Luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental has its own little-known loyalty programme – but one that isn’t a loyalty programme in the usual sense.
There are no points to collect or tiers to reach. Instead you get benefits simply for signing up to the programme.
Signing up is free and irrespective of how and where you book you will get complimentary wi-fi, a welcome amenity and members only offers.
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Mandarin Oriental is, however, trying to get guests to book directly. There are additional benefits for ‘Fans of M.O.’ who choose to book via the Mandarin Oriental website.
The only condition attached to receiving these benefits is that you book ‘a qualifying rate’. This must be a fully flexible (ie pay on departure, cancellations allowed) rate:
“A qualifying rate is any rate that is fully flexible and publicly available for a Fans of M.O. member to book directly on mandarinoriental.com or with the hotel itself. Negotiated rates or otherwise discounted rates, group rates, rates booked through travel agents or tour operators and rates available on any online third-party website or app do not qualify for the Fans of M.O. direct booking additional privileges.”
‘Fans’ benefits ARE available on special offer rates, such as the ‘50% off a second room for children’, ‘One More Night’ free night promotions.
The additional benefits available, out of which the guest can choose two per stay for up to two rooms, are:
- early check-in at noon
- late check-out at 4pm
- a dining and spa credit
- daily breakfast
- a room upgrade
- streaming WiFi
- a ‘celebratory treat’
- pressing services (eg ironing!)
The website states that ‘benefit details may vary by hotel and will be listed during the online booking process’.
How does this compare with using a luxury ‘preferred partner’ travel agent?
Unless the hotel is discounting, not too well, surprisingly.
Emyr Thomas, who we partner with for luxury hotel bookings, tells me that any Mandarin Oriental hotel booked through him comes with ALL of the following:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Complimentary Breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
- $100 equivalent hotel credit (a small number of hotels offer a different amenity instead of this) valid on food and drink, spa treatments etc
- Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
You get ALL of these benefits if you book via Emyr, instead of having to pick two benefits from the ‘Fans of Mandarin Oriental’ list above.
Which booking route is best?
Bookings via Emyr get you better benefits than using the ‘Fans’ programme, but are booked at Best Flexible Rate. This is good if you need flexibility to cancel, and of course you pay on departure as usual.
If there are any discounted – but still flexible, to qualify for ‘Fans’ benefits – packages being offered by the hotel, it may make more sense to book direct, even though they are not as generous. This includes offers such as the ‘50% off a second room for children’ or ‘stay x nights and get a free night’ promotions that you often see.
You can contact Emyr and learn more about his services (which are very highly rated by HfP readers who use him – and he books most of my luxury hotels too) in this article.
Hotel offers update – August 2022:
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.
Want to buy hotel points?
- Hilton Honors is offering an 80% to 100% bonus when you buy points by 18th September 2022. The annual limit is doubled to 160,000 points plus your bonus. You can buy here.
- Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% bonus when you buy points by 15th September 2022. You can buy here.