Bits: £1295 Qatar to Singapore ex-Sweden (560 tier points), Emirates scrapping chauffeurs on rewards, Aloft Dublin

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News in brief:

£1295 Qatar Airways business class fare to Singapore

Qatar Airways is currently offering a £1295 business class fare from Stockholm to Singapore.  It is widely available for much of 2019 at SEK 14,700.  On some dates I saw it as low as SEK 14,308.

Whilst positioning via Sweden isn’t ideal – although a quick break in Stockholm is always worth doing – this fare has a lot going for it.  You will earn 560 British Airways Executive Club tier points from the trip (140 points per leg, with the plane change in Doha meaning each direction counts as two legs), a lot of Avios and you’ll get to fly arguably the best business class product out there – potentially the impressive Qsuite (see the special website here) if you take A350 service.

There is also a Stockholm to Bangkok fare for around £1,375 but Bangkok tends to be relatively cheap from most places these days.  This one is, of course, good for the tier points.  Gothenburg to Johannesburg at around £1,450 is also interesting, although the London to Johannesburg BA Club World fare at £1,250 return is still available as long as two travel.

You can have a play with dates on the Qatar Airways website here.

Aloft Dublin City

Emirates removing free chauffeur cars on Emirates Skywards bookings

It seems that Emirates Skywards has decided to follow the lead of Etihad Guest and remove free chauffeur cars on Business and First Class reward flights.

This is disappointing, as it helped offset the ludicrously high (even by British Airways standards) ‘taxes and charges’ added to Emirates award tickets.  We have used Emirates chauffeur cars on reward tickets a few times, and coming back from Heathrow it was a £60-£70 saving over booking an equivalent Mercedes for cash.  The car pictured below is the one I got before my last Emirates A380 First Class redemption reviewed here.

The change is showing on the chauffeur drive terms and conditions page here.

Thanks to Ajay at Indian blog Live From A Lounge for this.

Emirates chauffeur cars removed from reward tickets

Aloft Dublin City finally opening?

After numerous delays, it seems that Marriott’s new Aloft Dublin City hotel is finally about to open.

It is a new eight-storey hotel with 202 “loft-like” rooms.  It is located in the Blackpitts area of Dublin’s Liberties, near St Patrick’s Cathedral.  To quote:

“Designed to meet the needs of the next generation of traveller, Aloft is where technology meets design. Located in one of the most historic parts of Dublin, the Liberties is undergoing rapid redevelopment making it one of the fastest growing areas of the City. The modern and colourful façade of the Hotel stands out in the historic area, making the new building a signature feature of the area. Our top floor houses the Re:Fuel restaurant and WXYZ bar, as well as our Re:Mix lounge. Signature views of the city can be enjoyed here, with the mountains on one side, and sweeping views of the city on the other. Guinness Storehouse and St Patrick’s Cathedral are among the many attractions that can be spotted from the seventh floor. The rooms are designed with the next generation of travel in mind. The loft style, urban inspired bedrooms are where style meets comfort.”

Marriott is well positioned in Dublin’s luxury segment with The Shelbourne and the Westin – the latter is a lovely hotel with an amazing location in the heart of the city centre and is my default choice when visiting.

Marriott never had anything at the budget end of the market, however.  I am positive about Aloft hotels (here is my review of the Aloft London Excel, here is Anika’s review of Aloft Liverpool) which are generally modern and stylish despite the low cost.  This one will be Category 4 which makes it 25,000 points per night.  This compares to 60,000 points for the Westin and The Shelbourne.

Whilst reservations are not yet being accepted for January, the hotel is saying ‘January 2019’ opening (it was due in November 2018).  Reservations are being taken for 1st March onwards.

The Aloft Dublin City website is here.

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Comments

  1. OT – Card conundrum! OH referred me from his Platinum on Jan 1st for MR gold and Jan 3rd for BA blue. Neither application got an instant decision. He’s had one set of referral points and today my blue card arrived. Still no word on the gold card even though I applied for it 2 days earlier. I’m reluctant to start chasing it up at this stage in case the “g” word gets bandied about but am perplexed that the later application has seemingly been dealt with first. Any ideas?

    • They should arrive, but next time maybe leave a month between apps…

      • Ideally I would but OH needs to close Platinum before 1st anniversary! We only refer each other and stick to the Ts & Cs as we’d hate to spoil the hobby for everyone…

  2. OT: has anyone claimed back APD for a teen ticket, for tickets booked through Amex travel portal, need to book tickets using Amex £50 off for £200 spend but no option to book teen ticket! Am getting nowhere with Amex chat.
    Any advise would be appreciated.

    • What are the options for booking? I would have thought speaking to Amex travel would be the best option though.

  3. kovacsi76 says:

    O/T re flight delay comp: Was flying home from Budapest to Gatwick on Saturday, and our flight was around 4 hours delayed due to snow at BUD. If I remember correctly, this by itself is a straight no for compensation.

    However, I think most of the delay was due to that Easyjet was checking the boarding passes so slowly. Incoming flight was slightly late. We were scheduled to leave at 12:20pm, gates closing at 11:50am. At 12:15pm they started to check the speedy boarding queue, there was about 20-25 of us, and once through the check, we were waiting on the bridge for about 10 mins. During this time only 2-3 more people joined us on the bridge. Around 12:25pm they opened the doors and we walked to the plane. The rest was slowly trickling in, about 4-8 people per min, I guess at the speed they were checking the boarding passes. Only shortly after 1pm did they finish boarding the plane. After a while we were told the runway was shutting down and had to be cleared, and meanwhile we’d get deiced so we could take off when the runway opened again. But once we got deiced, the runway shut down again. Before that, the BA scheduled at 12:30pm managed to get into the queue and take off around 1:45pm. The runway opened and shut a few more times. It stopped snowing around 3pm, but only around 4:25pm did we start to move (I guess the backlog built up even more).

    Somebody said BA might have gotten out earlier, ’cause they prioritise larger airlines. True?

    Otherwise, any chance on claiming that the large delay was due them missing the queue in the first batch to take off, because they were boarding people so slowly? I guess even with hard proof, only when hell freezes over 😀

    More O/T: Tried to drop off some of our hand luggage at check-in, as we had some fluids in them. Airlines used to be happy for volunteers, especially on full flights. However, now they refused and would only take it if we paid their fee, or they could probably take it at the gate. Later we heard some passenger on the plane telling someone that they were asked at check in if they would like to check in their hand luggage! Gotta love Easyjet!

  4. All above 11 years are considered adults. I was wondering if claiming back APD is possible after the flight.

    • A quick scan of the internet suggests you have to claim it back from the airline. But after nearly 3 years I don’t see how travel companies can still justify charging it in the first place!

  5. OT: The new KLM lounge at Schiphol may be worth a HfP review? Was there on Sunday. Very fancy and a definite improvement on the previous lounge, but the food is as uninspiring (and vegetarian-unfriendly) as ever. Who thinks of chicken wings and mashed potatoes as an offering?

    • It is only half-open at the moment, I thought I’d wait until it is finished. Overcrowding still seems an issue (not surprising as not fully one).

  6. BlueHorizonuk says:
    • presumably as this says “by invitation only” the invitation has to come from amazon or amex, and not this site 😉

  7. BlueHorizonuk says:

    Seems like a flash sale on First Class on BA

    INV – JFK – £1,700

    More info here:

    https://youhavebeenupgraded.boardingarea.com/2019/01/yeah-british-airways-first-uk-usa-westkuste-2000-euro/

  8. OT: I am considering to book an open jaw to the US in CE, and when I am looking at the taxes for two one way redemptions they price up as £400+ per person each way, which is almost the same as the total taxes for a non-open jaw booking. Is this the amount I will be paying if or will some of the charges be consolidated when I book the open jaw?

    • Edit: CW, not CE haha

    • No they’ll come down for open-jaw. Ex-US tickets have even higher charges (due to the massive numbers of Avios swilling about in the US) but open-jaw return will have costs more in-keeping with a standard return CW redemption from the UK.

  9. Oh no, more drones!

    • Assuming there actually are any – the last Gatwick saga seemed to involve lots of confusion as to whether there were actually drones or folks were seeing the police drones that had been sent up!

  10. OT, Just canceled my BA card via the chat and i got this message:

    If you have earned a British Airways Companion Voucher, please be aware that Companion Voucher bookings must be made using the British Airways Card they were earned with. This is set in the Terms and Conditions on the Companion Voucher. Cancelling this Account may mean you are unable to redeem your Companion Voucher.

    • I don’t see how the BA payment system can know which card corresponds to your companion voucher.

      • Indeed – restricting to Amex I can understand (based on BIN), but can’t see them linking things up that comprehensively.

      • It would be very simple.
        I expect that when Amex send details of the newly earned voucher they already include the card number. When you pay BA will just put the number on the form with no facility to change it. Simples.

    • I didn’t cancel my card before using my companion voucher but I did downgrade to the free blue card a couple of months before and paid the fees for the booking with another Amex card that wasn’t even mine (wanted to put some spend through to hit a bonus on my partner’s card, it worked fine!). As far as I know they can’t take it away if you cancel the card completely, and you can pay with ANY Amex card, as much as they will tell you otherwise!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They’ve always said this. It’s not the case. Ignore and reset the clock becuase any amex will do in anyones names.

      The voucher is valid for two and I could lose my card tomorrow and be issued with a new card I don’t think amex is updating them with card numbers every time this happens.

  11. Cheers Rob. Just booked ARN-SIN return for £1,282.80 via AmEx Travel, and stacked it with my “Spend £1,000 and get £400 rebate! offer.

    So 560 TPs for £882.80 is not bad at all, and just over a third of the way back to Gold.

    Now to go and book another round on using the wife’s same travel offer!

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