Bits: 10% off Virgin Flight & Hotel, Marriott Platinum Challenge, Garuda suspends Heathrow

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News in brief:

10% off Virgin Atlantic ‘flight and hotel’ packages until Monday night

Virgin Atlantic is offering 10% off its ‘flight and hotel’ packages over the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Full details are here.

This is far less flexible than the BA Holidays service, because you are restricted to just a few selected hotels and cannot book premium cabins, but if you were looking for a family holiday in Economy to, say, Orlando or elsewhere in the US it is worth a look.

Flying Club members will receive 2 miles for every £1 spent on their package, on top of the standard miles they receive from the flight.

PS. Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

Virgin Atlantic Flight and Hotel discount

Marriott Platinum Challenge status update

If you took the Marriott Platinum Challenge earlier this year, as I did (you received Marriott Platinum status with nine stays in 90 days), you may have been surprised to find yourself with Platinum status in the new combined Marriott / Starwood programme.

In theory you should have been given Platinum Premier status, not just standard Platinum.  The reason I didn’t make a fuss is that the difference between the two is minimal.  Platinum Premier gets a 75% points bonus on stays (Platinum just gets 50%) and you might get a suite upgrade at The Ritz-Carlton (Platinum members are blocked from these).

It only makes a real difference if Marriott decides to do a soft landing in early 2020, because dropping from Platinum Premier to Platinum would keep lounge access and late check-out.  Being Platinum and dropping to Gold would not.

However, I overlooked one thing.  In order to do the Platinum Challenge, you had to be Gold already.  Whilst my Gold came via a credit card freebie, most Gold members earned it via stays.  Those who earned it via stays would have become Platinum anyway in the new programme.  It therefore made sense that Platinum Challenge members would get Platinum Premier.

This is a long-winded way of getting to the point: if you did the Platinum Challenge, whilst your account showed Platinum status last week, if you check again it will now show Platinum Premier.

PS.  Before anyone asks, the Platinum Challenge is currently suspended.  It may or may not return.

Garuda drops Heathrow service

Garuda Indonesia suspends London Heathrow service

Garuda is suspending its Heathrow to Jakarta service on 28th October.  Passengers will be re-routed via Amsterdam, which is their other European route, on fellow SkyTeam member KLM.

No official announcement has been made but the schedule has been amended on the airline website.

There are rumours that Garuda may start a direct service from Heathrow to Bali instead, although if this is the case then it has left it a little late.  The airline needs to do something with its valuable Heathrow slot or it will be lost, so it may end up being leased out for a period.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

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Comments

  1. O/T just received my ambassador 10% rebate for renewing at $200. Couldn’t decide at renewal time which option so opted for $200 just in case. In actual fact only redeemed 150k points so rebate was 15k. Also received 15k instead of 5k on renewal. Therefore paid $50 for 25k points, still an ok outcome.
    However, struggling to fit in an ambassador stay this year so perhaps will not renew. Having to stay at Intercontinental Madrid just to use the voucher, would probably have chosen Hotel Indigo instead and used mastercard rate. Intercontinental is €320 club room for friday night, sat night free plus paid $200 for ambassador, don’t know how much of this to allocate to the bogo voucher though. Hotel indigo is €280 basic room, non refundable.
    Stayed at Palazzo this year, no ambassador benefits worth having. Stayed at IC Monterey, same. Also couldn’t use voucher here as needed family size room so paid $.
    Ambassador has been a bit meh for me past two years as a leisure traveller……..

  2. Is there a chain-hotel-only search engine for hotels? Looking for somewhere in Croatia but would like to be sure I’ve covered all the major chains (IHG, Hilton, Starriott, etc) before I go independent…

    • +1 gap in the traveller market I think, a tripadvisor for points hobbyists

      • There’s awardmapper.com for rewards/points redemptions (not cash rates). Has the major chains and it also shows you the points, with a handy filter.

        However I don’t think it has been update for some time.. so the points weren’t completely accurate before. Haven’t checked since Marriott merger but can’t imagine that has been reflected.

        Useful to find out what hotels there are in an area, then a bit more digging to find cash/points rates for your dates.

    • The Hilton in Dubrovnik is brilliant – if you’re a Diamond, the room upgrades are pretty decent and the Exec lounge has fantastic views over the city walls and the sea.

      • Also just had another great Hilton upgrade last night too. No lounge at my hotel but pleasant surprise with a nicely stocked complimentary minibar. Love Hilton Diamond, no waay I’d walk past a Hilton to stay in a Marriott these days.

    • There’s a Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera, which looks nice and I think might have been reviewed by Rob previously(??)…

      • Not by me. This used to be exceptionally cheap as an SPG redemption, not sure where it is now.

  3. Hi Rob, great result on the Plat Prem from Marriott, the big possible advantage may well be the soft landing, if it doesn’t happen that’s fine, but at least as we are Plat Prem now there’s a chance and more importantly they have delivered what they said they would.

    Any news on the new Marriott credit card, I was hoping to pick one up as the 10 qualifying nights may make it just about possible to re-qualify for Plat on an on-going basis.

  4. Rob – what about completing SPG platinum challenge and converting it to Marriott? I only have platinum rather than platinum elite. Is that correct? Or should I get platinum elite?

    • Should also be PP I think.

    • SPG platinum will remain platinum rather than platinum elite sadly

      • Pangolin says:

        75+ nights (SPG or Marriott) will get you Plat Premier.

        You can still qualify via 25 stays in legacy SPG but that will get you Platinum (same with 50 nights in either).

  5. OT anyone managed to book an SPG property without having the points? Telephone team say it’s not possible yet but I’m not convinced.
    Also for 1st time in NYC Chatwal or St Regis – tourist stuff for 5 nights and shopping? Thank you!!

  6. OT- I have a return from LGW to UVF but I now want to add a flight back to AMS. Can I link this additional flight to my booking or will I be able to check luggage all the way back? Thanks

  7. Sad about Garuda. That was an easy way to get Skyteam top tier status through the Delta challenge. I didn’t do it in the end. I’m already a star alliance gold (Singapore airlines) and a oneworld emerald (BA). Maintaining all three would be hard work.

  8. OT but Marriott, which elite gift are Platinum people choosing? Last two Marriott stays this week staff proactively mentioned the extra points bonus but no mention of the F&B credit. Happy with the points but don’t want to miss the obvious point’s hobby choice.

    • Depends on brand. You’d be a mug, on a leisure stay, to turn down free breakfast for two (and usually the whole family if you’ve got a suite) as your benefit.

      • Thanks Rob, I thought you’d get breakfast anyway as a Plat elite and the gift was extra? Am at a Marriott and gift of points as well as breakfast/lounge access is included as standard.

        • At Luxury Collection and JWM Resorts, both of which I have been in this week, you need to select it as amenity.

  9. OT Marriott/SPG question, I’m a couple of thousand points short for a redemption and would like to buy some but the points.com page still seems to be showing “old scheme” points. Any thoughts on my chances of them getting automatically multiplied by 3 if I buy? And would I use my old or new SPG number? Have emailed their CS but no reply as yet.

  10. New Card says:

    Only slightly OT – I now have Marriott Platinum (as I had stayed >50 nights in SPG and Marriotts last year). One of the benefits is the “Annual Gift Choice” (which includes eg 5 Suite Night Awards). How do I go about claiming this?

    • New Card says:

      Ignore – I have just found this (Marriott Account > Overview > tiny link near bottom of page)

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