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How To Get Free Hotel Upgrades & Perks For Your Australian Staycations

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Immanuel Debeer | 28/07/2020

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Last week we had a mini staycation at one of my favourite new hotels here in Perth (The Ritz Carlton Perth) to use the bonus gift voucher I purchased a while back at a 20% discount.

With international travel still nowhere in sight, local staycations are becoming extremely popular. The Ritz was extremely busy, and this became more apparent when I noticed the hotel restaurant was completely booked out that evening. Anyway, I digress!

Exclusive Benefits For Flight Hacks Readers

My point is, most of these people probably weren’t aware that they could have scored a complimentary upgrade, free breakfast, early check-in, late checkout, $140 food & beverage credit and all this while still earning points and status nights! Best of all, at no additional cost and without the booking fees!

I’ve partnered with Classic Travel to offer our readers some exclusive perks on your next staycation! The cool thing is, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, you will gain additional perks, and as a bonus, you will support Flight Hacks as we earn a small commission when you book. Flight Hacks offers access to Virtuoso and Preferred Partner Hotel Rates at over 2000 luxury hotels though our latest partnership with ClassicTravel.com. Classic is a full-service agency so we will always have a Virtuoso advisor monitoring your stay!

You can book online instantly with our partner and enjoy the following benefits at luxury hotels around Australia and the world:

  • Breakfast for 2 guests
  • $100 USD hotel credit (usually for food & beverage)
  • Room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out subject to availability
  • Welcome amenities & more…

To find participating luxury hotels, click here.

Introducing Classic Travel

You might have heard of Classic Travel before but if you haven’t here’s a quick intro on what they do and how it works.

Classic Travel is the only website where you can get real-time pricing for luxury hotels around the world with all the perks mentioned before. Usually, to book these rates, you will need to contact your travel advisor manually, wait for a response with pricing and more often than not, pay an extra booking fee.

Classic Travel lets you do all of this online so you can shop around and compare. Once you make a booking, you will be assigned a travel advisor who personally manages your booking and any special request you might have.

ClassicTravel

While Classic Travel is based in the US, they don’t actually take payment for bookings. Payment is collected at the time of checkout when you’re at the hotel in your local currency.

Which Hotels Have Extra Perks?

Classic Travel has access to all the top tier hotel programs which are exclusive to travel agents. I’ll quickly run you through the most popular ones and those that are relevant to Australia so you can start planning a local getaway faster!

Marriott Stars

This program is excellent because it gives some really valuable benefits. Especially at the Ritz Carlton here in Perth. The Stars program is available at the following Marriott brands, and you can access the benefits even for a one night stay:

  • BVLGARI
  • EDITION
  • Luxury Collection
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • St. Regis

As part of booking via our Classic Travel link you will receive the following benefits:

  • Complimentary full or continental breakfast daily for up to two people per room (Ritz does not offer free breakfast to those with status, so this is a great perk)
  • Complimentary basic WiFi daily
  • Hotel credit valued at 100USD
  • In-person welcome
  • Personalised welcome amenity and note

Marriott Luminous

The Marriott Luminous program applies to the following hotel brands:

  • Autograph Collection
  • JW Marriott
  • Le Meridien
  • Marriott
  • Renaissance
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • W Hotels
  • Westin

When you book through Luminous, you will receive the following benefits:

  • Complimentary daily breakfast for two people per room
  • Complimentary basic WiFi daily
  • Early check-in/late checkout, subject to availability
  • Complimentary room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Local welcome amenity and note
  • Hotel credit valued at 100USD; however, this is only for select hotels. Hotels can opt-in or out of this offer, so it’s worth checking Classic Travel to see if your hotel comes with this benefit.

Shangri-La Luxury Circle

This preferred hotel program is for Shangri-La hotels around the world, here in Australia we have the Sydney property with fantastic views over the harbour, and soon we’ll also have a new Shangri-La in Melbourne! This program comes with the following perks when you book via our link:

  • Upgrade to the next room type category at the time of booking, subject to availability. A great perk since you will know before arriving if you scored an upgrade!
  • Hotel credit of $100 USD (or 10% of the average daily room rate, whichever is higher), per stay.
  • Complimentary full breakfast for two, including in-room dining.
  • Early check-in and late checkout, subject to availability.
  • Welcome amenity.

Virtuoso

Virtuoso is one of the more recognised preferred hotel booking platforms in the world and features a range of hotels (including the above), so it’s worth comparing the benefits at the time of booking.

  • Room upgrade on arrival
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • Food & beverage credit
  • Early check-in/late checkout
  • Spa treatment credits

Hyatt Privé

The Hyatt Privé program is yet another way to score some extra perks at Park Hyatt (yes, including the Sydney property), Grand Hyatt, Andaz and Hyatt Regency hotels + some properties from The Unbound Collection (an independent boutique hotel division part of the World Of Hyatt).

The benefits you receive will depend on the hotel brand you’re staying at.

Benefits At Park Hyatt hotels:

  • $100 property credit per room per stay
  • One category room upgrade confirmed within 24 hours of booking
  • Daily full breakfast for two
  • Early check-in (from 9 am) and late checkout (to 4 pm) subject to availability
  • Welcome gift and letter
  • Benefits apply even to one-night stays

Benefits at Andaz and participating Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and The Unbound Collection hotels:

  • A $50 or $100 property credit per room per stay
  • One category room upgrade confirmed within 24 hours of booking
  • Daily full breakfast for two
  • Early check-in (from 9 am) and late checkout (to 4 pm) subject to availability
  • Welcome gift and letter
  • You will need a two-night minimum stay at Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and The Unbound Collection to receive these benefits.

SLH withIN (Small Luxury Hotels)

The Small Luxury Hotels withIN (yes it’s written like this) program has several independent hotels as part of its portfolio. In Sydney, for example, the Ovolo Woolloomooloo is part of this preferred collection (a great hotel btw!). When booking through our link, you will receive the following benefits:

  • Upgrade to next category upon arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily breakfast for two-person per room
  • A $50 credit
  • Early check-in/Late checkout, subject to availability
  • Complimentary WiFi

Can I Stack Benefits?

Yes, you can! When you book through Classic Travel, you can still benefit from any status perks you might be entitled to. This is in contrast to many OTA (online travel agents) such as Hotels.com etc. Since Classic Travel isn’t a booking portal as such, you can stack the benefits with your hotel loyalty program of choice.

This also works great if you have bought discounted hotel vouchers such as the recent Marriott deal, simply settle the bill directly with the hotel at checkout.

Summing Up – Get Hotel Upgrades Without Status!

It always pays to compare, but I often find that the benefits from booking with Classic Travel outweigh the slight saving you might get from booking direct. Let me give you a better example: my recent stay at the Ritz would have cost me $449 when booked direct, or $499 when booked via the Marriott Stars rate. The difference of $50 got me: $140 F&B credit, breakfast for 2 (this is worth about $100 as it’s not included with the $449 rate), early check-in, late checkout (not valuable to me since I have Platinum, but for someone with no status, this is great!) and of course an upgrade (I went from base room to the second-best suite!).

Now for upgrades, I personally rely on my status, but I think there’s still a better chance to get “the best” upgrade when you are booked via a travel advisor such as Classic Travel. I would assume that if two people of equal hotel status checked in, but one had booked via a preferred travel advisor, that person would get the better room due to the relationships these programs have with the hotels around the world.

Same story if you don’t have any status at all, by booking via Classic Travel you are essentially receiving a similar service (but usually guaranteed) as someone with hotel status.

For more hotels and benefits internationally, visit our partner here.

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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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