The interesting facet of the luxury segment is just seven luxury hotel brands are ranked in the North America survey. There is no rank for Park Hyatt, Starwood brands St. Regis, Luxury Collection and Le Meridien, Accor’s Sofitel, and Hilton’s Conrad or Waldorf-Astoria Collection brand. There truly are not many luxury properties in the US with the major hotel chains.
The JD Power luxury segment chart led me to estimate the number of properties for each luxury hotel brand. The result shows luxury hotel brands are a small population in the overall hotel market in North America.
Here are 15 luxury hotel brands ranked by number of properties in North America. The number of hotels was estimated by a simple count and may include some hotels scheduled to open this year. Links to property locations are included for each brand.
Four Seasons (no published loyalty program) = about 35 hotels in North America. Four Seasons Hotel Locations.
Waldorf-Astoria Collection (Hilton HHonors) 17 Hotels in North America. Several of these properties opened in the past year. I suspect WAC brand will be included in the JD Power luxury list for 2011. Waldorf-Astoria Collection hotel locations.
Globally the largest luxury brands in this selection are InterContinental Hotels (about 175 hotels), Le Meridien (about 100 hotels) and Sofitel (131 hotels). These brands have the vast majority of their hotels outside North America. These three brands, two of which do not rank in the JD Power luxury hotel brands for North America, surpass Ritz-Carlton (80 hotels) or Four Seasons (85 hotels) global portfolio in number of hotels.
Ritz-Carlton is a Marriott brand that partially participates in Marriott Rewards. You do not earn Marriott points for paid stays at Ritz-Carlton hotels, but you can use points for free nights at Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Marriott changed their award chart this past year to go to a 5th night free redemption program for all their hotel brands, except Ritz-Carlton hotel awards are still progressively discounted for longer stays. The longer you stay the less Marriott points per night needed. A Tier 1 Ritz-Carlton Hotel costs 45,000 points for a one night stay, but only 25,000 points per night at 175,000 points for a seven night stay. This is a substantial savings on a seven night points stay at a Ritz-Carlton.
One of the best values in the Marriott Rewards points catalog is PointSavers discounts for Ritz-Carlton stays.
Noticeably absent from the JD Power list of North America luxury brands is Hilton Worldwide’s Waldorf Astoria Collection. The rapid expansion of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection this past year now places the brand at 24 hotels globally with 17 in North America. These numbers will likely place Hilton’s luxury brand on the JD Power list in the next year or two. Conrad Hotels are still limited to just five locations in North America and 19 hotels worldwide.
InterContinental, W Hotels, and Loews are rated two JDPower circles. I am not too familiar with Loews having only been to two locations. I really like the Loews Lake Las Vegas (formerly a Park Hyatt), but I wonder if that property will survive with the closing of the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas a few months ago?
W Hotels are trendy but not what I consider a luxury hotel brand in terms of service and facilities. I like the hotels for their ambience, but the typically small room size is a big detractor for the typically high price. When I am paying for a luxury hotel I want at least 500+ square feet of room space to lounge around in and the typical W Hotel room is well short of that size.
InterContinental Hotels are a better loyalty program value if you buy in to Ambassador membership for the extra benefits. The annual rate for new members increased in July to $200 or 32,000 Priority Club points.
Fairmont Hotels are great if you travel across Canada and the west coast. Fairmont President’s Club only requires ten stays for top elite membership with some nice benefits. You should sign up for FPC membership just to receive the monthly special rate offers even if you are not positioned for earning elite status. There are some high value rate discounts for loyalty members sent each month in email.
Loyalty Traveler related post: August 10 Overview of JD Power North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study