Bits: new BA Rome lounge opens, the QE2 floating hotel in Dubai bookable, Aegean joins Heathrow Rewards

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News in brief:

British Airways opens new lounge in Rome

British Airways launched its new lounge in Rome Fiumicino yesterday.

To quote:

“Spread over 460 square metres, the space can comfortably host nearly 140 customers. It also features a number of zones that create separate spaces for customers to work or relax in ahead of their flight.

The centre-piece of the lounge is a granite topped feature bar, with bespoke lighting and comfortable low seating. During peak times the bar will be hosted by a mixologist enabling customers to sit back and relax as their drink is made to order. In quieter periods, the design of the bar allows customers to help themselves from the wide range of beverages on offer.

The lounge also features high windows that allows natural light to flow in and provides fantastic views across the runway.  The windows will feature smart electronic blinds that are programmed with sensors to react to light and heat throughout the day, ensuring that the lounge is always a comfortable environment for customers to relax in.”

And it does look quite smart:

New British Airways Rome lounge opens

The QE2 is now bookable in its new life as a hotel

Whilst not strictly miles and points related, I thought this was an interesting story which would appeal to a lot of readers.

Those of you with long memories may remember that the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship was sold to Dubai, via the Dubai World holding company, back in 2008.  Her final voyage ended in Dubai and the liner was handed over.

The timing, of course, was terrible.  The financial crisis hit Dubai very hard and plans to turn her into a floating hotel hit the buffers.  For many years the ship sat in the port, still requiring a full-time crew of 40 to keep it operational.

The market finally turned and conversion work began.  On 18th April, the QE2 will reopen as a hotel via a ‘soft launch’ ahead of a formal reopening in the Autumn.

You can find out more, and book, on the QE2 website here.  Thanks to Neil for this.

Aegean Miles & Bonus joins Heathrow Rewards with a competition

Aegean Miles & Bonus, a Star Alliance airline, becomes the latest Heathrow Rewards mileage transfer partner today.

The conversion rate is the standard 1:1 in multiples of 250 Heathrow Rewards points.

If you make a points to miles transfer by 31 May you will be entered into a competition to win return flights on Aegean between Heathrow and Greece, as well as a pair of return Heathrow Express standard class tickets.

If you are not already a Heathrow Rewards member, remember that there is still a 3,000 points sign-up bonus (triggered with a £150 spend in one day) which would get you 3,000 Aegean miles.  Heathrow Rewards also partners with Virgin, BA, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Royal Brunei.

(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.)

All (?) you need to know about the new merged Marriott and Starwood programme
Bits: win 1 million IHG points!, update on the new Leeds Bradford lounges
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  1. Crafty says:

    OT: I’ve done my best to do my research before asking – spent a good hour looking through as much of HFP as appears relevant, and read ALL the way through the lengthy FT thread on the topic, without an answer.

    I am hoping TripRep, in particular, may see this – re: BA 2-4-1 downgrade outcomes. We travel next week. I know it’s a low probability, but want to be forearmed. What is the right play if ONE of us is downgraded (likely my partner – the “companion”)?

    1) Can we insist on being sat together (and so either both being downgraded, with compensation, or both travelling in the class booked), based on the T&Cs of the voucher?
    2) Can we request to be moved to a different flight (later or earlier)? If yes, can we insist BOTH of us are moved rather than travel on separate flights which we are not prepared to do?
    3) If we do either of the above, to what extent would we forfeit our rights to reimbursement/ compensation?
    4) What other eventualities/ options would you advise me to prepare for?

    • AFAIK you have no rights except that BA has to get you back in a timely fashion (if that means no BA seats for a week, irrespective of seats on other airlines, that is acceptable it seems) and pay for a hotel and food whilst trying to do so.

      In reality you may choose to pay for a seat on another airline (at full fare of course) and then sue BA later to get the money, a case you would probably – but not certainly, which is an issue as probably £5000 would be at stake – win.

    • 1-3) see below

      4) for now don’t worry about it, it seems to be very rare but people who it has happened to make a lot of noise about it (understandably).

      If you can’t check in online or you don’t get a seat allocated when you do then that’s the time to start to worry, but even then there are lots of possibilities that don’t involve a downgrade. If this happens then maybe have a view on whether you’d rather just get to destination anyway or willing to travel indirectly or next day or what.

      But basically (4) as above.

      • Crafty says:

        Thanks both.

        • JamesB says:

          Unfortunately all the theory goes out the window when you are faced with a disinterest eheck in or gate agents who much prefers to gossip with other disinterested colleagues. Reality is you often have to make a quick decision on whether you are getting on the plane or not. Probably safest option is just to get on and try to sort out the mess later.

  2. Hi Rob, what value per point do you typically value Marriott points?

  3. OT- Did anyone else receive 10000 bonus for booking direct with IHG for stays before mid-June?

    • AndyGWP says:

      No – I got offered 6000 points (back in March, but valid for 3 months)

  4. Chris A says:

    O/T re. Amex companion voucher
    I am 11 months into my BA Amex card year. At the beginning of the year I had the Premium Plus, spent over £10k, earned the companion voucher and greatly enjoyed using it. I downgraded to the free card a couple of months ago and focused my spend elsewhere.
    I have just noticed that I have spent £18.5k this year, and the Amex website tells me that I need to spend £1.5k in the next month to get a companion voucher.
    Obviously it is only one voucher per year irrespective of spend, but it is rather cruel for the progress tracker to suggest another voucher is imminent!

    • If you’re spending £20k on the card, would getting another BAPP for a partner be an option, or applying for the Lloyds card while there’s still time for an upgrade voucher?

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