Bits: Chinese to break up Marriott’s Starwood bid?, Expedia 72 hour sale, BA drops Baku

News in brief:

Chinese threaten to disrupt the Starwood / Marriott merger, frequent flyer community celebrates

There was potentially good news for anyone concerned about consolidation in the hotel loyalty space yesterday.

A Chinese-led consortium has submitted an all-cash offer for Starwood, the St Regis / Le Meridien / Sheraton / Westin / W / aloft etc hotel group.  At $76 cash per share, it is a substantial increase on the Marriott bid which currently stands at $63.  Because Marriott is mainly paying for Starwood with shares, there is also downside risk attached to that $63 price.

When the Marriott deal was first announced, I wrote about why I felt it wouldn’t work.  From a purely selfish point of view, removing Starwood Preferred Guest from the scene would have removed an aggressive player in the loyalty market – one which did a good job of keeping the bigger players on their toes.  HFP readers, in general, will be better off if Starwood remains independent.

You can read more about the approach on the Wall Street Journal website here.

SPG Starwood 350

Expedia launches 72-hour sale

Expedia is launching another 72-hour sale today.  These are not exactly rare events but, if you are in the market for a hotel booking today, it won’t do you any harm to take a look.

The sale home page is here.

British Airways

British Airways drop Baku

British Airways announced yesterday that it is dropping flights to Baku from 29th April.  They are ‘no longer commercially viable’ according to the airline. - a handy resource I never knew existed
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  1. I had to google where Baku was!

  2. Baku is, or at least was, doing its best to be the next big thing, bidding to and winning the right to host various sporting and cultural events (if you can call Eurovision ‘cultural’…). A bit like Qatar. Not sure if the fall in oil prices has affected its financial clout.

    • Aeronaut says:

      Azerbaijan also has a nice line in repressive despotism.

      Washington Post article:

      Or alternatively, you could believe the extensive hype emanating from western PR and lobbying firms about the forward looking and progressive Azerbaijan… paid for by the government of said country.

  3. Baku being dropped should hardly be a surprise. A friend operated it a couple of months ago & the load was 23 with only 2 in Club.

  4. OT: just got some qualifying points posted from a stay last week for IHG. I bought a points package as part of my Accelerate – didn’t realise that the points package points are qualifying! Still learning about this scheme every day. Good to know if you need qualifying points to get status. Got upgraded to suites in all 3 hotels last week as Spire!

  5. planeflyer says:

    I spent a week in Azerbaijian (Baku) in Dec 2014 – really liked the place (human rights etc aside). Lovely old town, and very un-post Soviet. I guess now that AZAL (national airline) has finally caught up in the hardware department (operating 787s to LHR) BA were finding it hard, plus the cost of oil not helping. Hopefully the Azeri visas will become easier to obtain soon, boosting tourist numbers. QR has some very cheap o/w flights back to London. BA always seemed very expensive on the GYD route. I guess it’s come full circle! I flew BD TBS-GYD-LHR many years ago, and the J cabin was very light even back then.

  6. Johnnycl says:

    OT: I’ve just received a supplementary Amex Gold card for a family member but it won’t let me register it to my account. Is it possible to do this so I can see it alongside my cards or does my family member need to set up their own Amex login to view it online?

    • They need to set up their own online account. This will allow them to see their own transactions only and has the added advantage of being able to register the card for any Amex offers that come along

  7. OT but another 20% off virgin east coast advance tickets deal has appeared on the Virgin Red app last night.

  8. Genghis says:

    OT but some ITA Matrix help please. If researching an ex-EU booking, how can I easily find flights where the final ex-LON sector on the return is from a different LON airport? So in my case, the long haul lands at LGW but I want to search for flights (that I might miss due to heavy traffic…) from LHR or LCY to Europe. TIA

    • Your best bet is the FT BA TP run thread but I think most of us now try to play the game and fly the complete itinerary – personally I prefer the extra TP and it’s only one flight extra anyway if picking AMS, BRU, etc. thanks to direct flights back to EDI.

    • Wally1976 says:

      Use the Multi-city option, specify your legs individually and for the last leg, instead of putting the departure airport as “LON”, list just the airports you want, e.g. “LHR, LCY”

  9. Just compared the Expedia sale to some very recent hotel bookings I’ve made. All 4 are more expensive on the Expedia “sale” than on where I also had the use of a 10% discount code they emailed me.

    • Would you mind sharing that code ? Looking at booking with tonight

      • Unless you know that you won’t book 10 nights through, there isn’t much point in using their 10% off codes, since you don’t collect rewards nights and so the 10% discount is nullified.

  10. On Starwood/Marriott/China – it was on the FT front page yesterday!