Welcoming the Boeing 747 with BOAC Livery, Virgin Galactic Reaches Space Again, Hilton’s Recent Member Growth and More

Feb 23, 2019

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Each Saturday, we round up news stories that you might have missed from the week before. Here’s the top miles, points and travel news you might have missed on TPG this week.

British Airways Takes a Step Back in Time to Welcome Boeing 747-400 With BOAC Livery

Current and former crew excitedly welcomed the plane at London’s Heathrow (LHR) airport.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo in the Mojave Desert. Photo by Virgin Galactic via Twitter.

Virgin Galactic Successfully Enters Space for Second Time

It’s only a matter of time before the general public will be able to experience outer space, too.

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa - overwater bungalow snorkeling

Hilton Sees Huge Surge in Honors Members as Travelers ‘Shift Their Loyalty’

During this period of growth, Hilton’s chief financial officer Kevin Jacobs said that “as long as they are great customers that engage with us. . . We want them in the system.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 16, 2013: A Southwest Airlines baggage handler pulls several carts filled with passenger baggage to be loaded aboard departing aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

FAA Investigates Southwest for ‘Significant Mistakes’ Calculating Luggage Weight

Now that can’t be good.

The Best Places to Travel in March

From Nepal to Texas, here are six happening destinations to visit this month.

(Marco Garcia/The Points Guy)

Southwest Grounds Hundreds of Flights as It Races to Fix Widespread Mechanical Issues

As reported by TPG’s Katherine Fan, 4% of the airline’s operations were halted based on FlightAware data.

Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG

No, Your Flight Didn’t Go Supersonic. That Was Just Really Fast Wind.

TPG’s Managing Editor Alberto Riva breaks down what is and is not considered supersonic.

American’s Planning Las Vegas-Tokyo Shocker, 3 Other Haneda Flights

New things are coming for AA.

InterContinental Hotel Group -- better know as IHG -- has been on quite the growth spurt recently. In the past few years, the hotel group has launched a number of new brands and acquired other hotel brands. But it seems IHG management isn't done with adding brands quite yet. On Tuesday morning investor call, CEO Keith Barr announced that IHG would launch a new all-suite brand by the end of the year. As reported by Skift, IHG management described the new brand as an "upper midscale" all-suite hotel similar to IHG's existing all-suite brands Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. The yet-to-be-named brand will be priced cheaper than Staybridge Suites. Since Staybridge is considered the nicer of the two existing brands, it seems that IHG may be trying to find a middle ground between Staybridge and Candlewood with this new brand. The new brand is expected to mostly consist of new properties rather than existing properties re-branding to be part of the new brand. In announcing the new brand, the IHG CEO explained that the "all-suite segment of the Americas upper midscale market has grown in scale by around 70% over the last four years." IHG estimated that there's an "$18 billion pool of guests in this segment." As a very-frequent IHG guest myself, this new brand announcement comes as a surprise. I'm not seeing the need for another all-suite brand in the IHG portfolio, as Staybridge and Candlewood seem to have the affordable extended-stay market covered. So, it will be interesting to see how IHG differentiates this new brand. IHG has been mostly successful in differentiating the new brands that it's introduced in the past few years -- although growth in these new brands has been very slow. Introduced in 2012, IHG's exercise-focused EVEN Hotels still remains an unknown to many travelers with just nine locations worldwide.  Standing desk at the EVEN Hotel Brooklyn. Image by JT Genter / TPG. In 2015, IHG announced a new China-only hotel brand HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts -- which currently has only eight locations. In July 2018, IHG opened its first Avid Hotel in Oklahoma City. From our stay the first week of opening, it felt like a slightly more functional and budget-friendly version of IHG's existing Holiday Inn Express. Over a half-year later, there's only just this one Avid Hotel open. The first and only Avid Hotel. Image by Katie Genter / TPG. While launching Avid Hotels, IHG was simultaneously working on converting its first UK hotels to yet another new brand called Voco. Announced in June 2018, Voco was expected to convert 12 existing Covivio hotels to the new brand. As of the end of 2018, only two Voco properties were open. In total, that's just 20 hotels that are open under IHG's four newest hotel brands. So, it seems strange that Featured image courtesy of Staybridge Suites Missoula - Montana InterContinental Hotel Group Teases New All-Suite Brand

IHG has yet to release a name for the brand, but it’s said to fall in line with the “upper middle scale” of IHG’s other all-suite brands.

TSA Added Nine New Airlines to PreCheck — Here Are All 65 Participating Carriers

Breeze through security at these nine airlines that were just added to PreCheck.

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