Bits: Atlantis The Palm Avios promo, all food now free at Escape lounges, airberlin closing

News in brief:

Up to 25% off and quadruple Avios at Atlantis The Palm Dubai

British Airways has launched another Avios promotion in association with Atlantis The Palm resort in Dubai.

Atlantis The Palm is one of the major resorts in Dubai with a huge range of facilities including its own water park. It is now running a special Avios deal for British Airways Executive Club members:

  • 15% off the Best Available Rate on Deluxe and Imperial Club rooms plus earn triple Avios (6 Avios) for every $1 spent on your accommodation
  • 25% off the Best Available Rate on suites plus earn quadruple Avios (8 Avios) for every $1 spent on your accommodation
  • Unlimited access to The Lost Chambers Aquarium and Aquaventure Waterpark during your stay

Booking Dates: before 18th January 2018
Staying Dates: between 14th October 2017 and 27th July 2018
Blackout Dates: 21st October 2017 – 26th November 2017, 20th December 2017 – 6th January 2018, 10th – 24th February, 24th March – 7th April

The package is only available if booked via this special BAEC page on the Atlantis site.

PS.  You also earn Avios at other resorts run by Kerzner International.  One&Only operates a number of very high-end luxury resorts in The Bahamas, Mexico, Mauritius, The Maldives, South Africa, Australia and Dubai, whilst Mazagan is a golf and beach resort in Morocco.

Atlantis Dubai Avios offer

Escape Lounges brand refresh – including making all the food free

The Escape Lounges at Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports are currently undergoing a refresh.

There will be changes to the menu design and colour scheme as well as an added Instagram wall displaying travellers’ Instagram pictures.

Manchester Airports Group, who operate the lounges, will also take the catering in house and offer an all-inclusive drinks and food menu.  This means that there won’t be any paid-for upgrades any longer and all premium items are now free.

The launch dates are:

  • East Midlands Airport – 20th September
  • London Stansted Airport – 11th October (so it should be live now)
  • Manchester Airport T1, T2 and T3 – 10th November

Here is my review of the Escape Lounge at Stansted Airport from earlier this year.

I will be at Stansted on Monday and will see if the refreshed lounge is Instaworthy!

airberlin’s last flight at the end of October

The insolvent German airline, and oneworld alliance member, airberlin will cease to operate at the end of this month.

The airline has released a FAQ on their website informing passengers that it looks like the last flight under the airline code AB will depart on 28th October.

According to RP Online, however, 38 of the 144 aircrafts will continue operating as they are operating wet leases for Lufthansa’s Eurowings subsidiary.  NIKI flights are also not affected as Lufthansa is in the process of taking over the Austrian airline.

Passengers can still book tickets for airberlin flights on the website and are promised to get their money (minus taxes and fees) back in case of cancellation as long as the tickets have been booked after 15th August.  Though, for now, it’s probably better to book with a different airline …..

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  1. Bits OT: Awardwaet isues this am?

    None of my accounts updating.

  2. OT, looks like Virgin have added a lot of reward flights to MCO for example overnight, only catch is nearly all with stops and using Delta as part of the flight,

    • its not just MCO looks like delta is now bookable via virgin, only after they hiked the charges though.

      • Prices for transcontinental flights in the US on Delta One seem not bad value though for the length of flight.

    • 1 way US-UK Delta Business Class miles redemption charges went up a couple of months ago from £5 to £105…but is now £382, same as redeeming on Virgin flights!

      The benefit of using Virgin miles on Delta flights from the US to UK just went up in smoke…looks like they have aligned the charges without telling anyone in advance.

  3. The rates on the website are normally very expensive even with the extra bonuses.
    Plus they never reduce peak times by 15 & 25 %

  4. IslandDweller says:

    I used the escape lounge at Stansted last week, unimpressed. As a Priority Pass card user, I had to sweet talk my way in – a sign at the door said they were full and taking pre paid guests only. They were nowhere near full, but about a third of the tables were locked out, awaiting pre paid guests, some of whom weren’t due to arrive for hours (I looked at the reservation cards).
    Food: maybe it was last hurrah of old system before a new system launches this week, but all they had were a few sandwiches and some sausage rolls that Greggs would never have put their name to. The food items must have sat out for who knows how long as they were dried out and stale. Despite the lack of food supplies, there was no rush by staff to replace items.
    I was unimpressed as a priority pass user – if I’d paid £25 (or whatever the public rate us) I’d have wanted my money back.

    • I used the Escape lounge at STN three months ago as BA Gold. It was all right, and better than BA Club lounges at least.

      I also saw the sign saying they were full, and every unused table had a “reserved” card. Only a third of tables were occupied. I arrived at 1130 and sat at a table that was reserved from 1300.

      My table was near the entrance and so I saw plenty of lounge card holders entering. Nobody did anything that sounded like “sweet talking”, and noone was refused entry (except someone trying to enter on the basis of BA Bronze – on the way out she suddenly turned round and mentioned she had a PPass….)

      Food: sandwiches and sausage rolls were absolutely fine. I haven’t stepped in a Greggs for 2-3 years so can’t compare. They had some meat pies which were probably from Tesco. All the hot items were replenished promptly when running low. Also some passable sweet pastries and plentiful fresh and non-stale salad items.

      Not sure why anyone would pay £25 for a lounge when they can get a proper meal at a restaurant for less. I’m not in a rush to fly from STN again, but it was Sunday so LCY was closed and nothing was available on Avios from LHR.

      • Wally1976 says:

        “Not sure why anyone would pay £25 for a lounge when they can get a proper meal at a restaurant for less.”

        Probably for the promise of “free” alcohol mostly!

        • £25 is good value at Stansted just to not have to sit in the main terminal there if you ask me (I think I paid £19 with holiday extras the last time I was there). A few drinks in the Wetherspoons and you’re close to the entry fee.

    • I don’t remember them offering much on a paid for menu at all, I have seen paid for options in other lounges, but I can’t recall a menu from the Escape lounges so it all seems a bit of a pointless enhancement. Food wasn’t actually that bad the few recent times I’ve been in one…

      However, like most PP lounges, Aspire, Number 1, they’re got the fake full thing. Tables reserved for hours before the people attend (Gatwick), people counted in to a largely empty place (Manchester), Aspire in Birmingham is the only lounge I’ve seen where they seem ok with filling the place up past half full, but they’ve got an Escape lounge around the corner…

      • Lady London says:

        You should try LTN Escape Lounge then. On the time I used it it was as rammed as the main terminal area at STN on a Bank Holiday weekend. The only thing was, the main LTN terminal was even worse! I think there needs to be a competing lounge at both STN and LTN.

  5. Anika, FYI the plural of aircraft is just aircraft not aircrafts (second-last paragraph)

  6. OT: my Iberia points posted in the last day or two from the Economist offer – that was approx 5 weeks to after purchase and did not require chasing.

  7. Where do you see the blackout dates on the website? Seems to price up with the promo in Nov

  8. O/T – Concerning the recent Tesco / Amex offer.
    It was mention (by Genghis) that supplementary cards also benefit from the offer, both my wife and myself used our cards in tesco (seperately) but we only seem to have attracted one lot of bonus points.

    Is there another link in the chain / part of the process that I’m missing ?

    Thanks for any help

    • Supplementary cards only get the offer if you have a separate account for the supp. card and the offer has been saved on that account. It’s not automatic.

    • The TK Maxx offer is quite good too. £10 off £40.

    • Not sure if it’s related, but I bought a case of Champagne @ £162 ( 6 bottles with 25% off) for Christmas from Tesco wine via, got 1900 avios from them and when I looked at my Amex statement I’d got 1000 “bonus” avios on top of the spend, even though the offer was for 500! So not a bad result.

  9. Surely these lounges are turning down lots of easy revenue when PP card holders are turned away?

    As to costs, I’d have thought the once-a-year lounge visitors will be the ones to obliterate the bar, whilst the frequent visitors (which is what PP cardholders are more likely to be) will usually just stay for a quick coffee and a pastry.

    • Exactly. I don’t think there is a conspiracy to turn down PP users. These are businesses with huge fixed costs and very low marginal costs. They need to get, say, 200 people through the door each day to break-even but once they get past that, every extra guest is almost pure profit. You would be crazy to turn people away.

      • Although in many locations they also sell lounge access directly (often bundled with parking), presumably they make more profit on those customers therefore take them in preference to PP cardholders?

      • Its isn’t a conspiracy.
        Its a policy.
        Perhaps you could ask Phil Cameron why No1 has such a stupid policy in place?
        I’ve been refused entry at Birmingham when trying to use PP when there have been just 7 people inside.
        Utterly ludicrous – but apparently they are expecting people to turn up later!

        • the real harry1 says:

          you would think it’s a deliberate company policy to lose money, seems very poorly run & managed if not

    • Lady London says:

      Exactly. I am in these lounges typically for between 10 and 50 minutes max. The reception staff at STN and LGW lounges seem to be recognise me now. I’m wondering if they’ve recognised me as a short stayer, and let me in a couple of times when they were “full” but due to reservations starting long after they knew I would typically leave. Plus I don’t usually bother with alcohol in these lounges. Perhaps they’re recognising me as a profitable customer?

  10. OT: I received an email yesterday saying the address on my BA Amex had been changed. I contacted BA to report this; they acknowledged it had and passed it onto their security team who were supposed to call me back. They haven’t phoned yet, and they haven’t changed anything on my account – it doesn’t appear to be blocked and the incorrect address is still there. Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else, and whether there is a chance it is linked to the new website, rather than it being fraud.

    • Peter K says:

      I’d contact Amex, not BA. It’s their product, just with BA’s logo.

      • Sorry, that was mistype, I phoned the Amex number on the back of my card. It just seems strange that, 24 hours after reporting it,.the address is still wrong

  11. IslandDweller says:

    “You would be crazy to turn people away”
    Agree. But my experience at STN last week they were doing just that. There was a large sign right in the middle of the entrance corridor saying “pre booked only”. I ignored it – went to the desk – and because I was a sole traveller and likely to be in the lounge only an hour they allowed me in. There were at least a dozen empty tables, all reserved, some for customers not due to arrive for another two hours.

  12. As a newbie to Amex MR point transferring, has it been the case that bonuses have been offered on transferring to airline partners or do these tend to stay at the 1:1 value?

    • Historically they did (and they still do outside the UK) but here they stopped about 3 years ago. This may be the price we pay for continuing to be able to get multiple sign-up bonuses.

  13. I was in the Escape Lounge Stansted last month. Good selection of juices and cold pastries/cereals at 7:30am in the morning. The bacon roll I ordered also had a decent amount of bacon in it, so that was good!
    Will be trying out a BA lounge next month, so I can see what the differences are.

  14. OT: Looking at ways to accumulate Hilton Honors points, and was thinking of the Virgin Miles conversion route (interested in Virgin ISA 8000 Miles promo). I’m not currently a member of FF Club, are there any offers for first time sign up. I have upgraded my HH to Gold via Plat, and also triggered my e-certificate via the HH Visa card. Any other ideas on collecting HH points much appreciated.

    • Peter K says:

      Amex Membership Reward points convert into them. Technically not the best value per MR but if it gets the stay you want (especially combined with the 5 for 4 nights Hilton offer on reward stays for status members) then it is worth it.

  15. Wally1976 says:

    OT – a bit late to the party on this one – anyone willing to share the OfferID for the Esso £5 off £50 Amex offer? Didn’t get it on any of our cards :-(.

    For anyone with the Superdrug offer, my local has a stash of gift cards hidden behind the counter including B&Q. Might be worth seeing if yours has the same.

  16. OT – I bought 2000 Avios on on Sunday night but they’ve still not posted in my IB account. does anyone know how long it normally takes?

  17. Stayed at Atlantis in the summer and I have to say it’s the most overrated hotel I’ve ever stayed at… So many better hotels in the UAE for less money too 🙂

  18. OT: Received an offer for the BA Visa (with Royal Bank of Canada). 15k Avios on application. 25k Avios on $5000 spend in 2 months and another 10k Avios on first year renewal. Fee is $165 and the 241 kicks in at $30,000 spend.

    Worth a punt? Vastly different from UK Amex version.

  19. OT Has anyone tried Combine my Avios recently. We got the AerClub bonus again recently and I just tried moving the 250 Avios from my daughter’s own Avios account to her account in our BAEC household account but it keeps rejecting the info even though I’ve used it several times, the last being in May. Online chat says there has been a security update and now name, DOB, address and email all have to match across the accounts. I use my main email for the BAEC account across our 3 family members so will now need to have individual email addresses for each person.

  20. Andrew Stock says:

    The Escape Lounge, the only decent part of Stansted Airport, a truly awful and horrible airport.

    • Agree with you on Stansted, Andrew. The Escape Lounge is my brief respite from the hell of the rest of the airport.