Bits: BA’s Heathrow domination, Amex Platinum closes ‘UK Hotel Collection’, Regus at T3

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News in brief:

How British Airways dominates Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic sent me a press release this week about the expansion of Heathrow.  There is nothing in it that you haven’t heard before, but it did contain three interesting statistics about British Airways position.

According to Virgin Atlantic, for Summer 2017:

52 short-haul routes from Heathrow were operated by just BA and other IAG airlines – including Glasgow, Dublin and Barcelona

21 long-haul routes from Heathrow were operated by just BA and other IAG airlines – including Bangalore, Buenos Aires, and Chennai

In total BA / IAG controlled 54.7% of Heathrow take-off and landing slots in Summer 2017.

I’ve no idea what you are meant to do with this information, but I found it interesting ….

American Express UK Hotel Collection

Amex Platinum closes “UK Hotel Collection”

American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders get a number of decent hotel deals, mainly through the Fine Hotels & Resorts programme (late check-out, upgrade if available at check-in, free breakfast, bonus amenity).

A relatively new venture over the last 5-6 years is the Amex Platinum UK Hotel Collection (PDF document, this is the 2016 version – there is no 2017 version.  Mobile users should click here instead.)  It showcases 31 top properties, both city and country, such as Chewton Glen, Gleneagles, The Grove, Coworth Park, Lucknam Park and Cliveden (photo above).

Unlike many hotel promotions, this scheme manages to tick all my boxes:

Your upgrade – it is guaranteed AT TIME OF BOOKING

Late check-out – GUARANTEED for 2pm, except at two properties

Breakfast – included for two guests per room

And a special amenity, which is often a food and drink credit so as good as cash

Rates are guaranteed to be no higher than the Best Flexible Rate offered by the hotel itself.  This means, if you need a cancellable rate, you will get value here as your only alternative is Best Flex from the hotel without these benefits.  If you are happy with a cheaper, non-refundable rate, you’d need to weigh up the benefits of this programme versus the extra cost.

Unfortunately, American Express is closing the UK Hotel Collection on 31st March as you can read here.  It isn’t clear if 31st March is the last day to book or the last day to stay.

It is a shame to see the end of this offer, although Amex did a bad job of promoting it.  There has always been quite a lot of churn in the portfolio since it launched and the total number of hotels kept getting smaller.  It would have been better if all of the hotels had been folded into Fine Hotels & Resorts instead although I can imagine that some would not want to do the 4pm guaranteed check-out required by FHR members.

If you are planning a UK break over the next few weeks and have an American Express Platinum card, you may still be able to squeeze in a booking.  You can find out more here.

Regus Express now open at Heathrow Terminal 3

If you have a Regus card (or a DragonPass, as they are usually accepted at airport locations), you’ll be interested to know that the new Regus Express business centre in Heathrow Terminal 3 I wrote about a few months ago is now open.

Unlike the Terminal 5 centre, which is in the Arrivals area, this one is in Departures.  You need to go up the Terminal 3 escalators in Departures to the level where security is.  Instead of turning left towards security channel, turn right towards Pret.  Regus Express is just around the corner.

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Comments

  1. IAG has a far lower proportion of slots at LHR than its equivalents do at CDG, AMS or FRA (where AF/KLM and LH Group have over 70% of slots).

    LHR is unique in having a locally based full service carrier competing on long haul against the incumbent. None of the other major European hubs have this. A key reason BA is lukewarm about a third runway at LHR is because it knows it wont sustain the same proportion of slots when it opens, it doesn’t have the capital to expand by 50%.

  2. Totally OT I did a section75 claim due to a hotel closing down for 6 months to make repairs after hurricane Irma which affected our dates. The holiday company refused a refund . The CC company asked me to send the email from travel company informing us the hotel was closed until May 2019 then the CC company refunded our payment. 4 month has passed and now I have a letter from the travel company demanding the payment. First time using section 75 Is this really how it works that I am still on the hook for the payment.

    • 2018

      • Send their own email (about resort being closed) back to them. Cite non-delivery/availability of service. State your position is final, and let them work it out.

        If they try and send to small claims, or anything silly, then counter claim.

        Hopefully a light bulb will come on for them somewhere…

    • You say that the holiday company refused a refund, so you must have paid. So what are they demanding now?

      • The holiday company refused to refund so I contacted the the CC company who refunded our payment and gave them 45 days to counter they did not so the cc company are saying case closed holiday company say we still owe the money.

        • RussellH says:

          I am not quite clear what your situation is – you refer to a *hotel* being closed, but having paid a *holiday company*.

          Who was the the holiday company? Are they UK based?
          What is their status – agent for the hotel? Tour operator?
          Did you just book the Hotel with the holiday company? Or did you buy a package, including travel? If a package, did it include air travel?

          The law is complicated, but if you booked a package, then you most certainly should not have had to go down the S75 route!

        • The company was RCI I booked a seven night hotel only stay with them.

          I have just read the TCs and it looks like I will have to pay back the travel company

          11. Force Majeure
          Except where otherwise expressly stated in these booking conditions we will not be liable or pay
          you compensation if our contractual obligations to you are affected by any event which we or the
          supplier(s) of the service(s) in question could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. These
          events can include, but are not limited to war, threat of war, civil strife, terrorist activity and its
          consequences or the threat of such activity, riot, the act of any government or other national or
          local authority including port or river authorities, industrial dispute, lock closure, natural or nuclear
          disaster, volcanic and geological events, fire, chemical or biological disaster and adverse
          weather, sea, ice and river conditions and all similar events outside our or the supplier(s)’ control.
          Advice from the UK Foreign Office to avoid or leave a particular country may constitute Force
          Majeure. Without limitation, we will follow the advice given by the UK Foreign Office.
          12. Our Responsibility for Your Booking
          We have a duty to select the accommodation providers with reasonable skill and care. We have
          no liability to you for the actual provision of the accommodation, except in cases where it is
          proved that we have breached that duty and damage to you has been caused. Therefore,
          providing we have selected the provider with reasonable care and skill, we will have no liability to
          you for anything that happens at the accommodation or any acts or omissions of the provider or
          others.
          We also have no liability in the following situations:
          (i) where the accommodation cannot be provided as booked due to circumstances beyond our
          control or due to force majeure.
          (ii) where you incur any loss or damage that could not have been foreseen at the time of your
          booking, based on the information provided by you.
          (iii) where you incur any loss or damage that relates to any business activity.
          (iv) where any loss or damage relates to any services which do not form part of our contract with
          you.
          (v) where services or facilities do not form part of our agreement or where they are not advertised
          on our website. For example any excursion you book whilst away, or any service or facility
          which your accommodation supplier or any other supplier agrees to provide for you.
          If we are found liable to you on any basis, we limit the amount we have to pay you to a maximum
          of three times the cost of your accommodation. This limit does not apply to cases involving death
          or injury

    • I can’t see how you will be made to pay for the unavailability of a resort you booked in a court

  3. Same old Virgin, always moaning. It’s the Virgin way to play the victim. Virgin Trains lost the west coast franchise in 2012 and continually said how First’s bid was not viable and after a lot of protesting ‘irregularities’ were found in the bidding process and Virgin were allowed to go on for a couple of years until the government sorted out the franchising process.

    Fast forward to 2018 and Virgin are still operating the west coast franchise and have just been awarded another direct award which will take them to 2020 without any competition in the franchising process. So because of their whining about how unfair things was they went from losing the franchise to having it handed to them on a plate for the next 8 years.

    Virgin are being very quiet about the failure of east coast though. They’ve left it to Stagecoach to be the front for that. Funnily enough they’re happy to claim the credit when VTEC were seeming to do well and also tried to make it appear they were responsible for the government ordered class 800 trains.

    • RussellH says:

      Fair enough to let Stagecoach take the rap for VTEC, since all Virgin do is own 10% in order to give the operation a Virgin name, which is thought to carry more kudos.

      TBH I have never had any difficulty in not feeling the slightest sympathy fro Brian Souter

  4. Sods. Not on any of our 5 Amexes.

  5. Same tactics (moaning) until they got there hands on the BMI slots.

  6. Duck Ling says:

    So WHHHYYYYYY did VS not put in a realistic bid to snap up the ex-BMI slots when they had the chance?

    Answer – they wanted them for next to nothing and let the deal slip through their fingers. And now they moan about BA’s domination.

    Pathetic.

    • VS should have joined Star and Star should have jointly bought BMI. A once in a generation chance lost.

      • Many years ago there was a persistent rumour that VS would buy or team up with BMI, always thought it a shame it didn’t happen.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      This is like Three Mobile complaining and litigating endlessly about not having enough 4G spectrum. There was an auction held in 2012/13 and they could have bought a great deal more than they did, had they been willing to spend a little bit more money. EE and Vodafone ended up with more spectrum and better networks because they were willing to spend a bit more money. They now benefit from this, as they should.

  7. Completely OT: we are flying into Doha this Saturday arriving at 0445 and departing at 1600. We have the options:
    Go to Marriott hotel where we have a room booked through the Qatar promotion or stay at the airport anduse the lounge and do the city tour. Asssume there will be availability,

    What do you suggest? Is it enough time to go to hotel, maybe use the pool and visit city or should we stick to lounge.

    Thanks

    • The lounge isn’t worth 11 hours…..

    • If I am travelling onwards for that length of transfer i would prefer to just chill out rather than rush a city tour. I’d be doing the hotel and then the lounge.

    • Will 0700-1400 coincide with night time for your body clock? If yes, go to hotel and sleep; if no, do city tour.

  8. Nice to see a pic of Cliveden, I proposed there to Mrs G

  9. OT:Amex Plat insurance.
    I have paid a deposit on a villa rental on my card some months ago, I have booked and paid for flights and car hire separately on my card, today I went to pay the villa balance to be told they no longer accept amex due to the changes in charges, anyone know where I will stand with the Plat Ins, I have just spent some time of chat and phone going backwards and forwards but can’t get an answer?

    • Genghis says:

      If are not given opportunity to pay on Amex, you’re covered.

      • Cheers, hopefully that is the case, what makes this slightly different is that the deposit was paid by amex and at the time I could have paid the full amount, but by the time the balance was due the firm no longer accepted amex

    • I understand it that you have to pay wholly with your Amex Plat. At least that’s what I was told when claiming for flights.

      • There is a clause that covers you if the trader does not accept Amex you can still be insured, hopefully that will apply in these circumstances

  10. OT I booked a 2-4-1 CW trip to Antigua in May and later we separately booked the hotels for the trip through BA. Am I able to connect these bookings? And any reason I would or wouldn’t want to, eg so the hotel booking would be automatically protected if BA screw up the flights?

    • No, can’t be done. But, given it is Antigua, you’d have full travel insurance anyway which would cover the hotel cost if the flight was delayed.

  11. OT but heads up to Polly and James re discussion yesterday on Qatar sale
    Just seen this on insideflyer: Europe to Asia-£990 return (Sofia-Shanghai), Helsinki to Krabi £1065
    https://insideflyer.co.uk/2018/02/cheap-qatar-business-class-europe-asia-990-return/

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