Bits: BA closing Toronto lounge, new SPG Moments concerts, new Amex offer at Thistle, Amba, Guoman

News in brief:

British Airways closing Toronto lounge

It was rumoured on Flyertalk earlier this week that the British Airways lounge in Toronto was closing.

The closing date has now been confirmed by the Twitter team as 31st October.  BA will be using the Plaza Premium lounge instead, where an area will be roped off for BA passengers with a separate sub-area for First Class passengers.  It isn’t clear how pre-flight dining will be catered.

Looking at the Flyertalk comments this is another move in the wrong direction, especially as this does not appear to be one of the better Plaza Premium facilities.

Medium term, Plaza Premium is going to take over the existing British Airways space and develop a new lounge.  This will be available exclusively to BA passengers for part of the day and used as a third party lounge at other times.  It will not be staffed by BA employees, unlike the current lounge.

New SPG Moments added

Starwood Preferred Guest has released tickets for a few more O2 concerts in London.  All of these are for the SPG Suite, and include all you can drink and a very decent hot buffet.  This is the updated list of concerts currently available with the newly added ones in bold.

  • Bluesfest presents Chic feat. Nile Rogers, 27th October (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Bluesfest presents Daryl Hall & John Oats, 29th October (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Queens of the Stone Age, 21st November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Depeche Mode, 22nd November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Deep Purple, 23rd November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Little Mix, 25th November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Kasabian, 1st December (15,000 points for two ticekts)
  • Jamiroquai, 3rd December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Gorillaz, 4th December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Mariah Carey, 11th December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure, 21st December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure, 28th December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Paramore, 12th January (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Chris Rock, 27th January, (20,000 points for two tickets)
  • Chris Rock, 28th January, (20,000 points for two tickets)

(I saw Paramore in one of Hamburg’s tiniest concert venues about 10 years ago – my friend’s boyfriend’s band was Paramore’s support act.)

You can get your tickets via the SPG Moments site here.  Click on ‘see all music moments’ and then choose Europe, London.

Amba Hotels American Express cashback offer

New Amex offers with Thistle, Amba, every and Guoman

American Express has added some new hotel cashback offers.  These are probably – but not guaranteed – showing on the ‘Offers’ section on the online statement page of one or more of your cards.  They are:

£35 off £100 at Thistle Hotels, excluding Thistle Express

£55 off £200 at every Hotels

£55 off £200 at Amba Hotels

£55 off £200 at Guoman Hotels

All offers are valid at participating London hotels, plus Thistle Poole, for stays until 17th December.  The cashback will be triggered on both prepaid and ‘pay at check-out’ bookings. Remember that you need to ‘save’ the offer to your card to trigger the payment.

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Comments

  1. I think a well run 3rd party with a properly funded contract could easily be a better way of running lounges at outposts. There must be economies of scale in partnering with a lounge which already opens and generally things should be bette taken care of if you have a full time team of staff.

    Hopefully BA will cough up for nice pre flight dining and the only difference will be where it is and who it is served by.

    Just passed through Chicago’s new AA admirals flagship first lounge. BA should call whoever designed that to get inspiration for 1st class outposts.

    • The problem comes when there are flight distruptions and the lougne staff no longer have the power nor facilities to rebook or alter travellers bookings.

  2. OT
    I’m trying to book a Marriott Travel Package. The first (American) lady I spoke to was saying these are not bookable with points, only cash!! She also said I needed to say what “hotel and state” I wanted to book into and refused to go any further without this. Eventually she has put me through to someone else and I’m on hold.
    Do I need to have decided which hotel I want to go to as I just wanted to get the 270k Marriott point package while the BAEC 35% conversion bonus was on then choose a hotel later and upgrade to more than a category 1-5 when I had decided?

    • I’ve just got through to another representative (after 20 mins on hold) and they have done it perfectly fine with no need to choose a hotel in advance. 3 days to transfer the miles to BA apparently and as previously been said you can upgrade the package at a later date to a higher category of hotel.

      • the real harry1 says:

        sounds good & nice success to you, I think Genghis also mentioned it?

        how are they making any money out of this?

        • I imagine they hope you will be loyal to them and also buy lunches/dinners at the hotels you are staying at. Or pay cash to upgrade like Rob does.

        • They seemed equally useless when I called on Wed but then I called it what it was: a 7 night stay and airline miles package and they then understood. Miles posted within 2 days for me

        • rams1981 says:

          7 days is a hard stretch for me. Maybe Cape Town as not booked that yet. Where do people tend to stay for 7 days in the same hotel?

        • Relaxing stays. We stayed in a Bali beach hotel recently for 7 nights and could easily do a similar holiday again. I used to love rushing around exploring but as I’m getting older can appreciate more relaxing stays – have a nice breakfast, have a swim, do some reading, a nice lunch, some booze etc.

          Cape Town only have Protea hotels, a bit of a waste of the certificate perhaps

        • Sorry – there is the African Pride brand too

        • the real harry1 says:

          breakfast/ booze? sort of interchangeable at the weekend 🙂

        • I booked at African Pride in CPT using a cert in January.

          Will report back after!

  3. BA do this in Tel Aviv where they use one of the Dan Lounges that is available exclusively to BA passengers for part of the day and used as a third party lounge at other times. Like all the Dan Lounges at Tel Aviv, this one is not worth going out of your way for. They are dated, crowded and without any decent food or any computer access.

    • One of the worst lounges I’ve been to. I was starving after my proper search at security

  4. Can u earn 2 Ba companion vouchers on 1 acc in 1 year by completing 10k spend on premium card then reverting to the free ba card and then spending another 10k on the free card to make 20k total spend in a year to trip the voucher for 20k spend ?

    Hope this makes some sense.

    • No. You can spend £10k, wait 6 months, apply again and get another bonus and then spend another £10k for a total of two vouchers earned within the year though. I guess it’s possible to do it again and have 3 vouchers sitting in your account

      • Stuart F says:

        But with the free card voucher having only 1 year validity vs 2 years on the premium card, wouldn’t the first voucher have expired by the time you qualify for the third using this scheme?

        • There was meant to be a “and cancel” in there and assuming all BAPP.
          Ie. Month 1 apply, spend £10k, cancel
          Month 8 apply, spend £10k, cancel
          Month 15 apply, spend £10k, cancel
          Voilà, 3 vouchers.

  5. The new Amex website is horrendous. They have totally ruined it. Almost unusable. What on earth were they thinking????