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Bits: IHG’s best sale is coming back, BA launches LHR to Billund, Hyatt to buy Starwood?

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News in brief:

IHG’s Winter Sale to return on 5th November – rooms from £29?

IHG announced yesterday that its Winter sale will be returning on 5th November.  Full details are here.

This has, historically, offered excellent deals – as low as £20 per night in Central London!  Last year, the deals were more muted.  Whilst there were £29 Holiday Inn Express rooms in the regions, the cheapest half-decent London room last year was £49 at the Holiday Inn Kensington.  The Holiday Inn Stratford at Westfield, pictured below – which I booked for £20 in 2013 – was £89.

You will be able to book for stays between 18th December and 29th February.  As the current Accelerate promotion runs until 31st December, you may be able to pick up the remaining nights you need at a low price.  I will remind you when the sale is live.

HI Stratford City

British Airways to launch Heathrow to Billund

British Airways has made another slightly bizarre route announcement for Summer 2016!  From 3rd May, it will operate 11 flights per week from Heathrow to Billund in Denmark.

Billund is best known as the home of Legoland and is the global HQ for Lego.

What is odd is that British Airways – via its franchisee SUN-AIR of Scandinavia – has been running a successful Billund service from London City for some years.  I would be very surprised if the market could support 11 Heathrow flights plus the London City service.

I can imagine that the SUN-AIR people are not very happy about this, to put it mildly, as Billund was the biggest route they had.  Perhaps there is more to this story to come and we may be about to hear that the SUN-AIR franchise deal is ending?

Billund

Hyatt to buy Starwood?

There have been plenty of rumours this year about the fate of the Starwood hotel group following the resignation of its CEO earlier in the year.

A number of names have been in the frame at one point or another, including InterContinental.  Just 48 hours ago, it was reported that three separate Chinese groups were looking at the company, with the Chinese Government intervening to stop them outbidding each.

Yesterday, however, CNBC reported that a deal is about to be agreed with Hyatt for a cash and shares acquisition to be unveiled as early as next week.

The deal makes sense, with Hyatt and Starwood being the smallest of the global chains.   From a loyalty point of view, the merger of Starwood Preferred Guest with Hyatt Gold Passport may have some benefits.

Starwood is a far larger company than Hyatt and you would imagine that the SPG programme would be maintained.  Because of the strong links between American Express and SPG, we may find that:

Amex Platinum would give you status at Hyatt hotels, once they were integrated into SPG (Amex Platinum comes with free Starwood Gold status)

There would be a UK credit card which earned points you could redeem at Hyatt (assuming the Starwood Amex was retained)

Membership Rewards points would allow you to redeem at Hyatt properties (assuming that the ability to transfer into SPG remains and the Hyatt properties are added)

Hyatt and Starwood have a relatively similar brand overlap so it would be relatively easy to rebrand one set of hotels – although I doubt the Hyatt name would be allowed to die.  Hyatt would also need to be careful – the percentage of Starwood properties which I would class as ‘poor’ is far higher that the percentage of Hyatt properties, and there is a risk of Hyatt brand dilution.

This is all still rumour for now – more news as it emerges.

Comments (34)

  • Kai says:

    OT: vente-privee is selling Iberia £1500 coupon code for £500. Must be used on long-haul business flights, Iberia metal only. Valid on departures from the country of your registered address.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find any eligible ex-UK flights as all of them have the first segment operated by BA. The voucher is utterly useless! However, there are good deals to be had if you are happy to travel ex-FR or ex-DE…

    • Jeremy I says:

      This looks great and thanks Kai for flagging it.

    • OverTheHorizon says:

      Kai,

      This would have been great as I have an apartment in Barcelona (and hence a Spanish mailing address !).

      However, the page now tells me “Oferta agotada” so I guess there were only a limited number of vouchers… 🙁

      Oh well, on to the next one :^^

      • Kai says:

        I’m looking at the UK site and all three coupons are out of stock. It started yesterday and was supposed to last 7 days, so hopefully it’s a sign they found something’s wrong and are trying to fix it…

    • Pierre says:

      Also gone ex-FR, but in the terms and conditions this was not earning Avios.

      • Kai says:

        UK/US return in biz for £500. Well I don’t think earning avios is that important given this price…

        • OverTheHorizon says:

          Absolutely, it’s worth doing on its merits.

          But I would certainly put my BAEC number into the booking just on the offchance of gaining 280 Tier Points 🙂

  • James says:

    The billund route is a boon for milage runners from MAN… Hop onto the MAN – BLL then start your ex EU there 🙂

  • JamesW says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the best options in the IHG 72hr Winter Sale which starts in the morning.

    Could do with a couple of bookings in this to get some qualifying stays for the Accelerate promotion – hopefully they count towards Accelerate.

    • Rob says:

      Be careful with this. Unless it clearly says on the website that these rooms will count for points, you should assume that they won’t if deeply discounted. I need to careful how I cover it on Friday.

  • testpie says:

    Heads up for those of you awaiting the IHG Sale; the IHG Mobile Site is now saying the Winter Sale starts on Sunday 8 November at 09:00, instead of today.

  • Nigel says:

    Its started already

    Finishes 09:00 on the 8th Nov

    These rates do get points, but be careful as some hotels advanced purcahse rates could be cheaper-they were last year.

    • Rob says:

      Does it say they earn points? If it does I missed it.

      Edit: forget it, email says they earn points!

    • Alan says:

      Note dates apparently are from 1st Dec (text below), not the 18th Dec as listed above…
      “You only have 72hours so take action now and book your break by 9.00 am (GMT) on 8th November for stays between 1st December 2015 and 29th February 2016. Then you can relax and wait for your break to start.”

  • john says:

    Make sure you check both FLASH SALE and FLASH SALE BREAKFAST INCLUSIVE rates as some rooms are no longer available as FLASH SALE but can still be had with breakfast at sale prices+£10.

    • john says:

      (the app shows them up without having to select the rate, but the website doesn’t seem to)

  • tall trader says:

    looks like Starwood is going to Marriott
    any idea about the Marriott program ?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2015-11-16/starwood-s-takeover-by-marriott-is-what-it-needs