Langham Hospitality Group (LHG) is sharpening its focus on frequent travellers with the launch of a new loyalty program, Brilliant by Langham. Replacing the chain’s 1865 Privilege and Langham Supper Club programs, Brilliant offers guests the ability to earn points directly within the group for the first time.

With a fresh program comes a new lineup of elite levels, as well as greater cooperation between the brands under the LHG umbrella. For instance, Chelsea Hotel no longer has its own Chelsea-branded elite tiers. Everything is now together, regardless of where a guest mainly stays.

Brilliant by Langham empowers us to meet the growing demand for more rewarding, personalised and captivating hospitality encounters. By creating a system that enables us to offer guests immediate benefits, learn more about their preferences, compensate them for repeat business and craft bespoke experiential offerings for them, we have significantly enhanced our ability to build great memories.

– Bob van den Oord, Langham Hospitality Group CEO

Earning points with Brilliant by Langham

Under the new Brilliant by Langham platform, hotel guests can now earn 150 Points for every US$5 spent. Tiered members can earn rewards at a higher rate. Langham advises that points can be used to make hotel bookings but can only be used to pay for a booking in full. There’s no ‘points plus pay’ facility if your balance falls short.

On bookings we’ve searched at The Langham in Melbourne, the redemption value for points was consistent regardless of the room type booked. Instead, the number of points required changes in line with the rate you’d otherwise pay for the same room on the same night.

For a superior room otherwise bookable for $518 per night, you’d need 161,797 points to cover the same. Similarly, an executive terrace room selling for $1,126 per night is bookable for 351,797 points.

Using points to book a room at The Langham
Redemption rates aren’t cheap, but when you spend points on a room, there’s nothing to pay in cash. [Generated by Point Hacks]

Reservations using points can be made by simply ticking the ‘use points’ option on the Langham website when searching for a room. Those with smaller balances of rewards might consider using them towards in-store payments at participating restaurants and bars instead. Langham hasn’t published the number of points required per dollar in this way, but we’d expect it to be similar.

Langham also says converting points from Brilliant by Langham into airline miles is possible. But even in the membership portal, the applicable conversion rate doesn’t yet appear. Cathay Pacific there as Langham’s first airline transfer partner. But for now, it’s also the only airline to which points can be converted. You’ll also need to download the Brilliant by Langham mobile app to link your Cathay Pacific account – it’s impossible via the website.

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Status tiers in Brilliant by Langham

Brilliant by Langham has five consolidated status tiers for recognition right across LHR properties. These are:

  • Onyx: Langham’s entry-level tier, given to all members upon joining.
  • Topaz: Earned with 12,000 Status Points.
  • Diamond: Earned through 108,000 Status Points.
  • Sapphire: Achieved at 360,000 Status Points.
  • Ruby: Unlocked at 720,000 Status Points.

So what are Status Points? Think of them like airline Status Credits. They’re provided purely to determine which membership level you attain or retain in the program. They’re not points that can be spent – but they are earned alongside the redeemable reward points that travellers can now earn at Langham properties.

Membership cards of the Brilliant by Langham program
From left to right, there’s Onyx, Topaz, Diamond, Sapphire and Ruby. [Generated by Point Hacks]

Members can earn 150 Status Points for every US$5 spent with Langham. This includes hotel stays but also spending at participating on-site venues such as restaurants and spas. Given the rate at which Status Points are earned, here are the spending requirements to reach each tier:

  • Onyx: No spend required before joining.
  • Topaz: US$400 (~AU$615)
  • Diamond: US$3,600 (~AU$5,530)
  • Sapphire: US$12,000 (~AU$18,442)
  • Ruby: US$24,000 (~AU$36,872)

Rates provided in AUD are approximate only and reflect applicable exchange rates as of 5 March 2024. However, earning and retention requirements are based on Status Points, which are always calculated based on the equivalent price in USD at the time those Status Points are earned.

There’s one small quirk to be aware of. The Status Point requirements are based on the individual’s membership year, which varies between cardholders. Newbies to the program will find their initial membership year renewing approximately 365 days from when they first joined. Those who’ve reached an elite tier will find their year running for roughly 365 days from the time their status most recently changed.

But this also means that members who achieve a new status will find a new membership year beginning at that point. For example, any Status Points earned moving from Onyx to Topaz wouldn’t count towards the requirements to upgrade again to Diamond: you’d start from zero when the tier changes to Topaz.

Langham refreshes the benefits of status

It’s fair to say that for many travellers, Langham status will now be a little more difficult to earn and retain. Previously, the rewarding Voyager tier could be retained with just two stays per calendar year. It also gave benefits such as 6pm late checkout. But now, Langham’s top tier effectively requires US$24,000 in annual spending, with a 4pm checkout instead.

So what do you get for your loyalty? Here are some of the program’s key perks.

  • Discounts at participating bars and restaurants – 5% for Onyx and Topaz, and 10% for Diamond and above.
  • Earn bonus points above the entry level. That’s a 10% bonus for Topaz, 15% for Diamond, 25% for Sapphire and 50% for Ruby.
  • Early check-in where available, for Diamond and above.
  • Late check-out where available: up to 2pm for Sapphire and 4pm for Ruby.
  • Room upgrade vouchers for Sapphire and Ruby.
  • Welcome amenities such as a drink on arrival, dining credit or elite amenity points for Sapphire and Ruby.
  • A ‘local welcome gift’, for Sapphire only.

It’ll be interesting to see how hotels now handle room upgrades across the tiers and late check-out requests. Previously, merely enrolling in 1865 Privilege was all it took to qualify for a 2 p.m. late check-out. No doubt, hotels may still exercise discretion and extend this privilege to guests where it can be accommodated. But as a ‘black and white’ perk of hotel status, it’s now listed only as a formal benefit for Sapphire and Ruby cardholders.

Don’t forget, though, many Langham properties participate in American Express’ Fine Hotels + Resorts program. Booking via Amex can deliver benefits like complimentary daily breakfast, room upgrades and more – but may not allow points to be accrued as a Brilliant by Langham member.

Summing up

Langham’s network of hotels doesn’t come close to matching the footprint of bigger chains like Accor, Hilton or Marriott. But LHG does have a collection of around 30 properties in locations frequented by higher-end business and leisure travellers. If your travel habits align with that, Langham is worth looking into from a loyalty perspective.

That said, in my book, the design of the previous 1865 Privilege program was a better reflection of this. Elite tiers were easier to earn than through other bigger chains – and in return, gave benefits at comparatively fewer properties. Now, top-tier status can only be earned and retained with an annual spend of US$24,000 – and in very few places.

To look further afield, Marriott Bonvoy‘s top-rung Ambassador Elite level has a lower US$23,000 annual spend requirement. Now in fairness, Marriott also requires Ambassador Elite members to stay 100+ nights a year. But then, Marriott has over 8,600 properties in its portfolio – so there are more opportunities for frequent travellers to do so.

Still, if you’ll be a regular guest at Langham, there’s no reason not to sign up. A point earned is always better than a point forgone!

Also read: How American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts can elevate your next trip

Feature image courtesy of Langham Hospitality Group.

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1865 Privilege becomes Brilliant by Langham in loyalty reboot was last modified: March 9th, 2024 by Chris Chamberlin