PHOTO: The Warwick Melrose Dallas hotel. (photo courtesy of Warwick Hotels & Resorts)
If you hadn’t heard of Warwick Hotels & Resorts, you likely wouldn’t be alone. Although in operation for nearly forty years, the brand is still relatively small at around 55 hotels worldwide—and just seven properties in the United States.
By and large, they’re elegant and comfortable, with nods to classic style and hospitality in beautifully refurbished historic buildings.Their portfolio of resorts is also heavier in off-the-beaten-path destinations than many large hotel brands, with resorts in Vanuatu, Fiji and Senegal.
Yesterday, after years without a loyalty program, the brand launched one, called Warwick Journeys. It’s billed as a “guest recognition program”, as it doesn’t appear to offer the ability to earn currency or points redeemable for free stays. Instead, the Warwick Journeys program appears more bent on recognizing loyalty with on-property benefits.
Members start with enrollment, and introductory members are eligible for free WiFi during their first stay. From there, the tiers begin.
After two or three stays at a single property, guests will reach the Purple tier, which offers free Premium WiFi plus “access to exclusive rates and offers”. Sounds about right.
Most of the large programs like SPG and Hilton Honors are offering “Member Rates”— typically a few dollars per night cheaper than the lowest prevailing rate. A search of the Warwick Melrose Dallas Hotel found flexible member rates of $170.10 for a Friday night in March. For the same Friday night, a non-member would be offered the same rate, but with a nonrefundable cancellation policy attached. The best flexible rate for the same night was $189.
However, membership rates like AAA and AARP came in lower, with flexible rates from $149. So even after joining Warwick Journeys, it’s still a good idea to shop around a bit.
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The benefits start to stack up after single stays at more than one Warwick property or “between four and 15 stays at a single property”.
The hotel guarantees availability outside of 72 hours prior to arrival when booking the member-exclusive rate, complimentary upgrade to the next best available room upon arrival, welcome drink for two during the stay, complimentary late checkout at 4PM based on availability and a welcome amenity. Several of those benefits require many more stays with other hotel programs, so this is a pretty generous tier.
After stays at four different participating hotels, or more than 16 nights at a single Warwick property, guests earn the Black tier, which moves the guaranteed availability window to 24 hours prior to departure (with the same member rate requirement), provides the welcome drink for two to each day of the stay, adds complimentary breakfast for two per stay, complimentary garment steaming up to two pieces per stay, early check-in at 11AM based on availability and a dedicated guest services contract.
There’s also an automatic entry into an annual drawing for the chance to win a Bahamas hotel stay.
Warwick Journeys also purports to offer “hidden amenities” that are designed to add an element of surprise for loyal guests.
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I suspect their number are relatively few, as reward redemption is a pretty solid attractor for a loyalty program. But there are travelers out there who participate in hotel loyalty programs primarily for the elite benefits they receive during their stays, and this program is a perfect fit for them, provided their travel primarily takes them to cities with Warwick properties.
The program seems purpose-built to address the small size of the brand and is likely to yield rewards for even travelers who only occasionally select Warwick for their overnight stays.
There aren’t many programs where a guest can earn elite status after two stays at two separate properties.
To learn more about Warwick Journeys, and obtain a list of participating Warwick properties (it’s not all of them) visit the Warwick website.