What do we know about the launch of the Aer Lingus A321LR aircraft?

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Aer Lingus has confirmed its first A321LR route.

Aer Lingus is about to receive the first of 14 single aisle A321LR aircraft.  Whilst these look like standard European short haul planes, they have been adapted to have the capacity to fly transatlantic.  They are ideal for Aer Lingus which sees them as a way of being able to launch flights to smaller US East Coast cities which could not justify an A330.

The first plane has now appeared in the timetable from 1st July.  It will operate between Dublin and Hartford, in Connecticut.

Aer Lingus A321LR business class seat

I would expect to see the aircraft being rostered for some European flights during June to allow pilots and crew to get familiar with it.  It will have fully flat seats in Business Class as you can see from the image above.

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What are the changes to InterContinental Ambassador benefits on reward nights?

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  1. BrightonReader says:

    Being a bit thick at the moment but am considering springing for the IHG ambassador programme.

    Does it apply to existing bookings I have already made and to all,the subsidiaries brands such as Holiday Inn, Indigo and Kimpton?

    • @BrightonReader

      Unfortunately, it only applies to Intercontinental Hotels.

      Although having the platinum status may help with some perks at the other properties like Holiday Inn etc. these are not guaranteed. IHG aren’t known for their generous elite benefits unlike say Hyatt for example. This makes the Ambassador program pretty worth while for most people. Myself included!

      Hope this helps/

      • I’d say with both Spure/Ambassador we get benefits 50/50 in Crowne Plaza/Hol Inn etc. What does need looking at is the free night/reward booking system as you can only book a basic room in the booking system with them. Just booked 3 nights in IC Budapest, 2 nights Club Executive with Amb. Certificate which they upgraded immediately to the next level of room and 3rd with free night voucher. In order not to have to move room on 3rd day there followed a trail of emails from the hotel, we had to pay a supplement to move the free room up 2 levels and then they upgraded us (room only) to the same level as first 2 nights and then we had to pay a supplement for 3rd day Club lounge access so the ‘free’ night has actually cost us €120! The 3 nights in total still work out cheaper but bearing in mind you can’t get an advance rate with the Amb. Certificate probably not a whole lot cheaper than booking and paying in advance.

        • Was it worth a hassle and money? I would just move a room tbh.

          Also, it seems that the trick with “sandwich booking” described here many times no longer works. Perhaps, hotels also read HFP!

        • Shoestring says:

          Sandwich more likely to work in USA and poorer countries…

      • It was worth it as a special occasion this time but as you say sandwich bookings don’t work as well these days and it also depends how generous hotels are. With rewards/fee nights combined with other bookings it would be better PR for them if the reward nights/free night are at the same level as paid rooms on a 1:1 basis or something.

    • It will apply to your existing bookings. Ambassador status only impacts intercontinental stays. You’ll need IHG status for the other properties.

      • BrightonReader says:

        Ok,thanks. I’m currently gold elite so not sure if the platinum benefits I would get via paying for Ambassadors would make it worthwhile for me.

        I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at an actual Intercontinental Hotel!

        • Brian S says:

          If you wanted Platinum status you can get it for £99 a year with the IHG premium credit card.

          That’s on top of the 20,000 points you get for signing up.

        • This is not the loyalty program you are looking for, move along.

        • Memesweeper says:

          As a Spire Elite and a regular in IHGs on business I’d say the status is very rarely useful. If you get it anyway via IHG Credit Card spend, or staying a large number of nights with them, great, enjoy, but not worth buying (or mattress running) to achieve IMO.

  2. OT – Can anyone convince me not to donwngrade back from Curve Metal to Curve Blue?
    Amex Platinum covers my requirements like Insurance, Airport Lounge etc.

    If downgrade is widely recommended, would you leave it until last day (28 days cooling off period) or downgrade now.
    Travelling to North America next weekend for a week, so would like to have physical card with me, which may not arrive before that. Assume I can continue to use old metal card until activated new blue card in the App.

    • Keep it until you’re back, your existing card is still working right? (with a visa/MC at least)
      Cash withdrawals not working for some people so bring another card if you need ATMs

    • Long term aside, the additional fee free FX ATM withdrawals on Metal will be worth it for your trip to the US next week.

      Beyond that, and unless that is a regular occurrence, I can’t see the attraction myself if you already have AMEX Plat.

      • According to E-mail,
        “Please note that if your subscription is cancelled, your Curve Metal card will be blocked and no longer usable”.

        So I will need to be careful in terms of when to downgrade my subscription

    • Seems no point keeping it. I’ll be cancelling mine. I also have Amex Plat. I took out the Curve Metal for 2 reasons; Amex support and higher annual spend limits.

      Amex support lasted about 48hrs and turns out he increased spend limits were simply a lie by Curve. Add those 2 points to the fact that there customer service is beyond dreadful and there’s no reason to give Curve a single penny.

  3. Harry, what the s your source for Marriott Amex card launch?

    • Shoestring says:

      1. Themselves (horse’s mouth) – USA – no more SPG after 12/13 Feb as co-brand Amex will —>Bonvoy
      2. No global marketing head honcho will let important markets do their own thing when you have a massive re-branding such as Bonvoy, if UK SPG Amex lasts a bit longer than 13 Feb, that’s only because they’re running down the old co-brand contract (or can’t get a new one) – but in both scenarios, time is running out fast for SPG

      • Peter K says:

        So basically, no solid source but an educated guess.

        • RakishDriver says:

          if we’re guessing now; I reckon we got around a year of SPG amex. If the uk card was launched in 2010, 10 yr contract..?

        • The fact that the UK Costco Amex survives, despite Amex US and Costco having the biggest bust-up in credit card history (well, not quite but you get the point), means that you can’t read anything into anything.

          What IS clear is that none of the Amex co-brand cards (BA, SPG, Nectar etc) are likely to survive beyond their current contracts now they are interchange fee capped.

        • I’d of thought Amex dropping co-branded cards would actually be a good thing for point collectors as Mastercard/Visa is more widely accepted than Amex.

    • What Marriott Amex?

  4. Anyone else still waiting on the last Avis/BA offer before Christmas of 5,000 Avios posting?? Is there a timeframe?? I never have had any of these offers post easily! Hoping the Avis/virgin offer works better!!

  5. Rob – aren’t you missing the bit though where they can now ‘buy out’ the guaranteed upgrade or 4pm checkout for only 10k points now or a spa voucher, etc? Quite a downgrade if that starts becoming common practice…

    • Or quite an upgrade depending on priorities and needs.

      • Given that Rob previously stressed that a benefit which is provided 99.9% of the time is not “guaranteed”, this should count as a downgrade in his book.

        Many hotels are already giving the compo instead of providing the late checkout and upgrade. The new T&Cs are just formalising an existing practice (but some hotels would have previously compensated you more if they couldn’t honour the upgrade).

        These apply per stay, and since it is unknown for me to ever stay more than 2 nights at the same property, I would rather have the points than the upgrade – but people who value upgrades, especially those with long stays, will be disappointed in the future.

      • This article was about reward stays so I felt it was less of an issue. I think ‘buying out’ 4pm check-outs will be rare because cleaners can’t clean all the rooms at the same time anyway. Giving late check-outs to some guests literally costs the hotel nothing, all that happens is that those rooms go to the bottom of the cleaning rota. It’s only an issue if you have a room category with only a couple of rooms in it I reckon.

      • Haha yes – make sure to always request late check-out even if not required and hope they can’t honour it 😛

  6. RakishDriver says:

    O/T Curve wallet topups have posted this morning on my Amex. Took a while.

  7. OT: When booking Martiott points stay now and ordering the ecertificate later when points are available, which rate do we pay? The category rate now or the category rate at time of getting the ecertificate? I think it is the latter but just want to confirm please.

    • always the one when you booked

      • Peter K says:

        Except last year when it wasn’t so don’t count on that being the case.

        • Thanks Peter, I’ll try it anyway and if it works it is a bonus. If not, I’ll reconsidee other options.

      • Thanks Lee, I’ll go ahead and book some now then before new category increases on 5 March.

    • In theory you pay what you lock in now. Some people had issues after the August scheme merger but I got the impression it was just an IT screw up. Happy to be proved wrong on this though.

  8. Is it now the case that you can take your feee weekend night in isolation rather than as part of a 2 night package (one paid)? Ts and Cs seem to suggest that?

    • Is this the Ambassador free night? Or am I reading at cross purposes? I never used my free night very last year as the paid night I had to tag on to get it was too expensive to justify.

      • Yes I was referring to the ambassador free night. The current Ts and Cs make it clear that you must include a paid night but the new Ts and Cs are silent on it, unless i’ve missed it? Would make quite a difference.

  9. Do free nights from the IHG Credit Card count as reward nights – ie are you guaranteed an upgrade on them as AMB?

    • Peter K says:

      You are not guaranteed an upgrade on a reward night stay.

      • Sorry – I meant the $20 credit. As in do ICs treat a rewards booking using points differently from the credit card free night?

        • Peter K says:

          I can’t comment on intercontinental hotels but on other hotels they are just viewed as a normal reward night.

  10. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    It will be interesting to see how Hartford CT does load wise. Lots of big insurance companies there, only a 2hr drive from either New York or Boston, or better yet, about the same to the ferry for Nantucket which is well worth anyones time.

    • But who drives to a city? Having a car in NYC is a right pain. Not least in the wallet.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        Remains to be seen how the flight will be priced but one way car rental to either may well be less than direct to the hubs. Both are very easy drives.

        • Mikeact says:

          Easy maybe, but I’ve been looking for one ways as part of an upcoming trip, and it’s not that easy, let alone pricing issues.

    • I never heard about this place until this morning and I always was the best in my geography class…

  11. Combatjohnny says:

    It appears (on my statement atleast) amex have paid curve

    • Once they had valid transaction code, there was no reason not to pay.
      I doubt however, Curve and Amex would kiss and make it up going forward!

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