Aman Hotels Gift Card Promo: Don’t Even Bother

Filed Under: Hotel Deals

Unfortunately this is the third time I’m writing about Aman’s gift card promotion. Not because I want to, but because Aman keeps changing the terms. This has gone from a great deal for any Amanjunkies, to a hard pass (at least for me)…

Anyway, lately we’ve seen a lot of travel brands get creative when it comes to generating revenue. With so many businesses having liquidity issues, we’re seeing companies offer a deal if you pay now for travel later.

In particular, we’ve seen lots of hotel brands sell discounted gift cards or stay certificates for future stays. Luxury hotel brand Aman is the latest group to offer a bonus when you buy a gift card now.

Aman offering 20% bonus on gift card purchases

Between July 15 and July 31, 2020, Aman is offering a 20% bonus when you purchase a gift card.

Amanwella

As you’d expect, there are some terms to be aware of, and they’re way more restrictive than they were when the promotion was first announced. And heck, they’re now even way more restrictive than when the terms were changed the first time around.

First, these are Aman’s general gift card terms (this applies to the “base” gift card purchase, and not to the 20% in bonus value you’re given):

  • Gift cards are valid for three years from the date of issue
  • You can purchase gift cards in amounts ranging from $10 to $25,000
  • Gift cards are issued in USD, and will be converted into the appropriate local currency at the hotel’s exchange rate (you may lose a couple of percent on this, since they often don’t use the “fair” conversion rate)
  • Gift certificates can be used at all Aman properties, except those in China, and towards anything from room rate, to spa treatments, to dining
  • Gift cards can be delivered electronically, either by email or SMS

Then there are additional restrictions for the 20% bonus offered on the gift cards. First of all, the 20% bonus gift cards can be used at the following properties:

Amankora, Amansara, Aman Villas at Nusa Dua, Amandari, Amankila, Amanjiwo, Amanwana, Amanbagh, Aman-i-khas, Amantaka, Amangalla, Amanwella, Amanpulo, Amanpuri, Amanjena

This excludes many of Aman’s popular properties, including those in the US and Caribbean. I actually feel like the list mostly includes properties that may be difficult to travel to in the next year due to immigration restrictions.

Then there are the following additional terms for the 20% bonus:

  • The 20% additional value on gift cards can only be used for new reservations booked directly via aman.com, Aman contact centers, or made directly with Aman hotels
  • The additional value cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, promotion, negotiated benefit, or agreement, or rate published, pre-booked, or pre-paid outside of Aman channels
  • Only one 20% bonus gift card may be purchased per guest
  • If used for accommodation, it may only be redeemed for reservations made after July 15, 2020, at the same limited Aman properties listed above
  • The 20% bonus gift card is only valid for 12 months from when it’s issued (this is a new restriction)

At first this was a great promotion, but at this point the updated terms have turned this into a deal that I just can’t recommend anymore. The base gift card is valid at most Amans, but is only valid for three years.

Meanwhile the 20% bonus gift card is only valid at some properties, only for 12 months, only on new reservations, and can’t be combined with other offers or promotions (though it’s not specified what exactly that means).

Aman has certain rates bookable directly online that include perks like breakfast, etc., and I would assume these aren’t intended to be excluded. Or would that be considered an offer or promotion?

Aman Tokyo

This isn’t how you run a promotion…

We’ve seen a lot of hotel brands offer deals on gift cards in light of the current environment, but Aman has handled this the worst. The terms have now been updated twice, the promotion dates have been changed, and these gift cards are now laughably restrictive.

It’s totally fine if this is what they had published to begin with, but to change terms twice — including once after launching the promotion, and then pulling it — is poor form, if you ask me.

I’d expect more for Aman, especially given the rates they charge for hotel stays.

What is Aman?

For those of you not familiar with Aman, the company operates 30+ uber-luxurious boutique resorts in 20+ countries. While Aman has some city hotels, most of the company’s hotels are nature-focused, and a bit off the beaten path.

As is the case with all hotel brands, not all properties are created equal. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at some phenomenal Aman properties, and in particular liked Aman Tokyo, Aman Sveti Stefan, Amanzoe, and Amankila. I’ve also stayed at Amanemu, Amanwella, and Amangalla, which were good, but not of the same caliber, in my opinion.

Amanzoe

Bottom line

I’ve never seen Aman offer a bonus on gift cards before, so at first I was excited about this. However, now that the promotion has been changed twice, and given that bonus gift cards are only valid for 12 months at select properties, I can’t in good faith recommend this promotion anymore.

I suppose if you know you’ll be able to go to one of the eligible bonus gift card properties in the next year then it could make sense, but they’re mostly in countries with borders that are closed to most travelers.

It’s very disappointing to see how Aman has handled this promotion.

If I were to buy a luxury hotel gift card this month, I’d consider that Explora is offering a 50% bonus on purchased gift cards, so if you like both brands, Explora’s offer is so much better. Not only is a 50% bonus much bigger than a 20% bonus, but Explora’s deal also isn’t as restrictive.

Anyone else disappointed to see the way Aman has handled this gift card promotion?

(Tip of the hat to Mike K)

Comments
  1. Got that offer this morning, but not a good deal if you can’t combine it with promotions, which are worth at least as much, if not more, and don’t require you to pay in advance and let them hold onto your money until you’re allowed to actually travel to an Amanresort, the majority of which are inaccessible to those outside the country in which they are located at the moment. Probably a non-zero credit risk too.

  2. Aman isn’t what it used to be. It’s opening up locations in the same old cities everyone else has.

    Not being able to use Virtuoso/FHR bookings, and having to use terrible hotel conversion rates, AND putting money down in advance + expiration. Hard pass.

  3. Ben, Six Senses is also running a 20% bonus deal. And all Hyatt hotels in Bali (including Alila) are running 50% bonus.

  4. @AD

    Apparently you need to contact the hotel directly, and must use some Indonesian digital wallet (?) app called “TADA”. Loyalty Lobby has a post with more details and rules.

  5. Thanks David. Will give it a shot.

    Bali is always great, and even better with a bonus. Hope the stay can be made later in 2021.

  6. Not that I am traveling anytime soon, but a recent check for fun of some Aman properties shows a strange increase in the normal rates. I wonder if this is to make up for lost revenue as those places are not open to international tourism.

  7. Although the terms don’t allow it, I would be surprised if they could prevent you from using a gift card on a non-prepaid TA booking like FHR at checkout.

  8. Ben, I think you need to update your post as Aman appears to have added some new restrictions to how the 20% bonus is used (if used for accommodation), including a much narrower list of properties that it can be used at. If you go to the T&Cs, this language appears:

    Using Gift Card – Limited Time 20% Bonus

    You can apply your Aman Gift Card Bonus towards any Aman experience – from accommodation to spa treatments and dining occasions – at select Aman hotels and resorts worldwide: Amankora, Amansara, Aman Villas at Nusa Dua, Amandari, Amankila, Amanjiwo, Amanwana, Amanbagh, Aman-i-khas, Amantaka, Amangalla, Amanwella, Amanpulo, Amanpuri, Amanjena. Gift cards cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, promotion, negotiated benefit or agreement.

    Purchasing Gift Card – Limited Time 20%

    …One 20% bonus gift card may be purchased per guest and, if used for accommodation, may be redeemed for reservations made after July 15th 2020 at select Aman hotels and resorts worldwide: Amankora, Amansara, Aman Villas at Nusa Dua, Amandari, Amankila, Amanjiwo, Amanwana, Amanbagh, Aman-i-khas, Amantaka, Amangalla, Amanwella, Amanpulo, Amanpuri, Amanjena.

  9. Hey Ben! I think you mean this excludes tons of popular properties instead of “This includes tons of Aman’s popular properties.” 🙂

  10. So many aman properties are excluded from using this gift card promo. what a disappointing promotion

  11. Seems like Aman is having second thoughts about this deal as they are continuing to update the terms and conditions to make it worse and worse for potential buyers. As of this evening, the 20% bonus certificates expire 12 months from issue (base gift cards still good for 3 years). Also, you can only use the base value of your gift card for reservations booked through Aman and expressly not for any “pre-booked, or pre-paid [reservations] outside Aman channels.” Of course the 20% bonus certificates are subject to the same restriction. So I guess you can’t use even the base gift cards if you book a Virtuoso or Amex Fine Hotel rate.

    I don’t see the point in bothering with these given the onerous restrictions.

  12. This is all very well and good, but we have yet to answer the truly pressing question: What, exactly, does one hope to do with a $10 Aman gift card?

  13. Many states in the US have laws against gift card expiration dates. It’s probably legal for the bonus gift card, but I would imagine that the 3-year validity of your base amount would be illegal in many states.

  14. While I know this blog is about miles, points and deals, I do not think Aman’s core guest-base is using (or even thinking of) gift cards. Could explain why they didn’t put much effort into this, or don’t have much experience with a promotion like this.

    On another note, Ben you need to go review Amangiri’s new “camp,” Sarika.

  15. @ Peter — That doesn’t at all match my experience with Aman’s core guest base, but I suppose “your mileage may vary.”

  16. @Ben – can you provide some more insight into that – genuinely curious. You’d think Aman guests would be the .001%, generally speaking, and that is my experience in working with them.

  17. I used to book Amans via Citi Prestige to get 25% off. That’s obviously off the table now with ThankYou’s crappy website. 20% off sounded good initially but I didn’t buy any gift cards as the terms wasn’t clear. Now it’s plenty clear and given the short one year time frame to use these gift cards, I see the promotion as useless because I don’t know if Covid19 will be a thing of the past 360 days from now. I’m not interested in giving away free money or loaning money to Aman interest free. If I’m based in Southeast Asia and I can now travel between Indonesia, India, Cambodia, Laos freely, then this would be somewhat attractive.

  18. This is not targeted towards an Aman guest.

    What’s worse is that they’re only including the most uninteresting properties.

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