Free burger at GBK with PayPal


gbklogoPayPal is currently running a promotion with Gourmet Burger Kitchen to give away 13,000 burgers to users (max 1 per person) who check in and pay using the PayPal app. The app is pretty simple to use, is available for all platforms (including WP7), and uses your existing login details.

I haven’t redeemed this yet, but based on the terms and conditions, you need to accept the offer using the app, check-in with the app when you’re in the restaurant, then tell the server that you’re paying with PayPal. If you spend £6.75 or more (the price of their cheapest burger), you’ll get £6.75 off.


It appears that you can just open any GBK restaurant within the app now and click on the voucher to add it to your offers – would advise doing that to make sure you don’t miss out on being one of the first 13,000. It’ll then be “automatically applied to next eligible purchase”. You’ll then have until 17th April to redeem your offer.

Also, you should be able to use this offer with tastecard or other vouchers, so long as you spend over £6.75. That could potentially mean two free burgers.

Terms and conditions are only available in the app, but I’ve posted them here.

£120 worth of Cinema vouchers for £37


Vodafone Cinema RewardThis offer is a little bit involved, but if you’re planning on spending £120 in the cinema before 31 July 2015 (and possibly for a year longer if you get a gift card), this could be a pretty good deal for you!

Your initial outlay is £70, but you’ll get £33 back from selling the phone (plus you get a month of Vodafone usage too), making the final cost just £37.

Buying your phone – deadline 31 December 2013

I’ve bought the Nokia Asha 210 Black, because it’s the cheapest phone that fits the criteria for the deal (smartphone costing over £50).

You need to make sure to buy the £20 “Freedom Freebie” with your phone to get the offer, and it doesn’t seem to be working online, so you might need to go into store to get your phone.

You should receive your special “Freedom Freebie” voucher and a popcorn shaped brochure containing a special code which you’ll need to pop into the Vodafone site to activate your offer.

Activating your SIM – deadline 14 January 2014

You need to activate your SIM with the “Freedom Freebie” code enclosed in the pack in order to be eligible for the free cinema vouchers.

Registering for your cinema voucher

Inside the popcorn brochure (pictured), you’ll find a scratch-off card. Go to the site on the card, enter your code and details about your phone (I think you’re meant to use the phone number of the SIM included).

You’ll be texted a link which you need to click to activate your account, so make sure you have it handy.

Selling the Phone

You’ll want to grab the IMEI number off the phone before you sell it – you need to enter this into the site to activate your cinema credit.

I’ve sold my Nokia Asha 210 to CEX for £33, which works out to a £17 loss (which you’ll make back on your cinema vouchers, of course!). They provide a prepaid label, so you can just drop it in at the Post Office, and that’s insured up to £20 when you get a free proof of posting.

Claiming your Credit – January to December 2014

You need to claim £10 credit each month. It’s not yet clear how this process will work, but it states that you’ll just have to log in to the website each month.

If you don’t claim the credit in any given month, you’ll lose the opportunity to claim that month’s £10.

Unused credit should accrue and must be used by 31 July 2015, at which point it’ll expire.

Using your Credit

It appears that you’ll get a prepaid Visa card with your balance loaded that you can use at any cinema in the United Kingdom. There doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on what you can buy within the cinema (not that they could find out, since it goes through the Visa processing network).

It’s not yet clear whether you can redeem your voucher online.

If you’re getting close to 31 July 2015, and you’ve got credit left, you can probably just buy a prepaid gift card from the cinema of your choice to extend the life of your balance.

Plus, you’ll probably be able to register your card with Quidco if you’re spending in Cineworld to get an additional 3% cashback.

Make sure you read their terms and conditions – this is based on my reading of it.

Win with QuidCodes at Quidco!



Quidco are currently doing a daily promotion where you can be awarded a “festive Quidcode”, which gives you an additional bonus cashback on top of the current rates.

I’ve won £21.50 off Burton today, although everyone else I’ve spoken to who’s tried it so far hasn’t been successful yet… but there’s still quite a few days to go in this promotion.

There isn’t currently much info available on the Quidco site about it (doesn’t seem to be mentioned in their blog), but keep clicking the button each day to enter the draw – you’ll instantly find out if you’ve won. Edit: According to the Terms and Conditions, you can enter every day until the 12th.

Note that if you win, you’ve only got 24 hours to redeem your prize (you need to copy down your Quidcode and enter it onto the retailer’s page, then click through to the retailers site), so make sure you act fast. You’ll also need to spend a minimum of the value of the Quidcode to get the full amount credited to your account as cashback.

Not a Quidco member? Sign up here and we’ll split the £10 referral bonus when you earn £5, so you’ll get a bonus £5 once you’ve hit that threshold!

Need to reach your Amex threshold spend? Get some Amex Gift Cards


Amex Gift CardMany of American Express’ cards come with an introductory offer or annual bonus – for example, the Preferred Rewards Gold card gives you 20,000 membership rewards points if you reach the £2,000 spending target in 3 months. The problem comes if you can’t make that limit in a short time – you’ll lose out on the bonus.

Here’s where the Amex Gift Cards come in: you buy a gift card now, helping you to reach the target, yet giving you the flexibility to spend your money later. Additionally, until the end of the year, there’s no issue or postage fees when you use the code GCNF1 on the online checkout.

How do I get it?

Go to the Amex prepaid website, and choose the amount of cards you want – you can buy up to 5, with a maximum value of £100.

Enter the code GCNF1 when you’re checking out. You should see the postage charges disappear (the code doesn’t cover gift wrap, so avoid that). Make sure to pay with your Amex, and you’ll also receive the normal cashback/membership rewards points. From my past experience, this transaction has gone through as a normal purchase, rather than a cash transaction (which wouldn’t give you any cashback/points).

Interestingly, it’s the only place I’ve ever seen where you sign up with Amex SafeKey, the equivalent of Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode.

What do I need to know?

There’s a couple of caveats with this card: I only really recommend it if you’re going to be short on your threshold spend, otherwise the rewards aren’t really worth it…:

  • You must use these cards within a year of activation, or you’ll pay a £1.50 monthly fee. You really don’t want that to happen, so I recommend spending the money as soon as possible…
  • You won’t be earning interest on the money on your card (although with interest rates currently at a historic low…)
  • Don’t lose the card. If someone else finds it and forges your signature, you have no recourse
  • You have no chargeback rights with this card – don’t use it for large purchases (not that you’ll get very far, since the maximum load is £100…)
  • It’s a magnetic stripe and signature card, so be prepared to sign (you need to wait for the assistant at self-service checkouts)
  • Since you’re paying for the card in one go, you’ll earn cashback on the full £100 – usually if you make a number of small transactions, you’ll lose out on a few pence of cashback if your transactions aren’t exactly divisible by £1 (or £4 on the Platinum Cashback one)

How do I use up small balances?

You can cash in the card by calling the customer services number for no fee (and they’ll make a transfer of your remaining funds into your bank account), but I’ve found it much easier to just buy an Gift Certificate for the exact amount and send it to yourself – they don’t seem to make a £1 hold on your account (unlike PayPal), and you’re bound to buy something from Amazon within a year!

Once your card is empty, you can just throw it away: you can’t reload these cards at all.

Shop Small Returns – get 50% off your shopping with Amex


shopsmalllogoIt’s the offer that got me to start this blog, and it was such a great deal that I thought it would never be repeated again… Shop Small from American Express is back this July!

Unfortunately, there’s been a few changes this year: it appears that Amex have learnt their lesson in regards to unlimited cashback. You can only get up to ten transactions reimbursed per card (up to a value of £50), and you only get £5 off when you spend £10, so you’re getting a discount rather than a freebie. Still, 50% off is a pretty good deal in my book!

There’s a variety of shops, food stalls and pubs on the list, so I’d highly recommend you take a look, and make sure to register your card before you head out.

How it works

  1. You need to register online with your card(s) before you shop.
  2. Check out the list of eligible locations by popping in your postcode on the Amex Shop Small site.
  3. Spend £10 in store on your registered Amex.
  4. You’ll get an email confirming your purchase shortly (this will take longer if you’re using ExpressPay contactless).

Tips to get the best value (based on last year’s promotion)

  • You can use this offer in conjunction with any other offer, so long as the spend on your Amex is over the £10 threshold – e.g. Taste Card, Vouchers, etc.
  • Cards on the same account (supplementary cards) are eligible for the promotion in their own right. I’d recommend getting your relatives to add you to their account and returning the favour…
  • The discount probably won’t work if you try to use it in different branches of the same shop. To stay safe, use it only in one of the locations.
  • If you have multiple Amex cards (including cards issued by Lloyds TSB and MBNA – mostly frequent flyer rewards cards), each of these are treated separately. Make sure you register each one!
  • If you don’t see the credit in a week or two, or the merchant doesn’t take Amex, get in touch with customer services: call the number on the back of your card, or send an email using secure messaging: they were pretty good in getting the credit added manually last time.

Don’t have an American Express card? 

gold_card_largeI recommend you get a Preferred Rewards Gold Card: whilst it has an annual fee, you get the first year free. Plus, if you sign up through Top Cashback, you’ll get £60.60 cashback, and if you spend £2,000 in the first three months, you’ll get 20,000 Membership Rewards points, worth £100 in Amazon vouchers (other retailers, frequent flyer and hotel schemes are also available). You’ll also get two airport lounge passes, useful if you’re travelling and want somewhere to relax with complementary drinks and snacks before your flight.

That’s a total of £160.60 worth of free stuff (plus the 2 Lounge Passes), and you haven’t started with Shop Small yet!

You should put something in your diary to cancel the account after one year to avoid getting charged the £125 annual fee, and I don’t recommend you use this card after you reach the £2,000 threshold: the cashback is equivalent to 0.5% (if you convert the Membership Rewards points into Amazon vouchers – it might be more if you convert them into airline miles), and there are a few other cards on the market that can beat this cashback.

Please note that I earn a £12.50 commission if you are a new Top Cashback user and click through the link above, at no additional cost to you.

Cashback on your internet shopping


Whenever you’re shopping online, you might be missing out on some cashback (in addition to the 1% from your credit card!) if you’re not going through a cashback site. Cashback sites work by getting you to click through from a website before going through and making your purchase on the retailer you were originally going to go through. You then get the earnings a couple of weeks later.

Whilst the percentages seem small, it all adds up over time: I’ve earned around £250 a year just from making sure to click through before buying online.

There’s only really two ‘100%*’ cashback sites: and there’s only really minor differences between the two. Generally, both will offer the same companies and cashback, but there are exceptions, so make sure you check both before clicking through.

TopCashback: 1% bonus cashback, no annual fee, manual payments, ads

TopCashback is the main site I use for my cashback: it offers an additional 1% cashback versus Quidco, and there’s no £5 annual deduction from your earnings. You do need to request cashback payments manually though, but they do offer payment in Tesco Clubcard points, which you can redeem for 4x the value in restaurants (although in reality, this is probably more like 2x, since most of the restaurants in the offer have 50% off deals with Tastecard, and you can’t use the vouchers with any other offer). There are banner ads on each page – make sure not to click on these if you’re trying to get cashback.

Quidco: £5 annual fee, automatic payments
I love Quidco

Quidco was the first cashback site I signed up with a couple of years back, but it’s since been replaced by TopCashback as my main site, mainly due to the annual fee which is deducted from your cashback.

Tips and tricks

  • Read the terms and conditions for the retailer – some companies will only pay out for new customers only (e.g. Skype)
  • Don’t make your purchases based on the cashback – it’s not guaranteed to be paid out (although I’ve had a pretty good success rate)
  • Not all retailers offer cashback. Amazon is a good example of this
  • Some retailers may charge more for users clicking through from a cashback site. I’ve only seen this on Vistaprint and Charles Tyrwitt
  • Make sure that you don’t click on a banner ad/other link to a website after you’ve clicked through: these will override your cashback provider, meaning that the other site gets your money instead of you – this includes sites such as Hot UK Deals, who make their money by taking the cashback
  • Turn off any ad-blocking extensions you use in your browser. These may cause your purchases not to track by blocking the site used to track your purchase
  • If you’re using Chrome, it’s probably safest to use “incognito” mode (Ctrl + Shift + N) to ensure that no tracking cookies remain in your browser. You’ll need to log in to the site again though.
  • Once you’ve made your purchase, and are through to the final page, wait a few seconds before clicking through elsewhere or closing the window: often the tracking sites are a bit slower to load and are doing so in the background once the purchase is made
  • It takes a couple of weeks for the payment to go through, but your purchase should track after a few hours/days. This is so you can’t return the item and get cashback

I earn £10 for TopCashback users who reach £10 earnings, and £2.50 for Quidco users who reach £5 earnings. A donation equal to this amount will be made to a charity.

* ‘100%’ cashback sites refer to the base level of cashback the retailers pay – the cashback sites make additional money from performance related incentives, in addition to the annual fee/advertising revenue from banner ads.