Bits: Businessweek on SPG / Marriott, Turkish Airlines new LEGO safety video is awesome!, Primera Air drops Birmingham

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News in brief:

Businessweek article on the Starwood / Marriott merger

There is a good article in Businessweek this week on the merger of the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty schemes.

It accurately conveys the cult-like loyalty that many Starwood regulars had towards the chain (I have met members like those in the article at Starwood events) and the pressure on Marriott, especially after having to substantially increase its original Starwood bid, to keep these people by making Marriott Rewards a substantially more relevant scheme.

It is called “Points-Obsessed Travelers Are Terrified of Losing Perks.  Starwood fans fear Marriott mediocrity in the world’s largest hospitality merger.” which gives you an idea of the content.  You can read it here – no paywall etc.

Turkish Airlines lego safety video

Turkish Airlines new safety video stars LEGO characters

At last a safety video that is awesome!

Turkish Airlines has released a new safety video starring the cast of the LEGO movies.  Batman is flying business and telling passengers to not smoke whilst Emmet and Wyldstyle are responsible for the safety briefing.

The video also features a very catchy song which will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.  Altogether now ….. ‘There’s a party in the sky, let’s pack our dreams and fly” …..

PS.  Fans of ‘alternative’ airline safety videos will be sad to know that the Virgin America ‘safety dance’ was phased out last week.  As per this Mashable link, one Virgin America flight attendant decided to really go for it one last time …..


Primera Air quits Birmingham International

Low-cost short-haul and long-haul carrier Primera Air has announced that it is quitting Birmingham International.

The short haul routes will be closed, with Palma and Barclona ending first on 3rd September.  Other routes such as Reykjavik and Malaga will close on 29th October.

The long haul routes to Boston, New York and Toronto had already been suspended, with Boston and Toronto scrapped before they were even launched.

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Something I never knew .... Tokyo has lower taxes when Avios tickets booked as 2 x one-ways
A brief review of the Premium Lounge at Doncaster Sheffield Airport
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  1. Kinkell says:

    Anyone having trouble a seeing their offers on their Amex cards?Mine have all disappeared across my cards. Looked on our main computer at website and on my Amex app on iPad. …Zilch. Chat with agent is investigating but I’m not overly hopeful.

  2. O/T. Need a bit of advise on crediting Qatar Airways miles after their recent major devaluation. I will be flying Qatar in business every month for the next three years so will have a decent amount of miles coming my way. However, not sure at where to credit them. Is the a major difference between, for example, crediting them to BA or Iberia (given that the miles can be moved between the two)? Or Amercian Airlines perhaps? I currently have no status with any airlines/alliances and no stack of miles anywhere either… I also live in Ukraine and mostly fly with Europe (but usually not through London) and occasionally to the US. Any advise would be really appreciated.

    • Peter K says:
    • Alex W says:

      Olga, consider status benefits, including additional miles and how quickly you will get promoted. This should be easily possible with those flights. Note with BA you need to do 4 flights on BA planes (or Iberia?) per year to get status. Don’t think you get extra status miles with BA partners though?

  3. OT- Anyone looking for cheap Y flight, there seems to be decent option on GF on AM
    To Lima, for a family of four in Feb half term for £2K

  4. I am crediting my QR on AA, only due to their use on Indian subcontinent

  5. Off Topic….

    I recently did the Hilton Diamond status match, I’m currently in the Hilton in Sydney. This is my 5th stay since getting the Diamond status and I’ve discovered just how tough it is to get late checkout. The best I’ve had so far is 2pm. I checkout of here tomorrow and the best they could offer me as a ‘complementary late checkout’ was 1pm! So if I pay more I have later. Which tells me they obviously have availability.. I only needed 2pm checkout. What’s the crack here, I thought late checkout was a perk of Diamond status..subject to availability. Has anyone got any tips on how to get a late checkout or should I just go back to Marriott/Starwood whenever I need late checkout

    • sunguy says:

      Im not sure what it is with the vast majority of Hiltons – but “late” checkout never seems to be very easy to get – even as a Gold/Diamond…..1pm us usually the limit, much later and its always a hassle – yes, sometimes, it works….but, in general not so much!

      TBH, Ive often found Hamptons the easiest to get very late checkouts in….

    • Ask again in the morning of departure. Tbh, if you only need an hour relax in the lobby with a newspaper and a coffee.

    • I think it is subject to availability but if they are offering you a paid late check out then clearly there is availability…. You should make them aware that you are a diamond member and that since late check out is available they should honor it.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I was at the DT in Manchester this week and asked for a late checkout, they offered me 1pm and I asked for any more as I had an interview to conduct (and couldn’t do that in the lobby really). Hold Gold status with them. Eventually checked out at 1:45pm

    • Genghis says:

      At least it’s one thing ICs do right for AMBs

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes this is a a real perk

        Hilton are shocking with late checkout but Tbh no one has ever kicked me out of the room at 1:30 etc when 1pm has been offered.

    • Always tricky with Hilton, although most properties should be fine with giving you Exec Lounge and health club access for the day. Mind you not all are like that – the Hilton Frankfurt Airport gave me a 10pm late checkout when I had a late flight to catch – plus free upgrade to a suite!!

  6. Graham Walsh says:

    Nice article in Business Week. Re-reading my confirmation from earlier this year for Dubai in October, it clearly states the benefits of being Gold Elite (lounge and breakfast) on my booking directly with SPG. Wonder if any of that will hold up when I question it when I arrive?

    Lego video was great, my 7 year old liked it. I absolutely hate the BA video, terrible.

  7. Has anyone stayed at the Hilton Gatwick airport recently? Is the lounge any good?

    Got an early morning flight in Jan and as it is only £69 it looks a better option than a very early morning start.

    • Peter K says:

      Tripadvisor reviews are very mixed. It is better if you can get in the new wing apparently, but this is hard to get unless you have Hilton Gold/Diamond status according to what ~I have read. The new wing is further from the airport as well with long corridors to traverse.
      The Hampton by Hilton was perfectly fine…but the bed was very hard. Looking at the reviews I have chosen this again over the actual Hilton for my next trip. Hope that helps.

      • Peter K & TGLoyalty, thank you all very useful. I am diamond and my wife is Gold. We have booked two rooms, one for my parents so hopfully we will all get lounge access.

        Last time we stayed at Gatwick we stayed at the Crowne Plaza and although we got lounge access as a spire the room was tiny.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yep. Even as a gold given an exec room and lounge access in the new wing.

      Lounge is perfectly acceptable but I’d have breakfast down in the resturant. Worth £69

  8. Are there any partner rate links for US IHG hotels? The hertz/mastercard links seem to just be for European hotels, the friends and family option is there, but I’d like to get points from the booking.

  9. OT: Iberia Avios…
    With hotel bookings seemingly impossible, I’ve tried all day to transfer via, to no avail.
    Any suggestions to enable this, or a timescale for hotel bookings reactivating?

    • After a bit of playing around, I’ve actually managed a points booking from my history…

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