Bits: Luxury Travel Diary auctions, BA New York JFK Galleries First closed, my Accor status finally drops

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News in brief:

Luxury Travel Diary auctions ending soon

The Luxury Travel Diary site dropped us a line about a new wave of its auctions that are closing within the next 48 hours.

Most of the items offered tend to go for far less than the standard retail price. Included are hotel stays, travel equipment and various gift vouchers.

Interesting options closing either today or tomorrow include:

2 nights at the 5-star Sofitel St James in London 

4 nights at a Park Hotel in Tokyo 

2 nights at a 5-star golf resort in Tuscany  

It’s worth taking a look at the different auctions. Not everything will work for you, either in terms of location, length or dates, but you’ll probably find something of interest if you poke around.

British Airways closes the New York JFK Galleries First lounge

The British Airways Galleries First lounge at New York JFK has closed for refurbishment.

There is no fixed date for reopening apart from a vague ‘summer 2018’.  The work is part of BA’s major project to fully refurbish JFK’s Terminal 7.

The Concorde Room remains open for ticketed First Class passengers.  British Airways Gold card holders and oneworld equivalents who would normally use Galleries First will be redirected to Galleries Club.

You can learn more about the work taking place at JFK on this special page of ba.com.  The two images above and below show how it will look by the end of the year.

My Accor status finally drops …. but only to Gold

I wrote last week about how I appeared to have received a stay of execution on my Le Club AccorHotels Platinum status.

Like many HFP readers, I had received this via American Express Platinum before it was withdrawn in April 2016.  Our cards were all due to expire on 31st December 2017 but I was still showing as Platinum well into the New Year.

On Thursday night, however, my account was finally amended.  The good news is that I only dropped to Gold and not all the way down to Classic, so I will get some Accor benefits for another year if my travels find me in a Sofitel, Novotel, Pullman, Mercure etc.  The only real loss is lounge access at the few Accor hotels which have one.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Bits: Date for IHG's increased reward prices; free private jet flight for Amex Centurion cardholders
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Comments

  1. OT, how does the marriott 5 for 4 nights offer work with the 7 day travel package? If I book ten nights and apply the package voucher to 7 of them, what is the cost of the remaining 3? The average cost per night (taking into account the 2 free nights using 5/4) or the standard cost for 3 nights?

    • I believe that you will pay the standard night for the three nights. In my view it only works if you want to stay somewhere for seven nights and convert some Marriott points to Avios at 1:1, neither of which I want. Others differ.

      • To offer an alternative view on the marriott packages, if you exchange 270k points (=90k spg) for cat 1-5 a travel package when there is a 35% bonus on you get a 7 night voucher and 162k avios.

        Ignoring the voucher for the time being, assuming you got that through spending £90k on the SPG amex it gives 1.8 avios/£ spent, your alternatives were:

        – BA premium plus would have given 1.5 per £ and triggered a voucher, but beyond £10k your better off with the SPG.
        – SPG direct conversion to avios = 1.25 assuming done in 20K +5K bonus chuncks.

        working it from the other angle 7 days in a cat 5 is 150k marriott points (50k SPG) so if you were going to take a 7 day break on points anyway you effectively converted 120k marriott (40k) SPG into 162k avios or 4 avios/£ spent on the SPG amex.

        My take on it is that it’s actually the best avios earning cc spend even valuing the marriott voucher at zero.

        • We are staying in a Marriott Cat 8 property for 10 nights in October paying 8 nights @ 40,000 = 320,000 for the hotel.
          A seven night package would cost 290,000 + (3 nights @ 40,000 =) 120,000 totalling 410,000 points, an additional 90,000 points for 50,000 Avios.
          I would rather use the Marriott points to stay in their hotels but everyone has different requirements.

        • william merrett says:

          Mark,
          You could look at your example 2 ways to make it more favourable:
          1: if you converted with a 35% bonus (there were 2 chances last year and the voucher is valid for 12 months from issue) you’d have 74,250 avios with the package. Given 90k marriott points equal 30k SPG points then that is the euqivalent of 2.47 avios per £ on the SPG amex, a great rate of return.
          2. if you took out the 360k marriott package which gives 162k avios with a bonus your looking at a total spend of 450k marriott points. In this example 130k marriott (43.3k SPG) gets you 162k avios or 3.74 avios per £ on SPG card.

          What I’m really getting at is if you collect avios on a credit card and are redeeming points for 7+ day marriott stays then using an SPG amex to top up a marriott redemption to a travel package is absolutely the best rate you can get in the UK at the moment.

        • william merrett says:

          Sorry I made a mistate in number 2.
          Maths should be 360k package + 120k for 3 nights = 480k marriott. Thats 160k more than you would pay with a simple redemption which is 53.3k spg or 3 avios per £ (double the BA amex)

        • Genghis says:

          I’m going to do some more analysis before I decide to go for another travel package. Avios are easy to collect from other sources. Do I want to fly SQ? Are they worth just leaving as Marriott points? More work needed.

        • I think if your options are other airline miles it’s a subjective.

          If you currently collect avios via a UK credit card and have already hit £10k for the BAPP companion voucher then the SPG amex, to marriott, to avios via a travel package when on a 35% bonus is a no brainer even if you don’t value the travel package. The fact you can just buy the cheapest 120k avios package and then upgrade to whatever cat you want at a later date (which also extends the validity) is the icing on the cake.

      • Thanks

  2. Tom Cook says:

    Has anyone had any joy with the mulberry offer, i.e. spend £200 and get 3k avios? I’ve got it on 3 cards and wonder if mulberry might let me split a payment into three transactions, or buy three gift cards at £200 a pop to trigger the bonus. The Mrs wants a new holdall…… 🙂

    • Shouldn’t be a problem doing either of those to be honest.

      • Tom Cook says:

        Thanks Rob!

        • Just check the locations in the terms first. The outlet stores aren’t included from what I can tell in case you were intending visiting Bicester/York/Chester for example. Although my statement shows Mulberry Sales ltd, so might give customer services a call and see whether they are feeling generous.

    • Presumably you could buy the gift cards (x3) at a regular Mulberry shop, triggering the offer 3 times; and then spend them at an outlet, benefiting from reductions.

  3. OT: Has anyone got recent experience for Amex referrals? i.e. can I refer someone from my Amex Plat and they take a BAPP card but I still get 18k MRs? If so could solve a First World Problem for me…

  4. william merrett says:

    Raffles will surely run an article tomorrow but qatar sale 9-16 Jan booking window rolling out as I write this.

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