Bits: new Luton Priority Pass option, new Bonvoy hotel in Porto, Hilton Honors Silverstone F1 event
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News in brief:
New Luton Airport option for Priority Pass customers
Priority Pass has added a new option at Luton Airport for cardholders.
Unfortunately it is NOT available to anyone who gets their Priority Pass via American Express. It is available to anyone who gets their pass directly from Priority Pass or via another financial partner. It should also be available for LoungeKey customers, which in the UK primarily means HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard holders.
The deal is with Italian restaurant Nolito in the depature area. Priority Pass customers will receive a £15 credit towards any meal. If your Priority Pass allows a free guest and you arrive with someone else, you will receive a £30 credit.
If you’re not a pizza or pasta fan, Priority Pass also has a deal with The Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen on the same terms.
There are a grand total of TWO restaurant experiences globally that Amex-issued Priority Pass customers can use. One is The Grain Store at London Gatwick’s South Terminal. Given that this is the British Airways terminal, it is at least convenient for most HfP readers. The other is the Moevenpick Cafe in Berlin Brandenburg.
My best guess is that Priority Pass wants to charge American Express a higher fee for restaurant visits, as it pays out more than it pays a lounge operator, and that the two parties could not reach an agreement.
This is something that American Express may want to look at again given the frustration over being unable to access UK lounges with Priority Pass due to overcrowding. The fee differential cannot be more than £1-£2 per visit, given that no other bank or credit card provider has brought in a similar restriction.
There is also the Aspire lounge at Luton (our last review of the Aspire lounge at Luton Airport is here) which IS accessible with an Amex-issued Priority Pass. Recent reader feedback has not been too impressive though.
You can see all of the Priority Pass options at Luton on this page of their website.
Marriott opens a Renaissance hotel in Porto
Porto has made huge strides in attracting tourists over the last decade, and the international hotel groups have belatedly been catching up.
I reviewed IHG’s InterContinental Porto here – it was my last foreign trip pre-covid – which is one of those lovely conversions of well located historic buildings that InterContinental does so well. (Don’t let the ugly London ones give you a false impression!)
Marriott has now launched the Renaissance Porto Lapa Hotel. Lapa isn’t a part of the city that I know but:
Located in charming Lapa, one of the most historic, vibrant neighborhoods in Porto, the new hotel offers spontaneous explorers a sleek, sophisticated urban hideaway moments away from the iconic Lapa Church and other city landmarks, such as Casa da Música and Clérigos Tower.
Perched on the Lapa’s hills, the hotel offers panoramic views of the city skyline. Drawing inspiration from this beloved city, local architecture firm Visioarq Arquitectos and interior designers of Broadway Malyan were commissioned to create Renaissance Porto Lapa Hotel as an ‘Art House in The Park’. Anchored by the brand’s theatrical design concept, the hotel is dressed harmoniously in pastel pinks and champagne golds with an unexpected touch of petrol blue, which pays homage to the iconic Douro River running through Porto and Gaia. The hotel’s interiors feature vintage Portuguese tiles, which have been used in local buildings and pavements for centuries. Adorning the walls are original art pieces from Portuguese international artists including a tile mosaic installation by Pedrita Studio, a painting by Isabel Mello, and a unique piece made of corrugated iron and neon lights by Berlin-based artist Clemens Behr.
The hotel is a new build – which is often beneficial in terms of terms of ‘stuff works’ – and with 163 rooms doesn’t seem overwhelming. There is a 55 foot heated outdoor infinity pool on the roof.
You can find out more on the Marriott website here.
Redeem Hilton points for a rooftop Formula 1 event!
Hilton recently opened a Hilton Garden Inn hotel at Silverstone, overlooking the circuit. Unsurprisingly, Hilton Honors is taking advantage of this as the British Grand Prix approaches.
For Practice Day on Friday 7th July, Hilton is throwing a rooftop party! This is how they describe it:
Enjoy all day VIP hospitality with free-flowing food and beverages and unrivalled views of the start/finish line and the pit lane, all from one of the newest viewing platforms.
This experience for two (2) includes:
– VIP Rooftop access at the Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone on Friday, July 7, 2023
– General Admission access to the British Grand Prix Fan Zone, including access to the following:
o In-person driver talks on at The Main Stage in the Convert Zone
o Official F1 Fanzone Pitstop Challenge
o Official F1 Fanzone Racing Simulators
o Historic parts of the track, including the iconic 180mph speed of Copse Corner
o The Entertainment Village and Sports Zones
o A performance from Jax Jones at The Main Stage on Friday evening
o A giant screen playing live action-packed racing
This isn’t a bargain, although you need to remember that General Admission tickets for Practice Day are £169 per person, no rooftop party included!
The cost is 110,000 Hilton Honors points for two people. We value a Hilton point at 0.33p so you’re giving up £330-ish of future free hotel stays if you redeem for this. It does sound like good fun though.
There were originally 25 pairs of tickets up for grabs. This had dropped to 20 by last night.
There is no mention of car parking in the event description which, given the nature of the event, is a bit odd. Hopefully Hilton has a plan.
You can redeem via the Hilton Honors Experiences website here.