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‘Pret Perks’ launches today – how does it work?

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A couple of weeks ago we had the exclusive news about the launch of ‘Pret Perks’, the new Pret A Manger loyalty scheme.

The programme finally goes live today. However, it will be in beta for a few weeks and can only be accessed by people with a Pret coffee subscription and an iPhone.

You will earn one ‘star’ for every purchase and stars can be redeemed for ‘perks’. You will require 10 stars to receive a free product from a rotating list of rewards. You do not get your choice of any item in the store.

Once you have hit 10 ‘stars’, you will have 30 days to claim your free product. Your free gift will expire at this point.

You will NOT earn ‘stars’ when claiming a free coffee from your subscription unless something else is bought at the same time. All Pret coffee subscribers will receive a nominal one star per month as part of their subscription. You need to scan a QR card in the Pret app to receive your stars.

One attempt at gaming the system is already blocked in the rules. Any purchases made in quick succession will be amalgamated together, so you cannot buy a coffee and a sandwich in two transactions and earn two ‘stars’.

Full details should be on this web page from this morning.

Comments (399)

  • Layerden says:

    Isn’t this the game? Find a loophole gets closed find another?

    • John says:

      Some people want to be spoon-fed

    • Bazza says:

      But charging me a £99 fee today and closing my account in a few days isn’t right either?

      • Michael Jennings says:

        I received an e-mail from Creation last week telling me they were refunding my £99 annual fee. Did anyone/everyone else get this?

        • J says:

          Did you contact them about it?

          • Michael Jennings says:

            No. They just sent me the e-mail and refunded the fee. I just spent £99 on an Amazon gift voucher to retrieve the money before they close the account.

        • Sc says:

          I also got this email but I had contacted them. They charged the fee 2 weeks before they’re due to cancel the card.

    • The Urbanite says:

      Pretty much, every play has a shelf life. When its time is up it’s up, though that said the way Creation have gone about it is out of order.

  • RichK says:

    Be good if any future foi requests go through the http://www.whatdotheyknow.com web site so the information can be in the public domain

    • LS says:

      You have to identify yourself publicly to do that. I didn’t want to do so.

      • TJones says:

        You don’t have to use your real name.

        • John says:

          In theory you do, but they can’t enforce it.

          I had an FOI request refused because I didn’t provide a full name, so I resubmitted with a full name

    • LS says:

      Although I do feel NS&I should publish their responses so everyone doesn’t put in the same request…
      This file would therefore be on their website.

  • Ben says:

    Once identified that this is a breach of T&Cs and not AML, should they be sharing any data (even if “anonymised” to n some way)?

  • Rui N. says:

    To make a complaint to ICO about GDPR violations, do you have to have suffered the violation yourself, or can you just send this FOI to them and say that this is indication that they’ve been sharing data illegally?

    • LS says:

      I believe anyone can make a complaint, but you won’t be entitled to any compensation if not affected.

      • Rui N. says:

        You’re not entitled to compensation. Fines re GDPR violations go to the Treasury.

        • Rui N. says:

          To get compensation for data breaches you’ll have to go to the courts (see BA case).

        • Char Char says:

          Not entitled but forms often will make an offer before going to court.

    • ChrisC says:

      As long as the organisations involved have a data sharing agreement in place that shares the minimum data to allow them to process it within the categories of their registration with the ICO then it’s not illegal to share data.

      That was likely the concern of the curve data protection officer but it looks like those concerns were met.

      So curve can share data with NS&I about NS&I transactions but not what people spent at Sainsbury’s. If they did the latter that would be a breach.

      • Rui N. says:

        I didn’t say anywhere that I thought it was illegal to share all data… that would be absurd.

      • Ben says:

        No need for a data sharing agreement (unless of course you’re a data protection lawyer looking to cash in!) Personal data can be shared between the organisations as it is in their legitimate interest to do so, as long as a simple balancing test against the individual’s right to privacy is met.

      • Char Char says:

        I fail to see the reasoning to share the data, they could have just used the Curve first digits to identify the cards

    • Blair says:

      Yes you would need to be the data ‘subject’ to get the ICO to look at your complaint. There are legitimate grounds for some sharing but the way the emails describe it and the casual manner of sending as an excel sheet via email suggests there may be something there to pursue…

      • Rui N. says:

        Thanks Blair. Believe or not I am actuall the I am the “Data Protection Advisor” for my organisation (and I volunteered for the job!), but on the several days of training I got on the matter nobody actually told us who has the right to complain to ICO (it was all “well, if you do things right, there will no complaints”, which is a bit silly)

        • Blair says:

          The ICO will also expect you to have raised the complaint of (alleged/suspected) breach of your rights/breach of data protection law (which is UK GDPR + Data Protection Act 2018; it’s the Act that includes specifics on the kinds of circumstances where UK organisations can share your data legitimately) with the company involved and achieved no resolution before they will take on your complaint.

          • Stu N says:

            Anyone considering a complaint to the ICO would be well advised to chuck in a couple of references to the Magna Carta while they are at it.

            It won’t help your cause but will make it easier for the staff at the ICO to identify you as a proper Bam from the Internet.

          • Rui N. says:

            Yes, some people here also said that it would be impossible to get Ernie to answer any FOI or that Creation surely had foolproof legal backing for charging annual fees after sending closing letters.

          • Anna says:

            As per one of the emails, they have looked at this under the remit of “prevention and detection of crime”, which falls under the Crime and Disorder Act 2000, not the DPA. So if challenged they can say that they initially suspected fraud or money laundering, and they’ll probably be covered.

          • Rui N. says:

            Anna, that doesn’t mean that Curve can share unlimited data with Ernie. Otherwise the DPA would be irrelevant, you just needed to say you are investigating some criminal activity and the DPA would stop applying.

          • Anna says:

            Well they’d need to justify that whatever they shared was necessary to investigate what was going on – I would personally think that once they’d established that there was no criminal activity, the information sharing should stop.

          • Rui N. says:

            Well, it did not: Ernie’s Paul concludes on the first page that this is not money laundering, and the discussion about Curve sharing data comes afterwards. Like it was discussed yesterday, this does not necessarily mean that Curve did anything wrong re GDPR/DPA, but it for sure raises some red flags (and someone explained the issues yesterday much better than I could ever do).

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Given that
            a) they’ve thought about data issues and (I’m sure) documented this
            b) and they then took advice off their DPO
            c) and the data sharing is limited in scope
            d) and crucially these involves only transactions where both parties already held the client’s personal information and data transactions already; albeit in different formats – rendering privacy concens minimal
            e) there will have been an initial possibility of criminal activity
            f) even when that’s resolved there’s a clear commercial interest in investigation of misuse.

            Anyone thinking they’ll get far with a GDPR breach complaint is living in internet fantasy land – as frankly, this will look to a 3rd party that everything is clearly in order and necessary steps were taken. GDPR is not an absolute “seal” to your data. Have a look at what you can do under “legitimate interests”. It’s pretty wide ranging and does include commercial interests….

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Are Accor points on sale?

  • Tim W. says:

    NS&I is irrelevant to me. I have never used my Curve card with them. But Creation has still closed my IHG card account.

    • Harrier25 says:

      +1

      • davefl says:

        Same here and to add that I havent had an active NS&I account for over 7 years.
        Didn’t have a Curve card between Jan 2021 and Oct 2021 either after they made a hash of my upg to metal so I cancelled. Took out a new curve in Oct and they blocked me after 3 transactions but at no time was it linked to my IHG>

        • Dubious says:

          According to the FOI request Curve provided transaction information to NS&I rather than names of the account holders.
          Perhaps something similar occurred with Creation and because of the way they looked for the transaction IDs they mistook the transactions/owners of the transaction?

    • LostAntipod says:

      + 1
      I never used NS&I , I am at a loss to understand why my IHG card was closed.
      And to compound their ignorance – I discovered some fraud on my IHG card last month, so the card was suspended. They sent me a new card that arrived this week. Despite that my account will be closed on Friday.
      I also messaged IHG rewards about how poorly this reflects on their brand, while acknowledging it’s not their fault – heard nothing.

      • John says:

        Does it really? Will anyone who isn’t personally affected suddenly choose to cancel their IHG stays and book elsewhere?

        I mean I have a low opinion of IHG already, which is why I rarely stay,but that’s because the loyalty program is crap, not because some people were shut down after cycling money with creation.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Collateral damage

      • Blair says:

        Yes indeed. A US travel site mentioned the Creation situation and comments suggested IHG central command also tarred with the same reputational brush.

    • James says:

      +1

      Extremely gutted to be losing this card and my ability to earn IHG points & a free night every year.

      This will seriously affect my ability to stay in super nice hotels during holidays 🙁 Thus materially affecting my life.

    • Mick S says:

      +1.
      and had limited use with Bendy. Was always get declined for anything more than a latte at Starbucks 🙁

    • Craig says:

      My wife and I both used IHG with Curve but neither of us are being closed down. I would say 95% of our spend is normal UK credit card usage with the balance being paid in full from a UK bank account. We’ve never done MS and the Curve usage was all genuine overseas transactions. There is clearly a little more than just closing any card that has been used with Curve.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Same here. If only I’d known 😂

      But I did use Curve to get some money out abroad or in the UK linked to IHG from a cash point, so that’s the only reason I can see I’m being closed down. Bypassing Creations fees. Simple. Good while it lasted for about £500 in total. So rarely need cash.

  • AJA says:

    I really can’t see the point of Curve as a business model if the underlying credit card companies and/or the likes of NS&I are saying using Curve breaches their T&Cs.

    I am all in favour of closing down money laundering operations but using a Curve card as an intermediary meaning the card holder can effectively use their credit card as debit card or with suppliers that don’t accept credit cards in the first place is the whole business model.

    If using Curve risks you having the underlying credit card closed down why would you bother?

    • Richie says:

      I’m not sure that money laundering is going on.

      • Cranzle says:

        I’m sure it is separately and independently of what we talk about on here but Paul seems to be distracted by the points game. Typical government jobsworth.

        • John says:

          Ernie is also losing money if they have to pay merchant fees for curve, then bank transfer out the full amount within a few weeks of receiving it. Hence the desire to stop the worst “offenders”

          • Cranzle says:

            Other business debit cards do exist.

            If they are so concerned, why not just block the acceptance of these types of cards?

      • AJA says:

        Isn’t MS a form of money laundering? I know the point is to earn reward points on card spend that the likes of NS&I normally don’t accept. But when you withdraw from NS&I it is real money in your bank account which you use to repay the credit card balance even though you didn’t have the physical cash in the first place. If you don’t have an income stream to justify the initial amount deposited in NS&I how is it anything else?

        • Anna says:

          @AJA – it is absolutely not money laundering. You can’t launder money that legitimately belongs to you. It would only be laundering if you had stolen or otherwise dishonestly obtained the money to start with. It’s not helpful to be making suggestions like this without checking the facts.

        • PaulC says:

          A lot of people have to off credit cards because they don’t have the income to survive! It’s not called money laundering or illegal, it’s called debt!

          • Anna says:

            Exactly – hence you would never be criminally prosecuted for not paying off your balance (or any other form of debt), the financial institution would have to pursue you through the civil courts.

          • AJA says:

            It’s only debt if you don’t use the recycled money from NS&I to pay off the credit card. How many were running up unpaid credit card balances incurring interest?

          • AJA says:

            @PaulC I think the people who have to live off credit cards because they don’t have the income to survive are not the people who are using credit cards via curve to deposit cash with NS&I and then withdrawing the cash and repeating.

        • Rui N. says:

          That’s not the definition of money laundering… money laundering is using money earned through illegitimate means for legitimate purposes (buying a flat with the money you got from selling drugs, e.g.). No money is earned here, so by definition it’s impossible to launder anything.

          • AJA says:

            How do you know for certain that the initial credit card balance was paid off with legitimately earned funds?

          • Rui N. says:

            How is that relevant for the case here? Jeez. That would be the case for ALL spending then, not just manufactured spending.

          • Anna says:

            We don’t but as Rui points out, that would be a separate issue completely.
            It’s not money laundering, full stop – take it from the head of compliance and risk in his email!

          • AJA says:

            @ Anna The Head of Compliance is only saying it is not money laundering in this specific FOI request. That is not to say that someone else isn’t using Curve via NS&I to launder money.

            @ Rui There is obviously more going on than what most people here do. Those of you who used Curve to recycle with NS&I are not money laundering if you are doing exactly the same as the HfPer who requested this FOI request but it is clear that Curve et al are using this as a means of shutting down both what HfPers were doing and the wider criminal world doing money laundering.
            My point is that it makes Curve’s business model redundant. And I say again why would you use Curve if it risks having the underlying credit card shut down? Creation are closing cards this week, what’s to stop it happening with Virgin, Barclaycard and any other credit card?

          • Rui N. says:

            AJA, maybe you should go and read your first comment that started this discussion? Where you asked “Isn’t MS a form of money laundering?” and people replied to that?

            And a criminal that is using MS to launder money must be the the most stupid criminal ever. The goal of money laundering is to fly under the radar, which MS clearly is not.

          • Rui N. says:

            And no, there is not “obviously more going on”. Plenty of MS opportunities have come and gone withought anything else going on.
            MS is more than enough to close accounts, and has led for entire products to be considerable changed because people were making so much money out of it.
            That’s why, like someone already said here today, you find the loopholes, you use them (and yes, the “tragedy of the commons” means that it is beneficial for each of us to exploit as much as we can) and then you move on. If you are making money out of MS someone is likely losing, so the loophole is eventually closed.
            Nothing else needs to go on for MS avenues to be closed.

          • AJA says:

            @ Rui is manufactured spending illegal? Absolutely not. Do criminals use these methods to launder money? Yes, some do. But it’s not the method that is illegal. It’s the purpose behind it as well as the way the funds are obtained that make it so.

          • Rui N. says:

            That’s quite different from what you began this conversation with…
            And again, a criminal using MS to launder money would not be very smart. So many nice London flats that you can buy without anyone caring…

          • Rui N. says:

            Nor a cash advance, which is what you described in your first comment (deposing on Ernie, then taking it to your bank account) consitutes money laundering. It’s just a cash advance, via a route where you did not incur any fees.

          • Anna says:

            Exactly, AJA, YOU suggested that MS = ML, the reply was to that, and the comments from the head of risk support that.

        • xcalx says:

          Other way round for me. I always withdrew money from NSI to bank then deposited via creation then paid that with Virgin and bank paid Virgin.

      • Phil W says:

        Money Laundering is definitely happening. Drug dealer uses Curve backed by IHG Credit Card to deposit into NS&I. Transfers money from NS&I to his personal bank account. Take IHG Credit Card paying-in slip to a random bank or Post Office and pay bill (and whatever small fee the random bank charges for completing the transaction). Make sure you move around different Bank’s and branches every month being sure never to use your own personal bank.

        It’s an incredibly cost effective way of money laundering… if not the most sophisticated.

        The reason this is of interest to NS&I, Curve, Creation, et al is the clear potential risk of money laundering. Creation cannot be @rsed to properly investigate and are therefore almost certainly closing down any account which has, (a) Directly or Indirectly interacted with NS&I, (b) Directly or Indirectly interacted with Revolut, (c) Seen cash withdrawals, either domestically or abroad via Curve, and (d) any unprofitable account because he11 if we’re going to create noise we might as well cut our losses at the same time.

        I don’t agree with how Creation have dealt with this but if your IT is rubbish, your controls are rubbish, your losing money and you are unable to properly identify whether you are facilitating money laundering… you’d do the same.

        The points earning “money-go-round” is unprofitable for NS&I and Creation but probably not the thing that scares the bejesus out of them.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          This is not an effective ML operation vs just depositing a shed load of cash in your current account every week.

          You go in to a bank with £10k of cash to pay a credit card pay in slip every so often and find out how long it takes to be clocked …

          If you’re brazen enough to do it with a credit card pay in slip why wouldn’t you just do it with a current account.

          • Phil W says:

            You don’t need to go to your own bank to use a Credit Card paying-in slip. You can do it any bank/branch (though some charge a small fee for doing so) or Post Office. With hundreds of branches to chose from, it wouldn’t be that difficult to do this and not be clocked.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Unbelievably dull money laundering operation for chump change because using £10k cash will raise questions.

            They’d rather just buy any Canada goose jacket.

        • Richie says:

          How does drug dealer get IHG Credit Card with large enough credit limit in the first place?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Use someone else’s identity? but then why would they bother to pay it off …

          • Phil W says:

            Replace “drug dealer” with another occupation and other ill gotten gains then. My point being it is a simple money laundering route, which will scare banks.

  • Adam says:

    And yet my Creation/Marriott card is staying open, even though I’ve used Curve with it, albeit rarely via ApplePay.

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