Known for its opulence and grandeur, the Shangri-La hotel is a major contender in the luxury hotel industry. With majority of its properties located in Asia and China, the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts does not enjoy the same recognition outside these regions. Although it has properties in the Middle East, North America, Oceania and Europe, it is generally a lot less influential when compared to larger international hotel chains like Hilton and Hyatt.
It was not until recently that I started looking at the loyalty program that the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has. It surprised me that no one has really paid much attention to this program when it is actually highly rewarding (and extremely attainable too!). Some loyalty programs require you to stay a huge amount of eligible nights before you receive any tangible benefits. On the other hand, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts' Golden Circle program requires only ten eligible stays (or twenty eligible nights) for you to reach Jade status.
Jade status is awarded upon 20 qualifying nights or 10 qualifying stays in a calendar year at any Shangri-La hotel, resort, Traders hotel or Kerry hotel. While the actual wording has not changed, this includes Hotel Jen (the re-branded Traders hotel) as well. Here are the benefits you get as a Jade member and I have highlighted in bold the ones that are relatively tangible or highly beneficial.
- Earn GC Award Points with 25% bonus at any Shangri-La hotel, resort, Traders hotel or Kerry hotel
- Priority check-in and check-out at an exclusively designated area
- Guaranteed room availability for reservations made 72 hours in advance with priority waitlist *
- Pre-registration for easy check-in
- 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 **
- 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 ^
- Free local calls from your room
- Cash advance of USD 250 per stay
- Choice of GC Award Points or airline miles for each eligible stay
Golden Circle Points
You will earn 1 GC Points per eligible US$1 spend on qualifying room rates and eligible charges to the room. Being a Jade member will give you a 25% bonus on these earnings. Apparently you can also earn GC Points on F&B expenditure even if you do not reside in the hotel - I do need to test this out and confirm though!
Room awards begin at 1,000 GC Points (approximately US$800 eligible spend on Jade status) for a Collection A Hotel. To put things into context, here are the participating Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts properties in Singapore, and its respective collections (or categories):
Collection B - 2,000 GC Points for a Standard Room (approximately US$1,600 eligible spend on Jade status)
- Hotel Jen Singapore (the old Traders Hotel Singapore)
Collection C - 3,500 GC Points for a Standard Room (approximately US$2,800 eligible spend on Jade status)
- Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa
- Hotel Jen Orchardgateway
Collection E - 6,500 GC Points for a Standard Room (approximately US$5,200 eligible spend on Jade status)
- Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Upgrade to the next available room category is always appreciated although the way it is being phrased makes it rather debatable. Does anyone have any experience on this?
Early Check-in and Late Check-out
While it is subjected to availability (just like every other property), having the specific time at 11am and 4pm respectively helps manage the program better. Besides, with the official check-in and check-out time at 2pm and 12pm respectively for most properties, having a Jade status means you can enjoy up to seven hours more in your room.
Three Welcome Amenities
I have recently stayed in Hotel Jen Orchardgateway (which is amazing and the review is on the way!) and I have received all three amenities as nominated on my Golden Circle profile. It is always a delight when hotels read these preferences carefully and respect them accordingly.
Complimentary Breakfast for You and Your Partner
If you like staying in luxury hotels, you will know that breakfast is indeed expensive. It is not uncommon for hotels to charge above S$50++ per person for a buffet breakfast if it is not inclusive in your room rate. Therefore, having complimentary breakfast can be a major money-saver since advance purchase rates are usually room-only. That being said, I'm not certain whether or not this includes the full buffet breakfast or just a continental breakfast.
Some Final Thoughts
The Shangri-La's Golden Circle has huge potential but keeping to it and ensuring that all standards are met will be a challenge for the hotel chain. There have been complaints about wrongly account suspensions by seasoned travelers and so far the response they have been give has been less than ideal. I am definitely interested to see how this program evolves with the new Hotel Jen brand as the benefits are extremely tangible and beneficial for me.