News in brief:
Qatar Airways finally opens its Al Safwa First Class lounge in Doha!
When I was in Doha last October, the Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class lounge in the new airport was still under construction. 12 months later, it has finally opened.
HFP reader Chris was one of the first people through the doors and sent me these exclusive photos. I hope to be there myself in six weeks to write a full review. Take a look here (note the water streaming down):
It has its own shop:
There is still no sign, of course, of the new Etihad First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi which was also ‘under construction’ when I passed through a year ago ….
Jumeirah Sirius returns as an American Express International Dollar Card partner
This is probably of interest to only around 10 HFP readers, but those 10 people will be very happy!
Jumeirah, the Dubai-based luxury hotel group, was a UK Amex Membership Rewards hotel partner for a short period. When that deal ended, it remained a partner with the International Dollar Card (click here for why anyone with a very large pile of Amex points should have one of these).
When the Jumeirah loyalty scheme, Sirius, was relaunched this Summer, the conversion option went away. It is now back, at 4 IDC Membership Rewards points to 1 Jumeirah Sirius point. This is a little worse than the old ratio (20:1) adjusted for the 7-ish to 1 revaluation of the scheme.
If you have been to Dubai at peak holiday periods, you will know that beach-front hotel prices are eye watering. Here is an example using Sirius points:
Cost of an Arabian Summer House room at Dar Al Masyaf at Madinat Jumeirah next week including tax: £913 per night (welcome to super-luxury beach-front Dubai during UK school holidays ….)
Cost in Sirius points: 11,800 points per night
International Dollar Card Amex points required: (11,800 x 4 =) 47,200 points per night
UK Amex points required, assuming you transfer them to the International Dollar Card on a day when the exchange rate is $1.53: 30,849 points per night
Value per UK Membership Rewards point: 2.95p
You can’t beat that. You won’t always get such good value out of Jumeirah Sirius, but it is certainly worth a look if you heading for somewhere where they have a property. The overall quality of their hotels is high – see my review of Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi – although the Burj Al Arab in Dubai is very much an acquired taste …..