Bits: Heathrow domestic fees cut again, new Tallinn hotel option, Accor Plat status retained?

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News in brief:

Heathrow cuts UK domestic landing fees again

As of yesterday, Heathrow Airport has reduced the passenger service charge on UK domestic flights by a further £5.  This follows an initial £10 reduction last January.

This is part of a series of moves by the airport to shore up support for the 3rd runway.  By encouraging more domestic flights to the airport, the project can be seen as having UK-wide benefits.

The plan is to increase the number of UK destinations served from Heathrow to 14 from the current eight by 2025.  To encourage this, Heathrow will be providing £10m to subsidise five new domestic routes, although this pot will be of little use to anyone except British Airways if airlines cannot also get well-timed slots.

The passenger service charge for a domestic flight (shown as ‘UB’ on the breakdown of your ticket price) is now £14.30 from Heathrow.  This compares to £19.30 for a European flight and (according to ITA Matrix) a whopping £44.91 for an economy flight to New York.

Hotel Telegraaf Tallinn

New Tallinn hotel option

Tallinn was a popular destination for Head for Points readers last year.  No sooner had we run our review of the brand new Hilton Tallinn Park than British Airways launched direct flights for the first time.  There was also, for a while, an opportunity to book business class on Finnair via Helsinki for just over £200, creating a good ‘tier point run’.

Reader Thomas dropped me a note to point out that the Hotel Telegraaf in Tallinn is now a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.  Autograph is a collection of luxury independent hotels who market themselves via Marriott but retain full operational independence.  They will recognise your Marriott Rewards status and, more importantly, you can redeem Marriott Rewards points there.

Opened in 1878, Hotel Telegraaf – website here and photo above – is situated in Tallinn’s old town, unlike the Hilton, so it is an interesting option if you want to stay in the historical centre.

A free night is 30,000 Marriott Rewards points per night, which is a decent deal over peak Summer weekends.  Larger ‘Executive’ rooms are available on points, as well as smaller ‘Cosy Comfort’ rooms.

American Express Platinum

Accor Platinum status retained?

Until mid 2016, American Express Platinum cardholders received Platinum status in Le Club AccorHotels.  This was worth having, because it was the only top tier hotel status provided by Amex.

The benefit was dropped – you no longer receive any sort of Accor status via American Express Platinum.  Those of us, including myself, who had the status were due to lose it on Sunday night.

And yet ….. if I log into my Accor account I see this – I am still Platinum, apparently:

If I click ‘Print My Card’, on the other hand, it shows a Platinum card but with an expiry date of 12/17.

Accor has in the past rolled over status, apparently at random.  I did a grand total of zero Accor stays last year.  I would be surprised if my status was rolled over because Accor went out of its way to make requalification harder for 2018, stopping bonus points from counting towards the total required.  Will I drop down to Gold, or even Classic, at some point this week?  Let’s see.

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Comments

  1. OT – Was there comments in the last month stating you are able to refer from Amex Gold card to BA Amex card and still get the referral bonuses or is it still same currency only? Thanks

  2. My Accor card dropped to gold, printable card confirms 12/18 as expiry, didn’t qualify for gold so a soft landing for me, seems 8 of my stays have carried over to this year’s count. I had some great Accor experiences in the last year and recognition and benefits have greatly improved, I even received a gift in the post with my platinum membership card.

    Shame about the end of Happy Monday’s though.

  3. If you don’t know your airport codes, here’s a handy list.
    https://xkcd.com/1937/

  4. delbert says:

    OT – Mrs Delbert and I regularly reside at Accor branded hotels but don’t seem to pick up much obvious benefit. Probably not doing it right like the rest of you kind gentlemen.

    What I will say is that we regularly experience great service and rooms along the way and have had some excellent deals through loyalty on a personal level. Not quite the same route but pays to be nice. We have our favourites as well and are made to feel most welcome, mainly through our booking of premium rooms. Can’t fault Accor.

  5. Graham Walsh says:

    OT – Anyone flown Delta Premium Economy (Comfort+) Trying to decide to fly LGW-MCO or use LHR via a layover into MCO on Delta. What is is like compared to VS PE? LHR is quicker for me to get to.

    • Comfort+ is decidedly NOT comparable to Premium Economy. Comfort+ is simply economy seats with a few inches of extra pitch. On domestic USA flights there’s also better service (free booze + snacks in Comfort+), but on Delta long-haul flights booze/food is the same in Comfort+ and in Economy so the only difference is pitch.

  6. My Accor status also dropped to gold exp 12/18

  7. Check your BAPP for a spend £100 get 1500 Avios

  8. Anthony says:

    By way of an update on my previous comment about not being able to book online or via the app – I just called to make a booking and I was recognised as a Platinum card holder, despite my status having lapsed in December – how odd. Not complaining though!

  9. So, on Accor Platinum there is still no clarity, indeed conflict for some in status shown online, especially in the “print your card” area.
    For some, it appears no change, whereas others report apparent reductions to former levels. An Accor IT mystery is perhaps suspected then.
    I wonder if Accor will sort it out…

  10. As an update from yesterday (I commented around 06:00GMT). , my account has changed during the day today to have all status points/nights reset to zero. It also says “Your chard is on the way” in the “Your Account” section – this was not there yesterday when my account details contradicted themselves and is now in place of the “Get a replacement card” option or similar.

    For me, this is a welcome soft landing to Gold – I only had 4 nights last year (2 at a Sofitel, 2 at an Adagio Aparthotel) so definitely did not qualify for Silver, let alone Gold.

    • Thanks Andrew. Frankly this is what I am expecting. We’ll see – it’s all happening rather slowly!

    • Award Wallet is currently having a bad day and just giving me a server error.

  11. Accor have caught up – Platinum now downgraded to Gold for me – a soft landing.
    Effectively it’s no more invitations to the Exec Lounge – there aren’t that many! So not too great a loss.

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