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News: Avios ‘Thank You’ appeal closes, Lufthansa bailout is finally approved, Loyalty Leaders webinar

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News in brief:

Avios ‘Thank You’ appeal closes at 300 million points

Last month we covered the Avios ‘Thank You’ appeal, which will see Avios offered to NHS workers as a big thank you for their efforts during coronavirus.

Avios Group donated an initial 210 million points.  British Airways Executive Club members donated a further 95 million Avios on top, which will allow over 5,000 NHS workers to receive enough points for a short-haul ‘flight and two hotel nights’ package.

You cannot nominate yourself or a friend to receive a grant.  Avios has asked over 250 hospitals, ambulance trusts and other NHS healthcare organisations to put forward a list of proposed beneficiaries.

Lufthansa bailout approved by shareholders

Lufthansa bailout approved by shareholders

The saga of the Lufthana €9 billion bailout, as we covered here and here and here and here, is finally over.

I won’t go into the details again – the four links above tell you more than you need to know – but the deal was approved by 98% of shareholders at a meeting yesterday.

Despite threats to the contrary, Lufthansa’s largest shareholder Heinz-Hermann Thiele voted in favour of accepting the deal, which gives the German Government a 20% stake in the commpany.

Loyalty Leaders webinar

Loyalty Leaders webinar

If you work in the loyalty industry, you might be interested in a webinar I did on Wednesday in the ‘Loyalty Leaders’ series.

It was based around the topic of ‘How do you make your loyalty promotions relevant during coronavirus?’, with a particular focus on the hotel sector.  It runs for an hour – click here or on the image above to launch it in YouTube.

Because we didn’t have the questions in advance, it is a bit more freeform than usual.  ‘Fairly slick TV Rob’ is replaced by ‘random stream of consciousness Rob’ – it is interesting to compare with the BBC Scotland interview I recorded literally 30 minutes earlier.

I’m also impressed by how the other two guys can sit and stare at the screen without moving for an hour, whilst I am up and down and messing with my hair and pulling faces …. if I am looking away it’s because I’m doing email at the same time …..

Comments (82)

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  • Matty says:

    Amex wouldn’t budge on my Shop Small transaction yesterday when my card was refused. I’d checked the map, which I know isn’t to be relied on. The shop was shown as participating and the blue Amex square logo was in the shop window as I entered, so I thought I was on safe ground.

    Card declined at the till. In recent years Amex would give you a statement credit but the agent refused on the chat. Small cheese but annoying.

    • Genghis says:

      I’m sure you’re aware but for other readers, some card machines only accept Amex when inserted, not as contactless. As such, in smaller shops I normally insert.

      • Nick_C says:

        @Genghis – we must have been posting at the same time.

        If ROB sees this, it would be really useful if you could raise this with someone senior at Amex. Most of us are trying to pay by contactless now. Amex should be working with small retailers to ensure contactless works.

        • RussellH says:

          AFAIK it is nothing to do with Amex and everything to do with how the card terminal is set up, and many shop managers just think that they need to set the terminal up for contactless. But if you want to do contactless with Amex, you have to set that up separately, just as your terminal needs to be set up specially to accept Amex.
          Yes, I suppose Amex could be more involved in reminding people of this, but it is really down to the people in the shop to read the instructions.
          Which we all do, all the time, do we not?

          • Nick_C says:

            I expect that Amex can see which retailers are not processing contactless transactions. I think they should be proactively contacting those retailers and advising them how to set up contactless. It would help Amex customers. And help to make the retailers Covid Secure. We should all be working together to get this virus under contol.

            It could also help Amex. There will be some customers who will use MC or Visa instead of Amex because they want to use contactless.

      • Jenni says:

        My local Asda of all places won’t accept contactless Amex payments. Don’t even dare trying at smaller businesses.

        • jamie says:

          Asda don’t but it’s no big deal to insert your card and punch your PIN in

          • Nick_C says:

            You may not think its a big deal, but it’s increasing the risk of transmission of the virus.

      • Doug M says:

        I find a number of McDonalds don’t work with Amex on my phone, but do work contactlessly with the card.

    • Nick_C says:

      Did the shop say they don’t accept Amex?

      Were you trying to pay by contactless?

      I have found many retailers are not set up to take Amex contactless, so Amex via Google Pay is declined. But use chip and pin and you’re fine. Mainly small retailers but also Asda. (Wilko was also a problem at one time.)

      • Matty says:

        There was no slot for me to insert my card. It was one of those small iPad type screens that you see now and again. When I tapped, the transaction didn’t go through. The shopkeeper saw my card and said he doesn’t accept Amex.

        • RussellH says:

          The owner / manager of the shop, or just an assistant, who has seen Amex contactless fail before (because the hardware has not been set up to do it) and then deduces that “they do not take Amex”?

        • Lady London says:

          sounds like izettle terminal? won’t work properly for this if so, think Amex might credit manually but a bit of a gamble

      • Nick says:

        Wilko still is a problem, contactless and Apple Pay don’t work with Amex. C&P does though.

        • Andrew says:

          Amex contactless rejection at Wilko is useful as I sometimes forget to use my Visa Card there. 0.5% from MBNA and 4.5% from Airtime Rewards to make a 5% return is better than Avios any day.

  • James says:

    We have all had zoom fatigue over the past 12 or so weeks.

    As long as the right facts are in the right order I am not sure anyone cares anymore.

    Well until hairdressers are open again, and we can all admire hair instead of books.

    Everyone please stay safe.

    • Andrew says:

      Have you tried doing “themed” meetings?

      We’ve done various ones. Pirate one was quite fun, I managed to (socially distance) borrow a neighbour’s parrot who sat on my shoulder intently watching the screen for the full 30 minutes, as I sat with my eyepatch on and skull and pirate hat.

      Another colleague suggested a Trans themed meeting (they are pre-op trans so it was ethical!). So I was there with my full make up done by my daughters, the ladies were in their fake beards and shirt and tie. The big surprise was the trans-colleague who organised it. She’d grown out her beard and was wearing a working man’s cloth cap to hide her usual long blond hair – it was the first time all of us had seen her as a man.

  • Neil says:

    I’ve also fallen foul of the Dell offer on the Platinum Business card. Total came to £152 but Dell charged each item separately. Amex didn’t want to know, despite me asking them where it specifically stated the spend couldn’t be cumulative to qualify.

  • Jon says:

    I sense Amex are getting more intransigent with their customer services these days… I’ve been having a little run-in with them over a ‘spend £1000 to get 5000 Avios’ offer that showed up in my account a little while back, that they’re refusing to honour. I met the target, but no Avios turned up. Chatted with customer services and was variously told I’m not eligible because I already had a welcome bonus a couple of years ago, I’m not eligible because I didn’t meet the target within 3 months (despite the offer saying 6 months), I’m not eligible because the deadline had already passed (despite the offer and progress tracker still being visible in my account with no indication that it was no longer valid), and I’m not eligible because I should have known that I’m not eligible! 🤦‍♂️ All of which misses my central argument: they presented the offer to me, I took it in good faith and spent on the card to meet the target, so they should honour it. But computer says no. It’s in formal complaint territory now, so we’ll see what happens… Not impressed with Amex’s attitude tbh – very different to how I remember them from past customer service matters over the years.

    • Nick_C says:

      I find the Philippines call centre (who I think also handle chats) are totally useless. If you manage to get hold of someone who is Brighton based things are normally up to the usual standards.

      But I think the Brighton staff maybe can’t work as effectively from home as they would in the office. I’ve been waiting over two weeks for two MR accounts to be merged, and many people have reported delays in getting referral bonuses.

      • Jon says:

        Could well have been an overseas call centre, judging by some of the language used (some of which was utterly inappropriate for a customer service interaction). You’re right about Brighton – I’ve always found them excellent in the past. I hadn’t realised online chat was handled elsewhere. Another one for the ever-growing list of examples of off-shoring destroying a brand, I suppose 😉

        • Andrew says:

          And when they answer the phone, if they’re not in Brighton you can politely ask to be transferred to Brighton and they will without question – I do that all the time.

      • RussellH says:

        It would not be at all surprising if WFH staff had access to a more limited set of functions when compared to those working the main office, behind much more sophisticated firewalls etc.

    • BS says:

      Yes. I’ve stopped playing around with their customer services. I put a formal complaint in, and when it is inevitable rejected I go to the ombudsman. In the last 24 months I have done this x 3, and all have been about promotional credits. One for £5, and two for around £20.
      Each time the ombudsman ruled in my favour, and also additionally gave me my requested £100 costs for time, preparing complaint etc. I have perfected putting the ombudsman complaint in so it takes 15 mins tops. The only downside is the 6 month wait. But worth it for £100.
      Total cost to Amex for not just giving me what was due was £100 each time plus the £600 per time ombudsman fee. They are idiots.

      • Jon says:

        Good to know 🙂 That was pretty much my plan – they’ve said they’ll respond to the formal complaint within 15 working days, so once that’s up, I’ll go to the ombudsman…

      • Alan says:

        Good work, you’d hope they’d soon have learned their lesson too at a £705 cost for a £5 credit!

      • Jonathan says:

        What is the procedure re involving the ombudsman

      • Stanley says:

        What an excellent use of the under-stretched Ombudsman service. Bravo on your £5

      • Lady London says:

        Well done.
        Quality of outsourced call centres and processing centres is key to me and that includes communications, fair decisions and efficiency (like having to spend literally hours on chat or phone ti get tiny things resolved)

        I have to put up with poor quality outsourced centres regularly in my professional life and I don’t want to put up with cheap but ineffective in service in my private life as well. 2 or 3 encounters lije this with any provider and I actively start looking to buy elsewhere. Happy to pay a bit more for most things rather than have my nerves shredded.

    • Jill (Kinkell) says:

      My OH and I have both had lengthy disputes with Amex in the past year. Amex eventually coughed up on all our points ,and credited accounts accordingly but it was a right PIA . Dates, names, time of calls, screenshots, pics.of proof etc. Gone are the days of true CS. Welcome to The new norm of ” ”we don’t trust you an inch as we know you’re trying it on”

  • Hotel-User says:

    Has anyone managed to get a “good” deal from Dell on the Amex ?

    • Anna says:

      I genuinely need a new laptop (with gaming capability for my teenager) so did manage to make use of the offer with no issues!

    • Simon Barlow says:

      Posted below, but as I am working from home I got a largish monitor to dual screen with the laptop for £164. Brilliant for me.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    You can’t even return the items to Dell within 14 days of delivery?

    • Alan says:

      You don’t have the same automatic right as a business customer vs consumer – example explanation

      • Tony says:

        Even if there isn’t a statutory obligation it is really terrible business practice not to accept returns. B2B or not.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Thanks, didn’t know this. My wife was thinking of getting a second monitor for WFH off Dell but I think we’re going to pass if we can’t return it in case we don’t like it.

      • Charlieface says:

        Which is actually illegal if the customer is a sole trader, micro-business or consumer, none of which precludes you from buying from Dell Business.
        Has anyone actually tried it on Dell Consumer?

  • Jonathan says:

    I ordered 7 VGA adapters totalling £152, via the site that can’t be named and earned £7ish…. all went through as one transaction and I got the £150 statement credit so ended up making money.

  • Roger* says:

    About the 2 extra Avios per £ AMEX offer at selected retailers including Waitrose and, I’m disappointed that it doesn’t apply to transactions at which are processed by our local WR branch but paid for using Stripe.

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