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Bits: Starwood’s new Element in Amsterdam open, warning on Emirates MR conversions

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News in brief:

Starwood opens 2nd European ‘Element’ hotel in Amsterdam

Starwood opened its Amsterdam ‘Element’ hotel yesterday.  This is looking like a good value Starwood Preferred Guest redemption at 7,000 points per night – cash rates seem to hover around €200 on busy days.

It is only the second ‘Element’ property in Europe, following the earlier opening near Frankfurt Airport.  A UK site is earmarked for Tobacco Dock in Wapping next year.

I have never stayed at an ‘Element’ but the idea is that they are themed around a ‘healthy mind, healthy body’ lifestyle.  You will find a large fitness rooms, large double-height lobbies with water features and areas for working, eating and socialising and healthy free breakfasts.  Open plan rooms include ‘plug and play’ docking stations so you can bring your own entertainment, ambient lighting, the Westin ‘heavenly bed’ and rainfall showers.  Studios include kitchen facilities for those wanting a longer stay.

Amsterdam is location in Amsterdam Zuid, the main business district.  You will need to take the metro into the city centre but this is not a huge strain.  The hotel is connected to a shopping mall.

Details can be found on the Starwood website here.  There are no actual photos up yet – that is how new the hotel is!

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Emirates A380

Amex Membership Rewards to Emirates glitch

Three people have been in touch with me recently about problems transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Emirates Skywards.

The rule, which is not publicised, is this – you can only ever convert Amex points from one Membership Rewards account into Emirates.

What does this mean?  It means that, if you close down your Amex Gold or Platinum card and later re-open one, you will no longer be able to make transfers to Emirates.  Similarly, if you have a non-UK Amex card, you will not be able to convert points to Emirates from both that card and a UK card.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

This seems totally bizarre, but when three people have the same problem and are given the same explanation then it is worth flagging up.  The fact that I had never heard of this problem before suggests that it may be a new rule or a new problem – whether it is permanent or not is a different question.

Comments (33)

  • harry says:

    O/T transferring Avios out of IB.

    1. won’t let me transfer to BAEC, is that to be expected? A/c now over 125 days old. Would a phone call work?

    2. on IB transfer to, running up against ‘Your selected account is a household account. To use Combine my Avios, your account must be a non-household account’. What is the neatest solution here?

    • Rob says:

      No solution. You cannot do CMA into an HHA because, technically, an HHA does not belong to an individual.

      BAEC should work but often does not. Have you tried from IB and from

      • harry says:

        yes I tried both the latter options, no go but maybe another day I suppose. Or I could play with different browsers, these days I often find that IE is rubbish at this kind of thing but Chrome, Firefox or Opera are fine.

        I guess I could close down the HHA element as not needed any more, do you know what they are looking for in terms of name/ address/ email match etc?

  • Andrew Scott says:

    I had the same problem recently trying to transfer MR points to Nectar. I wonder how many other schemes might be caught by this ‘rule’….?

    • TimS says:

      I’m sure I’ve transferred in to nectar from 2 different MR accounts in the past?

      I did discover that when entering the nectar number you need to exclude the first block of numbers for it to link.