LHW Leaders Club Program - Basic Information

Discussion in 'Luxury Hotels' started by MSPeconomist, Feb 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSPeconomist
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    Leading Hotels of the World is a reservation service that includes a selection of four-star and five-star hotels, including some boutique hotels. Many are unique or historic properties. Some cities and regions have better coverage than others, although many cities have only one LHW property. Some hotels participate in both the AmEx FHR program and LHW.

    The Leaders Club is a frequent guest program. It has two levels. Access requires an annual fee of about $100, while the fee for the higher tier, called Unlimited, is $1200 per year, which enables the member to obtain LHW benefits on any hotel rate, including unpublished corporate rates. Otherwise, rooms must be booked through LHW (your travel agent can contact them for you and get a commission) at LHW rates to obtain program benefits. In some cases, LHW and Leaders Club rates are at approximately the level of rack rates, while at other hotels or other times, the rates can be lower than anything offered on the hotel's own website, including AAA rates. Unlike the AmEx FHR program, LHW rates include some rates for base-level rooms and single rooms.

    All Leaders Club members receive free internet and free breakfast during their program stays.

    A new feature of this program is the possibility of earning free nights after a certain number of stays, currently five, so that the ratio and terms are not attractive or competitive with the major chain programs such as Hyatt of SPG, although of the comparison depends on the specific properties and rates involved.

    Benefits generally include a one-category room upgrade at check in (sometimes at booking) and priority for a late (2 pm) checkout. Some properties do much more, including some very nice local gifts.

    IME the best benefit from the LHW program is its connection to Relais & Chateaux. Several years ago as an LHW Access member, I received amazing treatment at a bunch of R & C properties in Europe, although some front desk staff were unaware that I was entitled to an upgrade if available. I received champagne, wine, local gifts, some nice upgrades, and generally VIP treatment, including being greeted by the GM upon arrival and then given a gift by the GM at departure.

    Edited to reflect corrections by WearyBizTrvlr, who deserves thanks.

    I
     
  2. WearyBizTrvlr
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    The Leader's Club program has recently been revamped and now only has two levels, Access at $100/year and Unlimited at $1200/year. I'm considering signing up for Access as it gives free internet, breakfast and a free night after five nights at LHW properties.

    I wasn't aware of the R&C connection though.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    You're right. I've been somewhat avoiding LHW recently, since their $19.28 fiasco and the lack of a later apology or alternative for Leaders Club members. I've edited my initial post. Thanks.
     
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  4. WearyBizTrvlr
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    I also forgot to add that there is another thread on this topic as well.

    Thanks!
     
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  5. Bob Smolinsky
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    that was an absolute joke in the end.....did anyone actually get those prices?
     
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  6. BamaGirl
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    I was comped into the Access level.

    Le Pavillon in NOLA takes their LHW membership seriously. All kinds of goodies from my preferences selection over a 5 night stay. Also a two level upgrade.
     
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  7. WearyBizTrvlr
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    I wasn't comped to Access this year when they changed the program, but that was because I wasn't using my LC number for my stays last year. The service delivery of LC benefits had always been problematic in my experience and in the end I'd just given up.

    I've just coughed up the $100 for Access for my two night stay at Hotel Sacher in Salzburg (which is where I am typing this now). At check-in there was no record of my LC number or status, even though I had booked the stay on lhw.com while logged in... this was quickly corrected though, I got the free breakfast and internet, and was upgraded to a great room with a view of the old town of Salzburg and the castles. Fifteen minutes after I'd been in the room I got a mini Sacher cake as a welcome gift, on top of the already present micro Sacher cakes and chocolates. So far, so good... as for the hotel, so far it's been truly excellent with wonderful service, even though I've been here only a few hours.
     
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  8. BamaGirl
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    It seems like they've really 'upped' their game recently. I stayed at the Kahala, and had the same high level of attention. I'm looking forward to booking them more often. Although, I really dislike the website. It always seems to stick or not load at some point while I try to use it.
     
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  9. bluesky
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    I actually snagged one of those rates - at the Hotel Habita, Mexico City, for 2 nights :)
     
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  10. BamaGirl
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    Good to know someone actually got them.
     
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  11. Moody R.
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    I got comped to Access Member as well. I stayed at the Hotel Brufani Palace in Perugia, Italy while on holiday and received the same very high level of attention. The GM greeted me at the check-in, I got upgraded to a large suite, got a free bottle of wine, chocolates and a platter of fresh fruit. This was before the introduction of the free breakfast option, but I was still very satisfied with the extras.
     
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  12. WearyBizTrvlr
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    It looks like it's not all smooth sailing yet with LC benefits. At check-out at the Sacher in Salzburg we found that the breakfasts had been charged to the room. Initially the cashier said no breakfast was included in the rate I booked, but then after further discussion struck the charges from the bill. There was also some discussion about whether the breakfasts we'd had were "continental" or not... it's not clear that there was anything but a continental breakfast at the hotel. Anyway, it was all handled very professionally, quickly and in a friendly manner and I did get the LC benefits in the end. It certainly won't detract from a wonderful stay at Hotel Sacher in Salzburg, and I can highly recommend it. Especially the service was outstanding throughout, which is the mark of a true luxury hotel. But the provision of LC benefits need to be sorted out, not just here but more generally at LHW.
     
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  13. ukgooner
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    Have to say I've always been treated well via Leaders club - and have some amazing upgrades, most memorably to the top suite at the Copacabana Palace
     
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  14. techguru
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    I can't imagine paying $100 for their program needless to say $1200 seems like highway robbery...better to book with a Virtuoso agent for a lot of the properties.
     
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  15. MSPeconomist
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    Nevertheless, when I compare Leaders Club rates to FHR, I frequently find that LHW offers better rates, especially if I don't need or can't use the special FHR amenities.
     
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  16. theskyflyer
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    Is there really a benefit to pay $100/annually rather than just book from a Virtuoso agent? Is it solely for the one free night after 5 stays? Because it seems Virtuoso/FHR offers even additional amenity rather than just the free breakfast/upgrade/internet that Access offers.
     
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    Each of these programs has a different list of hotels, although there can be substantial overlap. As I pointed out above, frequently (but not always) the Leaders Club rate is lower than the lowest available FHR rates. In particular, FHR rates tend to begin at deluxe doubles, while LHW can have lower category rooms or singles in their plan. Depending on your length of stay and particular needs, one of these programs can dominate.
     
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  18. theskyflyer
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    For those who have redeemed their free night after 5 stays, do benefits (upgrades, bfast) apply to the award night?
     
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  19. ac333

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    Their Leaders Club benefits are restricted if booking through a travel agent, we denied complimentary breakfast, wifi, and room upgrade (it's available at check-in). Their explaination is that it wasn't booked through their LHW.com or reservation line, therefore we wouldn't receive ANY benefits. Having stayed at The Ritz, Hotel de Crillon in past 6yrs, we - business traveling - our denial went from front desk, reservation line (on weekend, had to wait for following Monday to speak with supervisor), and finally corporate headquater in NY.
    Bottom line: Highly restrictive membership's benefits. NO benefits in any degree, void if not booked with them directly.
     
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  20. uggboy
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    When you've booked a LHW member hotel via a "real" brick and mortar travel agent plus you've provided the agent with your LHW membership number you should have received all LHW Access / or / Unlimited member benefits. See Terms and Conditions below for their booking channels: [ NO benefits are granted when booked via third party online travel agents ]
    • Through an LHW Worldwide Reservations and Service Center. A list of these reservations centers is available in the annual directory of The Leading Hotels of the World or on www.lhw.com.
    • Through the Leaders Club, as provided on the back of the Leaders Club membership card.
    • Through www.lhw.com. No other web-enabled booking engine qualifies for this eligibility requirement.
    • A reservation may be made through any travel agent (other than an online travel agent), provided said travel agent provides the eligible member’s Leaders Club number at the time of booking.
     
  21. ac333

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    Our company's booking agent is a physical location business that we've used for over 25yrs. We were denied our membership's benefits completely at check-in at Hotel Lancaster Paris, basically our benefits is voided. Each of our traveling employees' membership number was given and entered at time of booking by our live agent, in a physical location. In past years, we've never encountered such rejection at Hotel Ritz Paris nor de Crillon, both are under construction currently.
     
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  22. uggboy
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    Interesting experiences, in this case I would call one of the LHW reservation centers and give them notice that you haven't received the LHW Leaders Club benefits and report back to us on MP what they tell you or do about this situation you have encountered at the Hotel Lancaster Paris. You should, as written in the terms and conditions have received your benefits, that's interesting case and deserves the attention of LHW. Should you decide to give them a call and state your case, please report back on any responses or solutions given to you, it's an interesting case and I have never really heard before that benefits had been denied to an LHW member, especially when you have always gotten your benefits with the other two hotels in Paris.
     
  23. ac333

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    We've spoken with the call center's supervisor, Zelma Sanchez, whose agitated replied was, "it is up to the discretion of the hotel" - whether or not to void or honor our travelers' membership. Additionally, Gary (I believe it was his name) from NY corporate office fielding my call of complaint, apologetically replied "our hands are tied" and under the discretion of the hotel partner(s).
    Please be advised for future reference that Leaders Club can and will void your benefits, the reservation center can only suggest a solution(s) to the hotel, but not overide the hotel's decision. In fact, there was also rooms' upgrade for our employees, but it was not mentioned or offered - this informational was known when requested at reservation center. Our past stays at Ritz/Crillon were perfect and courteous, as were other LHW locations.
    This is the first and what we've informed from different levels of LHW management, the benefits are at the discretion of the said hotel. Caveat emptor.
     
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  24. TRAVELSIG
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    The following hotels in the past year have advised me my Leaders Club membership is not valid because I booked through a travel agent:
    Taj Palace Delhi
    Taj Palace Mumbai
    One Aldwych London
    Also the "stay 5 get 1 free" offer only applies if you book directly with LHW (not through TA).
     
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  25. uggboy
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    I'm disappointed to hear that LHW had their hands tied in that matter regarding your benefits.

    Thanks for the insights given, now the only solution is to book via lhw.com. I learned something today. Thanks again for sharing your experiences. It was a real surprise to me that the benefits could be denied by individual hotels when booking through a travel agent.
     
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