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Bits: pay your car tax on Amex, sale, beat luggage theft with a gun

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News in brief:

Pay your car tax with American Express

Long-term readers of HfP will know that the ability to pay your road tax with an American Express card has come and gone over the last couple of years as the DVLA has trialled new payment systems.

The new system is now permanently in place and Amex is accepted.  The fee for using American Express is £2.50 which will be up to 2% of your fee depending on which band you are in.

This may not be a great deal if you own a low-tax vehicle.  It would however count towards the spending target for a sign-up bonus or towards your British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher. hotel sale sent me details of a 10 day sale that is running from today until 31st August, although you can book for stays until June 2017.

Selected properties are offering 30% off, based on one or two night stays, or free breakfast.  Full details are here.

It might be worth a look for the Bank Holiday, although I would hold off until Accor releases its list of hugely discounted £25+ Happy Mondays offers tomorrow, as that will cover the Bank Holiday weekend too.

Stop luggage theft in the US … with a gun!

Finally, I was reading Business Week on my airberlin short-haul flight yesterday (more on that to come) when I found a handy tip for stopping airport employees breaking into your luggage when flying in the US.

A quirk of US aviation law means that guns must be flown in bags which cannot be accessed by a third party.  All other suitcases must have locks which can be opened by TSA staff.  Declare your gun at check-in (you must show that it isn’t loaded) and your suitcase – with non-TSA compliant locks – will be allowed through.

Comments (94)

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  • John says:

    What is road tax? If you mean car tax then mine is £20 so £2.50 is 12.5%.

    A road tax is based on the distance you drive, so in the UK it is collected by petrol stations.

  • Kipto says:

    There’s always one

    • Tangrey says:

      I agree, let’s not let ‘facts’ get in the way….

      Thinking a £2.50 will be “up to 2% of your fee” shows how little knowledge Raffles has about the subject.

      • andrew says:

        The article worked for me… Having just used my Amex to pay for the new electronic version of the round tax disc dated 2014 I still have on my windscreen, this article reassured me that I had done the right thing…

      • Rob says:

        If you look at the chart the majority of bands are £100+.

        I will switch the heading to car tax if it makes you happy :-) but that seems to exclude MPVs, light commercial vehicles etc which are taxed in the same way.

        As we’re away, I am limited to about 25 hours a week of working time so more errors will slip through than usual.

        • Alan says:

          Although in fairness most modern cars are much lower emission and thus lower cost thus even if more bands are >£100 there is probably more of a skew to the lower bands for newer vehicles.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but £500 here so at £2.50 charge it’s a mere 0.5% and I’m a buyer at that cost

          • harry says:

            yep my main car is just £20 tax pa – but otoh it does drive me up to Heathrow & back (from Cornwall) for about £40 of diesel 🙂

          • harry says:

            beemer 320D is the way to go

            70 mpg

          • harry says:

            I got it when I was doing a study course in Exeter & had to drive 130 miles a day. My badass 4X4 costs 30p a mile so that looked a bit expensive. Bought the beemer as I have another 20YO one out here and they are good, reliable cars. Very impressed by the fuel efficiency – a very real 70 mpg on motorway – and of course £20 pa is a couple of pints down the pub. My badass 4X4 is a mere £200 pa but would be more like £400 if it were newer, it’s a relic that served me well in the past 🙂

            Raffles – you’re missing out, cars are fun lol

          • Boris says:

            Last time I checked 50-6o% of new cars pay no road tax.

            That is why Osbo had to change it.

            (Excludes comment on Mr Brown’s Pedigree Chum)

      • Sohan says:

        Honestly, have people nothing better to do than to pick holes in Rob’s articles (which consistently save us lotsa money)?

        • BlueThroughCrimp says:

          Agreed! What a cheery chap the OP is…
          We should be happy that finally Amex is accepted! 🙂

  • Globetrotter7 says:

    All good and well to avoid having your bag being broken into but checking in a firearm requires a lot more than just declaring it a check in. It is a lengthy process which required a 72hrs notice. At the airport the process takes at least an hour, involving special tags which aren’t readily available for obvious reasons, thorough documentation checks, a separate security screening and a £50 handling fee (on BA). Personally, I’d have my bag broken into if needs be…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      As most of the readers of this blog are U.K. based I doubt checking in a gun is a real possibility for more than a small number of them.

      A bit of Sunday light reading and an interesting if not useless fact for most of us

    • john says:

      Someone did this on a BA flight in Rome I took and they had to be accompanied by a police officer at check-in.

  • Sandgrounder says:

    I was surprised to learn that you can also use Amex to pay the Home Office for residence documents. Some bonus points for UK-resident EU nationals post-Brexit.

    • harry says:

      wish they’d accepted it when we got my wife her UK citizenship – cost nearly £1000 total

      of course, I moaned at the cost & said why bother, we’re all in the EU, you’ll miss that £1000 when you’re 75

      of course, she was right as usual

      • George says:

        Citizenship applications are still sans Amex. And so are Passport applications. Residency documentation and qualified persons confirmations take Amex. Considering it’s the same department with the citizenship and registration, it may be a sign of things to come…

        • harry says:

          again, passport via post office = Amex

        • Gavin says:

          You seem well informed – Any idea about spouse visa applications? Got that coming up soon

          • Ahop says:

            Spouse visas can be paid for using Amex. Citizenship and EEA are entirely different departments and hence the different payment systems.

          • Gavin says:

            Cheers, I feel a gold card application coming on

  • Richard says:

    I’ve just tried to pay my Vehicle Tax, and AmEx isn’t one of the options given (only MasterCard and Visa). Where did this news come from?

    • harry says:

      try post office, same £2.50

      • Richard says:

        But that’s not DVLA accepting it, that’s the post office. The article says DVLA accept it, which I have tried to do online today, and it doesn’t work.

    • Lumma says:

      On the amex app on my phone it keeps telling me that the DVLA now accepts AMEX.

      Which is nice, but I haven’t owned a car in 4 years.

    • Paul says:

      +1 just tried to pay and no option for four code security number for AMEX ! maybe worth a call tomorrow

  • Fenny says:

    I’m now wondering whether I’ve actually paid my VED yet. Got the reminder a couple of weeks ago and fell around laughing that it’s only £20, instead of the £205 it used to be. Must remember to check when I get out of bed!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Don’t worry the Government have done away with that from 2017 on newly registered cars

      • Lady London says:

        sorry TGLoyalty… are you saying newly registered cars will not be subject to VED from 2017?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Not at all just no more VED bands based upon CO2 (which is why some cars are £20/30/100 etc) instead £140 for all passenger cars with any tail pipe emissions over 0 and £310 extra for all cars over £40k for the first 5 years including 0 tailpipe emmision cars.

  • Alan says:

    OT bits – just called the automated service to check the balance on my Moneycorp card and the £20 has been added, balance now £72 🙂 Will try withdrawing £70 from ATM later today.

  • tomsurfer says:

    I have just tried to renew my vehicle tax, and AMEX is not accepted on line or on the phone, so I think this article may not be correct.

    • harry says:

      goto post office

      • harry says:

        anybody here old enough to remember ‘goto’? lol

        Commodore Pet in my case 🙂

        • Alan says:

          Haha absolutely, along with MSDOS batch files and Turbo Pascal 😛

        • Rob says:

          I’m just reading a book about the history of 80’s computing.

          When I was 15 I had this published, I’ll have you know 🙂

          • Alan says:

            Haha with that post you’ve just gone even higher in my estimation, Raffles!

          • harry says:

            yep my pre university job was checking computer games on tape cassette (young guns here won’t have a clue) it was about 8 different machines

          • Alan says:

            Yep showed a first year student the tape for the dictaphonen where I last worked and she just looked confused and said “what’s that?!”. We also still use faxes…

          • Boris says:

            People were still using Spectra in 1985?

            Lordy … Had a PC-AT by then.

        • Madmiler says:

          @harry How about this for programming:
          10 print “hello”
          20 go to 10

          • harry says:


            but Raffles must have been a bit precocious

            did Raffles make any money out of it?

            CBS tried to persuade me not to go to University but I just decided to party

            probably bad decision

          • Rob says:

            I made about £200 (it sold for £1.99) which apparently would be £550 today. OK for a 15-year old.

      • Richard says:

        Having to go to Post Office is not the same as DVLA accepting it. Raffles where did this information come from?

        • harry says:

          Richard – the overall result is more important than occasional glitches

          Way to go on cheap RFS flights! 🙂

          • Richard says:

            Not really sure what your point is harry, the article says DVLA accept Amex, yet they don’t (as I and others have found out today).
            You say just go to the Post Office, but that’s not easy working the hours I do. I’d like to be able to pay for my VEL online or on the phone with Amex, which I can’t.

          • harry says:

            OK I apologize.

            Occasionally the info is not perfect or just ends up out of date/ curtailed. Eg my free 12 months Zipcar deal – saving you £50! Sadly ended.

            Some of us try to figure out how to get you the same points result & in this case the easy answer is Post Office.

        • Rob says:

          Two readers who emailed me in recent weeks.

          I couldn’t check it because you can’t get into the payment site without a reference number.

          • Andy S says:

            I can confirm I paid my car tax back in June with my BA Amex – I’ve just reviewed my statement to make sure as my memory is not what it was … 😉 The 2.50 on top of 145 seemed not much to pay for getting those avios!

          • Adam says:

            I went to renew my tax earlier in the month, and Amex most certainly was accepted, I thought I’d wait for my statement to close and now today “Only UK Maestro, VISA Debit, MasterCard Debit, Electron debit cards, VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted. “

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