Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

The HfP chat thread – Monday 29th November

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Comments (586)

  • Kim says:

    Does anyone know if I’m able to claim anything from BA for a cancellation of my flight from Pisa to LHR? I flew to Rome and was due to fly back from Pisa to LHR but they cancelled that route for the week I was flying. I had to rebook from Rome to LHR instead and get a train back from Pisa to Rome for the flight. BA are saying they would not comp the train tickets because I was given more than 3 weeks notice?

    • Anna says:

      They should have re-routed you regardless of how much notice you were given, did you contact them when the flight was first cancelled?

      • Kim says:

        Yes I contacted them right away and they gave me no options apart from reroute from other airports (I chose Rome) with no reimbursement for trains etc. or a full refund. Thanks for your help!

    • Lady London says:

      Duty of care.

      They could have given you a year’s notice, they still owe you transport from Pisa to Rome, any extra meals paid at standard restaurant costs fot the location because you had to still be travelling at mealtimes to make alternative flight, any extra hotel night, transport to and from any extra hotel night needed, comms expenses such as internet or a couple of phone calls.

      Submit receipts, request reimbursement under duty of care part of EU261, 3 refusals or “final” refusal stated by them or 8 weeks still nothing :send their Legal Dept an LBA giving 14 days to pay or you take up proceedings. Then MCOL after 21.

      Small fee you get back when you win which you will and add 8pc pa statutory interest to the total amount, in your mcol

      • Kim says:

        Thank you for your help, it didn’t sound right but they were adamant that I wasn’t entitled to anything as it was more than 3 weeks notice before travel. How do I submit the receipts to them to see if they will pay under duty of care?

  • LS says:

    FOI UPDATE! Curve & NS&I

    I requested all emails between NS&I and curve, and they provided a full response with minor redactions. Emails here: [Link removed as seems to be moderated out]

    It is interesting to note:
    – The clampdown at NS&I was started by someone at Creation, Revolut or Virgin, not curve or NS&I
    – They do not consider it money laundering or illegal, but against T&Cs
    – Curve are sharing all transactions and information regarding NS&I payments with NS&I
    – They are monitoring the ‘blogosphere’ and ‘point sites’ (probably including this site!!)

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Against whoms T&Cs?

      Curve cannot share personal information with NS&I as that would be a breach of GDPR.

      Why would Revolut be involved? No points or cash earning opportunities?

      • LS says:

        Against the T&Cs of curve. NS&I also feel it is also against their T&Cs, as funding must be from ‘either a UK Bank or Building Society account which technically e-money issuers such as Curve and others are not’.

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          Just checked the NS&I terms and conditions out of curiosity: “All deposits you make must be in pounds sterling, from a bank in the UK. The date of each deposit will be the date we receive your cheque, debit card authorisation or bank
          transfer.”

          Just says from a UK bank, not a bank account. Technically this means all Curve deposits, even those from underlying bank accounts could be considered a breach of contract.

          If we talking the underlying card then from your example Creation & Virgin do have banking licences and thus comply with the T&C.

          • Lady London says:

            Bear in mind those may be updated ts and cs. Terms may be different at the time someone signed up and that’s what stands. Creation had to give min. 60 days notice to individual cardholder under the contract before any change to terms could apply/be implemented and they haven’t always done that

      • davefl says:

        And that doesnt cover why creation closed my white card which had never done any transactions with NS&I and only ever did curve fronted cash withdrawls and holiday spending which is perfectlly ok within their Ts & Cs.

        They owe me 54 points which I can’t be bothered to chase

      • LS says:

        RE: GDPR – the emails cover this. They feel they can share as NS&I have the information already

        • stevenhp1987 says:

          Doesn’t make said sharing of data any more legal.

          Do you have a copy of the response?

          • LS says:

            Yes, but it gets moderated out when I try and post a link here.
            Lets try this:
            pdfhost [d0t] io [f0rwardslash] v [f0rwardslash] yT2WtvKaF_FOI_20211007

          • LS says:

            Curve are data sharing with Creation also. If it really is illegal, then they will be up a certain creek without paddle, as GDPR imposes v hefty fines.

          • Rob says:

            Dug the original out of spam and will use the docs for an article – thanks for sharing.

          • Super Secret Stuff says:

            This is going to make for some interesting reading! Not a card holder so unaffected but interesting none the less

          • stevenhp1987 says:

            @LS

            Seems they are only sharing transaction id’s they believe are MS.

            Not a GDPR breach from my own knowledge.

            Interesting they believe their T&C state it must come from a UK Bank account, yet they actually only say UK Bank (Creation/Virgin Money are UK banks who issue credit cards).

            Interesting it ends on 6th October. I assume that’s when you requested the FOI?

          • Now more informed says:

            @LS
            Very interesting pdfs

          • will says:

            Firstly if they don’t share any personal information is it OK?
            Secondly there are provisions in GDPR for sharing for legal reasons and in the public good.
            If the first fails there’s certainly a case for the second, whether or not it was necessary to share the data or proper checks were made with respect to sharing is another matter.

            Regulator probably wouldn’t take a terrible view of sharing non personal identifiable information in the interest of fraud prevention (not that it was fraud but it might have been from the behaviour).

            Of course, different story if they just dumped name, address and credit card details into an excel sheet then emailed it as an attachment.

          • Paul Pogba says:

            We have all probably consented to Creation sharing our data with NS&I, their data protection policy states “In order to fulfill our activities, we only share your personal data with: … financial or judicial authorities, state agencies or public bodies, upon request and to the extent permitted by law”.

            https://myaccount.creation.co.uk/info/data-protection-notice.html

            If you want to make a Subject Data Request, their email address is: [email protected]

            I might wait for Robs thoughts before pushing the button but I’m tempted to know what they think my account did that was wrong.

          • Rui N. says:

            This is about Curve sharing data with Ernie, not Creation. But on that Creation statement, the key is “to the extent permitted by law”. Also, just because you accept T&Cs does not make them all legal. Regardless of what any T&Cs might say, GDPR mandates that companies have to explicitly say what type of data they will share and ask specific permission for that, no blanket statements asking for an agreement are allowed.

          • Paul Pogba says:

            Ah I see, I think I might send an SAR to Curve then too, it looks a bit micky mouse that their Data Protection Officers address is a flat in Hoxton (even if it probably isn’t swanky and expensive).

          • Lady London says:

            Oh wow, LS. This gets worse (for Creation)

      • the_real_a says:

        This is quite shocking. Curve should know that processing of data (contextualising, filtering or transforming) which these emails show is happening is likely a material action when considering GDPR. Curve should not be supplying anyone with any data that is transformed or triangualated againt any datapoint based on their own dataset. (Its even worse if they are using any of their own IP to filter “Cash Recycling” or whatever that means). Especially when its known to both parties (in plain English in the emails) that the only concern remaining is commercial considerations.

        Further how is this information being exchanged? An excel file over email? Is it encrypted? How is it being stored for audit purposes? What is the retention policy?

        There is likely even an anit trust angle. Since only commercial considerations remain, Curve is effectively providing a dataset to other commcercial entities to aid and enable them to weed out unprofitable customers.

        Its a bit like Tesco using clubcard data to warn off sainsburys that certain customers are unprofitable for the integrity of the supermarket industry.

        If anyone is doing another FOI, do get this file amended with sample/example data to ID exactly what info is being exchanged.

        • Lady London says:

          ****ing brilliant, the_real_a 🙂 !!

          Just when we thought Creation couldn’t get any more inept…!!

          • JDB says:

            @Lady London – why does it make things worse for Creation? I know you are reflexively on the side of the consumer, but in this scenario isn’t it Creation, NS&I, small time IHG points collectors etc that are the real victims? The people who have been milking this situation for millions of points hardly need looking after as they seek their last few points or vouchers, before their next cards are closed.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            NS&I perhaps, they paid debit card relatively small debit card fees for deposits probably not held for very long.

            Small customers caught in cross fire yes.

            Creation? No they got paid the exact same fees they would have if I spent £10k in any other store. If me spending £10k was unprofitable for them then that’s a problem with their business case not the consumers.

          • JDB says:

            @TGL Loyalty – the point re Creation being victims is that the MS spend isn’t natural or standard purchases so it has cost them a fortune to buy the points that obviously would not otherwise have been earned. The flow of funds through accounts has been totally disproportionate to people’s incomes.

    • AndyGWP says:

      Interesting stuff – from which bit of the email trail did you ascertain it was started by someone at Creation, Revolut or Virgin though?

      If it’s in relation to this: “I wanted to drop you a line following on from the recent email correspondence with Mr. xxxxxxxx. Although he wrote to you directly and Curve were copied in, I wrote back to Mr. xxxxxxxxyesterday to confirmthat we have heard his concerns regarding loyalty points and air miles and the steps we take to identify and prevent excessive gaming as a breach of our Terms of Service.”

      If so, it sounds to me more like someone / a consumer who does not agree with how people are using Curve?

      • Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

        The email subject is something like “Money-go-round at Creation/Curve/Revolut/Virgin/NS&I.”

        As only Virgin and Creation give points it was probably one of them, or as you say it could be an outsider who just wanted to stir things up.

        Sounds like Curve/NS&I first want to be sure nothing illegal is happening (it isn’t, of course) and second to be “good citizens” and bring it to an end.

        They are only talking about making it stop, not seeking to penalise and punish people beyond simply closing accounts.

        They also mention sharing data reports for “the top 50” and mention a focus on the most egregious examples.

        • Dubious says:

          “Money-go-round at Creation/Curve/Revolut/Virgin/NS&I.”

          Why isn’t anyone complaining about their lack of code words in a communication subject to FOI???!!!

      • LS says:

        The subject of the first email is “Money-go-round transactions at NS&I via Creation, Curve, Revolut and Virgin”.

        I therefore assumed it was one of these four? If it was NS&I starting it, their original email (which included Curve) would have been covered by my FOI request. It clearly isnt Curve. That leaves Creation, Revolut, and Virgin. If it is not them then who? Cant be the payment card operator (Visa/MC) as they are not the same across these groups.

        Any other conclusions though??

        • Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

          I conclude NS&I and Curve will be satisfied if the activity stops, and they will close accounts of people who ignore the warnings and keep doing it. So in that aspect, game over but no big deal. Nothing new.

          What we can’t see here is how Creation and Virgin might see things regarding the cost of points and whether they might go beyond closing card accounts to requesting closure of IHG or VS accounts. I hope that it is unlikely they would go beyond closing card accounts because at that point their problem is solved and they can go home for their dinner.

          • LS says:

            I have of course now asked for correspondence with Creation. It will be most interesting I feel after this.

        • AndyGWP says:

          My interpretation is that there was initially an email from Mr. xxxxxxxx to NS&I, which copied in Curve. This was notifying them of how people were gaming the system for points / miles.

          I personally believe it if was from Creation / Virgin / Revolut:
          a) they wouldn’t be representative of each other (especially as its unfounded – why would Virgin care if Creation are affected)
          b) they wouldn’t have used the term air miles
          c) they wouldn’t use the phrase “money-go-round”

          • LS says:

            Who would send such a message instead then? They could be mentioning the other names to get them on board as well.

            Mr X is clearly influential – NS&I have set up a working group based on his accusations. Not a member of the public only.

          • LS says:

            A regulator maybe? Is there a regulator??

          • Char Char says:

            I believe Curve identified the biggest underlying cards from the emails and then they perhaps contacted them with Creation being the top card or they contacted Creation based on Mr X being Creation.

          • FFoxSake says:

            I agree with AndyGWP – there is a quote in there that says:
            “regarding the correspondence that we received from Mr x back in March and more recently, I’ve set up a working group to look into his allegations.”

            Implies it was a whistle-blower who wasn’t initially being listened to. Could even one of the HfP community who was fed up with all the code words being used!

          • JonD says:

            There is probably a post on here in February or March of this year by someone threatening to email NS&I about all the use of Curve.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Mr H … might be the head of a certain french owned card company … who knows

          • BP says:

            The term “money-go-round” has only been used on HFP by “The Urbanite” and then by “memesweeper” in response to that post. On 9th December 2020. Was hoping a search for that exact term would be a bit more revealing.

          • LS says:

            Interesting. Mr X could be a private whistleblower I suppose. My next step (after the creation emails, if that doesnt show it) would be to FOI the emails from this Mr X – he may identify where he is from.

          • Rui N. says:

            LS, please check “the_real_a” comment above and include that on your FOI as well. Curve could be in deep trouble on GDPR grounds depending on what they are sharing with NS&I.

          • the_real_a says:

            @LS you can ask for Mr X to be contextualised in a FOI. Mr example an explicit request – Is Mr X a private individual acting in a private capacity? Is Mr X making a representation on behald of a FSA regulated institutation. If, so which instituation.

          • Paul Pogba says:

            I’ve now read the pdf (Thanks LS!), I’m unimpressed with Curves tone; they seem to have no issue sharing data. I’ve been on the fence on renewal in March but the insight into their behaviour has left me in no doubt. I wonder if this inadvertently might be Curves suicide note.

    • Rui N. says:

      Fantastic work LS. Really really interesting.

      • Mikeact says:

        Re your comment….’ Curve could be in deep trouble on GDPR grounds’. I personally doubt that…each of the players involved must have their legal teams poring over details before any communications are released.

    • Harry T says:

      I bet JDB is the mole…

    • Grant says:

      Interesting reading. One of the emails lower down the chain refers to the ‘top 50’. I wonder how many HfPers feature.

    • Pete M says:

      Thank you, LS, that’s super interesting.

      • Cranzle says:

        Why don’t they just stopped accepting said cards? It’s so easy to resolve!

        • Rui N. says:

          It’s a bureaucracy (and no, private bureaucracies are not better). They had to set up a working group to look into this. They probably set up another one to decide what do afterwards. By 2025, after Curve has entered administration, they’ll block Curve cards.
          (Interesting that there are no mentions of Curve commercial cards being a problem.)

          • pauldb says:

            Curve and NS&I both stating they are stopping the worst and offenders. Did anyone actually get stopped by those two rather that Creation, or are they just pretending to be proactive?

          • Rui N. says:

            According to reports here, people that tried to use Ernie again with a Curve got suspended by Curve until they provided lots and lots of financial documents. We’ve also heard people being asked by Ernie to stop using Curve with a credit card behind. So it seems so.

  • BillyWillySilly says:

    So apparently my IHG card is going to be cancelled in the next few days and yet I’ve got a nice new shiny card arriving on my doorstep today. Did they change their mind? Or internally they don’t know how to communicate?

    • Dan says:

      Same! My old card expires in January and my account is being closed in December. I don’t think I will need the new card.

    • Char Char says:

      Oh, isn’t everyone requesting a new card and pin now just to waste their resources….

    • Benilyn says:

      Automated prob

      • Rui N. says:

        Transferring points was probably also automated and they stopped doing that…

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Nope was someone with an excel spreadsheet.

          • ben says:

            Curve seem to be pleading their case that their job is simply pass the MCC to the card issuer who classifies the payment accordingly (ie if it was (correctly) classified as a cash transaction the activity would stop immediately). Also they state to NS&I that the card owners would simply switch to using a different card (that seems a bit disingenuous as you can’t top up NS&I with a credit card directly). Fascinating exchange – thanks to the poster.

  • Can says:

    It is amazing that for the BA avios booster offer, Just Eat counts, too:
    https://www.shopping.ba.com/offers/avios-booster?abv=2

    I’ve already got two steps ahead with Just Eat.

    • Jane says:

      Yep, 526 points in total (400 bonus) on our Curry on Saturday. We don’t get them often but might have to get a few extra takeaways over the next few weeks.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      I’m two purchases from completing the offer on shopping.ba.com , if you have more shopping don’t forget you can sign up for Aer Club and repeat for another 5,500 🙂

  • Matt says:

    Anyone know whether I would be covered for Nonrefundable Hotel (via Hotels.com) with Platinum Amex insurance?
    I’m booked Eurostar to Paris Wednesday 1st, returning Mon 6th, but due to fly to New York on Thursday 9th, so the new Day 2 PCR makes it to risky for New York, especially if 8-day is brought in as well, so I will have to cancel Paris. I can change the Eurostar, but will lose £500 on hotel.
    Thanks.

    • ChrisC says:

      That sounds like disinclincation to travel and more than likely to be a policy exclusion but you should really be reading your policy.

      • Matt says:

        Thanks Chris, seems like to to me as well, but thought I’d sound it out here in case there was any experience I wasn’t aware of before I just swallow the £500. Reading a policy……pfttt, next you’ll expect me to start reading manuals 🙂

    • John says:

      But you need a test for the USA anyway. If you were to be positive on PCR you have a good chance of being positive on LFT too

      • Matt says:

        Thanks John, yes, always a risk on positive, but assuming negative, I’m more concerned about delay in results with isolation and not being able to make the flight. If Day 2 for test is the Wednesday and due to be at T5 next morning….

    • Rob says:

      Nothing at all stops you from doing your itinerary as booked, so no insurance is going to pay. Nothing stops you leaving the country during isolation (this is a quirk of the rules) and even if it did you have three days to get a test done. The same test may well do for your NYC trip.

      • Matt says:

        Thanks Rob. I was hoping same test would count as well. If 8-day isolation is brought in, then it would be an issue if I’ve left the country again?
        Still kicking myself for not booking flexible hotel option.

        • Rob says:

          Shouldn’t be, no.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Self isolation as quarantine in case you have covid when you enter a country CAN always be broken for onward travel.

          Self isolation because you HAVE tested positive can’t, same if you had close contact with an Omicron case (or not vaccinated for the others)

          Countries have their own rules on contact. ie just because you didn’t have to isolate after close contact in England over the last couple months it doesn’t mean countries would let you in (lots asked if you had had contact in the last 10-14 days for example)

    • BP says:

      Ask Hotels.com if there’s any flexibility to cancel or move the date? You might get lucky. They have done this for.me.in the past as a gold member.

      • Matt says:

        Thanks BP. I’m a Gold member as well and have just sent a message to a chat bot, so we’ll see. I’m not looking for money back, happy to just change the dates to Jan and pay any difference.

    • Andrew says:

      If you did your Day 2 test as you get off the Eurostar on the 6th (Day 0) then you’d have a good chance of the results coming back by the 9th in any case – depending on the time of day you arrive/depart.

      • Matt says:

        Thanks Andrew, I thought the test had to be on Day-2, which would mean the 3rd. Another option is I go to Paris and just come back 2 days earlier so I wouldn’t have lost everything, but I am concerned about any escalation of restrictions that would suddenly leave me stranded or unable to fly to NY. Better to see if I can change the booking by pleading with Hotels.com, or just lose the money and not stress about the New York trip.

  • Lee says:

    Data point: Amazon Visa card trick worked on two family account.
    Cards removed 2 days ago offer appeared today.

  • Andrew Mc says:

    Still waiting for Amex 10% credit to appear on 2 x transactions from 8 November. Anyone else from then or earlier? TIA.

  • Steve says:

    So what is the fastest, cheapest and reliable enough PCR test for entry to UK?

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