News in brief:
The final rail partners leave Nectar
The two remaining rail franchises that still offer Nectar points – TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast – are leaving the scheme at the end of May.
Both franchises offered 2 Nectar points (1.25 Avios) for every £1 you spent.
Tickets booked before the end of May will still qualify for points, even if your travel date is later.
TPE and Avanti were the last in a long line of rail franchises to drop the scheme. GWR pulled out on 30th March. LNER and South Western Railway had left earlier.
The list of companies that have pulled out of Nectar since it launched is huge. The reason why is simple – with no ‘gamification’ (such as Tesco Clubcard’s ability to redeem via partners for 3x face value) the rewards are simply not enough to drive changes in customer behaviour.
The ability to get back 1% of your rail spending in inflexible Nectar points was never going to move the needle when people were deciding how to travel. The drain on the taxpayer – the Government is now taking revenue risk on rail franchises, not the private sector – on the other hand would be noticeable.
Eurostar remains a Nectar partner but purely on a redemption base. Points can be swapped for Eurostar vouchers at the standard rate of 0.5p per Nectar point.
See the British Grand Prix with Hilton Honors points
One of the biggest perks of being a UK-based member of Hilton Honors is the ability to benefit from Hilton’s sponsorship of the McLaren Formula 1 team.
There are numerous McLaren events thoughout the year which are available for Hilton Honors points, but the big one is always tickets for the British Grand Prix.
Tickets for the 2022 event, on 3rd July at Silverstone, are now up for auction.
There are three auctions:
- Friday 1st July – 2 packages for 2 people – minimum bid 125,000 points
- Saturday 2nd July – 2 packages for 2 people – minimum bid 175,000 points
- Sunday 3rd July – 2 packages for 2 people – current bid 200,000 points
Full details are on the Hilton Experiences site here – filter by ‘UK’.
All packages are for two people and include:
- VIP access
- Entry to the McLaren Formula 1 Hospitality Experience
- A virtual tour of the McLaren Formula 1 team garage
- A one-night stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Northampton for the evening after your event
All auctions end on 31st May.
Thistle / The Clermont / Amba play musical chairs with their London hotel brands
GLH, the Singapore-based hotel group behind Guoman, Thisle, Amba and The Clermont, has almost finished its game of musical chairs with its London hotel brands.
The Amba Hotels name has been retired. Amba Marble Arch, reviewed here, has returned to the Thistle brand as Thistle Marble Arch. It is being described as the ‘flagship’ hotel for the brand. There are now eight Thistle hotels in Central London and the one at Heathrow.
The other Amba Hotel, Amba Charing Cross, has become the second hotel under The Clermont brand. It will be known as The Clermont Charing Cross, website here. This is the hotel on the Stand, above Charing Cross station. It was previously unbranded before becoming an Amba.
The other hotel under The Clermont brand is The Clermont Victoria, website here. This was previously Guoman The Grosvenor Hotel.
The same group also owns the Hard Rock Hotel London. This was previously Guoman The Cumberland before a substantial refurbishment.
GLH, the company behind all of these brands, has just one problem child left – The Tower Hotel at St Katherine Docks. Originally a Thistle, this was moved to the ‘upscale’ Guoman brand. Guoman never took off and all of the hotels have now been rebranded, except for The Tower. As the clear winner of any ‘ugliest hotel in London’ competition – with extra points due to its prominent riverside location next to The Tower of London – demolition would be, by far, the best solution here ……