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I wanted to give our luxury hotel booking service another mention today in case your mind has started drifting towards your next holiday, post Summer!  Since I launched this service two years ago with Emyr Thomas of Bon Vivant, the feedback from Head for Points readers has been excellent.  Over £1m-worth of rooms have been booked so far.

Here is an email I received from a reader, for example:

“I just wanted to give some feedback on Emyr and Bon Vivant. I have just used him to book three nights at the Conrad NYC for my brother’s wedding and also a night at the Park Hyatt in DC. Fantastic service, emails answered promptly, very knowledgeable and a pleasure to deal with. Certainly offers a lot better service than other similar agents I have used through Flyertalk contacts.”

This is one I am particularly pleased about:

“Initially [after an enquiry about a previous trip] we didn’t use Emyr and that was almost certainly the wrong decision.  I’ve just made a booking through Emyr today, which has likely saved me circa £150 for a two night stay.  Emyr came back to my first email within a couple of hours. He understood my request perfectly and sent me the exact information I wanted. Thank you for the heads up on this gent. It’s much appreciated.”

What we can offer

The luxury hotel companies do not get a lot of coverage on Head for Points due to their lack of loyalty schemes. This is despite the fact that many HFP readers are regular visitors to high end hotels.

If you are staying at a major luxury hotel brand, there is one inescapable fact – you will not get the best deal by booking directly. The major hotel groups all offer additional benefits and special deals which can only be accessed when booking via a luxury travel agent. These agents are relatively difficult to locate in the UK.

Virtuoso travel agent London

To plug the gap, I have teamed up with Emyr Thomas who runs luxury agent Bon Vivant to offer a luxury hotel booking service for HFP readers.

Via our partnership with Emyr, you are able to book better luxury hotel deals than you could book yourself via a London-based travel agent who is committed to fast response times and excellent customer service.

Virtuoso travel agent UK

If you are considering booking a luxury hotel, I would strongly recommend contacting Bon Vivant to see what special offers are available for that particular property.

Bon Vivant is an affiliate of SmartFlyer, a Virtuoso agency, which means that booking through them can give you access to benefits including upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in / late check-out and $100 hotel credits (or similar) at every Virtuoso hotel.

Most of the top hotel groups (including Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, Four Seasons etc) have hotels that are a part of Virtuoso and you can access these benefits by booking through Bon Vivant.

There are many hundreds of other luxury hotels globally – including many Fairmont, One & Only, Hyatt, Corinthia and InterContinental properties – where Bon Vivant can access similar deals via the Virtuoso network. At InterContinental Le Grand Paris and InterContinental London Park Lane, for example, you will receive free club lounge access (usually €140 / £120 per night) when you book any room at Best Flexible Rate.

Bon Vivant will make the reservation for you and send you a confirmation outlining your exclusive benefits. You pay the hotel as usual on departure. Some hotels may request a night’s refundable deposit, or similar, but this will be outlined at the time of booking.

Reservations booked under these deals are fully flexible and have the same cancellation rules as a standard booking at the same property. The price is usually the same as the flexible rate shown on the hotel website and, by negotiation, the hotel can often be persuaded to match any promotional rates.

When a hotel is part of a loyalty programme, you WILL receive points and any elite benefits as well. This is not usually the case when booking via a third party travel agent.

Virtuoso travel agent London

Contacting Bon Vivant

If you already have a hotel stay in mind and want to see what additional amenities may be available via Bon Vivant, please contact Emyr Thomas via the form below.

If you are reading this via our daily emails, the form may not work properly.  Either click here and fill in the form online, or email me your requests at rob [at] and I will forward it.

Please be as specific as possible about your requirements. For example ‘I am looking at booking a Deluxe Room at Mandarin Oriental Prague for 21st to 24th March. Can you please confirm the additional benefits you can offer at this property and the rate available?’.

Remember that, in most cases, you will need to book a refundable rate to unlock these additional benefits. This programme is NOT about getting you a cheaper rate than booking direct – it is about getting you valuable additional benefits for the same price.

If you have any comments about Bon Vivant and their service, please email me directly at rob [at]

IMPORTANT: If you do not get a response within 24 hours, please drop me a note. The form below is not foolproof and it occasionally fails to trigger at our end or goes into spam at your end. If you do not see the form because you are reading via Apple News, RSS etc, please email me at rob [at] with your requirements and I will pass it across to Emyr.

GDPR data protection information:  The information you submit through this form is sent to Bon Vivant and Head for PointsBon Vivant will use it solely for the purpose of responding to your enquiry. You will not receive any unsolicited future marketing information.  Head for Points will keep a record of your enquiry for up to six weeks and may contact you once for service feedback, at which point your data will be deleted from our email system.

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  1. i think this article has been flogged to death now. just a thought.

    • Seems not, judging by the response. It only gets emailed 6 times per year, the other 6 times it appears it just sits on the site as a 4th article.

      Makes us a decent chunk of money, keeps the readers very happy …. what’s not to like?

      • Rob, I think it could be worth updating this article with more examples of hotels where Emyr might best be able to help. Or perhaps asking Emyr to write a guest article.

        Re-running an article is obviously a good way to provide useful information to new readers, but I honestly don’t think all regular readers automatically think of Emyr when they are about to book special hotel stays, and they probably should.

        It really is a wonderful service, especially since the hotels recognise elite status and give full points, in addition to Virtuoso or other benefits, when they are part of a loyalty scheme. And yet occasional comments show that not everyone realises this.

        • There are some issues over what we can say unfortunately. We cannot say, publicly, that he is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner agent for example. These programmes are not meant to be advertised and we have had an official complaint in the past.

          What we absolutely cannot do is say ‘he can access Mandarin Oriental Fan Club benefits, Ritz Carlton STARS benefits etc etc etc’ even though he can.

          • Fair enough. Is it OK to talk about Virtuoso benefits though? If so, that could give a number of good examples of loyalty programme hotels that participate. Without the cooperation between HfP and Emyr, most readers simply wouldn’t have the chance to access Virtuoso benefits.

            I suppose my other point was something to give regular readers a good reason to read about Bon Vivant again, and perhaps learn something new, rather than ignoring the article because they had already read it.

          • I agree with the point. When the InterCon / IHG preferred partner scheme is up and running we will look at that.

          • Lady London says:


      • Funnily enough I actually filled in the form on their website yesterday with a flight enquiry as they say they’ll do flight bookings as well.

        It’s been around 30 hours now and no response at all.

        • They can do but it may only be as part of a package. There is no commission on flight bookings so no-one wants to do them these days. Those who do charge fat booking fees.

  2. Just a question, though. Is Holiday Inn (in Bangkok) not considered luxury enough for Emyr to look at? Just wondering, because HI is a lot more luxurious than usual in a place like Thailand!

    • It’s not about that, it is about whether the chain itself has a ‘secret’ programme for luxury travel agents that offers better deals than the chain website. HI does not. IHG is in the process of launching one for its top brands but it isn’t functioning well at present so we’re not pushing it, except for those hotels like IC Paris which can also be booked via Virtuoso.

      • Spurs Debs says:

        I’ve booked Conrad in Tokyo direct with Hilton, am I reading other comments correctly that if I booked with Emyr I would still get Hilton points?

        • Yes. That said, it’s not in Virtuoso so he may not be able to access any extra benefits as Hilton doesn’t have a ‘luxury travel agents’ programme. No harm in asking of course.

      • Rob – thinking of the IC Paris, is there any way in which Emyr would be able to book a stay in conjunction with the Ambassador free weekend night voucher? I’m assuming not, but given the talk of “secret programmes” and still being able to access loyalty benefits I thought I’d ask…..

        • Emyr can’t make the AMB weekend booking at the IC Le Grand, at least he couldn’t in the past.

          He can make a separate booking for additional night(s) to be added to the 2 AMB weekend nights or to an IHG award night using either points or an IHG credit card free night. Emyr has a good relationship with the hotel so his clients are treated well in my experience.

          • Indeed. When I last went there the hotel sent through photos of various suites and asked which one I wanted to be upgraded into! (This was off a booking for a junior suite, not a standard room.)

        • What he CAN do at Paris is get you Club access for free on any CASH booking. This may change your mind about using the voucher in the first place, since switching to cash gets the lounge.

          • Rob – is it not true that IHG stopped giving points and recognising status for bookings made through Virtuoso agents some years ago? Or can you get around that booking through Emyr?

          • No, they didn’t stop. I have never had a problem getting IHG points on Virtuoso stays at Le Grand.

          • Thanks Rob – will drop Emyr a line

  3. Liz Forrest says:

    This is the first time I have read about this and I have booked quite a few IHG Hotels in NY, D.C. and SAN Fransisco in the last year, I wish I had known !

    • Not all IHG hotels will be Virtuoso – there are only a few ICs which are part of the scheme.

  4. “If you are staying at a major luxury hotel brand, there is one inescapable fact – you will not get the best deal by booking directly”

    * – For a fully flexible rate

  5. It’s worth checking on the off chance.

    I was quoted €109+tax Inc breakfast for the Conrad Istanbul rom Emyr but that included a nice $100 F&B credit for the whole stay.(4 nights)

    So Bon Vivant could have been very good, but I don’t intend dining at the hotel, so prefer guaranteed cash savings up front.

    Hence I ended up booking directly, £84 / night Inc Tax. (Exec upgrade and free breakfast included)

    Sadly there was no properties for Lucerne, grateful if anyone has fav hotels there, Marriotts seem to be £300/night.

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