and c saying they can charge you extra “if they need to”?

    I’ve had also had some pending transactions charge which didn’t actually go through unlike the pilot. New supercard has been poor so far.

  • rams1981 says:

    They also don’t notify you of the extra charges or add them to the app for these supposed FX changes.

    Secondly charges which don’t clear and are rejected from merchant automatically disappear from app but when you’re still charged you have no record of it.

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