Bits: IAG and LATAM sign new price fixing deal, Ramada loses two of its best UK hotels to Marriott

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Even more news in brief:

British Airways and Iberia announce price fixing deal with LATAM to South America

IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, announced last week that it has applied for permission to operate price fixing with LATAM (owner of LAN and TAM) on flights between Europe and South America.

They don’t call it price fixing, of course.  It is a ‘joint business agreement’, similar to the one which BA, Iberia, Finnair and American Airlines have for flights to North America.  BA has a similar deal with JAL for flights to Japan.

The four airlines (BA, Iberia, LAN, TAM) will pool their transatlantic services into one special purpose entity.  All flights will carry a flight code from each airline.  Fares will be harmonised.  Schedules will be adjusted so that flights do not compete directly against each other.

Frequent flyer benefits will be also be aligned.  This means that the earning rate in terms of Avios and tier points will be identical whichever airline you fly, which will be an improvement.

The deal will require regulatory approval which will take 12-18 months, although there is no obvious reason – given precedent – why it should be refused.  The only issue is the potential lack of competition compared to, say, UK to North America routes.

The full announcement is here.

Ramada Birmingham Mailbox

Two key UK Ramada hotels switching to Marriott

Wyndham is the biggest hotel group in the world.  It has achieved that despite having only a paltry UK presence which consists of a handful of Ramada and Days Inn properties.

(If you ever stay in either brand, you will find my overview of Wyndham Rewards and its recent changes here.)

It is about to have an even smaller presence.  Two of the most high profile Ramada properties – Birmingham City (picture above) and Manchester Salford Quays – are jumping ship to Marriott and have already been removed from the Ramada website.

Once refurbished, they will become the first UK hotels to be operated under the ‘AC Hotels by Marriott’ brand.  AC Hotels is a Spanish group which Marriott acquired a few years ago.  I would love to tell you what is special about it compared to the many other Marriott brands but I honestly have no idea.  It is apparently a ‘design led, lifestyle brand’.

I was quite taken by the canal-side rooms of the Birmingham hotel in The Mailbox although the only reason I stayed there was because bmi British Midland was offering 5,000 miles for a single Wyndham stay in a promotion once upon a time!

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see  our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Virgin Atlantic have previously held a reward flight sale at this time of year. Is anything similar expected this year? (last year Raffles described the sale as the “regular January reward seat sale”). I have been hopeful of something to use my PE upgrade voucher!

    • Did you keep your card until the 2nd year or cancel on the anniversary date when your voucher appeared in your virgin account? And did you get away with not paying the fee again?

      • The voucher appears a little late. However, if you don’t use your card between the anniversary date and the date the voucher appears and you cancel, MBNA refunds the fee.

  2. neuromancer says:

    I hope this deal between TAM and BA will not result in equalization of the carrier surcharge for award tickets like with AA. Currently hundreds of pounds for BA and 50 for TAM.

    • It almost certainly will, in the same way that I expect Aer Lingus to add full fuel surcharges, at least when booked via BA, once they are admitted to the US JBA.

  3. Stayed in an AC in Madrid – it was very modern, not like a stuffy old Marriott at all. Then again the Marriott I spent most of my time in was Northampton.

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