Bits: Sofitel leaves Priority Pass, error with BA’s 2 year status extensions?, LEVEL launched

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News in brief:

Sofitel Terminal 5 lounge leaves Priority Pass

Last July, the five star Sofitel hotel at Heathrow Terminal 5 became a surprise new nember of airport lounge card Priority Pass.

Priority Pass cardholders were able to use the executive lounge on the ground floor of the hotel, Club Millesime, as well as the showers in the gym.  It was a surprisingly decent experience as I reviewed here.  A photo of the lounge is below.

(Because it was a hotel lounge, you also had the odd situation where hotel guests who had not paid for a club room could still use the lounge by showing their Priority Pass!)

Club Millesime has now withdrawn and has disappeared from the Priority Pass website.  It has also gone from the Lounge Key website, used by World Elite MasterCard holders.  The hotel is claiming that the decision is ‘terrorist related’.

Given the lack of an independent arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 – and the fact that the British Airways arrivals lounge closes at 2pm – this is a real loss.

Club Millesime Sofitel Heathrow

Is this why the 2-year status extensions aren’t happening for some?

I wrote on Saturday about the 2-year extensions to British Airways Executive Club status which are being given to people who travelled on the Saturday, Sunday or Monday during the recent IT outage.

Some people, however, did not receive an email informing them of their status extension.  This includes Anika here at HFP.

A picture is now emerging.  Whilst we cannot be 100% sure of this, it seems that some (all?) people whose flights were booked by someone else are not receiving the extension.

This explains why this problem has mainly affected couples, because one person would have booked tickets for both travellers.  In Anika’s case, I booked her flight using Avios from my account because it was a HFP business trip.

I can’t believe that BA has done this on purpose.  I hope, ironically, it is another IT screw-up.  It would be ludicrous even by BA standards to give one half of a couple extended status purely because that was the person who booked the tickets.

Level aircraft

LEVEL premium economy reviewed

LEVEL, the new long-haul budget airline owned by BA’s parent company IAG, launched last week.  It is initially flying from Barcelona to

  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco (Oakland)
  • Buenos Aires
  • Punta Cana

….. using two brand new A330 aircraft.

This is the first review I have seen of the Premium Economy offering on the aircraft, if you’re interested.  This will be the most luxurious seat available on the plane.  This is also the same Premium Economy seat being introduced by Iberia this year.  It will be interesting to compare it with Norwegian’s premium offering which we are testing out in a couple of weeks.

(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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  1. From reading the FT thread I’m not convinced it’s as straightforward as that. They seem to have made a general IT muck-up in properly finding people who were affected. On the positive side, many who have phoned seem to have been told there is a manual process ongoing and they had their names added to it.

  2. Claire says:

    I was in the Sofitel the other week on my Priority Pass whilst waiting for my flight back to MAN. Nice set up there, what a shame it’s leaving 🙁

    • Chris Palmer says:

      I was in there on Sunday evening. Just before arriving I had noticed that a message had appear at the bottom of the listing on the Priority Pass app to say access was withdrawn until further notice. I ignored this and went to the reception to obtain the entry card. Neither mine nor my wife’s Priority Pass cards worked, though the Receptionist gave us a card and told us he’d put the card through manually later. Anyway, looks as though we were lucky since it’s a very pleasant lounge. I find the withdrawal under the alleged excuse of “terrorism” to be quite ridiculous!

  3. wetboy1uk says:

    OT – did anyone use the £100 off a £500 spend with BA and has successfully seen the credit within their amex account. Most offers appear within a few days but this is still not appearing with me despite having the email confirmation that I had redeemed the offer.

    • Danny says:

      Mine took 8 days. A lot of offers seemed to take longer than the 2-5 working days.

      • Handy to know – will give it 10 days then email them if nothing.

    • roberto says:

      My £100 credit appeared the same day…

    • Exactly my experience – email within seconds but no credit yet showing.

      • wetboy1uk says:

        Would be good if we could keep track of this. Seems like a very generous offer and have a feeling BA will do whatever they can to get out of paying.

        • I don’t have any worries in that regard, Amex will honour it.

          • Danny says:

            Yes Amex CS has not failed me. My last three credit statements all took more than 5 days from the date of transaction; email confirmation within minutes – BA, 8 days; Amex Travel, 6 days and Cafe Rouge, 6 days.

    • Scott says:

      I got the confirmation email within hours (minutes?) and the credit posted after, maybe, 5 days.

  4. Jovanna says:

    What lounge arrival options, if any, will I have when arriving on Qantas (in Y) at the end of this month?

    • David says:

      If you are talking in terms of Priority Pass entry, and London Heathrow, you will arrive into T3.
      There is no option at T3.
      Your best option would be to walk via the underground passageway to T2, and use the Plaza Premium arrivals lounge at T2.

  5. AndyGWP says:

    The Avios Flight Finder app (mentioned here: ) no longer works on my phone (crashes out, tho worked a month or two ago), and it has also disappeared off the app store.

    Also looks like Tim Rogers ‘web version’ of the app at baredemptionfinder dot com stopped working in January 2017.

    Just wondered what – if any – other (free) options there are now? (other than trawling through the BA / avios website) :/

  6. So not only do we have governments using terrorism, hotels are jumping on the bandwagon. Next time I need an excuse for something I think I might blame terrorism.

    • Yeah, what a stupid excuse – as if someone getting into the lounge on PP makes the slightest difference! Presumably it’s more the case it wasn’t bringing them in as much cash as they hoped…

      • It’s a fair trot from arrivals / departures to the lounge. Only ever used it when we were actually staying at T5 Sofitel.

    • Of course its all nonsense. I mean, really, do they genuinely expect intelligent people to believe this BS?

      Reminds me of the Curb Your Enthusiasm ‘Parkinsons’ sketch with Michael J Fox!

  7. Stephen Lynn says:

    My wife and I flew back on the Monday. Neither of us received the email extension, the flights were booked by me so not sure the logic that they were sent to the booker is correct

  8. Genghis says:

    OT. Just collected my Tesco ink. Bit of a mission with 5 order numbers but worth it. Thanks for heads up Raffles

    • Dms505 says:

      I spoke to BA today as to why no extension despite having been flying in that day.

      Apparently it’s to do with when your tier point Year ends and if it’s before 8 June 17 you’ll get 2 years; between April And may 1 year and if not then nothing.

      Which seems odd to say the least.

      • Apologies, but didn’t quite understand your post, Dms505.

        My wife and I’s tier point year ends on 08-Sep-17 and we both received the extension email. Your second sentence is hard to get to grips with, i.e. 08-Jun-17 is tomorrow, and what does “April And may 1 year” mean?

        Many thanks.

        • Some people whose year had just reset would be getting almost 3 years of extension, which BA doesn’t want to do. Some people are only getting a 1 year extension but it will still keep them in status until 2019 because they have just renewed.

          • Thanks for clarifying, Rob.

            Still can’t evidence the extensions on our respective BAEC accounts, though. Sure it will happen soon enough.

      • Sounds a bit weird and at odds to what others are reporting – perhaps worth giving it a week or so to see what info comes out (the thread on FT is a handy repository) then calling back?

    • Andrew H says:

      Just got the nofification emails to pick up my ink. Did someone say you have to make sure the cashier/assistant scans each item before they hand it over?

      • No – and they will be cardboard boxed anyway. It is the same packaging as if it was sent to your house.

        • Genghis says:

          They scan each package and make you sign for each package (not each ink cartridge). Packaging for me was a plastic envelope thing without a handle so had to spend 5p on a carrier.

          • That’s what meant … they don’t actualy scan loose items, it is the same as getting a parcel from the Post Office.

    • Grimz says:

      Mine was supposed to be delivered today but no email as yet to collect!

    • Mine were delivered this afternoon, Ghengis, going to an actual store is too much like hard work!

  9. We travelled on the affected weekend, myself and our son on award tickets, and my wife on a cash ticket (upgraded to CE/CW with Avios) which I paid for. My wife is the only one of us with status (silver). She received the two year extension.

  10. Grimz says:

    OT – I didn’t want to activate my Lloyds Avios voucher (7k spend) until October but due to a delay on a refund I think I have just went over the 7k. If the voucher gets issued and I prove my spend is under 7k can I ask that it is taken back and I reissued when my 7k is spent.

    Anyone out there had this scenario? its difficult keeping tabs on your spend with the Lloyds card.

    • Unfortunately I doubt it – agree very tricky to keep track of and quite frustrating! No harm in raising it but suspect their IT won’t be able to cope with cancelling and reissuing! I’ve now tried to leave a £500 to £1k buffer to stop it being triggered, I’d almost prefer the IHG card setup where at least you know when you’ll be receiving it each year! Also costs them money as I don’t put any extra on the card as I’m waiting until as late as possible to trigger it, so lots of spend goes elsewhere.

      • Grimz says:

        I think I might have some back up with the terms and conditions ‘The £7,000 spend threshold excludes cash withdrawals, balance transfers, refunded purchases, interest, fees and other charges’.

        • Genghis says:

          But if the refund hasn’t yet been processed then you’re over the threshold and hence meet the requirements. I doubt the T&Cs mention anything on taking the voucher away should you go back below the threshold.

          • Grimz says:

            I just realised the flight only needs to be booked within 12 months. You are effectively getting 2yrs to use this voucher. ( :

            What a break that was as your right I was over the threshold.

          • Oh yes, it’s definitely a pretty decent voucher – I just like to leave myself the most flexibility possible!

      • Quite, I’ll have triggered the spend within 6 months of taking out the card (as well as the 2 4 1; I’ve now had to actively look for other reward cards to transfer my spending too as I’ve been way more successful than I anticipated!). If the voucher was triggered every time you spent £7000, I would keep on spending on the cards, however they have lost the other 6 months of my spend to another provider until the card year starts over.

  11. Robert Bongo says:

    Jolly poor show for the Sofitel to make such a lame excuse , for the reason they have given perhaps they should close the whole hotel down as every hotel guest has the potential to be a security risk.
    ..It”s obvious at the end of the day it’s been done for commercial reasons …Sofitel own up…

    • Presumably terrorists are incapable of booking rooms which would give them lounge access, should they wish to use it?

      • Geordie says:

        And presumably incapable of hiring 7.5 tonne vans, should they wish to raid the Sofitel lounge of its wares….

    • the_real_a says:

      And incapable of walking through the hotel / lobby without “signing” in at the relevant desk.

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