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 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.

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Emirates no longer has its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Emirates Skywards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – up to 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards miles.

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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  1. Jim Bunce says:

    Thanks Rob…. ARN – SIN October/November 2019 with Qsuites Thank you Thank you Thank you

  2. Neil Donoghue says:

    Stockholm – Canberra for £1889 in the bag. Cheers Rob

  3. Re Emirates free chauffeur cars, terms say from 1st March they are not available on reward bookings, does that mean you can book now for say July and they will be honoured?

  4. The first piece of decent QR sale action for some time. Hopefully a sign of more ex-EU discounts to come from the airline.

    • And if combined with the Amex travel offer (targeted, £200 off £600 spend), that’s £1095 to SIN

  5. OT: Did not have high expectations for a domestic terminal lounge (T1) at Hanoi. The newly opened one that’s accessible on P.P. is excellent. Empty, good food incl. pho bo to order, beer wine and vodka.

  6. OT – £20 off for £100 spending on Eurowing with both my platinum and cash back card

  7. Is anyone else seeing an advert for Martin Lewis supporting something called “bitcoin trader” at the top of the page. A quick google search shows it’s a fake ad

    • Any adverts for Bitcoins are going to be fake.

      I use a phone that came at a discount thanks to an Add-X scheme. It displays an advert when the phone is woken up. Martin Lewis, Deborah Meaden or Peter Jones promoting Bitcoins regularly appear as adverts. The advertising industry has no shame.

      • Yes I’ve had Martin Lewis ads on this site for months promoting books and investments

        • Google has to block them. I can block specific URLs but these ads use a different URL each day so it is pointless. I can also block bitcoin ads but these ads register under a different category (not sure Google thought that through too well!).

  8. OT: apologies I did ask yesterday but did not get any replies. Trying again today, hoping someone has been.
    Thinking of spending a couple of nights on Langkawi island using Marriott points. Trying to decide between the Ritz Carlton and the St Regis. Anyone been to and has any advice?

    • My admittedly limited experience of the RC and St Regis brands, I’d choose Regis as it suits my tastes better. I did look into the Regis in langkawi a couple years and thought wow what an incredible looking hotel. The only reason we didn’t go was because the weather didn’t seem great any time of the year in langkawi – happy to be informed otherwise though?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Worth considering the Andaman as well, which is part of SPG luxury collection.

      • Andaman gorgeous, monkeys popping onto your window sill too, to say hello! Very nice resort.

    • St Regis looks very nice – had it booked but they moved us to Four Seasons which is excellent and would go back there.
      Nice place to visit.

      • Benilyn says:

        I read the St. Regis reviews on TripAdvisor, if you need a good swimmable beach, this may not be that one. I was close to booking it, but passed on it.

        I have been to Andaman in Langkawi (in 2012), and beach was amazing, but rooms inside did not seem super luxury or anything.

        Side note: select 5 days on the website, and the Deals & Packages cash pay options seem quite decent value if you wanted to save your points.

        • I have stayed at the St Regis, the Westin, and the Andaman. The St Regis is next door to the Westin (walkable) but as noted above at low tide the ‘beach’ is a mud flat. The hard product around the resort is very nice and the restaurant overlooking the bay beautiful but I would not return, not a patch on the St Regis Bali/Mauritius/BB etc. Andaman however in my view is truly one of the best beach properties in the Marriott/SPG portfolio, gorgeous crescent shaped beach which is shared with just one other hotel (The Datai, also very good), evening jungle walks, friendly staff, solid F&B. The rooms are not spectacular or as lux as the St Regis but the location and setting are top rate. If you have SNAs, these can upgrade to rooms with private pools (although the resort in general is popular year-round). Only downside to me is you will require a car to get to anything local as it is remote, but I would not hesitate to return.

        • Benilyn says:

          @h2d – thanks! To add, you can have a massage overlooking the sea & beach at the Andaman, it was amazing! Nothing around though.

  9. pommy ray says:

    wow so nearly gold status from one trip!
    any idea how many avios you get on these sort of trios roughly? thanks

  10. Note that the Indian blog mentioned in the Emirates article probably got it from FlyerTalk…

    The original story came from this blog :-

    • Hmm, this is the second link to something in the BoardingArea stable recently.
      If HfP were quoted, I’d be buying on expectation of an imminent bid!

  11. This reminds me, I have 2.5k of Emirates miles due to expire at the end of this month… What can I do with them?

    • I sent mine to Heathrow rewards when I flew emirates once for work

    • Transfer to Heathrow Rewards is a decent option (can’t rem the minimum)

    • Ah it is 6k min for heathrow rewards. cant do anything with 2.5k. Looks like they are going to charity.

      • Maybe your options are:
        1) Presumably doing a min transfer (500?) from Amex MR to Emirates will refresh your total miles expiry?
        2) Send 3.5k across and then transfer onto Heathrow rewards.
        No idea if there is value is option 2).

        • Genghis says:

          2) It’s 6k Emirates -> 2k HR. I.e. sending across 3.5k MR (value say £35) to then convert to Heathrow Rewards would only yield £20 in total.

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