Two Of My Favorite Benefits from Different Loyalty Programs Discontinued

When Radisson hotels announced the end of Goldpoints plus and its replacement with Club Carlson, I said that I really hoped they retained their “Our World, Your Lounge” benefit. One of the most interesting, innovative offers by hotel programs, their hotels in Europe, Middle East, and Africa offered elite members complimentary coffee, tea or hot chocolate for two people and use of free wireless internet any time, whether they were registered guests or not. It was a really a nice benefit that didn’t cost the hotels much at all but really created a feeling of belonging and a special relationship with the chain for its elite members. It’s one benefit that I really hoped other chains might pick up on, instead it’s been discontinued.

British Airways is ending its Open Doors Policy for Gold member lounge access on June 17. Previously, Gold members could use British Airways lounges (no guest access, member only) regardless of what airline they were flying. BA says it’s based on expanded lounge access when flying BA or oneworld airlines (i.e. they have more partners) and “based on feedback we have received from Executive Club members” (which strains credulity, how many British Airways Gold elites complained about receiving lounge access?). Back when I was BA Gold eons ago (2007) it was a wonderful respite in Milan to use the BA lounge instead of the bloody Alitalia Botticelli lounge despite flying Alitalia.

Neither benefit could possibly be especially costly for the programs to provide, and were aimed at their best customers, so it seems strange to me to pull back here. Perhaps I’m missing something that readers can help explain to me.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Oh gawd…don’t remind me of the Botticelli lounge….at least it was the “other lounge” in MXP where I met you that one time enroute to Cyprus !

  2. @Mark actually we were on the same YYZ-MXP flight, hit the Botticelli lounge first (I tried to take a shower but there was only cold water and a stopped up drain), and THEN hit the lounge htat Cyprus Airways was using…

  3. I only used this benefit once when I had a gold card once (at JFK t7) and really appreciated it compared to the bloody RCC. I too would like to see the feedback suggesting ending this apparently extremely low cost benefit.

  4. The problem for BA with the one doors is more evident at LGW where easyJet now operate a number of flights from the same terminal competing with BA.

    So passengers book cheap flights with EZ and then use the BA lounges for free drink and food.

  5. @Euan if that were the problem it seems like they’d just restrict the benefit at Gatwick. Call it “applies outside the UK” even. But remember the people using this benefit aren’t exactly disloyal to BA, they are earning Gold…

  6. Based on a thread on MilePoint where a guy is complaining about LHR-SFO on BA, could be that there were complaints by folks that fly BA exclusively about lounges being too crowded.

  7. Air India joining Star Alliance is great news…now I can go see the Taj using my CO/UA miles!

  8. A* Cost BA puts out a good lounge product
    B* Lounges have gotten quite overcrowded in the past number of years
    LOL They have to keep the riff raff out 🙂
    Who just happen to be important customers

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