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Who won at the Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards 2023?

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Last Tuesday night, 80 of the great and good from the UK airline, hotel, airport lounge and reward credit card sectors gathered to find out who YOU had voted as winner’s of the Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards 2023.

We ran an article on Monday explaining what went on, so you should read that first if you haven’t already. Thanks again to Rakuten Advertising who generously sponsored the awards and the dinner.

Let’s jump straight in to the winners – if you disagree, you have only your fellow readers to blame! As a reminder, the original shortlists were drawn up by the HfP team with voting available via the website over Christmas and New Year.

The awards were presented by Sky News presenter Jonathan Samuels, who is in most of the images below.

Jack Calway American Express

Best independent UK airport lounge

  • American Express Centurion Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 3 (winner)
  • Aspire Lounge (Gate 16), Edinburgh
  • Lomond Lounge, Glasgow
  • No1 Lounge, Birmingham
  • Northern Lights Lounge, Aberdeen

Collected by Jack Calway from American Express. We said:

The first Centurion Lounge to open in Europe – accessible at Heathrow Terminal 3 to anyone with an American Express Platinum or Centurion card – is a good example of what smart design can do with a windowless space.  A variety of seating ‘zones’ means that there is something to suit every sort of trip and traveller.”

Elizabeth Cunningham IAG Loyalty

Best airline or rail loyalty scheme

  • British Airways Executive Club (winner)
  • Club Eurostar
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Flying Blue
  • Miles & More
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Virgin Flying Club

Collected by Elizabeth Cunningham from IAG Loyalty. We said:

It’s unsurprising that readers of a UK-focused frequent flyer site would choose British Airways Executive Club as their preferred programme.  However, whilst it’s easy to be annoyed by high surcharges and wobbly IT, you have to admire industry-leading innovations such as guaranteed Avios seats on every flight, the new ‘all Avios’ flights and the 2-4-1 voucher offered on the BA Amex credit card.”

Jillian Jackson Hilton

Best hotel loyalty scheme

  • Accor Live Limitless
  • Hilton Honors (winner)
  • Rewards
  • IHG One Rewards (Editor’s Choice)
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Radisson Rewards
  • World of Hyatt

Collected by Jillian Jackson from Hilton. We said:

Hilton could rest on its laurels, given its huge footprint, but the loyalty scheme is still a leader. It’s the only major programme to offer free breakfast or a food cash credit to mid-tier members (some schemes don’t even give this to their top tier) and giving each hotel a points price cap means that you’re never going to see ludicrous reward pricing on super-peak nights.”

Peter Tippen IHG

Rhys and I gave an extra ‘Editor’s Choice’ award in this category, collected by Peter Tippen from IHG One Rewards. We said:

IHG One Rewards, launched in 2022, is a huge step forward. The old model of weak benefits but easily earned points has been ripped up.  New Milestone Rewards allow you to earn a suite upgrade with just 20 nights per year and an annual lounge pass for just 40 nights.  Top tier Diamond members now get free breakfast too. The scheme is now a real competitor.”

Best UK travel rewards credit card

  • American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
  • Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
  • Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
  • British Airways American Express Premium Plus (winner)
  • Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
  • HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
  • The Platinum Card by American Express
  • Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard
  • Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

Collected by Jack Calway of American Express, pictured earlier. We said:

“The British Airways Premium Plus credit card is a juggernaut, with over 1% of UK GDP flowing through it according to a recent IAG presentation.  BA and Amex could have stood still but are still rolling out new ideas, such as allowing the 2-4-1 voucher to be used by a solo traveller for a 50% Avios discount.  Opening extra reward availability for 2-4-1 voucher holders in Business Class was also a genuine innovation.”

Gary Kershaw Eric Odone Qatar Airways

Best business class seat & service

  • ANA
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • Qatar Airways (winner)
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • United Airlines

Collected by Gary Kershaw and Eric Odone from Qatar Airways. We said:

“Qatar Airways won this category when we first held these awards in 2019 and it appears to be uncatchable at the moment. Qsuite’s privacy door, spaciousness and quality finish, plus the impressive Qatar Airways food and wine are all best in class amongst the major global carriers.” 

Esme Fillingham British Airways

Best new or refurbished UK airport lounge

  • 1903 Lounge, Manchester Terminal 2
  • Aspire Lounge, Belfast City
  • Blush Lounge by Plaza Premium, Heathrow Terminal 4
  • British Airways First Dining Room, Heathrow Terminal 3
  • British Airways Galleries Club, Heathrow Terminal 5B (winner)
  • Escape Lounge, Manchester Terminal 2
  • Flight Lounge, Gatwick North
  • No1 Lounge, Luton
  • Plaza Premium, Edinburgh
  • Qatar Airways Frequent Flyer Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4

Collected by Esme Fillingham from British Aiways. We said:

“Tucked away in the T5B satellite terminal and accessible by all Business, First, Silver and Gold passengers, this relatively unknown lounge is looking good following an overhaul which goes well beyond the ‘light refresh’ initially promised by British Airways.”

Best special sign-up offer on a UK travel rewards credit card

  • 70,000 Avios for £3,000 of spend with the British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card (winner)
  • 75,000 Membership Rewards points with £10,000 of spend, plus a 25,000 points renewal bonus, on The Platinum Card from American Express
  • 50,000 Avios with £3,000 of spend on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
  • 50,000 Capital On Tap points with £30,000 of spend on the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa Card
  • 80,000 Membership Rewards points with £12,000 of spend, plus a 40,000 points renewal bonus, on the American Express Business Platinum Card
  • 30,000 Virgin Points with £3,000 of spend on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
  • 100,000 Avios for taking out a Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard and opening a Barclays Premier bank account

Collected by Elizabeth Cunningham from IAG Loyalty, pictured earlier. We said:

“Letting people earn a sign-up bonus of 70,000 Avios – worth, in the worse case, £465 of Nectar points – was a crazy offer, especially as the card could be cancelled for a pro-rata membership fee refund at any point.  I suspect most people will have stuck around though, treating the Avios as covering 2-3 years of annual fee.”

Chris Currie Marriott International

Best new UK chain hotel

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Brighton Metropole
  • Fairmont Windsor Park
  • Hampton by Hilton London City
  • Hyatt Regency London Blackfriars
  • Lost Property St Pauls London
  • Radisson Red Liverpool
  • Radisson York
  • The Municipal Hotel Liverpool
  • Virgin Hotels Edinburgh
  • W Edinburgh (winner)

Collected by Chris Currie from Marriott International. We said:

“This hotel is not going to win any awards for its – ahem – interesting silhouette or for the speed of its construction, but it is finally open as Scotland’s first – and only the UK’s 2nd – W hotel.  Attracting a branch of the hip SushiSamba restaurant shows what it wants to achieve and the rooftop bar will come into its own during the summer. We look forward to trying it soon.”

Amy Benton British Airways

Best UK airport lounge (airline)

  • British Airways Concorde Room, Heathrow Terminal 5 (winner)
  • Cathay Pacific Business & First Class Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 3
  • Etihad Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
  • Qantas London Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 3
  • Qatar Airways Premium Lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
  • Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Heathrow Terminal 3

Collected by Amy Benton from British Airways. We said:

“The Concorde Room – exclusively for ticketed First Class passengers departing from Heathrow Terminal 5 – shows that British Airways can do good quality table service lounge food and premium drinks.”

Best new business class seat

  • Air France new A350 / 777 business class seat
  • Etihad A350 Business Studio
  • Finnair AirLounge (Editor’s Choice)
  • Iberia A350 NEXT seat
  • JetBlue Mint Suite / Studio
  • Qatar Airways 787-9 new business class suite (winner)
  • Virgin Atlantic A330-900neo Upper Class Suite / Retreat Suite

Collected by Gary Kershaw and Eric Odone from Qatar Airways, pictured earlier. We said:

Despite being an off-the-shelf product, Qatar Airways’ newest business class seat is a match for the Qsuite found on the A350 and Boeing 777. Whilst it has been constrained by the smaller footprint of the Boeing 787, the suite feels no less spacious and is complemented by the latest technological features, including wireless Qi charging and Bluetooth connectivity.”

Eerika Enne Anssi Partanen Finnair

Rhys and I gave an extra ‘Editor’s Choice’ award in this category, collected by Eerika Enne and Anssi Partanen from Finnair. We said:

“Finnair took a risk when it chose the AirLounge, and it has paid off. The first ‘no-recline’ business class seat on the market saves on maintenance costs and overall weight, making it a cheaper and more environmentally friendly choice, but it maintains the spaciousness of a proper, fully-flat business class bed. Whilst there are no doors, the curved outer shell creates a cocoon of privacy. Finnair also deserves credit for pushing on with its refurbishment during the pandemic, meaning that virtually the entire fleet is now converted.”

Best premium economy seat and service

  • Air Transat
  • British Airways (winner)
  • Emirates
  • Norse Atlantic
  • Qantas
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Collected by Esme Fillingham from British Airways, pictured earlier. We said:

“British Airways has been investing in its World Traveller Plus experience over the past five years, and this win shows it has paid off. Upgraded meals, blankets, pillows and amenity kits mean the cabin is now a real step up from economy, whilst (finally!) the launch of dedicated check-in and baggage-drop desks seems to have given it the edge this time.”

Best hotel loyalty promotion

  • Accor Live Limitless October 2023 – 6,000 bonus points for 3 x 2 night stays
  • Hilton Honors Autumn 2023 – double or triple base points, based on city, on every stay (winner)
  • IHG One Rewards Summer 2023 – 10,000 bonus points for every four cash nights
  • Miles & More / – “30 miles per €1”
  • Marriott Bonvoy Spring 2023 – double elite nights plus 1,000 bonus points per stay
  • Preferred Hotels Black Friday – 3 for 2 and 30,000 bonus points for a three night stay
  • World of Hyatt Summer 2023 – double base points on stays outside the Americas

Collected by Jillian Jackson from Hilton, pictured earlier. We said:

“Hilton has a track record of running back-to-back promotions, so you can always be sure of earning more points from a stay than you would expect.  This offer was a typical Hilton example – easy to understand, easy to register and applicable to stays you’d already booked.”

Best travel loyalty innovation

  • American Express – £300 annual dining credit on The Platinum Card
  • American Express – addition of 50% discount for solo travellers to the British Airways 2-4-1 voucher (winner)
  • British Airways Executive Club – Avios-only flights
  • British Airways Executive Club – long haul Reward Flight Saver
  • Priority Pass – launch of lounge pre-booking
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club – adoption of Avios
  • Virgin Atlantic – joining SkyTeam (Editor’s Choice)
  • Virgin Red  – launch of £10 flat-fee points transfers to other members

Collected by Elizabeth Cunningham from IAG Loyalty, pictured earlier. We said:

The 2-4-1 companion voucher given out annually to British Airways American Express cardholders is easily the UK’s most valuable credit card perk but was useless to solo travellers.  It took 20 years, but this simple change – allowing a solo traveller to use a 2-4-1 for a half-price Avios ticket instead – instantly opened up the card to a new market segment.”

Rami El Dahshan Virgin Atlantic

Rhys and I gave an extra ‘Editor’s Choice’ award in this category, collected by Rami El Dahshan from Virgin Atlantic. We said:

Passengers – and Head for Points – have been clamouring for Virgin Atlantic to join a major airline alliance for years, so it’s only right that we recognise it now that it has. You can now earn and redeem Virgin Points on all nineteen SkyTeam airlines, whilst Virgin Flying Club members can enjoy their elite benefits even when they’re not flying Virgin Atlantic.”

Raija Seager Eric Odone Qatar Airways

Redemption of the Year

  • Accor Live Limitless – BST Hyde Park tickets and VIP packages
  • Hilton Honors – rooftop party at Hilton Garden Inn Silverstone on British Grand Prix practice day
  • Hilton Honors – Secret Socials private gigs in London featuring Becky Hill, Stormzy & Tom Grennan
  • IHG One Rewards – EPCR Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions Cup rugby tickets
  • Marriott Bonvoy – Elton John suite packages at the O2 via Marriott Moments
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club – UK to Australia in business class for 180,000 Avios (winner)
  • Virgin Atlantic – 30% off all flight redemptions in all cabins on all routes
  • Virgin Red – Virgin Voyages 7-night Mediterranean cruise for 80,000 points for two (Editor’s Choice)
  • Virgin Red – Virgin x Crosley turntable for 1 point

Collected by Raija Seager and Eric Odone from Qatar Airways. We said:

“In the (unlikely) situation that you can find a British Airways Business Class reward seat to Australia, it will cost 340,000 Avios return on a peak date.  In 2022 Qatar Airways adopted Avios and decided that it would charge just 180,000 Avios for a UK – Doha – Australia / New Zealand Business Class ticket.  As well as a points and charges saving, you get to fly in the superior Qatar Airways cabin and choose from multiple destinations, not just Sydney.  Availability was also excellent, although the secret is now out.”

Jodie Morjaria Caitlin Marsh Virgin Red

Rhys and I gave an extra ‘Editor’s Choice’ award in this category, collected by Jodie Morjaria and Caitlin Marsh from Virgin Red. We said:

A lot of HfP readers jumped on the Virgin Voyages Mediterranean cruise redemptions offered by Virgin Red last year. The feedback in our forum has been fantastic – from young and old and from those who wanted to party to those who simply wanted a quiet break after a tricky couple of years.  80,000 Virgin Points for an all-inclusive (except alcohol) week-long cruise selling for almost £3,000 was outstanding value.”

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, and thank you to everyone who voted and everyone who came along to the event last week.

Comments (126)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick says:

    It looks like it was a great evening, and congratulations to the HfP team.

    Looking forward to, hopefully, some more upscale reader competitions.

    • Rivansh says:

      The UK was always a pioneer in client journalism.

      • Rhys says:

        You’d be surprised at the number of brands that won’t work with us because we call a spade a spade.

        The people in this room understand that our credibility comes from our occasionally unvarnished views, and not from writing wishy-washy Conde Nast style pieces.

        • Rob says:

          We were told last week (not at this event) that an unnamed hotel group goes around saying they don’t like working with us because we don’t produce 100% positive reviews.

          However, as we always say, Gallivanter’s Guide is available at £650 per year for 8 pages per month of content if you want to read ‘pay our way’ luxury hotel reviews. And even then, with the best will in the world, you can be 100% sure that the author (same person writes everything) is very heavily flagged in the internal Four Seasons, Aman, Mandarin systems etc and is treated accordingly.

          • John says:

            I think it’s about balance. Personally, I love reading reviews here. It is uplifting and reminds me of the flying as a kid, when everything seemed magical. Sure, your reviews aren’t 100% positive but you don’t shred airlines for clicks like most US sites.Nobody needs to read about expired food or the flight attendant who had a bad day

        • JDB says:

          Long may it stay that way @Rhys. I like the HfP because they are written in a consistent format/style and as a regular reader one can spot when you are underwhelmed by something in a way that is clear to me but will appear fine to your host.

  • CarpalTravel says:

    Really says a lot about this site and how very far it has come, and also, how it is perceived by these businesses, free meal or not! I think it is clear who the actual big winner was that evening. Well done, everyone at HfP.

    From the first few photos though, I was beginning to wonder if it was just a life-sized cardboard cut out of Jonathan Samuels!

    • Lux says:

      Echoing this – well done Rob and team.

    • His Holyness says:

      I agree, HfP is the winner here. Skytrax is worthless in the UK thanks to meaningful HfP awards, next is to have an impact overseas!
      The only criticism is the skewing to Avios/BA. No way the Concorde Room lounge is the best UK lounge, that’s just absurd, but perceived as by HfP readers who redeem Avios and basically only know/care about BA. BA’s lounges at LHR have got steadily worse in the past 15 years whereas others have got much better.

      • John says:

        Funny you should bring up the legitimacy of Skytrax when discussing an event where ihg and Virgin would be going home empty handed were it not for the creation of a few “editor’s choice” awards.

        • Rob says:

          My view of the IHG improvements is well known, should not have surprised anyone.

          • BJ says:

            I think many will have same sentiments on IHG. This was category I had most difficulty deciding. I cannot recall which I voted fir in the end but was a close call with Hilton and IHG. However, since voting I have becone less favourably ibclibedvtowards IHG, only because of thei failure to deliver effectively on food and beverage awards and confirmed suite upgrades but the scheme in theory is great. I think you guys called allvthe Editor’s Chouce awards correctly.

        • His Holyness says:

          Chalk and cheese to what HfP does. Edward Plaisted’s Skytrax is deliberately opaque. Try finding their company accounts.

        • daveinitalia says:

          I disagree with the VS one. Virgin joining SkyTeam is not innovative, it’s more ‘about bloody time’. VS for so long used to think (like the middle east carriers) that they were special enough not to need an alliance. So if the innovation was arrogant airlines realising that an alliance might benefit them well Qatar Airways beat them to it by many years. VS should have bought/merged with or at least cooperated closely with BD many years ago and joined Star Alliance with them.

          • Rob says:

            In a perfect world Star Alliance carriers would have teamed up to buy BMI and then dished up the slots, with Virgin Atlantic coming into Star as part of the deal (remember that Singapore was the 49% shareholder then, not Delta) and taking a large % of those slots. It would have totally changed the game at Heathrow in terms of competition.

  • Can2 says:

    Wauw, the travel industry in the UK has a lot of diversity!

    • His Holyness says:

      😃 they have a long way to go, diversity i prevalent in the lowest paid positions but is poor in the management grades.

    • Charles Martel says:

      Why is “diversity” more important than talent?

      • Rob says:

        Looks like any other London business event to me. Not sure what passes for diversity where you live!

        • His Holyness says:

          1 in 2 people in London are BAME (46%) in the most recent survey.

        • leggyblonde says:

          I live in London and a group 100% white is quite the opposite of diverse!

          The “recruiting the best talent” argument doesn’t wash either as that completely ignores the privilege certain groups have.

          Anyway, congratulations on what looked to be a good awards night. I also appreciate your openness to comments and queries on the way HfP do things, comes across as very trustworthy.

          • Novice says:

            It’s not 100% white. Try to stick to facts. I an quite sure Singapore airlines representative was an asian.

          • Rob says:

            It’s possible that the flash photography makes some people look white who are not white! You also can’t tell from the pictures who is white British vs white something else. The winners are also less representative of the room as a whole.

          • His Holyness says:

            These companies should get the message that it’s not 1975 and white women doesn’t make your company diverse when your backyard is half BAME.

      • Rob says:

        You clearly haven’t got the best talent if you’re not recruiting from the widest possible pool.

      • Can2 says:


  • Lux says:

    ‘The British Airways Premium Plus credit card is a juggernaut, with over 1% of UK GDP flowing through it according to a recent IAG presentation‘

    Huge if true, as the kids says. An impressive stat.

    • JDB says:

      That 1% figure quoted at the Capital Markets Day was not just for the BAPP, but both BA Amex cards, plus the two newer Barclaycards and the BA/Avios Mastercard which has gone a bit quiet.

    • Bobby Stodel says:

      Is the claim of 1% of UK GDP correct? UK GDP is 3,332 billion USD or about GBP 2,665 billion. 1% will be GBP 26 billion. That seems an impossible number to be charged through one Amex card type?

      • Ken says:

        There is about £240 billion that goes through UK credit cards each year.
        So 10% through BA AMEX and Barclaycard Avios ?

        • lumma says:

          I’d say 10% would be pretty easy based on when I used to work in hospitality, if not slightly lower than I’d expect. (Talking about credit cards only of course, vast majority of payments would still be via debit cards)

          • Rob says:

            I know 1% is correct because I remember an Avios event a few years ago when they hit £1bn / month on the Amex. No reason why the BA Amex plus Barclaycard and CoT won’t be at £2bn now.

      • Rob says:

        It’s correct.

        • Lux says:

          Never in doubt. The economics of credit card products and the frequent flyer market is fascinating, as is BA’s internal culture. I did some usability work for them a long time ago, they were receptive to feedback and some of their developments were genuinely innovative – for example when the flight explorer page was introduced. This was, of course, more than 20 years ago and I see that some of my suggestions are still present on the BA Holidays booking pages.

          So, despite the frustrations with IT, BA does deserve credit for some innovations in the Executive Club.

    • CJD says:

      I wonder how much possible revenue is being left on the table by cardholders who spend £10k on the card and then stop, shifting their spend to other cards because there’s currently no real incentive to continue spending once the 2-4-1 is triggered.

  • Kev M says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen a set of photos where one person has the exact same expression in every one. Kudos to Jonathan Samuels for that.

    • GM says:

      I noticed that too. Brilliant. He’s obvious a professional and has the photo look perfected. Unlike when the guy doing free headshots at a conference tried to get me doing different expressions to relax my face or whatever and I just look absurd.

    • lumma says:

      I’ve got a mate that we call cardboard cutout because he pulls the same stupid expression in every photo he’s in

  • LittleNick says:

    Ironic how BA Exec Club won best airline loyalty scheme and is about to no doubt get worse over the next few years with the changes coming in

    • Ken says:

      That’s the spirit- keep the glass half empty

    • lumma says:

      Even if all other loyalty schemes were as easy to earn points in as Avios, I still think it would win. RFS pricing, amex 241, guaranteed seats, easy to redeem with small amounts, generous points expiry conditions. Look at how many points you need on M&M for short haul for example. At least through Virgin, Air France/KLM don’t have any last minute availability, one of the best uses for Avios in my opinion.

      • BBbetter says:

        Yep, people underestimate how good it is.

      • His Holyness says:

        M&M is much cheaper on saver C awards for longhaul.

        • lumma says:

          That’s literally one part of the scheme though. Exec club offers something for everyone (as long as they live in the south east), want to redeem for first class, you can but you can also get a zone 1 return from only 4-5k points, which you can easily get in just a few month’s Sainsbury’s shopping. 50k+£100 for a return to New York seems like a great deal to regular people

          • Rob says:

            M&M is a dog for short haul though. Availability has dropped massively too – I used to able to pick up 4 J to Dubai for October half term with no issues, you now have weeks on end with no seats.

          • His Holyness says:

            That’s why you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You do make a key point, BAEC is a programme for the South East, leave there and it’s not great.
            M&M don’t price each leg for short haul redemptions unlike BA. I remind you that the zone 1 to Europe from Manchester is 21,000 Avios plus £70 in Y, that’s nearer to £400 in cash value based on HfP estimates.
            Short haul is definitely weak, but I’d always find a cheaper cash fare. Nevertheless for the interests of fairness if we compare the promo of BA’s off peak with the M&M mileage bargains which is a reduced miles promo that are popular. They don’t divide Europe into zones, so a return to Athens costs the same as one to Brussels. An off-peak BA J to ATH from GLA would cost 53,200 Avios plus £100 vs 25,000 M&M plus £180 with M&M. Neither would tempt me though!
            Let’s recall that BA do the exact same thing with cash fares to Europe, a MAN-SOF return is two fares stuck together, there’s no through fare so they’re always more expensive.
            Lounges are also better, at every level compared to BA’s Where’s Wally find the chicken slop buckets and fish cakes. This wasn’t the case a few years ago with BA wiping the floor with LH Group. The LX F lounges are stellar compared to the CCR.
            Meaningful status is now very easy and cheap. Before, you’d need 800 flights to be Senator on the cheapest SH Y tariff (125 miles per flight), now it’s 100 and obviously multiples lower with longhaul and business flights and tricks to fly to the Middle East. BA on the cheapest tickets (5 TP) is 300 flights. While no doubt a very rare qualifying method for many it does highlight the ease of earning status.
            For Senator there are two eVouchers, upgrade vouchers only come well above the Gold threshold for BA at a further 1000 TP’s to make 2500 TP’s. Knowing how to use the vouchers is no different to those saying the BA ones are useless. And unlike BA when you use a GUF, M&M don’t ask for the difference in YQ for PE to J, which with BA will be hundreds of pounds.
            The status quo suits me and long may it continue, competitors dump on the UK for short haul trips. My eyes light up with when I see more FR and EZY competition as it means lower fares! Direct to London I’d redeem Avios, when I need to go anywhere else it’s a cash fare with LH Group/AF-KL.

          • Lady London says:

            @Your Holiness “M&M don’t price each leg for short haul redemptions unlike BA” – I think I saw recently that M&M pricing to switch to flight by flight and no longer flat rate for the route including connections. Which does rather make short haul within Europe awards less advantgeous than it was possible for them to be, previously

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Any scheme with a hard expiry is a dog in my view. We’re all just one medical diagnosis away from suddenly ripping up our travel plans…

          • His Holyness says:

            True but they don’t until 3 years once you lose status and there is now lifetime FTL and SEN which will keep them alive forever for those fearing being planted is not too far away. There is no lifetime BA status.

  • Terence Bartlett says:

    Hi Rob & the HFP Team congratulations on some excellent professional travel journalism. Over the years and for achieving the vote of 6,000+ readers in the katest polls . The results are what they are, however, no mention of the IAG bias towards IBeria and the downgrading of British Airways and the recent devaluation of Avios points now achieved on monetary expenditure, rather than on the number of Miles flown. perhaps next year YOU can feature an award comparison ov which loyalty scheme has suffered most from what I term SHRINKFLATION and value of reward points over the last 5 years
    Perhaps with the increasing popularity of your site -there will come a time when you will need someone to organise this event at Wembley or the Albert Hall.
    Best wishes to the current Team and past contributors

  • BJ says:

    The two awards for ‘best seat and service’ lack credibility because best seat and best service are mutually exclusive. On top of that you have all the usual skews typical of awards resulting from voter demographics, knowledge and experience.

    Before the next awards I think Rob n’ Rhys should go back to the drawing board on the categories to make them more robust and meaningful, fun and interesting to both the reader and the industry, and to put blue water between HdP awards and other awards.

    For example, instead of asking what is best seat, they could ask “Regardless of whether you have flown it or not, which business class seat do you consider the world’s most desirable?” Instead of asking what is best new hotel in UK they could ask ” Regardless of whether you have stayed there or not, which new UK hotel most excites you?”

    • Ken says:

      Sounds like people would then be voting on the most effective PR campaign for a hotel.

      Doesn’t scream robust and meaningful to me.

      • BJ says:

        I think it is more robust because it legitimises every vote. As it stands many may be voting for X with little or even non experience of X and same for alternatives Y and Z. Sure it does mean some votes will be deprbdent on PR and second habd knowledge as opposed to experience but that is already happening in these, and I guess almost all other awards to. We are never going to know the splits between the number nature of experience and lnoeledge so legitimising all if that’s possible makes more sense. I think the industry would line it too, it adds other stuff life ‘desirable’ and ‘exciting’ to the now mundane ‘best’ that most sensible people take with a pinch of salt anyway.

        • Rob says:

          The ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards are basically Rhys and I saying we disagree with readers. PE, however, I am ok with. BA has added dedicated check in whilst Virgin’s food in all classes has tanked.

          • BJ says:

            I am nit disagreeing with any of the readers choices Rob or the Editor’s Chouces (just posted above that I think you guys called those correctly IMO). All I am doing is trying to dtimulatr debate on whether some (not all) category tweaks might result in a win-win-win for readers, HfP and industry.

          • LittleNick says:

            Virgin’s food has tanked such that it’s:
            A) on a par with BA food or
            B) Worse than BA food m
            Which is it in your opinion?

          • Rob says:

            I think unless you eat both once a month, which we don’t, you can’t get that specific. Rhys and I, independently (we have never flown anywhere together, oddly) have both come to the conclusion that the VS food is no longer anything special – I think we both did 3 x VS Upper Class returns last year. More importantly, VS staff agree with me – even Shai Weiss has been complaining, I was told (although he does have the power to fix it of course!) Remember that VS tries to justify not having First Class by saying that its Business Class is as good as First Class on other airlines ….

          • GM says:

            Agree with comment about Virgin food. I did my first Upper Class trip in March 2020 and it was excellent. My more recent flights, the food has been just fine. Not that special, and even easily changeable things like they don’t give you afternoon tea anymore, it’s a cream tea. Taking away the little touches that made it special. Better than Aer Lingus, I suppose, but Qatar felt much more special. As a side note, can’t get anyone at the Virgin Hotel in Nashville to answer multiple emails asking them to please confirm my booking, so I’m beginning to lose my love for the brand in general. Gets easier and easier to be disloyal nowadays.

    • His Holyness says:

      Interesting theory; but how does it explain Edinburgh W? Does it mean the W brand is aimed at well-heeled middle aged men who thinks it makes them cool?

      • BJ says:

        I’m trying to go the other way, looking for broad strokes that would be more meaningful than trying to capture or explain detail.

    • Rob says:

      But voters did this. W Edinburgh opened about 4 weeks before voting ended – it is a win based on excitement, not experience.

      • BJ says:

        Maybe so, but that does not equate with ‘best’.

        • Rhys says:

          What is ‘best’ anyway? It’s all a matter of judgement. This is an art, not a science!

          • BJ says:

            Exactly, but ‘best’ is ultimately discrete/absolute so should be measurable. If ut’s not there will always be debate with agreement and dissent. If you want that drama stick with ‘best’ 🙂 if you don’t then move to sonething like ‘desirable’ and ‘exciting’ which are in theory much mire fluud and difficult to argue though no foubt some will still do so regardless…probably cannit win either way.

        • Rob says:

          I think, judging by your suggested category titles, you fail to understand the value of brevity and simplicity 🙂

          • BJ says:

            Id do, but it lends comfort and validates those readers inclined to submit illegitimate votes … like me wanting to vote for AF as ‘other’ in best PY only because my partner told me so and despite my not having flew longhaul PY in my life 😉 just switch best for most desirable or most exciting then, that’s just one extra word.

    • AJA says:

      @BJ I disagree with you on your suggestions. If I have not flown in a particular business class I don’t have a view on it so I can’t judge how great it is. Just looking at the pictures or reviews from others is an aid to whether I might consider flying on it but it would be pointless for me to give it my vote. But if those who actually have flown vote for a seat that gives me some confidence that it is a good seat

      I think the HfP readership is sufficiently wide that people will have experienced a new seat even if you or I haven’t. Let them vote for it . I instead will vote on my experiences of seats I have actually flown.

      I ignore categories that I don’t have any experience of. For instance I have never flown the current batch of WTP seats on any airline that were shortlisted so I didn’t cast a vote in that category. If that means that only 15 people voted in that category that is still a more valid result than skewing the result by making me arbitrarily vote for one of the seats

      • BJ says:

        Everybody is not you though, we don’t know about others. Also the readers are largely UK based and are largely going to fly BA and its partners. My guess is that most do not fly linghaul as frequently as we might think , and even those who do will be focused on a few airlines due to loyalty and/or corporate travel requirements.

        Anyway, it is not my hard and fast idea for change, just some thoughts I was throwing out there.

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