Bits: BA improves Club Europe food … but only to Madrid, Hilton Blackpool leaving, Bastille pics

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News in brief:

British Airways improves Club Europe food …. but only to Madrid

If you are flying in British Airways Club Europe to Madrid at any time soon, you will be pleasantly surprised by the food.

For the last few weeks, Madrid has been treated as a ‘long’ flight instead of a ‘medium’ one.  This means that you get a four course meal – small starter, a main, cheese and biscuits and a dessert.

This is apparently a trial for the next round of Club Europe food changes, after the bodged changes last year which saw catering on some key routes downgraded to fund improvements elsewhere.  It seems that we may see all ‘medium’ flights moving to the four course model.

According to cabin crew reports on Flyertalk, the Madrid route may have been chosen for the trial because of all the IAG executives shuttling between the two cities and who were fed up with the current meals.  That is unlikely although it seems odd that BA would trial improvements on a route where IAG faces absolutely no competition for Business Class passengers …..

Hampton by Hilton Blackpool

Hilton Blackpool to leave the chain, but a new Hampton opens

The Hilton in Blackpool is leaving the chain on 26th June.  The hotel is not closing but it is not clear what brand, if any, will take it over.

The good news for Hilton loyalists is that a new Hampton has recently opened (website here, image above) and is getting good reviews.  The most recent TripAdvisor review (for what it’s worth!) says:

With the sad news that the Hilton Blackpool is to be no more…. I decided to try the new Hampton by Hilton on South Promenade. Having used other Hampton by Hilton on occasions I know they are a limited service operation but still Hilton standards.  OMG…..this hotel is superb. Great staff….superb rooms that put 4 star hotels to shame….great traditional food and a warm welcome. And the views from the ceiling to floor windows is amazing.  Tram stop directly outside….so no issues.  Without doubt the best Hampton by Hilton I have stayed in and puts a lot of the core brand to shame….will return without doubt.  It is good to see the quality like this in Blackpool.

Hilton’s Bastille gig

Finally, thanks to everyone who came over to say ‘hi’ at the Hilton Honors Bastille gig on Saturday night.  It was good to meet so many of you.  Mark Weinstein, the global head of Hilton Honors, came over at the end for a chat with our little group.  I’m in Washington next week to have a longer chat with him about what is going on at Hilton and their plans for the future.

(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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  1. Off topic, apologies. I recently hit 10K spend on my Blue BA Amex, and got it upgraded to the BAPP and the voucher was triggered – but it is only valid for 1 year, and not two as expected.

    This would appear to be an issue – who should I contact to get it sorted? Amex or BA?


    • I thought it was 20k spend on the Blue for a 1 year voucher?

      • If you upgrade to BAPP the voucher should get automatically credited based on current spend.

    • Two years ago, I called both Amex and BA. It took about a bit over a month for it to be processed. But you do need to phone, no chats or emails.

      • Thank you meta – I’ll go with the two pronged attack and see what happens!

  2. OT – My BAPP Amex application was declined. The letter states that it was mostly due to my credit rating. My Experian Credit Score is in the Excellent region, and the Eligibility Checker also suggested I have 95% chance of being accepted. I already hold the Amex Platinum Charge Card, and the Gold Card before that.

    Has anyone else ever challenged Amex’s decision?

    • the real harry1 says:

      Many, with success, give it a go

      • Thanks. Were you able to sort it out on a call or did you have to write to them to appeal?

        • the real harry1 says:

          Never happened to me but several others have told how they got decline decisions reversed – I think I would start on the phone, ask to speak to a Mgr, explain everything then take it from there, ie write in if that’s what the Mgr recommended. I remember some people did it on the phone just by asking for credit limits on other Amex cards to be reduced then the new application re-assessed.

    • Toby Walsh says:

      I applied for the upgrade to Platinum and was declined. I rang up and was told I’d get a call back from a manager. A few days later the card changed in the app to the Platinum Card and I received a welcome back in the post. I rang up and managed to speak to someone in the ‘manual underwriting team’ who explained what happened, apologised and also added the 20k points manually.

      Sometimes the system will reject people citing an issue on the credit report, even if Amex fail to actually find your credit report because of a slight difference (as what happened it transpired in my case!). In my case I believe it to be as simple as the form saying ‘xx Hse’ and they failed to match it to ‘xx House’.

      • I’ve just been on the phone to them, and the only advice they were able to give me was to re-apply in 3 months time.
        I asked them how I can challenge the decision as other people have been able to, but he didn’t have a clue.

  3. Charlie T. says:

    O/T: can a BA AMEX 2-4-1 voucher be used to reserve yourself a spare seat? Have one spare and think having an extra seat may make travelling to Crete in ET with young kids a less awful experience for us and other pax. Any idea what taxes would apply as I was under the impression that second seat bookings shouldn’t be in scope for APD, airport charges etc?

  4. Scott says:

    Sorry OT:

    Just upgrade from Amex gold to plat using the upgrade link. Even though card has not arrived yet my Amex online page shows the platinum has already replaced the gold and balance has transferred over.Does this mean if I spend on my gold as usual it will count towards £1000 spend? Thanks

  5. O/T am I right in thinking Melia Gold members get 3x 20% off vouchers? I think I remember seeing it mentioned here previously iirc but cant see anywhere obviously on my Melia Gold homepage.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They are meant to but find its hit and miss if you have gained through AMEX Plat

  6. It would be good to ask if points & miles could make a return for Diamond or higher tier members as an option. As someone who stays in Hiltons more time than I spend at home that could be useful.

    Equally a better mechanism/more consistent method of Wifi priority for regular guests. The wifi is so bad at some properties both inside and outside of London in UK. However I’ve been to hiltons in Europe, and the priority diamond experience is 100up and down on wifi… I’d comment that I stay at a property where i know the wifi is okay now in prerference to other sites.

    That said, all credit for the Bastille gig, more of the same in London would be a great for regular people – easilly my corporate event of the year so far. Bastille have a new fan in my wife, who knew the music but wasn’t a total fan before the gig, and is now converted. I would love to see a private Muse gig …

  7. the real harry1 says:

    O/T need to hit an Amex spend target? The Morrisons 5000 extra points on giftcards promotion is back. Basically, you buy a £50 giftcard, which gives you 1250 + 5000 points (6250 total). say you buy Amazon giftcard – you’ll have 50 MR points + 6250 Morrisons More points – the till will spit £5 vouchers at you once you hit 5000 points. So the 6250 Miles are worth £6.25 plus 50p for the MR points = £6.75. This works out as giving you a 13.5% discount on your giftcard – Amazon one of the best, you can just add the giftcard to your Amazon credit, ie you get 13.5% discount on everything you buy on Amazon PLUS can hit an Amex spend target nice & quickly. The maximum Morrisons More points you can earn in a month is £100 which limits you to buying £100/ 6250 = 16x £50 giftcards, or £800 worth of giftcards.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Though nothing to stop you taking out a second Morrisons More card 🙂

      Provided you can get thru £1600 Amazon credit, go for it.

      • the real harry1 says:

        Sorry folks this time it’s only Halfords iTunes Google Play & Pizza Express so forget what I said about Amazon, oops 🙂

  8. Steve says:

    O/T wife and I have received the dreaded MBNA closure letter for Emirates Elite and Basic cards today…we stop earning skywards from 21st July. Time to pre pay utility bills and council tax via Curve and bring forward personal tax payment I think.

    We are being switched over to Visa Horizons. Not sure if this applies to other recently closed MBNA cards but on the basic we will earn a £15 bonus for keeping the card to end of August and with the Elite card, a higher £55 bonus and partial refund of fee.

    • Steve says:

      *Bonus for keeping the new credit card open

    • Memesweeper says:

      Partial fee refund sounds promising for all us Virgin card holders waiting to find out what happens next…

    • Surprised not more talk of this here but perhaps this card was always niche. This was expected but a real blow – the best earning rate of any card I’ve had, 4 miles per £ and excellent value when using miles to upgrade revenue tickets.

  9. Terry says:

    I’m guessing that the Hilton Blackpool will either be rebranded as a Principal Hotel (through owners, Starwood Capital) or a Holiday Inn (being the main franchise used by Kew Green – assuming that their partnership continues).

  10. the real harry1 says:

    Bastille pics? What Bastille pics? That’s pic-click-bait by any other name 🙂

    Or has Adblocker disappeared them?

  11. johnnyhardwick says:

    It was great to meet you Rob and Anika at the Bastille gig.
    Wouldn’t have known about it without HFP. Was an excellent event. Much more fun using points for things like this rather than just more hotel stays/flights.
    I hope we were not too lairy!!

  12. Nicola Merchant says:

    We had the same Club Europe meal as described in this article on a recent trip to and from Olbia. Admittedly, it was a bit chaotic on the outbound flight with a long delay – we wondered if there had been an issue with heating it – but the food was actually really good. Hopefully they’ll keep this going.

  13. SMeow says:

    I have a booking (pre-paid) in the Hilton Blackpool for November, does anyone know if this will be honoured by the company that takes over?

  14. Mickael says:

    I flew recently to Madrid from London (outbound BA, inbound Iberia) and the difference between both flights was huge. With Iberia got a flat bed seat (not that I really needed it but still way more comfortable that the bizz seats on BA 767 planes), very good food and excellent service.
    My guess by choosing Madrid as a trial is also to reduce the difference of quality between both sister companies on the same route.

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