Thieves on your plane?, Marriott/SPG merger status & new on airport Heathrow hotels set to open

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This week marks a first for the TLFL team. With the addition of our newest and final member Paul (learn more here) our Tier Point Run expert, 2/3 of the TLFL team will be travelling out to Phoenix this week for a tier point run. Naturally, Paul is doing the most extreme version via Helsinki as well as Bucharest, New York and Los Angeles with only 12 hours in Phoenix. Next is Claudio who is skipping Helsinki but routeing via New York both ways with 2 nights in Phoenix. I am taking it in a much more leisurely fashion as I don’t need that many tier points, so I am only routeing via New York one way and have 4 nights to enjoy in Phoenix. There will be plenty of reviews of First class with BA B747, A380 and American Airlines Transcontinental First A321 to follow in the coming weeks.

Are you doing the tier point run to Phoenix this week? Let us know in the comments below or on social media and come and say hi to us at the Flyertalk meet up. 

Thieves in business class

This week there have been disturbing reports of an incident that happened on a Malaysia Airlines aircraft inbound to Kuala Lumpur from Ho Chi Minh City. Normally I don’t report on these type of events but given the information from the crew to the victim it sounds like this is far from an isolated incident which is worth all travellers being aware of.

Police board the aircraft at Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Facebook MH group M Mokhtar

The victim was sitting in business class and put his bag into the overhead locker above his seat. Although the passenger hadn’t noticed himself, fortunately, one if his travelling companions noticed another business class passenger remove his bag from the locker and take it back to his seat. The thief was found going through the bag and holding some of the victim’s currency in his hand. The passenger confronted the thief and then alerted the cabin crew. Luckily the thief did not become aggressive and as the aircraft had not departed security and the police arrived to escort the thief from the aircraft.

The interesting part was that the crew informed the victim that there is a syndicate that has been operating like this on China, Hong Kong and Vietnam flights. It is always wise to keep all your valuables such as passport and money on your person at your seat rather than in the overhead locker but I must admit I don’t always do this. The moral of the story is that even in business class you may not be safe from theft.

Marriott SPG teething troubles

18 August saw the merger of the two separate Marriott and SPG loyalty schemes into one, as yet unnamed scheme. As is usual with these things there have been some teething troubles. Those that have status through their American Express or Founders Club card will have seen their status go to Marriott Platinum Elite on the Marriott side whereas we were told to expect Gold Elite level. This is a big devaluation from the previous Marriott Gold level which included free breakfast and lounge access.  What happens now is not 100% known but it is expected that unless you have the requisite number of nights required for Marriott Platinum status that it will revert to Gold Elite as stated as the equivalent level for SPG Golds. As of going to press the SPG site was down along with the Marriott site so where it all ends up still remains to be seen.

New hotels set to open on-airport at Heathrow T4

Arora Group has announced that it has entered the final stage in the two-year construction of its two linked Heathrow Terminal 4 hotels. The dual-branded property, ‘Crowne Plaza London – Heathrow Terminal 4’, and ‘Holiday Inn Express– Heathrow Terminal 4’, between them have a total of 761 bedrooms and together will form one of the largest hotel openings in the UK this year. The hotels are a three-minute walk to the terminal building and when finished in October 2018 will be the largest hotel complex directly connected to a British airport terminal. If you like to get your IHG stays in then this could be a good option given that it will be only be a short free transfer by tube or Heathrow Express to get to Terminals 2, 3 or 5.

The Crowne Plaza London ‒ Heathrow T4 will feature 304 bedrooms and a range of business and meeting facilities, including five meeting rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, executive lounge and three food and beverage outlets. In addition, the hotel has enhanced facilities such as dedicated quiet zones, a Sleep Advantage Programme, including premium bedding and guaranteed wake up calls, executive lounges and bedrooms.

The 457-room ‘Holiday Inn Express London ‒ Heathrow T4’ will be a ‘next generation’ Holiday Inn Express hotel, featuring the latest technology, an Express Bar and Café and the brand’s new larger, cosier beds. Over 100 guest parking spaces will be available at the hotels. The hotels are located within walking distance of Heathrow’s terminals via a link-bridge.

Another addition will be Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport, situated in the Central Terminal Area at Heathrow and due to open in 2019.

16 Comments on "Thieves on your plane?, Marriott/SPG merger status & new on airport Heathrow hotels set to open"

  1. Good morning! I’m off to Phoenix this week! I managed to snag the First Class Fare, routing me OTP-LHR-JFK-LAX-PHX. Met up with some of the others last Thursday for a drink and chat before ‘the do’.

    • We will probably see you in Phoenix then. You would have met Paul on Thursday then as he was at the drinks. Sadly I was in Madrid so missed it.

  2. Hi Michele,
    Let’s hope the thieves are not flying BA ( doing LH TP runs!!. Thank God I cancelled Macao – the ferry from HKG is also being targeted, I watched on some YouTube videos). About the merger I got the SPG Gold as expected (but their calculations are not correct Year nights are duplicated on lifetime nights as they are being summed with lifetime nights), Marriott gave me a higher status then expected I got platinum perhaps is going to be corrected after all the bugs, or perhaps is because I’ve got 2 stays already booked with them in two different continents for the next couple of months, let’s wait and see what happens…
    Great news?, a IHG property within walking distance from LHR!!! Sometimes I have more than 8 hours between flights (EZE for instance) and a gym is something that I miss during that boring nightmare waiting process…

  3. With the TP runs in mind, could you set in the article how much the TP runs are costing and what value you will get from completing them please.
    If the TP runs are not used for leisure trips / holidays and purely for manufacturing TP points, I would be interested in seeing cash outlay costs VS end benefits.

  4. Tilly, more articles about the cost, value and benefits are planned for the coming week. Stay tuned.

  5. One for M to look into for a potential article, over on FT this weekend discussions on how you can find QR cash paid tickets via the BA site a lot cheaper than buying direct from QR main site.

  6. Willie Stewart | 20 August 2018 at 9:06 am |

    Same question as Paul – I understand the benefits of what points bring but without the cost of knowing what it costs it makes little sense for such articles.

  7. Welcome Paul. Do you have any ideas how I can use an upcoming trip from London to Addis Ababa as a tier point run……??

    • Off the top of my head try Qatar via DOH. Sadly Doha to Addis Ababa is under 2000 miles so the trip would net 360TP. You “might” be able to throw some domestic legs in for another 80 points…. Good luck!

  8. Changes coming to Virgin flying club loyalty scheme, no finer details disclosed yet just a statement.

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