12 Luxury Hotel Reward & Loyalty Programs in India Reviewed

  • 01 of 13

    Overview of Hotel Loyalty Programs

    Man opening hotel room door in India.
    ••• nullplus/Getty Images.

    If you travel a lot on business, or even frequently stay at five star hotels on vacation in India, it's worth considering joining their reward and loyalty programs.  All luxury hotel chains have these programs.  But what do they offer and which ones are best?

    Awareness about loyalty programs is growing in India, although for Indian hotel chains, these programs are only in their nascent stage and are yet to evolve. The most popular loyalty programs are the well established ones that belong to luxury international hotel chains, especially as these chains are now expanding throughout India at a rapid rate.

    It's important to take a look at how points are accrued, and how and where they can be used. Many hotels around the world are connected in some way, and most programs are affiliated with other travel businesses. Common benefits include free Internet, free breakfast, room upgrades, and discounted and complimentary stays. Many programs even enable conversion of points into airline...MORE miles!

    Scroll through the following pages to find out what 12 reward and loyalty programs offer. (For the purposes of international loyalty programs, do note that eligible spends in rupees are converted to US dollars or Euros, as applicable, at the current exchange rates).

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  • 02 of 13

    Oberoi Advantage

    Guest at Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur.
    ••• Guest at Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur. Martin Harvey/Getty Images.

    The Oberoi Group is known to have the finest luxury hotels in India. Oberoi Advantage is very different to other hotel reward programs in that there's no accrual and redemption of points. Instead, the benefit is simple and appealing -- stay for five nights at Oberoi properties across India and Dubai, and receive a free stay or a room upgrade. This can also be redeemed at properties in Indonesia, Mauritius and Egypt.

    • Terms and Conditions: The program's offers are changed each year. Offers are only valid for limited time periods and at certain properties, and the initial stay has to be between set dates.
    • Enrollment: Can only be carried out by providing e-mail address at the time of check in.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Website:  Oberoi Advantage
    • Read More: The Remarkable Founding of the Oberoi Group in Shimla
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  • 03 of 13

    Starwood Preferred Guest

    ITC Grand Chola, Chennai.
    ••• ITC Grand Chola, Chennai. ITC Hotels.

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Preferred Guest reward program was launched in 1999. It's perhaps the best loyalty program for Indians to join because of the hotel chain's large presence in India -- it's expected that there will be 100 properties by 2016.

    • Membership Levels: Preferred, Gold and Platinum.
    • Points Earned: Two points for every eligible US dollar spent at the base level, and three points at the Gold and Platinum levels.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: Free stays start at 3,000 points for a Category 1 hotel and 30,000 for a Category 7 hotel. Most hotels in India require 3,000-7,000 points.
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Over 1,200 hotels and 10 brands in 100 countries, including The Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, St Regis and Le Meridien. ITC hotels and The Park Hotels in India are part of the Starwood Preferred Guest program. Note that ITC also has a separate loyalty program in India called Club ITC and The Park Hotels has a separate loyalty program in India called...MORE Preferred at the Park. Points can also be redeemed through a wide range of partners including airlines.
    • Terms and Conditions: Members need to show account activity at least once every 12 months to prevent points from expiring.  Membership upgrades require 10 stays or 25 nights per year for Gold, and 25 stays or 50 nights for Platinum. There are no blackout dates for point redemption on standard rooms at hotels.
    • Enrollment: Enroll online.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Website: Starwood Preferred Guest
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  • 04 of 13

    Club ITC

    The Kaya Kalp spa at ITC Mughal in Agra
    ••• The Kaya Kalp spa at ITC Mughal in Agra. ITC Hotels

    ITC's India-only Club ITC reward program combines "fine fashion and fine living". Points are accrued via eligible spends at participating ITC hotels and Wills Lifestyle stores in India.

    • Membership Levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum
    • Points Earned: At the rate of 3%, 4% and 5% respectively for each membership level.
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Jet Airways, Air India, ITC hotels, Wills Lifestyle, John Players, Bose.
    • Terms and Conditions: Each membership has a required eligible spend per year. You can upgrade your membership by meeting the level of required eligible spend of the level. (For Gold, this is 25,000 rupees at Wills Lifestyle, or 8 stays or 16 nights at an ITC hotel. For Platinum, this is this is 50,000 rupees at Wills Lifestyle, or 16 stays or 30 nights at an ITC hotel).
    • Enrollment: To qualify for Silver membership, you'll need to either stay a night at an ITC hotel or spend 7,500 rupees or more at a Wills Lifestyle store.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Website: Club ITC
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  • 05 of 13

    Marriott Rewards

    Jaipur Marriott.
    ••• Jaipur Marriott

    Not to be confused with the India-wide Club Marriott dining loyalty program, Marriott Rewards is the hotel chain's generous international loyalty program.

    • Membership Levels: Member, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
    • Points Earned: 10 points for every eligible US dollar spent, at the base level. Plus, 20% bonus at Silver level, 25% bonus at Gold, and 50% bonus at Platinum.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: Ranges from 7,500 points per night for a Category 1 hotel to 45,000 points per night for a Category 9 hotel. Most properties in India require only 7,500-15,000 points, making this program outstanding value.
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Over 4,000 participating hotels and 16 brands in 70 countries including the Marriott, the Courtyard by Marriott, Renaissance, and Ritz Carlton. (There are nearly 30 hotels in India and nearly 50 more planned to open in the future). Points can be used in 250 ways, including frequent flier miles and care hire.
    • Terms and Conditions: From February 1, 2016,...MORE points will expire if members do not have any qualifying activity in the prior 24 months. Membership level upgrades require a certain number of nights per year at Marriott hotel brands. (Silver: 10 nights. Gold: 50 nights. Platinum: 75+ nights). There are no blackout dates for point redemption at hotels, although the number of standard rooms may be limited.
    • Enrollment: Enroll online.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Website: Marriott Rewards
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  • 06 of 13

    Hilton HHonors

    Hilton Shillim
    ••• Hilton Shillim. Courtesy of Hilton

    The award-winning Hilton HHonors reward program offers exceptional earning opportunities and diversity of redemption options. It's the only loyalty program that allows members to simultaneous accrue points and airline miles from hotel stays (and both can be earned from the same stay).

    • Membership Levels: Blue, Silver, Gold and Diamond. Higher levels get significant more benefits, including room upgrades.
    • Points Earned: 10 points per eligible US dollar spent, at the base level. Plus, 15% bonus at Silver level, 25% bonus at Gold, and a 50% bonus at Diamond.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: Varies from 5,000 for a Category 1 hotel to 95,000 points for a Category 10 hotel. Most properties in India require 20,000-40,000 points.
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: 60 airlines, and 4,300 participating hotels and 12 brands in 94 countries. (The drawback is that there are only 14 hotels in India). In addition, points can be redeemed on more than 20,000 items/experiences/charities.
    • Terms and...MORE Conditions: Reward points will expire if members do not have any account activity in the prior 12 months. Membership levels can be upgraded by meeting the required number of stays or nights per year at Hilton hotel brands. (Silver: 4 stays or 10 nights. Gold: 20stays or 40 nights. Diamond: 30 stays or 60 nights). There are no blackout dates for point redemption at hotels, although redemption rates do vary according to time of stay.
    • Enrollment: Enroll online.
    • Cost: Free.  
    • Website: Hilton HHonors 
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  • 07 of 13

    IHG Rewards Club

    Intercontinental Marine Drive, Mumbai.
    ••• Courtesy of Intercontinental

    Belonging to the Intercontinental Hotel Group, the IHG Rewards Club is the world's oldest and largest hotel loyalty program. It's not the most lucrative program but it does have some attractive features. These include free Internet for all members, and the PointBreaks promotion whereby stays at certain hotels are available for less points. 

    • Membership Levels: Club, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, and Spire Elite (newly introduced).
    • Points Earned: At the base level, 10 points are earned for every eligible US dollar spent. Plus, 10% bonus at Gold level, 50% bonus at Platinum, and 100% bonus at Spire.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: In India, it mostly ranges between 10,000 and 30,000 points.
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Over 4,600 hotels worldwide including the Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Intercontinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza and Indigo Hotels. (There are currently 22 IHG hotels in India, with another 47 to open by 2020). Points can also be redeemed for flights on over 400...MORE airlines, as well as merchandise.
    • Terms and Conditions: From May 2016, reward points will expire if Club members do not have any account activity in the prior 12 months (this does not apply to Elite members). Membership upgrades require stays of 10 nights per year at IHG hotels for Gold Elite, 40 nights for Platinum Elite, and 75 nights for Spire Elite. There are no blackout dates for point redemption at hotels, although the number of standard rooms available may be restricted.
    • Enrollment: Enroll online.
    • Cost: Free.  
    • Website: IHG Rewards Club
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  • 08 of 13

    Accor Le Club

    Novotel, Mumbai.
    ••• Courtesy of Novotel

    Headquartered in Paris, France, Accor has the largest number of non-US hotels of any chain. Its Le Club loyalty program was named Best Hotel Loyalty Program for 2015 in the
    Freddie Awards (for frequent traveler reward programs) for Asia Pacific/Oceania/Middle East/Europe. The program has reinvented itself in recent years to extend more benefits to members, including numerous promotions, private events, discounts, and special offers. It has attracted a huge increase in Indian members. What's particularly appealing about the program is that it represents budget brands as well as luxury.

    • Membership Levels: Classic, Silver, Gold, Platinum.
    • Points Earned: Depends on the brand (stays at luxury brands earn more points) but ranges from five to 25 points per Euro spent, at the base level. This increases to between 8.75 and 44 points at the Platinum level.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: For every 2,000 points, you'll get a €40 discount on your invoice. Points can also be converted into...MORE airlines miles and vouchers to spend on reward partners (such as car hire companies).
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: 2,700 participating hotels in 92 countries across the Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, The Sebel, Novotel, Mercure, Adagio, ibis, ibis Styles, and Thalassa Sea & Spa brands. (There are 31 hotels in India, with eight to 10 new openings per year). 
    • Terms and Conditions: Points will expire if your account remains inactive for 12 months. Membership upgrades require stays of 10 nights per year at a participating Accor hotel for Silver, 30 nights for Gold, and 60 nights for Platinum.
    • Enrollment: Enroll online.
    • Cost: Free. The program also offers two paid-membership options: Accor Favorite Guest Business and Ibis BUSINESS.
    • Website: Accor Le Club 
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  • 09 of 13

    Club Carlson

    Radisson Blu Agra
    ••• Radisson Blu Agra. Courtesy of Radisson

    Club Carlson was launched in 2011 to replace the Radisson GoldPoints program. Members can earn well and properties accommodate a wide range of budgets. However, the program underwent a devaluation in June 2015, whereby a number of hotels (particularly in Europe) were moved up into higher categories. It still compares favorably against other hotel loyalty programs in terms of how much needs to be spent to get a free stay though.

    • Membership Levels:  Red, Silver, Gold and Concierge. 
    • Points Earned: A generous 20 points per eligible US dollar spent (room rates, and food and beverage), at the base level. Elite members receive bonuses on points and complimentary room upgrades if available.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: Between 9,000 (for the cheapest Park Inn properties) and 70,000 (for the top properties, mainly in Europe) depending on the hotel category. 
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Over 1,000 participating hotels worldwide, including Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson, Park...MORE Plaza, and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson. There are more than 70 hotels across 45 Indian cities, with 170 planned to be in operation by 2020. Points can also be converted into airline miles with selected airlines.
    • Terms and Conditions: Points will expire if your account remains inactive for 24 months. Membership upgrades require 10 stays or 15 nights per year for Silver, 20 stays or 35 nights for Gold, and 30 stays or 75 nights for Concierge. 
    • Enrollment: Enroll online or at a participating property.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Website: Club Carlson 
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  • 10 of 13

    Hyatt Gold Passport

    Park Hyatt Resort & Spa, Goa.
    ••• Park Hyatt Resort & Spa, Goa. Hyatt Hotels

    Hyatt overhauled its Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program in January 2014, resulting in a number of new benefits to members (such as the ability to combine points and cash for free stays, and discounts for elite members) but also a devaluation of many existing benefits.

    • Membership Levels: Gold, Platinum, Diamond.
    • Points Earned: Five points for every eligible US dollar spent at Hyatt properties worldwide, at the base level. Platinum members get a 15% point bonus and Diamond members get a 30 point bonus.
    • Points Required for Free Stay:  Varies from 5,000 for a Category 1 hotel to 30,000 points for a Category 7 hotel in a standard room. (Note that the new top category was introduced in January 2014, several hotels were moved up to higher categories, and the number of points required for Category 5 and 6 properties increased). Points can also be used for room upgrades in combination with paid nights (starting from 3,000 points), at participating restaurants and spas, car rental, and...MORE conversion to airline miles.
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: 600 properties in 50 countries. (There are currently 22 hotels in India. However, Hyatt is aggressively expanding in India and expects to have 120 hotels by 2020). 
    • Terms and Conditions: Points will expire if your account remains inactive for 12 months. Membership upgrades require 5 stays or 15 nights per year for Platinum and 25 stays or 50 nights for Diamond.
    • Enrollment: Enroll online.
    • Cost: Free. There is also a Club at the Hyatt paid membership for dining and other selected hotel services. 
    • Website: Hyatt Gold Passport
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  • 11 of 13

    Taj Hotels Inner Circle

    Foyer of Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai.
    ••• Foyer of Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai. Graham Crouch/Getty Images

    Taj Hotels Inner Circle loyalty program was "reborn" in June 2015 with a number of enhancements, due to previous widespread dissatisfaction with the program. A new membership level has been added, and there are more ways to redeem points (including accommodations, restaurants, and spas) as well as no black out dates for free stays. The website has also been given a major makeover, incorporating a friendlier user interface with online redemption requests for hotels. However, a number of devaluations have occurred as part of the changes, including the earn and redemption rates for lower membership levels, and the points plus cash option for stays. The new program favors the most active frequent travelers.

    • Membership Levels: Copper, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
    • Points Earned: One point for every eligible 125 rupees spent, at the base level. This increases to one point for every 60 rupees spent at Platinum level.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: Redemption rates are dynamic, and depend...MORE on hotel, time of travel, and membership level. As a guide, expect around 2,500 points for the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai and 5,300 points for the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. The Gateway hotels start from around 600 points. Silver members get a 10% discount on room redemption rate, Gold members get a 15% discount, and Platinum members get a 20% discount. Gold and Platinum members also get suite upgrade vouchers.
    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Almost 100 hotels in 53 locations across India, including Vivanta by Taj and The Gateway brands. In addition, 16 hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. There are also a number of redemption partners including charities and merchandise.
    • Terms and Conditions: Accounts require at least one paid room night per 12 months to remain active. Otherwise, points will expire. Membership upgrades require 10 nights or 100,000 rupees eligible spend for Silver, 40 nights or 400,000 rupees for Gold, and 80 nights or 800,000 rupees for Platinum. (Previously, only eligible spend counted, not nights).
    • Enrollment: Enroll online.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Website: Taj Hotels Inner Circle
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  • 12 of 13

    Preferred at the Park

    The Park Hotel, Kolkata, India.
    ••• Courtesy of the Park Hotel

    The Park Hotels' loyalty program, Preferred at the Park, has two types of memberships -- room and dining. With the room membership, 50 points are earned for every one rupee spent on eligible charges (including room, restaurants, room service, laundry, spa, and mini bar) at participating Park hotels. Benefits include early check-in and late check-out, free stays, and merchandise. The dining membership provides 20-50% discount on bills at restaurants. Members also get discounts on beverages and room tariffs.  Do also note that The Park Hotels joined the Starwood Preferred Guest program in March 2015.

    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Participating Park hotels across India (includes spa and restaurants), plus partners including Oxford Bookstore, Shoppers Stop, Tanishq, Mont Blanc, and Jet Airways.
    • Points Required for Free Stay: 6,000, with breakfast included. Multiple-night holiday packages are also available for additional points. Room upgrades are offered as well.
    • Terms and Conditions: M...MOREembers must spend a minimum of four nights at the Park hotels in six months, or eight room nights in 12 months. Points remain valid for two years from their date of accrual, provided the membership remains active.
    • Enrollment: Online for room membership. Dining membership by invitation only.
    • Cost: Room membership is free. Dining membership has an annual fee.
    • Website: Preferred at the Park
    • Read More: Review of Park Hotel Kolkata
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  • 13 of 13

    Leela Solitaire

    The Leela, Kovalam, India.
    ••• The Leela, Kovalam, India. Anders Blomqvist/Getty Images

    Under the Leela hotel's Solitaire reward program, one point is earned for every 1,000 rupees spent on room rates and every 2,500 rupees spent on conferences/banquets. Points can be redeemed on hotel stays and merchandise at participating stores. Each point equals 20 rupees at redemption.

    • Where Can Points Be Redeemed: Leela hotels, Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, The Bombay Store, and other selected stores in major Indian cities.
    • Terms and Conditions: The program covers Leela hotels in Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Kovalam, Gurgaon and Udaipur. Points accrued up to March 31 need to be fully redeemed before September 30 (and 50% before June) or else they can lapse.
    • Enrollment: Invitation only.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Website: Leela Solitaire