Bits: Aspire lounge in Gatwick North to close, Hilton status match extended?, Radisson rebranding

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News in brief:

Aspire lounge in Gatwick North to close for refurbishment

Aspire has announced that its lounge in Gatwick North will close on 26th February for refurbishment.  It will re-open under the Club Aspire format in May.

This is the oldest Aspire lounge in the portfolio, albeit only 6 years old, so the company clearly believes it is due a revamp.

This closure will put additional pressure on the No 1 Lounge (reviewed here) and My Lounge (reviewed here).  If you are planning to visit Gatwick North – the easyJet terminal – with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card you may want to consider paying £5 per person via this link to reserve a spot and guarantee admission, as well as getting Fast Track Security.

Hilton Honors status match extended?

Hilton Honors has been running a very generous status match for the last 18 months or so.  It was so good, I did it myself.

Via this link, you can match your top tier or mid tier status in any other hotel scheme to Hilton Honors.  You will get Hilton Gold or Diamond status for 90 days, effective immediately, with your status extended if you complete four or eight stays respectively in the period.  Reward stays count.

I did this challenge last year, picking up Diamond status until 31st March 2019.

The status match website still stays that your new status, if you complete the four or eight stays, will expire on 31st March 2019.  That is less useful than it was a year ago when I got mine.  However, a reader who just completed his 8th stay has been told that his Diamond status will run until 31st March 2020.

Hopefully Hilton will update the status match website soon to reflect this new closing date.  If you are tempted to sign up before the site shows a 2020 expiry date, I would contact Hilton Honors in writing first for confirmation.  You don’t want to do four or eight stays just to find that your status ends in 12 months.

Radisson Blu Hamburg Airport

Changes ahead for Radisson and Club Carlson

Skift published this interesting article about the Radisson hotel group yesterday.  They certainly have a job on their hands, having been acquired by a Chinese conglomerate which is now reportedly in financial difficulties.

If there was a prize for most complex hotel group then Radisson would win it by a mile.  Carlson Hotels, based in the US and wholly owned by HNA, controls the group. Rezidor Hotel Group, which is the master franchisor for Carlson, is only 70% owned by HNA and retains a listing in Sweden.  The two companies are jointly referred to as Carlson Rezidor although we are now meant to call them Radisson Hotel Group.

(For extra fun, neither Carlson nor Rezidor actually controls Park Plaza and art’otel, two of the brands in the portfolio, in 56 countries across EMEA including the UK.  These properties are run by PPHE Hotel Group, quoted in London, although bookings are handled by Radisson and the properties are part of Club Carlson.)

Here are some of the changes underway as Radisson attempts to get itself up to the level of the other major brands:

10% of Radisson hotels in the USA to be deflagged (the general standard of Radisson hotels in the US is very poor, apart from a couple of Radisson Blu properties)

25% of Radisson hotels in the USA to be told to ‘shape up or ship out’

Radisson Blu hotels to be targeted for 21 major US ‘gateway’ cities

60% of the EMEA properties “losing revenue due to some opportunities that we have seen regarding the asset or the brand realization” (ie they need refurbishment or rebranding to reflect their current condition)

30 of the 60 leased hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa are losing money

High-end Quorvus Collection to be rebranded as Radisson Collection

Club Carlson to be rebranded, although the new name has not been released

If you have 5 minutes to spare the full article is worth a read if you’re interested in the corporate side of this business.

Thanks to TravelBloggerBuzz.  The photo above is the decent Radisson Blu Hamburg Airport.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. There’s only 1 flight from LHR to LBA that day, too early for us. Looks like all the regionals are being culled!

  2. Sorry for yet another OT. BA have now just emailed me to say they have cancelled my re-scheduled LHR-MAN connecting flight altogether. No substitute offered. Do I now have to go into battle with them over my re-routing rights?

    • They are still selling seats on this flight at £343 one way!

      • Just spent 45 mins on the phone to BA CS, eventually they have re-booked us onto the flight. They couldn’t explain why our tickets cancelled. It’s almost as though BA was hoping that someone would pay £1029 for those seats before I noticed and they could legitimately say the flight was fully booked! Surely even BA wouldn’t stoop that low?

        • Lady London says:

          Hum. They could have offloaded you because they thought they could now sell the seats higher. Yes BMI did stoop that low with me (I got it sorted after spotting they were still selling seats on the flight they’d told me they’d “cancelled”, just like you). So I have no reason to think BA wouldn’t stoop that low too..

        • It is stories like this that make me dread even my once a year flight with BA. When Flying Blue goes revenue-based it might be worthwhile exploring whether it is a bettef option for you. You will have the SPG and MR to FB opportunities, and later clubcard to Flying Club too.

          Good luck with BA.

    • Lady London says:

      Hi Anna
      can you please keep us informed as to the outcome of this (when you get it ). I’m not sure if you have re-routing rights if they’ve notified you more than 14 days ahead. Perhaps another poster can confirm.

      Yesterday I suggested you ask if BA will pay a night hotel at LHR and re-route you following day due you having had such a long complicated journey to LHR so not able to wait for a later flight same day if they can’t connect you on the flight originally booked. That is, if you can afford to land at MAN 1 day later. If BA wouldn’t comp you a hotel night due to their schedule change then personally I’d pay my own night at the Sofitel and ask them to re-route me Sunday.

      Alternatively is there any other routing you could see that BA could provide you that would land you directly in Manchester? If so then request it from BA.

      Personally I’d try for the above now, as I have a feeling a flight or two might eventually come back to the Saturday and then your position would be much weaker!

      Please keep us advised as to the eventual solution.

      • Lady London says:

        Anna’s reply came whilst I was typing the above:-)
        Glad you got it sorted Anna

        • Thanks all, best outcome would be OH getting an extra day off work so can come back a day later!

  3. For Hilton HHonors, is there any way to purchase over 80,000 miles per calendar year (excluding bonus?)

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I haven’t tried it, but points pooling should let you buy the full allowance on another account.

      • A good idea. It depends on the timing of course, but you could get 40,000 MR by applying for Amex Gold and then upgrading to Platinum giving you 80,000 HH free.

      • Good point but it requires accounts to be open for 30 days though, so if Simon needs the points quickly it is not an option unless he already has family and friends with Hilton accounts.

  4. OT but Lounge ish…

    Tried the Plaza Premium lounge today at T5 and had a rather nice full english ( well, no eggs ) and can reccomend both the grub and the lounge. Free entry with my Amex Plat.

    Far better than a BACon roll in Galleries.

    • Neither of us have made it in yet and the promised press event never happened. 7th March I should be there I think.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I went to the BA lounge North and then left for the Plazza lounge. Much quieter and better food.

      • this might swing my choice when I am there for my seoul flight, depends if they have started taking priority pass etc by then as that will make it busier, I can get in with my plat.

    • Chelseafi says:

      I have amex Plat do I get in plaza Premium with that rather then my PP, plus can you take in a guest? Thanks

  5. OT Buying avios: Anybody considering buying avios in the current BAEC should check out avios com before doing so. The thresholds for the 20% and 30% bonuses are different, kicking in lower than BA at 16k abd 35k aviis respectively. If need is not urgent then possibly worth waiting for an Iberia offer. Rememb

  6. thehornets says:

    O/T. Data point: Applied for a supplementary Gold card on Sunday and received 3,000 bonus MR points today. I didn’t receive an offer or have any special link.

  7. OT – related to another post today about Dubai hotel
    Need some suggestions.
    We’ve booked two nights in WA Palm for two nights over Easter weekend with free Hilton certificates. Also have 3 SPG cat 1-5 free night cert to use, currently booked for Sheraton Mall of Emirates due to lack of choice. Since the cat change from 6th Mar, Grosvenor House, Le Royal Méridien and W Dubai Al Habtoor City all dropped to cat 5, could anyone recommended one for a family of 3 with a 9 yrs boy? I’m spg platinum if that helps. Thanks!

  8. Scallder says:

    Slightly feel for Virgin here – damned if you do, damned if you don’t… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43043832

  9. O/T I don’t recall seeing it mentioned anywhere on here, but according to LL, it looks like Club Carlson is going to be renamed ‘Radisson Rewards’ from March 5th.

    Hopefully they will revamp the program as well as release an app that actually works as it should and doesn’t look like it was designed in the 90s

  10. I tweeted BA earlier asking why they had cancelled my 40 minute flight from LHR to MAN while still offering seats for sale at £343 pp. Funnily enough, they haven’t replied.

    • I’ve been reading your posts throughout and couldn’t imagine how someone who isn’t up to speed on these things would manage. It’s a very poor start to your well planned flight..

    • Lady London says:

      Good one Anna. Name and shame.
      It does look as though British Airways has been rather naughty doesn’t it? 🙂

  11. Q for Rob: What top tier status did you use for the Hilton Diamond match?

    • He probably used IHG spire elite, however, IHG platinum has historically been mayched to diamond too. I asked in the comments in last few days if this was still the case and feedback was yes.

  12. Issue for me at the Gatwick North Aspire Lounge was the poor quality wine and very restricted catering…..,

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