Today we will look at some of the lesser known luxury hotel loyalty schemes and discuss whether it is worth joining them for even a single stay. Tomorrow I shall looking at the remaining large chains, IHG (Intercontinental and Holiday Inn), Accor (Sofitel and Novotel) and Club Carlson (Park Plaza and Radisson).
Shangri-la – Golden Circle
Golden Circle used to be one of the best value schemes for a single stay but recent changes have made it harder to get the value from it. That’s unless you live near to a Shangri-la or plan to stay frequently. This is because to become an active member and receive your permanent membership card, you will need to stay at a qualifying room rate or earn a minimum of 50 GC Award Points. One advantage though, is that you can earn Golden Circle Award Points (GC Award Points) even if you are not staying by spending money in the hotel restaurant, bar or CHI Spa. You don’t need to spend much to become an active member as you will earn 1 GC Award Point for each qualifying US$1 spent.
When you first enrol as an active member, you will immediately get Gold status benefits. These include:
- Pre-registration for easy check-in
- Personal preference including bed and pillow type
- Welcome fruit in room
- Free local calls from your room
- Cash advance of USD 250 per stay
- Choice between GC Award Points or airline miles for each eligible stay
- Includes Shangri-La hotels and resorts, Kerry hotels, Traders hotels and Hotel Jen.
You can also choose whether to earn GC Award Points or airline miles. You just need to present your airline partner programme membership card at check-in. Example rates are:
- British Airways Executive Club – 500 Avios per stay
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – 750 Miles Per Stay
- Lufthansa Miles & More – 500 Miles Per Stay
The biggest advantage of being a GC member however, is the exclusive offers available to members. You don’t need to be active member to get them, just join before you book the rate. 2 current offers which are good value are:
Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London
For bookings made until 31 January 2017 for stays until the end of 2017, Golden Circle members will get 25% off the Best Available Rate and 20% off food and beverage spend.
Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok
Daily rates start from THB 8,000++. Golden Circle members get exclusive benefits as follows:
- Upgrade to the next room category
- Daily buffet breakfast at Next 2 Café
- Complimentary 1-hour Traditional Thai Massage or CHI Balance Massage at CHI, The Spa
- Partner stays free in the same room
- Late check-out until 4 pm
- 30% discount on any other CHI, The Spa treatment during the stay
Langham Hotels – 1865
To enrol at the base level of Explorer, you need to stay once. You do however then get lifetime membership which will be renewed automatically every year.
- Express Check-In They will prepare your room well in advance and expedite the registration process.
- Express Check-Out
- Late Check-Out upon request, extend your check-out time to 2pm (subject to room availability).
- Complimentary In-Room Internet Access
- Complimentary local Newspaper
- Recreation Facilities complimentary access to fitness studio and swimming pool
- Miles Accrual 500 miles per night up to maximum of 1500 er stay. Includes BA, Virgin and Miles and More
Benefits for BAEC Gold
Langham offers membership to their 1865 elite tier, Voyager, exclusively for Executive Club Gold Members.
Present your Executive Club Gold membership card next time you check in at a Langham or Eaton hotel, and you will be invited to join 1865 as a Voyager member.
- 1865 Luggage Tag
- Executive Late Check-Out Extend your check-out time to 6pm (subject to room availability).
- Room Upgrade (subject to room availability)
- Welcome Amenities Fresh fruit and bottled water will be delivered to your room upon your arrival. Voyager members are also entitled to one additional welcome amenity of your choice.
- Suite Upgrade Voucher a suite upgrade certificate yearly, upon your membership renewal, when you accumulate 5 stays at any Langham hotels within your Voyager membership year.
Find out more about 1865 Voyager membership
Leading Hotels of the World – Leaders Club
Leading Hotels of the World covers 375 independently run luxury hotels in 75 countries. Their loyalty scheme operates in a different way to most schemes as it charges $150 for membership which is pretty steep. However if you are going to be staying for more than 4 times in a year or somewhere expensive, it may well be worth the investment.
It has an excellent range of benefits which include:
- Special rates up to 20% off
- Early check-in, late check-out subject to availability
- Welcome gift
- Members-Only Offers
- Earn one complimentary night at a Leading Hotel for every five stays you complete.
- Complimentary continental breakfastt for two each day.
- One-category room upgrade – subject to availability at check in
- Complimentary internet access
- Sixt Platinum Card which include up to 15% discount and an upgrade on rental cars
- Luggage Free – a company that will ship your luggage for you. You receive:
- A one-time $150 Annual Credit
- 10% off on all shipments
More information can be found here.