Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forum Replies Created

  • in reply to: Conrad Dubai vs Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor
    bungalow 155 posts

    Sorry yes, my mistake, Habtoor Grand, down at JBR next door to Le Royal Meridian

    in reply to: Conrad Dubai vs Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor
    bungalow 155 posts

    I last stayed at the Hilton Habtoor November 2022, the courtesy bus then took you to, and gave you assess to, the Habtoor Palace at JBR, not the Waldorf. So presumably that must have changed?

    Also N16K, I’m at a loss that you found the the Conrad breakfast off-putting due to the huge selection, because the Hilton Habtoor breakfast restaurant/buffet must be AT LEAST 3 times the size of Conrad! The length of the place, the huge selection, and the way it was spread out over such a large area, turns the whole experience into absolute chaos and makes it almost impossible to find what you want!

    * Oh, and the shuttle to the Habtoor Palace wasn’t a Lexus or a Bentley, it was a 24 seater bus…

    in reply to: Conrad Dubai vs Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor
    bungalow 155 posts

    I last stayed at the Hilton Habtoor November 2022, the courtesy bus then took you to, and gave you assess to, the Habtoor Palace at JBR, not the Waldorf. So presumably that must have changed?

    Also N16K, I’m at a loss that you found the the Conrad breakfast off-putting due to the huge selection, because the Hilton Habtoor breakfast restaurant/buffet must be AT LEAST 3 times the size of Conrad! The length of the place, the huge selection, and the way it was spread out over such a large area, turns the whole experience into absolute chaos and makes it almost impossible to find what you want!

    in reply to: Connecting in Birmingham
    bungalow 155 posts

    Ahh, thanks guys for all the replies, it’s a short trip so hand luggage only, but from reading all this there appears to be a bit more faffing about at the airport than I would have liked. Too risky.

    I have another option courtesy of Mr O’Leary through Stansted, 4½ hr connection but I suppose better safe than sorry. It’s 35 quid cheaper which might get me a beer or two to help kill the time…

    * just on that, haven’t been in Stansted for ages either, is that lounge away at the far end of the terminal still the only option? I have PP and Lounge Key.

    in reply to: BA or Qatar Airways?
    bungalow 155 posts

    We have booked LHR – DOH in Business and DOH – MCT in First (I think it’s Business but marketed as First) return and was able to make free seat selection at the time of booking on all 4 legs.

    Your DOH – MCT leg is indeed in First as they don’t sell Business class on that flight. However you will be sat in a Business seat!! If you have some time between your flights at the airport in Doha you will also have access to the AL Safwa lounge as a First passenger! I have done this a few times, quirky but great little perk 🙂

    in reply to: BA or Qatar Airways?
    bungalow 155 posts

    I think you need to add your BAEC number to the booking to get free seat selection, otherwise the system thinks you are just burgundy. I missed this and had to request it be changed via chat, they sorted it out fairly quickly but it was extra hassle!

    I have no idea about that NL, all I know is my QR/BA accounts are linked, I’m only Burgundy with Qatar, and BA Blue, and I’ve had free seat selection immediately every time I book an avios seat in QR Business.

    in reply to: BA or Qatar Airways?
    bungalow 155 posts

    Please help me to confirm I have the right strategy.

    I’m looking at the detail of Qatar, I think :-
    Still cancellable for $25
    Lounge access is still ok
    I’m BA silver and Qatar burgundy, do I get free seat selection?
    Booking two one ways isn’t more expensive than a return, cash or Avios.

    Is this all correct ? Am I missing anything ?

    I fly Qatar Business ex Dublin on Avios quite a bit.

    Cancellation is indeed $25pp
    Lounge access no problem
    Doesn’t matter what your status is, if you book Business with Qatar you get to choose your seats right away
    Point 4 is correct re avios bookings, not sure about cash

    in reply to: Gold status renewed again …. not sure how
    bungalow 155 posts

    Hypothetical question: say you are gold, and you make a 5 night booking on points (1 night free). You then drop down to silver or whatever before the date of your stay. Your free night is still ‘honored’ right?
    Not that it should impact anyone here, but if that is the case then I suppose an expiring gold member should try and make whatever points bookings they need later in the year ASAP?

    That logic sounds sensible. In fact, the free breakfasts make using up points before the status drop worthwhile too.

    Always worth checking that you/your spouse doesn’t have access to a corporate Hilton elite status offer. For spring 2024, the corporate offer is:
    – automatic Gold status
    – retain Gold with 6 nights by 29 April
    – move up to Diamond with 12 nights by 29 April
    – if under 6 nights, fall to Silver from 30 April

    Does it work for people with Gold status (to upgrade to Diamond after 12 nights)? Asking because I was looking at the regular Hilton challenge and it excludes people with gold status… I have also kept my gold status for years with Amex Platinum, with barely any stays. But I’m going to spend quite a few nights this year and it would be nice to have diamond

    Doesn’t work. You have to have “earned” Gold to add the extra 20 nights for Diamond, with Amex Plat Gold, for Diamond you would need to stay all 60 nights to qualify (or 30 stays).

    in reply to: Marriott Bonvoy contact number
    bungalow 155 posts

    Just to update everyone, Marriott have now amended their method of transferring points between members.
    You no longer call to do this, it can be done online and the points can take up to 7 days to arrive.
    It is still up to 100,000 points per year for free – to anyone with a Bonvoy account.

    Log into your account home page (the account to transfer FROM) Then… / About Marriott Bonvoy / Marriott Bonvoy Overview / Manage Points / Transfer Points.

    Enter the recipients Bonvoy account details, enter a code you are sent – You’re done!

    ** Update, just checked my account, the points have transferred immediately.

    in reply to: Conrad Dubai vs Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor
    bungalow 155 posts

    Just one more thing, Conrad always initially seem a bit “reluctant” with decent upgrades, happens to me all the time. They’ll maybe offer you an Exec room but that’s about it. However if you politely insist as a HH Diamond one of the suits will always appear and a decent room will then become available.
    I should say I have never stayed in a suite there, I was given a corner room on my first ever stay and now always ask for that, it is HUGE, and lovely and bright with all the wrap around glass.
    They’re never on the Exec floor sadly but a small price to pay.

    Oh, and it never hurts to check if there is a large convention on across the road in the WTC before you pick your dates, some of those events can be huge and the Conrad can get quite full – esp the lounge!

    The room rate is always a good guide.

    Enjoy…

    in reply to: Conrad Dubai vs Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor
    bungalow 155 posts

    Have stayed in both, the Conrad many times, Hilton AL Habtoor just the once, and for good reason.
    The Conrad – breakfast, rooms, pool area, lounge, all are an oasis of calm. The Hilton Habtoor by comparison is a Zoo in all regards!
    As Diamond, Conrad breakfast can be had in either the lounge or in the restaurant, either waiter served or self served – inside or out, Hilton breakfast is chaos, and if you are diamond they will show you to a little glass corner cubicle with about 4 table in it!
    There is no comparison.

    Conrad pool is on the 6th floor in a lush tropical environment and waterfalls, Hilton Al Habtoor pool is on the roof of the building, adjoining the “V” hotel pool next door, think US Spring Break! By comparison – a Zoo!

    Conrad lounge is a very relaxing place up on the 24th floor with comfortable lounge seating and uninterrupted views of the gulf (through the haze), free flowing drinks in the evening, and food is both delicious and plentiful, presented by a chef. Hilton Al Habtoor lounge isn’t even in the Hilton Hotel, It’s in “V”, you have to take two lifts and cross hotels, it’s open, noisy, and buffet style chicken nuggets etc – No comparison!

    You say you have read that Conrad is dated, well I actually found the Hilton to be even more so.
    The Conrad is a very comfortable hotel, and as a metro station outside the door. It’s 15 minutes from the airport, so quite a bit away from the Palm and JBR etc, but the Al Habtoor is only a mile or 2 up the road.

    If you are looking for hustle and bustle, music blaring in your ears, a poor lounge presentation, and noisy spring breakers falling down drunk everywhere then I can highly recommend the Hilton Al Habtoor!

    * the one thing about the Habtoor is that the very good “La Perle” show is next door in the “V”. However it’ll cost you about a fiver to get there in a taxi from Conrad.

    The choice is yours 🙂

    in reply to: Advice for Philippines
    bungalow 155 posts

    If you intend doing any shopping in Manila, get yourself a taxi to Green Hills Shopping Centre in San Juan, where you can buy ANYTHING! It’s also cheap as chips and a must do experience in itself!
    Mrs bungalows first stop handbag shop (when not in Vietnam…) 🙂

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 19th January
    bungalow 155 posts

    I never cease to be amazed at just how good Qatar Airways J class is in the air and how extraordinary DOH is and the QR lounges. Don’t have benefit of Al Safwa today but the business class lounge is empty and the quiet area a haven of peace.

    Oddly enough, in all my visits I’ve never flown Biz ‘OUT’ of Doha before, it’s either been First or down the back! So am well versed on what Al Safwa has to offer.
    However am flying home J in a few months time, and can see half a dozen lounges offered in the QR App. I’ll probably be spending 4 hours or more in the airport and would like a proper meal, is it safe to assume the Al Mourjan lounge is the place to go?

    Yes but I would advocate the Al Mourjan Garden Lounge which is the the north part of the terminal at Doha, near the C gates. It’s around a 15min walk, alternatively you can take the monorail and you it in 7/8mins.

    It’s tends to be much less busy than main Al Mourjan lounge, especially in the quiet area (turn left on arrival, adjacent to showers). We were there during Doha’s busy 22:00-02:00 period and the lounge felt spacious and calm.

    There is a spa but it’s not yet operational, staff said they hope it should be opening “very soon”, one to keep an eye on.

    Ahh, good call MOP, I’ll check that out 👍

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 19th January
    bungalow 155 posts

    I never cease to be amazed at just how good Qatar Airways J class is in the air and how extraordinary DOH is and the QR lounges. Don’t have benefit of Al Safwa today but the business class lounge is empty and the quiet area a haven of peace.

    Oddly enough, in all my visits I’ve never flown Biz ‘OUT’ of Doha before, it’s either been First or down the back! So am well versed on what Al Safwa has to offer.
    However am flying home J in a few months time, and can see half a dozen lounges offered in the QR App. I’ll probably be spending 4 hours or more in the airport and would like a proper meal, is it safe to assume the Al Mourjan lounge is the place to go?

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 19th January
    bungalow 155 posts

    There is a phone charger incorporated into the seat, free WiFi for an hour and the crew have been outstanding since we boarded.

    Just an hour of wifi? We had free wifi throughout the flight just before Christmas on the 777

    You only get an hours free wifi on the 787 out of DUB as well – sitting up front! 🙁

    in reply to: Marriott hotels in Doha
    bungalow 155 posts

    @bungalow The problem with Marriott in Doha is their rates are very uncompetitive when viewed alongside IHG and Hilton. Also, there are not really any solid low-mid budget options like Hilton and IHG offer (DoubleTree, Hampton, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn) other than properties like 4P, which has limited availability during the winter season unless you book well in advance.

    The other thing is that if you check the prices for, say, first half of February you find that virtually none of the hotels offer points redemptions. You can find it at some places for short stays (1-2 nights) but for 5 nights or longer you basically only have cash rates on offer. It’s a totally different picture for IHG and Hilton.

    I found points availability for RC Doha for Feb 4-6. It’s a “Pointsavers” deal at 216K points for 2 nights – no thanks!

    What you say re Marriott pricing is true Pangolin, but not true to form, something has changed.

    I’ve been staying at the Sheraton Grand Doha on points for 3 years now, and a 5for4 booking always came in at less than 70,000 points (last November it was 67,000).
    However, A week or so after I booked last year I checked the prices again and they had DOUBLED!
    I am staying again this March, and the same deal is 108,000, and this increase has applied right across the chain. RC, Delta, Marriott, all have almost doubled in price since last October.
    The only thing I can put it down to is Expo which is running Oct 23 until end of Mar 24, but the price increase seems to apply right to the end of 24 which just doesn’t add up.
    If it lofted rates persist I may have to reconsider next year, it is only the value that has me going there.

    BTW, I wouldn’t stay at the Hilton Doha for half the price, and I’m Hilton Diamond.

    * Incidentally, I booked a 5 night stay at Delta Doha while I was at the Sheraton, nipped round now and again but didn’t stay, just to retain my Platinum status. It cost me 31,000 points, 5 nights next month is closer to 80,000!

    in reply to: Marriott hotels in Doha
    bungalow 155 posts

    @bungalow The problem with Marriott in Doha is their rates are very uncompetitive when viewed alongside IHG and Hilton. Also, there are not really any solid low-mid budget options like Hilton and IHG offer (DoubleTree, Hampton, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn) other than properties like 4P, which has limited availability during the winter season unless you book well in advance.

    The other thing is that if you check the prices for, say, first half of February you find that virtually none of the hotels offer points redemptions. You can find it at some places for short stays (1-2 nights) but for 5 nights or longer you basically only have cash rates on offer. It’s a totally different picture for IHG and Hilton.

    I found points availability for RC Doha for Feb 4-6. It’s a “Pointsavers” deal at 216K points for 2 nights – no thanks!

    I’ve been staying at the Sheraton Grand Doha on points for 3 years now, and a 5for4 booking always came in at less than 70,000 points (last November it was 67,000).
    However, A week or so after I booked last year I checked the prices again and they had DOUBLED!
    I am staying again this March, and the same deal is 108,000, and this increase has applied right across the chain. RC, Delta, Marriott, all have almost doubled in price since last October.
    The only thing I can put it down to is Expo which is running Oct 23 until end of Mar 24, but the price increase seems to apply right to the end of 24 which just doesn’t add up.
    If the lofted rates persist I may have to reconsider next year, as it is only the value that has me going there.

    BTW, I wouldn’t stay at the Hilton Doha for half the price, and I’m Hilton Diamond.

    in reply to: BA 24 hrs avios boost offer
    bungalow 155 posts

    Has anyone pulled the trigger?

    Yip, 170000 avios for £1580 (.93p each).
    Enough to book 2 business return flights DUB – DOH on Qatar for March (plus £300 in taxes).
    So £1580 + £300 = £1880. Or £940pp.
    The cash price is £3500 each!
    No brainer – Economy was £587!

    in reply to: Chat thread – Friday 12th January
    bungalow 155 posts

    @Panda Mick, I would probably need to find it closer to home to keep it fresh! @Amy – I’m going to seek it out wherever we go from now on.

    I’m sure there will be some Middle Eastern shops near you that sell labneh and you you also find a cornucopia of other amazing ingredients, usually rather cheaply. They also seem to have very good veg and fruit – at this time of year very good persimmons, very different from the ones in supermarkets as well as pomegranates.

    You should be on The Chase

    bungalow 155 posts

    5000 Avios for £1k spend in 3 months. Accepted.

    Interested in understanding if I would really have lost my companion voucher if I downgraded?

    Just got offered the 5k for £1000 spend myself, card renewal in a month – declined and cancelled.
    Voucher was mentioned by the agent, ALWAYS been told previously that I would lose it and just ignored them, but for the first time ever the agent told me that my voucher would still be valid as long as I had another Amex!

    in reply to: Dubai hotels advice
    bungalow 155 posts

    Grosvenor House Dubai is our favourite hotel on earth, unmatched in my view in its consistent service and quality, beautiful hotel. The pool/s though, despite the wonderful poolside service, are becoming increasingly harder to get a tan at. Buildings are going up around there all the time and it is fast becoming a game of musical chairs to find more than an hour in the sun, such a pity, and the only downside of a wonderful hotel – and I just don’t like LRM.
    Won’t stop me going back though, could never go to Dubai without even a short visit to the GH.

    As for Hilton Palm…
    I was sad to read and hear of such a negative experience from Venturelog above. I have fond memories of my only stay at Hilton Palm in November 2022. The hotel had just opened a month or so earlier and we were doing 5 nights (5for4), but expended it to 10 such was our experience. I’m Hilton Diamond and called into the hotel the day before my arrival just to have a look around and hopefully use the beach, they were going to charge us for doing so before I found a much more receptive member of staff who arranged free access and escorted us to the towel collection and beach itself. On that, the beach is extensive and south facing, so sunny all day – and free for guests.
    When I turned up for check in next day my friendly staff member spotted me and came over to explain he had given us a nice upgrade (I had booked an entry room), to one the only 16 or so one bedroom suites on the front corner wings of the hotel, it was fabulous! Corner balconys, 2 bathrooms, living room, and unrivalled views of the resort and ocean. As Diamonds we also had Lounge access, with choice of breakfast either there or at the main downstairs buffet. We tried the main buffet first day, and whilst it was huge and plentiful, it was like a zoo, we never went back. Breakfast in the lounge was a much more sedate affair, less extensive, but eggs to order, and everything else you could ever need.
    The lounge also offered afternoon tea and of course an evening “happy hour”, drinks to be fair were slow at first, but once you got more familiar with the staff your favourite tipple landed down without ordering. There are 4 or 5 eateries at the hotel, so as well as other food options in the lounge, they also provided a signature dish from one of the hotel restaurants each evening.
    The lounge, whilst very nice (new), is/was not the biggest, so didn’t take that many guests in it to feel a bit crowded, and once I got a bit more familiar with one of the head staff I was told they were considering halting access for some Hilton Elite members, as the number of suite guests almost exceeded lounge capacity alone! All of which sounded a bit strange to me given it was a brand new hotel and it wouldn’t have taken a genius to work out what sort of occupancy you may need!
    Another thing that struck me as odd was that I only seen the loyalty ambassador in the lounge 3 times during my 10 night stay, and I only know she was the loyalty ambassador as I saw her sitting at her desk down in the hotel foyer. I don’t particularly want to be bothered too much by “suits” when I’m on my happy hour, but for a brand new hotel she never once came over to say hello or attempt to introduce herself, all she seemed interested in was inspecting the food.
    I believe the Marriott Palm next door, a replica of the Hilton, has branded itself as a resort, so elites in there don’t even get breakfast never mind access to the lounge!

    Anyway, the peculiarities of the lounge aside, the suite we had made more than up for it and we settled in very well. I put a lot of other odd stuff down to teething problems, like the towel hut and pool staff seemed to be totally unaccountable to the actual hotel management, argumentative even. There were just little things happening you noticed all over the hotel, if you are an experienced traveller, that just seemed… well, not what you would expect from a brand new Hilton.

    I guess that’s where Venturelog above comes in, maybe all those little teething problems weren’t little teething problems at all, and something about this hotel just isn’t right.

    None of those things would ever happen at Grosvenor House, sacré bleu!

    What a pity, easy to get on and off the palm, private beach, lovely rooms, the hotel has so much potential. Thankfully I got in early and had a pretty good experience, hearing the above has certainly put some doubt in my head now about returning.

    in reply to: Marriott hotels in Doha
    bungalow 155 posts

    Didn’t Rhys do a review of it once? We did the sunset cruise and the skipper showed us pictures of when it was the only hotel on the peninsula!

    Wasn’t aware of that

    Didn’t Rhys do a review of it once? We did the sunset cruise and the skipper showed us pictures of when it was the only hotel on the peninsula!

    Ha! Didn’t realise that NL, and just read his article! Basically expands on what I said and would have saved me a lot of typing lol. Missed that review in June 22 as I was probably stretched out snoozing at Lake Bled Slovenia that day… Ahh the memories 🙂

    in reply to: Marriott hotels in Doha
    bungalow 155 posts

    I can’t for the life of me understand why every time a thread starts for Doha hotel recommendations, that nobody mentions the Sheraton Grand!
    I stayed in Qatar for the first time late 2021, just a month or so before world cup 2022. I wanted to have a look around all the new stadiums before the football started, and stayed at the Grand on a points 5for4 before hopping over to Oman. I chose the Sheraton as I’d previously visited Doha on a half day cruise stop and the pyramid shaped hotel stood out as such an iconic building situated out on its own peninsula.
    I didn’t quite know what to expect given what I’d heard of Qatar previously, but at just 66,000 points for 5 nights I was prepared to take a chance – I’ve been back every year for a 5 night break ever since.
    It’s an older hotel of course, and the pyramid building shape makes the rooms a bit “quirky”, but as Bonvoy Platinum I always book an entry room and am upgraded to a room with resort sea views and balcony – with a little sitting area and balcony separated from the main bedroom by going down a few steps!
    I get access to the Executive Lounge, which although a good size, is quite dated. but plenty of free drinks and a great selection and ample supply of hot and cold food each evening – we very rarely need to eat elsewhere. In my 3 years of going to the hotel the lounge is NEVER busy, ergo breakfast is not a lounge option, as I’m told that as there was never the demand for it everyone now eats breakfast buffet in the hotel foyer. The choice there is both substantial and delicious!
    Being I guess probably the first major chain to set up in Doha, the Sheraton has prominent pride of place and substantial grounds on an outcrop at Doha bay, but just a 15 minute walk to downtown or 20 minutes taxi to the airport. Beautifully maintained grounds, large private beach which is sunny all day, large circular pool, and a huge jacuzzi. Compare with the Hilton just a few hundred metres down the coast with a beach more like a sandpit and in its own shade all afternoon (and I’m Hilton Diamond)!

    I get that there are much newer and grander hotels now towards the Pearl etc, but when we go to Doha it’s for a short 5-nighter to lie on the beach when I spot avios seats come available on Qatar, it’s not our main holiday, just a short break in the sun. That being the case the Sheraton Grand is unbeatable for circa 70,000 points for 5 nights, and for some reason they always credit me with about 3 or 4,000 points at check out!

    For value for money I just wouldn’t look past it.

    Just my thoughts 👍

    in reply to: Dubai hotels advice
    bungalow 155 posts

    If you only plan to spend a couple of nights at the start of your trip exploring the souks and old town then I wouldn’t go past the Sheraton Dubai Creek. I’ve stayed there twice now for the very same reasons as you and although it’s an older hotel, it is still spotlessly clean, excellent breakfast, small but perfectly acceptable pool, close to the airport, and best of all reasonably cheap – you might even get to use your 35k Marriott voucher!
    The hotel is right on Deira side of Dubai Creek, you can walk along the creek to the Gold and Spice Souks in about 20 minutes, or take an Abra across the creek for just a few pence to the Bur Dubai Souk on the other side.
    The trip across is an experience in itself, as is being able to watch the working Dhows arrive from Iran unloading everything from Camels to tractor tyres and fridge freezers!
    I’m Marriott Platinum so get access to the fairly modest Executive Lounge, where there are ample free drinks for a few hours each night and some hot food options. However I always dine at the Radisson across the street where there are plenty of very reasonable walk in dining options.

    I like my high end hotels, but the Sheraton Dubai Creek is perfectly fine for a few days exploring the old town, definitely worth a couple of days to begin anyone’s trip to Dubai, you can lie on a beach later!

    One tip though. If you do decide to book, do so at a refundable rate and check the prices daily, the fluctuations can be huge.

    On the second part of your trip, I’m a regular visitor to Grosvenor House, and also stayed at Hilton Palm last year. If I get more time later I’ll try to do an update on those…

    in reply to: Difficulty transferring Radisson points
    bungalow 155 posts

    I was having the same problem as @tracey and its telling me my BAEC number is in the wrong format. I called the customer service helpline and they transferred them for me straight away ( +44 2830640900). it was all pretty painless. i was told “there website was still updating ” was the reason for the formatting error being received. mmmmhh????

    Just to save anyone from a long time wasting hold…

    I’ve decided to end my Radisson journey and just called them on the number above to transfer a small remaining Radisson balance to BA. The number above no longer deals with this, and when you finally get through they give you another number to call.
    +44 2031960494 is now the number to deal with this, took just a few minutes when I finally got there.

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