Disclaimer & Update: For reservations made through the Luxury Circle program after February 10, 2017, accelerated Jade Tier status will no longer be available. In addition, selected hotel credits will be changed to USD $50 or 10% of average daily room rate (whichever is highest, one credit per stay). Hotels with $50 credit are primarily those in Mainland China. Instead of a choice of three welcome amenities through automatic enrollment in the Golden Circle program at Jade level, VIP welcome amenities will be arranged by the hotel. Please consult your Travel Advisor and reconfirm amenities when making a Luxury Circle reservation.
I’ve written in the past about preferred hotel programs, like Starwood’s Luxury Privileges and Four Seasons Preferred Partners. In 2016 Shangri-La launched their own preferred partner program, called The Luxury Circle. In many cases this offers better benefits for Shangri-La stays than what’s offered through other programs. Furthermore, you can receive Shangri-La Jade status after just one stay booked through The Luxury Circle!
What amenities do you get through The Luxury Circle?
The Luxury Circle offers the following amenities at all Shangri-La and Kerry properties:
- Upgrade to the next room type category at the time of booking, subject to availability
- Hotel credit of $100 USD (or 10% of average daily room rate, whichever is higher), per stay
- Complimentary full breakfast for two, including in-room dining
- Accelerated status to the elite Jade tier in the Golden Circle Rewards program
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- Welcome amenity
As you can see, The Luxury Circle perks are generous — an upgrade of one category at the time of booking is a perk that only a handful of properties offer through programs like Virtuoso and Four Seasons Preferred Partners, as a point of comparison. Rooms are upgraded to the next room category within 24-48 hours of booking, if the room is eligible and the next category up is available at the time of booking.
Many Shangri-La properties have nightly rates in the low $200s, which makes a $100 hotel credit for a one night or short stay a fantastic value. For guests whose average daily rate exceeds $1,000, which isn’t hard to do at a property like the Shangri-La Paris, the one-time hotel credit will actually increase with the average rate.
As far as breakfast goes, The Luxury Circle offers full breakfast for two guests daily, including via in-room dining — that’s tough to beat!
What rates qualify for The Luxury Circle bookings?
The Luxury Circle rate is the same as the best available rate, which is a flexible/refundable rate and carries a standardized cancellation policy that is unique to each hotel. While The Luxury Circle rate isn’t published publicly and cannot be booked directly by guests (more on that below), you can determine the rate by checking the best available rate online.
As far as the upgrades go, not all room categories are eligible for upgrades, but many of the base room types generally are, and a travel advisor affiliated with The Luxury Circle should be able to advise which room types are eligible (again, more on this below).
It’s important to note that benefits and amenities from The Luxury Circle cannot be combined or stacked with programs like Virtuoso or American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts.
You can earn Shangri-La Jade status after just one stay!
Here’s an especially cool perk for booking through The Luxury Circle. After booking just one stay with The Luxury Circle you’ll receive Jade status in The Golden Circle program. This applies for new and existing members, and even for one night bookings. It should take ~10 business days for your account to be updated, and guests then remain Jade for one year.
Jade is the mid-tier level of membership within Shangri-La’s Golden Circle program, which ordinarily requires 10 stays or 20 nights to earn. Jade perks include:
- Earn GC Award Points with 25% bonus at any Shangri-La hotel, resort, Kerry hotel, Traders hotel and Hotel Jen
- Priority check-in and check-out at an exclusively designated area
- Priority upgrade to the next available best room category, if the reserved room type is not available at check-in
- 11am early check-in / 4pm late check-out (subject to availability and not available at all Shangri-La properties)
- Personal preference including bed and pillow type
- Choice of 3 welcome amenities
- Complimentary breakfast at the Café Restaurant
- Partner stays free with applicable breakfast benefit ^
- Cash advance of USD 250 per stay
- Choice of GC Award Points or airline miles for each eligible stay
What hotels can you book with The Luxury Circle?
As I mentioned, The Luxury Circle rate is available only at Shangri-La and Kerry properties and is not available currently at Traders and Hotel Jen properties. You can find a full directory of Shangri-La properties here.
Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, for example, is available on March 5-6 for ~$240 before taxes. This hotel isn’t bookable through Virtuoso or Fine Hotels & Resorts, so the complimentary full breakfast, $100 resort credit, and upgrade at the time of booking (subject to availability) through The Luxury Circle sweeten the deal. Dozens of Shangri-La hotels in mainland China and throughout the world that are not members of Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso are now available through The Luxury Circle, including properties in Fiji, China, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, to name a few.
Shangri-La has a number of resorts, too, like Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa in Cebu, Philippines, which participates in The Luxury Circle but isn’t a member of Virtuoso or Fine Hotels & Resorts. In early April, the hotel has Luxury Circle rates starting in the mid $200s.
The renowned Shangri-La Vancouver has several room types available at a nightly rate less than $300, for March 5-8, for example. By booking through The Luxury Circle, a guest could be confirmed into a suite for less than $300 per night before taxes by making use of the confirmed upgrade. The same perk is currently available through Virtuoso (but not Fine Hotels & Resorts), although booking The Luxury Circle rate allows the guest to become a Jade Tier member in just one night, which isn’t otherwise possible.
How can you book Shangri-La’s The Luxury Circle rates?
In order to have access to the above amenities, guests must book The Luxury Circle rate through an affiliated travel advisor. If you want to check the rate yourself, The Luxury Circle rate should be the same as the best available rate published online by the hotel.
If you’re already working with a Virtuoso advisor, they likely have access to or are already affiliated with The Luxury Circle. If you need a travel advisor or would like to check rates, feel free to email me at [email protected] I’d love to hear from you!
For guests that plan to book the best available rate or a similar flexible rate that includes breakfast, booking their stay through The Luxury Circle is a no-brainer and easy way to maximize value and cut costs. For those that needed an incentive to stay at a new Shangri-La or experience the hospitality brand altogether, now is your chance.
For longer stays of three nights or more at hotels that are also members of Virtuoso or American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, it’s worth comparing the amenities, as Virtuoso and/or FHR may offer complimentary night programs that aren’t otherwise available through The Luxury Circle.
Since getting set up with this program in the past few weeks, I’ve been pretty excited to share it with OMAAT readers — especially those who travel to Asia often, where the majority of Shangri-La properties are located. Thanks to my clients Forest and Michael for reaching out about it and bringing me into the light!