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Bits: Amex / Economist offer problems, Heathrow free bus travel ends, Amazon Kindle Unlimited offer

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News in brief:

American Express refusing to pay £45 cashback for Economist promotion

Last week we covered a new offer from Avios and The Economist magazine, which allowed you to earn up to 18,000 Avios for taking out a subscription.

We assumed that this offer would double-up with the current £45 cashback offer which American Express has given to many cardholders. It seems not.

Readers who took out the Economist offer have found that their £45 cashback has not tracked.

The American Express call centre is refusing to add it manually because applications were not made via the exact link to the Economist website in the offer terms. This has never, ever, been a problem for American Express cashback offers in the past. Whilst a website link is often provided, it isn’t necessary to use it.

With the Dell cashback offers on the Business cards, for example, you are encouraged to click through to In truth, the cashback appears irrespective of whether you use the Dell consumer site, the trade site or Dell Outlet.

It is also worth noting that the offer terms do not say that you MUST access the Economist website via the link in the offer rules. It simply says ‘Available online at:’ and then gives the URL.

I am tempted to believe that this is human error rather than Amex policy. My wife recently split a Hugo Boss purchase across two cards – one of hers and one of mine. My cashback appeared immediately but there is still no sign of hers. The system is not faultless.

Irrespective of the reason, it seems that you will not be getting your £45 American Express cashback for this offer – at least without a long and possibly fruitless fight.

If you took out a subscription, I recommend cancelling during the 14-day cooling off period if the maths no longer works for you.

Heathrow to end all Free Travel Zone bus travel on Friday

Regular readers will know that Heathrow announced last year that it was ending its financial support for the Free Travel Zone.

As well as subsidising employee transport to and from the airport, this allowed anyone to use the local buses around Heathrow without charge. You were most likely to use it when travelling between the airport and one of the off-airport hotels.

The removal of free bus travel has been happening in stages. It was removed from routes 4, 7, 8, 442 and 555 on 1st January.

Heathrow has now confirmed that free bus travel will end on all remaining routes on 12th June.

Full details are on this page of the Heathrow website.

Free 3-month trial of Amazon Kindle Unlimited

All week we are covering some of the special offers that Amazon has launched for Prime Day, which is coming up on 21st and 22nd June.

Whilst clearly off-topic for us, these are all good deals. We also get a small commission from Amazon if you buy anything, and with hotel and flight booking commissions massively down we’ll take what we can get …..

Today’s offer for Prime members is with Kindle. If you have a Kindle device, or are happy using the Kindle app on your iPad, other tablet or smartphone, you can claim a FREE three-month trial to Kindle Unlimited via this link.

You MUST be an Amazon Prime member to take part.

Kindle Unlimited allows you unlimited access over 1 million books, thousands of audiobooks and selected magazine subscriptions.  You won’t struggle to keep yourself busy for the next three months.

The terms and conditions of the offer are here.  You can’t take part if you’ve had a free trial in the past 36 months.  The link to cancel your recurring payment of £7.99 from Month 4 is in the terms.

You can sign up is here.  The offer ends on 22nd June.

Comments (95)

  • Sambe says:

    My memory is either seeing a notification that I’d used the offer, or that I saw the cashback on my account. Now it’s not there? Is my memory wrong or did anyone else have it temporarily credited?

  • JP-MCO says:

    Reading the accounts here I must have been lucky when I used online chat yesterday. We talked about the transaction and they told me I should have used the link provided to signup. I remarked that was unusual for an AMEX offer and that with previous ones it had always simply been a case of using your saved card with the required merchant and not via a specific link. The agent I was speaking to asked if I could wait a few moments whilst they escalated it to the offers team and after 3 minutes said they had convinced them to apply a manual credit. Other than me making the point that the terms didn’t explicitly state that the link HAD to be used in order to receive the credit I didn’t really push the issue hard and was impressed with how easy it was to resolve the issue. I hope others manage to get it resolved one way or another.

  • Richard says:

    I’ve just gone online with Amex chat, they investigated and came back to confirm after about 5 mins that I will be getting the cash back. I asked if they could guarantee that and they said yes. I’ve got a chat reference. I would like to think Amex will follow thru if one of their own chat people say it’s all good and if they don’t I’ve got them in writing saying they will.

    • David D says:

      That sounds promising – Amex have likely been flooded with complaints and could have changed their stance. The proof will be in the pudding.

    • DJ says:

      I phoned this morning about it, and the call also confirmed that I will be getting the £45 cashback, it is just a matter of when, as it could take up to 90 days to appear.

      I have noted the time stamp of the call just in case …

    • Will says:

      Same here!

  • Johnny5a says:

    Sorry to see the free travel go but doesn’t surprise me as Heathrow will be looking to cutting massive amount of costs. Even if you have to pay it’s just £1.55, so still cheaper than Hotel Hopper. kids still travel free.

  • Peter says:

    Hundreds of useless offers, and the ones that are useful don’t pay. Even more reasons to stop scrolling through them once in a while..

  • Peggerz says:

    I potentially have an off site Heathrow hotel stay in October and haven’t done this for 12 years or so. I will be in transit with an overnight stay. Do I use an Oyster card on the bus now (I have one of them!) and do you ‘tap in and tap out’ if that’s the case?

    • Andrew says:

      If you still have an Oyster card with credit on it you can use that. Equally, a contactless card (including AMEX) works just as well. The latter may take a fraction of a second longer to authorise but that’s all.

      Probably irrelevant for your single journey(s), but the multi-journey price cap will still apply, and if you want you can link your card to a TfL account for journey history.

    • Rob says:

      You just tap in, and a contactless credit card works as well as an Oyster.

    • Peggerz says:

      Thanks for the replies.

    • AJA says:

      I gave up using the Oyster card three years ago as the Amex contactless works perfectly well and I get Avios on the back of it. At the time I also got 5% back from Amex too. No need ever to top up unlike the Oyster card. Still keep the Oyster card for visitors if they don’t already have one or a contactless card of their own but if I am travelling with them I just hand them my Hilton Barclaycard and they tap in and out with that.

      • Genghis says:

        Oyster card is only good for non-Monday-Sunday weekly travel cards where a contactless card only has the weekly cap from Monday-Sunday. Not used one for years.

        • John says:

          And if you have a railcard, or a longer season ticket, or you want to reach a spend target…

      • peter says:

        If your trip costs £4.40 and you take 10 trips like that, you get 10x 4 points = 40.
        If you top up Oyster with £44 you get 44 points.
        Now it probably doesn’t matter for a few trips, but it did make some difference for someone using it daily for a year. (Plus weekly capping that can start on not-Monday, speed on the overcrowded gate at London Bridge, Amex Shop Small.. )

  • Jasdev says:

    Thanks for letting us know, Rob. I had wondered why the cashback had yet to credit my account. The Economist live chat were extremely good at resolving this quickly, have cancelled my subscription and plan on signing up for a 3-year sub as soon as I have £519 knocking around for such purposes.

  • Mark says:

    is it just me or is anyone else tired of these “promotions” and the effort now required to get any sort of decent points deal, from anything?

    It just doesn’t feel like any of it is a good deal anymore. Probably because it’s hard to see when we’ll ever be able to travel without it being hampered by red tape and unpredictable regulations.

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