Bits: Priority Pass dining cuts coming?, Iberia returns to Guayaquil, free Wheely rides with Citi, Jessie J

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News in brief:

Priority Pass dining cuts getting closer to home

A few weeks, holders of Priority Pass cards issued by American Express in the United States and Hong Kong were told that, from 1st August, they could no longer use their card in restaurants or bars.

(You can still hand over your card and the restaurant will give you the £15 credit, but Priority Pass will charge your Amex card with a £20 fee!)

There are a growing number of airport restaurants and bars which will give you £15 or equivalent credit by showing your Priority Pass.  This is instead of visiting a lounge, although nothing stops you using the credit and then visiting a lounge too.

In the UK there is only one participating restaurant – The Grain Store in London Gatwick’s South Terminal.  We wrote about The Grain Store here.

I didn’t cover it at the time because I thought it was a US-centric issue.  However, American Express cardholders in Germany and Austria with a Priority Pass were also told this week that they are losing this benefit on 1st August.

Will we get a similar email in the UK soon?  I can see why American Express may want to avoid cutting UK cardholder benefits, given the £125 hike in the Platinum membership fee this week.  Let’s see.

Note that this only impacts Priority Pass cards issued by Amex.  If you get one via another source, either bought directly (click here) or via another bank, you won’t be hit by this even if Amex makes the change.

Thanks to Karen for this.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Iberia returns to Guayaquil

If you’re looking for somewhere different to redeem your Avios, Iberia is to return to Guayaquil in Ecuador, two years after dropping the route.

Flights are scheduled to resume on 13th December, operating three times per week.

If you’ve never heard of it, Guayaquil “is a port city in Ecuador, known as a gateway to Pacific beaches and the Galapagos Islands.”  A photo is below.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Iberia returns to Guayaquil

Wheely offering free rides to Citi Privilege clients

If you have a Citi Privilege account, you can take advantage of a new partnership with upmarket London chauffeur group Wheely.

Here are the details, taken from the Citi website here:

Enjoy two complimentary London airport transfers with chauffeur service Wheely.

Wheely is a luxury chauffeur service operating in London, with bookings made through an easy-to-use app. Citigold Wealth Management is delighted to offer our clients two complimentary airport transfers taken before 30thJune 2019

The offer applies to two Executive Service journeys from/to London transferring to/from Heathrow and Gatwick. Check the city boundaries here

Both on-demand and pre-booking services are available with the option to request a car for another person.

How to activate the offer

Accessing this offer couldn’t be simpler. Request your journey through the Wheely app and enter your Citi Debit Card details as the payment option and the promotion will automatically be applied.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Hilton’s Jessie J concert tonight

If you are attending the Hilton Honors / Jessie J concert tonight, please say Hi.  I will be there with my wife.  It looks like 80%-90% of Hilton Honors guests will be HFP readers ….

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  1. Richard says:

    OT: Are we in for another round of Lloyds Amex fraud?

    Lloyds Amex supplementary card never used, never left the house somehow used for a series of transactions with US and Mexico companies & failed at Confused agent says several different (cancelled) card numbers were used across the multiple transactions. Had no recollection of there ever being problems with Lloyds Amex in the US in the past…

    Any similar experiences?

    • I really wonder what on earth goes on at Lloyds! Quite glad I don’t have a major product like a mortgage with them…

    • Richard says:

      Talking further with another Lloyds agent (they generally cut me off after half an hour…). Says they’re currently seeing lots of Mexico-related fraud on the Amex cards. Claim they don’t know why but point the finger at Amex for a data breach they haven’t been notified of.

    • I hadn’t said anything before but I will now.
      Lloyds changed my card and kindly sent me my “new pin” through the post. Only it wasn’t a “new pin” at all. It was my existing pin for my Lloyds and other cards too.
      Am I being unreasonable in telling them they shouldn’t do this? I would never have missed it if it had been intercepted.
      I complained but they didn’t seem to see the issue. I’ve agreed that they have exhausted the complaints process and I’m going to the ombudsman as their process is, in my view, very compromised.
      I don’t want any compensation, just for them to accept their process isn’t secure and change it. Meanwhile they’ve lost me as a customer forever.

      • To be honest I get annoyed when my pin is changed. I got a new Curve this week (lost the old one) and was not happy pin was different.

        • Fine. Just send a letter saying “your pin is unchanged”.

          Don’t send an unexpected letter that I’m never going to miss saying “this is your pin” and reveal a pin I’m already using.

      • Doug M says:

        Lloyds are just poor in almost all customer interactions. It seems they’ve decided the compo is cheaper than fixing things. They made a complete mess of the recent Avios card change for me. Eventually sorted, not that I’ll use the new card anyway, so poor compared to previous.
        The PIN thing is typical of the outdated methods used by many banks, sending pieces of paper through the post will never be secure.

        • Lady London says:

          I always collect anformation thy new card at the bank wherever possible. That way I try to separte PIN and any other information that may be sent separately, from the card.

  2. Aston says:

    Lounge Club. Got turned away by the three lounges in Gatwick North around 13:30 today, as did some people with priority passes.
    However, watched someone last to get into the Aspire lounge despite them saying they were full.
    There were several unoccupied tables and seats in Aspire and MyLounge. Unsure about No1 lounge as didn’t get past the door staff.

    Is this normal?

    • Aston says:

      Typo, that should have read “watched someone pay to get into the Aspire lounge”

      • Yes, a lot of the contract lounges reserve tables/space for passengers travelling in business class with airlines that have a contract with the lounge, or those who have bought lounge access through a tour operator.

        Some lounges let you reserve a place by paying £5 – usually on their own website. Sometimes gets you access to priority lane in security too, so can be worth it.

    • Lady London says:

      Most of these lounges that are pretty well known to be turning Amex Plat PP cardholders away far too often, are owned by Collinson.

      Priority Pass is also owned by Collinson.

      And yet, Amex Plat card holders with Priority Pass from Amex, are getting turned away consistently by these lounges.

      Does anyone think that Amex and Collinson could be at war over prices being paid by Amex to the lounges when an Amex Plat Priority pass is used? Like, are the llounges trying to make a point about not being paid enough by Amex for their cardholders to use the Amex Plat PP to enter?

      If the problem is that the lounge has contracts with airlines to host airline passengers entitled to lounge access, and as PP and Lounge Pass holders are being consistently turned away, then why is Priority Pass not expanding the dining program ?

      If there is all this unmet demand, surely the existing lounge should either meet demand most of the time – after all lounge access has been paid for in the Amex fee – or should the airport allow an additional lounge to operate? And lastly the dining credit was helping at one or two pinch points, and yet that’s being canned now?

      Whatever is going on in background here it would be nice to know that Amex is making some efforts to deliver on the Priority Pass benefit at the ‘rogue’ lounges that are not delivering the Amex Plat PP benefit to cardholders.

      I can see it being much harder toj justify the new higher Amex fees now that Priority Pass access cannot be guaranteed, and almost can be guaranteeds not to be available, in the UK at major airports so much of the time. It was hard enough at £450 to kid oneself the Amex card fee was just about covered by the benefits package. PP makes up a significant part of the value of UK Amex,. I just can’t see other numbers making up the value of hte fee until this problem is resolved by Amex so that the promised benefit of lounge access via Amex Plat Prriority Pass can be relied on.

      • How do they know that it’s an Amex PP? Are you saying that they are letting in people with directly purchased PP but turning away the Amex ones?

  3. As OT as it gets but it’s a slow day:

    Anyone got any good wine vendor recommendations?

    Trying to get my hands on a bottle of the Mullineux Chenin Blanc Granite 2017 and can’t seem to find it anywhere in the UK.

  4. Globetrotter says:

    Iberia. Is their onboard service as cheap skate as their Dali and Valasquez flagship lounges? Barely any hot food. 2 bottles of cava put out at 4pm then nothing until 9pm I was told. If you miss it too bad! And cava is cheap! Even standard white wine had completely run out at 5.30pm in Wed 12/6 in the Valasquez lounge. Is this normal for Iberia?

    • They don’t have the mini bottles of cava in the drinks fridges anymore?

    • Andreas says:

      There’s usually plenty of wine as the fridges close by are always well stocked. I agree that food offering can be poor depending on what time you are there, lunch time seems to have the best variety. Other than that the cold options in between meals are ridiculous: slabs of fresh white cheese and turkey slices sitting there for hours. At least they usually have Haagen Dazs!

    • Globetrotter says:

      @Andy @Andreas Thx, fridge with wine locked (!) and no more mini bottles. The mini bottles in the past were Demi-Sec and not commonly drunk in Spain where Brut or Brut Nature is preferred. So a cynical person would say the only reason the mini bottles were Demi-sec was to discourage people from drinking them. Really does not make me want to fly Iberia … is this the worst airline in OneWorld?

      @Rob Any thoughts given you may have more experience of more airlines?

  5. Priority pass cuts are coming to Australian issued cards too apparently. I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually goes for all Amex issued PP’s.

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