Having just renewed my own Leading Hotels of the World Leaders Club membership with Unlimited access, I thought it was time to share the pros and cons of Leaders Club Unlimited vs. Leaders Club Standard access, bearing in mind that Unlimited costs a hefty $1,200 USD compared to standard Leaders Club access at $150 USD. I have a particular love for these luxury hotels and go out of my way to travel to them, but I hope this review is a fair comparison of these two membership levels.
What Benefits Does Leaders Club Unlimited Have Over Leaders Club Access Membership?
The first benefit Unlimited offers is the complimentary one-way airport transfers. This really is only a bonus if you travel to Leading Hotels of the World in major cities, but the saving can add up if you travel often. The 30 cities included are Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, London, Madrid, Miami, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Toronto, Vienna, Washington D.C., Zurich. I would estimate the saving here is anywhere between around €10-15 EUR in a small city like Milan to around £90 GBP in larger cities like London.
The second benefit is the standard plus membership of Priority Pass worth £159 GBP, which gives you 10 complimentary lounge accesses per anum and then a price of £15 GBP per visit. You may well get a Priority Pass membership with a credit card like Amex Platinum, but if you don’t, this is a useful benefit.
The third and for me, most valuable benefit is receiving a complimentary night for every 4 stays instead of every 5 stays. A back of fag packet calculation would suggest that if you do 20 stays per annum, you will receive 5 free nights with Unlimited and 4 with Standard. Depending on where you redeem the night, your membership may well be covered by this one extra night. As an example, I managed to redeem 2 nights at the Cipriani Venice in May when rates started at €1,200 EUR, which more than covered my membership. This was however a lucky fluke, I have rarely seen availability here and usually end up redeeming my nights at the Metropole Monte Carlo or the Hermitage Monte Carlo with rates hovering around €500 EUR which is not an incredible deal.
The fourth benefit is the priority one level upgrade. If you are traveling in high season, you have no guarantee of being given this benefit, but out of high season, this is virtually guaranteed, and at the Leading Hotels that we stay in, this saves us around €100 – €150 EUR per night.
The fifth benefit for me is the welcome gift on the first night. For example, you get €85 EUR to spend in the bar and restaurant at the Metropole Monte Carlo or a complimentary tea and cake for 2 in the Hermitage Monaco (again worth a similar amount). This is a really nice addition.
The sixth important benefit is the members-only offers and events (these are available both for Unlimited and Standard memberships). This tends to be an offer for bonus points on stays (e.g., 2 points per stay instead of 1) at certain hotels, and these are often very tempting.
Other benefits include complimentary continental breakfast, internet access (rarely charged for these days), and complimentary standard access for 3 family members worth $150 USD each.
So is it worth joining LHW Leaders Club Unlimited?
For me, yes, because I love the quality and individuality of Leaders Club hotels, and I travel regularly. If I traveled less, I would join Leaders Club standard access which at $150 USD for breakfast, probably a room upgrade out of the high season and free night for every 5 stays remains a compelling offering.
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