News in brief:
British Airways brings back ‘Upgrade To First’
BA has brought back its regular ‘Upgrade To First’ promotion.
This offer is only suitable for people travelling for business, as you are required to book a flexible or semi-flexible Club World ticket (in R, D, C or J ticket buckets) in order to qualify.
The rules are:
You must book by 10th December for outbound travel by 23rd December and return travel by 31st December
You must book a return Club World ticket, of which one leg (your choice) will be upgraded to First Class
The offer is also valid on American Airlines flights from the UK to the US, Canada and Mexico when booked under a BA flight code
The upgrade books into the ‘A’ ticket bucket in First Class. If there are no seats available in the ‘A’ ticket bucket, you cannot upgrade, even if other seats in First Class are available for sale.
You cannot book this offer on ba.com – it must be booked via BA’s call centre or a travel agent
You can take advantage of this deal as often as you like
You will receive First Class Avios and tier points for the upgraded leg
Full details are on ba.com here. Remember that only selected British Airways routes have a First Class cabin!
Clue to the Marriott / SPG merger date
If you were wondering when Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest will finally merge into a brand new programme – which may or may not be an improvement on what we already have – there is a little clue.
The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express has, all year, been offering double points on stays at Marriott hotels until November 2017. This wording has now changed to say:
Earn 2 Starpoints for every £1 of eligible purchases charged to your Card at participating SPG & Marriott Rewards hotels. Until 31 December 2018.
This could imply that both programmes will continue as they are until the end of next year. This makes sense because launching a new scheme in the middle of the year – when status requalification is based on calendar year stays – would be crazy.
InterContinental drops 5,000 point Ambassador bonus
I have written about InterContinental’s ‘pay to join’ Ambassador loyalty programme numerous times – my last article was here.
I find InterContinental Ambassador good value and have been a member for many years. The free weekend night voucher (really ‘buy one get one free’) offsets the $200 joining fee by itself. Renewing is just $150.
New members used to receive a voucher for 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points as an extra bonus. This now appears to have ended. A reader told me that he did not receive a code when he joined recently, and the IHG contact centre has confirmed that these points are no longer offered. All mention of 5,000 extra points has been removed from the IHG Ambassador website here.
The bonus points were never a key reason for joining Ambassador so I can see why IHG may have decided to drop them. What I don’t understand, however, is why they still continue to charge an extra $50 for first-time joiners.
Bonuses for renewing members are unchanged.
IHG Rewards Club update – January 2021:
Get bonus points: IHG is not currently running a global points promotion as of 1st January 2021.
Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards Club points, you can buy them here.
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.