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Bits: BA takes SAA’s 2nd Heathrow slot, using Curve to earn miles from HMRC, Qatar Airways discounts

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News in brief:

British Airways reportedly leasing SAA’s 2nd Heathrow slot for five years

We wrote on Sunday about how South African Airways is dropping one of its two daily flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg with the upside of a new Airbus A330-300 with SAA’s newest business class seat operating the remaining flight.

The rumour is that British Airways has leased the 2nd set of South African Airways landing and take-off slots for five years.  SAA is believed to be hopeful that it will be in a better financial position to resume the 2nd daily service after that time.

There is no guarantee that BA will use the slots to operate an additional service to South Africa.  The early morning Heathrow landing slot is particularly useful and is more likely to be used to add a new service to North America or Asia.

An update on using Curve Card to pay HMRC

We wrote recently about how Curve Card looks like it could be a replacement way of earning miles and points from HMRC now that HMRC refuses to take credit cards.  The article is here.

Curve Card is a debit card which recharges your transactions to a linked Visa or Mastercard credit card, with no fees in the UK.  This has a lot of potential for earning miles and points at places where only debit cards are accepted, like HMRC.

When I wrote our latest article on Curve I didn’t expect cards to arrive in time for the January tax bill deadline.  Quite a few did, however, but some readers found that Curve did not want to process their transactions.

This is what the Curve team told me last week, which to be fair is also what they say on their site:

“When new users sign up and try to make a first payment of multiple thousand pounds (e.g. we’ve had well over £10k as a first attempt), it triggers our fraud engine. Understandable, I hope. This results in declined payments and that’s not the experience we want to provide. We have limits that increase over time (ie. with regular spending activity) in line with user risk profiles, so for some existing cardholders the payment has worked.”

As I wrote in the article, I paid £1750 in one transaction with no problems.  Your Curve usage limits also increase with use – a new cardholder may get a £15000 annual cap, whilst I have £50000 for example, having had a card for a year or so.

If you do pay self assessment, the best thing to do is to use your Curve Card for some general Visa and Mastercard spending over the next few months to build up your profile.  You will then be in a good position to use Curve to settle your 31st July tax bill.

One other thing to note – some people are still receiving the pre-paid Mastercard version of Curve.  If it doesn’t say ‘Debit’ on the front and you specifically want to use yours at places like HMRC, contact Curve via the app and they will replace your card with a debit version.

If you want to give Curve a try – and they will pay you £5 for trying it out if you use my referral code – full details are in this HFP article.  You will need a smartphone to use it.

Qatar Airways discount code

Qatar Airways discount code

Qatar Airways has launched a 15% discount code on the base fare, valid in Economy and Business, for flights from the UK on four new routes:

  • Canberra
  • Chiang Mai
  • Pattaya
  • Penang

The promo code to use on the Qatar Airways website here is FLYQRUK.  You need to book by 17th February for travel by any point until 1st February 2019.  “Peak black out travel dates apply.”

Meanwhile, if you can connect to Dublin easily, you can save 15% on Chiang Mai, Penang, Canberra, Bangkok, Sydney, Bali, Perth, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Auckland, Cape Town, Singapore, Johannesburg, Lahore and Hong Kong.

The code you need for Dublin departures is IEFLYQR.  The same travel dates apply as for the UK offer.

Your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.  Our review of Amex Gold is here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. When using the Curve card for IHG hotel stays, the accelerate programme does not appear to recognise the purchase as spending on my IHG credit card. The purchases show as Curve purchases on the statement, does this mean they do not attract the same points compared to using my IHG credit?

    • You will not get additional points just regular points as it is the same as any other payment.

    • The_real_a says:

      Creation sees the payment merchent as curve, and not the hotel so you dont recieve the bonus points as technically you are not using the carf at the hotel.

      • Is this the same for foreign exchange charges if you use Curve. Will you only get 2pts on the Premium IHG card instead of 4.

        • Unless you change the card currency to be that of the country you are in. Ie adding the Post office or Halifax card as a euro card means no fees for using curve in Europe etc.

          However unless on expenses you will be getting less that 2% back in IHG points but they are probably charging close to 3% in foreign exchange fees.

        • Pangolin says:

          It’s only 2pts.

          IME the effective charge for use abroad is never above 1%, so if I’m earning points at around 1p or above it’s essentially free to use.

    • Only standard ihg credit card points as your using Curve not the ihg card direct

    • RussellH says:

      I just got credited last week for spending on my IHG M’Card – only I have not spent anything at IHG this year. I have made three redemption bookings, which are guaranteed by my IHG card, but the stays are in April and May. The only actual payment on the card is a couple of months water bills.

      • I have had that with Hilton BC with redemptions before, just the guarantee was enough to get the extra 2500 for one of my first four bookings.

    • Same as if you pay via PayPal, etc. – for any of these direct card benefits you have to pay on the card itself, not via Curve.

  2. When I put the first few numbers of my curve card into a checker it comes back as a debit card and not aa a prepaid credit card. Although mine was an early one so doesn’t say debit on it. So not sure

    How long does it take to get a replacement card?

  3. The availability of a debit card version had completely passes me by !
    That will be more useful.
    I will switch over. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Are the points you recieve exactly the same value as the original credit card version ?

    • You mean Curve Rewards? Seems so, yes, as long as they don’t switch you to the consumer version by mistake.

      • Genghis says:

        I now have the consumer debit card and still have Curve rewards (switched from the business pre-paid card).

  4. Are there any really good biz prices on those Qatar routes mentioned which then attract the additional 15% off ?
    Thinking of sub £900 flights 😉

  5. Earning miles with Curve?? I thought those days were looong gone??

  6. I just got my self-employed Curve and it was the Debit version. Shame you can’t add the Curve card to Apple Pay though!

  7. O/T: If I book a flight+hotel using BA holidays to get the flight cheaper (I’m seing more than £1000 difference) do I need to checkin in the hotel? Can I just pick the cheapest thing and don’t show up there at all?

    Thanks in advance

  8. Memesweeper says:

    +1 to Robs advice to use Curve everywhere to build up your history and risk profile with them.

    I use it most days, at home and abroad, they upped my limits six months ago and I’ve pushed £3k through HMRC self assessment recently on the new debit card.

    Holding this card just for big ticket tax payments is not going to work out well for you or them I don’t think.

    • Yeah but I prefer to use Amex everywhere.

    • What’s your definition of “use it most days”? I’ve had my Curve for well over a year now, and generally make small, but frequent purchases – a few £100s a month. My limits are still £2k/day, £5k/month, £10k/year, and haven’t increased. That doesn’t come remotely close to either my VAT or corporation tax bills, which historically I paid for by personal credit card… Has anyone had any joy asking Curve for credit limit increases? My various normal credit card companies fell over themselves to give me higher credit limits when I discovered I could pay my tax bill though them…

  9. Typo alert. I think you mean to say ‘referral code’ not ‘referral card’.

  10. Not sure if this is know, but I have used my Curve Debit Card linked to my Tesco Debit Card to pay off my Amex balance and managed to get clubcard points on Tesco Debit Card. When paying directly with the Tesco Debit Card this would not be the case

  11. Dean Selway says:

    I managed to put through £400 on self assessment in £200 transactions but now trying to pay corporation tax, I managed to put through £75 but no joy on anything more, just a payment declined notice, I’ve spoken to curve, HMRC and ihg no blocks on my card.

    Any advice?

    • Go and use the card in some shops for offline transactions for a few weeks then try again.

      • Dean Selway says:

        It wouldn’t let me do a transaction higher than £200 initially then it would only let me do £75, tried on my partners curve today and no issues.

    • Why only £75 and was this the only payment you have made to your corporation tax?

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