The Leaders Club is not a program that I write about much. While they typically represent individual hotels, they don’t have anything in the way of properties in Australia. However, they do market some rather interesting hotels around the world, and offer a program with some interesting features.
Last week, Leading Hotels of the World unveiled its latest version of the Leaders Club program. While there were a number of changes, the biggest is a move towards earning and redeeming points. This is a significant changes from earning a free night after spending four or five nights in an LHW hotel.
It does, however, retain a package of benefits when booking through LHW channels.
The Leaders Club program
The Leaders Club was and remains a subscription based program. To even be a member, you have to pay an annual subscription. This is now set at $US175 (up from the previous base fee of $US150)
The $US175 membership fee gets you in at the base level, a club member. For that, you will receive upgrade priority upon arrival, daily continental breakfast for two, early check-in and late check-out considerations, and complimentary in-room WiFi. After your first stay, you will also receive a complimentary pre-arrival upgrade voucher (one per year).
Once you have spent $5,000 on qualifying stays, you will be invited to join Leaders Club Sterling. In this tier, you will receive five pre-arrival upgrades per year. On top of that, you will receive a one-time 5 percent annual renewal points bonus on your qualifying annual spend in the previous membership year.
How the Points System works
As mentioned, the biggest change to the program is the introduction of a points system. Under the program, the basic earning rate is 1 points per $US (after conversion, if needed from the hotels currency). It is important to realise that you only earn points on the actual spend on the room. Other spend, such as charging food to your room, does not count.
While the 1 point per $US1 is the standard rate, it has been stated that they may run bonus points promotions, which will help boost ones points balance.
Points remain valid while you remain a paid up member of the Leaders Club, but remember you will be paying $US175 to stay current.
Of course, points are used to redeem for free room nights. The material is a bit vague on the value of points. However, what we know, is that the number of points will be related to the room rate, and that they start from 4,000 points. That means, without any promotional bonus, you will need to have spent $US4,000 on rooms in order to redeem for a free night.
The Leaders Club has evolved a few times over the years, and it will likely continue to do so. The real benefit in the new package looks to be the included benefits – the breakfast and wi-fi inclusions. Depending on how things work out, the upgrade voucher could prove to be quite valuable.
We will have to wait and see how the points redemption pricing pans out.