Shangri-La Hotels officially launched their revamped frequent guest program today and have a launch offer to celebrate. Formerly known as Golden Circle, the new Shangri-La Circle program adds more flexibility, ease of use and more benefits for elite members including an ultra-exclusive invite only level called Polaris.
The totally revamped program should actually be better now for most Canadians however if you were or are a frequent guest with Shangri-La, the new program, while still providing a ton benefits, will provide lesser value for your points than you were used to prior to this refresh. But then again, for frequent guests I feel like this program is more about the benefits than for the points.
Here are some highlights of the new program:
- Fixed points redemption – Gone are the award charts and in is a new simply flat rate redemption of 15 points equaling US$1
- More Flexibility – There are no longer any black out dates to use your points for stays since they have move to the flat redemption model. You simply use some or all of your points towards any Shangri-La purchase and any difference remaining can be paid with cash.
- More Recognition – All spending with Shangri-La will count towards elite status. Want to eat at Shangri-La Hotel but not stay over? The meal cost will count towards elite status. Same for spa services and even online shopping.
The new program sees earn rates of 1 point per US$1 and then you can earn any elite bonuses on top of that which are 25% for Jade and 50% for Diamond and Polaris. To celebrate, there is launch bonus offer where you can earn extra bonus points on your Shangri-La spend and this again does not have to be a hotel stay but can be for dining or other transactions:
New members who join the program can earn 300 bonus points on their first transaction (US$20 or more) then all members new and existing can earn up to 1,500 more bonus points as follows:
- 3 qualifying transactions – 600 Bonus Points
- 4 qualifying transactions – 900 Bonus Points
- 5 or more qualifying transactions – 1,500 Bonus Points
The Polaris Elite level
This invite elite level is one if the best out of all hotel loyalty programs worldwide. It allows you to check in anytime (right from Midnight on your actual check in date), you get room upgrades, airport transfers and provides members with the ability to utilize hotel services without actually staying. That means you can use a hotel’s pool, lounge or fitness center as you like. Polaris members can also gift Diamond Status to one person as well
Wrapping it up
The reason why I say the new program may be better for Canadians now is due to the lack of Shangri-La locations in North America and well most of the world outside of Asia. We are lucky in that there two Shangri-La Hotels in Canada, Vancouver and Toronto and that’s what makes the new program better now. If you were to stay at either the Toronto or Vancouver location for only one night, chances are in the old program the points you would earn wouldn’t be able to be redeemed for anything. Now, after one night you might earn 300 points and you can redeem those at the 15 to $1 to get $20 off a meal sometime in the near future. The new program is all about simplicity and it has really done that. Of course there are pros and cons to the changes. The cons being that without an award chart for free nights there is no opportunity for outsized value in the points and with the new redemption rate dining has actually been devalued (it used to be 250 points for US$25) so for those who do collect a lot of points the program has definitely lost value. On the pros side, the program becomes more appealing to the less frequent guest with the simplicity in the earn and burn you will no longer have to worry about orphaned points thus you are getting some value back rather than none.
Image via Shangri-La