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. I especially wanted to take a closer look at this now that Citi ThankYou has added Leaders Club as a transfer partner.

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.

The question is, which stays qualify for earning points? Since Leading Hotels of the World is a marketing organization and not a hotel management company, you generally won’t earn points if you book direct with a hotel. Instead, you typically only earn points when booking through Leading Hotels of the World channels (like lhw.com or the LHW call center), and when providing your Leaders Club number at the time that you make your reservation.

You typically won’t be rewarded if you book through other sources, like online travel agencies, Virtuoso, Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, etc.

Another great way to earn Leaders Club points is through the Citi ThankYou program in the United States, as these are points earned with cards like the Citi Premier® Card (review). Specifically, you can transfer points at a 5:1 ratio. This could be a great way to redeem transferable points for luxury independent hotels that can’t otherwise be booked with points.

Transfer Citi ThankYou points to Leaders Club

Redeeming points with LHW Leaders Club

Earning points is great, but how do you actually redeem them? 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

To think of it differently, since you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Leaders Club at a 5:1 ratio, that means you can get roughly 1.6 cents of value per ThankYou point toward the cost of an LHW stay. The only consideration is that in some cases you might find that properties have lower rates through channels other than LHW.

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 you can earn a rewards currency for stays at independent hotels that don’t otherwise have loyalty programs. Unfortunately this will sometimes come at a cost, as you might find cheaper rates for hotels when not booking through LHW. It’s definitely a “your mileage may vary” situation.

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.

What’s unique about Leaders Club is the ability to earn points for stays at independent properties, and you can also transfer over points from Citi ThankYou. This is a good opportunity for independent properties, though always crunch the numbers, since LHW won’t always have the lowest rates for its member properties.

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

Conversations (11)
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  1. theebigjuan Guest

    @Ben Any insight as to what constitutes an upgrade, either with Leader's Club or with Virtuoso? One example is that a property with 27 rooms has 16 room cats... Many are just different beds in the same room, or a different floor for the same room, or a different view for the same room. Would moves on this spectrum be treated as an upgrade?

  2. iamhere Guest

    I checked a hotel that I am considering and for the same room it is significantly more expensive than other providers.

  3. John Guest

    When I was a member several years pre-Covid I found this loyalty program very frustrating. It always seemed a hassle to get all my stays recognized when I didn't book directly as most of my bookings went through the company travel agent. The only way I could get around it was to book myself and then get compensated by my company - which also wasn't a welcome process for whatever reason.
    Anyway, it became...

    When I was a member several years pre-Covid I found this loyalty program very frustrating. It always seemed a hassle to get all my stays recognized when I didn't book directly as most of my bookings went through the company travel agent. The only way I could get around it was to book myself and then get compensated by my company - which also wasn't a welcome process for whatever reason.
    Anyway, it became all too hard and I dropped the program completely.
    Maybe this version is better

  4. ECR12 Guest

    I'm torn. Normally I wouldn't get ooverly excited about 1.6 cents if the points pricing is variable, but the transferrable currencies dont have many efficient way to redeem for great hotel value outside of Hyatt. But there's lots of methods to book a given flight if you have a decent balance of Amex/Chase/Citi/Cap1/Bilt points, so another hotel option is much more valuable at the margin.

  5. Carrie Gold

    The Australian LHW reservation assistants are an incredibly useful resource and go above and beyond to offer generous rates and benefits - they are an absolute pleasure to deal with.

  6. Loungeabuser Guest

    I , too, used to get suite upgrades when I had to pay to join

  7. Neil Guest

    FWIW, my wife used her FHR benefit in her name in Capri and I applied for the points when we got home and they credited my account. Two of the finest hotels I’ve stayed at - Quisisana in Capri and Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita.

  8. Michael SEA Member

    @Ben Schlappig, Nice write up of this program. I'm curious why you have never written about the GHA Discovery Loyalty program? It is very similar to the Leaders Club but IMO it's more lucrative and hs a better elite program. There are some very nice hotels in the Discovery Loyalty program, Kempinski, Anantara, Pan Pacifc, and more. Would love to hear your thoughts on the program.

    1. Adam Garrett Guest

      Is there a way to get the points via cost effective points purchases or credit card spend? If not, that's likely why he hasn't written about it. The ability to get these points via Citi Thank You Rewards is the main reason why I am going through this article.

  9. Ryan W Member

    On another note, Lucky, I don't know if you have heard but Air Greenland is starting (technically resuming) flights to Iqaluit in Canada for the 2024 summer season.

  10. Al Guest

    I have only had positive experiences with the LHW program but noticed a change after the membership fee was waived after covid. I was a member before and got some very good upgrades into (junior) suites, but not anymore. Recently I redeemed points for the brand new Azur Legacy Colllection Hotel in Vancouver (brilliant hotel with an amazing staff). Sonce points never expire as long as you have at least one activity per year, it...

    I have only had positive experiences with the LHW program but noticed a change after the membership fee was waived after covid. I was a member before and got some very good upgrades into (junior) suites, but not anymore. Recently I redeemed points for the brand new Azur Legacy Colllection Hotel in Vancouver (brilliant hotel with an amazing staff). Sonce points never expire as long as you have at least one activity per year, it is worth collecting points from my point of view.

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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.

theebigjuan Guest

@Ben Any insight as to what constitutes an upgrade, either with Leader's Club or with Virtuoso? One example is that a property with 27 rooms has 16 room cats... Many are just different beds in the same room, or a different floor for the same room, or a different view for the same room. Would moves on this spectrum be treated as an upgrade?

0
Adam Garrett Guest

Is there a way to get the points via cost effective points purchases or credit card spend? If not, that's likely why he hasn't written about it. The ability to get these points via Citi Thank You Rewards is the main reason why I am going through this article.

0
iamhere Guest

I checked a hotel that I am considering and for the same room it is significantly more expensive than other providers.

0
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