Bits: Curve and cash withdrawals warning, new IHG PointBreaks on Monday, Kimpton Fitzroy London coming soon

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News in brief:

Curve and cash withdrawals

A quick update on this subject, which has been discussed at length on HFP this week.

Whilst Curve announced last weekend that they were changing the coding on transactions, which would make ATM withdrawals visible to your card issuer, it turns out that they did not actually go through with this change until Thursday.  We were told it was happening last Monday.

If you made a cash withdrawal during Monday to Thursday and it was treated as a purchase – which it will have been – this does not necessarily mean that your card issuer will not pass on these new charges.  You need to have a transaction done from Friday onwards before you can be sure.

I did test Creation (IHG, Marriott credit cards) and MBNA (Horizon) transactions yesterday so let’s see how these end up.  You might want to wait before doing any further withdrawals.

New IHG PointBreaks lists released on Monday

IHG Rewards Club will be releasing a new PointBreaks list on Monday.

These hotels will be bookable from Monday afternoon UK time.  It seems at the moment that we won’t see the list until it is officially published.  I would expect to do an extra post on Monday evening if I have the time.  If you are on our email list you will have to wait until Tuesday morning or pop onto the site on Monday evening.

The 100+ PointBreaks hotels on the list will be bookable for the period 1st October to, probably, 30th November.  The cost will be reduced to between 5,000 and 15,000 points per night depending on hotel.

There is no teaser list this time so I can’t give you an examples of what hotels will be included.  The selection last time was better than we have seen for while and included the Crowne Plaza Heathrow.

principal london Kimpton Fitzroy

Kimpton Fitzroy London opening soon

Following its acquisition of Principal Hotels and De Vere Hotels, which we covered here, IHG has moved quickly to rebrand Principal London.

The hotel will soon be known at Kimpton Fitzroy London and will be only the 2nd Kimpton hotel in Europe after Amsterdam (reviewed here).  The hotel will be named after the original architect of the hotel, Charles Fitzroy Doll.

The IHG website says that the rebrand will take place on 24th November.  A press release put out by IHG this weeks says “late October”.  In any event, you can’t yet book it via

Principal London reopened recently after a total and hugely expensive refurbishment of The Russell Square Hotel.  It has generated a lot of buzz for its bar and restaurant.  There is a decent chance that this will be the best IHG hotel in London.  If you find the InterContinental London Park Lane to be a little tired and dated, I think you will be very happy at the Kimpton.

I will try to take a look once the switch has gone through and I’ll let you know when it is available for booking.

Other Principal hotels in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester will be rebranded as Kimpton over the next 12-18 months.

(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.)

Two reviews of the brand new Aspire Lounge South at Birmingham Airport
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  1. That’s great news, thanks very much. I would really have struggled to get the stays and points done, but nights is within reach.

  2. Wildly OT: Does Oxford university accept amex for tuition fees and also accommodation payments

    • When I was there, all payments were to individual colleges so it’d be on a college by college basis.

    • Yep they do. You pay through the university shop online. They ask you to include a 3% fee if you pay by card. But they don’t levy the charge so it’s at your discretion.

  3. O/T. The reason we collect points and take the great advice offered on this website. On a recent trip to Durban, we flew business class out of Amsterdam to Johannesburg and booked an Avis rental car as a flight and car hire package saving over £4K in the process. Took great advantage of the lounges and benefits of BA Gold card earnt through just enough accumulation of tier points. The Avis car was upgraded from a Hyundai class E to a brand new BMW 320d with 600kms on the clock. I have Avis Preferred status earned through Amex Platinum. Checked into the Hilton Durban spending 86000 points for five nights, therefore getting a free nights stay. Without asking, was given an upgrade from a standard room to a one bedroom Executive suite which sells online for a weekend night at around £300 per night. I have Diamond level loyalty card earned through 8 stay status challenge. Free alcohol and food in the Exec lounge from 6-10pm. Wonderful hospitality.

    I wanted to share this post in appreciation of the great advice given on this site through the daily posts and all the valuable insights given by readers through the comments section. Thanks.

  4. Just a heads up. My SPG/Marriott points have left my account

    • fivebobbill says:

      Unfortunately the issue isn’t with them leaving Clive… it’s where they disappear to when they do!

    • Talking of which, are these problems only with existing amex accounts or also happening when people have opened new amex SPG accounts? Due to churn next month but thinking I might be better to delay it a month or two.

      • Mine is an existing SPG Amex account. Still waiting for August and September points which left Amex as usual but never reached my Marriott account. No idea if it’s also happening to new accounts.

    • My 40K starpoints left at Aug and Sep were floating somewhere unknown

      • Ditto – want to close the card and get my pro-rata fee refund so getting fed up with how long this is taking!

        • Me too, no response so far from Marriott

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Same, I’ve checked with Amex and they have the correct, new SPG/Marriott number, but no points posted for a couple of months now, they’re lost in the ether somewhere.

  5. O/t we have just booked our first BA 241 trip for next year. It will be our first BA long haul so looking for tips on what we need to do when..

    Out in J to BKK, back in F from DOH

    We don’t have any BA status so assume I can’t reserve seats for the J until 24 hours before, but F I have already reserved in MMB.

    Anything else we ‘need’ to do before hand – like lounges, book treatments etc?


    • In J without BA status you can’t book the spa, you just turn up and see if they have any spots left.

    • Seats LHR-BKK are usually ok for couples within 24h if you want one of the backwards middle pairs. However, IME it is highly unlikekly you will get a window aisle facing pair unless you pay for them. If there are any left within 24h they will likely be snapped up by regional connecting pax who can check in several hours before you.

      Lounges: I would recommend getting an amex platinum card even if just holding it for a few months to get the bonus, insurance for your trip, lounge access and hotel and car hire status. This gives yoj priority pass which you can use at many lounges and the platinum card itself gets you into T5 Pkaza Premium Lounge. Don’t know how you plan to get from BKK-DOH but regardles priority pass will be useful at BKK. My favoured lounges at BKK at the moment are Cathay lounge which is food to order and buffet, or the much quieter Oman Air lounge which can be accessed with Priority Pass. BKK is a good airport to to on a lounge crawl if you wish but alliwbtime to get to your gate.

      Immigration at BKK: You will receivee a pass on board for fast track immigration. It is almost always the quickest way to go but standard immigration worth a quick look.

      Bangkok Airport taxi: Ignore all the nonsense about BKK taxi drivers, they are mostly fine and will create no problems if the customer doesn’t,. No point paying 2-3 times the price for a private transfer when you can be down to official rank and be half way into town before locating and exiting the airport with a private driver sometimes. On return to the airport, hail a moving taxi 20m down the road from the hotel. Offer the driver 500 baht no meter and he should be your friend. If he say 600 he is trying it on, decline and hail the next taxi, don’t negotiate because 500 already good, most would do no meter for 400 outside rush hour. For journrys in city insist on meter. Try to hail moving taxi or use one you see people getting out, best to avoid stationary taxis at major tourist spots.

      • Brian Porter says:

        Be very careful doing a “no meter” back to the airport in BKK. They go the non express-way route sometimes and I ended up missing my flight because of it.

        • It can be an issue but the same could happen with the expressway too sometimes. I usually tell them expressway and most comply. I always leave Sukhumvit about 2h 45min before my departure time and never had a problem even in rush hour. However, that’s knowing I have premium check in and access to fast track security and immigration.

          The main problem I find with Bangkok taxis is drivers not knowing directions. Had a few disputes over the years about whether to use expressway; tgedrivers let you out without charge to take another taxi if agreement cannot be reached.

        • What is Hilton Sukhumvit like?

        • @Mr Dee, don’t know but John commented he will stay there this week so ask him in a few days. His comparison witb thd DT will bd interesting as the latter is a 10k points a nught cheaper.

      • swhostring says:

        BJ – why do you go to Thailand?

      • Completely disagree regarding BKK taxi drivers, especially to the airport, but if you pay 500 baht you will be fine – i used to pay 250 baht. I have a list of encounters with BKK taxi drivers. The airport train is my preference.

      • We always hire an AOT Limo at Swampy [the desk right outside of arrivals] as had too many problems with BKK taxis.

        AOT are great. The drivers invariably know where they’re going, all cars are Easy Pass enabled with the tolls being included in the price and there’s enough room in the boot for two large suitcases and two cabin cases and the air conditioning is always on.

        On the way back we always book with a BKK Limo company that we’ve been using for years. It’s well worth paying the extra as there’s never a problem.

      • Thanks all for the detailed responses.

        Yes – got PP through amex plat thank yoU. Actually going straight from BKK to hkt, so I assume we will have to clear immigration, collect bags and check in again? From hkt to sin before looping back to bkk for couple of nights, then dmk to mle for a morning flight to get seaplane, then mle-doh. All with LCC so PP will come in handy.

        Have booked Hyatt place Sukhumvit on points which looks decent with rooftop pool.
        Didn’t know about immigration – thanks.

        • Since BA will not check bags through I cannot see any alternative to immigration, bag reclaim and check in. However, it is not difficult, bag reclaim is immediately behind immigration and customs and exit immediately behind that. On exit where you see all greeters standing take escalator or elevator upstairs and you are in departures. It will be a long walk from the plane to immigration though. It is years since I made such a transit, it was done airside if you had a through ticket and baggage checked through to final destination but I am not sure if that was only available to Thai Airways passengers. Regardless, given stories on immigration queues at HKT I think better to clear in BKK.

          You mentioned DMK, if you have Air Asia sectors I recommend you change your seats to a hot seat if you have not already picked those.

  6. Down the Back says:

    OT: Can anybody confirm Hilton reward stays are eligible for the Lufthansa 2.5k points offer ? I’ve read the t/c’s but don’t see anywhere it says rewards stays are not eligble ? If reward stays are not eligible how about using points and cash would they be eligible ?



    • Unfortunately, reward stays are definitely not eligible regardless of whether you pay 100% points or a combination of points & money. I’ve done 7 stays this month, 2500 posted for all of them except the ine I used points & money. Has also been confirmed on FT.

      • Down the Back says:

        Thanks BJ, that is exactly what I was looking for, I too have had 6 stays all posted quickly in to my newly set up Miles and More account. I have 3 x 1 night coming up over the next 2/3 weeks in the US so will probably just use points only, if the £100 rebate for £500 spend in Hilton USA on Amex was running for another 3 weeks instead of 8 days I would have used cash.



    • If you book with cash take care to stick with the main rate types. I think Rob commented earlier this month that some special rates like travel industry are also ineligible. That is not mentioned in t&c either.

      • Reward stays are not eligible. The T&C’s of the promo are rubbish. It was only after complaints from me on here (copied to Hilton) that they changed the landing page to actually explain how you set it up with your LH details.

  7. Don’t think I’ve spotted this in Bits yet, but “The Scotsman” is reporting that Norwegian is abandoning its Edinburgh-USA routes.

    Global Investment Partners, are putting the blame squarely on failings of the SNP/The Scottish Goverment.

  8. Wally1976 says:

    OT – wife and I both got the Hilton Barclaycards early this year and using our free nights next weekend. I know there’s a 2500 point bonus for the first time they’re used at a Hilton hotel and seem to remember there’s a way of triggering it without paying for the room on it. Something like buying a packet of crisps on the card…?

    • Just charge something to your room such as a drink at the bar ir a coffe and settle up on check out with hilton visa, that should do it. You get 2500 points x4 for first 4 stays within a year of taking out card.

    • I didn’t pay for anything and I got the bonuses for my next 4 stays, which incidentally were all award stays. These posted automatically to Hilton and didn’t show up on Barclays statement.

      Before this happened, I had prepaid for 4 stays which were to be after those award stays, and as the bonuses didn’t arrive with these 4 Hilton transactions I complained, eventually received 8 bonuses in total plus £50 “compo”.

      If I had known you get the bonuses the first times you actually stay rather than with the transaction then I might not have complained but I guess I got lucky

      • I guess you had your Hilton visa card on your profile then and associated with the reward stays? It must be what triggers the stay bonus.

  9. Hilton Sukhumvit is very good. I have stayed in a lot of BKK hotels and this is my favourite. Great rooms, staff and location. Book an executive room – the lounge is very good. Suites there are very good.

  10. Anyone having trouble with Curve paying HMRC.
    The old beta card that seem to work few days ago seems to have stopped too.

    Large bill due and unable to use this card.
    Don’t know where they want to take this card.

    • Curve are screwing up big time.
      Made a claim using a curve connected card, now they blocked me (without stating its blocked on my app) from using it at shops and ATM’s

      No response via chat either
      The customer service call center seem more confused and agitated than me!

      Marketing a service and then sending comms about charging customers for the obvious unique selling point!

  11. Just as an FYI, Moneysavingexpert reported this about curve withdrawals:

    “Only Lloyds has so far replied, confirming that a withdrawal on a Curve card will be classified as a withdrawal on their credit or debit card statement.”

    Source for quote:–all-in-one–debit-card-to-offer-fee-free-spending-abroad-/

    • Thanks Martin Lewis & co for brining it to the attention of all the credit card companies…..idiots!!

      • I’m afraid you’re the idiot if you think they didn’t already know about this…

        It’s amazing that on the one hand you have some people paranoid that the banks are tracking their every move etc. and on the other you have people who think they aren’t even aware that hundreds of transactions from Curve marked as cash are ATM withdrawals. Even if we were to (incorrectly) assume no bank staff members read blogs like this, it would be incredibly obvious to them.

        So I echo your thanks, but with sincerity, as that is genuinely useful information. This blog told us the exact opposite! (I don’t mean to sound too bitchy about this – I obviously still value the information from this site – hence my regular visits – so thanks Rob regardless!)

        • Cheers Callum. Thanks for your views. Have a nice evening.

        • You’re welcome (and just to clarify, I was just “using your own phrase against you” – don’t really think you’re an idiot!).

  12. TGLoyalty says:

    Not bookable on IHG website yet but does anyone know what happens if I was to book via principal website for a stay in December will my spire status be recognised and earn points etc?

    I know no one can tell me for this exact scenario but I’m hoping someone has had similar experiences at other hotels which are moving from independent to IHG

    • Should do. I’ve booked a Voco property in Gold Coast for next year even though they’re not showing the brand name yet, did appear on the IHG website though so must be a few steps ahead in the process to those properties.

  13. I find they rarely post, even when card in profile and used to charge items to it – ended up having to complain to Barclaycard and get them added manually.

  14. I withdrew £200 on my curve card at a UK ATM on Thursday and was charged £7.98 cash advance fee by Tesco Bank. So is this the end of the free cash withdrawals with curve?

    • With Tesco Bank, yes. However, I know that Virgin Money is not charging, HSBC is not charging and Creation is not charging.

      • How sure are you that Virgin Money isn’t charging? I thought they normally charge on statement?

        • Just going by what a reader said. Whilst the interest charge will be on the statement, the cash advance fee should be shown immediately as a line item.

        • Hmm I see. Guess I will give it a test later today.

      • Hi Rob, thanks for the info! By the way do you know if Barclays treats it as cash advance? Thanks.

      • As long as Creation (IHG) and Barclays (Hilton) are not charging a cash advance fee at the cashpoint then it’s happy days for me. ☺

      • If interest is charged at the end of month – does that mean it has to be paid off same day as transaction to avoid this?

        Can we assume, if no cash transaction fees are charged for these cards that any HMRC/Amex bill payments wont be charged either?

      • Michele Sin says:

        Do you know if MBNA / Horizon card I is charging? Thanks.

    • Go back in time and move the withdrawal to a debit card.

    • Harry hatter says:

      Yes. I got done by Tesco too. Oh well I’ll try Amex payment tonight.

  15. Curve cash withdrawal has shown up as POI FUNDING TRANSACTIONS (EXCLUDING MONEYSEND) on my Horizon MBNA statement. What does that mean?

    • Mine said that. Of course, Horizon doesn’t charge ATM fees anyway 🙂

      You won’t know until month end whether they are charging you interest on the withdrawal and actually treating it as cash.

      • Is the MCC for ATM cash withdrawals determined by Curve or by each individual ATM, i.e. could the code be 6540 POI FUNDING TRANSACTIONS at one cash machine but 6011 AUTOMATIC CASH DISBURSEMENT at another down the road?

  16. James Owen says:

    Hi Rob,

    How did your test on Friday work out with Creation?

    • Cleared this morning and looks like a purchase – no cash advance fee attached to it.

      • Good news. Thanks Rob.

        • Creation does charge interest on some of these types of transactions though i.e. transferwise.

          Let us know once you get your statement if you were charged anything in terms of interest.
          Even if that is the case, creation might still be an ok option as you can just repay the next day (keeps interest charge minimal)

        • But if they are charging interest then it isn’t a purchase and so won’t earn points.

        • Actually. it is quite bizarre.
          They qualify Transferwise transactions as purchase, give points, but charge an interest fee at month end (had one this month by mistake).
          I am not sure that makes any sense with T&C’s though, as the charge was c. £1 (I paid it off almost straight away) I wasn’t planning on investigating further. Would be interest in learning however if you experience something similar with curve withdrawals now. (Hopefully not)

  17. ScienceTeacher says:

    Just paid a Brighton Based company through Curve linked to my Lloyds Avios for over £3k. Here is hoping it does not go through as a cash transaction!!

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