Bits: the future of Marriott Rewards and SPG revealed tonight, €11 BA fares, 787 engine issues get worse

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News in brief:

The future of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest is revealed tonight

At 4.30pm EST (9.30pm in the UK) on Monday, Marriott will be hosting an event to reveal the replacement loyalty scheme for Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.

It seems that the new scheme will be introduced from August, presumably with some sort of transition period.  Everything needs to be in place for 1st January so that members know what they need to do to earn or retain their status.

There are plenty of rumours swirling around, almost all of which are unsubstantiated so I won’t bother you with them!

We WILL get clarity on the new elite tiers and what will be required to achieve them

We SHOULD get clarity on whether key aspects of the old programmes, such as Marriott Travel Packages, will be retained

We are UNLIKELY to get any clarity on whether, in the UK, American Express will remain a partner – the future of the Starwood American Express credit card, the free Starwood Gold card for Amex Platinum members and the fate of Membership Rewards points transfers to SPG and therefore Marriott Rewards will remain unknown at this stage

More on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how much clarity is available before I go to bed tonight!

Marriott Starwood new programme launched

British Airways now offering €11 one-way fares!

I don’t know if this is a PR stunt or not – although they have picked an odd route if it is – but British Airways is during the Summer, mainly in August, offering €11 one-way fares from Luxembourg to Heathrow.

You can’t get there for €11 –  the cheapest one way outbound fare is £54 and the €11 return disappears if you don’t book your trip as 2 x one-ways – but it is an interesting example of aggressive BA pricing.

Luxembourg, by the way, is very pleasant for a one-night stay.

British Airways Luxembourg

The problems deepen for Rolls-Royce Boeing 787 engines

We have written previously about the serious issues with the Rolls-Royce engines fitted to the Boeing 787.

This has caused severe issues for many airlines including Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.  Virgin has been worse hit and has ended up leasing some ex-airberlin A330 aircraft which will operate out of Manchester.

The situation is getting worse.  New regulations to be issued jointly by the EU and US this week are expected to say:

aircraft flying one variant of this engine must always be within 140 minutes of a suitable emergency runway – which is not always the case when, for example, crossing the Atlantic towards South America

the engines must undergo a full inspection – which means taking the aircraft out of service – after every 80 flights, compared to after every 200 flights at present

Bloomberg has more information here.

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  1. Michael says:

    OT: Just had a stay in a Sheraton in California where I checked in only at 3 am. The final bill showed a no show fee of about $ 70. Can they do this. After all I arrived a calendar day later but during the booked night. Seems like a big rip off to me.

    • You need to check the Ts & Cs of your booking. Sometimes you need to notify a hotel in advance if you’ll be arriving after a certain time.

    • That is a bit of a surprise 🙁

      • I missed out on my IHG Reward Club night credit for the first night of a stay at a Novotel in Belgium because I arrived after midnight. Very irritating!

    • Sounds like a mistake – their audit will have run at around 2am and posted the fee and cancelled your booking. The receptionist would have re-instated it and not taken this off I imagine

      Did you pay for the nights stay ?

      If you know you are going to be late best to call ahead – they’ll check you in usually, running the risk of turning up to no room at all!

    • the_real_a says:

      Have you spoken to them? This sound like something that can be fixed by speaking to guest relations. If you can get through to the Americans rather than some asian call center…

  2. Vistaro says:

    Perhaps me being overly cautious but not sure I want to fly the 787 anymore !

    Anyone know who else besides BA and VS uses the RR engines?

    • Norwegian are a 787 shop, and they fly to South America.
      These RR 1000 engines are meant to be in the process of being replaced to updated ones, but I imagine that 1+ years work.

    • JamesB says:

      I’ve intentionally avoided flying the 787 since launch and will continue to do so as best I can. It is not just the engine that is an issue. There are persisting reports of battery issues, as far as I can tell that problem was never fixed, only contained.

    • flyforfun says:

      After hearing all the negative comments about Y class seating across numerous airlines, that sounds like a good enough reason to avoid the 787.

      • JamesB says:

        Yes, be at seen a more criticised aircraft but main problem seems to be lack of feet space.

  3. George says:

    OT: Flying from T5 today in club. Have PP – what’s the recommended lounge for a (fairly) long wait?

    • with PP the only option is the Aspire, it’s quit cramped and can be very crowded, I would not recommend it for a long stay, if you can get a decent seat an hour or so at most

      according to HFP the Plaza Premium lounge is better, I’ve not been in T5 since it opened to try it but it sounds much better, access options are in the article

      • George says:

        Thanks all – will try Plaza and fall back to Galleries if I can’t get in.

    • What’s wrong with BA galleries? (Except the hospital loos).

      • I like the Galleries, I must admit. Perhaps a bit style over substance but I am generally fine with that.

        • John is flying Club so wouldn’t you use Galleries? Or are PP/Amex Plat lounges better in T5?

        • Purely due to lack of people I think Plaza Premium is pleasant, but in terms of space, number of newspapers and magazines, variety of drink, variety of food (if not quantity) then Galleries is better.

          My current view is that I will use PP when on my own and Galleries Club when with the kids, where they can run riot more easily.

      • the_real_a says:

        No plug sockets, those that are available are usually broken (my record is trying 10 outlets and finding a working one on the 11th attempt). Food slops are grim – although i find the afternoon tea enjoyable. Also as a single traveler – considering the place is usually rammed – i’m always nervous leaving my bad out of sight whilst i grab food/coffee.

        Plaza Premium and even Aspire are worlds apart from galleries.

        • Always surprised at the number of people that leave luggage unattended with all the security warnings everywhere that they’ll be destroyed. Surprised the staff don’t bother to do more about it

    • TGLoyalty says:

      If the PP is due to AMEX Plat then try the Plaza Premium lounge

      • Hi, why would it matter whether the PP was from the AMEX Platinum or not ?

        • Rob MC says:

          As amex platinum allows access to the plaza premium, not the priority pass.

    • Lady London says:

      Errrr…Gordon Ramsay 🙂

  4. Jonathan says:

    Hi, I’m struggling to find the answer to this so thought I’d ask the group here.

    Can you accrue Marriott rewards points on stays booked through a 3rd party site (such as I know this isn’t often the case with hotel stays but don’t see this excluded on Marriott Rewards website. I have a Ritz-Carlton stay coming up tmrw.

  5. Gumshoe says:

    Re Luxembourg – a return can often be had for under £60 even without the €11 one-way fare.

    It also leaves from T3 at LHR so BA would lose some serious money if everyone with status took full advantage of their oneworld lounge-hopping rights!

    • Michael says:

      Pricing to Luxembourg has been very competitive for a while. I go fairly regularly and used to use points but it’s not worth it any more. Even Club can be as little as £120 return.

    • Exactly what I’m doing! €48 returns, which should earn me 2000 Avios bonus! Combined with at3 lounging and Luxembourg tobacco prices – I genuinely think I’ll make a profit ????????????

    • Rebecca says:

      I went in February and foolishly didn’t notice it wasn’t T5. That mistake will never happen again! Luckily I’m always early for flights so I get to spend some time in the lounge so did make the plane, but only had time for one wine in the lounge!

  6. Think I’m supposed to be on a 787 in 3 weeks to YYZ. Should I be worried?

    • Thomas Howard says:

      Depends on the carrier, see who they selected for their engines:

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I don’t think BA have any of the C series engines affected by this particular issue.

      • Thanks. It’s on BA metal.

      • You don’t need to be worried about safety, the aircraft won’t fly if there is any doubt. But yes there will be fall-out in terms of operations.

        ALL of BA’s 787 engines are affected by this. It WILL cause cancellations in the late spring and early summer. The best we can hope for is that fleet planning can accurately predict how many will be out and when, so enough advance notice is given to help you make other plans.

        • As long as they get me to Toronto and back safely ………..

        • I think BA has all Bs, Cs and TENs. It’s only the Cs are affected. If it’s 787-8, it may not even have C engines on.

        • Think it’s out on the 787-9 as I’m in F and then return on 787-8 in J.

        • Without knowing the tail numbers, won’t be able to tell which engines are on the aircraft, as some of their -9s have TENs on, so they will be ok. And for -8, they can have any Trent 1000 engines. I would just keep an eye on the seat map for now.

  7. So when you say “. . . future revealed” what you really meant to say was “. . . future to be revealed”. Clickbait!

    • vincent says:

      wow rob, you may have increased your numbers of readers massivley over the last few years but the standard had definatley sunk down!

      • Sorry, that is purely bad editing. We need to keep headlines short because they automatically go onto Twitter so every extraneous word is chopped.

        It was grammatically correct though – revealed is the same word whether used in the past or future tense.

        What you see is a great conspiracy is actually just the result to trying to knock something out on a Sunday whilst also juggling the demands of two kids and all the usual weekend nonsense ….

        I would expect most readers to know that the full details of the reorganisation would be a major story and not tucked away with a cheap one way Luxembourg fare ……

        • Waribai says:

          No confusion here. I understood it is as a pre-cursor to something to come rather than a reveal all!

      • Yes and funny how the quality of reader comments has drastically gone down in the same period.

        • the_real_a says:

          +1 although i still enjoy the comments as much as the articles generally.

    • Pedant.

  8. IslandDweller says:

    Planes with these engines can still get to South America, but they need to accept a slightly longer route (not pure great circle) to stay within the 140 rule. Might be an issue for flights to Santiago, because that’s already close to limit range.
    The airlines keep pushing the manufacturers for more power / better fuel economy, so we can’t be surprised that engine manufacturers are pushing right against the edge of our understanding of physics and material science.

    • I’ve avoided the 787 since launch. Feel much happier on an Airbus (747 excluded) – there’s a documentary called 787 Broken Dreams or similar that’s a good watch…

      • JamesB says:

        It’s here:

        Must be taken in context though, all new aircraft have teething problems. Much of these have probably been sorted already as the reports are now dated. Furthermore, although it has had a few emergencies I don’t recall hearing that the 787 has had a serious accident, On balance though there has simply been so many negative reports about this aircraft and I do not trust the regulators to put passenger safety first so I continue to be reluctant to fly on it but if I turned up at the gate to find one waiting I would not refuse to board.

      • I am ok putting trust into the regulators regarding air worthiness. The A380 had problems getting certification due to the escape slides being unreliable, whereas Airbus tried to argue it wasn’t a big issue (!). When Virgin took delivery of the first A340’s (someone may correct me on the model), the crew spent most of the flights running about having to check and then switch of all sort of alarms that kept going off all through the flight (can’t just reset a fire alarm without checking). The A380 and 787s have both had their issues, but it’s either that or stick to a 777/A340 for long haul.

    • Stuart says:

      Well said

    • the_real_a says:

      Do you drive to the airport? Or take the London tube? Far more likely not to arrive at the airport than be killed whilst on a plane. (I still get nervous flying Malaysian however!)

      • JamesB says:

        I read a safety article in Air Asia in-flight magazine where they stated more people are killed on USA roads alone every single year than have been killed in air accidents worldwide in the whole of the previous 50 years.

  9. Seeing as this is bits:

    Had a recent flight to HKG but my bags went to LAS. We were reunited 4 days later. Apart from a refund for necessities any ideas if compensation should be due to the inconvenience ?

    • No. Baggage is covered by the Montreal convention, which stipulates that you shouldn’t be out of pocket (so essential items purchased will be reimbursed). There is NO provision for compensation for inconvenience. Just be grateful that BA is buying you a new wardrobe!

  10. rams1981 says:

    OT some Amex statement credits have appeared on my now cancelled cards. Worth checking in case you didn’t get ones you thought you had triggered during shop small.

    Luckily I don’t delete cards from my account so can see the credits post.

  11. Neil Donoghue says:

    OT: I have a 2-4-1 that is due to expire in 3 months! I was looking to use the voucher for a one way flight from London – Moscow. If I use the voucher, will I still be permitted to book another one way trip departing from London before it expires? Essentially creating two one way flights as opposed to a return booking. Cheers

    • No, it’s one way or return only, however could you not use it as a return to Moscow?

      • Neil Donoghue says:

        Thanks Anna! I thought that was the case so I will use my Lloyds Avios voucher instead! Sadly we are flying on to Japan and can’t find any BA mental to use the vouchers.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          I’d look at flying BA to PEK or ICN if you’re trying to use a 241 to get to Japan.

    • No

    • You can use 241 for open jaw flights, so you could have London to Moscow as the outbound, and use the return to fly from another airport near to Moscow back to London.

  12. Will be interesting to see what comes of the Marriott announcement. I’m not expecting anything of the Amex / SPG benefits to remain. The status match with Marriott has been a massive bonus that I’ve been more than happy to use and benefit from. Will probably go back to primarily using Hilton or IHG.

    • I feel the same to be honest.

      • Will be a shame to lose Marriott gold. I’ve only benefited once but a week of lounge access in new york probably saved half the value of the platinum card.

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      I’m not expecting any of the Amex benefits to survive given Marriott’s preferred credit card provider is Visa.
      If it happens at all the loss of lounge access at gold will sting. But I think Marriott would have to be careful with that as their properties aren’t generally upscale enough to draw in new people who’d pay for rooms with lounge access.

    • Mark Smith says:

      My wife renewed her SPG Gold from Amex Plat over the weekend and made sure she was matched to Marriott before this evening in case of any surprises!

  13. OT : Tried to book 2 of three reward seats on today. one of the kids was not added to freinds and family list so i have to do that, this would then not reflect in the live booking page.

    We i did a new search all three seats have gone.

    Have they gone back into the system or am i just unlucky?

    • Were the seats still in your original basket? Check back in an hour or so.

      • Yes, I go to the point of adding the passenger names and couldn’t as said child was not in my F&f list.

        • I should I that i booked 3 rewards seats on minutes before. Do the 2 systems share the same setas?

        • Same seat pot, yes, but different booking system.

        • Thanks Rob,

          I did manage to get the 3 seast from then

          7500 Avios + £174 from TOU-MAN flybe direct

          instead of £789 for 3 cash tickets. I make that around 8p per Avios

          Keep up the good work!

  14. I mentioned this yesterday but in case anyone else finds it useful – some schools begin their Easter holidays next year on March 30th, however this whole week is classed as off-peak for BA redemptions. Worth knowing as avios flights are now available.

    I have taken advantage of this and booked 2 CE MAN – ROM using a soon to expire 2 4 1, and a flight and hotel package for myself as the 3rd traveller. I have paid to upgrade to a Junior King Suite at the Hilton Garden Inn – will 3 of us turning up be an issue as the BA holiday booking says one person? Also, I am HH gold, but having booked through BA holidays, does that mean I forfeit all my HH perks? (Not massively bothered though, as the suite price via HH was £1200 for 4 nights, whereas for the same price I got the suite and CE flights with BA). If I send my HH number in advance might they offer me anything?

    • Tom Cook says:

      Sorry to raise a question and not an answer, Anna, but your MAN – ROM trip, I presume this is routing through T5?!

      • Yes, only other option from MAN is Ryanair to Ciampino at an unearthly hour and the LHR connections are good so not too bothered at having to go indirect.

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          Not sure where you are in relation to MAN (I’m Prestbury) but we recently did LPL-MAN with good flight times. Always worth checking because from Cheshire at least, LPL is an easy drive.

    • Are you sure that is definitely the case? Easter Sunday is 21st April next year, so 30th March would be a very early finish. My wife is a teacher, and she finishes on Friday 11th April…

      • That’s what the school website says and I’m holding them to it! Catholic school in this neck of the woods always have different holidays for some reason.

  15. OT

    Anyone know if it’s possible to collect flying club miles if using Virgin Media?

  16. Did I miss the winner of the PE seat to NYC competition?

    • +1

    • No. It got a bit messy as we ended up disqualifying the first choice due to multiple entries, and then the 2nd winner was slow in confirming. We now have contact with them but the airline is being slow in speaking to them! I think we will publish the name tomorrow even if the airline hasn’t yet been in touch as the winner knows they won.

      • Thanks Rob.

      • JamesB says:

        Presumably multiple entries from a single device in different names/emails is ok? When entering HFPB competitions I udually submit two entries, one for me and the other on behalf of my partner.

        • That is totally fine. This person had entered more than once using the same email and the same name. No problem using the same email address to enter your partner, and indeed most people did.

      • Name and shame the person with the multiple entries Rob!

    • Peter K says:

      Not been announced yet apart from they have been contacted and are in the 65+ category IIRC.

  17. Claire says:

    OT: quick question – it looks like BA have over-sold my flight from DBX to LHR tomorrow (can’t check in online, no seats to buy, etc). There is also no availability, in terms of purchasable seats, on either of the later flights that day or, in economy, until next week, bizarrely.

    I’m travelling with my partner. If we get bumped, does anyone know if we can insist on being on the same flight together? Best case scenario would probably be an upgrade to available Business flights the next day but would we be obligated to take an available economy seat with connections if BA found one on a partner airline like Saudi or Gulf? Thanks!

    • It may clear. BA tends to oversell economy and push people up. Business passengers on flexible tickets may drop out at short notice. If not Qantas is an option (oneworld) – less likely they will give you Emirates. There is no obligation to put you on another airline.

      • Ah, that’s interesting. I was under the, obviously mistaken, belief that they were obliged to get you there and if that necessitated using a differnet airline then so be it.

        Have you done an article on what your rights are if your flight is overbooked and you get bumped?

        • Callum says:

          They’re obliged to get you there, it doesn’t specifically say you can insist on alternative carriers if they aren’t quick enough.

          In reality, if BA said something ridiculous like “we’ll take you in a weeks time”, I’d imagine any court would side with you. For a couple of days it’s more of a grey area.

        • Genghis says:

          IIRC it’s “under comparable transport conditions” and “at the earliest opportunity”.

        • BA – and to be fair others do this too – would rather make you sit in a £75 hotel at the airport for 5 days rather than pay far more to buy you a seat on another airline.

          Lufthansa, on the other hand, when my Heathrow-Frankfurt-Dubai (last bit in First) got messed up years ago due to the short haul being cancelled, were happy to book us on a direct Emirates flight from Heathrow in First Class.

        • Charlie says:

          They are obliged to get you to your destination as soon as possible (as well as care for your welfare if you’re delayed). They’ll want that to be with them to avoid paying another airline but you could insist if another airline can get you there quicker than BA themselves could.

          Either way you’ll still be eligible for EU compensation if you arrive 3 hours later than time on your original flight, arriving by whatever means.

        • Its quite amazing how stacked the rules are in the airlines favour.
          If you book a ticket to get you to somehwere on a certain day then you should be able to actually get there on that day (weather permitting).
          EU261 is all fine and dandy but that doesn’t make up for the fact hat you’ve missed an important meeting/wedding/funeral let alone missed most of your week’s holiday.

        • Charlie, when you say you can “insist” are they legally obliged to co-operate with that request (I get teh feeling from everyone else’s responses that you can’t)

        • Charlie says:

          By ‘insist’ I mean if they say they’re putting you on a flight the next day and accommodation overnight, you can insist they put you on a rival airline that will get you there sooner (i.e. same day as you were supposed to be).

          Trouble is they will ‘sell’ the offer as free hotel and meals plus a voucher/prepaid card debit of some sort. Hold out if they choose you for demotion.

          Off topic and not EU I know, but I note that United Airlines gate agents are now authorised to give up to $10,000 compensation to a bumped passenger due to overbooking. It’s already happened once since the doctor incident.

        • Charlie says:

          I may not have been entirely clear, but from BA’s own conditions of carriage.
          9b) Remedies for delays and cancellations

          9b1) We will take all reasonable measures necessary to avoid delay in carrying you and your baggage.

          9b2) These measures may, in exceptional circumstances and if necessary to prevent a flight being cancelled, include arranging for a flight to be operated:

          by another aircraft
          by another airline or
          by both.

          9c) Denied boarding compensation

          If you are denied boarding against your will on a flight for which you have both a valid ticket and a confirmed reservation, we will pay you compensation and provide refreshments and other care as required by any law which may apply. This will not apply if you fail to meet the check-in and boarding requirements in clause 6 or we exercise our right to refuse to carry you under clause 5d3 or 7.

        • BA are infuriating on this. They cancelled our return flights in 2017, forcing us to curtail our holiday by 2 days. They said if we didn’t move to the earlier flight they would just cancel our booking! Fighting it might have meant missing out on our holiday altogether as we would have had to book prohibitively expensive alternative flights and risk not getting the money back from BA.

      • Qantas no longer flies to Dubai

  18. JamesB says:

    OT: Any newbues to the hobby might find the article on shopperpoints today quite useful:

  19. OT – Anyone got any Charles Tyrwhitt discount codes?


  20. George Kyriakos says:

    These 787s can’t catch a break. I seem to recall engine trouble with the General Electric variants last year (or was it the year before?), and now RR?

    I am not a 787 fan (get it?) but I find it perfectly pleasant and necessary to compete with Airbus’s A350/380 offerings (which I deem better)

    I wonder what’s going on…

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