The Leading Hotels of the World’s loyalty program explained

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today (December 9, 2016): Travel Series: The Leading Hotels of the World’s loyalty program ‘Leaders Club’ explained.

Being a member of a hotel loyalty program is one of the easiest ways to get free nights, score upgrades, and receive free VIP experiences at luxury hotels. I previously published the details, with pros & cons, of the loyalty programs of the world’s most famous hotel brands, and how to take advantage of them:

Today, I have a look at Leaders Club, the loyalty program of The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), one of the largest luxury hotel collections in the world.  In this overview, I explain the Leaders Club loyalty program:

  • Membership tiers & benefits
  • Pros & things I like about Leaders Club
  • Cons & things I don’t like about Leaders Club
  • My reviews of luxury hotels covered by Leaders Club
  • Key points
  • Poll: what’s the best hotel loyalty program?

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LEADERS CLUB : MEMBERSHIP TIERS & BENEFITS

There are no qualification requirements for Leaders Club, as membership is outright purchased, after which it remains in effect for one year. These are the two tiers within the program:

  • Leaders Club membership is the base level, and comes with an annual fee of $120 USD. This will get you the following benefits:
    • One complimentary night at a LHW hotel for every five completed stays
    • Complimentary continental breakfast for two each day
    • One category room upgrade, subject to availability
    • Complimentary internet access
    • Early check-in and late check-out considerations
    • Welcome gift at each LHW hotel
    • Exclusive members-only offers and rates
  • Unlimited membership is the program’s premium tier. A $1200 USD annual fee will get you the following benefits :
    • Complimentary one-way airport to hotel transfers in 30 cities
    • Complimentary internet access
    • Early check-in when available
    • Guaranteed late check-out (4 pm)
    • Daily continental breakfast for two
    • Priority status for a one-category room upgrade
    • A free night after four qualifying stays
    • Three complimentary gifted Leaders Club memberships for your family
    • A PriorityPass card which provides access to over 700 airport VIP lounges worldwide
    • Welcome gift at each LHW hotel
    • Exclusive members-only offers and rates

leading-hotels-of-the-world-logo


PROS & THINGS I LIKE ABOUT LEADERS CLUB
  • The LHW collection mainly consists of independent high-end hotels that work together under the LHW umbrella to increase their sales, marketing, and revenue. Remarkably, the LHS portfolio does include some luxury hotel chains, such as a few Kempsinki, Constance, Raffles, Langham, and One&Only hotels.
  • Leaders Club members have access to special rates and offers at LHW hotels across the globe, with up to 20% off the best available rate with every booking. These rates are available exclusively for Leaders Club members and are not available anywhere else. Simply search hotels and rates, then sign-in as a Leaders Club member to view the discounted rates.
  • Leaders Club members get one free night with every 5 stay credits – the fastest earn rate of any hotel loyalty program. Unlimited members even get a free night after four qualifying stays. There is no limit to the number of nights you can earn during your membership year. LHW has tons of really expensive properties, with room rates above 1000 USD per night, so the trick is to book a few paid stays at cheaper, affordable properties and then redeem your free award night at an ultra-expensive property.
  • Leaders Club Unlimited Members enjoy free one-way airport transfers in the following 30 cities: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, London, Madrid, Miami, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Toronto, Vienna, Washington D.C., and Zurich. Complimentary one-way airport transfer must be reserved by phone at least 48 hours in advance, and members must have a reservation with a LHW hotel listed within city limits or 30km/20mi of the 30 destinations.
  • Leaders Club is one of the very few programs that rewards loyalty for stays at luxury hotels. Hotels using the program make efforts to reward their most loyal guests. In comparison, hotel chains such as Four Seasons, Rosewood, Aman, Banyan Tree, and Mandarin Oriental do not offer a loyalty program.
  • The program is uncomplicated and thus very easy to understand. You don’t collect points (as compared to the other, better known hotel loyalty programs) but you are rewarded with benefits based on your loyalty status.
  • Leaders Club Unlimited Members get a PriorityPass card which provides access to over 700 VIP airport lounges in over 100 countries (regardless of what airline you fly).
  • Leaders Club members enjoy the exclusive advantages of the Sixt Platinum Card which include up to 15% discount and an upgrade on all offline and internet private customer rates of car rental copany Sixt, valid at time and place of rent.
  • Leaders Club members can take advantage of Luggage Free door-to-door service to over 130 countries worldwide. Send your luggage ahead to nearly any destination, worldwide, to avoid the inconvenience of carrying, checking and claiming bags — even going through customs.
  • Leaders Club members can enjoy benefits when traveling by rail in Italy on Italo trains to and from Bologna, Florence, Milan, Naples, Roma, Venice, Verona and other destinations. You will have the opportunity to experience the top Club Executive level at rates up to 25% off, with the added comfort of fine leather seats and free Wi-F.
  • When staying for the first time at a LHW property, you may be offered one year complimentary Leaders Club level membership to make you familiar with the program. Not all LHW hotels offer this gift (you’re most likely to get it at the very high-end and expensive properties).

CONS & THINGS I DON’T LIKE ABOUT LEADERS CLUB
  • Contrary to most hotel loyalty programs, Leaders Club members do not earn hotel points for their expenses at LHW hotels, and as such cannot save credits towards a free hotel night.
  • Benefits can only be enjoyed as long as you make your bookings via the official LHW website or through one of LHW’s worldwide reservations and service centers. Making your booking directly on the official hotel website will not get you any benefit.
  • There are some restrictions for redeeming free nights through the Leaders Club program: only one free night certificate can be redeemed per stay for Leaders Club members, while Leaders Club Unlimited members may redeem up to three free night certificates in one reservation. There are also a limited number of black-out dates which will vary by hotel.
  • To earn a free night, you must have stayed with at least two different LHW hotels.
  • Leaders Club is one of the few hotel loyalty schemes that does not earn you frequent flyer miles.
  • Leaders Club lacks a best rate guarantee program.
  • Leaders Club is one of the few programs where you exclusively earn status by purchasing it. Contrary to most other hotel loyalty programs, there’s no other way to earn elite status with LHW, no matter how often you stay with them.
  • Many LHW properties belong to Virtuoso portfolio. As such, you will receive many of the same benefits when booking via Virtusos as you would get as a Leaders Club member (and you don’t have to pay membership fee for that). So the program definitely isn’t the only way to get VIP perks at the hotels that are part of the LHW portfolio.

MY REVIEWS OF LUXURY HOTELS COVERED BY LEADERS CLUB

KEY POINTS
  • LHW’s loyalty program, Leaders Club, can only accessed by paying a fee.
  • Although the Unlimited membership tier comes at a significant price ($1200 USD annual membership fee), the value can add up quickly if you are a frequent traveler making at least a couple dozen stays in a year within the LHW portfolio, since it includes free airport transfers, breakfast, and access to special discounts.

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