News in brief:
New HMRC fees for tax payments on credit cards published
As we have mentioned on HfP numerous times, the last day to pay tax bills on a personal credit card is 13th January. This is a licence to print cheap miles and points, given the low 0.38% fee. This article shows you how best to exploit it.
The Revenue WILL continue to accept payment with a corporate / business MasterCard or Visa. This is unlikely to make sense for most people because there are virtually no business Visa or Mastercard products which gives rewards. There are none that give travel rewards that I know about.
Here are the charges from 14th January:
VISA Business Credit Card 1.70%
VISA Commerce Credit Card 2.80%
VISA Corporate Credit Card 1.94%
VISA Purchasing Credit Card 1.92%
VISA Commercial Credit Card 1.94%
Mastercard Business Credit Card 1.80%
Mastercard Corporate Credit Card 1.98%
Mastercard Purchasing Credit Card 2.20%
Mastercard Fleet Credit Card 1.97%
Mastercard Commercial Credit Card 1.98%
The only possible upside I can imagine is using a Curve Card, which is treated as a Business Mastercard.
The fee will be 1.8%. However, if you are self-employed and paying VAT, PAYE or corporation tax, the fee will be a deductible business expense. If you are a higher rate taxpayer, the net cost including the NI saving would be just under 1%. If you have a legacy mileage card, such as the ‘1.25 miles per £1’ American Airlines Visa, this is not bad.
You can find our more about Curve in this article. They will pay you £5 for trying it out.
Hilton weekend sale still running
Hilton currently has a sale running covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It is valid for ALL of 2018 (and the rest of 2017) but only for weekend stays.
You can see full details on the Hilton website here.
Here are the headline details:
Valid for participating hotels in the UK, Middle East, Africa and Europe
Discounts are up to 25% off ‘Best Available Rate’ and ‘Best Available Rate With Breakfast’ for Hilton Honors members, and up to 20% off for non-members
Bookings are non-changeable and non-refundable (so, let’s be honest, it isn’t a full 25% discount as a non-refundable rate is usually 10% cheaper anyway)
You must book at hilton.com here
Bookings valid for WEEKEND STAYS at any point between now and the end of 2018
Bookings must be made by 31st January 2018
Given that you can book for the whole of next year, you may be able to lock in a deal for any weddings or other events which you know are coming up.
KLM / Air France / Delta launch ‘no luggage’ fares, leaving BA with little choice
The ‘hand baggage only’ trend has now hit transatlantic fares. From 10th April, standard economy fares from the UK to the US or Canada on Delta, Air France or KLM will be ‘hand baggage only’ with a 10kg limit.
The cost of a suitcase will be, each way:
- 1st bag fee $60 / €50 / 75 CAD
- 2nd bag fee $100 / €85 / 120 CAD
To be honest, it is difficult to see how British Airways can avoid being drawn into this. It already faces stiff competition from Norwegian on many routes to North America and now Singapore too. The key factor at play is that online travel agent search results do not adjust to reflect baggage costs.
A Delta fare may now appear cheaper than a British Airways fare on Expedia, but only when you come to book will you realise it is an extra £80 for your suitcase. How many people will still book the Delta fare, assuming that BA would add a similar fee even though it doesn’t? Enough, I imagine.
It is virtually certain that Virgin Atlantic will have to adopt this system when its transatlantic joint venture with Delta, KLM and Air France is approved in 2018. What chance of BA holding out then?