Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Friday 5th November

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

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Comments (478)

  • Dave says:

    Morning

  • Roger says:

    Amex travel offer £100 off £400
    Finally after 14 days my offer details now show as redeemed.
    CB is yet to appear but it’s a start.

    • Andrew says:

      Glad I’m not the only one! An exceptionally slow offer to credit. That coupled with the 7 days I’m still waiting for some MR to Avios to transfer, Amex seem on a go-slow at the moment.

    • David says:

      Mine showed as redeemed days ago still no sign of the CB.

      • JohnT says:

        How long before Amex BA 10,000 avios for £5k spend post after reaching spend? Guessing up to a week? Just missed my monthly avios transfer now.

        • Reeferman says:

          Mine took 4 days after I’d received the advice from Amex telling me I’d achieved the spend.

    • Nigel W says:

      has anyone managed to get this offer manually added to their card? I’ve had no luck with Amex yet.

  • markpeterboro says:

    Not new news in any respect at all , just my own personal experience –

    I rang Creation yesterday to query why my IHG points hadn’t transferred over from this last statement and their response was like this:

    When I received my letter from them giving me termination notice it will have stated that I would not get my free night or a refund on my card fees , things have now changed and I will also not be getting my points . I pointed out that nothing at all was mentioned on the letter , asked why my card was being cancelled and was told that It was because I had used Curve .

    Time for me to raise my initial complaint .

    • Nath says:

      My only letter never mentioned free night or refund. Just that it was closing. I also haven’t received points this money. Time for a HFP 1800 strong orchestrated MCOL or even group claim.

    • Anna says:

      Did they cite any reasons, and did you record the call?!

      • Mark Peterborough says:

        I didn’t record the call and they did tell me that it was due to Curve usage .

      • Paul Pogba says:

        What apps would you recommend for recording calls on iOS?

        • K23 says:

          Don’t bother. Put in a DSAR and let them do the donkey work. It’s free.

          • Genghis says:

            My DSAR came back. I’ve questioned the completeness of the return.

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            My DSAR also came back. It was timestamped AFTER my account closure.

            There are no notes or anything regarding why I was section 12’d.

            I’ve raised a complaint that the information is incomplete.

    • Chas says:

      You might fnow ind your card being closed down with immediate effect shortly (happened to other HfPers who contacted Creation to query / challenge the same thing). Please report back if that happens to you.

      • Mark Peterborough says:

        I shall report back if I get closed down .

      • Don says:

        Cannot enter the Creation account any more today, could yesterday. No IHG points posted yet for the month either.

      • Track says:

        This is to prevent a formal complaint with the company and the right to complaint with FOS. If you manage to raise a formal complaint before account closure, with reference and names, date of call.

        Otherwise you be complaining to company, then FOS about account closure, which will not be upheld in itself.

        Creation playing super-dirty. (Side observer here, no interest).

    • JDB says:

      With everyone waving the T&Cs at them (although the full points T&Cs that link into the IHG Rewards ones seem to give them plenty of latitude if you read it all) maybe they are withholding the points so they can make a restitution claim/counter claim for any previous erroneously awarded points eg ones given for ‘“standard purchases” they have now discovered were not. Very unlikely, but it’s a simple claim, doesn’t matter it was their mistake and they would be entitled to do this going back six years.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        You’re clutching at straws here. There was nothing in the terms excluding any of the spend they awarded points for? Didn’t they receive the usual fee for the transactions?

        They’ve been caught with their pants down and throwing their toys out of the pram … no one will be accepting their “counter claim”

        • Genghis says:

          Hey, that’s my line! 😆

        • JDB says:

          It would appear you haven’t read the terms! Points are only awarded on “purchases” – topping up Revolut, depositing funds at NS&I, paying Amex etc. do not constitute “purchases”. Points were awarded, but with the benefit of hindsight, they now recognise that was in error. As I say, it is incredibly unlikely they will do anything but if pressed too hard… T&Cs put obligations on both parties. That is why much wiser people than me have already walked away.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Where is a “purchase” defined as such in the terms? Are paypal, Klarna etc transactions excluded in the term as non purchases for example?

            Or are you using your own interpretation?

            Everyone who used curve purchased a service from Curve with every transaction.

          • QFFlyer says:

            “Standard Purchase” means a purchase of goods and/or services (including any insurance) by you or an Additional Cardholder and in respect of which payment is made by use of the Card, Card number or, where permitted by us, a PIN and which may be effected in any manner including, without limitation, by means of text messaging by mobile phone (“SMS”), ATM, e-mail and Internet;

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            But you do purchase premium bonds with NS&I, its not simply topping up an account…

          • QFFlyer says:

            “Cash Advance” means an advance of monies made to you or on your behalf, or to an Additional Cardholder or on the Additional Cardholder’s behalf, including but not limited to cash, foreign currency, travellers’ cheques or cash related transactions;

            ‘Goods and/or services’ are not specifically defined, so I guess it would come down to whether the definition of “Cash Advance” could be strongly enough tied to the purchase in question.

          • Britbronco says:

            How about Che top ups? Seems like a cash advance, and Solly treat it as such, yet they’ve still awarded points??

          • Track says:

            The courts will not charge customers extra, beyond what is stipulated in the agreement for credit.

            MCOL claim to return the annual service fee is a slum dunk — the company refused to provide such service — out of commercial reasoning (lost revenue, inability to code transactions in IT systems). Creation will not be able to say that FCA ordered to close your specific account, in other words Creation was under no way forced or obligated to close your specific account.

        • JDB says:

          @TGLoyalty it’s not my definition, but from the terms, hence the inverted commas.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Can you post that definition which excludes those items from the terms please I seem unable to find it. I see a definition for “standard purchase” which says goods and services with no exclusions.

          • QFFlyer says:

            See above @TGL

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Looks like we’re reading the same terms QFFlyer

            Curve is a financial services provider…

          • JDB says:

            @TGLoyalty on the rewards terms it only says points on “purchases”. I think you will find it difficult to persuade an independent arbitrator or judge that some of the things previously mentioned constitute a “service”. It’s probably all a bit academic, but in the end this will come down to very specific points.

          • Froggee says:

            Hmmm – so I now realise that using my Creation credit card for £10,000 of charitable donations was abuse of the card.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            But a “purchase” isn’t defined but a “standard purchase” is and that included services.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Maybe it was all written in invisible ink or it was implied in the 2 sentences the intern quickly mashed out on word

      Clowns.

      • Paul says:

        So to confirm for those that received the letter; no FNA, no pro rata refund, no points on mid October statements onwards. It’s an interesting one, I’m surprised at Creation’s confidence here and can’t help but feel they’ve already looked into the legalities,

        • Rui N. says:

          They also claim that the letter mentioned a lot of those items, so they for sure haven’t looked into detail at a lot of stuff. But it will be interesting to watch!

          • Lady London says:

            That’s what they want you to think Rui. TGLoyalty and Genghis words are correct “pants down”. If they didn’t like something and wanted to change things they should have notified officially 60 days in advance
            They would not be able to implement withdrawal of benefits for righteous use of the card, any earlier.

            Since they are being so silly I’d also add to any claim any partially earned free nights as well as any missing ones. Base the value of the part earned free night on what you used the last one for, or a typical average of your paid nights, or the cost of a night in, say, the hotel you targetef in the Caymans.

            In the case of the Cayman free night, or partially earned free night, to prove you’re not taking the pi** enclose proof of travel booked and any evidence, if you have it, that such a location is somewhere you have stayed on occasion(s) before. Anna will and I’m sure she’s not the only HfP reader that can

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The fact they’re confident the letter outlined their position tells you all you need to know about the operation in Solihull.

          • memesweeper says:

            There’s no way they got a well researched legal opinion in the time between sending the texts/shutting out Curve and the decision to issue the letters of closure.

            I remain of the view this is the knee-jerk response of one or more very angry executives, and is not fully thought through. Perhaps they may mount a decent legal defence that Curve purchases aren’t purchases … we will see in pre-action disclosre. But even so at MCOL they are going to look like a bunch of t*ts when the judge asks why they authorised all the payments. It was absolutely clear what was going on — they just didn’t look/care at the time.

          • Rui N. says:

            The fact that they keep awarding points on Revolut top-ups also wouldn’t play very well in their argument that Curve/Ernie transactions did not warrant points.

          • Dan says:

            These angry execs would do well to take the emotion out of their responses. If this goes public I wouldn’t want Creation on my LinkedIn profile!

          • JDB says:

            @Memesweeper if you are planning to go to MCOL, I trust you have read the MCOL guidance and its link to the Civil Procedure Rules; they are strictly applied, even for litigants in person. If you go to MCOL before FOS, your case will be at risk and you may be at risk of costs. Unlike say taking BA to MCOL for EU261 where the CEDR alternative is just a voluntary arbitration scheme, re Creation there is a specialist statutory remedy open to you in the form of the FOS and the court will expect you to try that first. If you fail at the FOS and then go to MCOL, they will be unlikely to remake the decision on the facts but could change the outcome if the FOS had made a mistake in law.

          • Track says:

            @JDB MCOL Small Claims track usually does not award costs.

            One can bring attention to a set of facts: eg Creation avoiding taking and issuing a response to a complaint, therefore blocking the customer from FOS complaint track.
            Definitely need to issue a pre-action letter to Creation in writing and post it with a proof of delivery though.

            The issue at hand is not so much financial regulatory / not domain of FOS but basic English contract law.

    • Benilyn says:

      Morning all! What a start to the day.

    • Lady London says:

      Hahahaha inept.

    • aDifferentSimon says:

      I’ve used curve, not had a letter and my points on the free card transferred last week.
      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      No (curve) MS or use abroad, and I don’t put that much through though.

    • Mike says:

      I’m not sure how the executives at Creation arrived at this as a logical way forwards.

      It’s debatable whether we should get the free night voucher or the £99 card fee back, but I believe that we should get one or the other.

      There was a gap in their T&C and IT system that was exploited. That sucks for Creation, but that’s life…. People exploit loopholes. (Tangent: There is a high profile lawyer literally nicknamed ‘Mr Loophole’).

      The cash value of the card fee is obviously £99. The value of the free night voucher is a bit more subjective, but (for the purpose of this) let’s say it’s £615 (2 people staying at Park Lane on Sat night)

      Clearly changing the rules of the card without giving notice is going to lead to complaints which, if unresolved by Creation, will end up at the FOS. There is a flat rate case fee of £750.

      As a business, you’d be mad to go down the route of waiting for complaints that cost £750 per time, rather than just dishing out the free nights and points. I guess the only thing that Creation might assume is that ‘not everyone complains to the FOS’. But I think Creation will have misjudged the points/rewards community… if it’ not too much effort to set up an elaborate manufactured spending process; it’s not too much effort to write a letter to the FOS.

      If a single customer was to raise two separate complaints (1. missing free night voucher, & 2. lack of points earned without notification) that’s £1,500 in FOS fees… and you still might have to give in to the customer at the end of the process.

      This just doesn’t make sense from a risk/cost/benefit point of view. Am I missing something?

      https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/businesses/resolving-complaint/case-fees
      Quote: “When we do and don’t charge
      You won’t need to pay a case fee for the first 25 complaints against your business that we deal with in each financial year. From the 26th complaint onwards, we charge a case fee of £750.

      If a case does need to be investigated, it becomes a chargeable case, regardless of the outcome.”

      • JDB says:

        @Mike the FOS will not individually investigate these complaints and ‘investigate’ is the fee trigger – if they are all on the same topic, they will obviously group them. The issues(s) to be decided are not too complex, even if there are some differing factual scenarios. If one person makes two complaints on the same subject, they too will be combined and on the application to the FOS it specifically asks if you have made any other complaint.

        • Pid says:

          Points did not transfer this month but the front page of my statement still states the number of points earning for purchases. So would difficult to argue they have not been pushing out contradictory information.

  • Cranzle says:

    @JDB et al – are debit card holders who’ve used it with Curve to circumvent FX fees and thus caused their bank to lose profit likely to see their current accounts closed?

    • JDB says:

      No idea I’m afraid, but some Curve/Creation holders have reported they haven’t received the letter so it seems that Curve is just a common factor.

      • Cranzle says:

        Are you able to explain a little further why you have ‘no idea’ about debit cards/bank accounts? What is the difference between what Creation have done and what debit card issuers may do if they decide to take the same view?

        If I choose to pay by debit card at M&S or John Lewis for foreign exchange, am I screwing the debit card issuer out of fees as your defence of Creation seem to suggest?

        • JDB says:

          @Cranzle What I mean is that I am not privy to the specific basis for closure of accounts which is what you are asking.

          • Cranzle says:

            Thanks. It seems that they are using the T&C’s to say we don’t have to do business with you if we don’t want to and speculation (and some call operators have confirmed) is it’s because of Curve use.

        • QFFlyer says:

          If you pay with a debit card, how would you be screwing the debit card issuer out of anything? You wouldn’t. DC’s have significantly lower fees to start with, and they’d still be getting those fees.

        • Andrew says:

          I use my M&S Credit Card to purchase foreign currency in M&S and JLP Credit Card to purchase foreign currency in John Lewis and I’ve never been charged fees.

          • QFFlyer says:

            Bit different, they’re specifically offered as features of the card and the T&Cs will confirm such, same way Tesco credit cards could be used to purchase foreign currency in Tesco (or maybe still can be, I don’t know).

          • QFFlyer says:

            Don’t get me wrong though, I’m firmly on the side of those being screwed over by Creation here, but any complaint we raise has to have a decent foundation (for e.g. no point complaining that they’ve closed the card itself, as they are indeed perfectly entitled to do that).

    • Rui N. says:

      Of course they are. Just like if you ever bought currency on a travel money bureau, as you could have bought the currency from them. Or if you ever paid a credit card with your current account, as that shows you could have used their debit card and they missed on the card fees. Or if you pay a mortgage to another bank from that current account.
      See how ridiculuous this whole argument sounds?

    • Jonathan says:

      JDB is clearly in the financial regulation sphere based on his own statements & verified by Rob.

      Some of his views on this should be viewed as not remotely impartial or reflective of likely outcomes at FOS.

      That Creation have the right to close accounts without giving a reason is clear.

      No free night or annual fee rebate is arguable but they will have to provide at least one. You can’t advertise a product with an annual fee & a key reward which is the only justification for the fee & then deny the benefit whilst pocketing the fee.

      Denying points earning in the notice period will also clearly not fly. Section 14 allows closure with notice. Nowhere does it state that the account is restricted in the notice period. If they want to use customer behaviour as justification then they need to use section 12 but they obviously feel that doesn’t apply for most.

      • Genghis says:

        “ Nowhere does it state that the account is restricted in the notice period”

        IIRC section 15 does but that contradicts the letter sent by the intern. And may be decided as not a fair term anyway. How can you provide notice if you can’t use the service?

        • JDB says:

          @Genghis I researching the issue re the status of the account in the notice period; I don’t think it is very clear. In doing this I came across FOS decision DRN5311667 – was that you? I think you may have mentioned this before. The valuation of the BAPP companion voucher at £4,500 seems quite racy! What’s the new style voucher worth?

      • JDB says:

        @ Jonathan What if people owe Creation for the points they received in error? It’s odd that people cite the T&Cs to get what they want/expect without considering that the T&Cs didn’t entitle them to the points in the first place. It is not a one way street. I have no dog in this race, so while you say I am not impartial, there needs to be some balance to all the noise based on indignation/entitlement rather than the cold facts that any arbitrator/judge will consider.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          You haven’t explained under what basis they would be owed anything. No fraud has been committed and all points were earned in line with their T&Cs. I don’t believe anyone has run up are large balance and declared themselves bankrupt either.

          “Standard purchase” is defined as goods and service. Curve is a service.

          While your might be knowledgeable on the subject of financial claims. I find the way you post and the things you say to be sensationalist to say the least.

          • Rui N. says:

            Also, the ball is on the side of the card to have robust systems to detect when and where any cash advance fees are due and when and where points are due/not due. If it took them a couple of months to catch up a regulator/court might be sympathetic to their predicment. Not a couple of years.

          • JDB says:

            @TGLoyalty it isn’t a restitution claim based on fraud, but one based on mistake. I am absolutely not saying it will happen, but in rushing to FOS/court etc. you really want to have a full overview of the situation/facts; there has been quite a bit of misinformation/incomplete quoting of facts and T&Cs . I think everyone knew (and reported on here) that the fact they got the points was a loophole/mistake or whatever you choose to call it, so pushing too hard for those last few points etc. could have unforeseen consequences. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I am trying to help here! Many people may have a case, others will not, but you need to build any case on solid facts and law.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It wasn’t a loophole at all.

          • Terri says:

            I’ve mainly scrolled over past comments about how to maximise bendy to solihull. Until the more recent discussions pending closure of accounts, I had not grasped the magnitude of m.s. that appears to have been going on to get free nights. I’m surprised it took solihull so long to work out what was happening and bring it to an end.

          • Rob says:

            It was National Savings that brought it to an end, not Creation. Creation is simply doing what it has been told.

          • QFFlyer says:

            NS&I could have, incredibly easily, blocked the BIN used by Curve, which would have avoided this entire issue.

          • Rui N. says:

            It’s a bit odd that NS&I did that, but apparently only Creation cared about what they had to say. Because other cards still work with Curve to top up NS&I. Creation were the only ones that got scared? If the warning was to Creation only, that’s even weirder.

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            @JDB

            “I think everyone knew (and reported on here) that the fact they got the points was a loophole/mistake or whatever you choose to call it,”

            I would disagree. Section 5.2 of the T&C make it clear that using the card for a cash advance is allowable.

            You spend X on the card (as a cash advance) you get points. It doesn’t say that such transactions are not eligible for points.

            @Rob

            If NS&I was the main driver behind this they could, and simply should, have blocked the Curve bin. It’s a relatively painless task for them so I’m unsure why they still haven’t done it to date.

          • JDB says:

            @stevenhp1987 a “cash advance” is permitted, but it has a distinct meaning, like a “balance transfer” and can only be taken in a specific way and is dealt with differently by most cards. The points terms make it explicit you don’t get points on cash advances. Higher up in those terms it just says purchases (doesn’t mention services) and lower down, excludes cash advances etc. I very much doubt they would, but in theory they could make a claim for restitution. There are plenty of legal cases on this topic.

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            @JDB

            You’re not topping NS&I up directly though.

            You’re making a transaction with Curve to use Curve Fronted. It’s not technically a Cash Advance as you’re paying to use a service. The service, ultimately, ends up with a product you can cash-out on. But you’re paying for the Curve Fronted service, not the NS&I top-up itself.

            Until recently curve were heavily advertising the ability to pay a credit card with another credit card and double dip on the reward points on the main Curve Metal page.

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            Also,

            The Points T&C are separate from the CC T&C.

            “Cash Advance” or “Purchase” is not defined on the former. What if they only meant literal cash advances (ATM withdrawals) didn’t accrue points.

            That would make sense given that they award points for Che spend when that’s a Cash Advance and they charge interest.

        • Joints&Piles says:

          Nobody thought they were using a “loophole”. They thought they were doing something that curve enabled by using curve the way curve marketed itself. Curve said hey look what you can do if you use curve. Creation should be taking it up with curve if they object to their card being used as a debit card through curve the way curve allowed. Curve’s whole purpose was “use your credit card as if it’s a debit card”.

          How creation categorises transactions is also definitely not the cardholder’s responsibility.

          • JDB says:

            It’s funny that you claim now you didn’t know the T&Cs, but also want to use them against the firm. The FOS and courts have systematically decided that not knowing the T&Cs, properly provided, is no excuse for anything.

        • Track says:

          The courts will not make customers “to owe” anything and any money/fees not specified in the agreement for credit.

  • Nick G says:

    Daft question from me – can you part pay with Avios on a Qatar flight ex eu?

  • Nick G says:

    Cheers!

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    15k points bonus on moving to Virgin money current account is back.

    • CarpalTravel says:

      Was a little bit interested but a quick check and I think I’ll pass!

      https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/personal-banking-service-quality-great-britain-august-2021

      Knowing how utterly awful Santander are, I can only imagine how bad the ones below it must be.

      • Sandgrounder says:

        Don’t move your real account, whatever you do, but it’s pretty easy to harvest the 15k with a secondary switch.

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          +1. Get the bonus and move on.

          • Munch says:

            What’s the best secondary account to open first? I sure someone mentioned Starling? Do I need to set up a direct debit within Starling then use a transfer service?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Don’t open 3 accounts with your current long term bank and quickly switch them for bonuses either … just in case anyone gets some silly idea that’s encouraged round here.

          • Ian_H says:

            @Munch The Starling account does actually have some value and are a decent outfit so you may be better with Monzo as your disposable account!

    • Mattb says:

      Must be thick but I can’t see this anywhere?

    • ianM says:

      Just done the First Direct from Tesco, £130 sounds better than 15k points, plus the Virgin application was a faff

    • Jonathan says:

      Anyone know if you can give the promo code / voucher for the 15k points you get from switching to a family member, rather than adding to your own VA account?

  • PaulC says:

    Simple Question but never redeemed Hilton honor points. Can you cancel last minute and get a full refund of your points? Just wondering if to book a back up hotel incase prices dont come down on the one we’d really like too stay in.

    • NSL says:

      Yes, although you may need to define last minute.

      • PaulC says:

        Bad choice of words. What is the latest you can cancel for a full refund?

    • Anna says:

      You can usually cancel up till the day before, but you need to check the Ts and Cs because occasionally they have an exception, e.g. for special events, where it’s non-refundable.

      • Crafty says:

        Radisson points booking is now best for last minute cancellations I find – tends to be 2pm on the day.

    • PaulC says:

      Thank you

    • Mirp says:

      Depends on the hotel. I used Hilton Honors to book a hotel in the Maldives over Christmas and the cancellation date was 6 weeks before the stay. I think each booking will make it clear what date you must cancel by.

    • Travel Strong says:

      As above – always read the cancellation policy of the booking before you click to confirm. They are not always 24hr cancellation terms.

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