For week ending 20 April
Marriott loyalty merge
Marriott International plans to merge its Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) loyalty programs. Effective from August this year, guests will be able to earn and redeem points across 29 brands and 6,500 hotels in 127 countries, earning, on average, 20% more points for every dollar spent. Members will also be able to combine their accounts into a single account, spanning the entire portfolio. Current loyalty program names will remain in use until a new program name is launched next year.
Qantas DFW lounge shift
Qantas is notifying passengers of a temporarily lounge relocation at Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW) Airport. Effective immediately, travellers can access to a temporary lounge on the concourse near gate D36. The change will remain in effect while American Airlines constructs its new flagship lounge in terminal D, which is due to open in March 2019.
Virgin Australia Tasman update
Virgin Australia plans to expand its trans-Tasman operations when its long-standing partnership with Air New Zealand ends in October. The changes will see the addition of new non-stop routes, such as Sydney to Wellington, as well as higher frequencies on existing services. The carrier plans to operate its Sydney-Auckland route three-times daily, its Melbourne-Auckland route double daily throughout the week and its Brisbane-Auckland route to up to three flights per day on peak days. Its Melbourne-Queenstown route will also receive a boost, operating up to four times weekly. However, other routes will be reduced. Melbourne-Christchurch will operate as a daily service, down from 11 times weekly, and the Brisbane-Wellington route drop from a double daily service to nine per week.
Emirates A380 cabin upgrades
Emirates plans to revamp its A380s with new cabin interiors. Fully enclosed private suites in first class and updates to its shower spas and onboard lounge will feature on new aircraft due to be delivered from 2020.
British Airways introduces long-haul basic
British Airways is now offering a new ‘Basic’ fare for long-haul travellers. Available on flights from London to Austin, Boston, Delhi, Denver, Dubai, Hong Kong, Oakland, Philadelphia, Punta Cana and Singapore, a fare reduction of up to £60 off the standard return fare comes with no baggage allowance or seat selection option.
Curio Japan debut
Japan’s first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel is now open. The 50-room Kyukaruizawa Kikyo is located an hour outside Tokyo in Nagano prefecture. It features a restaurant, bar, fitness centre, sauna and spa as well as a traditional Japanese public bath. T also offers meeting space for up to 80 guests.
New Rydges Darwin
The Darwin Central Hotel will be rebranded as the Rydges Hotels Darwin from 1 July. Located in the heart of the city, the 132-room property features a restaurant, cafe and 24-hour room service as well as an outdoor swimming pool and meeting and event space for up to 100 guests.
Air Canada boosts Melbourne
Air Canada has announced it is upping the frequency of its soon-to-launch year-round service between Melbourne and Vancouver. Thrice weekly services will operate on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 3 June, with an additional weekly frequency to be introduced by the end of the year.
Air Canada Signature service
Air Canada has a new ‘Signature Service’ for premium passengers on select aircraft flying international and North American routes. The service provides a seamless experience, with expedited check-in and security clearance, priority baggage handling and preferential boarding, but passengers can also expect a bed mattress, upgraded amenity kits and improved food and wine menus. It will be offered on B787, 777, 767 and A330 aircraft, which are equipped with lie-flat suites in business cabins from 1 June.
AccorHotels has plans to debut its MGallery brand in Japan later this year. The 144-room MGallery by Sofitel Kyoto will be located close to the geisha district of Gion and adjacent to Sanjo Kiehan Station.
DoubleTree US expansion
The DoubleTree by Hilton brand added three new US properties to its portfolio. The new hotels are located in Phoenix (AZ), Helena (MT) and St Paul (MN).
New British Airways lounge for Rome
British Airways has unveiled a new lounge at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. Featuring a new sleek design the 460sqm space caters for up to 140 guests. Dedicated zones offer areas to work or relax in and there is a central bar. The lounge is open to first and business class passengers and eligible BA and Oneworld frequent flyers.
Hotel Indigo Gibraltar
InterContinental Hotels Group plans to debut its Hotel Indigo brand in Gibraltar. Located close to the Old Town and a five-minute drive from the airport, the 120-room Hotel Indigo Gibraltar will Alongside the onsite gym, the hotel will offer a restaurant, bar and fitness centre.
Holiday Inn at Charles de Gaulle
InterContinental Hotels Group has opened a new Holiday Inn Express hotel at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. Located close to Terminal 1, the 305-room hotel is just steps from the free shuttle that serves all terminals as well as the TGV station for connections to Paris.