Luxury hotel chain rolls out loyalty program

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The Independent Travel

Luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton introduced its new loyalty program September 15, revealing some of the high-end names it has partnered with.

The brand says that Ritz-Carlton Rewards "goes far beyond providing complimentary stays and airline flights," offering a broad selection of unique travel experiences.

Fashion names already confirmed for the program include clothing brand Vera Wang and retailer Neiman Marcus, while members will also be able to redeem points for photography workshops from National Geographic photographers and travel experiences from Abercrombie and Kent.

Much like competing programs such as InterContinental's Priority Club or Hilton HHonors, guests will also be able to redeem points for flights.

"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 Ritz-Carlton boss Herve Humler.

Ritz-Carlton has long shied away from a loyalty club, maintaining that its customers were different from those of its parent chain Marriott and wouldn't be interested in such a program.

However, with industry room rates and occupancy badly hit by the economic crisis it seems even top-end brands need to find ways to keep cash-strapped customers loyal.