Bits: last day to buy Hilton points with a bonus, 1p Avios Groupon deal update, Curve / Tesco credit card problem

News in brief:

Last day to buy Hilton Honors points with a bonus

TODAY (Thursday) is the last day to get a 100% bonus when you purchase 5,000+ Hilton Honors points.  This is the highest bonus we have seen for quite a while.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.3p each.  You are paying 0.35p here (the maximum is $800 / £570 for 160,000 – although some people have been offered a higher annual cap) so it isn’t a slam dunk.

Five star Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria hotels typically run to 80,000 points per night.  In this sale you would be paying $400 for 80,000 points.  You will rarely find a cash room higher than that but it does happen.

However, Hilton Honors IS a decent deal at cheaper point levels.   To dig out my ‘usual suspect’ examples, the Hampton by Hilton in Sheffield, for example, is 10,000 points per night on most nights.  At 0.35p per point you would be paying roughly £35 per night if you bought the points.  That is a 65% discount on the typical nightly rate of £100.  Hampton properties include free breakfast as well.

If you just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.  If you are a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.

Avios / Groupon Ireland deal update

If you were thinking of picking up some cheap Avios (around 1p) via the new Groupon Ireland offer, note that the cheapest package (2,000 Avios for roughly 0.7p each) sold out on Tuesday.

The remaining five packages are still available and you can buy up to 82,000 points at an average of 1.0p.

If you are having issues creating an Aer Club account, a comment below suggests a) not putting a space between the two parts of your postcode and b) under the mobile box, putting just two digits in the first box and the rest in the second one.  It seems to help!

My original article on the deal is here.  The relevant Groupon Ireland page is here.

Curve and Tesco Bank

Curve hits a problem with Tesco Bank credit cards

If you are using a Curve Card to earn points from your UK cash withdrawals and to reduce your FX charges when travelling (see here for more on Curve) you should be aware of an issue with Tesco Bank credit cards.

From 1st June, transactions recharged by Curve to a Tesco Bank credit card are being treated as cash withdrawals.  This means that cash advance fees of 3.99% are being added to every purchase.

Curve believes that this is an error due to the way that Tesco Bank interprets the category code used on Curve transactions.  It will hopefully get sorted soon, but in the meantime you should link your Curve Card to a non-Tesco Bank credit card.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Virgin Flying Club launches new redemption seat sale on selected Economy routes
Hilton has launched its Summer Sale for weekend stays
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Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    On topic… Tesco call centre agent just informed me that I can’t pay towards the cash balancr until the statement has been generated. So anything I pay now would only pay off purchases (not accruing interest). This in effect means I have to pay a minimum of around 25 days interest on the cash balance… this can’t be right surely? Is this just a case of HUACA?

    • the real harry1 says:

      HUACA, I reckon. But why are you contacting them at all, just fund the a/c. Anyway, just going to be a few pence, surely?

      • Andrew says:

        HUACA worked. Unfortunately I chose the wrong time to pay for some holidays so I have £2,200 quid as a cash balance at 30% APR!

        I am hoping the back in time feature on curve works quickly so it accrues less interest, but felt in the meantime I should clear as much of it as I can afford.

        • Andrew says:

          Oh and sorry, to answer your question I was also calling to see if there were any signs of the refunds yet that weren’t clear to me online.

        • the back in time feature does not reverse the fees charged. I called and they are adamant that the funds were used so it does not matter if the transaction were reversed. I raised a complaint over the phone and explained that they are the one who would be losing out – having a long term customer cancelling the card over £3.77 and spend the time and resource to deal with this formal complaint (which would cost them more). The agent went away and checked with his supervisor and decided to waive the charges as I have never been charged before (not because they were wrong). Dealt with at the end so off to use HSBC world elite card and see how long that lasts!

  2. Ralph says:

    I just contacted Tesco re Curve problem. They are clearly getting a lot of calls as they have a pre-prepared response, saying that they sent a Notice of Variation and that Curve is a ‘virtual card’ so attracts the cash advance fee and interest from the transaction date. I have raised a complaint on the basis that Curve does not fall in to any of the categories in their variation and is certainly not what is usually defined as a virtual card. It is clear however, even if they are wrong now and have to redraft their terms, that they will effectively stop Curve being recharged to TB cards by applying a punitive fee. They seem incredibly adamant about this. As I’m only complaining about 83p I think they would have refunded me to make it go away, but I am much more concerned about future transactions. I managed to pay £17k to HMRC in May before reaching Curve monthly limit, but have more to do…

    It all seems fairly terminal for Curve as other cards will follow if they haven’t already. A very sad day!

    • Curve is now moving me to their debit card from their pre-paid card, which should not incur cash advance fees. However they do say that Tesco Bank has told some of their customers the debit card version will still be subject to fees and that Curve is in discussion with Tesco Bank about this. Meanwhile I have used Curve’s Go Back in History feature to move all my transactions from June 1 onwards to another card. Curve said it would be down to Tesco Bank whether or not they refunded the fees they have charged.

      • Ralph says:

        I have the new Curve debit card and it did attract the fee on a small transaction I did this week. They insist that Curve is a ‘virtual’ card which is one thing it isn’t. I have written to CEO of Tesco Bank. I doubt it will do anything; at best they will reword their terms which may give a few months while they notify people. Very disappointing; I have found the Curve card really useful even post Amex debacle.

      • Geoff says:

        The Curve debit card is certainly subject to the new ‘cash transaction’ charges from Tesco on all transactions, not just cash..

  3. imbruce says:

    I used the curve card in Gothenburg last month and it was good for all transactions,
    as soon as the transaction posted it gave the sterling conversion amount which is very handy as Gothenburg is very expensive.
    If you plan to travel there be aware that they have virtually gone cashless, cards is the only way to pay for your transactions expect for a small ice cream stand in the park that only excepts cash.
    Cabs have an IZetlle machine too.

    • Genghis says:

      I find having an instant £££ amount is useful when I need to do my work expenses quickly the following day.

  4. Peter Wilson says:

    I have today found a £30 cash advance fee added to my Tesco account for 3 transactions added yesterday. Tesco are adamant that it is a cash advance and that they will not reimburse me. I have e mailed Curve but still awaiting a response. Really disappointed re this, I will complain to Tesco if this doesn’t get sorted but I fear it will fall on deaf ears as today’s conversation with them did.

  5. David says:

    Another irritated soon-to-be ex-Tesco cardholder… Made payments resulting in almost £200 of “cash advance” charges using my Curve Debit card. Tesco insist it is a prepaid card or a virtual card – clearly it is neither. I have made my formal complaint to them and will follow it through. Also upset to find that my Plan B – the time-travel option with Curve – is only for amounts under £1000. I hope everyone follows the Curve advice and logs their complaints with Tesco. Good job there are plenty of card companies to choose from!

  6. Premgenius says:

    Here is a community thread between Tesco Bank and Curve customers https://yourcommunity.tescobank.com/t5/Help-Support/Tesco-treating-all-Curve-activity-as-cash-advances/m-p/20264 interesting got an email from Curve to raise the withdrawal fee dispute with Tesco Bank whilst they investigate with Tesco Bank and Mastercard

    • the real harry1 says:

      So how do you answer this point that Tesco makes:

      ‘PayPal is an online payment service provider, acting as a payment intermediary for direct purchases for goods or services. This is why no fees will be applied when using PayPal unless the merchant processing the payment makes us aware that the funds are being used as cash transaction, such as a wire transfer or investment transaction.
      Curve, as a payment service, operates in the same way as a prepaid card, requesting funds to be pulled into their account before being transferred to the merchant or withdrawn via ATM. As this money can then be used in any way, such as making a cash withdrawal or gambling, we have made the decision to treat this type of transaction as a cash transaction.’

      It’s true, as far as I can see. You can use Curve to get cash on Tesco card out of ATMs & earn the Tesco clubcard points —> cash advance, no goods have been bought. You can pay HMRC on your Tesco credit card – that’s also a cash advance scenario.

      • the real harry1 says:

        Obvs there are many scenarios where using Curve —> Tesco wouldn’t be a cash advance, ie you are using the facility for real purchases of goods or services. But why, in that case, wouldn’t you just use the Tesco card itself with no need for Curve as intermediary?

        I have a fair bit of sympathy for Tesco card services here, they are just protecting Tesco’s interests.

        • Will Squires says:

          In that case, just decline Curve transactions – don’t impose fees with zero notice, which you then refuse to remove even if the “cash transaction” is refunded (which isn’t normally something you can do with a cash transaction, I might add…).

      • David says:

        And identify the cards they are targeting beforehand with reasons and examples, so that we all work with transparency and can make an informed choice. If MasterCard define this as a debit card, and I have a physical card in my possession, why would I read Tesco’s statement re applying cash advance rates to prepaid and virtual cards as applying to my very real MasterCard debit card?

        The issue is that Tesco has applied a new, arbitrary definition and is now scrambling to justify it after the event.

        I am confident that MasterCard and the regulator will eventually push Tesco into another reversal. And that is the conversation I will be having with them tomorrow.

  7. Chris says:

    I think this issue is impacting debit cards also. Obviously to a lesser extent but I’m no longer getting Clubcard points on Curve transactions… i guess this is because they’re now “cash”.

  8. Tesco has posted re Curve on its ‘Your Community’ site and is now “pausing” the cash advance fees being charged for using Curve while they review the matter. They are refunding the fees charged to date. They have probably been quite surprised by the volume of complaints. Unfortunately, now the issue has been highlighted, I imagine they will find suitable wording in their T&Cs to stop transactions before too long.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Looks like the complaints campaign worked, though – some people here will get quite a few quid refunded

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