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Bits: 80% bonus buying IHG points, John Lewis suspends its credit card, Elizabeth Line

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News in brief:

Get an 80% bonus buying IHG One Rewards points

Until 10th June, you can buy IHG One Rewards – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – points with a bonus of 80%.

The page to buy points is here.

The bonus kicks in with a minimum purchase of 5,000 points. The purchase limit has been increased to 250,000 points, meaning that you can receive a maximum – with the bonus – of 450,000 points for $2,500.

You would be paying 0.45p per point. This is higher than our target value of IHG One Rewards points of 0.4p but it isn’t difficult to beat 0.45p.

I wouldn’t buy speculatively with an 80% bonus as I am fairly sure that a 100% bonus for everyone will be along in a few months.  If you need to top up your account in advance of a planned short-term redemption, however, you might as well do it whilst the bonus is on.

Get 80% bonus buying IHG Rewards points

John Lewis suspends applications for its credit card

Whilst it doesn’t earn miles or points, we have occasionally mentioned the John Lewis / Waitrose Partnership Card in the past.

Until the launch of the new Barclaycard Avios credit cards, the Partnership Card was one of the better options – although still a weak one – for getting rewards from a Visa or Mastercard. You got 1.25% back on your spending in John Lewis and Waitrose and 0.25% back elsewhere.

Applications for the card closed yesterday. John Lewis is planning to move it from HSBC to NewDay.

There is an interesting comment in the press release on the announcement. NewDay said that:

our proprietary credit decisioning capabilities allow us to responsibly say ‘yes’ to more customers, which will enable even more John Lewis customers to enjoy the much-loved Partnership Card rewards.

This sounds, to me, as if John Lewis and HSBC may have fallen out over the acceptance rate for the card, albeit you would expect the John Lewis / Waitrose customer base to be good credit risks.

However, it is also the case that NewDay has just lost the contract to run the Amazon Platinum Mastercard. NewDay’s private equity owners are believed to be planning to float the business in the medium term and will need a ‘good news’ story to convince investors that it is still a growth business.

What isn’t clear is what happens to existing cardholders. John Lewis says that:

There’s no immediate change for current customers, who can continue to use their card and collect points as normal, and we’ll write to them this summer about the change.

There are two possible scenarios. One is that NewDay buys the existing ‘book’ off HSBC and customers get a fairly seamless transition. The alternative is that HSBC switches Partnership Card customers to a generic HSBC card and they are forced to make a fresh application for the NewDay product.

If you have one of these cards, you should be seriously considering dropping it for the free Barclaycard Avios card. Even if you have no interest in Avios, you can convert the points into Nectar and get a 0.8% return on your spending – more than 3x the 0.25% return you get from the John Lewis card.

You can find out more on the John Lewis website here.

John Lewis credit card closing HSBC NewDay

Elizabeth Line opening date set – but what about Heathrow?

You have probably read in the press about the opening of Crossrail / Elizabeth Line, which is now planned for 24th May. Unless you want to go to Bond Street, which won’t open until later in the year ….

It is worth noting that, for now, nothing changes regarding travel to Heathrow.

There will be no Elizabeth Line trains passing through Paddington until next year. For now, services from Central London will stop at Paddington. You will need to go up to a surface level platform to catch a separate Elizabeth Line train towards Heathrow and the west.

All that happens on 24th May is that the existing ‘TfL Rail’ branding will swap to ‘Elizabeth Line’ branding. The rolling stock won’t change as TfL Rail has been using the new Elizabeth Line trains for some time.

You may also have read that Elizabeth Line services will not operate on Sundays. Whilst this is true for the central area, between Paddington and Abbey Wood, services WILL run on Sundays on the line from Heathrow and the west into Paddington.

At some point in 2023, once the necessary signalling works are complete, trains will run directly from Heathrow into Central London.

Comments (61)

  • Richard T says:

    I encountered 3 cancelled Heathrow Express trains in a row early morning last week, so ended up having to take the TFL (Elizabeth Line) train to LHR from Paddington instead. On the plus side the seats are if anything more comfortable than HEX, and it’s £10.30 rather than £25. On the downside, it takes 38 minutes rather than 21 minutes to T5, runs only once every 30 rather than 15 minutes, and has no onboard lavatories.

    • flyforfun says:

      Is there an extra fee for using TFL to Heathrow? Will that be the case when it formally becomes the Elizabeth Line? And will there only be 2 trains an hour?

      If you can book 90 days in advance, you can get HEX tickets for £5. If there is a fare difference and I can plan ahead, I may stick to the HEX. Of course, if I miss the prebooking deadlines and the HEX price rises I’ll take the EL.

      • Rhys says:

        When Elizabeth line fully opens there will be 6 trains per hour to Heathrow, which is obviously more than HEX. Probably won’t be until the schedules are fully finalised next year though.

        • Londonsteve says:

          Of those only 2 an hour will go to T5. The remaining 4 per hour will have to go to Terminal 4 to terminate and reverse direction. Running a restricted service to T5 in order to preserve HEX revenues is a concession that HAL won from TFL. The upside is that T4 will be served with a train every 15 minutes. The station platforms and departure concourse are a short walk from one another, the terminal building itself is compact and well designed while T4 is blessed with an abundance of nearby airport hotels that avoid the need to take the Heathrow Hoppa or a local bus between hotel and terminal. The overall package is so compelling it could influence choice of airline for some people. I preferred to fly to Sofia on Bulgaria Air out of T4 for this reason, even before BA went into its current state of meltdown. Bulgaria Air also provide a meaningful sandwich and complimentary alcoholic and soft drinks on board, making the experience that much more pleasant.

      • ChrisC says:

        The TFL fare will same as a zone 1-6 travel card so about £13 – 14

        • Lumma says:

          The Elizabeth Line/TFL Rail costs more than taking the Picadilly Line as there’s an extra charge for using the tracks into Heathrow that the airport charges.

          However, if you reach the daily cap for Zone 1-6 you’re not charged any extra.

  • Roger that says:

    Since you mention New Day, my Aqua Gold is changing.

    1% cashback at UK supermarkets, 0.5% CB at UK filling stations, nothing elsewhere.

    New cards, new account numbers.

    • Rui N. says:

      What was an Aqua gold? I have a regular Aqua that gives 0.5% on all purchases, up to £100 per year (pays for 2/3 of the Curve Metal yearly fee by itself)

      • Roger that says:

        Aqua gold is just a marketing thing with no extra benefits. A waiter in Cape Town did comment that the design was cool!

  • conspicuous-capybara says:

    Even the first phase of Crossrail will make it much easier for many people to get to Heathrow by virtue of it being easier to get to Paddington!

    Currently I get the train to London Bridge, switch to the Jubilee line (a >5 minute walk platform to platform) to Baker Street, then Bakerloo to Paddington. Can’t wait to replace that with a DLR to Canary Wharf then Crossrail to Paddington. Will probably only save 5 minutes or so in the first stage, but it’ll be a much easier journey.

    • Rhys says:

      Yes, it’s going to make my life very easy. Can’t wait for it to run through to Heathrow.

      • ChrisC says:

        Yes I’ll be getting the Thameslink from Brighton to Farrindgon and catching it there either to LHR or to LCY via Canary Wharf

  • BA-Flyer says:

    I was a victim of ID theft involving NewDay. The fraudulent application spelt my name wrong and had the wrong day in my DOB, but the application was still accepted. My complaint was upheld and compensation provided, as it was clear zero checks had been done.

    • david says:

      out of curiosity. what was the comp?

      • BA-Flyer says:

        £90. Not sure why they didn’t round it up to £100, but as I haven’t actually suffered financial loss myself, I didn’t push it further. I also got the standard 1 year membership to CIFAS.

    • Nick N says:

      Your view on this not and ID theft but a data breach? I subscribed to telegraph Newspaper, however last Nov I decided to cancel as I was not getting time to read it properly. In April this year I realise that they are still charging me. They do not have customer services so by just random dialling I got someone who wanted to help. Turns out not only had they been taking my non existent subscription but had also taken money from my account in the name of someone I have never heard of. They have been ‘investigating’ for a month. A salutory lesson to me, ‘go over my statements from Amex with a fine toothcomb’. I have told them I want compensating when it is finalised, they offered 6 months free subscription I near said ” **** off” but declined their offer with expletives

      • A says:

        Another reason why it’s bonkers to pay for the dt. So much easier to use your library login and not have to deal with these useless morons.

  • Anonymous says:

    Barclaycard Avios card looks like great deal with sign up bonus of 60,000 avios points. I signed up to it of course, considering this is one of the best sign up deal.

    However, the physical card has not been delivered for a month and a half, and customer service team cannot do anything, apparently due to “supply chain issue of physical cards printer” and charged me 20 pounds for two months.

    I am cancelling this credit card, as I am not really in the mood to spend 40 pounds for no reason.

    • Rob says:

      There was a blip in the first couple of weeks (early March) but those were resolved before we launched our special offer and I don’t know of anyone from that batch who hasn’t received one.

      Indeed, many people who got the card during our 30k promotion have already triggered their sign-up bonus, and all got the extra 5k last week.

      • Flamingpenguin says:

        I’ve not had my 5k bonus Rob – What should I do?

        • Rob says:

          Step 1 – check your BA account
          Step 2 – ensure that Avios from normal Barclaycard spend have posted so you know the accounts are linked (no claims will be looked at unless you have earned standard Avios)
          Step 3 – if you got the free card, check that the 5k standard bonus showing is not actually our bonus (lots of people have 5k and think it is the standard bonus they earned, but it’s not – that will come later and it is our bonus that has arrived)
          Step 4 – email me and we’ll give you an address at Barclaycard. They will pull up your Consumer Credit Agreement to see if it mentions HfP. If it does, you’ll get credit. If it doesn’t, you used the wrong link.

    • Max says:

      Phone them up and report your card as lost. I did this and the replacement card arrived within 3 days. The original card never arrived…

    • Ian says:

      Dealing with Barclaycard’s so-called “Customer Service” is an absolute nightmare and I am still trying to get the card which I unwisely applied for cancelled. If you can get through to them, they’re polite and say they’ll do something but nothing happens. My advice would be: don’t be seduced by the Avios offer, have nothing to do with Barclaycard.

    • SteveJ says:

      60k points?

      • Ian says:

        No, just not worth all the hassle.

        • SteveJ says:

          No I’m referencing the original post, there was never a 60k sign up offer, so not sure what that’s all about.

          • JDB says:

            A few people have used the 60k figure here. I assume they mean a couple applying and each getting 25k Avios + the 5k HfP bonus.

    • NICK says:

      I queried my card not being sent in a meaningful time frame, they refunded £15 of my £20 first month charge

    • Dubious says:

      I wonder if they are printing them in Singapore before shipping to the UK and then posting them. It always surprises me how so many of the cards must be airflown from the other side of the world but still arrive fairly quickly in the regular post.

      Does anyone with the Barclaycard Avios card see a “Gemalto SGP” printed on the back?

  • Andrew. says:

    Definitely need a bit more info. My JLP MasterCard is the oldest card that appears on my credit report.

    If it stays with HSBC, fine. If it migrates, and resets to a year zero card it’s pointless.

    I don’t particularly want to return to NewDay. I got a nice amount of compensation from them before, but having to raise a complaint with the FOS in order for them to recognise the authority of the ICO in a complaint was tiresome.

  • ADS says:

    Speaking of transferring points to Nectar …

    Does anybody with the dreaded 7135JSO block have a resolution from Nectar yet ?

    • Mark M says:

      A very good question! All I get from them is BS, claiming my “ISP is overseas”, or my “VPN is blocking it”, etc. Both complete nonsense, as it occurs from any browser and any device inc mobile phone. AND different cards within my family too.
      But I can log in OK with my mobile with 2 of our 3 cards – very weird. I’ve given up bothering – as long as the points still come through that is…
      Does anyone have any ideas?

  • KS says:

    Off topic I know, but….

    Received two emails from BA today. First confirmed that they couldn’t apply my FTV to the booking I’d requested it be applied to as the booking wasn’t eligible (t&c duly quoted). Second, one minute later, from a different member of staff confirmed they’d refunded the original payment card with the full FTV value. Odd.

    Now waiting to see what appears on the Amex statement…

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