Is Pestana Priority Guest worth joining?

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Today I wanted to take a look at Pestana Priority Guest, the loyalty scheme for the Pestana hotel chain.

Pestana’s home page is here.  There is a link to Pestana Priority Guest at the bottom.

I am probably more familiar with Pestana than most readers, because their one UK hotel – Pestana Chelsea Bridge – is just a few minutes walk from our house.  You can find out more about their London hotel here.

Pestana is the biggest hotel group based in Portugal.  It operates four main brands:

Pestana Hotels & Resorts – 50 four and five star hotels across Europe, America and Africa

Pestana Pousadas de Portugal – 34 hotels based in historic castles, palaces, forts, monasteries and convents in Portugal

Pestana Collection – seven de-luxe hotels in Lisbon, Cascais, Porto, Amsterdam and Madrid

Pestana CR7 – a new lifestyle brand developed with Cristiano Ronaldo

Pestana Priority Guest review

Is Pestana Priority Guest worth joining?

If you are planning a stay at a Pestana property, it makes sense to sign up for Pestana Priority Guest.  For a start, you will save 5% on your room booking.

Membership is FREE.  You can sign up via this page of their website.

There are three membership tiers, each with different benefits:

SILVER (the initial tier):

  • Earn 10 points per €1
  • 5% off your room
  • 5% off restaurant and bar spend
  • Free parking
  • Free bottled water at check-in
  • Early check-out and late check-out

Spend €2,000 or complete 10 stays in a year and you become GOLD:

  • Earn 12 points per €1
  • 10% off your room
  • 10% off restaurant and bar spend
  • Free parking
  • Early check-out and late check-out
  • Free bottled water at check-in
  • Discount on upgrades and room service fees

Spend €5,000 or complete 15 stays in a year and you become PLATINUM:

  • Earn 15 points per €1
  • 15% off your room
  • 10% off restaurant and bar spend
  • Free parking
  • Early check-out and late check-out
  • Discount on upgrades and room service fees
  • Free bottled water each night
  • Free breakfast if you arrive early on check-in day

There is an additional DIAMOND tier for very heavy spenders with unpublicised benefits.

The full list of benefits is online here.  If you book via a third party site such as Expedia you only receive a nominal 250 points per night instead of points based on your spending.  This is actually a generous gesture as few chains offer any benefits at all if you do not book direct.

Pestana Chelsea Bridge hotel London

Spending your Pestana Priority Guest points

The best way to spend your points is for a free night at another Pestana hotel.

They have some external partners but, to be honest, the selection is poor.

There is only one airline partner – TAP Portugal.  You can transfer your points to TAP at the rate of 10:1, in chunk of 5,000 points.  Given that you are only earning 10 points per €1 at SILVER level, this means you’re getting just one TAP Portugal mile per €1.  This is very weak.

You can also use your points for a car rental with Avis, but only in Portugal.  Pricing runs from 18,000 to 38,000 Pestana points per rental day. Again, this is not hugely impressive.

The most realistic option is to use your points for free rooms.  Pestana offers revenue based redemption – the more a room costs on a particular day, the more points you will need.  This means that there is no arbitrage available from using your points on peak dates, because on peak dates you need more points!

Here is a typical booking for Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel in London for 18th October:

Twin room – 27,309 points or £145 (0.53p per point)

Deluxe family room – 31,229 points or £172 (0.55p per point)

This is not bad.  This means that, as a base level member, you are getting just over 5% of your spending back in points as long as you redeem for free rooms.

(This highlights how poor the TAP Portugal airline miles offer is.  If you can get 0.5p per point for a hotel room, and the exchange rate to TAP is 10:1, you are basically ‘paying’ 5p per airline mile.  This is shockingly poor.)

The biggest problem is that you cannot mix cash and points.  You need to have enough points to redeem outright for a room.  This is likely to be a problem unless you are a regular visitor to Pestana hotels.

Points expire two years after you earn them.  This is harsh – very, very few hotel loyalty schemes expire your points whether or not you are ‘active’ in the scheme.

Conclusion

If you are planning to stay at a Pestana hotel, it makes sense to join Pestana Priority Guest.

The main benefits will be during your stay – the 5% discount on the room, free parking and free bottled water.  In reality, it is unlikely that you will earn enough points (unless you have a long holiday at a Pestana hotel) for a useful redemption, although it makes sense to collect them just in case.

Membership is FREE.  You can sign up via this page of their website.   The general Pestana home page is here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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