Bits: Is the Dubai Priority Pass / Virgin lounge better than BA?, double PPB points on Austrian

News in brief:

Is the Dubai Priority Pass lounge better than the BA one?

I reviewed the new British Airways lounge in Dubai’s new Concourse D recently and was not hugely impressed.

Reader Alastair was in Dubai a week later and decided to visit the Marhaba lounge instead.  This is on the same level as the BA lounge and, as well as being the default Priority Pass and Lounge Club lounge in Concourse D, is also used by Virgin Atlantic.

As you can see, it is far bigger than the British Airways lounge:

Marhaba lounge Dubai 1

More importantly, it has a wide range of hot food.  The BA lounge has none for most of the day, including at lunch:

Marhaba lounge Dubai 2

The only downsides, says Alastair, are a poorer selection of alcohol and a slight leakage of smoke from the closed-off smokers room.

Marhaba lounge Dubai 3

All in all, though, it doesn’t look too bad as you would expect from a brand new facility.

Remember that the free (for the first year) American Express Gold charge card (full review here) comes with two free Lounge Club passes which would get a couple into this lounge if leaving Dubai on BA or Virgin.

Marhaba lounge Dubai 4

Double Partner Plus Benefit points with Austrian

I explained Partner Plus Benefit, the Star Alliance small business loyalty scheme, in this article.

Until the end of June, PPB is offering double points on all flights with Austrian Airlines to Vienna.  This is valid in either business or economy and from either Heathrow or Manchester.

You need to opt in for this offer via the PPB website.  Remember that PPB points are a lot more flexible than British Airways On Business points and can be redeemed for hotel vouchers, Heathrow Express tickets, airport car rides and even cash.

Up to 35,000 Avios for NEW Marriott Rewards members
MONDAY ONLY: 2,400 Avios (1,000 Clubcard points) with £60 LEGO Star Wars spend
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  1. I have been in the Marhaba lounge T3 Concourse B just on Sunday (i was flying with Emirates).
    it is smaller than what i can see in the pictures, long and narrow with a quieter corridor on the back with additional seating.
    The selection of food seems similar, there was a small selection of Alcohol but it perfectly did the job of feeding me and allowing me to relax and browse the internet.
    I got in with Priority Pass.maybe it was just a little cold, AC was too strong i think.

    • flyforfun says:

      I flew into Dubai T3 Concourse A twice last month. Qantas flights use it as well as Emirates.

      On my first visit I used my PP card, but had to pay around £10 to use the shower. Its not a great config, with very little space inside and no where to put your bag. After showering the room got so warm I was sweating while trying to dress.

      The lounge itself I didn’t notice any hot food (I was there around 7am – it may have been the jetlag from the connecting flight!). The cold food was ok but nothing special. The drinks were on the far side of the food bar so sort of inconvenient if you’re a solo travel.

      On my return visit I didn’t bother using my PP card for lounge access and just paid for the shower. There are only 2 mens showers I believe. They had run out of mens kits and I got a female one. No razor which was annoying. But again a cramped shower room. This time the door assistant kept my boarding pass, I assume so I wouldn’t use the lounge – or maybe she was timing me! While waiting to collect it a few people commented how busy the lounge was with no were to sit and didn’t use their PP cards to go in.

      The QF flights only have about a 2 hour transit stop so by the time you have a shower it’s nearly time to board again. If I stop there again the only reason I would use my PP card is to use up my 10 pre paid accesses before they expire.

  2. Except for the tables bring a different shape, and the lift-off lids on the hot food, that Dubai lounge is identical to an Emirates business lounge. Not a bad thing.

  3. Looks very pleasant. OT I used my lounge club at STN last week again nice little lounge filled up as we left but food selection spot on, lots of nibbles, bacon rolls to order, drinks selection not bad, and food always freshly stocked. Not a massive lounge but views are ok and the sheer ambience far beats the zoo you missed….until we boarded the new style Ryanair aircraft. Man has that bloke saved even more money seats are now wafer thin arm rest is the size of a single twix and staff even more of a bunch of arseholes than before. I got told to keep my coat down so others could put a suitcase above…..

    • Oh, finally Stansted is available again! Can anyone confirm if you are allowed to go through Fast Track Security with Priority Pass?

      So it seems that Ryanair has adopted the Easyjet seating now?

      • Remember that Ryanair has fewer seats than BA on the same aircraft. Ryanair refuses to pay for the legally required extra cabin crew member which they would require if they matched BA density. That is why Ryanair now has better legroom than BA at the back.

        • You get what you pay for then

          It was okay for a short hop I’ll just say it got me there in one piece. Ridiculous hot cabin both ways which surprised me he didn’t crank a window to save on money!

          What also made me laugh was half in the new uniform half not. The half that were my god it looks like a primarni special

      • I had fast track passes free anyway from booking the car park it was an offer. Got there and they were broke so it was chaos then again so was the main que.

  4. Virgin Upper Class passengers have a seperate section within the new Lounge with table service.

    A vast improvement on what was on offer before.

  5. rams1981 says:

    Does the Gold Rewards AMEX have 2 free passes per year?

  6. ambient says:

    Slightly related, I have two Lounge Club lounge passes to use as part of my Amex Gold membership. Myself and my partner are flying Emirates, Gatwick to Dubai return in a couple of weeks time. This trip probably represents the best opportunity to use this years lounge passes. Can anyone recommend please the best qualifying lounge to use them on at either Gatwick or Dubai? Thanks!

    • The new No 1 Lounge in Gatwick South is meant to be impressive, assuming it is included. Not sure what they have in the Emirates terminal in Dubai but it would be pretty new.

  7. O/T, but related to lounges – I’ll soon be flying Business ex DUB on AA to USA (with an internal First flight due to stopover.) Having only ever flown economy and not having airline status, can anyone give me a quick guide to what lounge access I’m permitted – do I get it on all legs of my journey? And am I restricted to AA lounges (Admiral club?) or can I get into any One World lounge?

    • Having found a bit on the AA website for the airports in question, looks like I don’t get lounge access on the outbound stopover, but should be OK for the other legs.

      “First and Business Class customers
      Lounge access is not available if you’re traveling on American Airlines solely within the United States …Your access is determined by showing your boarding pass departing on an international flight marketed and operated by a oneworld carrier that is five hours or longer, or connecting to one on the same day or before 6 a.m. the following day”

      • I always thought you got it based on ticket type. If you originate at an international destination I thought that they allowed Admirals Club access on the other internal segment through to your final destination. I may be wrong but that was how I interpreted their rules although I’ve only ever flown on American direct.

      • You will get access on the same day as the international travel, if you are completing your journey that day then you will have access. If you are having an overnight stop-over (e.g. LAX going on to Hawaii) then they may not be accommodating the following day.
        You are not solely travelling in the USA, e.g. Miami to Orlando for example, there is an international component to the trip.

        • An old post on Business Traveller forum seems to confirm that the internal leg is treated separately and so no lounge access.

          “flying into the US on business/first I was unable to use the lounge on a stop over. I did not choose to have that stop over, it was the only routing AA could provide. The lounge desk told me as a result I had no rights to use the lounge, internationally yes and if I was leaving on an international flight yes, but not on the stop over”

  8. James67 says:

    OT bit: Hi Rob, the more interesting news this morning is the post on Do you think these possible clubcard changes and imminent demise of doubleup might be an early warning for changes to boost, more critically BA, FC and avios?

    • No, the Tesco page for the Boost changes says that they will be improving their partner deals, which could include Avios, after in-store Boost promos end. I doubt there would be major changes.

  9. Chelseafi says:

    slightly O/T we are returning from Chicago to London in summer BA in Club, plus we also have Priority Passes what lounge is the best one to use, the BA one or the ones with PP? Thanks

  10. Gareth Morgan says:

    How does the lounge compare to Emirates business?

  11. Simon Schus says:

    OT: I can’t remember if it has been mentioned before, and it probably won’t have a huge impact on many readers. However, there is now a Priority Pass lounge available at Doncaster Airport Lounge. Back of the net.

    • Sweet mother of god my local airport (15 mins) away and I can’t use it with my lounge club next month great

  12. Simon Schus says:
  13. OT: urgent help! I don not remember if Cancellation fees are the same/similar for an Avios/BA booking.
    I am going to book on, I got a pile there. I just want to make sure that if i cxl the award ticket 24hrs before departure, I will have all my avios back and pay a maximum of approx £35.
    I usually book with BA… Thanks, highly appreciated, need to book NOW!

  14. OT BA pricing – has it hardened up after intro of Basic/ Plus/ CE in Europe?

    I’ve been having a look at how pricing is going for Easter 2017 – both out to Europe & back again. Most state schools will be using a holiday calendar close to Saturday 01 April – Monday 17 April [Easter Monday].

    As I’m expecting Easter Monday to be in very high demand for flying back to UK, as there isn’t much choice unless you are prepared to pinch a day or two at that end, naturally I am hoping to get 4 Avios redemptions but we’ll have to pay for 1 seat. (Max 4 Avios redemptions at this stage & we need the certainty.)

    Normally I could count of grabbing a £65 HBO seat, even in a peak pricing period. This time, peak pricing is exceptionally tough, with HBO seats coming out close to £150 @ T-355 days!

    My thinking will be to take the rough with the smooth, as 4 Avios redemptions + 1 x £150 still means we’ll all 5 be travelling reasonably cheaply (about £400 each way with Avios = 0.67p).

    But that IS about £80-85 more than I was expecting!

    Anybody else noticed price creep/ hardening for next year’s BA Europe flights?

    [I could murder a £50 off £150! Come on Amex!]

    Incidentally, redemptions for Monday 17th April 2017 should pop up @ midnight Wednesday.

    • Does this message on BA site actually mean they can book further ahead than 355 days?

      ‘The web site can only accept bookings up to 355 days in advance. Please contact your Executive Club Service Centre if you need to book for more than one year ahead.’

    • As I thought, people don’t really have much of a choice wrt dates in terms of flying back after Easter 2017 hols. Plenty people on my route seem to have decided to come back to UK on the Sunday (16th April) – starting flight prices are already Basic £150, Plus £180, CE £500 so that means a few seats have already been booked, ie dynamic pricing in action.

      I desperately need to get up at midnight to get the cheapest possible HBO seat + 4 Avios redemptions!


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    Review of the Virgin and Priority Pass Dubai lounge