Bits: Tesco Premium credit card changes, BA drops City to Madrid and Alicante, Railcard discount

News in brief:

Tesco makes changes to the Tesco Premium Credit Card

Tesco removed the 2,500 bonus Clubcard points (6,000 Avios or 6,250 Virgin miles) sign-up bonus from the Tesco Premium Credit Card yesterday, as scheduled.

The offer has not been replaced with a new promotion.  The other interesting bonus – a £50 discount coupon off a British Airways Club Europe flight – has also gone away as of 31st December.

With the annual fee remaining at £150, it is difficult to recommend this card at the moment unless:

you want the annual travel insurance policy which comes free with it

you spend £5,000 in Tesco, including fuel, per year and would qualify for the 5,000 Clubcard points (12,000 Avios / 12,500 Virgin miles) annual bonus

If neither of these apply to you, I would hold off until a good sign-up bonus comes back.

Full details of the card can be found here.  I am obliged to remind you that the representative APR on this card is 56.5% variable, including the £150 annual fee, based on a notional £1200 credit limit.

Tesco Premium credit card

British Airways drops London City to Madrid and Alicante

BA has dropped the London City to Madrid route due to poor loads.  The flight is being pulled with undue haste, with the last service departing on 29th January.  Ticket sales were suspended yesterday.

Even more impressively, the Alicante service has been scrapped before it even started!  It was due to operate from 26th June to 4th September.

Thanks to Michael.

Railcard discount code

10% off Railcards this week

Finally, you can save 10% on all Railcards this week.

Until 11th January, code JANMS17 will get you a 10% discount on a:

  • 16-25 Railcard
  • Friends & Family Railcard
  • Two Together Railcard
  • Senior Railcard

You can buy your Railcard here.

(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.)

IHG's UK Flash Sale is better than it seems, especially in London
HFP ‘Credit Cards’ page updated for January – what are the best deals this month?
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  1. More chopping and changing from BA [rolls eyes] ….

    I currently have 7 bookings in the MyFlights app, 2 of which are with BA, the only 2 which are constantly being changed and tweaked on an almost weekly basis I booked a trip from Glasgow to Granada just before Christmas, and ‘nearly’ booked the return via MAD & LCY, thankfully I stuck with LHR!

  2. the real harry says:
  3. Aeronaut says:

    Re the Tesco Premium CC…

    “With the annual fee remaining at £150, it is difficult to recommend this card at the moment unless:

    you want the annual travel insurance policy which comes free with it …”

    For some value of ‘free’, considering the annual fee of £150…

    • the real harry says:

      £5000 spend in Tesco = 10000 base Tesco points + 5000 bonus points = 15000 points
      or 36000 Avios

      I think that’s why you might see the insurance as free

      • Genghis says:

        Less what you would have earned shopping at Tesco with a free card / paid card with sunk cost already own etc.

        • the real harry says:

          in itself a fair point – but then you add in further factors:
          Tesco petrol – usually competitive in price, you have to buy it anyway, so might as well get the best points outcome by using Tesco card + further Tesco spend
          Tesco Direct – all that Lego etc – cheap Avios + further Tesco spend if you so choose
          Tesco Grocery – they keep sending my wife & me good mocs such as £8 off £40, combines nicely with Amazon gcs – further Tesco spend if you so choose

          I could almost convince myself!

        • Genghis says:

          It’s still a decent card I think. I was tempted but decided there were better options out there. We also received quite a lot of £8 offs recently. Tidy.

        • Sadly I don’t receive to receive any of these discount vouchers at all now – do you get them in the post with your Clubcard vouchers, Genghis, or as till print outs? I used to get lots of offers but not a jot now!

        • Genghis says:

          Get them through the post, with vouchers occasionally, but also as individual mail outs. Mrs G is a delivery saver customer if that makes a difference. Not had a till spit for ages.

        • Ah OK, thanks. Never used home delivery with them although used to get them all the time a year or so ago. Shame!

        • Genghis says:

          The Tesco coupons for extra cc points seem to have died out for us though. Is anyone else getting them?

      • As long as that spend is in large chunks or the £7.99 = 0 points rounding nonsense tears your maths to shreds…

  4. I had a reward booking to MAD, and was moved onto the 0720 LHR flight. I received an email yesterday. As it’s the 777 operated one I’m likely to leave it, but it is a much earlier departure especially for someone living in Norwich!

    • Lady London says:

      Why don’t you ask them if for such an early flight now from the wrong side of London for you, will they also provide a hotel near Heathrow please.

  5. OT: for Amex Platinum churning is isn’t possible to open the account , hit spend target and receive the bonus points all within one month (from a logistical point of view, rather than whether it is possible to spend that amount of money)?

    • Amex cards usually arrive within 2 weeks in my experience. So if you applied and were accepted on the 1st of the month that would leave you plenty of time if you have the ability to spend £2,000 within 2ish weeks

      • Do you need to keep the account open until the bonus MR hit though?

        • the real harry says:

          not a problem as it’s near-immediate

        • Genghis says:

          Yes. Best practice is to keep Amex account open until points posted and fully transferred out. My record has been around a week between receiving card and cancelling (for no fees). Mrs G and I just done same with SPG (in the sweet spot between points posting to SPG and statement being generated). No fees.

        • I’m in the process of churning the SPG card. Previously I’ve been offered double points for 3 months to keep the card. Did you get any offers on cancelling Genghis?

        • Genghis says:

          Yes – double points for 3 months both times. But decided against it as want to hit 241 on my BAPP and then get wife sign up bonus on BAPP and didn’t want to divert too much Amex expenditure.

          Not a bad offer though. SPG = 1.5p ea x 2 = 3p = 3% back. However, bear in mind that the SPG costs £6.25 a month so negates some of the benefit.

        • Peter K says:

          I’ve just cancelled my SPG over the phone and was offered no incentive to keep it.

        • rams1981 says:

          my wife and I both got the 2 for 1 vouchers this year. Already booked Buenos Airies and looking at Cape Town for Jan 2018.

          We just moved home so had loads of spending to do with refurbishment. She’s cancelled her BA card yesterday, I’m waiting to book my outbound and then will cancel mine and stick to Virgin Amex until i can churn the gold/platinum cards as soon as my 6 months are up.

          Also looking for SPG card – what’s the best sign up bonus that gets?

        • Genghis says:

          We have seen targeted 20k sign ups in the past but unlikely to see again. Just sign up. Get referred (11k), refer (5k), hit sign up (11k), £1k of spend on each of the cards (2k), total 29k SPGs, valued at 1.5p ea that’s just under 22% cash back on your £2k spend. A decent earner alongside the Amex Plats and BAPPs.

        • Thanks. I’ve got plenty of Avios + Virgin miles, so was thinking of trying to get enough SPG to do the Marriott travel package. Double points may make that possible.

        • Hi Genghis,
          Can I hijack this and ask about SPG churning? I applied, hit target and got bonus. Points transferred to spg account yesterday. Unfortunately points for referring my hubby only reached today so have missed transfer from Amex to spg credit card. Do I have to wait another month before I can cancel?

        • Boi – I would wait till they transfer – I cancelled my hubby’s BAPP in November as Amex said the pts would transfer over to BAEC as normal at the end of the month – they didn’t – 2 mths and 4 long phone calls later they finally agreed to put them in to my BAPP account as the link between hubby’s BAPP and BAEC was broken when card was cancelled – never again – it’s not worth the hassle so wait till the pts transfer. I am waiting for my final SPG pts to transfer before I cancel that card.

        • Genghis says:

          @Boi. I agree completely with Liz.

  6. I had my Lcy-Mad flight changed to I Iberia Express. As Lcy flights were still catered, plus LGW is more expensive to get to than LCY do you think I could ask BA for 1000 Avios like it seems to be offering people who bought tickets impacted by buy on board?

    The agent also told me it was LCY who cancelled the flight not BA and I could travel the same route but just not the date I had booked for.

    • I think you should try and pressure them to give you something. Iberia express fares from Gatwick are often super cheap and unless you snag an exit row the legroom is non existent.

      I don’t think you get avios in BA with iberia express flights also (although you can credit them to iberia plus)

      • I got avios + TPs on Iberia Express in September. Also counted as an eligible flight.

    • Similar – my LCY – MAD return flights were moved to Heathrow. Similar times but much further and more time consuming (I live in Docklands so very close to LCY), not catered and on a 2-3-2 767 rather than the 2-2 Embraer. Very annoyed, complained to BA for compensation for the further Heathrow journey (rejected) then asked for a Club Europe upgrade, also rejected. They really just don’t care. Anyone had any better experiences?

  7. LCY to MAD would have been -very- handy were it not for the terrible scheduling…there’s a lot of business traffic between Madrid and London so I am surprised they can’t just get better slots

  8. Yes I have a few purchases from end of November too. From past experience they will catch up and post eventually – 6 or 7 weeks isn’t that unusual from recent experience. You could chase by email if you need the Avios imminently.

    • I’m guessing it’s a Christmas backlog. At least they’re showing as pending on my account so the transactions have tracked!

      (I really wish I’d corrected that autocorrect to ‘avoid’ before posting…)

      • Genghis says:

        Oh – thanks for heads up.

      • the real harry says:

        – 7dayshop cancelled one of my purchases back in Nov – not sure why, I’m guessing it was undelivered for some reason & got returned to them – I still got the 1000 Avios though

        – similarly I have seen that there’s a (new?) T&C on Amex statement credits that any refunded items means they can pull back the statement credit, I don’t think this is enforced or monitored

        – I got round to checking my Shop Small credits yesterday – all went like clockwork with no need to ring Amex

      • Harry – I got my final small shop credit this morning from Virgin MBNA – phoned a couple of weeks ago but that person never bothered to do anything about it. I also filled out the claim form that Amex Connect provided and that wasn’t dealt with either! Called again yesterday and the £5 appeared in my account today! THird time lucky!

      • the real harry says:

        whisper it quietly but one shop seems to have messed up 4x £10 purchases, not on my statement at all (nor are the credits of course!) 🙂

        till down!

      • Harry,

        I wouldn’t count your chickens just yet, I had a similar thing with 10 £100 Tesco gift cards bought at a tesco petrol station. About 2 months later they appeared 🙁

  9. LGW-ALC on my dates was nearly £250 last time I checked! – Plane seems full!
    Opted for EasyJet instead for £140 (incl Bags, Top Seat Selection)

    Wouldn’t mind VLC as an alternative, but its a tad bit further drive along the coast!

  10. When the Railcard discount code came out earlier this week, it had a glitch which gave £10 off instead of 10% !! I was able to get it for £20 before they fixed it 🙂

    The way I found out was by joining the Hot UK Deals Whatsapp group, which sends 2-3 messages a day about deals, including glitches so you can grab before they fix!

    Railcard glitch link:

  11. rams1981 says:

    OT Virgin Black Amex – are you notified when you reach the 5k/10k spend for the upgrade vouchers? Is there an easy way to check this rather than going through each statement to check the spend?

  12. I was booked in LCY-ALC for August, 4xCE tickets.

    Moved onto the 0630 LGW flight which is incredibly inconvenient, no cannot make it there by train for the flight and it’s twice as far to travel.

    I’m guessing I’ve no recourse here as they’ll tell me I’m free to cancel? But it’s seriously poor form IMO, this is a flight at a rubbish time for us (family of 5 with an infant) at the most distant airport I could think of, and no suites left at the Sofitel so can’t even stop there the night before, it’s going to have to be the hampton :-/

    • I only booked MAD to LCY last week (via Iberia) and have already paid for hotels. Instead of arriving to LCY at 9.25pm I now arrive to LHR at 10.05pm – massively inconvenient when I live 10 mins away from LCY.
      I’ve only found out about this from Head for Points. No alert from the BA app.
      Anybody have similar experience of getting compensation from BA?

      • Cut off is 14 days unfortunately.

        • I had MAD – LCY, LCY – GLA booked for October and only found out today because I took the notion to check. No e-mail notification received. The flight from MAD had been changed to LHR with the GLA flight still leaving from LCY with a one and a half hour transfer time between flights. Why did I have to phone BA to change my final leg? Coming from GLA it is always frustrating when looking for BA reward flights it throws up so many options that have connections through different London airports. I mean who wants to drag themselves and their luggage from one airport to another? Why can’t BA understand that?

  13. James67 says:

    OT: I upgraded PRG to platinum last July and then cancelled platinum in September. Can I reapply for PRG this month or do I need to wait until March, six moths after cancelling platinum? Thanks.

    • Genghis says:

      You can reapply anytime but to get another bonus you need to wait 6 months since you last held a card with an MR account, so March.

      • James67 says:

        Thanks, this is what I figured. For the first time I can recall I’m stuck for three months without a card I can work towards a bonus on. I’ll need to go and have another look at mbna.

        • Hehe found myself in a similar position a couple of months ago. Most discomforting!

          Got my eye on the Virgin Black when that bonus hopefully returns…wish they’d extend the Clubhouse raised sign-up offer to regular applications though.

        • I do the ‘Genghis cycle’ but that still leaves gaps occasionally-especially if I decide to keep one like the BAPP for a little longer than usual to earn my 2-4-1/ get a double points offer on the SPG card.
          What I’d really like is the the double points on the BAPP card, had that about 18 months ago and it was the closest I could ever get to old BMI-card earning rates.

        • Genghis says:

          Didn’t realise that was a thing! lol 🙂 I’ll be taking 2017 a bit easier on the churn. No new cards planned now till the summer (when can do the Amex Plat/Gold and SPG churns again). I just want to be a normal punter.

          Virgin Black Amex and IHG Black once finish with BAPP for 241 and sign up bonus for wife in late Jan / Feb.

        • James67 says:

          Unfortunately, I’ve found no cards of interest.

    • March

  14. Sorry for coining that! Given the amount of mentions its had in recent weeks I felt it was apt! To be honest I’ve been doing the same for quite a while. But yes I agree I have taken the view to take it easy a bit occasionally, don’t particularly like doing the 6 week turnaround unless its with the Plat where the fee can really build up if you’re not on top of it and would rather keep on Amex’s good side in general.Which is a why I sometimes preferred an upgraded Gold as one half of the churn.
    I tend to not be as particular with the BAPP and SPG as mentioned. BAPP for earning 2-4-1 purposes as that will normally take longer than regular churn time. Cancel when it has been earned though. SPG because I’ve got good value out of the bonus point per pound especially as more often than not I’ve been without another Avios earning card at the time.

    • Genghis says:

      Yes, I’m now thinking of doing Amex Gold next time around for me (and refer Mrs G for a quick Plat turn around for a quick 55k) and holding the card for a bit and spending some coin, maybe even go for the £15k spend for the 10k bonus points which I’ve never bothered with before.

      • This may no longer be possible or as lucrative as it once was.

        1) With new rules on Amex referrals you supposedly wouldn’t, as a gold,be able to refer your wife for Plat and receive 18k MR.
        2) Gold-Plat-Plat used to work out as 24+21+18+37=100k with the 20k MR upgrade offer from Gold to Plat. This meant it was actually more appealing than Plat-Plat: 37+18+37=92k.

        Now however at least until a good upgrade offer returns the Gold route doesn’t make any sense.

        • Genghis says:

          Oh yes – thanks for that reminder. Been a while since done Gold. May just stick to the Plat churn then!

        • All may not be lost on that front though-assuming a decent upgrade offer manifests itself, say 20k, not an unreasonable possibility, the cycle would look like this: 24+21+9+37=91k. Just short of the regular 92k and there’s a good chance the fee won’t trigger on the first Plat. It doesn’t help you if you actually wanted to use the Gold card for a bit as downgrading would/should trigger the Gold fee immediately.

          I have always been fond of the Gold card though, perhaps from the days where random retailers were coded as spending abroad and I received 2x, 3x or even 4x expected number of points plus of course fuel+supermarket double points.

        • Matthew says:

          They removed the 20k bonus MR upgrade Gold to Plat in December – just as I was about to do it. Anyone heard of any upgrade offers about?

        • the real harry says:

          Every rubber band snaps, Genghis

          We think they accept churning because they are assessed on recruiting new sign-ups so sort of welcome it, even though it costs their company money

          Not really sustainable, though fun while it lasts

          I certainly don’t take the proverbial, I am probably missing a trick but too much the other way doesn’t sit easy (they have a certain power as well to screw up your credit)

        • Genghis says:

          Agreed Harry.

      • why give up the extra MR points Genghis?

        I thought u never churned the gold

        • Genghis says:

          Just thinking about it. Cannot apply for another 5.5 months or so. We already spend prob about £30k with them direct (and I guess they earn through the MBNA and Lloyds ones) a year but I should throw a bit more their way to keep them on side.

  15. rams1981 says:

    OT for AMEX points transfers do the names have to match the destination Virgin account?

    • AFAIK yes as the system is ‘live’ provided you’ve already linked your accounts.

    • Varies by partner although technically answer is no. Easiest thing is to do a 1000 point test.

  16. the real harry says:

    O/T GWR Sale
    Some great prices
    Trains to/from London Paddington Promotion
    Standard First
    North Cotswolds £5.00 £25.00
    Oxford £5.00 £25.00
    Bristol £10.00 £29.00
    Bath Spa £10.00 £29.00
    Cheltenham Spa £10.00 £27.00
    Swindon £10.00 £19.00
    Exeter £15.00 £39.00
    Penzance £15.00 £39.00
    Cardiff £15.00 £39.00
    Swansea £15.00 £39.00

  17. Rob,

    What do you think about this promotion going around in the Executive Club:

    Looks a good way to get some extra avios…