Why NO-ONE should spend £20,000 for a 2-4-1 on the free British Airways American Express card

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Long-term readers will recognise this article, as I like to give it an outing every 12-18 months.  I wanted to give it another run today as it has a lot of value for new HFP readers who may be putting £20,000 per year on the free BA Amex in the mistaken idea that it is the sensible thing to do.

The bottom line for this article is the answer to this question – which is the best British Airways American Express card for someone who can spend £20,000 per year on it?BA AmexFirst, let’s remind ourselves of the rules on each of the two BA Amex cards:

The BA American Express card has no fee, earns 1 mile per £1 spent and generates a 2-4-1 voucher each year when you spend £20,000. The voucher lasts for 1 year.

The BA Premium Plus American Express has a £195 annual fee, earns 1.5 miles per £1 spent (3x on BA flights) and generates a 2-4-1 voucher each year when you spend £10,000. The voucher lasts for 2 years.

Why is getting the 2-4-1 voucher via the free BA Amex card a bad idea?

Many people assume that the free card is the best one if you can spend £20,000, because you save £195 in annual fees and you still earn a 2-4-1 voucher annually.  This is the wrong answer.

Here is the first key point:

If you are spending £20,000 on the free BA Amex card, you’d earn 10,000 extra Avios by spending the same £20,000 on the Premium Plus card. 

This is because of the higher earnings rate of 1.5 Avios per £1 on the Premium Plus card compared to 1 Avios per £1 on the free card.  The Premium Plus card also offers double miles when you book BA flights on the card.

Those extra 10,000 Avios alone are worth around half of the annual fee on the Premium Plus card.

Should I move my £20,000 of spending to the British Airways Premium Plus card then?

No!  There is no real logic to carry on spending once you have hit the 2-4-1 voucher on the BA Premium Plus card either.  There are two better alternatives:

Get the Premium Plus card and just spend the necessary £10,000 on it to trigger the 2-4-1. You can then use your additional annual Amex spending to open more credit cards and meet the spending target required to trigger their bonuses – such as the free night voucher on the IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard (£10,000 spend required) or the 2-4-1 voucher on the Virgin Flying Club Reward+ Mastercard (£10,000 spend required).

or

If you have a partner, get them their own BA Premium Plus Amex and get yourself a supplementary card on that account.  You could then spend £10,000 on each card (your own card, then the supplementary card on your partners account) and earn TWO 2-4-1 vouchers each year.  That is what we do in our house.

And there’s more ….

It is also worth remembering that the one-year expiry on the voucher on the free BA Amex card is very inconvenient.  For very popular routes or at peak periods you will want to be booking 355 days in advance if possible and this is almost impossible on the free card unless you can time the triggering of the voucher to perfection.

Even if you could spend £20,000 on the free BA Amex card I think you are better off spending £195 to get the Premium Plus card in order to:

  • earn 10,000 additional Avios if you choose to put £20,000 on a BA Amex
  • get an extra year to use your 2-4-1 voucher
  • have the option of moving spend beyond the first £10,000 to a 2nd BAPP Amex or another card entirely

I am NOT saying that the free BA Amex is useless! You get a decent sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios and the Avios earnings rate per £1 is not beaten by any other free card.

For someone who spends under £10,000 a year on their free BA Amex – and so could not trigger the 2-4-1 on the Premium Plus card – it is a sensible option.  It is not the BEST option, however.  A lot of people would be better off swapping the free BA Amex for the free American Express Rewards credit card as this article explains.

Anyone who spends £20,000 a year on the free BA Amex card, however, needs to think again. 

Learn more about the credit cards mentioned above

Here is the legally required interest rate information on the credit cards mentioned above, together with links to our detailed reviews:

British Airways American Express – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios when you spend £1,000 in three months – apply hereour BA Amex review is here – representative APR 22.9% variable

British Airways American Express Premium Plus – sign-up bonus of 25,000 Avios when you spend £3,000 in three months – apply hereour BA Amex Premium Plus review is here – representative APR 76.0% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable

American Express Rewards – sign-up bonus of up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points based on card variant – apply hereour Amex Rewards review is here interest rate varies depending on which card variant you choose

IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard – sign-up bonus of 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points after spending £200 – apply hereour IHG Rewards Club Premium review is hererepresentative APR 41.5% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 19.9% variable

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard – sign-up bonus of 15,000 Virgin Flying Club miles after your first purchase – apply hereour Virgin Atlantic Reward+ review is here – representative APR 63.9% variable including fee based on a notional £1200 credit limit, interest rate on purchases 22.9% variable

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

(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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Comments

  1. Jimmy says:

    How does one upgrade/downgrade the card?

    • Gavin says:

      Easiest way is just to apply online for the other BA card that you want. Your current card will be closed when the application is processed.

  2. Shoestring says:

    O/T nice tip in the Sunday Telegraph that might help you, your ma/ pa, or gramps to carry on getting a free TV licence. Over 75s are fully entitled to pay £2880 into a stakeholder pension, getting £720 in tax relief, giving a total of £3600 contribution. As things stand, they can withdraw the money next tax year, earning a free £720. Hey presto – free TV licence.

    • Doug M says:

      Don’t they need to have an income sufficient that they’re paying £720 in tax to get the relief?

      • PeteFT says:

        No, they do not need any income at all, to pay in £2880 into SIPP., but do not forget fees.

      • Craig says:

        This is also useful if you hit your annual pension contribution and your other half doesn’t work. Gift them the money and they get the pension relief at source.

    • Free £720 at the expense of those of who are taxpayers!

      • Shoestring says:

        I’m all for means testing entitlement to free TV licence for over 75s but the suggested method of working out entitlement is very cack-handed…

        • I’m all for scrapping the BBC.

          • Lady London says:

            + 1.
            the marvellous assets the BBC currently has
            – amazing brand recognition and image including internationally
            – a very good back catalogue that can keep on being sold and re-sold around the world oer and over again, as it is now…. For example, apparently the 1970’s TV Series “The Professionals” is still very popular in territories like Asia !
            – superb knowhow on media creation and management
            – excellent asset value in the news service, that could be split off
            etc. etc.

            Instead, we’re having b*tching from the BBC about the licence fee not being enough. Instead of them getting off ther a$$ like Netflix, Google, and Amazon did, and making a proper business that exploits the assets they already have.

            I have no sympathy for the BBC whatsoever. The government promised us around 1994, that in 1997 or so, given the commercial realities above, the BBC would no longer be funded by a television licence levied on the British population to almost 100%. I’m still waiting., Meanwhile the BBC is squandering its assets and not doing the great job for Britiain and itself, that it should be doing.

          • Shoestring says:

            The Professionals was LWT (ITV)!

            +1 in a sense, the BBC is bloated, lazy, full of over over-paid under-worked people

            full of bits that are done just as well in the commercial sector & could be sold off and would be no loss to the real BBC, such as Radio 1 & 2

            BBC simply does not have to compete head on with Sky 1, Netflix, ITV etc

            If it were 1/3 the size and concentrated more on news, current affairs, documentaries, Radios 3 & 4, stuff that isn’t very commercial perhaps but is intellectually stimulating, educative, an independent & trusted source of news etc, & the effective cost to the taxpayer were (say) £50 pa, drawn from general taxation instead of a TV licence, I think it would get seen as quite good value for money

          • Lady London says:

            @Shoestring, I couldn’t agree more with your comments. Well said.

            The BBC should be returning a dividend to each taxpower by now, they’ve had their chance and have squandered their assets and not got off the chuff for at least hte past 20 years.

            We should n’t be paying the BBC each year. The BBC should be paying us back for our previous investment made by taxpayers, each and every year back to eveyr taxpayer.

            the fact that they’re not is just laziness.

          • @ Shoestring

            The other point to remember is that while you can currently access private pensions at 55 it is increasing in 2028 to 10 years before your state pension age so from 2028 you will only be able to access a private pension when you are 57 and for those whose SPA is 68 you will only be able to access private pensions as 58.

            They are also considering plans (not yet enacted) to reduce the tax free lump sum from the current 25% to as low as 15%.

            A much better strategy if you’re a rich grandparent is to save into a child ISA as that is accessible from age 18 and any income is (currently) tax free.

        • Lady London says:

          I’m not for any means testing at all. As per usual with means testing, they did in fact look at this previously. They concluded that the cost of means testing far exceeded the return that would be gained from it. this is true for a lot of proposals to introduce means testing.

          Does this only apply to over 75’s Harry or does it apply to any lower ages?

          Can any one remind me what the “pension recycling” limit is per tax year, currently, that can be paid back in?

          • Shoestring says:

            pension recycling limit is £4000 pa

            absolutely any age UK citizen (children as well) can make a £3600 stakeholder pension contribution pa regardless of income

            it’s quite an effective way for rich grandparents to set up their grandchildren for university fees of house deposit etc when they’re adults

          • Spurs Debs says:

            When I told my 80 year old mum the BBC plans her very words “ well if I’m still here next year they can bugger off, they aren’t getting a penny from me”
            They won’t be getting it from me either I don’t watch their rubbish and I refuse to pay for John Sweeny to have £250 lunches on expenses while trying to fabricate a story.

          • Shoestring says:

            actually scrap that comment I made about grandparents contributing to their grandchildren’s *pension* in order for it to work as a house deposit etc – nope of course not, they can’t access it until they are 55. But it *is* a good way for rich grandparents/ parents to pass on money with that 55YO access proviso

            The 25% tax relief (£20 tax relief on £80 etc) is a nice way to help protect the investment from market downturn or give it a free boost

          • Spurs Debs says:

            That’s an interesting point LL if any pensioner is on pension credit at whatever age you can claim it from then surely they should be entitled to not pay the tv tax? I would of thought there might be a legal challenge on that. Because if they are scrapping free licences for over 75 and using the pension credit to award free licences then they should be free for anyone claiming pension credit.
            Another half baked thought out idea by the BBC.

      • Of course those of us able to expense things and otherwise paying tax on things because of our position or access to expensive tax advice more than balance that out…

        • Lady London says:

          … and contribute to the economy, Chrisasaaurus! I am sure your comment was tongue in cheek…. 🙂

      • xcalx says:

        Seems fair Rob They were once tax payers and some still are.

        • Spurs Debs says:

          My Mum pays a hefty amount of tax on my Dads private pension, but all is not lost we can save her huge increase in state pension for turning 80 ….25p a week. But the tv licence can go whistle She’s going to save it up for a £1 bar of choc every 4 weeks.

          • Lady London says:

            Makes a mockery of giving pensioners 25p a week and then a government charge – which let’s face it is what the TV licence fee is – of an extra £5 a week hits pensioners as hard as everyone else.

            I’m embarrassed to be British.

          • Spurs Debs says:

            The irony is I had a letter last week with a new tax code for mum and she’s going to be 50p worse off a week! We just laugh at how absurd it all is.
            They sent me 3 letters each 3 pages long telling Mum about her pension increase. It’s an insult to pensioners 25p.
            As for TV tax they aren’t getting a single penny from Mum or me ever.

        • But on that basis why not give £720 to every pensioner instead of those who happen to have £4k floating around doing nothing else?

          • lady London says:

            You want life to be fair, Rob?
            I don;t think it’s fair as I would not expect to have £4K sitting around when I;m very old, either.

            But some just get dealt different cards, or if they start out with less in life, work hard and manage to put themselves in a position to take advantage of such opporitunities. And good luck to them. Oh, er… and now the government wants to means test those people who probably worked hard for what they got. Means testing will cost more than just keeping the palty few mea benefits avalable to everybody over a certain age. After all, they all die eventually anyway, don’t they? so the benefits aren’t received by anybody, forever..

          • Shoestring says:

            There is a failure in taxation/ fee-raising concept with the free TV licence. If the BBC’s max revenue possible were [licence fee x population under 75], and that were the ceiling, nobody would be bleating on about the over 75s costing the BBC £750m for the free licences.

            Once you understand that the over 75s get it free so forget about them, it would concentrate BBC minds on running a tighter organisation with a much reduced overall budget.

            Did you see that Matt Hancock MP said today that he couldn’t see the licence fee continuing beyond the end of the current settlement? (another 8 yrs).

          • Lady London says:

            @Shoestring the BBC and government (who are much the same outfit) saying “the over-75’s are costing xxx millino”, is just a con. Everyone has always thought of the benefit to over-75’s as free. Everyone has always realised we all pay for the BBC. And over’75’s get it free. There is no more extra marginal cost to the BBC, if another person turns 75 in the country.

            They’re just using it as a way to rip off over=75’s. they reckon they can get ‘x’ percentage of the over’75’s to pay, and they want that as EXTRA money to the BBC in addition to what they already get. It’s not aboiut over-75’s being made to cover their costs, at all, There isn;t any cost. They just meanly want to take away a benefit becuase the BBC says they want more. Or the government wants more. It’s all the same thing, and shameful. see above for my comments on how important TV is to older folk. Ditto bus passes. Same sneaky reasoning. Same sneaky rip-oiff of a social benefit older people have earned one way or another, that we should all support.

            If they don’t want to give the benefits then why are we still being taxed more each year? take away my benefits, take away the tax. But somehow it doesn;t work that way, does it?

    • Scott says:

      In what world does this constitute a free tv licence? Getting a govt. top-up for putting the unearned limit into a pension isn’t anything new, so going from a free tv licence to having to pay for it is still an additional cost.
      Also, those who’ve already used their tax-free allowance for other pensions, etc will have to pay £720 tax when they withdraw the money from their pension, so no net benefit.

      • Shoestring says:

        yep but we’re specifically talking low income OAPs aged 75+ (some on under £8697 pa), so if they just put in the £640 to get a tax top up £160, they are probably still under the tax free threshold

  3. OT – best PP lounge at BCN T1?

    • IndiaCharlie says:

      We used pau casals for a long transfer wait. Big space, decent food, and quite quiet, lots of windows overlooking the terminal. Immediately up on your right when you come through security istr.

      • Thanks – nice space to spend an hour!

        Flying to LHR so had to go through passport control after leaving the lounge but otherwise great.

        • marcw says:

          There’s an almost identical lounge in the non-Shengen area, after passport control.

          • Spotted that but the staff at Pau Casals (lounge in the Schengen area) told us they were full!

            Don’t know if it was a porkie to get us through their doors?

  4. PeteFT says:

    I believe it is ok to spend £10k, on a £195 card, get the Companion voucher, cancel the card, get another £195 card, spend £10k and get another Companion voucher in the same calendar year.

    • I think it’s a safer policy to rotate between yourself and partner.

      • Lady london says:

        + 1.
        Cuts down the likelihood of a rule against more than one in a calendar year, being enforced. Why provoke them?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yep if it’s a new card you get to earn the voucher again. Some people do more than 2 a year.

      • Tilly71 says:

        Never knew this, thanks.
        However, you wouldn’t earn the introductory bonus.

    • Waribai says:

      The golden rule though is never to leave a negative points balance when you close a card otherwise it will be a long time before you get accepted again!

      • PaulC says:

        My wife had a negative points balance because we got a refund after her account was cancelled. She was -700 points the next time she opened the same card account a few months later with no issues.

    • Tilly71 says:

      You only can earn one companion voucher per year. Your partner can earn one also if you need two vouchers in one year.

      • One voucher per card. If you close your card and open a new account, you can start earning towards another voucher straight away. More incentive to do this now it’s that much more difficult to get a sign up bonus.

  5. Pug206 says:

    O/T: will trigger 2-4-1 on BAPP this week and that will be it for 18 months until clock re-sets.

    Thinking of switching to Virgin for the 30,000 VFC miles and 2-4-1 voucher. Looking at VA website, it’s 25,000 round trip to Miami and 30,000 miles round trip to Vegas – both off peak. Does it work same as BAPP in that you pay miles and taxes for only one person? We don’t have status so will have to fly economy.

    I appreciate there will be downsides but looking for options until Amex opens up again. Not interested in hotel reward cards.

    Also, I have a Virgin MasterCard Travel Money card – fee free on spending abroad – so best to apply for any new card in OH’s name pls?

    TIA.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      You have to pay fees and taxes for both passengers with both BA and VA 2-4-1’s

      The 2-4-1 voucher is for the miles only.

  6. Jake Mc says:

    Voucher related questions:

    1. If I book a outbound journey with a voucher, can I call up BA to add on a return and still use the vouchers (I think the answer is yes)
    2. If I book a return journey, can I upgrade one leg if seats open up?
    3. If I book a return journey, can I cancel the return leg but keep the outbound without losing miles / the whole journey?

    Thanks in advance

    • Graham Walsh says:

      1 Yes
      2 Yes ( I did this the other week, upgraded the return leg from WP+ to Club)
      3 No idea

    • 1 Yes
      2 Yes
      3 Yes (Same as 1 but in reverse) but you may have to pay the 35/sector fee)

      • Lady London says:

        2 Yes, remembering that BA will now only let you upgrade with miles 1 class. So if you want to travel in Business, then if Premium Economy is available on that route, if your ticket is a cash ticket, then you need to have purchased into Premium Economy with cash, then you can upgrade with avios as far as Business Class (not into First).

        If it’s an award ticket then it’s effectively buying that seat again fresh- so you can change from any class, to any class such as from Y to F – for award tickets (not cash tickets where you have to be in the class below on the cash ticket, in order ot upgrade with miles one more class above and no more)

        • Lady London says:

          *sorry that was confusing.
          basidcally if the underlying ticket is a cash ticket, you can only upgrade 1 class with Avios. would work from Y to J if no PY is available on that route (not sure about if juts on that aircraft but doubt it).

          if the underlying ticket is an avios ticket (this would be the ticket you added the 2-4-1 to) then you can do what you like in terms of upgrading between classes you just pay the higher rate of avios and ;taxes;.

  7. Waribai says:

    Slightly O/T. Since Tesco stopped selling the visa gift cards, I started getting them from Boots but it seems they have stopped too. Any high street retailers that do the MasterCard or visa gift cards still?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Just wondering what their use is considering they come with c3% fee

    • New Card says:

      Wilko. No idea what the use is though.

      • Waribai says:

        Thanks….I mostly use them for those trial subscriptions such as telegraph where if you don’t cancel by a certain date you get charged a full month, year etc.
        I also use them anywhere that I don’t fully trust but they want a credit card number to hold my reservation e.g. restaurant, hotel. It limits losses….

        • Lady London says:

          Doesn’t one of the new fintechs offer the ability to generate one-off “credit card” numbers for just this kind of purpose? would be one of starling, monzo, revolut, n26, monese. I am sure I saw this recently somewhere. that would cost you nothing and you’d have an audit trail in the fintech app.

          • Revolut do, but you have to have their paid for/metal card for this (only one free virtual card otherwise, which doesn’t expire)

          • Graham Walsh says:

            Revolut offers a virtual card. No idea how many you generate.

    • Lady London says:

      I don’t know the answer to that question but i think places I would look at would be Wilko and Morrisons, and WH Smith. Wilko, for instance, apparently has the Revolut cards hanging there on the rack. Apparently the WHS landisde in T5 tends to retain a relatively better selection compared with airside. but I would have though the High Street would have the better choice.

      • Shoestring says:

        Argos in store on the rack https://www.argos.co.uk/product/1302549

        • Tilly71 says:

          £27.95 for £25.00 cash out? That’s poor!😟

          • Shoestring says:

            it’s very poor, £50 card is slightly better as fee % – but Waribai was just asking where he could get the cards

          • Lady London says:

            Ouch. nearly 12%.

            I love it when we can turn the money men’s rip-off of poorer people – which tends to be where this kind of card is offered – against them by clever chaps on here who understand MS.

      • Brian W says:

        Nowhere has Revolut cards hanging on a rack.

        They do allow you to create virtual cards once you are set up though which may work for your intended purpose @Waribai

        • Lady London says:

          saw somewhere Wilko does. I will check it out next time I am in a Wilko. So far, only once in my life.

          • Brian W says:

            You can only get a Revolut card via their app. Same with Monzo, Sterling etc. You won’t find them in Wilko or hanging on any rack!

          • Brian W says:

            *Starling

  8. Following on behind says:

    Flying to Seoul today. Supposed to be business class only but equipment change to plane with F. Flying on 2-4-1. I have been “upgraded” to F with partner still in J. What to do? Give her my seat (I’m a taller male) or leave the shorter one in business. Discuss.

    • Harry T says:

      Could always try to find a richer girlfriend in F

      • Lady London says:

        Be nice and mention your girlfriend is going to be quite lonely in J and ask is there space to upgrade her too

    • Genghis says:

      This happened to us to Seoul in Oct. checking in online, me in F and wife still in J. Dropping off bags, however, both moved back to J and F cabin remained closed during flight.

      • Japan says:

        Presumably a swap from 788 to 789?

        How was Seoul? Recommend? Or did you jump over to FUK?

        • ankomonkey says:

          I like Seoul, although haven’t been for over 10 years. If you like spicy food then Korea will suit. Toppoki is the food of the gods…

          I know of the BA CW ‘step over (seatmate) to go to toilet’, but your jumping activity sounds more fun. Is that available in BA F or only with another airline?

          • haha

            FUK is Fukuoka airport code where Genghis uses to live (not at the airport itself mind)

        • Genghis says:

          Yep. 788->789 equipment swap. I’d been to Seoul a few times so I like Korea. First time for Mrs G though. I got her into Korean food when we met so it was great for her to experience authentic grub. Didn’t go into to FUK. This was two centre break: Korea and HK

  9. Charlieface says:

    That’s a rather daft thing to say. They could do that and not spend it on the licence, ergo that money doesn’t pay for it. It is a good idea to do anyway.

    • Shoestring says:

      @Charlieface – there are a lot of over 75s who don’t do this, maybe because they don’t know or maybe because they don’t like the idea (it is sort of churning pension contributions…).

      But imagine you’re 85 & quite poor and have been getting a free TV licence for 10 years and the TV is your best friend in the house because your partner died…suddenly you’re expected to pay the £155 or whatever??? OK, fair enough if you’re richer, but many of the people in this age group don’t know their way around pension credit – [available to single pensioners on a weekly income of less than £167.25 and couples on less than £255.25. ]

      It would have been better to have an alternative, along the lines ‘either receiving pension credit OR on an income under £8697 (which is easy to demonstrate with a self assessment tax return)’

      • And will such an 85 year old really want to mess about with SIPPs or whatever

        • Shoestring says:

          If your over 75 relative needs it told to them simply, you could present it along the lines:
          – it’s a free TV licence worth £160
          – we’ll invest £640 in February, then in May you can take out £800
          – don’t worry about losing money because we’ll find a pension that lets you invest in safer assets (not much riskier than cash)

          • xcalx says:

            Brilliant Harry. A bit like the Tesco saver scheme, free money for all

        • Spurs Debs says:

          No they won’t, a high percentage don’t even know if they are in poor health they can claim Attendance Allowance. Mind you the forms are horrendous many many pages to complete and take the government around 12 weeks to process. I’ve just done two for aged relatives. Forms scare them.

      • Lady London says:

        the reality of the worst pensions in Europe except, I think , for about 3 countries, is that so many older people only have the tv for company or entertainment. if their cat dies they can;t afford to feed another one. There’s a reality of a lot of people cold and hungry in their old age in this country.

        A/nd so many of us walk on by or pretend it’s not happening.
        So far as I’m concerned taking the tv licence away and bus passes if that happens too, is criminal and should not be done in a decent society. Yes there are a few whose means mean perhaps it’s unfair that they get free things, but these are in the minority and good luck to them. They should not be rooted out and denied – it’s not cost effective and perhaps they earned the freebies anyway whatever their other circumstances.

        There are going to be some younger pensioners for s short while, who benefited from decent final salary pensions. Once the consequences of the ACT raid that destoyed Britain’s previously excellent privately funded final salary pensions feed through then the percentage of those in the type of poverty above is going to rise. It’s already about 20% of pensioners.

        Welcome to Britain folks.

        • Shoestring says:

          Most people here probably don’t realise how very poor the state pension is in the UK compared to other European countries. You might not want to trawl through the data https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/pensions-at-a-glance-2017/net-pension-replacement-rates_pension_glance-2017-15-en;jsessionid=SyiPCUY-DkN0NcK0KiBgAsZh.ip-10-240-5-96

          But to summarise: looking at state pension entitlement as a percentage of pre-retirement average earnings, and taking into account income taxes and social security contributions, in 2017 the OECD said this figure was 82% for Spain, 75% in France, 51% in Germany and 29% for the UK.

          • Shoestring says:
          • Lady London says:

            @Shoestring becuase it’s Sunday, and because I’ve had a rant and bored everybody and am feeling warm and fuzzy, then before we get down to being more On Toipic in posts next week, I’d just like to comment on those ratios of pensions paid as cmpared to earnings in other countries :-

            need to consider that the denominator (the pre-pension amount earned per annum) is a smaller absolute value in many countries, than in the UK, as salaries overall are lower in some countries. Lower salary countries are not quite always the same countries, as lower pension paying countries. Eg. the Netherlands has salaries on average lower than UK I would guess, but probably much higher pensions (this is just me guessing from having worked for a Dutch bank(.

            So the numerator, if a country such as The Netherlands pays decent pensions, is going to be a much higher percentage of the denominator, as the earnings in the country are generally a lower figure. So UK and Netherlands could pay a pensioner the same, but the Netherlands would look more generoius in the OECD reports as the % of average earnings paid to the pensionher is much higher. Not because the numerator (the pension amount paid) is any higher, but because the denominator (average earnings) is lower.

            A better comparison for how generous a country’s pension is, is the value of the pension compared to the cost of living in that country. that’s somewhere in the OECD reports. Compared to the rest of Europe, the UK fails miserably on this measure of treating its pensioners fairly.

            Enough OT from me and I apoligise for having a bit of a rant. My excuse is it’s Sunday. I;ll behave for the rest of the week.

            Even more interesting would be to see a multi-country comparison of what percentage of the cost of living, is made up by government and other unavoidable charges such as tv licence, car tax, local government charges, etc. I’ve not seen that yet but the continuing increase in the types of charges made by government or quasi-governmental organsisms (the ULEZ charge and the congesion charge being recent examples) and relentless increases in things like the TV licence, and road tax are a case in point – this kind of thing is a nightmare for pensioners on a fixed income and much of it is government charges that keep increasing or being added anew.

  10. OT Hilton: their latest stealth devaluation looks massive and wide ranging, almost everything I’ve searched is increasing. Biggest effects are at the lower end 10k up 100%, 20k up 50%, 30k up 33%, 40k up 20%. Such increases seem OTT and will lose a lot of goodwill. The thing I liked most about Hilton was cherry-picking great value new(ish) hotels in this redemption range but I think this will tip be back over the edge in favour of IHG again given their points are easier to collect. Not sure why Hilton felt the need to increase everything in 10k increments.

    • Lady London says:

      Greed. And a feeling that with the way other hotel schemes are going, Hilton must have decided they can get away with it.

      I’m increasingly just choosing the cheapest hotel, flight etc, and lounge option that meets my needs and walking away from ‘loyalty’. Perhaps I was a mug in the first place. I didn;t think Hilton had that many extra-value redemptions at the lower end tbh,

  11. Artem says:

    O/T: is Virgin generous with the credit card limits? I’ll need around 15,000 which I currently have with HSBC. I’m thinking of switching my spend to Virgin.

    • Froggee says:

      My Virgin credit card limit is more than twice my HSBC one. Sample size of one!

    • Peter K says:

      Mrs K and I both given the similar credit limit as typical Amex limits.

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