Free tube travel with Contactless

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London underground by doug88888

London underground by doug88888

There’s currently two deals on the London Underground to welcome their acceptance of contactless card payments in addition to the Oyster Card.

If you’ve got a contactless MasterCard or contactless American Express card, you can get some free travel simply by tapping in using your credit card rather than your Oyster…

American Express: £5 off when you spend £5

With a contactless American Express card, you can travel around London up to the value of £5. You’ll need to spend £5 in a day, as TfL charge you at the end of each day. Sign up on the Cardmember Offers website, and use your card before 30th November to get your credit

MasterCard: Free travel on Friday 14th November

If you’ve got a contactless MasterCard (remember that the Metro Bank card is a MasterCard debit card), you can get around London completely free simply by tapping in and out using your card this Friday. You don’t even need to register! Full terms available on the MasterCard website

via Londonist

American Express: Drive a car? Get £10 off a £50 at Esso

There aren’t usually that many deals on petrol, so if you drive a car, this one’s for you. Simply sign up on the Cardmember Offers website, fill up with £50 of fuel and you’ll get a £10 credit. It’ll probably work with non fuel items too, if you’ve got one nearby. Expires 24th November

London Restaurant Festival is back – 3 course meals from £10

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London Restaurant Festival

The London Restaurant Festival is back in town for 2014 from 8th October – whilst the offers don’t seem to be quite as good as it was last year (the only place that you can now get a £10 meal is now Prezzo…) it’s got a pretty wide variety of cuisines across Central London. Like last year, you can get a number of the already discounted menus at half price (if you manage to spend exactly £25 in two different restaurants over the course of the festival).

If you’re not a fan of set menus, then a number of these restaurants also accept Taste Card/other discount vouchers, but you need to make sure you’re spending around a multiple of £25, and ensure you go to two different restaurants between 8th – 27st October.

So, to take advantage of the offer:

  1. Register your American Express card(s) for the offer here (excludes corporate, prepaid and non-UK issued cards)
  2. Book your table on the website, and check that they’re on the participating merchants map
  3. Go to the restaurant, and make sure your bill (including service) comes to around a multiple of £25, and that you’ve got a registered card for each £25. Ask the waiter to split your bill into £25 chunks on your Amexs
  4. Repeat at another restaurant on the deal (before 27st October – you’ve only got two weeks!)

P.S. – haven’t got an Amex? You’ve probably still got time to apply – check out my recommended card blog post

Bon appétit!

Unlimited broadband for £2.50 a month, including line rental!

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eeI’ve recently come to the end of my free Sky TV and Broadband subscription (a special offer when Sky bought O2’s home broadband division), so I’ve been on the look out for some great deals for a new plan. I don’t live in a Fibre area (apparently we’re too close to the exchange), so this plan is ADSL.

You’ll need to be an Orange, T-Mobile or EE customer, but you’ll probably already have an Orange SIM card somewhere for all of those 241 Wednesday cinema offers. If not, just pick up a free SIM card online, or from your local supermarket (it’s usually about £1). You’ll need to use this SIM card every 90 days to qualify, so you’ll probably have to top it up with £10.

How to sign up:

  1. Get an EE sim card – you’ll need the mobile number to complete your order
  2. Go to the Quidco site, sign up (if you haven’t already, we get to split a £2.50 sign up bonus…), and go to the EE Broadband page
  3. Make sure your Adblock is disabled, and click through to the EE site. Make sure to select to pay your line rental in advance, complete your order and wait for your new router to be delivered

How good is it?

EE broadband download speeds seem slightly slower than Sky – I was getting 19Mbps, and am now getting 17Mbps. Although, I’m not really complaining, since there’s a pretty big price difference between the two. Upload speeds seem fairly stable between the two.

There is traffic management on EE broadband for P2P and usenet at peak hours (16:30 – 01:00), so if you’re a heavy downloader, you’ll need to switch to off-peak times or get a VPN.

They also didn’t seem to put through my line rental saver on my first bill – I called up and they’re giving me a refund for the price paid so far though.

Seen this elsewhere?

They’ve written about this on Money Saving Expert, but give you a link through their own cashback site – they’re offering a £100 Amazon.co.uk voucher, but you can get £130 cash through Quidco (with a 7% bonus for Amazon vouchers if you are a premium member) – as there’s an asterisk next to their deal, you can see they’re getting paid – and judging from the cashback available elsewhere, you can see where £30 is going…

More cashback?

Note that this offer seems to be flipping between Quidco and TopCashback – when it’s on TCB, you get £136.50 cash (£143.32 in Amazon.co.uk vouchers) if you are a premium member (£5 a year). It seems like it should be back on TCB in a week, but it’s up to you to decide whether you want to risk it coming back.

How it’s calculated:

The headline £2.50 price is based on taking out the £132 annual line rental, which should be wiped out by that £130 cashback. Don’t forget that this is eligible for 3% cashback with the Santander 123 current account too.

Note that cashback isn’t 100% guaranteed – but I’ve never had an issue before.

£5 off £10 in Tesco and more with 4sq Amex deals

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foursquare logoFoursquare Amex deals are back – whilst they’re not as good as they’ve been in the past (especially that infamous £5 off £5 deal back in November 2012 which got me writing this blog), £5 off a £10 spend at Tesco is still a pretty good deal.

Here’s the deals that are available:

  • Tesco: Spend £10, get £5 back
  • Argos: Spend £30, get £10 back – remember, a lot of Argos stores stock gift cards – you’ll therefore be able to use this offer on more than what’s in the catalogue!
  • Primark: Spend £30, get £10 back
  • Ask, Pizza Express, Zizzi: Spend £30, get £10 back – you can use this with any other offer, such as vouchers, Taste Card or Orange (EE) Wednesdays at Pizza Express, as long as you charge £30 to your Amex – you could end up getting £60 of pizza for £20 (hopefully not all for yourself!). Alternatively, most of these restaurants sell gift cards, so you can just come back another time.

You’ve got until 31st July to claim these.

How do I sign up?

  • To use the foursquare offers, you need to register an account with foursquare, then sync your foursquare account with Amex,
  • Open the app on your smartphone and sign in. Either search for the shop by name, or hit the search bar, and select specialsspecials
  • Pick the shop you want to redeem the offer for. Don’t tap the ‘Special’ link yet!specials
  • Scroll down on the checkin screen, then tap the ‘Special’ linkspecials
  • Hit ‘Add to Card’. You’ll be notified that your offer has been addedspecials
  • All UK issued Amex cards are valid for this offer, including those from MBNA and Lloyds. You won’t get an instant notification about the credit if you’re not using an Amex issued card though, but it should still show up on your statement.

Tips and tricks

  • If you’ve already signed up but can’t remember which card is linked to each account, search for “Your card is synced” in your email
  • If you’re signing up for multiple foursquare accounts with gmail, try adding a ‘+amex1’ after your username, such as [email protected] Gmail treats the +amex1 as a label, and delivers it all to your inbox!
  • There’s a limit on the number of cards that can claim these offers. Make sure you grab the offers you want to use quickly – once loaded they should stay on your account (try to leave the ones you know you won’t use for other people…)
  • You can use this offer on each supplementary card you have too (unless its an MBNA one which has the same number…)

via David Lyness

On O2? Get yourself a £1 lunch every Monday at Domino’s/railway stations, and free Caffe Nero on Fridays

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o2prioritylunchIf you’ve got a mobile from O2 (or have one of their SIM cards to register the O2 Priority app), you can get a £1 lunch today (and every Monday) thanks to their Priority scheme (available as an app for Android and iOS, and as a web app for Blackberry and Windows Phone).

The lunches include a one-topping four slice pizza at Dominos, or a sandwich, crisps and drink at Upper Crust, Caffe Ritazza or Pumpkin (all stores found at your local railway station).

The offer runs from 11am to 3pm every Monday, and you’ll need to use the app. There’ll probably be a few queues too, so I’d avoid the main lunch hour if I were you.

Full terms and conditions for Caffe Ritazza, Dominos, Upper Crust and Pumpkin are available on the O2 rewards site.

Via Digital Spy

Edit: There’s now an offer for a free hot drink at Caffe Nero every Friday.

You get this for your £1:

food

Win with QuidCodes at Quidco!

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quidcode

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!

London Restaurant Festival – 3 Course meals from £5

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The London Restaurant Festival is back in town, and with menus starting from £10 for three courses, it’s got a pretty wide variety of cuisines across Central London. Whilst this is a fairly good deal in my book, this normally wouldn’t warrant a post on my blog… but when you combine it with offer Amex is offering, you can get those already discounted menus at half price (if you manage to spend exactly £25 in two different restaurants this week).

If you’re not a fan of set menus, then a number of these restaurants also accept Taste Card/other discount vouchers, but you need to make sure you’re spending around a multiple of £25, and ensure you go to two different restaurants before 21st October.

So, to take advantage of the offer:

  1. Register your American Express card(s) for the offer here (excludes corporate, prepaid and non-UK issued cards)
  2. Book your table on the website, and check that they’re on the participating merchants map
  3. Go to the restaurant, and make sure your bill (including service) comes to around a multiple of £25, and that you’ve got a registered card for each £25. Ask the waiter to split your bill into £25 chunks on your Amexs
  4. Repeat at another restaurant on the deal (before 21st October – you’ve only got a week!)

It’s unclear whether it has to be two separate restaurants. To be safe (and to keep in the spirit of the promotion, and to get you trying something new!), I’d recommend trying two different restaurants.

So, to achieve the headline figure: dine out with a group at two different £10 menu restaurants, and it’ll work out to around £5 once you get the cashback.

Bon appétit!

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

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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 Amazon.co.uk 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

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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.

74p frappuccinos at Starbucks until June 2nd

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LikeStarbucks Logo Frappuccinos from Starbucks (tax dodge allegations notwithstanding…)? Get them at 75% off until 2 June: by combining two different half price deals – that’s 74p for the cheapest one (a tall mango or blackcurrent frappuccino). £10 Starbucks Card for £5 from Bespoke Offers Bespoke Offers LogoUntil 11 July, you can buy a £10 Starbucks Card from Barclaycard Bespoke Offers. Despite the name, you don’t need to be a Barclaycard customer to benefit from this deal: unusually, they even accept American Express. You can even get 3p cashback by clicking through TopCashback (no purchase required). It’s limited one per customer, and you need to activate the card by 12 July (just one day after the purchase due date!). Make sure to redeem the card online by clicking through your account to the voucher and copying the code into the prompt. You’ll then be given a card number and security code, that you can copy into your Starbucks account. You then want to transfer the balance to another card on your account (you need to use an app for this), or spend it before 29 September to avoid losing your money. Half Price Frappuccinos  Most Starbucks are currently participating in a promotion for half price Frappuccinos between 3pm and 5pm. Combine this with the Bespoke Offers deal, and you’ve got yourself 75% off! If you miss this, there’s another promotion running with the Starbucks Frappuccino drinks found in supermarkets: collect one neck collar and two caps, and you’re also eligible for the half price deal in the coffee shops until 23 June. Not a Frappuccino fan? If you don’t like cold drinks, you can still save money at Starbucks with these general tips:

  • 25p off your drink when your bring your own cupBring in your own mug, and you’ll save 25p (the one time we seem to win in the exchange rate: in the US, you save a paltry 10¢!). Starbucks are now selling reusable plastic cups, which cost £1. You’ll save 25p straight away, so you only really need to use it three more times to make your money back (bonus: you’ll also help to save the environment!). Note that this usually doesn’t work in conjunction with other offers: for example, the half price Frappuccino deal
  • Use a Starbucks Card and earn loyalty ‘stars’It takes 15 ‘stars’ to earn a free, any-size drink, but you only earn a ‘star’ for each transaction with your card. You also earn status: get to 50 ‘stars’ in a year, and you’ll get free extra shots of expresso, selected flavour syrups, soy milk substitution and whipped cream. No fancy gold card like they’ve got in the US though! The trick with this is to split up your bill into individual items, and to always use up your card to a zero balance: using two cards (it just takes a few seconds to go through as an additional scan if you’ve got the app) will get you two ‘stars’ instead of one