Bits: China Southern joining oneworld?, Amex’s London lounge returns, Eurostar St Pancras lounge update

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News in brief:

China Southern to leave SkyTeam – and rumoured to be joining oneworld

China Southern announced yesterday that it is leaving the SkyTeam airline alliance.  It will not renew its existing contract on 1st January and the airline will slowly unwind its position during 2019.

There is a belief in the industry that China Southern will switch to oneworld, alongside British Airways, from 2020.  American Airlines, a oneworld member, is already a shareholder in China Southern.

SkyTeam will presumably continue to consolidate around Delta and Air France KLM, its core members.  It would be interesting if this departure encouraged Delta and Air France KLM, both shareholders or ‘shareholders to be’ in Virgin Atlantic, to push the British airline gently towards membership.

Whilst oneworld is lacking a mainland Chinese carrier, it does of course already have Cathay Pacific.  China Southern has a major hub in Guangzhou which is on Hong Kong’s doorstep and would create complications.  If a deal went through it would provide a new set of Avios redemption options for getting from Europe to Asia.

Amex’s Centurion Lounge returns to London

Despite teething troubles last year (which included scheduling a ticketed event for the opening night, so virtually no-one who turned up on spec as encouraged could get in), American Express is bringing its Centurion Lounge concept back to London.

It is taking over Unit 6 on Langley Street in Covent Garden, which is:

“an immersive event and exhibition space, dedicated to experimental projects and programming. A grade I listed building with stunning exposed brick and industrial steelwork, the space is totally unique.”

A picture is above.  The lounge will be open from 13th to 16th December.

“Platinum Cardmembers and Centurion members [plus two guests per cardholder] are invited to escape the busy streets of London to relax, recharge, and leave the holiday stress behind in our welcoming space. The pop-up will be open from 13 – 16 December and will provide refreshments from chefs, as well as cocktails, special gifts and more.”

Eurostar lounge bar London St Pancras

Eurostar lounge update

I was in the Eurostar lounge at St Pancras yesterday for the first time since the new cocktail bar opened.  Whilst it wasn’t open at 8am (!) it does look very smart as you can see above.

I have a love/hate relationship with this lounge.  It is always ludicrously overcrowded on the ground floor but deserted upstairs – whether this is the fault of the passengers for not noticing the stairs or Eurostar for not painting them luminous pink to make them more obvious isn’t clear.

The breakfast food selection is weak (two cereal options, pain au chocolat, croissants, ham, cheese) and, even worse, the quality of the pastries is dire.  Given that Pret is now open on the concourse there is no excuse for serving what they do.

On the positive side, the selection of newspapers and magazines is outstanding.  No other lounge I know comes close.  My taste in reading may not match yours, but there were at least 10 magazines I would happily have walked off with.

There are also wireless phone charging pads by every seat upstairs, which is a simple but very convenient benefit.  All seats have a power socket too.

Remember that Eurostar lounge access is a benefit of American Express Platinum (see our new review here) – just show your card at the door.  No guests are allowed but obviously your partner could come in if they were your free Platinum supplementary cardholder.  In my experience children are allowed in ‘by negotiation’ at quiet periods, with more chance in Paris where the lounge is larger.

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  1. Bits – trying to use the Hilton offer on my Amex Platinum.
    I would like to stay in one of their hotels in Europe that is on Amex’s list of participating properties and the stay will be over the required spend. The Ts&Cs say you have to pay in GBP but the only option I can find on the Hilton website is to pay in EUR. Does anyone know if it’ll still trigger the offer, or have I missed somewhere the option to change the billing currency to GBP ? Otherwise how can the offer actually be used for the listed non-UK properties? Many thanks

  2. Ann Summers @Gatwick_Airport is now open.

  3. O/T: Has anyone managed to get Hertz status via Amex Plat? When I click through to Hertz on the Amex page with all the hotel/car statuses, it takes me to a page to create a new Hertz account. But what if you already have an existing Hertz account?

    • thehornets says:

      Contact CS and, after exchanging numerous emails, your status should be upgraded.

  4. But Bloomberg reporting yesterday that Qatar is still seriously looking at leaving Oneworld. I think you’ve written about these rumours before, but that would be a real loss.

  5. OT: I’m trying to upgrade my Avis account from Preferred to Preferred Plus as I now have Priority Pass through Amex Plat. I have tried the online form and the e-mail address: [email protected]. Neither have replied. Has anyone had any luck with this recently?

    • Yes I had success with exactly that issue via that email address last month. Took them two days to respond and upgrade me.

  6. funkypigeon says:

    OT: Transferred AMEX Member Reward Points on 4/11 and still not showed up in BAEC account. Anyone else in a similar position?

    • Yes, i did the exact transfer on the exact same day. Nothing turned up. I had to call amex for them to void the transfer and reissue. Points are now in. I would call them.

  7. OT:
    Amex cross card referrals seem to not be working again, lets see if its a glitch like before and open ups again in a couple of days

    • Same here,just had a look!Let’s wait and see!

      • I have just tried and have got the full set to choose from.
        Are you trying to do it on a phone?

    • I have just checked and Have the full set.

    • I have just checked and have the full set to chose from.

      • Yes the co-brand credit cards disappeared for a day or two. I was looking at this yesterday and again this morning (yes, tried different browsers and machines).
        Good news – they now show again (as Mark states).

    • I have just tried and have got the full set to choose from.
      Are you trying to do it on a phone?

    • I have the BAPP card and only see a referral option for that card.

      How do I get a list of other Amex cards for cross referrals? Sorry if this has been covered previously.

  8. O/T, is iberia down for anybody else, i can’t log in on either of our accounts?

  9. O/T , anybody else having problems logging into iberia?

  10. O/T my preferred rewards gold amex free year is finishing, which card can I go to next that will have a sign up bonus? I had a nectar amex last year already. Also, can I refer myself?
    Thanks in advance

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