I’ve written in the past about American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso, both of which are programs that offer additional benefits to guests at luxury hotels. These benefits usually include free breakfast, a room upgrade based on availability, late check-out, and an additional property specific amenity. American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts is only available to American Express Platinum and Centurion card members, while Virtuoso stays can only be booked through travel agents associated with the program.
Lately we’ve seen a trend in the industry whereby hotel brands are offering their own versions of the program, like Ritz-Carlton’s STARs program, Four Seasons Preferred Partner, etc.
Anyway, per the always awesome David Ourisman, it appears as if Starwood has introduced a similar program, entitled Luxury Privileges. This program offers additional benefits at all St. Regis, Luxury Collection, and W Hotel properties. Presently some — though not all — of those hotels are already part of American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso.
The benefits for the program will be as follows:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily breakfast for two guests
- Early check-in, subject to availability
- Late check-out, subject to availability
- Unique property benefit
David was kind enough to compile a list of all the benefits, which can be found here. The unique property benefits range from a complimentary lunch or dinner to a $100 food and beverage amenity to a complimentary bottle of wine. It’s worth noting that the unique property benefits aren’t as consistently valuable as through the other programs, where they’re usually worth about $100. So while you’ll ultimately want to compare, chances are if a hotel is part of Luxury Privileges, Fine Hotels & Resorts, and Virtuoso, you’ll be best off booking through one of the latter two.
This new program will be most beneficial for properties that weren’t previously part of Virtuoso or American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. For example, only a handful of W Hotels belong to Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso, so there’s quite a bit of value to be had through this program with them.
The one important thing to keep in mind is that the Luxury Privileges benefits are only available when booking the best flexible rate. Free night awards, cash & points awards, pre-paid rates, AAA rates, senior rates, etc., don’t qualify for this promotion. You do, however, earn stay credit and points for stays booked through the program.
To book a Luxury Privileges rate you’ll have to book through one of the 20 travel agencies that are part of the program.
Kudos to Starwood on this!
(Tip of the hat to Canadian Kilometers)