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Bits: BA closing Toronto lounge, new SPG Moments concerts, new Amex offer at Thistle, Amba, Guoman

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News in brief:

British Airways closing Toronto lounge

It was rumoured on Flyertalk earlier this week that the British Airways lounge in Toronto was closing.

The closing date has now been confirmed by the Twitter team as 31st October.  BA will be using the Plaza Premium lounge instead, where an area will be roped off for BA passengers with a separate sub-area for First Class passengers.  It isn’t clear how pre-flight dining will be catered.

Looking at the Flyertalk comments this is another move in the wrong direction, especially as this does not appear to be one of the better Plaza Premium facilities.

Medium term, Plaza Premium is going to take over the existing British Airways space and develop a new lounge.  This will be available exclusively to BA passengers for part of the day and used as a third party lounge at other times.  It will not be staffed by BA employees, unlike the current lounge.

New SPG Moments added

Starwood Preferred Guest has released tickets for a few more O2 concerts in London.  All of these are for the SPG Suite, and include all you can drink and a very decent hot buffet.  This is the updated list of concerts currently available with the newly added ones in bold.

  • Bluesfest presents Chic feat. Nile Rogers, 27th October (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Bluesfest presents Daryl Hall & John Oats, 29th October (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Queens of the Stone Age, 21st November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Depeche Mode, 22nd November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Deep Purple, 23rd November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Little Mix, 25th November (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Kasabian, 1st December (15,000 points for two ticekts)
  • Jamiroquai, 3rd December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Gorillaz, 4th December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Mariah Carey, 11th December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure, 21st December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure, 28th December (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Paramore, 12th January (15,000 points for two tickets)
  • Chris Rock, 27th January, (20,000 points for two tickets)
  • Chris Rock, 28th January, (20,000 points for two tickets)

(I saw Paramore in one of Hamburg’s tiniest concert venues about 10 years ago – my friend’s boyfriend’s band was Paramore’s support act.)

You can get your tickets via the SPG Moments site here.  Click on ‘see all music moments’ and then choose Europe, London.

Amba Hotels American Express cashback offer

New Amex offers with Thistle, Amba, every and Guoman

American Express has added some new hotel cashback offers.  These are probably – but not guaranteed – showing on the ‘Offers’ section on the online statement page of one or more of your cards.  They are:

£35 off £100 at Thistle Hotels, excluding Thistle Express

£55 off £200 at every Hotels

£55 off £200 at Amba Hotels

£55 off £200 at Guoman Hotels

All offers are valid at participating London hotels, plus Thistle Poole, for stays until 17th December.  The cashback will be triggered on both prepaid and ‘pay at check-out’ bookings. Remember that you need to ‘save’ the offer to your card to trigger the payment.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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

Nectar American Express

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

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

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

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (81)

  • Stevie G says:

    Hall and OatEs 😉

  • TripRep says:

    Anika – I notice some of those listed are now sold out, which ones did you book? 🙂

  • James says:

    OT: I booked an Avios reception through BA’s website for a Qatar Airways flight between Oslo and Doha. The flight is for me, my wife and my baby son (4 months). I checked the travel itineraries on both BA and Qatar’s website and my baby son’s name has been spelt different on Qatar’s website “mstr” instead of ““. I called up BA yesterday and they are saying that they have to cancel the ticket because my baby’s name will now not match his passport. They cannot rebook me on the same plane as it is now full. What are my rights here? Thanks in advance, I’m so upset as I have done nothing wrong.

    • Paul says:

      Give QR a call directly

    • AS1 says:

      I think it is wrong advice from BA. Most airlines add ‘Mstr’ before the name for an infant. We are travelling today from Heathrow with a 4 month old that has ‘Mstr’ added. Not envisaging any problems. Incidentally NHS does that too. Nearly had a ‘Mstr’ added to his name on the birth certificate! 🙂 So I think you should James. Run it by the Qatar team

      • Concerto says:

        Yes, it stands for Master, I believe

      • Rob says:

        ‘Master’ is the normal title for a male child. Looking at my BA booking for next week, it shows Mr Robert, Miss Molly and Master Max as ticket names.

        It is also normal for Qatar Airways to add the title to the end of the surname, so it reads ‘Burgessmr/Robert’.

        • Nick says:

          BA does this too, it’s a GDS/Amadeus thing. Title gets put on the end of the surname field. Nothing to worry about.

    • John says:

      Do nothing and 99% chance of no problem at all.

      Move to Malaysia and buy a fake Malaysian passport, male children are titled MSTR there

      • Callum says:

        They’re titled Master in the UK too – where the Malaysian custom no doubt came from.

        Granted you won’t hear it often, but I’d say thats largely because people don’t refer to each other using titles very often – doubly so with children.

  • Paul says:

    BA clearly have no strategic direction beyond cut cut cut and slash. I can’t understand why anyone chooses the over any other carrier now on direct point to point services from London. They are only good for cheap ex EU and ideally when you can fly AA across the pond. Air canada must be a better option to Toronto.
    First we had the Ryanairisation of short haul. Now the norwegianisation of long haul

    • John says:

      AC is worse than BA at the moment, but they are both racing towards the bottom. Have you ever been into an MLL? No BA lounge may push a minority of people towards AC, until AC takes something away, then they will come back to BA, repeat.

    • mark2 says:

      ‘ Air Canada must be a better option to Toronto’
      unless you have got loads of Avios and a 241!

    • Rob says:

      I have some sympathy for BA on this one. You have a lounge which is used for 4-5 hours per day. Why not maximise revenue by opening it up to other airlines? The issue, presumably, is there are no other oneworld flights that could use it so it needs to become a proper third party lounge for the rest of the day. The downside is when you take all the BA staff out of it and, presumably, remove the British touches such as specific food items, magazines etc.

      • Doug M says:

        Do you think 3rd party lounges at out stations are the way to go? I have limited experience of lounge available flying, and it’s really only the last couple of years where I’ve had access. Tampa for example seems a waste of space as a lounge, very limited food, OK space, and drink, but I’m fairly easy going about things. I think well I only bought a really cheap Ex-EU business ticket so suck it up, but those on more expensive versions, and 1st class must be quite disappointed at poor facilities. Toronto always seems expensive too, so compared to say JFK you’re getting a poor offering, and on-board service too until the new business product is rolled out beyond JFK. Much of what I read indicates this is BAs main problem, inconsistency of service. UD 747 seats, especially 62AK and 64AK compared to dorm ones, that sort of thing.

      • HAM76 says:

        How would that be different from SEA where BA managed to maintain a proper BA lounge while earlier that day the lounge became a decent LH lounge? After Lufthansa moved, they simply open the lounge later now.

    • Callum says:

      People have been saying the exact same thing for what feels like 10 years now. When is it finally going to sink in for all of you that their “cut cut cut and slash” policy works!?

  • James says:

    OT: I booked an Avios reception through BA’s website for a Qatar Airways flight between Oslo and Doha. The flight is for me, my wife and my baby son (4 months). I checked the travel itineraries on both BA and Qatar’s website and my baby son’s name has been spelt different on Qatar’s website (they gassed the salutation “mstr” to the end of his name). I called up BA yesterday and they are saying that they have to cancel the ticket because my baby’s name will now not match his passport. They cannot rebook me on the same plane as it is now full. What are my rights here? Thanks in advance, I’m so upset as I have done nothing wrong.

    • the real harry1 says:

      try another BA agent first? then a Qatar agent if that fails

      or reverse order might be more logical, Qatar could be easier to ask as they made the mistake

      • Nick says:

        See above in the answers to where you posted the first time, it’s not a mistake!

  • AS1 says:

    By the way, just to warn you Thistle prepaid does not trigger the offer (Anika, may be consider changing your advice). I got burned last time this offer was on.
    Still considering if I should try the Melia offer which expires on the 26th Oct for a prepaid stay. Anyone has experience of that if it triggers with a prepaid stay?

    • Brighton Belle says:

      Odd, worked ok for me

    • Brighton Belle says:

      I have had things fail because I forgot to activate the offer at Amex….. OT Amex pushed out a new Apple app and it’s a dogs breakfast. Doesn’t work on ios9 now. Looks more like an A Level project. Does it look any better if you a using a rather more recent iPad?

      • Pid says:

        the additional card I hold on BAPP no longer shows on the new style website. I spoke to Amex and I hope it will get sorted soon as it means I can not load any offers to the card.

        I could also not find a way of saving the link to the offer so the trick of moving offers to different cards may now be gone.

    • David says:

      Worked for me as pre-paid in the past. And T&C says it should work – so if pre-paid I’d have no hesitation in contacting Amex to get it applied manually.

  • Harry Hv says:

    THE pre flight dining at Toronto was excellent, shame to see it go in a way – but for those of us who aren’t flying BA any more it doesn’t really matter

    • mark2 says:

      I am always heartened to hear that all these people will not fly BA again as it makes it easier for me to get a redemption.

      • the real harry1 says:

        Unfortunately, whilst I don’t doubt Harry Hv’s sincerity, comments like that are meaningless in gauging wider public opinion. BA’s financial contribution to IAG goes from strength to strength. I’m pretty happy with European fares getting cheaper and cheaper.

        Same as the Ryanair story – the most hated airline in Europe was disparaged widely and criticised in the pre-let’s-be-nicer days for its charges and general behaviour – all whilst passenger numbers have gone from 60 million pa 8 years ago to 130 million this year.

  • Nick says:

    The current lounge is NOT staffed by BA employees either. They may work in a BA-owned lounge but they are third-party staff.