Leading Hotels Of The World (LHW) Leaders Club Loyalty Program

Leading Hotels Of The World (LHW) Leaders Club Loyalty Program

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Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) has a loyalty program named Leaders Club, which I wanted to take a look at in this post, as it’s potentially pretty rewarding.

What is Leading Hotels of the World?

Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) is a collection of independent luxury hotels, with over 400 properties in 80 countries around the globe. Chances are that you’re familiar with some of LHW’s properties, even if you didn’t know they were associated with the group.

You should think of Leading Hotels of the World as more of a hotel marketing group than as a single hotel group. LHW doesn’t manage its hotels, but rather markets a group of otherwise independent luxury hotels. As a matter of fact, many properties of smaller hotel groups, like Rocco Forte, etc., belong to LHW.

Think of Leading Hotels of the World as being along the lines of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), which World of Hyatt has a partnership with. I would say that on balance LHW properties are a bit higher end than SLH properties, as LHW has some truly iconic properties, like the Ritz Paris.

Ritz Paris, an LHW hotel

Leading Hotels of the World Leaders Club loyalty program

Leaders Club is the name of Leading Hotels of the World’s loyalty program. The program is free to join, and comes with some significant benefits you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a program that’s free. Let’s go over the details.

LHW Leaders Club membership benefits

Just for joining the Leaders Club program, you receive the following benefits:

  • Upgrade by one category upon arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily continental breakfast for two
  • Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi
  • Members-only room pricing

On top of that, after you complete your first eligible stay as a Leaders Club member, you’ll receive one pre-arrival upgrade per calendar year that can be used for any qualifying stay. You simply have to request the upgrade when you book, and you’ll be informed before check-in whether the next eligible room category is available.

Receive complimentary breakfast with Leaders Club

LHW Leaders Club Sterling membership benefits

If you spend at least $5,000 on qualifying Leaders Club stays in a calendar year, you’ll receive Leaders Club Sterling status. This comes with additional perks, including the following:

  • Five pre-arrival upgrades per calendar year
  • A 5% annual points bonus, based on all the points earned

Frankly the incremental benefits here don’t seem huge. Five pre-arrival one category upgrades aren’t that significant (especially if you otherwise get an upgrade subject to availability at check-in), and a 5% points bonus is hardly anything to get too excited over.

Katikies Mykonos, an LHW hotel

Earning points with LHW Leaders Club

All Leaders Club members are eligible to earn points for their qualifying stays. Specifically, you can earn one point per eligible dollar spent on qualifying room rates, for up to three rooms per stay. Now, this is where it gets tricky.

According to Leading Hotels of the World, you can be rewarded for stays when booking through lhw.com, Leading Hotels of the World’s call center, or even when booking through a travel agent.

Yes, officially you can even be rewarded when booking through Virtuoso, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, or other consortia relationships. However, you wouldn’t earn points for third party bookings through online travel agencies, like Expedia. Just make sure your Leaders Club number is added to the reservation at the time of booking.

While that’s how things are published, it seems to very much be a case of “your mileage may vary” as to whether or not stays not booked directly with LHW actually earn points. So don’t count on it, but don’t be surprised if you do earn points for these stays.

Free night redemptions with Leading Hotels of the World start at just 4,000 points, though pricing varies based on how much a hotel would charge in cash. You can see the cost of each stay by logging into LHW’s website with your account and searching hotel availability.

While there’s some variance, it would generally appear you get somewhere around eight cents of value per point toward the cost of a hotel stay. For example, a $769 hotel stay in Paris would cost 9,587 points. In other words, the program gives you the equivalent of an ~8% rebate on your hotel spending, which is solid.

Cash vs. points cost for an LHW property

Is the LHW Leaders Club program worth it?

Leading Hotels of the World’s Leaders Club program is pretty rewarding on balance, when you consider that LHW is more of a hotel marketing organization than an actual formal hotel group. There are areas where the program isn’t very rewarding, and other areas where the program excels, at least on paper.

If you ask me, the program isn’t very rewarding in terms of the actual benefits offered. While free breakfast and room upgrades sound exciting, the major catch is that a majority of LHW properties belong to programs like Virtuoso.

With programs like Virtuoso, you receive perks like complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, and hotel credits, when booking through an eligible travel advisor. As you can see, there’s a lot of overlap in terms of the perks here.

What is exciting about Leaders Club is that at least theoretically you can earn rewards with the program even when booking through Virtuoso. So you can book top hotels through an eligible travel advisor, and then still receive one point per dollar spent. That’s a fantastic opportunity, as it gives you the best of both worlds. Again, that assumes points post, which doesn’t seem to be consistent for these kinds of bookings.

La Reserve Ramatuelle, an LHW hotel

Bottom line

Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) is a group of over 400 independent properties, including what are regarded as some of the best hotels in the world. Leaders Club is the loyalty program of LHW, which is free to join. While it offers some perks, most of them are redundant with what you’d get through programs like Virtuoso.

The good news is that you can still earn points toward your next LHW stay when booking through Virtuoso. You earn one point per dollar spent, and each point is worth somewhere around eight cents, so that’s a significant return on LHW spending.

What do you make of LHW’s Leaders Club loyalty program?

Conversations (4)
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  1. Pam Guest

    I have been a “member” for decades & have never once enjoyed benefits from the program! It doesn’t sound from your post that the properties themselves are very proactive with it, so not surprising. I think the program is more a way to advertise their properties via emails rather than member free perks to be enjoyed at them. Historic Hotels, Omni Select Guest, iPrefer, & others have much more defined, beneficial, & usable programs. Thanks...

    I have been a “member” for decades & have never once enjoyed benefits from the program! It doesn’t sound from your post that the properties themselves are very proactive with it, so not surprising. I think the program is more a way to advertise their properties via emails rather than member free perks to be enjoyed at them. Historic Hotels, Omni Select Guest, iPrefer, & others have much more defined, beneficial, & usable programs. Thanks for the info on the LHW Sterling program, never knew about it!

  2. AndyPBNYC New Member

    I use a travel agent who generally books directly with The Ritz and then adds the signature benefits. No Leaders Club points this that way, at least at that hotel. However, when changing plans and such as arriving earlier or extending the departure date, The Ritz can be very accommodating, especially when booked directly to the hotel, by either an agent or myself.

  3. Lee Guest

    You can figure an overall reward rate of about 7 to 8 percent (not including your credit card points). Not very.

    Based on conversations with specific properties in the program, it differs significantly from the hotel loyalty programs that we know. The only ways to earn Leaders Club points is 1) you book a property via the LHW system (online or phone) or 2) you walk in off the street, get a room, and expressly...

    You can figure an overall reward rate of about 7 to 8 percent (not including your credit card points). Not very.

    Based on conversations with specific properties in the program, it differs significantly from the hotel loyalty programs that we know. The only ways to earn Leaders Club points is 1) you book a property via the LHW system (online or phone) or 2) you walk in off the street, get a room, and expressly state you are a Leaders Club member. This comes directly from specific properties: if you book directly with the property, you will not get Leaders Club credit. It happened to me twice. In this sense, the Leader Club program is purely a marketing platform or online travel agent platform, sort of like a different kind of Hotels.com.

    One hotel ownership group takes this one bizarre step further. This ownership group has its own loyalty program. If you book via the ownership group's loyalty program, you will receive certain benefits. But, if you book with any property directly, you cannot receive any benefits of the ownership group's loyalty program. And, once you've booked directly, while they might "link" your stay to their own program, don't expect anything. The same applies to linking after the fact to the Leaders Club. One would actually have to cancel the stay and make a new reservation via the ownership group's site or the Leaders Club.

    Overall, the Leaders Club is a quirky program.

  4. LEo Diamond

    I think LHW properties's main targeted audiences have less interest in the whether the loyalty program is "worth it" or not. Many properties, like Ritz Paris, many people will stay there whether they are LHW,GHA, Marriott or anything really, they are in a league of their own certainly.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Pam Guest

I have been a “member” for decades & have never once enjoyed benefits from the program! It doesn’t sound from your post that the properties themselves are very proactive with it, so not surprising. I think the program is more a way to advertise their properties via emails rather than member free perks to be enjoyed at them. Historic Hotels, Omni Select Guest, iPrefer, & others have much more defined, beneficial, & usable programs. Thanks for the info on the LHW Sterling program, never knew about it!

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AndyPBNYC New Member

I use a travel agent who generally books directly with The Ritz and then adds the signature benefits. No Leaders Club points this that way, at least at that hotel. However, when changing plans and such as arriving earlier or extending the departure date, The Ritz can be very accommodating, especially when booked directly to the hotel, by either an agent or myself.

0
Lee Guest

You can figure an overall reward rate of about 7 to 8 percent (not including your credit card points). Not very. Based on conversations with specific properties in the program, it differs significantly from the hotel loyalty programs that we know. The only ways to earn Leaders Club points is 1) you book a property via the LHW system (online or phone) or 2) you walk in off the street, get a room, and expressly state you are a Leaders Club member. This comes directly from specific properties: if you book directly with the property, you will not get Leaders Club credit. It happened to me twice. In this sense, the Leader Club program is purely a marketing platform or online travel agent platform, sort of like a different kind of Hotels.com. One hotel ownership group takes this one bizarre step further. This ownership group has its own loyalty program. If you book via the ownership group's loyalty program, you will receive certain benefits. But, if you book with any property directly, you cannot receive any benefits of the ownership group's loyalty program. And, once you've booked directly, while they might "link" your stay to their own program, don't expect anything. The same applies to linking after the fact to the Leaders Club. One would actually have to cancel the stay and make a new reservation via the ownership group's site or the Leaders Club. Overall, the Leaders Club is a quirky program.

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