Nordic Choice Temporarily Closes Eight Hotels In Helsinki

Kämp Collection, owned by Nordic Choice, announced over the weekend that they would temporarily close 8 of its 10 hotels in Helsinki area. The two existing Nordic Choice Clarion-branded hotels appears to stay open.

Hotel Kamp

These closures affect Nordic Choice Club, Choice Privileges, Small Luxury Hotels (SLH), World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, and Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) programs.

Norwegian Receives Cash Injection From The Government

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The Norwegian government decided last week to guarantee up to 6 billion NOK ($540M) of airline loans, of which half would go to the Norwegian Air that provides much-needed connectivity within the mountainous country.

Norwegian Kjos

The package comes in three tranches, and guarantees are released when specific benchmarks with creditors are reached. The airline released a small cash infusion from the government on Tuesday.

Update: Hyatt Postponement Of Award Chart Peak Seasons and Category Changes Until 2021

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Hyatt had recently updated World of Hyatt members about their current position during Coronavirus and the impact on the loyalty program changes that were scheduled for March 22, 2020.

The company decided to postpone the introduction of seasonal pricing but didn’t mention the award category changes specifically.

British Airways Drops Buy-On-Board

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British Airways announced back in September 2016 (read more here) that the airline would discontinue complimentary food and beverage on short-haul from economy class passengers effective January 11, 2017.

The Buy-On-Board (BOB) had a very rocky start (read more here) and hasn’t quite worked well with insufficient catering to slowing down the process (incapable of serving the plane due to flight time).

IHG Rewards Club Free Night Certificate Extensions (Request Only)

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IHG Rewards Club credit cardholders get a free night certificate(s) capped at predetermined points value yearly. There is a set expiry on each.

Hilton Honors already announced last week (read more here) that they would automatically extend all free nights certificates for everyone through August 31, 2021.

Hong Kong Bans Transit Passengers Effective March 25, 2020

Hong Kong is joining Singapore (read more here) and Taiwan (read more here) by banning transit passengers effective 00:00 HKT March 25, 2020.

Cathay Pacific already announced last week (read more here) that they would only operate 45 weekly rotations to 15 destinations (3 per week each). Not sure if this transit ban further reduces the number of Cathay flights.

Amex To Hilton Honors 50% Conversion Bonus April 14, 2020

American Express has Hilton have launched a 50% conversion bonus for Membership Rewards to Honors through April 14, 2020.

The offer is likely only available for Amex cardholders in the United States. Membership Rewards program conversion rates and offers are country-specific and sometimes even account specific.

Are Airlines Gouging Prices To Take Advantage Of Desperate Travelers, Trying To Get Home?

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One thing I’m reading a lot about these days is complaints from people who end up having to buy an extremely expensive ticket to catch one of the last remaining flights back home from wherever they are right now.

This might contribute to the impression that airlines are taking advantage of their position at the moment and charge a hefty premium on whatever flights are left in the system.

Farnborough International Airshow Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Emergency

Farnborough International Airshow is one of the largest aerospace trade shows in the world. On their 2018 edition, this biannual gathering brought 80,000 visitors in, with 1,500+ exhibitors and a staggering 196 billion US dollars in deals closed during the show.

This year’s edition promised to be a record-breaking one in terms of visitors and deals, but the organizers have decided to cancel the event due to the current COVID-19 emergency.

French Hotel Occupancy Plummets To 3%

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any that hotel occupancy is reaching low single digits at markets that are ravaged with the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions of movement such as 3.3% last week in France per STR.

One third to a half internationally branded hotels in China temporarily closed during the from January to February when their occupancy rates were similar to those of France at the moment. Hotels, however, have started to come back online in China.

Singapore Airlines Cuts Capacity By 96%

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Singapore announced a transit passenger ban yesterday (read more here) that will be in effect tonight at 23:59 SGT. Only Singapore nationals and permanent residents are allowed to enter and must be quarantined upon arrival.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines, whose hub Changi Airport is, obviously cannot operate in this environment and has cut its capacity by 96% through the end of April. The airline has grounded 138 of its 147 aircraft and Scoot subsidiary 47 of its 49.

Government Arranged Repatriation Flights Are Not Usually Free

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Many American citizens were surprised, based on the Twitter replies, that the US Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, was requesting passengers on evacuation flight(s) to sign a document that they would reimburse the government $1,485 (not payable using a credit card).

Consulates are in place to help and advise nationals in a foreign country, usually when they have run into trouble. They are not, however, get out of jail free card, there to provide legal advice or travel services. They can, however, help facilitate return back home in case of emergency.

Tokyo Hotel Availability Soon Wide Open For Summer Travel

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Japan and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are in the process of concluding, getting there very slowly, that holding the games in 2020 just won’t happen.

Not sure if anyone noticed, but the Olympic flame was fired up in Olympia, Greece, and transported to Japan last week on a special Japan Airlines flight. The welcome ceremony, however, was cursed as the flame went off twice.

United Arab Emirates Suspends All Passenger Air Traffic For Two Weeks

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United Arab Emirates decided late on Sunday to ban all passenger air traffic for two weeks starting within 48 hours (should be Tuesday this week).

Both Emirates and Etihad need to temporarily ground their fleet as the two smaller UAE airlines Flydubai and AirArabia.

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