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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)

  • Chris D says:

    I always thought that one reason for the Heathrow free travel zone, is that the airport needs to be accessible to walkers and cyclists. How could such an individual approach the airport without surcharge in the absence of a free bus service of some kind?

    • David says:

      Get to T4 or T5, then use interterminal transfer via underground or train (HEX, etc) which remains free.

    • Gavin says:

      I once missed the 423 from the premier Inn and walked it’s route to T5, you have to walk through the bus gate which is signposted no pedestrians and enter the terminal as a bus would – past a queue of black cab drivers asleep in the back of their cab.

      No pavement and would have been more dangerous if it wasn’t 4:45am. Could cycle this way too.

      • Tim says:

        Exactly. And from that point if you keep on walking you can be at the Holiday Inn T5 15 minutes later and the Hilton T5 about 5 minutes after that. With only hand luggage those two hotels were my preference when arriving and departing T5. Especially for early morning flights you know exactly what time you need to leave the hotel. Plus nice to work up a brief appetite before breakfast in GF.

  • NFH says:

    Amex cannot interpret its own offer terms in its favour, because of the legal doctrine of contra proferentem, which is codified by Section 69 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015:

    If a term in a consumer contract, or a consumer notice, could have different meanings, the meaning that is most favourable to the consumer is to prevail.

    • Andrew says:

      In what way does “economist offer available at XXX” have possible different meanings? To argue that you bought it at YYY and amex didn’t say you couldn’t so you expect them to give you £45 is really stretching things.

      By all means complain to Amex, in the interest of good customer relations they may credit your account, but if they don’t all this talk of the FoS or legal action is ridiculous.

      • Genghis says:

        Terms don’t say “Offer available at xxx”, just “Available at”.

      • NFH says:

        One meaning is that the offer is available at the very long URL (amongst other options). The other meaning is that the offer is available only at the very long URL. These are the two different meanings.

        • Andrew says:

          Who would read “save 50p off weetabix, available at Tesco” and possibly think they’d be entitled to the same offer at Sainsbury’s?

          • Rob says:

            Terrible example, Andrew.

            It is perfectly normal for Weetabix to run adverts saying ‘Weetabix are great’ and at the bottom put ‘Available at Tesco’, because they can get a few quid off Tesco to subsidise the ad, even though the offer is available in all stores.

            We do it ourselves. If we write about an aviation book we’ll write ‘Available at Amazon’ at the bottom with a link because we can get a few quid off Amazon. It clearly doesn’t mean you can’t buy it elsewhere.

  • Ammar says:

    For the economist offer – do you have to sign up with a new email address/account details (my prev sub ended over 6 months ago) or can you use the existing details as the offer is still reasonable for those interested in print copies

  • Adam M says:

    So I called Amex this morning regarding the Economist Offer. Nothing posted on my account. They have assured me that it will be posted and that I did quality for the offer. They said the account can take up to 90 days to show the £45 and gave me a reference number.
    They could see that I added the offer to my card and that I purchased it after it was added.

    • JustMe says:

      I had a very similar comversation with Amex. The agent said they can see I added the offer to my card and then made a qualifying purchase, but stated the 90 days (from promotion end date) then sent a chase to the back office team.

      Fingers crossed, but at the end of the day, as long as the Avios post without any issues, 1.19p/avios isn’t a disaster.

      • gtellez says:

        Just contact them through the online chat, first ask me if I used the link in the T&Cs. After I said no but explained that the T&Cs just mentions that is “available at” that link (and not that the link must be used), they told me that due to technical problems they can´t check the eligibility now and I have to contact back in 24h… Really poor customer service. I asked if they could contact me back and they said not possible.

  • Alex says:

    Also cancelled this morning via economist live chat.

    Maybe thinking now I should have given it a go with Amex but nevermind.

    Not really a pressing need for Amex so maybe a speculative purchase wasn’t ever a good idea, though I actually quite enjoy the economist and have been a subscriber before so will keep eyes out for other offers.

  • RussellH says:

    I had a very good Amex offer a few days ago!
    I agree that the vast majority of the offers are useless, but we had decided to splash out on some high quality new mattresses.
    Brooke and Wild had a 50% off offer in a newspaper + an Amex 15% off offer is currently running. These stacked.
    The card charge debited on day 1, the 15% rebate on day 2. Plus a bit of icing on the cake – Brooke and Wild are on Shop Small, so an extra £5 credit also applied on day 2. Plus a 50% uplift in Avios for the transaction.
    All our other Shop Small transactions are crediting very quickly too.

  • mutley says:

    Poor show from Amex. I won’t be cancelling though. as it can be claimed as a business expense, the 18000 Avios and anyhow its a good read.

  • Will T says:

    Having read the T&C of the Kindle Unlimited, it suggests that anything you have downloaded cannot be accessed once you have stopped subscribing. Does anyone know if this is what actually happens when you stop the subscription?

    • Erico1875 says:

      Yes. Just like Prime. you are basically borrowing the book.
      Personally.I cant read fast enough to get any value out of Unlimited. I get by with Prime, and a lot of the books on Unlimited are only 99p to own anyway

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