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Bits: first Cuban five-star opens, 150 free Marriott points, no BA lounge at Stansted

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News in brief:

Kempinski opens the first 5-star hotel in Cuba

If you have been put off from visiting Cuba due to the poor quality of accommodation on offer (Virgin Atlantic flies to Havana, as does Iberia from Madrid), there is good news.

Kempinski opened the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana this week.  It is Cuba’s first five-star luxury hotel, centrally located in Old Havana.  It is a conversion of what was originally a European-style shopping arcade, later used for offices.

The hotel has 246 rooms, six restaurants and bars and a spa.  Full details are on the Kempinski website here.

Kempinski hotel Havana Cuba

Get 150 free Marriott Rewards points

Marriott Rewards is offering 150 free Marriott Rewards points if you link your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds (50 points per site).

This promotion originally ran last year and offered 1,500 points.  For the sake of 150 points, which I value at around 75p, I’m not sure it’s worth handing over your information.

Escape Lounge Stansted 2

No BA lounge access at Stansted

(EDIT:  BA has now renewed its agreement at Stansted and the lounge is available again)

If you remember our review of the Escape lounge at Stansted Airport a couple of weeks, you may remember the picture above which lists British Airways.  This is because passengers on the BA ‘regional Cityflyer’ weekend services from Stansted were using the Escape lounge.

For some reason, British Airways has not renewed its contract with the lounge.  There is currently a bit of paper stuck over the BA logo on the sign above and passengers from the British Airways services are not being allowed in.  You can still access it with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card if flying on BA.

With no other lounge in the airport, you’re going to be stuck in the main Stansted terminal area.  To be honest, I would be filing a compensation claim with British Airways if I was impacted by this as it is not acceptable.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (38)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Wally1976 says:

    Slightly OT – Marriott seem to have pulled the offer of 1000 Avios for joining their rewards programme. I was putting through a steady trickle of applications but the sign-up page has changed. It’ll be interesting to see how many Avios I end up with!

  • BA2 says:

    Did you ask BA for a comment for this or just decide to rant anyway? An internal note went round yesterday saying there had been a mix-up with the STN management and the lounge IS available with immediate effect. In essence, CityFlyer is responsible for lounges where only they and not BA mainline fly and it was up to them to sort out. For once BA is actually not to blame!

    • LB says:

      Ooh…get her…;)

    • Sussex Bantam says:

      The problem with the way BA behave currently is that everyone is perfectly prepared to believe the worst. It may well be that this was an internal mistake in STN but equally nobody would have been surprised if it was a result of BA penny-pinching.

      It is a sad state of affairs but BA’s current culture is so bad that nobody is prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • Rob says:

      And it was yesterday I published the article, which is possibly why the note will have gone around yesterday. After all, the lounge had been out of action for quite a few days.

      HFP articles are a very easy way of getting things done 🙂

      As you well know, getting any sort of sensible response from anyone at BA on any topic is well-nigh impossible.

    • Nick OCallaghan says:

      I complained to BA about not being let in the STN Lounge last sunday and notified HfP shortly after!. BA responded to me and have assured me they have passed on my comments to the customer experience team. No mention of any compensation or anything else, but I am still a valued GOLD member 🙂 …… They signed off the e-mail wishing me a pleasant flight with them next week from JFK to Vancouver. This is a redemption booking via BA on Cathay. I assume the customer service representative assumes BA are now flying within North America….

    • the_real_a says:

      Why should any customer care about the way BA manages its legal entities and franchises? This is internal BA issues that should never happen… and not really for Rob to be flagging in any event!

    • John says:

      So what are they going to do about the (probably not that many) passengers who were unable to access the lounge last weekend?

      I think we should all get 1 year of free status extension.

    • Mike says:

      I was denied acces to BA lounge at Stansted on 3rd June (BA Gold). Complained when I got back; BA took over a week to reply. Response was platitudes but no real answer as to why they have no Lounge nor any indication of when it may open. They have ‘passed my comments on to our Customer Experience team….’

  • N says:

    O/T – pushed over £10k on my first ever BAPP yesterday. Transaction is still pending – any idea when I’ll get my 2-4-1 to my account?

    Matey on the phone at Amex was talking about a maximum of 50-60 days!

    • Genghis says:

      Usually within a few days but my last one took a couple of weeks

      • n says:

        Thanks. Looks like I’ll be missing out on using the £100 off £500 at 🙁

    • Rob says:

      Onto this, down for Sunday.

    • Alan says:

      Applied for that yesterday, not heard anything back so far. Hopefully will all go through…

  • Tim says:

    I was at Manchester Terminal 3 for the first Cityflyer flight to Malaga a couple of weeks ago. The BA lounge was closed. I complained subsequently and received a reply saying BA could not compensate us because it would set a precedent. There were precisely five of us in Club and three who were denied access. Are there grounds for compensation?

    As Rob points out, there is currently very little advantage in flying Club on Citifyler – food and drink are included in economy and there is no empty middle seat in Club. Champagne is about the only advantage and we forced ourselves to enjoy it.

    • Alex W says:

      Lounge access is part​ of the Club Europe ticket price so you should definitely go for compo!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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