Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Seafront Festival

I had a wonderful weekend in Northern Ireland, last weekend. The annual Sea Festival was packed with fun activities.

The Captain of a tall ship invited me on board his boat and I was thrilled to be on this fairy tale vessel. In fact he told me that it had been used in the Cinderella movie.

tallship bangor

Tall ships, military vehicles, food, Street Theatre and live music filled the marina.


There was even an amazing display of aircraft:  Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers Aerial Display - The world's only aerobatic formation wingwalking team. Bangor maritime festival offered a host of activities including live music, food stalls, street theatre.

sea festifal bangor 2

The giant 50ft inflatable whale was a hit with children and the pub was a hit with my group!

sea festifal bangor 1

I will be back next year!

Diminishing hotel benefits

I logged on to my Starwood account to begrudgingly book a Sheraton hotel and received this message, “Shine on. You're Gold for life” Well, Gold Elite for life has been de-valued by Marriott as a result of their Merger with SPG Starwood. I have both Gold Lifetime elite with Marriott and Gold Lifetime with SPG hotels and now I feel defrauded, so I will try to stay at more IHG or Hyatt Hotels.


The Marriott and SPG merger, will be effective from August 2018.This will devalue Gold Elite members because they will lose the most important benefit. Club Lounge access (Executive Lounge) This, most valuable benefit will no longer be available to Gold. More Elite Tiers will be created, so if you thought that you were a top Elite, you are now made aware that you have been moved back down the ladder and duped into accumulating Elite status.. Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards will merge into one program this August. Sure, you will need fewer points to attain Elite Status, because Starwood had previously required fewer points for Elites. I did prefer the benefits offered by Starwood. Under the current program Marriott Gold Elites achieve Platinum status at 75 nights, now the Platinum Elite tier costs 50 nights, but they are adding more tiers above that.

Presently Marriott Rewards Gold members received complimentary breakfast for 2, the same benefit was not available to SPG Gold members, but SPG offered more suite upgrades than Marriott. The free breakfast and the club Lounge access will be removed for Gold Elites now. negating the contract that they made with members in exchange for their loyalty. They can afford to do this now that they are the largest hotel group in the world, because they have less competition from those pundits that simply want to accumulate points for free nights.

Those pundits will be pleased to hear that there is a new option for Marriott Rewards® members to earn points and Elite nights. Long stay apartments. Next time you visit London for three or more nights, you can stay with Tribute Portfolio Homes and earn points.

There is also a new brand called Design. There are fewer benefits with Design Hotels, but at least it is another brand earning points.