British Airways changes its lounge access rules for Easter

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British Airways has changed its lounge access rules over Easter, but only for Gold members.  (Although, oddly, neither my wife nor I were emailed about this although some Gold members were.)

Until 15th April, a Gold member can bring up to five extra guests.

There is a snag though – you need to use Galleries Club and not Galleries First, which also means that Heathrow travellers cannot use the private security line at the First Wing.  At Heathrow Terminal 3, you cannot use fast-track security either.

The offer is only valid at Heathrow and Gatwick.

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  1. wally1976 says:

    OT – considering booking a Hilton hotel in my wife’s name using the public sector rate (she works for the NHS) but only I will actually be staying there. Do you reckon I would be OK with this? I can take her ID along. Thanks.

    • How much do you look like her?!

      • wally1976 says:

        Mmm not much and unfortunately she doesn’t have a name that could be for either gender!

    • Dave Barron says:

      If you make booking in her name then simply add yourself as a named guest on booking, this will allow you to check in without her being present!

      • wally1976 says:

        Yes I’ve done this with IHG before; just unsure about doing it with the Hilton public service rate.

  2. Graham Walsh says:

    Totally OT Just booked a holiday to Dubai for myself and my girlfriend at the start of Oct18 (wanted to use up a Econ>PE VS vouchers). It’s her first time there. I’m thinking of staying down at the JBR as there is plenty of choice for restaurants etc too. Other option is the Marina. Reading Rob’s review of his stay at the Palm, probably a waste if we want to explore.

    Any good tips for hotels. I’m Hilton Gold, IHG Spire Elite (which maybe I could match to Hilton?), Marriott Gold Elite and Starwood Gold. Be good to try and get the most from any benefits with status.


    • We are Hilton Gold and stayed at Waldorf on Palm upgraded to suite which was 1100 sq ft and got treated like royalty. Paid £80 for exec access per night as at time Hilton Gold meant you didn’t get free breakfast but thats now changed so less valuable. Buffet is amazing (so much so you don’t need to bother eating out) and free drinks between 6-8 includes cocktails and they even come round at 750 asking how many drinks you want for the rest of the night!! 15 mins from marina in a taxi and 25 mins from Burj fountains but super cheap Uber. I prefer staying on palm as beautiful views and much more relaxing.

    • John B says:

      We stayed at the Conrad twice and really enjoyed it. It’s more of a city hotel and there’s no beach but if it’s exploring you want it’s steps from the Metro. As Hilton Gold they treated us really well. I told them in advance and they asked what my wife liked in terms of food and drink and put something different in the room every day in line with that which was really nice plus we got an upgrade. Go for the corner rooms if you can.

      The JBR is also good because of all the restaurants but hotels aren’t amazing. We’ve stayed in the Hilton apartments which were fine but the main hotel was a bit tired and package holiday albeit there is a beach. The Doubletree further down has promise but they are doing major building works next door and it’ll be years before that’s finished.

      Marina is the worst of both worlds really as you don’t have the beach unless you use the public JBR one.

      • Graham Walsh says:

        Thanks both. I’ve stayed at the Le Méridien Mina Seyahi near the Marina before and that was good. Just thinking I’ll get better value I think from using a Hilton out there. I’ve only been to JBR to eat, so never stayed down there, so good tip about the hotels. Maybe I’ll look at the Palm, been to Dubai about 8 times and never actually ever been there. As you say,Taxis and Uber are so cheap. Even the option for Ubercopter 🙂

      • We spent a week there in march and had the same dilemma.

        We love sitting by the pool/beach in the day, then going for drinks/dinner in the evening. Basically repeating every day with a few bits of shopping / sight seeing for good measure.
        We like the Marina/Jbr location for the reason you say – it’s accessible to everywhere. Taxis are cheap, and there’s the metro if you prefer. You can also take advantage of cheaper dining options on The Walk/The Beach, or spend more in a hotel restaurant. Also make sure to use the Entertainer app (tip – ‘rent’ it on eBay for a week for £15, instead of paying £90 to buy it for a calendar year) – gives 241 main meals on lots of restaurants including most of the ones on JBR, and the palm (including my favourite Seafire steakhouse at Atlantis). You need wifi to redeem every voucher, but it’s really available everywhere we went.

        I would actually say there are some very good hotels on JBR depending on where you say JBR officially starts and finishes, and depending if you are looking for cash or redemptions.
        At the palm end , you have Le Royal Meridien and Ritz Carlton.
        We have just stayed at Habtoor Grand (Marriott autograph collection) and really got value for money in our mind. Guaranteed upgrade to club room for breakfast, all day soft drinks, afternoon tea 3-5 (albeit a little limited) and then free drinks and nibbles 6-8 every night. We also did a points redemption so got 5 for the price of 4, and the benefit of booking before you have the Marriott points in your account. A few days prior to arrival our reservation got upgraded to a club suite – showing in the app.

        There’s also Grosvenor House – on the Marina really – hotel and club lounge better than habtoor, but the downside was the walk over to use LRM pool facilities each day as the Grosvenor pool was in the shade multiple times per day.

        We looked at Hilton, doubletree etc – but for redemptions, the Habtoor gave us best value for the points we had and wouldn’t hesitate to return. The only criticism we had was that the sun loungers by the pool were very cramped together. If your neighbour put the umbrella up, you were in the shade also, with no room to move your bed. (the beach was fine if you prefer).
        That’s something to watch out for at JBR and the Marina – because of the high rise buildings – pools that are at the base of the hotel tend to get shade several times a day as the sun passes over – only the hotels on the beach where the pool is further away from the buildings don’t have this problem. I guess the properties in the Palm don’t suffer from that either. Depends how’s much sun you like!

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Thanks Tom for detailed the comments I’ll be doing cash for the hotel in Dubai, building the hotel points up for next years holiday with the kids.

        • Graham Walsh says:

          The Habtoor Grand does look good and good prices when we are going, so will book this. Did you have status with Marriott/SPG?

          I’m looking at the Club Lounge Access Room which has a load of benefits as you say, which makes it better value than the bog standard rate. Just wondering as I am Gold Elite, I should get half of the benefits I would have thought of Breakfast, Lounge Access, Room Upgrade. However, not soft drinks, cocktails, afternoon tea and airport transfers.

          Also this statement is annoying – not exactly guaranteed then!!
          Guaranteed lounge access and breakfast for two
          For the Platinum or Gold Elite member and one guest. Based on availability and participating brands.

          Thanks for the tip on the Entertainer app.

        • New Card says:

          How did you get the guaranteed upgrade to a club room at the Habtoor Grand? Did you pay cash, or were you able to upgrade with points?

          Was looking at that hotel before but was put off by the fact it’s a Resort and so no free breakfast etc for Marriott Golds. We stayed instead at the JW Marriott Marquis which was a fantastic hotel with a great Exec Lounge. However if there’s a way of redeeming for a club room at Habtoor that may be one for next time… 🙂

        • New Card says:

          Graham – Unless I’m missing something you wouldn’t necessarily be entitled to all those benefits because eg free breakfasts aren’t included for Gold/Plat Elites at “Resort” hotels…

        • Graham Walsh says:

          New Card – that’s what I’m thinking, I’m going to book the Club room offer, also I can cancel free until a few days before, so if a better offer appears, I could rebook.

        • New Card says:

          Just done some research and there are some reports from 2017 on Flyertalk suggesting Marriott Gold/Plats get access to the Club Lounge anyway (inc continental breakfast) – so it could be worth booking the cheaper room and emailing their Concierge to get confirmation about lounge access 🙂

        • I was only Marriott Gold – from Amex plat.
          Was a points redemption – I didn’t pay a single penny extra – even the Dubai taxes were removed from our bill before we checked out. (ok there might have been a few drinks by the pool!)
          Sorry – you’re right – I should have said “guaranteed access to club lounge” not “club room”. We always take the view that room upgrades are a bonus, as we generally spend very little time in the room. The food/drinks were what were important to us to keep cost down.

          This is what the Marriott website says…
          Guaranteed Lounge Access/Breakfast.
          Free daily continental breakfast, light snacks and beverages for the Gold Elite member and one guest in the Executive Lounge at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® and Marriott Hotels®, Delta Hotels® (resorts excluded). In the U.S. and Canada, select hotels will provide 750 or 1,000 points in lieu of breakfast in the event the lounge is closed.

          So being an Autograph Collection resort (which I initially confused with Marriott AC hotel – which it’s not!) – I too was unclear about what I would get, so emailed the hotel in advance to check (had checked TripAdvisor reviews and most Marriott Golds get treated very well from what I could see).

          This is the response from Habtoor Hospitality:-

          Thank you for reaching out to Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection as we look forward to welcoming you on your upcoming stay in March 2018.

          With reference to you inquiry on the Gold Members benefits please note following entitlements:

          · Club Lounge Access with Club amenities such as Happy Hour | Breakfast in the Club Lounge and High Tea.
          · Room Upgrade will be given subject to availability on the day of check in.
          · Guaranteed Late Check out at 4pm.

          Airport transfer is not included and will be charged at AED 260/- per car per way vat inclusive.

          I think the comments on TripAdvisor were that the airport transfers were only free if paying Cash for a club room – not if you are upgraded. We took a taxi which was about 100 AED each way from memory.

          So if I was you, I would book the cheapest cash room – and you will then get the Exec Lounge access as the email says it is an ‘entitlement’ for breakfast, afternoon tea (although it wasn’t that special, we ‘coped’ for a couple of days), as Happy Hour – which was extremely happy as it was free. All the freebies were only available in the club lounge – drinks/food by the pool were still chargeable. (we actually ordered Deliveroo to the pool some days!)

          The treatment we got from Gold was very welcoming – we stayed in a Club Room at the Grosvenor House on a cash stay before and were relative nobodies compared to the reception at Habtoor.

          The booking appeared on the Marriott website as a standard room until a couple of days prior to arrival when it was changed to a Club Suite. We didn’t say anymore about it – even on arrival they confirmed we booked a basic room but when our room was ready (10.30am) they just said they appreciated our loyalty and hoped we liked the suite.

          Hope that helps.

        • Graham – I have a question for you – what are the VS Econ > PE upgrade vouchers?

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Tom1, the vouchers are from the Virgin Amex/Visa cards that are no longer available via MBNA, spend £10k and you get 2 vouchers, so to head to DXB it just cost 20k points each (would be 35k in PE) and the PE taxes £408 each. Cash price is £618 each. Not sure if it is the best redemption, but g/f likes the idea of DXB.

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Interesting indeed, just reading the Flyertalk threads and people seem to get access as it’s part of the perks of Gold. Airport transfer not needed as just grab an Uber, max 150AED each way.

          Think I’m going to cancel the Club room and book the cheaper room. But, next daft question, if I cancel my Amex plat in May, do I retain my hotel status (need it for Oct stay).

        • Pretty sure the hotel status stays until the next year.

          I cancelled my plat and still have the golds etc.

          Shame about the Virgin cards – let’s see what next week brings.

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Excellent, thanks for the info.

          Yes looking forward to the new cards, can burn mine in May when I get my next lot of Econ>PE vouchers.

  3. OT, does Amex offer bonus MR points for adding supplementary card (Gold card)?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes 3k but do not add during application only once you have the card.

      Also cancel it before any upgrade to plat as you can claim another 5k for adding a supp

  4. Lloyd says:

    OT, I’m wanting to book a premium economy seat from Manchester to Hong Kong via Vienna with Lufthansa/Austrian, however, with the change to Miles&More going revenue based, it means where this would once have earned me 13,596 miles, it will now only earn me 3152 miles if I book it direct with Lufthansa. I understand that if I book through an online travel agent I may still earn miles under the old system, as I will if I book through a partner airline. However, I can’t find a star alliance partner who will let me book this route, and not sure about which online travel agents are reputable, and will credit miles under the old system. Any ideas?

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