This five-star luxury hotel brand’s frequent flyer program offers 500-1000 airline frequent flyer points per stay, bonus points if you link your account to KrisFlyer, and generous status benefits if you are an American Express Platinum Charge cardholder.
Before we delve into all the program details, here are a few current offers to earn bonus Golden Circle (GC) Award points.
Offer 1: earn 100 bonus GC Award points for downloading the new GC mobile app
Until 30 April, you can pick up 100 bonus Shangri-La GC Award points just for downloading the new Golden Circle mobile app.
These points are worth the equivalent of 100 points/miles with all of the program’s frequent flyer partners, except KrisFlyer, where they’re worth 125 miles, thanks to the Infinite Journeys partnership.
The points will be awarded to new members who join GC on the app, and existing members who sign in to their accounts on the app.
If there are multiple accounts in your family, make sure to download and sign in to respective accounts on different phones—multiple sign-ins on the same phone will not be eligible.
You’ll need a minimum of 2,500 points before you can transfer to a frequent flyer program, so this offer may only be good for those who are likely to accrue more points.
Full details are available here.
Offer 2: earn up to 3x GC Award points when booking on the GC mobile app
You’ll usually earn 1 GC Award point for every $1 USd spent on bookings with Shangri-La.
However, until 30 April, you can earn up to 3x points, simply by booking via their new mobile app.
The offer is simple:
- Book via the app: earn 2x GC Award Points
- Book and check-in/check-out with the app: earn 3x GC Award Points
GC Award points can be redeemed for stays or transferred to any of Golden Circle’s frequent flyer partners at a 1:1 rate.
And remember, you’ll receive a 25% bonus on any transfer to KrisFlyer, so this offer could work out to be a potential 3.75 miles for every $1 USD spent, plus 500 KrisFlyer miles for each stay.
Full details are available here.
Is it better to earn GC Award points under this offer, or frequent flyer points?
With the exception of KrisFlyer, you won’t be able to double dip and earn GC Award points and points/miles.
For example, with Qantas or Velocity, you can choose to earn 1,000 points per stay instead of GC Award points. If maximising frequent flyer points earn is your goal, your stay cost would have to be over $333 USD to make earning GC Award points worthwhile.
Other programs where you only earn 500 points/miles per stay, you’d only need to spend more than US$166.
Make sure to also watch out for the minimum transfer rate of 2,500 GC Award points.
Locations & key hotels
Shangri-La is on the smaller side of a hotel chain, covering five brands—Shangri-La Hotels, Shangri-La Resorts, Traders Hotels, Kerry Hotels and Hotel Jen—at just over 110 hotels worldwide.
The vast majority are in Asia, particularly Mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and The Philippines.
Here in Australia, we have three properties in Sydney (which we gave a five-star rating here), Brisbane and Cairns.
The view from the Shangri-La Sydney
The bar at the four-star Hotel Jen in Brisbane
The Shangri-La in Cairns is right on the marina
There is also a Shangri-La resort on Yunaca Island in Fiji.
And the other key hotels of interest outside of our region are: three in Europe (London, Paris and Istanbul), two in Canada (Toronto and Vancouver), and properties in the main Gulf stopover cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.
A Shard room at the Shangri-La, London
A deluxe room at the Shangri-La, Dubai
Benefits of linking your Golden Circle and KrisFlyer accounts
Under the Infinite Journeys partnership, which we have a separate guide about here, you’ll receive the following benefits:
- double-dip by earning KrisFlyer miles and Golden Circle points on Shangri-La stays (see ‘Earning points’ below)
- fast track to KrisFlyer Gold status if you have Golden Circle Jade status, automatically available to holders of the American Express Platinum Charge Card
- you can transfer your GC Award points to KrisFlyer at a 25% bonus conversion rate of 1 point to 1.25 miles
Earning points with Golden Circle
Every time you stay at a Shangri-La property, you can choose to earn either GC Award points or between 500 and 1000 points/miles per stay (not night) across a wide range of airline frequent flyer partners.
Depending on where your points allegiances lie, we would go for the following:
- Qantas Frequent Flyer (1000 points)
- Velocity Frequent Flyer (1000)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (500)
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (500): earn Golden Circle points and KrisFlyer miles by linking your accounts
- Etihad Guest (500)
- Emirates Skywards (500)
- British Airways Executive Club (500)
- American Airlines AAdvantage (500)
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (500)
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich (600)
- United MileagePlus (500)
- ANA MileageClub (500)
- American Airlines AAdvantage (500)
As we discuss below, GC Award points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to these frequent flyer programs.
If you think that you may stay at Shangri-La properties regularly, you should crunch the numbers to see whether earning GC Award points instead will boost your effective miles earn for each stay.
This may especially be the case if you have the American Express Platinum Charge, where the complimentary Jade status will see you earn 25% bonus GC Award Points on all your qualifying spending.
You can also earn GC Award Points on meals, drinks, and treatments at CHI The Spa even if you’re not staying at the hotel. You’ll pick up 1 GC Award Point for every USD $1 equivalent spent.
Redeeming points with Golden Circle
If you have accumulated a Golden Circle points balance, you have a few options for redemption:
- you can transfer a minimum of 2500 points at a 1:1 ratio to any of the program’s frequent flyer partners, and then in 500-point increments thereafter
- you can redeem your GC Award points for stays at Shangri-La properties, starting at 1,000 for a Standard Room in smaller Asian cities right up to 20,000 in London, Paris and The Maldives. Executive suites will set you back 3,000 to 20,000 points. Australian properties are around the middle of the pack. You can check out the award chart here
- you can redeem your GC Award points for upgrades, starting at 800 points to Horizon/Traders Club Rooms right up to 5,000, and starting at 2,000 points for upgrades to Executive Suites, right up to 9,500
- donation to numerous different charities
- a variety of lifestyle awards
Golden Circle has three tiers of membership (from lowest to highest), with the following benefits:
- Gold: welcome fruit platter, free local calls
- Jade: complimentary breakfast for two, complimentary room upgrade (where available), 11am early check-in and 4pm late check-out (where available, but not at some hotels in China, Tokyo, Canada, the UK, and The Maldives), choice of three welcome gifts, free local calls, and 25% bonus Golden Circle points
- Diamond: same as Jade, plus 8am early check-in and 6pm late check-out (where available), suit pressing, free use of selected resort facilities, free access to the Horizon Club and Traders Club lounges, choice of three welcome gifts includes bottle of wine plus fruit platter, and 50% bonus Golden Circle points
You can check out the requirements for achieving each status tier on the Golden Circle website.
Your status is valid until the end of the next calendar year (31 December) after you achieve/requalify for it.
Jade and Diamond tiers will also see you receive a status match with Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, through the Warmer Welcomes tie-in.
Tie-up with Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
The American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits at Shangri-La Hotels typically include:
- 12pm early check-in (subject to availability)
- 4pm late check-out (guaranteed)
- $100 USD food and beverage credit
- Full buffet breakfast for two
- Room upgrade (subject to availability)
You can access these benefits if you have the American Express Platinum Charge.
You can access a full list of all current offers here.
Contacting Golden Circle
You can call their member services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 1800 222 448 or emailing [email protected].
From my experience, they are very quick at responding to emails.
If you are looking to stay at a Shangri-La property in the future, make sure to credit your stay to the most appropriate airline frequent flyer program for your situation.
By linking your Golden Circle and KrisFlyer accounts, you’ll get bonus points.
And those readers lucky enough to be American Express Platinum Charge cardholders will automatically get generous status benefits and a fast track to achieving KrisFlyer Gold status.
Supplementary photos courtesy Shangri-La.