Marriott Bonvoy changes Points Advance for the worse
Marriott Points advance is or was a great way to pre-book hotels without having all the points you needed. Marriott Bonvoy made it worse fairly recently by not allowing you to lock the price in when you booked, only when you paid up. Now they have gone a step further and you can only hold a hotel room for a maximum of 60 days or up to 14 days in advance of when you will stay. After this point, the booking will automatically be cancelled. I’d suggest setting a calendar reminder about a week before that point, especially if you may want to transfer points over from Amex for example to meet the shortfall.
The new policy will even apply for those with existing bookings. From the 27 May, existing bookings will have 60 days from that date or 14 days before the booking is due to start, whichever is soonest. If you don’t pay the points by then, the booking will be cancelled.
People holding multiple rooms and then canceling is an issue – I’m doing it now due to uncertainties over the green list and whether countries will reopen in time. This is Marriott’s way to try and stop people blocking rooms. It’s still pretty annoying though if you have an existing booking far in the future and won’t have the points in time.
You can find more information about Points Advance here.
BA’s Gatwick North lounge is now open
BA is back at its old home at Gatwick, the North Terminal. Therefore the BA South Terminal lounge which is their own branded lounge is not operating. Previously there was no lounge for BA at the North terminal either as the usual temporary lounge, the Club Aspire lounge was shut. The Gatwick North Club Aspire Lounge reopened on 21st May. Despite the fact that the Oneworld lounge finders says this lounge is closed, it appears BA are now allowing access again. While there is no free champagne or fizz (you can buy it) it’s not a bad lounge. I used it in October which you can read about here.
The lounge has introduced table service, created a COVID-safe menu and installed a digital ordering system. Even if you are entitled to lounge access you can enter by paying £24.99 for those aged over 65 years (www.executivelounges.com) and £27.49 for all other adult guests.
Club Aspire Heathrow T5 reopens
The Club Aspire Lounge at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 has now reopened. Like Gatwick, they have introduced table service, created a COVID-safe menu and installed a digital ordering system.
The lounge will be open 6am – 5pm daily until further notice. With BA removing nearly all the work areas from the First and Concorde Rooms, it could be a better place to work as they have dedicated work areas and accept Priority Pass. The high bar work desks have charging points with UK, US and USB ports, something that is impossible to find in BA’s CCT! The Aspire lounge used to be let down by being crowded, but I’m guessing that’s not an issue right now!
Lounge visits cost £33 for those aged over 65 years (exclusive direct booking discount) and £38.49 for all other adult guests.