Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 10th March

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Comments (432)

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  • KBuffett says:

    I’m done with Curve, certainly for now. A readers comment yesterday about his Lloyds credit card being terminated is the last straw for me. It’s not worth having underlying cards terminated for day to day use with Curve. Couple that with it not being accepted in places where it was most beneficial, it’s of little use now. The risk/reward ratio isn’t in my favour any more.

    • Dubious says:

      ?

    • BJ says:

      Missed that comment. It seems unlikely that Lloyd’s could reasonably terminate a card on basis of it being linked to Curve but I don’t know that for sure. I am currently giving tve card a rest after massively pushing my luck with it last year so have missed the latest round of issues. I suggest it is just time for patience, not frustration. If things settle great, if not we all had a great run with it.

      • John says:

        The commenter admitted to paying amex frequently

        • BJ says:

          Termination figures then, we all know we are not supposed to do it. I think I’ll avoid playing any further games with my Hilton card and even my Lloyds avios card going forward.

      • KBuffett says:

        I agree with your suggestion of patience, and I’m intending on not using it for now certainly. It would be interesting to get peoples views of whether the underlying card can be terminated by the issuer in differing circumstances.

        For example, paying AmEx (which to me appears the same as a balance transfer) or having your underlying card statement filled with entries beginning Crv. Whilst I’m sure it could be argued that this is what Curve is designed for, I also sure that the underlying card operators and decide they don’t want you as a customer and not really give you an explanation.

        • Harrier25 says:

          What using Curve does is that it takes the underlying cards s75 liability away which I’m sure they don’t have an issue with. Some may have an issue with paying your Amex bill on a monthly basis may though, due to the credit card recycling for additional points.

        • BJ says:

          Probably they are not obliged to do business with anybody they don’t want to and likely have lots of scope for terminating cards.

    • Crafty says:

      All that’s good ends. I suspect this has ended. Personal Metal here – in the last 48 hours, Amex, NS&I and HMRC all rejected, despite showing in Curve app as having gone through. Cancelling Metal on Monday if not fixed.

      • Ali M says:

        it’s sad isn’t it.
        My personal metal due for renewal May and of course won’t renew if the party is over

        • James. says:

          I wonder how much ££ Curve will loose as I am with you. My subscription is due to renew in April and I am seriously thinking about downgrading to Blue.

          • Chrisasaurus says:

            “Seriously thinking about” doesn’t cost them anything – there’s a lot of threats to walk away from Curve, from BA/Virgin/Hilton/IHG and so on and we all know they’re hot air.

            Curve will fix this if it’s a fault and if not they’ve closed off a form of usage they no longer wish to have run through their books. Simple. As fintech firms evolve they take the easy money from the chancers in the early days to boost customer numbers and revenue, but then have to have a legit model as they get to be grown up.

            Remember the Wild West of early days pre-regulated Paypal? Curve equally wouldn’t have got here without MSers inflating their numbers so they have to wait until they can afford to dispense with that activity and still look a strong business.

            Whether that is what’s happening now, or whether it’s a genuine fault and it’ll be fixed, we don’t know but it will stop at some point inevitably

          • Ali M says:

            I think they would lose business. I dont think there is a significant number who pays the Curve subscription for the lounge access, travel and gadget insurance…Then there is no Amex support either. So while I don’t think my walking out would ‘dent’ their business model – I am sure there will be concerns if a few leave. They are likely to be answerable to investors etc as well… and I didnt know any of this was ‘illegal’ but can see how some credit card companies may feel differently.

      • Red Flyer says:

        The card really was not intended for MS rather for convenience of having to carry just 1 card or to avoid FX fees when spending abroad. I’m glad the game appears to be over for all those who gamed the system using Curve as hopefully then means more redemption opportunities for me as a legitimate high user on everyday spend.

        • KBuffett says:

          You’ve missed the point that the card was marketed to be used where credit cards were not accepted. Which is what people did.

      • Lady London says:

        ask for fees back from Curve for any month a promised transaction (HMRC) or a previously working transaction, did not work.

        I have interpreted from replies reported from Curve by readers that Curve knows their selling point is gone and that they are just stringing people along collecting the monthly fee for Metal until people wake up.

        At least tell them you’re not paying Metal now until what worked or Curve promised worked starts working again.
        Make it actually matter to Curve by also demanding a return of your fees for any month in which a transaction failed. I see no reasin why anyone should have to complete the minimum 6 months of Metal either when the service is not reliably and consistently providing the key service it was taken up for.

        • Gothbe says:

          Exactly. I messaged them yesterday to say I primarily signed up to pay HMRC bills / vat, paye, corporation. If the card doesn’t serve that purpose then I want refund for the months it hasn’t worked and if it’s permanent then I will be cancelling

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        I didn’t think you could just cancel Metal? Don’t you have to have it for a min 6 x Month contract & then once over 6 x months can you cancel or do you enter a new contract?

        • Harrier25 says:

          If you threaten them with a complaint to FOS I think in the end they’ll allow you to terminate your agreement for metal.

          As a niche product, if this issue with failed transaction is more than just a 3D verification issue then I think Curve won’t be trading for much longer.

        • Lady London says:

          6 months does not applyif they’re not delivering what they said the card could do such as hmrc or vat which was the essence of why many people were willing to pay for Metal.

          The contract/min 6 months becomes unenforceable if they’re not delivering reliably and consistently. But the onus is on you to tell them you’re not paying and the deal is off because card is not working for a purpose key to you they said it would work for or where there ‘s custom and practice that it did work for. Doesn’t matter even if it’s not their fault as your contract is with them not whatevee other party they say is not performing.

      • jj says:

        Works perfectly for me and has done consistently over the past few weeks. Maybe I’ve just not been abusing the system as I’m genuinely buying bonds with no MS. Total investment in the past 8 weeks or so is about £35K. Personal metal card.

      • John says:

        Obviously not a problem for everyone. Curve metal: put through £4500 every day for last 5 days to HMRC with no problems

    • Rui N. says:

      Yes, really upset here that a free product that has allowed me to generate more than 250k additional points doesn’t really work very well anymore! I want my money back! Oh wait!

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Just as a point to this – bully for you, you’ve done well on the free card but they do have customers who have the card they have to pay for and that was advertised specifically by Curve themselves for paying their HMRC bills. I’m not in that group as I don’t have anything to pay hmrc but I’d be cross if I was being charged for it whilst it wasn’t working

    • Grant says:

      If the various reports are to be believed then isn’t this just an issue with 3DS authentication which will, although perhaps not as quickly as we would like, be sorted? I’ve seen no suggestion that any of the various avenues we discuss to generate points have been closed off specifically. Online transactions seem to be failing for ‘normal’ things as much as they do for other types of transaction, so its perhaps a bit quick to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      • Alex says:

        It’s online transactions in general I think – I couldn’t use my card on Amazon, pay pay or my own website to purchase something. curve still not admitting anything! @Rob @Rhys – could one of you reach out to find out what’s going on?

        • Ben says:

          +1. Everything is getting declined. Underlying card worked fine for same transaction.

          Online with Curve support now.

          • DarrenS says:

            My experience at the moment.
            Amex – decline.
            Everything else is fine, including several mentioned above.
            Looks like a bug to me

          • Ben says:

            Curve support said card was blocked by risk engine. Now working again for ‘normal’ transactions such as Amazon top and VM, but still rejected by MS-type outfits…

        • James says:

          I like pay pay.

          Also, what has it got to do with Rob or Rhys?

    • Doug M says:

      Once you have a product that’s designed as a debit card to front a credit card what use is it other than MS?

      • Suck My Points says:

        And now it seems Curve are closing people’s accounts for doing exactly this, even though the transactions were authorised and allowed by Curve.

        When curve worked this way there was a clear appeal for points and miles, but even that wasn’t a mainstream market. If curve are winding down some of their more questionable transactions to become more mainstream, what are they actually selling?

        The people willing to pay a premium to make large HMRC payments or large foreign spend is surely not a mainstream market. Does anyone really care about the “all your cards in one”, especially when it is unreliable so you have to carry a back up, and you’ve got google pay etc?

        If they’re bringing their practices into line with what mainstream card issuers expect, instead of being a bit rogue, what is their mainstream product actually offering?

      • Anna says:

        For retailers which only take debit cards!

        • memesweeper says:

          eg HMRC, some car retailers, paying off loans, avoiding FX… lots of potential usage that’s not MS. If HMRC gets fixed the case for Metal for me is strong enough most likely. YMMV.

          Shifting debt from lender A to lender B with Curve seems perfectly legit., and frankly if the card issuers try to stop it then I’d hope a regulator would see sense and prevent them. Most card lenders happily allow ‘balance transfers’ for a 3% fee… denying customers the option to DIY for the cost of Curve Metal to achieve the same thing seems unfair and unbalanced to me.

          Cycling debt around and around to build a points balance is against Curve T&Cs and might hasten the demise of the few decent % paying non-Amex cards still available. I can’t see anyone rushing to the ombudsman if that gets stopped.

  • Boi says:

    Cha, If you see this regarding travel to Canada as it might have been late when I replied in the 9th March thread- I travelled with 3 kids. It was a fuff as you have to apply for travel authorisation (separate from eTA) because not everyone is allowed into Canada right now. My family had to do the full 14 days quarantine but I was given an exemption by the immigration official as I was deemed essential (funny as I was going to work and coming back to them in hotel where we spent our first 15 days)…….their quarantine is certainly more strict than UK. At the time we travelled there was no need for covid test-now you need 1 before boarding a flight and another on arrival (you have to stay in an airport hotel for up to 3 nights awaiting results-totally enforced.
    Any questions just ask.

    • BJ says:

      Not sure if it was true or not but I read that folks in Canada were breaking the rules anyway as the fines for doing so were not high enough to be a deterrent. Hope your kids settle well in their new home.

      • John says:

        Breaking what rules? From what I have read, 90%+ of people crossing the border can claim some sort of exemption from quarantine and Canada’s rules are even more illogical than the UK.

        Someone got fined $3000 because he went to the US on a business trip for 4 hours. He claimed to be exempt from needing a covid test but they said he wasn’t because he was being too responsible by not going to the US every day like he did before covid.

      • Rob says:

        Canada is great. Pay $2000 for hotel quarantine or refuse and pay a $800 fine.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      How is it stricter if anyone and everyone gets an exemption and you go out to work daily?

  • NKP says:

    Am I missing something significant about 31/05? Just had BA cancellation of VIE-LHR – all 4 departures on that day canceled. Date change really inconvenient. Is it likely a glitch?

    • ChrisC says:

      31st is a Bank Holiday in the UK so that might be an unlikely factor

      But what’s the schedule the other days of the week? That might tell you more.

      • BJ says:

        Rules are as described by Chris, you will not get round them. A stay is consecutive nights at the same hotel irrespective of bookings. When I have been in this situation for a longer stsy like you I would find two Hilton properties close to each other and then alternate stays. It used to be even mixing redemptions with cash bookings would loose you points on cash bookings but this is no longer the case.

  • Gavin says:

    Just a warning here about Hilton and points for promotions.

    I had several stays of blocks of 2-5 days at the same Hilton, over a period from 16th December to 2nd January, staying a total of 16 consecutive nights. I haven’t been given double points for this period, instead I get the measly 2k points / stay as per the 1st January onwards promotion. The blow is a little softened as over the course of the stay I did turn Diamond and also got some additional 10k bonuses as I reached various nights thresholds.

    Hilton Missing Points webform basically say – they were merged stays so tough luck. Be careful if your stay ends up crossing into a different promotion. A lesson learned for me as I assume the way to avoid this other than checking out completely on 31st December (which I wish I’d done now) is to pay the bill at the end of each sub-stay so the front desk can’t merge the bills.

    • ChrisC says:

      It’s generally been the case that consecutive stays get merged into one where points / nights etc come into play.

      Even formally checking out and in again on each separate booking won’t over ride that.

      • Lady London says:

        you have to spend a night elsewhere in between or hotel schemes merge them.

        One other way of working this is if staying with your partner and hopefully they are also members then alternate whose name you book in.

        Inform the hotel at checkin if you’d like to keep the same room across stays and each pay your bill when each ‘stay’ ends during your stay. Try not to use the same credit card between you – cards or supps with different numbers just in case.

        • Gavin says:

          Thanks for the feedback. In this case I guess it’s a question of learning my lesson and moving on.

          Anyway – next time I will pay attention to the dates. Moving hotels wasn’t that practical for this stay but I think I would have done so had I known.

          • Tyler Durden says:

            Thats pretty standard, you either move out (aka mattress run) or book an “airgap” night under your wifes name or similar, but yes lesson learnt, my lesson learnt was paying for a hotel on wifes credit card meant hilton didnt give me the points….(its in the T&Cs that the named person must pay)

    • Chris Heyes says:

      Gavin, no good to you now, i know, but you can ask at front desk for merged bills to be unmerged. I’ve even asked for bills to be separated so i can use different Amex cards
      Never had a problem
      Hilton Hotels seem to have flexible Managers I’ve found
      I usually speak to the manager at least once whilst visiting, always complementing him/her,
      I’m sure I’m just a number soon forgotten, but a bit of bull never did anyone any harm

      • Blenz101 says:

        That is fine for the bills if you need separate folios. Points however will still be merged when they are processed into your account.

        Their systems are setup to to be aware of you being a single account holder against a single number and realise what is a ‘stay’ and what is ‘a night’. Similarly you can’t book multiple rooms for your friends in your name and expect to earn on them all.

        • Gavin says:

          Looking back, as the hotel was my only residence (I’ve spent the past 3 months living in Airbnb’s / hotels) moving would have been extra hassle. But at least I know what to do for the future. If I can’t have the extra points then that’s life.

      • Brian W says:

        The ‘bull’ you give a manager still won’t get the Honors system to treat your consecutive stays as separate stays this earning multiple bonus points per stay.

  • Kathy says:

    My June flight to Kos, booked as from Gatwick, has now officially been changed to from Heathrow. Not unexpected, but the return ( July) still to Gatwick. Anyone any idea if that is likely to get changed later? Again, not a problem Re airports, but will be if dates change, as the outward one has.

    • David Birkbeck says:

      Same. Summer flight back from Catania moved from Gatwick to Heathrow yesterday morning but flight out still showing Gatwick departure today.

  • Alex says:

    For those who had Blue Rewards-activated Barclays Premier accounts prior to the recent announcements – if you eventually got a prompt to activate Avios Rewards, where did it appear in the app? Did you need to cancel Blue Rewards for Avios Rewards to appear as an option? Or were you prompted to make the switch while Blue Rewards was still active in the Rewards section in the app?

    • Gin and Tonic Please says:

      Click on More in the bottom right of the app, then select Rewards. Scroll down a little and if, it’s open to you, then there’s a banner for Barclays Avios Rewards just under the summary of your Blue Rewards activity. When you click through that, it’ll force you to confirm that you are OK to close Blue Rewards before it transfers you to BA.com to complete the sign-up process.

      Mind you, I tried doing this yesterday and it just crashes when transferring. I’m assuming it’s linked to the BA.com outage yesterday, so am giving it a few days before trying again.

    • Keely says:

      Just to add to Alex’s comments, the offer didn’t appear for me til I’d cancelled the blue rewards . Then logged back out and in and again and it was there . There was no prompt . I’ve linked my accounts (avios balance clearly showing ) but keep getting an error message to link accounts . However ime Barclays app is a bit glitchy and I had previously had an error message to add my email address when it was clearly there and had been for a year …

      • aDifferentSimon says:

        I see it in my app just as G&T Please says. I’m keeping blue rewards for now though. 3 amex vouchers plus a Lloyds one and no where to go. I can see why Barclays delayed this.
        Sad the free English Heritage membership has gone.

    • Alex says:

      Thanks for the info. I don’t see it in the app, so I guess my turn hasn’t come yet.

  • Roberto says:

    I have just tried to use my Curve to make a payment to a well known card using a another well known card as the underlying and its gone through fine.
    No problems at all and it gave me an online code through the app to accept.
    Only a small amount though as I just wanted to see if what people were saying was true.
    Curve is still working as intended for me.

    I have a personal metal card.

    • Roberto says:

      It wasn’t NSi though before anyone asks, but it did involve our friend who resides on his own island at one end.

      • roberto says:

        Roberto,
        Did you get the 3DS authentication screen on the app or use SMS or otherwise.
        Roberto(the other one)

        • Roberto says:

          I got the 3DS on screen on the app ..it comes through as a notification in app to accept once you press confirm a payment on screen.

          • Roberto says:

            Maybe Curve have just closed off the route into James Bond and the seagulls to stop the obvious MS that’s been going on.
            Just made another payment to another underlying located in Hk and Shanghai and that’s also worked fine.

          • ComeFlyWithMe says:

            Who is the friend on an island?

            Just tried HMRC for £1 and failed. Wouldn’t complain if I was on the free card, but one of the advertised benefits of the Metal Card is that you can pay HMRC, which is what most of us calculate the reason for paying the monthly fee against.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I mean come on.

            Who has a personal island, owns an airline and keeps a beard.

            It’s not that hard!

          • CH says:

            Finally after all these weeks (or has it been months…), “beardy” makes sense!

  • Vit says:

    Morning all, would appreciate your opinions on this one. Rob can delete if it is not appropriate.

    I am looking to secure a mortgage for a 2nd property. Paid of my mortgage a couple year ago so presume most of my credit ratings is based purely on credit cards. I have been doing some “recycling” with free bendy via creation through ATM for the last 4-5 months at most around £2k or so per month. I did spend some of the money for plasterer / electrician’s work (who does not do bank transfer) at my current place but put back the rest into my current account and can see through my transactions. I am thinking of stop doing this as I am concerned it may raise some question mark toward my solicitor / underwriter. Any thoughts on this please?

    • Amar says:

      I’d advise you to stop around 3-4 months before you need to provide the bank statements. The cost of not being able to get a mortgage (or a good rate) far outweighs the points from 2k/month

    • BA-Flyer says:

      Do ATM withdrawals with a Curve card now incur cash advance fees with most underlying credit cards?

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Have you incurred fees then? If so, what connected card?

    • Jimbob says:

      Just remortgaged, while putting through far higher amounts of ms.
      Do mortgage companies ask to see credit card statements? I’ve never been asked, all they wanted was a wage slip. Occasionally they want to see bank statements, but would they show your ms? I

      • Jonathan says:

        Depends, recently remortgaged through HSBC who I bank with day to day & they wanted no documents. Presumably they’re happy they can see my income & expenditure already.

        Looked at some other options through a broker before I chose to go with HSBC & they wanted bank/credit card statements for last 3 months.

      • Vit says:

        Yes, with my first mortgage 8 years ago I had to get the bank statement etc. in but that’s partially because I’d been employed for less than a year and not been nationalised as a Brit yet. 😀

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      When I was buying a business I had to show my personal bank account to the lenders. Fortunately it was a large enough loan request that you talk to an individual with a brain rather than an algorithm.
      Had to talk them through a bit of not-so-typical credit card spend , and some financially sound but even more very-worrying-to-the-untrained-eye stuff with large transactions to and from bookmakers.
      Once I’d explained what I did, why and how it all worked and taken them through my records, they were dead impressed, happy to give me a large business loan, and wanted tips on how they could start doing the same sort of thing themselves!

      • Vit says:

        Haha! That’s indeed savage just like your name! I would not mind explaining them what I did but still concerned if that is regarded as money laundering? Hopefully not. I was banking of an explanation of selling personal luxury accessories. 😉

        • Super Secret Stuff says:

          Personal luxury accessories? Why?? Am I missing a trick here?

      • Super Secret Stuff says:

        That is Savage, I would also trust someone with a business loan ig they are that confident to explain all that to me

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