Taj Hotels and Shangri-La have launched their new Warmer Welcomes partnership. Under the partnership members of the Taj Inner Circle and Shangri-La Golden Circle Program can enjoy reciprocal benefits between the two loyalty programs.
Under the partnership, Shangri-La and Taj promise members a ‘seamless’ experience in points earning, points redemption and elite status benefits.
In order to take advantage of Warmer Welcomes, you will first need to be a member of each program. Once you have the two accounts, you will need to link them together. This can be done through either your Shangri-La account or your Taj account.
When linking accounts, you will need to choose one of the accounts as the primary account. This is an important choice, as it drives the status matching process. Whichever account you choose as the primary will be the account that you will need to achieve the status qualification criteria each year. That is, it is the status of your primary account that will determine your status in both programs.
- If you select Golden Circle as your primary account, then as a Golden Circle Jade or Diamond member, you will be awarded Taj InnerCircle Gold or Platinum as appropriate
- If you select Taj InnerCircle as your primary account, then as a Taj InnerCircle Gold or Platinum member, you will be awarded Golden Circle Jade or Diamond member membership as appropriate
Once the accounts are linked, members are able to earn points in either program. Members can earn 3 Golden Circle points with every USD 5 spent at any Taj hotel. Going the other way, you can earn 4 Taj InnerCircle points when you spend USD 5 at any participating Shangri-La hotels.
Shangri-La and Taj tout the redemptions process as seamless, but I am not so sure. To redeem in Shangri-La hotels, your points need to be in your Golden Circle account. In the same way, redemptions at Taj Hotels require your points to be in your InnerCircle account.
To enable this, you can move points between the two programs. The conversion rates are a bit lop-sided, and you will certainly lose points if you move back and forward between the two programs.
The conversion rates are:
- 100 Golden Circle Points will transfer as 67 InnerCircle Points
- 100 InnerCircle Points will transfer as 38 Golden Circle Points
Seamless Benefits are provided through the status match process. This equates the levels as
- Golden Circle Jade = Taj InnerCircle Gold
- Golden Circle Diamond = Taj InnerCircle Platinum
When staying in the various properties, you will receive the benefits of the program that the property belongs to. The following table shows the relevant benefits of the programs
|Golden Circle||Taj InnerCircle|
It is interesting to see two relatively small players form a partnership like this. It does allow members of the the two programs benefits in areas where they have fewer hotels.
For Taj InnerCircle members, it gives hotels in Asia Pacific where they will be able to take advantage of elite benefits. For Golden Circle members, it opens up a number of hotels in India where they can use their membership.
Further information of the Warmer Welcomes program is available on a dedicated website.