“Leading Hotels Of The World” updates its loyalty program
Officers Club, the loyalty program of The best hotels in the world (LHW), comes from a facelift that makes it more accessible with new benefits to go with it. One of the most important changes is to make the program free. Previously, members had to pay an annual fee of $ 175 to take advantage of instant perks like free breakfast. Now it’s free for everyone with benefits available after joining rather than only after reaching elite status.
Phil Koserowski, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, explains the recent changes to the independent hotel consortium’s loyalty program and how new members may find it particularly rewarding compared to traditional loyalty programs.
How does the Leaders Club loyalty program work?
Similar to other programs, members earn points based on their hotel stays. They earn one point per dollar spent on the room on the qualifying room rate (excluding food, drink, and spa purchases), and they can earn points on up to three rooms per stay.
Elite status in the program is based on qualifying spending with Leaders Club Sterling status awarded after spending $ 5,000 in a calendar year. These members earn a 5% bonus on all their points earned at the end of the year as well as five room upgrade certificates in advance.
When they have enough, members can redeem points for a stay. Redemption nights start at 4,000 points and may vary depending on property and date of visit. There are no reward tables or blackout dates, meaning members redeem points from their account to offset the rate per night (rather than a fixed number of points from a table ).
Why switch from a paid loyalty program to a free loyalty program?
During the pandemic, LHW had already extended membership and status so members could enjoy the benefits of the program when they could actually travel. We also waived program fees and ensured that we support the changes to travel plans that our members had to make due to Covid-19. But, we wanted to do more.
For our hoteliers, this shift to a free program is meant to help drive the recovery through more stays from our existing Leaders Club members, while increasing the number of loyal travelers interested in their hotels. Removing the annual program cost of $ 175 has simplified the experience for our existing members and allows us to find and reward more travelers who enjoy what our independent luxury hotels offer around the world.
What makes the Leaders Club different?
Our loyalty program was designed as a club for “curious travelers” who enjoy staying in luxury independent and family hotels. Through the program, our members benefit from immediate experiences on the property and rewards such as room upgrade opportunities and complimentary daily breakfast. The longer members stay, the richer the rewards they can unlock, as elite status brings more room upgrades and opportunities to earn points.
Do you have any plans for a Leaders Club branded credit card?
Not at this time, but we’re continually making improvements to the program, so never say never.
What is the most popular benefit for members?
Daily breakfast for two. Breakfast in a Leading Hotel is not a little morning getaway, it is a tradition. From the Setai Miami Beach which offers a brunch with a jazz side in its outdoor courtyard, to the Ritz London where breakfast is taken in their elegant dining room, the experience is truly exceptional and never the same. During the pandemic, when guests weren’t able to enjoy this luxury, we helped them replicate the feeling of waking up in a top hotel by sharing some of our pluses. Popular breakfast recipes on LHW.com.
Beyond breakfast, we’ve found that our members greatly appreciate our pre-arrival upgrade confirmations, which is the difference between many programs. This perk was introduced in 2018 and created based on feedback from members who wanted to arrive at the property knowing their upgraded room is waiting for them. Club members (the basic level free) receive one confirmed pre-arrival upgrade each year after a completed first paid stay, and Sterling members receive five confirmed pre-arrival upgrades. A confirmed room upgrade and just-for-membership breakfast provides all members with instant perks requiring loyalty status with other programs.