Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Wednesday 22nd September

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (644)

  • DexB says:

    I know this query has been answered many times over although I’m struggling to find it written down, but can I cancel a BA flight (part cash/part avios) and not have to take an eVoucher or FTV? And can this be done only via a telephone conversation with BA.
    Thanks in advance

    • Rob says:

      No (assuming it was a cash ticket you made cheaper with Avios), unless BA cancels or retimes one leg of it.

      • Sloth says:

        Not strictly true, I’ve had 2 RFS bookings which I had converted into FTV’s refunded later, points and cash.

        • Sloth says:

          Sorry should have added that I did this over the phone so obviously you need to be able to get through which is easier said than done atm

        • ChrisC says:

          Different tickets have different rules.

          Avios tickets have one set of rules which aren’t the same as part pay with avios or pure cash tickets.

  • Paul says:

    Been doing 9k a day for last 700 days.
    Got the email.
    Did it again.
    Account now been shut down.
    Oh well.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Great story

    • bafan says:

      This was like a haiku.

    • Josu says:

      Well you got 6.3 million points out of it which is about 50x first class returns in certain cases so you’ll have 2x trips a year for 25 years off of this!

      Kudos to you 🙂

      • Paul says:

        It was a lot more than that as I often backed using ihg which allowed me to get more. Probably around 10 million altogether would be a guess.

      • Paul says:

        Also 4k a day thru revolut. Been thru KYC process twice.. All fine still going.

        • Jonathan says:

          Now this is where the story gets far fetched. Can’t believe anyone has the patience to do 2 KYC’s with Revolut 😆

    • HH says:

      So they’re following through now…interesting.

      • Paul says:

        To keep account open you have to send them nsi statements and credit card statements. I may do that. Undecided. I do about 150k and then withdraw. Bit like the person who said about the school fees. I don’t think there’s anything in any of the ts and Cs to say you can’t do this. If there is then it needs to state minimum period in which you have to keep funds in account.

        • Babyg says:

          my school fees arent that much, and its just money that normally sits in a bank account waiting to be paid to the school…. if you have £££ millions (9k x 700days) that goes somewhere (rather the round and round) i guess that makes sense… but youre probably not going to get your account back, but you’ve done well… and probably could have gone on longer if it wasn’t talked about almost daily here for a while…

        • TJones says:

          The Ts and Cs say this:

          What can I not use my Curve account and Curve card for?
          * for “cash recycling”, which means using your Curve card to make an ATM withdrawal and using the cash to repay the payment card used for the withdrawal in order to receive rewards on the payment card or your Curve card

          They have made up a totally new definition of cash-recycling in the email. But surely the Ts and Cs are the only ones that apply.

          • JDB says:

            Curve terms incorporate the Fair Use policy which spells out the recycling issue in greater detail. Curve terms/fair use policy also say you can’t use the Curve card for anything in breach of the underlying card’s terms which would also often apply in the recycling/round tripping transactions.

        • Yorkie Aid says:

          Congrats Paul. You deserve a Belkin award!

    • Toaster says:

      I’ve been doing piffling amounts, less than 4k per month and I got the email.

    • Mr. AC says:

      Absolutely mind-blowing that anyone was doing such amounts for so long!

    • Anna says:

      That makes me so offended that they even sent me the email 🤣

      • GaryC says:

        I’m struggling to understand the slavish adoration of individualistic greed which has now closed curve + creation for thousands of genuine customers, as well as the slavish adorers themselves.

        • JDB says:

          What I find amazing is the adulation shown on here for the big ticket MS players given that those players have probably been depriving normal HfPers of UC seats and IHG hotel rooms. That’s on top of the praise for masterful misuse of the various cards/accounts.

          • Paul says:

            People seem polarised on this one. I guess it’s the capitalist v socialist argument.

          • Rui N. says:

            JDB, you should see the number of points CCs give in the US, even without MS. Then think again if any MS anywhere else is anything but a drop in the ocean.
            Always a blast these moralists.

        • GaryC says:

          Given the volume of reward seats and hotel rooms available for points, I would guess that any ‘deprivation’ is immaterial, but may be wrong.

          I’m not sure it’s capitalist vs socialist either. At least it’s not healthy capitalism, as it doesn’t just lead to a hierarchy with winners and losers, but ultimately to the destruction of the system.

          • JDB says:

            Notably on Virgin, the number of Upper seats on popular routes like New York, LA, Orlando is relatively limited. I don’t collect IHG points, but there are a lot of reports on here of difficulty in getting reward rooms for really popular places. Millions of points from MS must have some impact as I am sure they too are chasing popular redemptions rather than the more obscure ones.

          • Rui N. says:

            There is no such thing as healthy capitalism. Concentration of capital in a few is by design of the system.

          • Rob says:

            I’ll send my Ossie wife round to tell you about the joys of living under German socialism 🙂

          • Rui N. says:

            Nobody said that german socialism was any better in any sort of way.
            But let’s not pretend that concentration of capital is a bug of capitalism. It’s not, it’s a feature.

          • Rob says:

            It is a feature, yes. But in a world where you can earn £1m per year recording yourself playing video games and sticking it on YouTube (some make £20m per year doing this, £1m is relatively small fry) then the whole nature of work and money changes. Start a £10 per month blog on Substack and once you’ve got 5,000 people paying for your ramblings you’re banking £45k for a couple of hours per week. The digitalisation of money and work means that the old model doesn’t really apply.

  • David says:

    Any tips to get through to Virgin. Was on the phone for 4 hours last night – they responded on WhatsApp at 3.30am – I was asleep.

    • Greg says:

      YES David. I waited 2 hours yesterday and then used WhatsApp. They replied almost instantly and I did everything required. BRILLIANT !! Add Virgin Atlantic to your contacts. It really works

    • Harry T says:

      I called at around 11am yesterday and got through in 17 mins – probably just lucky!

  • Sandgrounder says:

    Looks like Curve are done with allowing shady practices to boost volumes, they must be actually trying to make some money now from offering credit. Good luck to them, it won’t be long before the next gold rush I’m sure.

  • Toby says:

    I’m feeling left out: curve haven’t emailed me yet

  • Colin says:

    surely all NS&I had to do was refund any withdrawal within say 60 days of last deposit back to the card.

    • sloth says:

      you’d think that but by all accounts NS&I are just as incompetent as Creation and Curve

    • BP says:

      All NS&I needed to do is to block Curve BIN numbers. That would sort the problem but government departments don’t do easy!!

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Given my experience of government contracted IT, I’m guessing that NSI’s IT is either incapable of anything so advanced, or so unusable and unfriendly that nobody can work it out.

      • Memesweeper says:

        and why should they? There’s plenty of legit users of bendy and Ernie. I don’t understand why NS&I don’t introduce penalties (or other disincentives) for rapid withdrawals. Would stop the money go rounders and leave others alone…

  • Colin says:

    Would be interesting to know how the pain of the (say) 1% value of reward was shared across the three parties.

    • Rob says:

      NSI – loses at least 0.3% (which is why they are driving these shutdowns) as they pay the card fees to Curve and, as you empty your account immediately, it is a direct loss

      IHG – huge winner, gaining 0.8% of what you spend in points purchases from Creation

      Creation – big loser, pays out 0.8% to IHG but only gains part of the 0.3% interchange fee paid by NSI

      Curve – not clear how the numbers work here as Curve receives card fees from NSI but pays out fees to Creation (with Mastercard / Visa sitting in the middle each time)

      • Ryan says:

        The term ‘Pareto Optimality’ could be applied (take the Morrison’s offers) some people do forget that their benefit isn’t just created out of thin air..

        Often a 1% return is inefficient in that several cuts are made before what’s left

        Weirdly, I was just thinking about this today

      • Colin says:

        Thanks Rob , really interesting. Puts nS&I deposit rates into perspective.
        Personally not with IHg / creation , my average investment period has been much longer, funded from savings/ income not recycled, and the amounts gained less than annual fee,

      • Degsy says:

        I suspect MCard has done pretty well out of it – I can’t imagine much of the 0.3% was going to the other two parties.

      • Char Char says:

        So NSI business model is that you keep the funds in and they rip you off through the prizes, I suppose they need your money for a while to do this.

        Creation as a business model makes no sense Curve or no Curve if they are losing money but I assume they want the less savvy spender who racks up interest, which I am sure they have so probably why its not shut down completely.

        • Rob says:

          If you cash savings and you don’t put the full £50k into Premium Bonds, plus again for your partner and kids, then you’re an idiot. Focusing JUST on the £25 prizes, and totally ignoring the rest, you get 0.83% tax free.

          • Greg says:

            Rob. Its not only premium bonds. NS&I have a savings account too. Although its not instant access, its long enough for your credit card statement to be paid.

          • Andrew H says:

            The payout is 1% overall according to website. Better than any (near) instant access account. Even 0.83% is better than the best (currently Tandem at 0.65% which is very interesting as you can link your other bank accounts and suck money from them in to Tandem in the Tandrm app). Of course you need lots of bonds to be reasonably sure of getting a return. I want to get more PBs – need Curve to sort their act out for genuine use of their Fronting.

          • Nick says:

            For anyone with the word ‘Commercial’ on their Curve card, NS&I will be paying significantly more than 0.3% – more likely to be in the 1.6-2% range that’s typical for (non-regulated) UK commercial cards. As the underlying Creation/Beardy cards are Consumer by definition, the cost to Curve will be the 0.3% (capped). MasterCard fees are on top of that but work in a similar way with arbitrage available. That’s why it was always in Curve’s interests to ‘accidentally’ put as many people on commercial cards as possible… and also why the gravy train was always going to come crashing to a halt at some point. I’m amazed NS&I were the ones to trigger it, but there you go.

      • Britbronco says:

        Rob, do NS&I really pay 0.3% for debit card deposits? I thought that was the interchange cap for credit cards and that debit cards would be lower?

        • Nick says:

          0.3% for credit cards, 0.2% for debit. But that only applies to consumer cards – commercial ones are uncapped. And that’s only the interchange fee – they’ll also be paying fees to card brands (visa/mc) and to their merchant processing bank as well, neither of which is regulated/capped.

          • jj says:

            But NS&I would presumably set themselves up to require a ‘me to me’ transaction that would be capped at maybe 40p. So, for a £1,000 transaction, NS&I pays 40p to Curve who front it as a 0.3% credit card transaction and pay £3 to Creation. Curve loses £2.40, which is funded by the monthly Metal fee, and Creation pays IHG about £5 (assuming a wholesale price of 0.25p for an IHG point). Creation’s loss of £2 is funded from the annual card fee.

            IHG is unhappy because they are trying to build brand loyalty, not sell underpriced rooms to manufactured spenders. Creation and Curve are unhappy because they have lost money. And NS&I are unhappy as the money is quickly withdrawn, blowing.a hole in their liquidity forecasts on a product that’s expected to be quite sticky.

            Result: unhappiness all round. It had to end, and it has.

          • Rob says:

            IHG is laughing. It gets 0.4p per point and, when you redeem, pays out nearer 0.1p per point to the hotel (except when the hotel is 95% full, in which case it will pay out nearer 0.4p). It is a 75% gross profit business.

  • Jimbob says:

    Wonder if Curve will give me a pro rata refund for my metal card, once they close me down :p

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