Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.  If you think differently, you can sign up here.

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.

(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.)

Comments (38)

  • 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 ba.com 🙁

  • 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!