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Why You Shouldn't Book Luxury Hotels Direct



By: J5Travel

· Travel,Luxury

Yes, this is one of my more aggressive blog titles, but I do have a strong case, and I'm not sure that this message has been heard clearly before.

As (hopefully) your go to travel advisors, we believe we have a compelling argument that virtually all your luxury hotel bookings should be through J5Travel, whether it's a small domestic weekend trip, five nights in the Caribbean, or the bucket list tour of European cities, and so on.

Our host agency, Gifted Travel Network, as a Virtuoso member enables us one level of providing additional amenities, but over the last 18 months, individual hotel programs only available to top performing agencies have been added. Even if you are at the highest level in a respective hotel's loyalty program, we are able to add even more value during your stay and for the same pricing. You also still earn your loyalty points, and you have us to service your needs for the entire trip.

It can be confusing we know, but hopefully this weeks Top 5 will clarify just a segment of what we have access to, with programs that are simply not available directly to consumers.

Top 5 - J5Travel Hotel Programs

1. Marriott Stars and Luminous

Marriott has 30 brands worldwide and J5Travel as of Jan 1st 2022 is now a member of their exclusive Stars (luxury+ hotels) and Luminous (premium hotels) programs. Stars - BVLGARI (Paris in photo above), EDITION, Luxury Collection properties, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis.

Book any of the above properties through us at the regular rate you'd pay direct and receive:

  • Complimentary full or continental breakfast daily for up to two people per room
  • Personalized welcome amenity and note
  • Hotel credit valued at $100 once per stay
  • Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
  • In-person welcome
  • Personalized welcome amenity and note
  • Your full allocation of Bonvoy points

Luminous - Autograph Collection, JW Marriott, Le Meridien, Marriott, Renaissance, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels and Westin (many hotels in these various portfolios qualify)

Book these properties through us at the regular rate you'd pay direct and receive:

  • Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
  • Early check-in & late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Local welcome amenity and note
  • Hotel credit valued at $100 once per stay (at select hotels)
  • Your full allocation of Bonvoy points

2. Hyatt Prive

Not too many are aware of Hyatt's wonderful program Prive, again only available to clients who book through a Prive invited travel advisor such as J5Travel. This includes all Park Hyatt (Dubai above), Andaz and Miraval properties as well as many properties from brands such as Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Regency, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and Alila, some 200 properties around the world that participate in the program.

Exclusive benefits for booking at the regular rate you'd pay direct include:

  • A one-category room upgrade (room-to-room or suite-to-suite) confirmed within 24 hours of booking, based on availability at the time of booking
  • A $50 to $100 property credit per room per stay
  • Early check-in (as early as 9 a.m.), subject to availability
  • A welcome gift and letter
  • Full allocation of your World of Hyatt loyalty points

3. Accor STEP

An even more unknown program that adds substantial value to our clients stays is Accor's STEP program which we were lucky enough to join at the tail end of 2021.

These luxury brands under the Accor umbrella may surprise you!

Over 40 countries are represented by luxury properties belonging to Fairmont, Raffles, Orient Express, Banyan Tree (Buahan Bali above), FAENA, Delano, Sofitel, SLS, Rizos and M Gallery.

Exclusive benefits for booking at the regular rate you'd pay direct include:

  • Room upgrade (to the next room type category at the time of booking or at check-in)
  • Daily complimentary breakfast for 2 guests per day.
  • $50 ot $100 credit to be spent during the stay
  • Early check-in & late check-out.
  • A VIP Welcome (greeting & amenity)

4. Belmond Bellini Club

Belmond represent everything J5Travel loves about luxury travel and their stunning portfolio contains 34 properties spread over 5 continents. Click on either Castello di Casole (Tuscany) above or Cap Juluca (Anguilla) below for our personally crafted digital introduction to every Belmond property.

And yes, the Bellini Club is another exclusive invitation-only program that J5Travel is a proud to be a member of, enabling us to offer you the following incredible benefits which can't be matched by booking direct:

  • Upgrade at check-in, subject to availability
  • Full breakfast for two daily
  • A credit of $90 to $200 per room per stay, depending on the property
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • A $500 gift voucher when you spend $5,000+, applicable towards a future Belmond experience of $2,500+
  • VIP recognition by property management and staff
  • A welcome amenity

5. Virtuoso

The 1,400 hotels that are currently in the Virtuoso Preferred portfolio have a little overlap with the above 4 programs and when a property is available through both channels we make the informed decision as to which benefits work best for our clients. Just two of our favorites not in any of the above programs, but within Virtuoso, would be Montage Big Sky (above) and Four Seasons Resort Papagayo Costa Rica (below).

  • Again though , the message I want to get across this week, is that you will be better off booking any Virtuoso property through J5Travel than going direct to the hotel. The theme is the same. Pricing will be in line with direct but you will receive the following (with some variation depending on the specific property):
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Full breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom
  • $100 Resort or Spa Credit per booking
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Many hotels also offer an on-site specific experience eg. olive oil tasting

Ready to plan your 2022 Luxury travel experience? We're here for you. Click the button below to get started.

I love travel and I love travel planning just as much and I am proud to be building a team as passionate about exploring the world as myself. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts. We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.

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