The Leading Hotels of the World’s loyalty program is now free

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststipsseries, or news.

Today: The Leading Hotels of the World’s loyalty program is now free

The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW)’s loyalty program Leaders Club is now free, as LHW has (finally) decided to ditch the $175 USD annual membership fee. By joining Leaders Club (which you do here), members receive complimentary benefits across the group’s impressive portfolio of luxury hotels. This includes room upgrade opportunities, the chance to earn free nights, members-only savings and offers, on-property benefits, exclusive access to new hotels, and more.

Comprised of more than 400 hotels in over 80 countries, LHW is the largest collection of independent luxury hotels. In 1928, 38 independent hoteliers came together to create LHW. Since then, the company has carefully curated distinctive hotels, resorts, inns, chalets, villas, and safari camps from the snow-capped Alps of Europe to the African veldt, to share them with adventurous souls who seek the remarkably uncommon. I have previously stayed at the following excellent LHW properties:

  • 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa, South Africa (read my review here)
  • Cape Grace, Cape Town, South Africa (read my review here)
  • The Lodhi, New Delhi, India (read my review here)
  • The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia (read my review here)
  • The Reverie Saigon, Vietnam (read my review here)
  • The Chedi Muscat, Oman (read my review here)
  • Villa Dubrovnik, Croatia (read my review here)
  • Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas, Crete, Greece (read my review here)
  • J.K. Place Capri, Italy (read my review here)
  • Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa, Ischia, Italy (read my review here)
  • Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel, Sicily (read my review here)
  • Il Sereno, Lake Como, Italy (read my review here)
  • The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland (read my review here)
  • The Dolder Grand, Zurich, Switzerland (read my review here)
  • The Fontenay Hamburg, Germany (read my review here)

“As signs of recovery emerge for the travel industry, we wanted to create a more seamless membership process, while continuing to deliver the benefits members have come to enjoy and expect from Leaders Club. By making the program complimentary more of our community is recognized and rewarded for their loyalty,” said Phil Koserowski, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at The Leading Hotels of the World. “Our loyalty program provides a club for curious travelers who value staying at independent luxury properties and connects them with like-minded individuals and hoteliers. It celebrates individuality and rewards guests for choosing the uncommon path. We look forward to welcoming more curious travelers to the club as travel demand returns.”

Leader Club’s new enhancements include the following benefits:

  • Leaders Club is now complimentary: Say hello to more travel, and goodbye to Leaders Club fees. The USD 175 annual program cost has been eliminated. New and current members can take advantage of the program’s members-only benefits that have not been changed.
  • Membership Doesn’t Expire: As long as a member keeps traveling with Leading Hotels their membership will not expire, and neither will the points they accrued. Annual membership renewals have also been removed to simplify the process for members.

I have previously published a review (with pros & cons) of Leaders Club, which you read here. With the removal of the annual membership fee, the Leader Club program has become a lot more attractive as anyone can now join the program for free and cash in on the benefits. However, the program still lacks some incentive as you can usually get better benefits via other booking channels. For example, most LHW properties belong to the Virtuoso portfolio and/or are member of American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. When you book via Virtuoso, not only will you get the same benefits as a Leaders Club member, but you’ll also get an additional benefit, usual $100 USD of food and beverage credit per stay, which you don’t get via Leaders Club.

Some key points of the Leaders Club program are:

  • Earn towards free nights: Members accrue 1 Leaders Club point per 1 USD spent, on up to three rooms per reservation. Free nights start at around 4,000 points and there are numerous Leaders Club points promotional offerings throughout the year that members can take advantage of.
  • Greater loyalty brings richer benefits: After a member spends USD 5,000 on qualifying stays, they are automatically upgraded to Leaders Club Sterling level. This unlocks 5 pre-arrival upgrades annually, as well as a one-time five percent annual points bonus on their qualifying annual spend in the previous membership year. Opportunities for further recognition and richer rewards will be available for Leaders Club’s most loyal members.
  • Upgrade your stay: Guests can arrive at a Leading Hotel of the World knowing an upgraded room awaits. Club members will continue to receive one confirmed pre-arrival upgrade annually after a completed first paid stay and Sterling members will receive five confirmed pre-arrival upgrades annually.
  • On-property perks: On-property benefits start from day one of membership and include daily continental breakfast for two, upgrade priority upon arrival, early check-in and late check-out considerations, and complimentary in-room Wi-Fi.
  • Members only savings: Members have exclusive access to seasonal sales and the lowest available rates, along with special opportunities to preview Leading Hotels of the World’s newest properties. Save up to 20 percent on the best available room rates by booking the “Leaders Club Exclusive Offer” that also includes a Flexible Cancellation policy with a 72-hour cancelation window prior to arrival with no penalty.

Are you a member of Leaders Club? If so, what is your experience with the program? Leave a comment.

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