In this post I wanted to take a look at the loyalty program of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), which is known as INVITED. What are the benefits of the program, how do you earn free nights, and what’s the catch (because unfortunately there is a catch)?
What is Small Luxury Hotels of the World?
Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) is a group of 520 independent boutique luxury properties in 90 countries. The key thing to understand here is that SLH is more of a marketing organization than an actual formal hotel group.
With Hilton or Marriott, most individual properties are managed by the hotel groups, and have very strict policies to follow, with design, service, etc., to the point that hotels can be cookie cutter. In the case of SLH, luxury independent boutique hotels can benefit from the distribution power and reputation of SLH. Based on my understand, SLH only really gets a cut when you book through SLH’s channels, rather than directly through the hotel.
You’ll actually find that many smaller hotel groups belong to SLH, which further shows how this is more of a marketing organization than anything else.
Many in the points world may be familiar with SLH, as the group has a partnership with World of Hyatt, allowing World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem points for stays at SLH properties. On top of that, World of Hyatt members receive select benefits for these stays.
How SLH’s INVITED guest recognition program works
INVITED is the name of Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s loyalty program. The program is free to join, and it offers basic perks just for being a member, and also has elite tiers plus the opportunity to earn vouchers that can be used toward free night stays.
The first important thing to understand is that only reservations made directly with SLH (either via slh.com or the call center) qualify for the INVITED program. So if you book via any other channels, your stays wouldn’t be eligible. This is a major limitation, as I’ll talk about a bit later.
Earning elite status with SLH INVITED
The SLH INVITED program has three tiers of membership:
- Intrigued status, which you get for 0-3 nights
- Inspired status, which you get for 4-12 nights
- Indulged status, which you get for 13+ nights
What are the benefits of membership?
SLH Intrigued status, which you get just for enrolling, offers the following perks:
- 10% off members only rate
- Access to a dedicated call center
- Early check-in (12PM, subject to availability at check-in)
- Late check-out (2PM. subject to availability at check-in)
- Free Wi-Fi
- Exclusive promotions
SLH Inspired status, which you get after earning four elite nights in a calendar year, offers the following incremental perks:
- Daily complimentary continental breakfast for two
- Room upgrade (based on availability at check-in)
SLH Indulged status, which you get after earning 13 elite nights in a calendar year, offers the following incremental perks:
- Access to insider events, held periodically throughout the year
- A $300 reward night voucher
Earning free nights with SLH INVITED
SLH INVITED doesn’t have an award chart, but rather free nights come in the form of $300 hotel vouchers. You receive a $300 voucher when earning SLH Indulged status, and then you receive an additional voucher for either 12 nights or $6,000 of eligible spending completed while an Indulged member.
The voucher comes with quite some restrictions:
- The voucher will be issued within 14 days of being earned, and is valid for 12 months
- The voucher can be used to offset the cost of a one night stay in a standard room; if the room costs more than $300 you have to pay the difference, while if it costs less than $300 you don’t get any residual value
- The voucher must be redeemed at least 14 days in advance, and must be redeemed by emailing [email protected]
- The voucher is non-flexible, and once a booking is confirmed, no alterations or cancelations can be made
As you can tell, these are some pretty rigid requirements.
The catch with SLH INVITED
The SLH INVITED loyalty program is better than nothing, but that’s about all I can say. I’d say the execution is pretty weak, especially with all the restrictions around redeeming free night awards. There are a couple of things to consider before participating in SLH INVITED, which I wanted to cover below.
Booking through Hyatt is often a better deal
As I mentioned above, SLH and Hyatt have a partnership, and roughly two-thirds of SLH properties participate in this. This offers the ability to earn and redeem points, as well as take advantage of select perks, when booking through Hyatt.
The two programs are mutually exclusive — if you book through hyatt.com you can earn & redeem Hyatt points and receive select benefits, while if you book through SLH you can take advantage of the INVITED program.
Just for booking through the Hyatt partnership, you receive the following perks (even if you don’t have elite status with Hyatt):
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Daily complimentary continental breakfast
- Room upgrade (one category at check-in, if available)
- Early check-in (noon, based upon availability)
- Late check-out (2:00PM, based upon availability)
That’s much more compelling than booking through SLH. The only thing to keep an eye on is what kind of rates Hyatt has, as you’ll sometimes see lower rates directly with SLH.
Booking through Virtuoso could also make sense
Virtuoso is a program available through select travel advisors, where they can offer extra perks at luxury hotels. Many, though not all, SLH properties also participate in Virtuoso. Perks for booking through Virtuoso include the following:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- A special Virtuoso amenity once per stay (usually a $100 property credit, free massage, car transfer, complimentary lunch or dinner, etc.)
For hotels that participate in Virtuoso and SLH, there’s almost always going to be more value booking through Virtuoso than booking via slh.com, and it’s one or the other — you can either get Virtuoso perks, or you can get SLH INVITED perks.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has its own loyalty program, offering both elite tiers and the ability to earn $300 reward vouchers that can be applied toward hotel stays. While the program has some value, there are also quite a few restrictions associated with it.
The big catch is that you’re generally going to be better off booking through Hyatt for properties that participate in that partnership, as the benefits are stronger, and you can earn and redeem Hyatt points. In other situations you may be better off booking through Virtuoso, so you can receive perks like breakfast, a hotel credit, a room upgrade, and more.
If you’re a member of SLH INVITED, what has your experience been like?