American Airlines Flagship lounge Heathrow
American Airlines have been saying that they were planning to refurbish their Heathrow Business and First lounges for almost as long as I have been writing this blog. This would be designed to bring the lounge up to the standards of the new AA Flagships lounges in the US such as JFK and Los Angeles. These lounges are generally very good, modern design, decent fizz and a great selection of food.
Initially, I thought that perhaps they were waiting for the Qantas lounge to open so they would have capacity for their customers during renovations. But Qantas opened a long time ago and still it was quiet. This week US blog OMAAT spotted that Heathrow had been removed on AA’s website on the list of Flagship lounges coming soon. AA’s explanation was they did not have any date planned for London so they decided to take it down. Instead, they have been adding new carpet, upholstery, furniture, lighting, and paint to ensure the existing lounges.
One rumour that could explain it and was apparently from the Concierge Key team, was that AA are planning to move some key routes to T5 to make connections between AA/BA easier. This would echo what is happening at JFK although there at T5 this is unlikely to be feasible on the same scale. It could explain the rumours of a T5C lounge being built.
Fortunately, at T3 there are plenty of other lounges that you can use if you are flying on any oneworld airlines such as the lovely Cathay lounge. Not sure which one is best? Have a read of my article “Which is the best oneworld lounge at Heathrow T3″.
Hilton Honors changes
This week Hilton announced four minor changes for Hilton Honors members which are generally enhancements:
- Extension of points expiry. This has changed from 12 to 15 months which is useful if you only stay infrequently but don’t want to lose the points.
- Collect points from up to 4 rooms on one booking. Previously you could only get the points from two rooms per booking. Now providing all rooms are on the same bill and booking, you can get points from 4 rooms in total. Great if you travel with a large family or friends that aren’t interested in collecting points. “No Auntie Mavis I wouldn’t bother with that Hilton Honors thing, I’ll book your room for you….”
- Previously you could only get points on your room with Hampton Inn by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Homewood Suites by Hilton. Spending on food or drink did not count on your bill. This how now changed and incidental spending will accrue points at all Hilton brands.
- The 100,000 points cap per stay has been removed. Whilst most people won’t be affected, occasionally people may stay at long-stay brands for a few months for business or after a home disaster. This is good news for them as they no longer have to check out and back in again.
Hilton buy points 100% bonus – worth buying?
Buying hotel points is always worth looking in case it actually works out cheaper than paying for a hotel. Hilton have an offer to buy points with a 100% bonus when you buy Hilton points before 19 February 2020. If I bought the maximum points it would cost $1600 for 320,000 points. (160,000 + the bonus 160,000). This works out at around £1,283. With 320,000 points you could get 5 nights in one hotel using the buy 4 get 5 rewards nights bonus.
For some of the top-end hotels such as the Conrad Tokyo (above), which is usually around £500+ a night upwards, this could make more sense to buy the points. When we visited recently, basic rooms were selling for around £600. So if you didn’t have enough points to get a room, this would make it much cheaper than buying with cash at 95,000 points per night which would cost about £385.
Once you get into the 5 for 4 you can make even more savings. The Hilton Moorea is 80,000 points per night so for £1,283 you could get 5 nights which in cash would cost you £1,875. The Maldives is a great example where prices are often very high and buying points is very often a good deal.
The key point is to do your research on prices and also make sure that there is availability on points at the standard rate before you buy the points.
You can find the Hilton buy points page here.
Marriott sale up to 25% off Middle East + Africa
Marriot’s latest sale has launched with up to 35% off in for Marriott BOnvoy members. While all Marriott properties are not included there are some great luxury properties include such as the St Regis Mauritius, the African Pride Arabella Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection South Africa and The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina.
The offers gives up to 25% off best available rates for stays until 31 March 2020. Advance reservation and pre-payment is required, a minimum of 7 days prior to arrival date. Advance purchase rates reservations cannot be changed, are prepaid and non-refundable.
You can find the sale page here.