Bits: Earn points when Amex pays your suppliers via BACS, Business Class to Jo’burg for £1040 with SWISS

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New in brief:

Earn points when paying your suppliers with American Express

We’ve come across American Express AccessLine which is a payment service for companies who want to pay any supplier with a charge card to help their cash flow. Obviously this only appeals to a small number of HFP readers who are small business owners, but we thought it was worth mentioning regardless.

Corporate card members with an American Express Corporate Green Card, American Express Corporate Gold Card or American Express Corporate Platinum Card can use this payment service for domestic and international payments.

It is basically a corporate version of Billhop, scaled up for the demands of small companies.  Amex pays your suppliers directly into their bank account and then adds the cost – plus a transaction fee, of course – to your card bill.

As well as having up to 55 days to pay the Amex bill, you will earn 1 Membership Rewards point for each eligible £1 spent.

If this is of interest, the website with more information and to sign up is here.

Prague – Johannesburg in Business Class from £1,040 with Swiss

If you want to plan ahead to escape the English winter this year, SWISS has some great Business Class fares to South Africa.

Selected flights in November and December are only £1,040 for a return flight from Prague to Johannesburg in Business Class. You need to be a bit flexible when booking these fares and you need to stay a minimum of six days.

When I checked the website there were still 2 seats for £516 on 27th November from Prague via Zurich to Johannesburg.  (The screenshot below shows 24th November but those seats went late last night.)

Swiss cheap business flight prague johannesburg

and return flights on 3rd December for £524 available.

Swiss cheap business flight prague johannesburg return

The SWISS website is 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.)

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  1. O/T: anybody here used a Curve debit card (linked to CC) to top up a Starling bank account? You can put up to £250 a day through and bill to your credit card it seems. Any reason not to do this, could the CC company consider it a cash advance?

    • Andrew M says:

      They have a page on their site basically saying that anything that can be viewed as “cash recycling” is not permitted, and that doing so may get your account suspended or revoked. So, continue at your own risk…

      • Thanks. Thought that refers to ATM withdrawals? I’m more interested in using it to effectively create a free money transfer.. and take advantage of 0% purchase deal. I’ve done a test, think I’ll wait until my statement comes next week before doing anymore transactions

        • Andrew M says:

          Primarily addresses ATM, but goes on: “Any other equivalent usage which the Curve Compliance Team believes aims to achieve the same outcome, for example via the use of money transfer services, is also not permitted. Such behaviour may result in your Curve account being blocked or cancelled.”

          It works, or at least an equivalent method I tried does – but I’m not continuing, as I am not willing to risk losing my Curve.

      • Is it possible to use a Curve to pay into a SIPP pension using the debit card? Or will this be seen as cash recycling?


  2. Earlier in the week I said I would report back on Plaza Premium in T5. Had some
    time in there between about 10 and 11 this morning.

    Easy access with an Amex Plat for me and guest – the agent swiped the card and scanned boarding passes then waved us in. (We both have cards so in theory could have got a party of 4 in there).

    Lounge is sort of L shaped – more seating past the catering and bar if the first bit you get to looks quite busy. Several different seating options including single person pods with mini tables, two person booths and some low sofas around tables. Loads of plugs and USB sockets around the place. The lounge was about 1/3 capacity so no problems finding a seat. We sat at the north end by the floor to ceiling windows which had good views of departing aircraft, that seemed to pass the time quite nicely.

    Food was good – decent hot breakfast spread with what looked like good quality bacon and sausages and fruit salad. Coffee decent and bar had a good range of drinks. Wine looked fairly standard £5-6 retail bottles and spirits were Gordon’s Gin/ Jack Daniels sort of level. Bathrooms clean and modern. Didn’t try the WiFi.

    Overall, I’d say it was nicer than BA Galleries lounges and food is substantially better. Beers and spirits probably just about on par with Galleries but bar service rather than self-pour. The wine didn’t look as good (sometimes you get some cracking wines in Galleries).

    Main annoyances were that they were boarding at A7 and the announcements were piped into the speakers in the lounge area.

    Overall, decent alternative to Galleries lounges – ambience is probably better, breakfast was streets ahead and drinks not quite as good.

    If they open to Priority Pass suspect it will become very busy indeed as it is quite a small space, though used very cleverly. As things stand I’d definitely recommend it if you have access with a card; would struggle to justify the £40 entry fee though.

  3. Rob –
    Another question about Curve Card. I have an IHG premium card and use it (& others) via Curve – it works fine BTW.
    But I wondered, would I get the double points bonus for IHG and foreign spending via Curve, that I do using the IHG card directly?
    I suspect not, as Curve will be seen as normal UK spending, whoever the ultimate supplier is?
    The same would apply to any ‘bonus points’ benefits with other cards like the John Lewis card (double points at Waitrose etc). So maybe Curve is not quite as useful as I thought. Or am I missing something?

    • If you are right, which I agree is likely, then for foreign currency transactions:

      IHG Premium credit card per £ foreign currency spend = 4 IHG points and 2.99% foreign transaction free
      Curve with IHG Premium per £ foreign currency spend = 2 IHG points and 1% foreign transaction fee

      Given Rob’s 0.4p valuation for IHG points, you’re still better off using Curve.

      This may of course not be the case for all bonus points benefits on other cards, especially within the UK.

  4. Corporate Cards can only be issued to Company’s that have a turnover greater than £2M
    This is required to use Access Line as a method of payment.

  5. OT, as this is bits – going to Delhi in a couple of weeks, and I have booked a tour with a local company. Payment is on arrival, and they take Amex. However… they have quoted in INR, but will add 5% to credit card payments in INR. No surcharge for payment in GBP.

    This seems counter-intuitive, as I would normally always opt to pay in local currency. Obviously if I pay in GBP, I will be at the mercy of their forex rate. I guess if this works out to less than 5%, I’m better off accepting that. I don’t know that there is any way to find out what their rate will be.

    Anyone any experience of anything similar? Thoughts/suggestions?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance!

    • Craig Strickland says:

      I’ve used it before but had negotiated that they reduce the tour cost by 5% because I said I was worried about carrying large amounts of cash. I’m in the same position in a few weeks time for the next trip.

    • Dynamic Currency Conversion (where the merchant’s bank “helpfully” converts to your home currency) generally adds about 7%.
      Two hotel bars in Bangkok have tried this on me this week.
      I suspect that in this case it would be even more – they are just using the 5% surcharge to push you to suffer on the exchange rate which is less visible.
      Amex would charge you 1% spread + 3% fee.
      Unless you are chasing a spending target, I suggest you use a Visa or Mastercard with no/low exchange fees – you would be better off buying Avios from BA.

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