Bits: Marriott article correction, 25% extra with IHG ‘bonus points’ packages, DoubleTree Cambridge rebrands

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News in brief:

Correction to the Marriott section of our ‘Best Hotel Promos’ article yesterday

We made a mistake in our ‘Best Hotel Promos’ round-up yesterday.  The current Marriott Bonvoy promotion offers 2,000 bonus points for completing two stays by 14th January and not 10,000 points as we originally wrote.  Once you have triggered that bonus, you receive a further personalised bonus to complete by 14th January.

The article was corrected on-site by 7.45am but the emails had already gone by that point.

You can register for the 2,000 points ‘Unlock More’ offer via this page of the Marriott Bonvoy site.

Email readers also ended up with a mashed up version of the PremiAir videos, showing the new luxury VIP terminal in Manchester.  You can see our 45-second panoramic video of the lounge via this YouTube page.

Marriott Bonvoy Unlock More promotion

Get a 25% bonus on elite-qualifying IHG bonus points packages

As part of the current IHG Rewards Club sale, IHG is offering a 25% bonus when you book a ‘bonus points’ package.

At this time of year, IHG’s ‘bonus points’ packages can look very interesting.

Many IHG hotels load additional cash rates which come with additional IHG Rewards Club points, albeit you pay more.  The bonus is often a flat amount per stay, so the deal works out better on a one-night rather than a five-night booking.

The key is that the bonus points you receive via these packages count towards elite status.  This is not an error – it is a stated feature of the programme.

Do note, however, that the 25% bonus points are NOT elite qualifying!

If it looks like you may be short of requalifying for Spire Elite or Platinum Elite status for 2020, it may be worth booking a bonus points package on your next stay.  The extra 1,000 to 5,000+ points you get could make all the difference.

Full details of how bonus points packages work can be found on this page of ihg.com.

To get the 25% bonus on the ‘bonus points’, you must book a ‘bonus points’ rate by 17th December and stay by 31st March.  The 25% bonus will post in arrears, up to four weeks after your stay.  As the 25% element is NOT elite qualifying, it doesn’t make any difference whether or not it arrives before the cut-off for status requalification on 31st December.

DoubleTree by Hilton hotel Cambridge closing

DoubleTree by Hilton Cambridge rebranding

Finally, a quick note that the DoubleTree by Hilton Cambridge City is leaving Hilton on 31st December.

Any stays you have booked for after that date will not accrue Hilton Honors points and your Hilton Honors benefits will not apply.

Hotels are generally very bad at offering refunds on pre-paid bookings in such circumstances, even though you are clearly not going to receive what you planned, but you should call them to discuss your options.  If you have Hilton Gold or Diamond status, for example, the hotel may offer you free breakfast if you agree to leave your booking intact.

The hotel has been bought by US lifestyle group Graduate Hotels, which operates exclusively in college towns.  It apparently offers retro-chic spaces where guests can “reminisce in their own memories and rekindle the spirit of their alma mater”.

The hotel website is here.

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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (7): HSBC Premier Mastercard

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Comments

  1. Off topic but wanted to say thanks.

    Our flight from SFO was delayed (WTP and no status) and just obtained access to the KLM/Air France Lounge via the O2 airline delay promotion which I forgot I’d signed up to!

    It was though HFP that I even knew it existed.

  2. Oh my, I’ve punted past those buildings on the way to Grantchester so many times, I never realised they were a Hilton hotel! Pretty much after every final exam and every dissertation / thesis / programming project deadline for myself and my friends. Those rollers can be quite tricky when you’re well into the second bottle of prosecco (as can the bridges)!

    • Yes – those bridges. Never as easy climbing over them after a few glasses. The rollers were even harder when the cows took an interest in proceedings.

      • Thankfully I’ve never had to contend with cows! I can’t imagine that makes life very easy!

        • whiskerxx says:

          OT – Cat, just a note of thanks. I have just returned from Cambodia. I did no pre-planning but simply followed the advice you recently offered to Polly to the letter and had a fabulous time!

          • Good to hear this – Cat has also given me advice re: Cambodia so sounds like I will have an excellent time!

          • Another one heading that way soon. Do you know where I might find Cat’s advice?

          • Yay! Glad you had a fab time Whiskerxx! Cambodia is absolutely one of my all time favourite places, people are so very friendly. I hope Polly has /has had a wonderful time too, you too Rhys!

            Louie – I can’t remember exactly when I posted it, so I’ll just post assorted advice again!

            I recommend spending some time in Siem Reap (the city by Angkor Wat) – you’ll want at least 3 days to see the temples, and Siem Reap is absolutely full of nice hotels and restaurants.  I haven’t been back to Siem Reap for a decade or so, but it used to be lovely (I hope that hasn’t changed!).  If you’re going to get up for a dawn temple visit, I recommend going to one of the really far-flung ones, like Banteay Srei or Beng Mealea – you should arrive long before the tour buses and might actually have them to yourselves, or almost to yourselves, until the tour buses start to roll in at 08:30 ish.  I particularly enjoyed Beng Mealea – I think one of the guide books described it as making Ta Promh look like they forgot to mow the lawn, which was pretty apt.  I ended up paying some local kids 50p to take me on a guided tour and we ended up clambering up and over the ruins, and then doing a rooftop tour, it was great fun.  

            Head for the most popular temples (like Ta Promh and the Bayon) when everyone heads back into town at lunch, the tourist hordes thin out considerably then (but you’ll never get them to yourselves).  It might be a good time to see Angkor Wat, but that temple is always crowded!  Time it well, because the hordes will be back!

            It’s also worth having a book with you, so that if you get temple fatigue, you can just tell your driver to take you to a really quiet, tall temple with a view from the top, and then find a spot to sit and read and soak in the view in peace.  I found Ta Keo was pretty good for this.

            My other big recommendation is Koh Rong Samloem, where I went a couple of years ago.  There are 3 main beaches – Sunset beach, Lazy beach and Saracen bay.  All are gorgeous – Sunset beach is more golden sand, whereas the other two are stunning white sand beaches. Saracen Bay has the most development, with lots of small boutiquey hotels with sand under your feet in restaurants, and with hammocks and Insta-perfect swings with a backdrop of azure blue sea. Most places will have fans, rather than aircon. Lazy beach has just one resort – when my OH and I went, we tried to book it, but it was block booked for a wedding all week, and they even closed the restaurants to tourists, so I couldn’t even have a look around. It looked very nice indeed from the absolutely perfect stretch of beach though. Sunset beach has a couple of cheap beach bungalow places and a couple of (good) places to eat, but not much else. Mark and I liked this beach the most, purely because it was so peaceful, with fewer people. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea though – we stayed in Robinson bungalows and loved it, but it was pretty basic. Their restaurant did a fantastic lok lak.  We also stayed in a boutique hotel on Saracen Bay, but the name escapes me right now. 

            Also, the path between the beaches gets very slippery if its been raining. After the rains, and if you’re staying anywhere other than Saracen bay and travelling with luggage, take the boat around, rather than hiking across. Maybe bring walking poles for stability!

            If you’re going to stay in Sihanoukville before taking the boat out, stay outside of town in Otres beach 2, as this has some really lovely boutique hotels and restaurants on the beach, and is further away from the tacky casinos with laser shows into the night sky. It is not exactly Jean-Michel Jarre. 

            I also liked Kampot and Kep quite a lot, but haven’t been back in over a decade.

            I think that’s most of it! Have fun Louie and Rhys!

            Sorry to not reply sooner, I had a frenetic day at work, then went straight round to my sister’s place to babysit my two nieces, one of whom is determined to not sleep…

        • Cat, that is so kind of you. Fantastic advice, which I have saved so I can find it again! First stop in Cambodia is Phnom Penh, then we’ve got 5 nights in Siem Reap (and have so far been a bit bamboozled by the choice of temples) and then 5 nights on one of the islands, though we’ve gone for Koh Totang rather than Koh Rong Samloem. Really looking forward to it – and thank you again.

    • For non-Cambridge folk: the rollers are used to get punts from the upper river (way to Grantchester) to the lower river (where the Colleges have their punts) and vice versa. The rollers are opposite the Garden House hotel, which is what it was called before Hilton.. Climbing over bridges while punting is a done thing but there really is only one that is doable just before Fem Causeway.

      • The Original David says:

        We don’t let people from the Other Place read HfP, do we?!

        • Would the Other Place be light or dark in hue?

        • RussellH says:

          Reading it now!

          There was a story in my day that the University of the Fens was founded by a group of reprobates thrown out of the real university.
          🙂

      • Sorry, yes, I didn’t spot just how opaque that would be for most people, first thing in the morning.
        Clearly I need more tea!

  3. pommy ray says:

    ihg bonus points package may work on existing bookings?

  4. Do existing bookings quality for this? I’ve got one coming up (flexible) so should I cancel and re-book?

    • There is a sale on so worth looking at current rates anyway m given your booking is flexible.

      • Many thanks. I did go and rebook. The price had come down by £5, so I went for the 3000 rather than 2000 bonus points which was a fiver more!! Hopefully that will double up to 6000 so thanks again Rob and BJ .

        • d’oh not double up, that’s something else, but still getting an extra 1750 points for the same price is nothing to be sniffed at! (1000 extra “bought” plus 750 bonus)

          • pommy ray says:

            seems to have applied 25% existing bookings and it is 25% extra points on the base points and the bonus points package bought on top which is nice.

    • Need to rebook I think.

  5. Hilton Capital Grand in AUH leaving Hilton Portfolio. No more Hilton Brands in Abu Dhabi.

    • That’s because they are currently building a new Hilton on Yas Island slated for opening next year I believe…

  6. Slightly related to Doubletree.

    Stayed at the new to Doubletree, Majestic Harrogate on Weds evening.

    Can’t deny it was a massive disappointment, especially after looking forward to trying it out as I had really high hopes for the place.

    Sadly it’s all slightly chaotic as it’s obviously been rushed to open it to get some revenue coming in. However it’s £15MM refurbishment is simply not finished (dust, woodsplinters and tradesmen all over the place, repairing lift, staircase and building furniture in the Spa that should have been finished weeks ago)

    The front office staff have not been sufficiently trained to enable them to deliver the excellent quality of service that we normally associate with the Hilton group.

    With the right attitude, investment in staff and attention to detail it does however have great potential to be one of the UKs best Doubletree properties, if not the best.

    Like many Hilton UK properties it’s key staff members good nature that can make or break a place, so these folks deserve due credit, Amy expertly making cocktails behind a very busy bar, Chris for cheerful waiter service and the breakfast chef Joanne being kind & really helpful making me fantastic poached eggs to order.

    I hope to return in the Spring/Summer to give it a second chance and check on it’s progress, given its location and potential I want it improve to be a place I want to keep coming back to in the future.

    Just as an aside, I can definitely recommend nearby gastro pub in Harrogate for evening meals, The Fat Badger, great food and service, lovely staff.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Eek! I’m staying there in 2 weeks time. Hopefully the fact that it’s a hospitality function for clients and so I’m not paying a penny/point towards it will rather soften the blow :D.

      • I think the service lift is out of action so laundry is being left piled up in corridors until it can be shifted easily. They are also clearly understaffed (our room wasn’t ready for us)

        The Spa lounge area furniture should be completed in the coming days, the guys were working long hours. (Bandsaws and drilling noise included)

        Don’t get me wrong if they successfully make changes it has the capacity to be a stunning hotel, and personally I really hope that they do as would like to be enjoying the place a few times a year.

    • Big Ernie McCracken says:

      Just checked out after 4 nights stay on points. Staff were ok but housekeeping was terrible. Room usually cleaned about 4.30pm. On last night at 5pm asked for clean towels and don’t bother about cleaning the room. Hopefully teething problems.

  7. The additional marriott bonus that you unlock after two stays has been reported as quite underwhelming. I am offered 15,000 points for an additional six stays before 14 january. So half of a free night at a modest hotel for completing six more stays in the next two months. hardly a big motivational factor.

    • Well if the paid stays are also at modest hotels then thats an 8% rebate on top of the normal points – not that unreasonable?

      They are in business, after all…

      • The bonus points are after six STAYS, not six nights. So it might be 8% if you have six individual nights but if you normally stay for 5 nights per trip that’s half a night for 30 nights paid stays. So that’s 1.6% rebate.

        • Who is going to manage 6 stays of 5 nights each by January?! Pretty niche example…

  8. DT Cambridge has been dead to me since they demolished the pool.

    The Hilton on Downing Street used to be a Crowne Plaza many moons ago and left to become independent only to realise the error of their ways and join Hilton a few years back.

    Given the volume of overseas visitors deflating seems mad, but well see what they do in the coming years. Nice hotel, mind and in a terrific spot.

  9. OT: 23% off Red Letter Days with EARLYBIRD which should hopefully stack with the 25% Amex offer some of us have.

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