Barclays' points denied a holiday

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The Independent Online
BARCLAYCARD has decided to give Profiles loyalty points all year round after complaints about the three- month holiday period when no points can be earned, writes Nic Cicutti.

The move will benefit some three million Profiles members, who obtain gifts on the basis of the points they earn by using the card.

The change is also aimed at heading off complaints from potential users of the new Ford Barclaycard, who would otherwise have been affected by the same 'closed season'.

To persuade them to use its card in preference to any others, Barclaycard rewards each pounds 10 spent on it with a point.

As the points pile up, members receive a catalogue from which they can order a wide range of goodies, such as toasters, kettles, and rides in the Barclaycard ballooon.

Until now, just one small cloud has darkened the horizon for Barclaycard users. During February, March and April, nothing they bought qualified for a single point.

Frustration reached boiling point earlier this year when Barclaycard teamed up with Ford to allow points to go towards large discounts on vehicles. The new Ford Barclaycard is being issued in May.

But while card-owners can use their existing points towards the Ford discount, they have not been able to amass any further ones since the end of January because they are now in the 'holiday' season.

One Independent reader from the Wirral who does not want to be named pointed out: 'Barclaycard emphasises the Ford bonus scheme and says that the new card starts in May. But it carefully avoids reference in its statement to the points awarded until then, because the answer is nil, irrespective of the amount spent.'

A Barclaycard spokeswoman said: 'In the past, we have changed the goods on offer in the Profiles catalogue each year.

'This meant that we preferred to have a season when people could look at the catalogue and make their choice without having to collect extra points.

'From May, when our new season starts, we will no longer have a closed season. This is largely so that Barclaycard users can continue to collect points towards their cash discounts on Ford cars at all times.'

In the past year, some 700,000 people have used points to purchase items from the catalogue, she added.

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