Eat, Sleep, Earn, Repeat: The world of hotel loyalty programmes
Hotel loyalty programmes are the unsung heroes of travel rewards that can get you extraordinary benefits and make your trip memorable
I am writing this from my upgraded hotel suite at The Pullman New Delhi Aerocity after enjoying a sweet 50 per cent discount on my well-curated Japanese dinner at their specialty restaurant, Honk. While the suite has the stunning view of the Delhi Airport’s runway, I also have access to free drinks at the hotel’s executive lounge along with complimentary Airport Transfer and two pieces of laundry. All this without paying a single rupee.
If you are a frequent traveler like me, traveling for 30-40 nights a year and dining out at least four-five times a week, you may want to consider a hotel loyalty programme to reap significant benefits. Hotel loyalty programmes are the unsung heroes of travel rewards that can get you extraordinary benefits and make your trip memorable. While there are numerous hotel chains such as Marriott, Hyatt, Accor, Hilton, IHG, Taj and ITC Hotels that you can pick from, there is no single best loyalty programme. The best hotel rewards programme hinges on a host of factors -- where you travel, how often you travel, which hotel chain exists in the cities you frequent the most, how quickly can you earn rewards and how valuable are those rewards?
My introduction to the world of hotel loyalty programmes began with Accor’s loyalty programme (Le Club Accor), which I had first enrolled at Novotel HICC. It is now rebranded as ALL (Accor Live Limitless) -- a lifestyle loyalty programme that would assure me one reward point for every one euro spent during my stay, dining and spa. I have easily saved a few thousand bucks already through this. Additionally, my Accor Plus annual paid membership assures 50 per cent off on dining and a wide range of experience certificates including free room nights and upgrades.
Beyond this, every time I dine at any of the iconic restaurants of the ITC Hotels such as Bhukara, Dum Pukht and Dakshin, as an ITC Club Culinaire member, I earn 25 per cent of my spends as points that can be redeemed for stay, dining and spa, along with other gourmet privileges and experience certificates. Similarly, I receive comparable benefits with my Hyatt Dining Club and Taj InnerCircle.
Hotels take customer loyalty very seriously. After all, returning customers are incredibly important to their business. So, next time a hotel representative approaches you to consider their loyalty programme, consider it instead of turning down the opportunity. In my perspective, that’s simply throwing away free money.
(Vishal Fernandes is a profound business traveller and a widely recognised luxury lifestyle blogger)