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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’.

Supercard

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)

  • Andy S says:

    Looking at some reviews on play (for the supercard app) they mention Revolut – is this another card like this, any good ? (I assume not as it’s not been mentioned on this site)

    • Rob says:

      Revolut is a product for people who can’t get credit cards, which is not exactly the HFP target market. It is fiddly as you need to load it up. Far easier to use a 0% credit card, and the Lloyds Avios card beats it as you earn Avios on top of getting 0%.

      • Sandgrounder says:

        Revolut is much more than a product for people who cant get credit cards. You can hold balances in GBP, USD and EUR and swap between them at veey close to spot rates. Topping up and converting £2k when it started to become clear we were brexiting took seconds and saved me quite a bit of cash on the summer spend. You can also send SEPA transfers for free. No point earning options, but it is a useful tool in your wallet.

      • John says:

        Really? I thought it uses Mastercard rates.

        Your second sentence is incorrect. Mastercard rates are better than spot over 50% of the time (but you don’t know what it is in advance). Visa rates are fixed for the next working day shortly after midnight CET. If your home currency falls after that, the Visa rate will be better.

        If pilot supercard was still working on June 24/25, you could have withdrawn £1000 in foreign cash at pre-referendum rates.

      • Rob says:

        But not so far off that the rewards element from using Supercard or Lloyds Avios would outweigh it ….

  • Phil Layton says:

    Just returned from Spain last week, and apart from a few PIN declines (which I have never experienced on other cards) it all went well. Everything showed up on the app. Yesterday I noticed 5 new transactions on my linked Tesco card with small transactions of £2 or less marked IC CASH 01 and wondered what they were… until this post of Raffles.
    Separately, on Monday I paid the balance of some accommodation in the US for October and this has gone through twice on the app. I rang support (who after 15mins wait) told me that one was for approval and one was for pending and the funds would be ‘released’ in a few days. However, both transactions have hit the Tesco card and I cannot see a ‘release’ coming without a credit refund going through. Still to be sorted.
    I have to agree, not worth the aggro with all these small charges and worry…shall stick with the Clarity card (and its contactless) in future.

    • Worzel says:

      Good move Phil;

      ‘……not worth the aggro with all these small charges and worry…shall stick with the Clarity card….’ .

      Keep domestic and foreign spend separate.

      Annual statement here(Santander Zero-but could be Clarity)- £9k spend(£6k purchases/£3k cash)/£0 interest/ zero aggravation!

      • Callum says:

        Why keep them separate?

        • Mr Dee says:

          As it can be hard to reconcile which random supercard charges were for business or pleasure as they are not tagged to the original transactions.

        • Worzel says:

          Reply to Callum 10:15:

          ‘Why keep them separate?’ .

          There are enough posts here today to summarise why(!)- these posts further to previous discussion on HFP.

          I don’t see any positives, however, if it works for a few then well done.

          Politely posted.

  • Mr Bridge says:

    As a Pilot user, I experienced problems with charges showing up on the app, although they ever hit my card. I was hoping the new card would prove to be glitch free. Not used it yet, think i will send it back

    • Mr Dee says:

      Just keep it or bin it, there wasn’t a charge for it so no need to return it.

  • Thywillbedone says:

    Have been using the supercard for over a week in Italy and was only checking spend on the app rather than my underlying credit card – have now noticed a raft these mystery “cash” charges. Very very sneaky; depending on how it is handled by Supercard I will likely be binning this card.

  • Leon says:

    I too have these charges, albeit only totalling a couple of £’s.

    I’d compare the values in the app with what I have been charged, but the app has gone back to wanting me to activate my card. I tried going through the process, but it rejects the last four from my card. So now I’m left with a duff app.

    6 months from now, Super what?

  • Nick Price says:

    So, reading the comments here and the feedback from @SupercardUK on Twitter, this isn’t really “we didn’t read the fine print”, but more that the Supercard technology is not quite as good with Mastercard as it was with Visa.

    If the comment from John above (https://headforpoints.com/2016/07/13/supercard-additional-fx-charges/comment-page-1/#comment-195581) is accurate – which I believe it is, since he’s done a ton of research – we’re not losing out at all.

    What seems to be happening is that the Supercard system is only ever getting “yesterday’s” rates from Mastercard. These rates then get used in the initial transaction – and show in the App – but once Supercard finally get “today’s” rates one day later, they have to apply a correction to the charge.

    @SupercardUK has stated on Twitter that if the rates had moved the other way, people would have received a refund – of course, we’ve yet to see that happen!

    For me, this means the Supercard is still a great solution for saving money on Foreign Exchange, but it’s no longer better than any other 0% card.
    During the Pilot, it was amazing, since I could submit my expenses (and holiday budgets) immediately without waiting for transactions to clear, since I knew exactly what I was going to be charged. This meant I could happily pay for things abroad for friends, and let them know straight away how much they needed to pay me back… not so easy now!

    • Singing Dwarf says:

      In reply to a tweet about somebody querying a 42p charge against a £28.41 transaction, @SupercardUK said “@liam_martin Hi Liam, this will be due to the FX rates changing between the time of purchase & the money leaving your account….” They go on to say “@liam_martin This is reflective of the MasterCard wholesale rate and no extra charges are being made.”

      This doesn’t really make much sense to me – the changing rate between the time of purchase & the money leaving your account? Doesn’t Supercard rely on being able to charge your underlying card at the time of the transaction? Which account are they talking about the money leaving – and why would there be a delay?

  • Gulz says:

    I spent €1600 on 5th July on Supercard (Supercard said I saved £33 something). Got a charge of £30.59 yesterday as IC Cash from supercard. So effectively I saved maybe just a couple of quid. Not happy about it. Won’t be using Supercard anymore.

    • Mr Dee says:

      Awful service there, that just wiped out the most benefit of any points gained

    • Jason Cousins says:

      I had similar. I’ve disputed this with my credit card as the second transactions were not authorised.

  • signol says:

    I did the MAD-FRA flight in J a couple of weeks ago, and made a video report. https://youtu.be/nnOinYZ8B7c

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