This is an interesting manner turn of events — as Ritz tries to attract more business and leisure travelers. According to the Wall Street Journal: Ritz’s top competitor, Four Seasons, has no plans to implement a loyalty program, says Elizabeth Pizzinato, vice president for public relations for the luxury hotel chain.
Below is the official news from Ritz-Carlton:
Beginning September 15, 2010, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. will introduce its highly-anticipated luxury frequent guest stay program – The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Creation of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards is based on strong customer feedback and demand for a world-class loyalty program that goes far beyond providing complimentary stays and airline flights, and recognizes its members with a broad selection of unique travel experiences.
“No other luxury hotel company comes close to providing such a full range of opportunities to earn and redeem points and experience some truly exceptional and exotic adventures,” said Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. “We have already brought together some of the most exclusive names in travel and retail including world class travel provider Abercrombie and Kent; fashion icon, Vera Wang; National Geographic Expeditions photography workshops; and Neiman Marcus, one of the top luxury retailers in the U.S. This is just the beginning. We will continue to add global partners offering our members the very best in customized and one-of-a-kind memorable experiences.”
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards’ partners offer unique access available only to members, including Abercrombie & Kent members-only tours in locations such as China, Turkey and Egypt; special customer events and a half-day personal shopping experience with fashion experts at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman featuring a private consultation, fashion presentation, lunch, facial and make-up application and the opportunity to redeem points toward wedding gowns and other select products from the world of celebrated designer Vera Wang. Another special opportunity for members will be four-day photography workshops with National Geographic’s renowned photographers at Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts in locations such as San Francisco and Miami. Members will also be able to redeem points for flights on 30 of the world’s major airlines and luxury cruise lines, including Crystal Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn and Silversea.
Membership will be complimentary and guests are invited to enroll by going online at ritzcarltonrewards.com; visiting any Ritz-Carlton hotel front desk; calling toll free reservation at 1.800.241.3333, or, by contacting The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Guest Services at 1.866.922.6882.
As the premier luxury brand in the Marriott International, Inc. (MAR:NYSE) portfolio, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels will lead the high-end luxury hotel segment by offering a rewards program that enables guests to access benefits at more than 70 Ritz Carlton hotels and resorts, plus enjoy the full portfolio of Marriott brands worldwide – nearly 3,300 properties.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards will partner with the award-winning Marriott Rewards program, whose members will now be able to earn Marriott Rewards points at The Ritz-Carlton hotels. Elite Marriott Rewards members will also receive special benefits when staying at The Ritz-Carlton’s properties.
For complete program details, visit www.ritzcarltonrewards.com.
About The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members will earn 10 points per dollar spent on the room rate at Ritz-Carlton hotels and can redeem points for stays at Ritz-Carlton hotels. Members earn elite status starting with 10 nights per year for Silver status; 50 nights for Gold; and 75 nights for Platinum. Elite member benefits range from bonus points and elite only offers to room upgrades and complimentary high-speed internet access. For meeting planners and attendees, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Rewarding Events will offer even more point-earning opportunities. With Rewarding Events, members will earn points on qualifying charges such as guest room blocks, meeting room rental, catering, audio visual and contracted ancillary charges for spa and golf.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.