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Some insights into a big hotel loyalty programme from MeliaRewards

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MeliaRewards gave an interesting presentation at the recent ‘Loyalty & Awards’ conference in Madrid about how the programme is set up and how its members are split between tiers. I thought you might find it interesting.

I wasn’t at the conference due a clash with another event. Melia agreed that their slides could be made publicly available (many speakers did not) and you can find them on the organiser’s website. We are not sharing anything here which was meant to remain confidential.

If you’re not familiar with Melia, it is a Spanish-based hotel group with nine core brands. These run from the luxurious ME by Melia brand (with a London flagship on Strand) through to Sol by Melia which is very much a ‘bucket and spade’ holiday brand.

The group claims to be:

  • the largest leisure hotel group in the world
  • the biggest hotel company in Spain
  • the third biggest hotel company in Europe
  • the 20th biggest hotel company globally

Here are a few interesting facts about how hotel room sales have changed:

  • 2009 – only 9% of rooms were booked direct, now it is 34%
  • 2009 – only 8% of rooms were booked by Online Travel Agents (Expedia etc), now it is 21%
  • 2009 – 51% of rooms were sold by tour operators, this is now down to 24% (it was down to 21% but business travel is recovering more slowly than tour operator-driven leisure travel)

The other 20% is made up of conference and events bookings and bookings made via Melia’s corporate booking tools.

Some of the shift, of course, is from Melia pushing into the business sector more. We’ve seen brands such as INNSIDE springing up in UK cities – here is our recent review of INNSiDE Newcastle, image below.

innside newcastle

How big is MeliaRewards?

Let’s take a look at MeliaRewards. The scheme has 14.4 million members worldwide, of which 11% are in the UK.

You need to be slightly suspicious these days about membership numbers when looking at hotel programmes. After all, when a website offers you a discount on a one-off room booking for signing up, you will do it. It doesn’t say much about your future loyalty.

The 14.4 million members are split as follows:

  • 13.5 million – no status
  • 740,000 – Silver status
  • 190,000 – Gold status
  • 37,000 – Platinum status

Looked at as a ratio of the three elite tiers, for every one Platinum member there are five Gold members and 20 Silver members.

Melia has seen a strong increase in elite members. Since 2019, Platinum members are up 65%, Gold members up 48% and Silver members up 30%.

Remember that Gold is offered free to American Express Platinum cardholders in many countries, including the UK, which will skew that number higher than it would otherwise be.

Here are the average number of annual bookings per tier:

  • No status – 1.2 stays per year
  • Silver status – 2.0 stays per year
  • Gold status – 4.3 stays per year
  • Platinum status – 8.2 stays per year

These numbers obviously look low. After all, in theory you need 15 stays / 30 nights to obtain Gold and 30 stays / 50 nights for Platinum. The low average is presumably down to:

  • the pandemic, with status extensions given to people who are still not doing stays
  • people who earned status last year but are not staying this year and won’t retain it (I am currently Accor Diamond but have managed just one stay this year)
  • the number of comped Gold members via American Express Platinum, which includes many HfP readers, and comped Platinum members via American Express Centurion
  • the comments below suggest that Gold and Platinum status can also be obtained via co-brand credit cards in Spain

What you can tell from the numbers here is that – whilst the ‘big six’ hotel groups usually claim that over 50% of nights stayed are from programme members (albeit most with no status) – the loyalty scheme is not such a huge driver for Melia. Whilst 84% of direct bookings are from MeliaRewards members, you would expect this given the incentives and prompting offered online to sign up.

The roughly 15 million nights done by ‘no status’ members exceed, by a factor of six, the combined nights done by Silver, Gold and Platinum members. This is before you factor in the nights done by people who are not members of the programme at all.

How to get MeliaRewards Gold status from American Express

How to get MeliaRewards Gold status from American Express (February 2024)

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE MeliaRewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Hilton Honors Gold and Radisson Rewards Premium status.

We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

You can discover the benefits of MeliaRewards Gold status on the Melia website here. It includes three vouchers per year worth 20% off any booking.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners may want to consider American Express Business Platinum instead:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

(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.)

Comments (49)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • PM says:

    Show of hands please who had ever had their Melia Rewards hacked, compromised, points stolen or other guests’ data showing?

    • NotAnArgosShopper says:

      Yup. Had all my points taken and turned into £840 of Argos vouchers. They resolved it, eventually, but it was very annoying.

  • slidey says:

    Status gets very little with them, their bonus credit when booking offers vua the site never get recognised, their call centers arent really usually that helpful, their support email seems to ignore missing points emails and the upgrade vouchers rarely seem to get an upgrade. The one redeeming feature was the redemption rates which they gave now killed off.

  • LostInAsia says:

    I once stayed for 3 nights at a Melia in Cuba and each night the turndown service left a 700ml bottle of 7-year old Havana rum on my pillow.

    That aside, in practice the Melia loyalty program now has nothing going for it and is no longer a factor when choosing a hotel, as with Radisson.

    • LostInAsia says:

      However, based on price, quality, service, location etc, I can recommend the Melia hotels in Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui.

      You’ll have to book on the horrendously bad website, you’ll get no status recognition, no points will be awarded, missing points claims will be ignored, you won’t a good deal on points any more, and the upgrade vouchers will never show availability.

      But apart from that…

  • AirMax says:

    Can’t wait for the Black Friday melia gift card again though

    • Niall says:

      See the forum where I reply on this… even if the gift cards came back to Amazon (they were absent last year), the value would be nothing like it was in the last due to the massive devaluation.

  • Tony W says:

    It seems from the report that Melia are recognising a change in travellers behaviour, they like many others do seem to be dealing with it to the detriment of their awards programme.
    It is a worrying trend that seems to be happening across the board with many companies using the post pandemic return to “business as usual” as an opportune time to reduce benefits (and Hope the vast majority don’t notice the stealthy move).
    As its an across the board trend, I’m sure there will be many who’s existing travel behaviour will no longer get them anywhere close to achieving the status they were once used to.
    In my view, this is an extremely short sighted approach as consumers are fickle and will start to shop around looking for the best price, irrelevant of brand.
    Online booking companies will be the first to capitalise on this trend, and history tells us, there will be the obvious kneejerk reaction from big chains to claw back the previously customers who now are enjoying the variety they previously shunned.
    Like the oil tanker analogy, they never are quick to react; it take bean counters and trend analyst’s to trawl over reams of data before they will believe what the empty seats and rooms could have told them months previously.
    I’m no Nostradamus, but I’m looking forward to the massive offers that will be coming our way in a few years time.

    • Lady London says:

      I am not sure TonyW. Hotel owners are real estate businesses ie high fixed costs in non-leisure (and some leisure) locations. If they haven’t had the bookings for so long then I can see capacity reductions ie hotels pull out of chains and maybe disappear.

      It’s still unclear to me what % of corporate road warriors will return, I’d be interested to know what are the views on this.

  • Karl says:

    Are Melia points redemptions usually nonrefundable? I’m trying to cancel one due to a flight change and it’s saying I’ll lose all the points if I cancel. Seems an unusual policy for hotel points redemptions compared to most other schemes.

    • Niall says:

      It depends on the booking (timing and hotel). It does show at the time of booking though and standard redemptions have free cancellation. Terms will be shown in your original booking confirmation and should be accurate.

    • rickm says:

      @Karl. Melia allows points bookings on non-cancellable rates, so it will depend what rate you booked.

    • Karl says:

      Thanks for the replies. Didn’t realise the different redemption types.

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