Bits: free £18 with a $ prepaid Mastercard, Virgin launches NYC Pride flight, HSBC Premier gives Langham status

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News in brief:

Get £18 ‘free’ with a FairFX prepaid Dollar Mastercard

Groupon is running an interesting offer on FairFX prepaid currency cards at the moment.

Via this link you can, for £7, buy yourself a US$ prepaid Mastercard.  When you load the card with £50, £25 is deducted which means you are just charged £25. 

Netting off the £7 cost of the Groupon voucher, you are £18 ‘up’.

It’s not that simple of course, because you have a prepaid Mastercard with a US$ balance on it.  You could spend it in the UK but there will be an FX fee attached to what you buy.  If you are heading to the US soon then you could use it there without fees.

Many of you may find the deal too fussy but I know some readers will find it up their street.  It will sell out quickly – a Euro version has already sold out.  The link to buy is here.

Virgin Atlantic pride flight New York 2019

Virgin Atlantic launches special NYC World Pride flight for 2019

Virgin Atlantic is launching a unique flight to take you to the World Pride event in New York next June.

This will be a flight like no other, it’s fair to say.  Staffed entirely by LGBT+ pilots and cabin crew, it will be hosted by Tituss Burgess – a Broadway musical actor and star of the Netflix show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – and will feature special guests and live performances.  It will include an on board DJ, ‘Drag-Queen Bingo’, a Judy Garland singalong, inter-seat speed dating and special in-flight entertainment.

A portion of ticket sales from the flight will be donated to The Attitude Magazine Foundation in the UK.  Further fundraising and raffles will take place on-board.

The flight departs from Heathrow to Newark on 28th June.  Flexible return dates are available.

Flight-only information is on the Virgin Atlantic website here.  Economy seats start at £380 so there doesn’t seem to be any surcharge for the entertainment, given that June is approaching peak season.  You can only book by telephone.

Flight plus hotel packages are available via Virgin Holidays here.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Flying Club miles from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

Free Langham hotel status for HSBC customers

Free Langham ‘1865’ Voyager status for HSBC Premier credit card holders (and BA Gold members)

One of the lesser known benefits of being a British Airways Gold member is that you can get free mid-tier Voyager status in the Langham Hotels ‘1865’ loyalty scheme.

I wrote about how the Langham upgrade works for BA Gold members here.  The snag is that you can’t get the status in advance.  You need to show your BA Gold credentials at check-in and the hotel will then set it up for you, which is a bit of a drag if you’ve just landed in Asia after a 12 hour flight.

Langham Hotels offers a similar deal for HSBC Premier credit card holders.  The good news is that you can sign up to Voyager status online, so your benefits will be sorted out before you check in.

‘Voyager’ level would usually require five stays or 15 nights and gives you the following benefits:

6pm check-out subject to availability – very handy for evening flights

a one category room upgrade subject to availability

free fruit and water

your choice of personalised welcome amenity

free internet

500 Avios per NIGHT (maximum 3 nights) or 250 per night at Eaton

If you have a HSBC Premier credit card, you can find out how to claim your Langham Hotels status on the HSBC website here.  Note that this is only available to new members – if you already have an active ‘1865’ account then it cannot be upgraded.

The picture above is the smart Club Lounge at the Langham London on Portland Place, opposite the BBC.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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Comments

  1. Prins Polo says:

    What is Langham’s footprint?

    • Mainly Asia, with a strong HK focus. The London one is an outlier. A slightly less posh Shangri La, basically.

  2. OT – SPG Amex missing points
    Noticed total points change in my SPG/Marriott account this morning. Can’t see anything from actives yet, and definitely not all my missing points though. Worth have a look!

    • How odd. I have exactly 15000 points added an was waiting for less than 300. Listed as goodwill adjustment so comp of some description.

      Yesterday amex chat supervisor credited me 5000 comp for ongoing issues. 20k not bad given I’m not hugely impacted.

      • “Yesterday amex chat supervisor credited me 5000 comp for ongoing issues. 20k not bad given I’m not hugely impacted.”

        I would say more than generous as you were pursuing less than £1 worth of points 🙂

        • I doubt they’ll top Lloyds in the comp stakes but safe to say I’ll now patiently await my miniscule point drop. ????

        • I just contacted them on chat for the second time (last asked about 2.5 weeks ago and got told 2-4 weeks, same as today) – asked about compo and was told:
          “I am sorry to inform you that there is no compension due to this delay because we have transferred the points to your SPG partner account but they have not posted to your partner account as of now”. Told them that my agreement was with amex not spg and this was not what I expect with a card that has an annual fee. No success. May try again in a few days!

    • fivebobbill says:

      Wife has just had 276 points added to her new Marriott account, showing up on statement as “Spg Ax Uk Base Spend Cnsmr”.
      That 276 corresponds to a 3 spend total on SPG card 7th – 11th Sept.
      Haven’t put any spend on the card since then due to merger issues, but she still has some points missing pre 7th Sept. No sign of any compo though…

    • Turns out that’s my points for Sep. Looks like the link works again although my Jul and Aug points still missing

      • +1

        My wife’s October points have arrived today, having swept over a day or two ago. Still no sign of August or September as yet, though…but at least it is looking more positive!

    • No change to my total yet.
      Marriott International finally replied to my DM after 5 days, trying to escalate complaint with them – totally chaotic!

  3. Tried the Langham link to HSBC site on an Ipad , input number but it insists on indenting to the second numeric box so it can not take the first six digits of my Prem card number , good old HSBC tech , tried a couple of different browsers no luck .

  4. Paulthetaxman says:

    ot – anyone have any idea how long it takes for hsbc to post the uber credit when purchasing flights on the premier credit card?

    • Never, if you booked after 30th September – wasn’t that the last day?

    • I think any credit had to be used by 1st of November , mine was a different deal from Premier but it gave me the impression they were not co operating with Uber any more , but that is speculation on my part

  5. Is the FX rate competitive when the card is loaded?

  6. OT: if I’ve received the 20k bonus MR points then have to refund an item which took me over the minimum spend, will Amex claw back the points?

    • Genghis says:

      Account will go negative if you’ve already spent them. Needs to be *the* purchase that took you over though.

      • I had 3 transactions on the final day, this was one of them…might just move them out to Avios just in case 🙂

  7. Dougie Forde says:

    My daughter is going to the USA in the New Year. Is there any reason why I cannot buy the prepaid card and give it to her to use?

  8. Andrew L says:

    I assume the attractive exchange rate of the dollar against sterling at the moment would slightly offset spending the funds received on the Groupon FairFX card in the UK??

    • Well no, it doesn’t matter how attractive the exchange rate is. If you’re covering GBP to USD then back to GBP you’re going end up with the same (minus the various fees) whether the exchange rate is 1:1, 2:1 or 10,000:1.

  9. O/T – Curve

    Be aware – have had my IHG card blocked on “suspected fraud” for a £200 “Business Service” transaction that used to work. Only found out when tried to make a normal transaction directly on IHG card that was also declined & had to call.

    I was hopeful that the Amex announcement might re-ignite the usefulness of the curve card, but seems not so. Looks like only very specific cards will be supported…

    • Were you actually told that it was suspected fraud? I had both my Lloyds and HH card declined (no mention of fraud, though, just “declined” for this service a few months ago and thought that was it, but when I tried it again recently it seems to have started working again.

      • I had a normal transaction fail last night. Called on opening this morning & was told card was blocked due to fraud checks. Answered some questions & am told it’s released but won’t know until I try to use it

      • Had a phone call from Curve yesterday afternoon. My card had “security issues, and was flagged for review”. The lady hadn’t been made aware I’d already called and completed the security checks (their internal communications seems to be very poor), but I used the opportunity to get some further insight into the issue, as she was very knowledgeable. My card was blocked due to the type of transactions made – front line staff would see this as “fraud” however the literal translation would be “unusual pattern”. Even though I’d made transactions like this before, the change of supplying the correct MCC has highlighted what is happening. Creation are now proactively declining payments to Nutmeg (ISA) and Cyrpto-Currency transactions, however I specifically asked about business service provides based in Brighton, and was told these are ok. I don’t have a need for this at the moment so can’t test.

    • My Curve has not processed a similar payment – the Curve app sent a notification that I had reached my spending limits, but according to the card limits feature in-app I am nowhere near my limits… Tried a £2 top-up on Amazon using the underlying IHG card and it went through, so that hasn’t been blocked.

  10. Has anyone got the FairFx to work? Have bought the coupon from Groupon. Set up a new account, went to order a new dollar card and don’t seem to have an option to enter the voucher code anywhere. Or was I supposed to do that on the sign up screen? All a bit confusing!

  11. RakishDriver says:

    Need some help please – I’m heading to Lux-Findel soon and booked a car with AVIS, but they won’t let me refuse their basic insurance cover. This means I can’t revert to using my amex plat insurance.
    Spoke to AVIS agent and he suggested this is standard across Europe, it’s only in the US one can refuse insurance.
    Is there anyway round this?

    • My understanding is that accepting the basic cover would not impact the additional cover that comes with plat.

    • You can’t refuse the basic US insurance in the US if you are a foreign customer- I assume this is so you can’t disappear owing large sums of money if you write off the car or something.

      • RakishDriver says:

        Have always done it, but then again I use a corporate awd.
        So, seems one will always end up paying for the minimum insurance costs, whether renting in the US or Europe.

    • AFAIK in Europe it’s mandatory to provide basic insurance… which you cannot refuse

    • You want insurance but not excess insurance if that’s what you meant

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