Post Office £90 digital passport renewals cost 17% more than gov.uk
Britons looking to renew their passports can now do it digitally at 725 Post Office locations, it has confirmed.
Working in conjunction with Her Majesty's Passport Office, the cost of renewing a passport digitally via Post Office branches is £75.50 - the same rate as online via the gov.uk website - compared with £85 for a paper-based application.
However, an additional fee of £15.40 applies to cover the cost of in-branch support, bringing the total cost to £90.90.
The Post Office says teams will be on hand to ensure applications are correct and processed as quickly as possible to explain the fee, which makes up almost 17 per cent of the cost.
New service: Britons can now renew their passports digitally at the Post Office - but it comes at a premium
The fee also covers the cost of taking of digital photographs, the application being checked before sending and the secure delivery of the customer's old passport back to HMPO via Royal Mail Special Delivery.
Martin Edwards, managing director for identity services, said: 'This is an exciting move for the Post Office.
'The Passport Office has recommended customers use our trusted check and send service for over 20 years – and now we can offer a service which combines the speed and convenience of a digital application with the support and reassurance that comes with a branch-based service.
'This new service shows how we are constantly developing and expanding our services, bringing together the physical and digital worlds and offering even greater convenience and choice for customers.'
The launch comes after the Passport Office gave customers the ability to upload digital photos for adult passport applications earlier in the year.
New digital check and send passport service available in 725 branches across the UK
The digital service costs £75.50 but it was criticised as some believe it penalises those who don't use the internet, thanks to the price difference between digital and paper renewals.
Customers can still apply for passports through Post Office branches using paper forms and can add on the check and send service should they wish, which is a smaller £9.75 fee compared to the digital cost.
However, paper applications cost £85 - and adding on the check and send bumps up the total price to £94.75.
Since 2012 the Post Office says it has invested in, and modernised, more than 7,500 branches, and improved services for customers, adding more than 200,000 extra opening hours a week across the network.
Mark Thomson, HM Passport Office director general, said: 'We want to make sure we have a modern and easy-to-use service for the millions of passport holders and applicants, which is why the Post Office's check and send service is really valuable.
'Our customers want convenience and peace of mind and this new digital service will make it even easier to submit their passport application – it is precisely the sort of innovation they are looking for.'
This is far cheaper than the price at the Post Office and applicants can upload a digital photo which is instantly rejected or accepted.
In total, the whole process takes 10 minutes on average, according to the Government website.
The cost of an online application is £25 cheaper than the Post Office check and send service
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November 08, 2018
Sources: Daily Mail
on to fight the 'growing injustice' of mums facing a reduced state pension in old age.</p><p>He urges the Government to backdate valuable credits parents are losing by not signing up for child benefit, and to start actively contacting those who could miss out on tens of thousands of pounds in retirement.</p><p>Steve Webb: 'Thousands of mothers may end up with reduced state pension'</p><p>Webb, who is now policy director at Royal London, explains that with each passing year more and more mothers are choosing not to claim child benefit because high earnings mean they no longer qualify for it.</p><p>Those who failed to sign up when new rules began in 2013 could have lost six years of state pension credits by now.</p><p>Each annual credit is worth around £244 per year in state pension, or £4,880 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement. But current rules only allow parents to backdate credits by three months when they make a belated child benefit claim.</p><p>'What many do not realise is that by not claiming child benefit they miss out on vital National Insurance credits towards their state pension,' says Webb.</p><p>'As a result, thousands of mothers may end up with reduced state pension, simply because the consequences of not claiming child benefit were not drawn to their attention.</p><p>'This petition is designed to get the government to address this growing injustice. We hope that everyone who wants to see greater pensions equality for women will back the campaign.'</p><p>Webb says the petition is aimed at persuading the Government to do two things:</p><p>The Government has to respond if the petition gets 10,000 signatures before 8 May 2019, and it will be considered for debate in Parliament if it reaches 100,000 signatures.</p><p>An HMRC spokesperson said in response to the petition: 'As claims get older it gets harder to verify evidence and establish legal entitlement, so to ensure only those genuinely entitled are accepted we have a three month rule for child benefit (and the accompanying National Insurance credit). </p><p>'We think this a fair and reasonable period for those entitled to child benefit to claim it.’</p><p>The Government has previously stated that it has always urged families to claim child benefit to help protect their future right to the state pension.</p><p>Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the Treasury committee and former Education Secretary, has also expressed worries about parents losing state pension.</p><p>Nicky Morgan MP: Treasury committee chair warns the Government's child benefit information about the state pension isn't up to scratch and needs to 'drastically improve'.</p><p>Morgan said the Government's child benefit information about the state pension wasn't up to scratch and needed to 'drastically improve'.</p><p>A controversial overhaul of child benefit in 2013 reduced the entitlement for those earning £50,000-plus a year or wiped it out entirely for those earning £60,000-plus.</p><p>But parents who earn too much to qualify for child benefit still have to apply for it so that they receive state pension credits.</p><p>Those who sign up get valuable credits towards their eventual state pension, providing they are not working and building up their National Insurance record that way.</p><p>Each credit missed could cost you 1/35 of the value of the state pension – around £244 per year or £4,880 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.</p><p>We have run a series of opinion pieces on issues involving child benefit and the state pension.</p><p>- Full backdating of state pension credits for those who claim child benefit late;</p><p>- A review of how credits are awarded, including the feasibility of signing up when registering a birth not through the child benefit system;</p><p>- An overhaul of credit transfers between couples following mistakes on child benefit forms, to remove red tape and to drop the time limits on applications made for years after 2010.</p><p>Parents who take time out to look after children are currently entitled to National Insurance credits that mean they shouldn’t receive a stingier pension in old age.</p><p>Nobody disputes they are intended to get these credits, yet many are still losing out due to the convoluted way parents must apply to keep their state pension records intact.</p><p>Parents who do not register for child benefit, because one earns too much to receive the payments, are still expected to register but not take the money.</p><p>The main way child benefit forms are distributed to new parents is via bounty packs handed out in hospitals, which are otherwise full of promotional leaflets and discount vouchers.</p><p>That means these vital documents are often overlooked in the hectic weeks after children are born.</p><p>The mess is potentially depriving tens of thousands of people - mostly but not only women - of future state pension, which currently stands at £164.35 a week.</p><p>Yet, many grandparents taking on childcare duties are also thought to be unwittingly losing credits towards a state pension - but unlike parents, their entitlement is fully backdated whenever they come forward.</p><p>The Government lets grandparents claim for years all the way back to 6 April 2011, when the policy of giving them credits was introduced.</p><p>But bizarrely, it sees nothing wrong with imposing much harsher rules on parents. </p><p>You can then get both child benefit payments and state pension credits backdated for three months, and going forwards.</p><p>However, you can opt to simply register for child benefit but not receive the actual payments.</p><p>That means you get the state pension credits - backdated and in future - but can avoid having to sign up for tax self-assessment and paying what is called a High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC).</p><p>There’s another advantage to registering even if you don’t qualify for payments, which is that your child will automatically get a NI number when they are 16.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. 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r olds killed or seriously injured on UK roads in the last six years has declined by over a third.</p><p>Road casualties in this age group have fallen by 35 per cent since 2011, which is more than twice as much as the entire driving population as a whole, which fell by 16 per cent.</p><p>This marked reduction in the youngest of driving casualties was dubbed 'compelling evidence' that telematics black box insurance policies - of which four in five young motorists have today - are improving road safety standards.</p><p>Black box safety benefits: New analysis of road casualty rates has shown that deaths and serious injuries involving the youngest drivers have declined by 35% since 2011. The fall is being linked to greater adoption of telematics insurance among 17 to 19 year old drivers</p><p>The analysis of road casualty statistics was conducted by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which said black box insurance policies had played a role in 'cutting road casualties among the youngest and most vulnerable drivers'.</p><p>According to the British Insurance Brokers' Association, almost 1million motorists had a telematics policy in place in the UK.</p><p>This requires the motorist to have a black box fitted to their car that monitors their actions behind the wheel and not only relays the information to their insurance provider but also affects their driving score - thus impacting their premiums when it comes time to renew - but also gives insurers to opportunity to educate new drivers about being safer on the road.</p><p>In return, young drivers are rewarded with lower insurance costs, which can be astronomically high for this age group.</p><p>Telematics provider Marmalade said earlier this year that its young drivers are three times safer than the UK average with only one in 15 having an accident within the first six months of passing their test compared to the UK figure of one in five. </p><p>The 35 per cent reduction in road casualty rates in 17 to 19 year olds reported by LexisNexis is also despite the 10 per cent increase in the number of vehicles on the road between 2011 and 2016 and a seven per cent increase in the number of driving licences held across all ages since 2012.</p><p>As more drivers take up telematics insurance policies (blue line) the casualty rates (orange line) have generally declined</p><p>Graham Gordon, director of global telematics at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said the insurance sector 'deserves a great deal of credit' for developing products that promote safe driving</p><p>Graham Gordon, director of global telematics at the business said: 'Our analysis of road casualty statistics factors for key road safety advances such as improved roads, better junction design and new car safety technology - but the patent downward trend in the 17 to 19 age bracket points to an additional factor at play, the increasing availability and adoption of telematics insurance.</p><p>'Young drivers remain the riskiest drivers on our roads but the insurance sector deserves a great deal of credit for developing an insurance product that encourages safer driving and delivers fairer pricing to young drivers based on their road behaviour.'</p><p>The research comes at a time when policy analysis shows a decline in the cost of telematics policies.</p><p>LexisNexis claims they have dropped by as much as 50 per cent since 2013, meaning they frequently turn out to be the most affordable policies when young drivers search for motor cover on comparison sites. </p><p>Reginald Pitcairn, 77, is one older driver using a telematics policy. Despite losing his no claims discount in a minor crash last year, his premiums rose by just £3 because black box data showed he's a safe motorist</p><p>Tim Marlow, head of autonomous and connected vehicle research at insurer Ageas said telematics could now play an important role in reducing UK road casualties, which have flat-lined in recent years.</p><p>'It’s good to see that telematics are both giving young drivers access to insurance products designed to meet their needs and reducing the number of young drivers who become casualties,' he said.</p><p>'Future developments of this technology offer the potential to reduce casualties amongst other age groups, making a welcome contribution to our stagnated casualty reduction targets.'</p><p>That was one more fatality than recorded in 2016, the Department for Transport said, though 1,153 fewer than a decade before in 2007. </p><p>Crispin Moger, ceo for Marmalade, celebrated the study, saying: 'The reduction in the number of claims is one thing, but the impact on road deaths is phenomenal. </p><p>'Being a provider of telematics insurance, it’s hard not to be frustrated when you see there is a perception that telematics is used to 'track' and present limitations for the young driver because this couldn’t be further from the truth.' </p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. 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nt to 2,659.12 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent to 25,907.26. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 percent to 21,803.62 and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.4 percent to 2,077.41. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 3 points to 5,736.00. India's Sensex rose 0.4 percent to 35,286.91. Bangkok and New Zealand retreated while Taiwan and other Southeast Asian markets rose.</p><p> WALL STREET: U.S. markets were dragged down by losses for tech companies, banks and insurers. Apple Inc. lost 2.8 percent. Bond prices rose as traders shifted money into low-risk assets. That pulled yields down, which hurts banks by driving interest rates on loans lower. Energy stocks rebounded as crude oil prices snapped a 12-day losing streak. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.8 percent to 2,701.58. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.8 percent to 25,080.50. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.9 percent to 7,136.39.</p><p> BREXIT: Prime Minister Theresa May persuaded the British Cabinet to back an agreement to separate from the European Union, triggering the final steps toward Brexit. May said the decision is a "decisive step" toward finalizing the exit deal with the EU within days, though it was unclear whether Parliament will go along. The deal would allow Britain to stay in a customs union, bound by EU rules, while the two sides negotiate a trade treaty. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the two sides agreed to avoid a "hard border" between Ireland, a member of the trade bloc, and Northern Ireland.</p><p> ANALYST'S TAKE: "Despite the U.K. Cabinet backing the new Brexit draft plan, the boost for markets had been short-lived with the sea of worries overruling sentiment," said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report. Asian markets are "taking after the poor leads from Wall Street" due to "little data" due out in the region.</p><p> AUSTRALIAN JOBS: Government data showed employment rose by 32,800 in October, above market expectations for a gain of 20,000. The jobless rate stayed at 5 percent. The annual rate of job creation rose to 2.5 percent.</p><p> ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 12 cents to $56.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 56 cents on Wednesday to close at $56.25. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 1 cent to $66.11 per barrel in London. It gained 65 cents the previous session to $66.12.</p><p> CURRENCY: The dollar weakened to 113.47 yen from Wednesday's 113.63 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1323 from $1.1309.</p>
sion.</p><p>Aqueduct could be off to the races in future sports wagering as Empire Resorts — its parent company — has entered into a strategic alliance with Britain’s bet365 Group.</p><p>Bet365 Group is the world’s largest online sports betting company with annual sportsbook revenue of more than $3 billion.</p><p>“Joining forces with bet365 positions Empire and our flagship Resorts World Catskills to lead a potentially enormous new market,” said Manny Pearlman, executive chairman of Empire Resorts.</p><p>The New York state market in legal sports betting is expected to be the largest outside of California. Boutique research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimates sports betting in the state will bring in more than $1 billion in annual revenue in the first years.</p><p>New York lawmakers are expected to review legislation next year in order to share in the growing pot of sports-betting dollars and taxes, according to reports.</p><p> News Corp. is a network of leading companies in the world of diversified media, news, and information services. </p>
sion.</p><p>This holiday season, Bloomingdale’s would like to sell you a dishwasher.</p><p>In the latest sign that department stores are desperate to redeploy excess floor space, Bloomingdale’s has cut a partnership with LG Electronics to sell refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and big-screen TVs at its Midtown Manhattan flagship.</p><p>On Monday, Bloomingdale’s is set to reveal a new, 550-square-foot section for appliances on the eighth floor of its store on East 59th Street. Wares on display will include a $7,000 LG fridge whose door becomes transparent when you knock on it twice.</p><p>For now, the push into appliances is partly a test, said Dan Leppo, Bloomingdale’s executive vice president and general manager of men’s and home.</p><p>“We will explore possibilities of expanding the partnership based on customer response and performance,” Leppo said.</p><p>Still, it’s a radical break from Bloomingdale’s history of hawking designer dresses, shoes and handbags. To close watchers of retail, it’s the latest in a continuing saga of oversize department stores grappling with dwindling customer counts.</p><p>“For Bloomingdale’s this is about driving store traffic,” said Gail Conroy, senior director of home appliances for LG Electronics.</p><p>She described the initiative as a “strategic partnership.” Instead of paying rent for its eighth-floor display, LG is providing Bloomingdale’s with large electronic screens at the store’s entrances, according to Conroy.</p><p>Increasingly, department store real estate is failing to command a premium.</p><p>JCPenney also has begun stocking its stores with large appliances, in part to grab market share as Sears flails in bankruptcy. Still, experts say the Bloomingdale’s appliance move signals an “anything goes” mentality has begun to grip department stores as they scramble to compete with Amazon and a slew of other competitors online.</p><p>“If department stores think there is an opportunity to make more money on something else, they will grab it,” said Craig Johnson of Customer Growth Partners, a Connecticut-based retail consultancy.</p><p>LG sees the Bloomingdale’s tie-up as an opportunity to promote its luxury line in a “calm and inviting environment,” Conroy told The Post.</p><p>In return, Bloomingdale’s is “providing another interesting experience for its shoppers,” she said.</p><p> News Corp. is a network of leading companies in the world of diversified media, news, and information services. </p>
ar results are slightly ahead of the position we set out in September, they fall well short of what we hoped to achieve at the start of the year.'</p><p>SSE reported a 41 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £246.4million in the six months to 30 September. </p><p>Down: SSE reported a 41 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £246.4million</p><p>On a bottom-line basis, SSE posted pre-tax losses of £265.3million for the period, against profits of £409.3million a year earlier.</p><p>The group's energy services arm, which is split out from the main numbers due to the forthcoming npower deal, saw operating losses widen to £62.1million, up from £7.1million a year ago.</p><p>SSE warned that profit margins in its energy services arm looked set to fall between two and three per cent, down from 6.8 per cent the previous year. The firm has put this down to 'competitive pressures' and the impending introduction of a price cap. </p><p>'Margins are expected to be lower still in 2019/20,', the company added.</p><p>Energy giant SSE has also admitted there is 'some uncertainty' that its merger with rival npower will go ahead after the pair delayed the tie-up due to the incoming cap on default tariff prices. </p><p>Shares in SSE are up 3.14 per cent or 35.5p to 1,167p. </p><p>Mr Gillingwater said: 'Although our half-year results are slightly ahead of the position we set out in September, they fall well short of what we hoped to achieve at the start of the year. This is disappointing and regrettable, but important changes are now being made to the way SSE manages its exposure to energy commodities.'</p><p>He added: 'The 29.3 pence interim dividend that we have announced today is the first step in delivering our five-year dividend plan and paves the way for the 97.5 pence full-year dividend that we expect to recommend in May.</p><p>'This is a company with a clear strategy for its core businesses and highly valuable assets in a sector that's yielding investment opportunities that go with the grain of political, economic and environmental focus on decarbonisation, and it is this that will support the delivery of our dividend plan in the years to come.'</p><p>On top of posting its latest results, SSE also revealed it plans to consolidate its renewable energy operations and form a new company called SSE Renewables.</p><p>The company said it wants to 'become a leading energy company in a low carbon world.'</p><p>Chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: 'The creation of SSE Renewable is the latest step in our strategic goal to give greater focus to renewable energy, give investors greater visibility of assets and earnings in the future and give each of the businesses in SSE the best platform for success.' </p><p>George Salmon, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: 'SSE has an enviable track record of dividend increases, but investors might be worried about the group's next five year plan. SSE needs to reinvest huge amounts back into running its energy network.</p><p>'That means there's not always enough cash left over to cover the payout to shareholders.</p><p>'Taking on debt to pay the dividend can only tide you over so long, so if SSE is to make its dividend as sustainable as its energy generation, it needs to make improvements.'</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
es reveal that inflation has stayed flat at 2.4 per cent - defying predictions it would rise. </p><p>The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the country has benefited from a dip in the price of clothes and certain foods, especially cheese and yoghurt.</p><p>But they face major increases in the cost of electricity and gas, which have soared by 9 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively over the past 12 months.</p><p>The ONS said that the consumer price index (CPI) - the standard rate of inflation - was 2.4 per cent in the year ending in October this year. This is unchanged from September.</p><p>Hard-pressed families received a boost today as new figures reveal that inflation has stayed flat at 2.4 per cent - defying predictions it would rise (pictured)</p><p>Experts had predicted a slight increase in the rate to 2.5 per cent. </p><p>The ONS' head of inflation Michael Hardie said: 'Prices paid by consumers continued to rise at a steady rate with falls in food and clothing offset by rising utility bills and petrol, as crude prices continued to rise.</p><p>'House price growth ticked up a little as increases in Wales, Scotland and the midlands were to some extent offset by falls in central London.'</p><p>The figures show that there was a fall in the cost of food and drink, which dipped by 0.1 per cent between September and October. </p><p>The ONS said this was mainly driven by a fall in the cost of yoghurts and cheese, and soft drinks.</p><p>And the cost of clothes also fell, particularly among menswear and shoes, which fell by 1.3 per cent in the past month. </p><p>Theresa May (pictured in Downing Street on Monday) announced last month that she will freeze fuel duty for the ninth year in a row to help ease the cost of living for hard working Britons</p><p>But while food and clothes bills have been cut, Britons face having to cough up far more to heat their homes and travel.</p><p>Transport costs soared by 5.3 per cent over the year - driven mainly by the rising cost of petrol and diesel.</p><p>Theresa May announced last month that she will freeze fuel duty for the ninth year in a row to help ease the cost of living for hard working Britons. </p><p>Households also faced higher prices for recreation and culture, which climbed 0.7 per cent on the month. </p><p>The Consumer Prices Index including owner-occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) - the ONS' preferred measure of inflation - was 2.2 per cent in October, unchanged from September.</p><p>The Retail Prices Index (RPI), a separate measure of inflation, was 3.3 per cent last month, unchanged from September. </p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
holiday season. If that's your plan, too, let your credit card points do some of the shopping instead. It's a strategy common among rewards cardholders.</p><p>"This is probably our customers' favorite time of year when it comes to rewards," says Tammy McIntosh, senior vice president of customer rewards at PNC Bank. "They save throughout the year just for the holidays. That's when when we see redemptions just spike."</p><p>There are plenty of ways to tap those rewards to help you stay within your budget, McIntosh says. Remember that you may not always maximize the dollar value of your points, but it’s better than emptying your wallet, or worse, racking up credit card debt you can’t pay off.</p><p>Here are eight ways to use points to alleviate your holiday spending:</p><p>Some retailers partner with credit card rewards programs so you can pay for your purchase with points. For instance, you can use your American Express, Chase, Citi and Discover rewards for Amazon purchases. You can also use Amex rewards for online purchases at Staples, Walmart, Best Buy and Rite Aid, among others.</p><p>You can also use Citi points at Best Buy and 1-800-Flowers.com, but there’s a hitch. You need to pay first with your card. The points are deducted later, and you get a statement credit within days of the purchase.</p><p>They may be impersonal, but gift cards are consistently the most popular and most requested present for at least a decade, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade association. They are also practical and easy to send.</p><p>Most credit card rewards programs allow you to redeem your points or rewards for gift cards from major retailers, often at a discount. </p><p>McIntosh sees procrastinators take advantage of sending digital gift cards at the last minute. Others redeem their points for a card and use it themselves at the store to buy presents for loved ones, she says.</p><p>If you don’t have enough points, here’s a way to supercharge getting rewards while you shop. Instead of purchasing directly from a retailer’s website, go through your credit card’s online shopping portal where you can shop at major stores like Banana Republic and Best Buy. When you buy through the portal, you earn extra rewards points. You can use those later for a statement credit to reduce your total spending.</p><p>Browse your card issuer’s merchandise catalog for possible gift ideas. These catalogs often feature, luggage, jewelry, electronics and even toys that can be bought using rewards or points. Generally, you ultimately pay more for these items than if you purchased them directly from a store. But if you have no other use for your rewards and need to stick to a budget, this is a convenient way to do it.</p><p>For those recipients on your list that have everything already, buy an experience with your rewards. For instance, get concert or other event tickets from Live Nation using your Citi ThankYou points, or from TicketMaster using your American Express rewards. </p><p>"We see customers will use rewards to book travel, but not for holiday time," McIntosh. "They book a Disney cruise and give that as a gift that maybe doesn’t happen until February."</p><p>If you promise to “be home for Christmas,” use rewards to get there. Points can be used to book a hotel near family or fly your special someone to you. If you don’t have enough to cover a flight, some issuers, like Citi and American Express, let you use rewards to pay for some or all of a purchase on Expedia.com. Capital One cardholders also can use rewards they earn during the holidays to pay for travel purchases they made 90 days before.</p><p>Embrace the spirit of the season and donate your points in your loved one’s name. It’s tax-deductible, too. Most issuers allow this, but some offer more options than others. For example, you can choose from over a million charities to donate your American Express rewards to. But you can donate to only three charities with your Citi card: American Red Cross Disaster Relief, American Red Cross International Services, and Smile Train, a not-for-profit that provides cleft repair surgery in developing countries.</p><p>"The fallback is just redeeming for cash. They can go out and buy a gift or travel and redeem for cash," says McIntosh. "It still feels pretty rewarding because that cash didn’t come out of their wallet or their budget."</p>
ition adopt a 'growth friendly' budget policy, putting it on a potential collision course with Brussels which is demanding greater austerity.</p><p>In a blistering critique of the performance of the third largest economy in the eurozone, the IMF noted that real incomes are at the levels of two decades ago, unemployment has been stuck at 10 per cent for the same period and emigration is near a five-year high.</p><p>The Fund's assertion that the Italian government's emphasis on growth and social inclusion is 'welcome' is bound to be seen as a provocation by the European Commission.</p><p> If the EC is not satisfied with a budget submitted by Italy's government – led by populist prime minister Giuseppe Conte – then disciplinary action could come as soon as this month</p><p>It is demanding Italy rewrite its budget to tackle more directly the deficit and government debt burdens.</p><p>The clash between Brussels and Rome has sent the borrowing cost on Italian bonds surging to levels last seen at the time of the crisis in the euro area in 2010.</p><p>The EC is threatening to impose swingeing penalties on Italy unless it conforms to European regulations. </p><p>If it is not satisfied with a budget submitted by Italy's government – led by populist prime minister Giuseppe Conte – then disciplinary action could come as soon as this month.</p><p>The more conciliatory tone towards Rome taken by the IMF reflects the view in Washington that Brussels is being too tough on the eurozone's weaker countries.</p><p>The Fund wants budget reforms that are inclusive but also support the goal of reducing Italy's national debt, which at 130 per cent of national output is the second highest in the euro area after Greece.</p><p>Europe's mounting financial problems were underlined by the European Central Bank which says the continent's top three investment banks, Germany's Deutsche, France's SocGen and BNP Paribas, need up to £9.6billion of new capital to make them safer.</p><p>Concerns about Italy have put downward pressure on the euro against the dollar in recent days. </p><p>But reports last night of a Brexit deal saw the euro rise by 0.53 per cent to $1.277.</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
cussions with a number of strategic operators about a potential sale of the company.'</p><p>The FTSE 250 listed company's share price has risen sharply this morning and is currently up 22.05 per cent or 2.58p to 14.28p.</p><p>Turbulent times: Budget UK-based airline Flybe has put itself up for sale, weeks after issuing a profit warning</p><p>Flybe told This is Money that there are no flight cancellations planned, adding that customers should not be concerned about any Flybe flight they have booked. </p><p>The airline said it was facing a number of 'challenges', including higher fuel prices, a weaker pound and uncertain demand. </p><p>On top of a potential sale, the airline said it was also reviewing other 'strategic options' in a bid to sort out its finances, including cutting flight capacity and costs. The airline also faces stiff competition from rivals including Ryanair and Easyjet </p><p>The alert sent shares tumbling by more than a third on the day and nearly 75 per cent has been wiped off its stock market value since December. </p><p>But Stobart, which already has a franchise agreement with Flybe, could reportedly come back into the frame.</p><p>Half-year results published today reveal that Flybe's pre-tax profits fell by 54 per cent to £7.4million, while revenues fell to 2.4 per cent to £419.2million. Underlying pre-tax profits rose from £9.2million to £9.9million. </p><p>Data: FTSE-250 listed Flybe's share price charted over the last three years</p><p>Half-year results: Half-year results published today reveal that the airline's pre-tax profits fell by 54 per cent to £7.4million</p><p>Revenues fell by 10 per cent to £409.2million after the airline cut capacity by 9 per cent. Passenger numbers edged up 0.6 per cent to 5.2million.</p><p>A the end of September, the airline had 78 planes in its fleet, compared to the 80 it had in March. </p><p>Chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener said the group continued to see improvements in the third quarte, adding that cost savings had already helped to drive progress in boosting profits.</p><p>But she added: 'There has been a recent softening in growth in the short-haul market, as well as continued headwinds from higher fuel and currency costs.</p><p>'We are responding to this by reviewing every aspect of our business, especially further capacity reduction, cash management and cost savings.' </p><p>Bankers at Evercore have been brought in to handle the talks about a potential deal. </p><p>Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said that while the higher fuel costs and weak pound had pushed FlyBe to the current situation, 'it has been for some time a zombie airline.'</p><p>He added: 'There are more of them and we see this as simply the latest domino to fall in the European short haul airline sector. There will be more to come, although some temporary reprieve perhaps if oil continues to fall'.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>