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JDB 4,813 posts

@Froggee – your analysis seems fair, although your fear of Curve is, I believe, misplaced. The Creationgate saga was not about Curve per se but rather the abuse it enabled. I don’t have any hesitation in using it where I don’t need s75. It has saved huge amounts of money over the years while earning me points and without getting yet another card; two Amex, HSBC and Barclays Avios+ (and the Curve) are at least one more than I really need.

I do value s75 as a form of insurance. As @GuernseyGlobetrotter says with HSBC WE one can earn double points on FX spend as one can on the Amex Gold. Both have promotions to take that to 2.5 Avios per £ which gives that insurance for very little vs FX fee. I find Amex rates generally slight better than MC ones. Amex was several % better than MC in Argentina in Feb/Mar, but that’s a specific situation. Curve has been suspended there since December.

With s75, there is the question of who makes it the easiest to claim and that’s probably Amex as there’s a more automated system but they have got much tighter.

I haven’t made an s75 claim with Barclaycard for almost 20 years but then they paid out £1000 without fuss for a non delivered purchase.

Last year I made a claim to HSBC for my wife. The card charge was about £375 but with other associated costs (charged on another card) came to a total claim of £600. The forms were very cumbersome but ultimately they got the £375 on chargeback after an appeal to MasterCard (following rejection by the merchant) and paid the rest under s75 plus £100 for not having paid within the stated time frame. That pays a few years of card fee and a bit of FX.

Amex was great in Covid for getting refunds from Aeroméxico, Volaris and Aerolíneas Argentinas who basically blocked refunds. You get 3MR for airline purchases plus the 0.5MR so that feels a good deal.

The focus on the last % of ‘fees’ and agonising as to whether the MC rate will be better/worse makes me laugh when I read what people are overpaying for or endlessly paying cancellation fees etc. etc.

The other thing I can’t get my head around is that with these fee free cards, sometimes they don’t really seem to work as intended, notably fee free debit cards for cash withdrawal. I was in France last month and took out the max the machine would allow on my fee free First Direct card (MC) and my non fee free HSBC (Visa). Guess which had the lower £ total debit? My son had the same experience in Mexico using a fee free Coutts card vs my (then charging) FD card. Mine was again lower.

Splitting a bill with a fee free card evangelist (accountant and FD of a big company) in Argentina. Halifax vs Amex Gold. Amex won!

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