Why You Should Book Luxury Hotels With A Travel Agent

The Bodrum Edition

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Many people think making a booking via a travel agent is an outdated practice, especially for hotels. While there is some truth in that, its very much not the case when it comes to luxury hotels.

Luxury hotel brands such as Rosewood, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, and boutique hotels offer exclusive benefits to travel agents and their clients for making their bookings through a special loyalty program. Best of all they will never charge a higher rate than booking directly.


Travel Agencies have long standing relationships with many properties and they offer exclusive benefits to those that go through them then booking directly.

If you are into loyalty programs you’ll notice that many of the major luxury brands don’t have a program similar to Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors. This is because hotels at that price point rather sell on the quality and consistency of their brands worldwide and do a fine job of getting guests to come back without the need to offer reward points.

We’ve stayed in many of these hotels in the past booked directly and through travel agents and can say the experience with a travel agent is always just a bit better and doesn’t cost any extra.

In our opinion, the benefits offered by travel agents for no added cost make booking with them a no brainer.

Need a travel agent? Submit a booking request with Travel Season and we will pair you with a certified concierge

We will break down all the benefits you can get as well as the programs these luxury hotels offer travel agents to help you get the most out of your next booking.

Benefits of booking with Travel Agents

Each hotel property has their own unique program for travel agents but all of them generally offer some sort of food or hotel credit, breakfast, and potential for an upgrade if available. Most properties will also treat you with a welcome amenity that can be snacks or even a bottle of champagne.

Got a special request? Celebrating an occasion? Having a travel agent also makes this a bit easier since there isn’t much back and forth needed with the hotel property.

We’ve also noticed when booking this way that the hotel staff pays a little more special attention to your throughout your stay and often times goes out of their way to make your stay better.

Here are the various hotel groups that have a travel agent program as well as their benefits if you make a qualified booking:


Rosewood Mayakoba / Source: rosewood.com

Rosewood Hotels are synonymous with luxury and the company currently operates 31 hotels in 16 different countries. The hotels are generally very selective about the markets they open in but that makes Rosewood often one of the most high end hotels in cities they are present in. The company operates hotels under multiple brands including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, New World Hotels & Resorts, Carlyle & Co, and Asaya.

Rosewood special program for travel agents is known as Rosewood Elite, which allows them to give their guests extra benefits on Rosewood stays. When booking with a travel agent you can expect benefits including:

  • Daily breakfast for up to two people per bedroom
  • Complimentary room upgrade upon arrival (based on availability)
  • A welcome amenity and note
  • Additional property specific elite enhanced amenities, which vary by property; these can include a $100 credit per stay, though you’ll want to check with a Rosewood Elite travel agent to determine the property specific amenity available for your stay

While not all benefits are guaranteed like the room upgrade, we find the $100 credit and daily breakfast to be the most valuable benefits. Given Rosewood hotels are rather expensive taking advantage of these additional perks can make your stay just a bit better.

Four Seasons

Four Seasons Philadelphia / Source: fourseasons.com

Four Seasons, a premier luxury hotel group, currently boasts 124 properties in 47 countries around the world. While room rates at their properties tend to go for a premium, Four Seasons has a Preferred Partner program available to invited travel agents that offers exclusive benefits. Booking through this program will provide guests with select benefits at any Four Seasons location, all for the same rate as you will see directly on their website.

If you are booking through a Four Seasons preferred partner you can expect to receive the following:

  • Complimentary breakfast for two people per bedroom, either in the restaurant or via in-room dining
  • A space available room upgrade
  • A hotel credit to be used during the stay

We’ve booked through a partner many times and have almost always received a next level room upgrade. I also noticed we tended to get treated better at the property as the staff knew a few more details about us and our trip.

Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental Bodrum / Source: Travel Season

Mandarin Oriental properties feature oriental heritage, local culture and unique design, and are considered some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, resorts and residences. The company currently operates 37 hotels and nine residences in 25 countries and territories, with many new properties under development.

Mandarin Oriental has a unique program for travel agents called Fan Club, that offers special perks for stays at all Mandarin Oriental properties worldwide. Some of these perks include:

  • Choice of $100 food & beverage credit or spa credit, once per stay
  • Daily full American breakfast for two
  • Personalized welcome amenity
  • Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Priority waitlist clearance & no walk policy

We recently stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum and booked via a travel advisor and can say it made our stay that much better. We were upgraded to a private pool suite, got complimentary breakfast, food & beverage credit, and also got flexibility for a late checkout.

Given that we paid no difference than what was listed on the website I would say the benefits we got were significant.

Shangri La

Shangri La Paris / Source: shangri-la.com

Shangri La hotels offer world-class service coupled with inspirational design and transformative experiences in some of the world’s best urban addresses and resort destinations. The company operates 100 hotels and resorts across our four distinct brands – in over 22 countries, regions and 76 destinations.

Shangri-La’s Luxury Circle program is a lesser known program that offers exclusive benefits for Shangri-La stays than what’s offered through other programs. In order to get these benefit you must book through a travel agent and can expect to receive:

  • Upgrade to the next room type category at the time of booking, subject to availability
  • Hotel credit of $100 USD (or 10% of average daily room rate, whichever is higher), per stay
  • Complimentary full breakfast for two, including in-room dining
  • Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
  • Welcome amenity

In our opinion the upgrade to next level room and free breakfast are some of the better perks and note that it is available for in room dining. The major difference with Shangri La is they will provide you the upgrade at time of booking vs at check in that can go a long way to ensure you will actually receive it.


The Dubai Edition / Source: Travel Season

Marriott is one of the largest hotel groups in the world and has a very popular loyalty program known as Marriott Bonvoy. While this program has a number of benefits and status levels that travelers can use for upgrades, they also have additional programs specifically for travel agents.

Specifically for travel advisors Marriott has two programs, known as Marriott STARS and Marriott Luminous, which offer additional perks for stays at various Marriott-family properties.

Hotels that qualify for Marriott STARS include: EDITION, BVLGARI, Luxury Collection, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and St. Regis. The benefits that are offered at these hotels include:

  • Complimentary full or continental breakfast daily for up to two people per room
  • Hotel credit valued at 100 USD once per stay
  • Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
  • In-person welcome
  • Personalized welcome amenity and note

Hotels that qualify for Marriott Luminous include: Autograph Collection, JW Marriott, Le Meridien, Marriott, Renaissance, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels, and Westin. The benefits that are offered at these hotels include:

  • Complimentary daily breakfast for two people per room
  • Complimentary basic Wi-Fi daily
  • Early check-in & late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • Local welcome amenity and note
  • Hotel credit valued at 100USD once per stay, but only at select hotels

You may notice many of these perks are similar to those of the Marriott Bonvoy program but it is a great way to get the benefits if you do not have status.

The program benefits will only qualify for rate that are the “Standard Rate” and do not qualify for special rates, advanced paid rates, or points rates. You will also still receive points and elite night credit when booking with a travel agent making them good benefits even if you have status.

If you are a business traveler you may be getting benefits through Marriott corporate rates but if you are looking to travel for leisure then going through a travel agent will give you the most benefits.


Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam / Source: hilton.com

Hilton hotels has a very popular loyalty program for travelers known as Hilton Honors. Through the program or credit card sign up you can receive status tiers that provide you with benefits at any of the Hilton locations.

Hilton program specifically for travel agents is known as Hilton Impresario. Through this program you can receive perks when booking an eligible rate through a participating travel agent at almost all Conrad, LXR, or Waldorf Astoria properties.

Here are the perks that are generally offered

  • Daily complimentary full breakfast for up to two people per room
  • A complimentary room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
  • A $100 property credit once per stay
  • Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
  • Double Hilton Honors points (valid at select properties)

While many of the perks are similar to other programs the unique ones are the ability to check in early / check out late and the double Hilton honors points at select properties.

Not only can Hilton Impresario travel advisors get you the above perks, but they also have access to free night offers at select properties. This could come in the form of a third night free, fourth night free, or fifth night free offer.

In order to qualify for Hilton Impresario benefits you must be booking with a flexible rate and speak with your travel agent to find the property specific benefits.


Parky Hyatt Tokyo / Source: hyatt.com

Hyatt Privé is a special travel agent program with the potential to add huge value for frequent Hyatt guests. The special privileges extend at over 200 Hyatt hotels around the world, many of which don’t participate in other loyalty programs.

Hyatt Privé benefits vary by drastically by brand and can consider the perks for the following properties: Park Hyatt (all properties), Andaz (all properties), Miraval (all properties), Grand Hyatt (select properties), Hyatt Centric (select properties), Hyatt Regency (select properties), The Unbound Collection (select properties), Thompson (select properties), Alila (select properties), and Joie de Vivre (select properties).

  • A $100 property credit per room per stay
  • A one category room upgrade confirmed within 24 hours of booking (room-to-room or suite-to-suite) — based on availability at the time of booking
  • Daily full breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant
  • Early check-in (as early as 9AM) and late check-out (as late as 4PM), subject to availability
  • A welcome gift and letter

Additional benefits for stays at select Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Regency, Alila, Joie de Vivre, Thompson, and The Unbound Collection hotels, include:

  • A $50 or $100 property credit per room per stay (it varies by a hotel)
  • A one category room upgrade confirmed within 24 hours of booking (room-to-room or suite-to-suite) — based on availability at the time of booking
  • Daily full breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant
  • Early check-in (as early as 9AM), subject to availability
  • A welcome gift and letter

Hyatt still relies on travel agents to do many of the bookings of their rooms especially the top tier properties. With these added benefits its a great way to enhance your stay especially at the higher end Park Hyatt or Andaz locations.

The Peninsula Hotels

Peninsula Hotels are a prestigious properties renowned for their opulent accommodations and world-class service. With a global presence spanning major cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, and Paris, the Peninsula brand is synonymous with sophistication and elegance.

If you’ve ever stayed in a Peninsula you’ll notice lavish rooms and suites, cutting-edge amenities, exquisite dining options, and a sense of personalized treatment by every staff member.

While The Peninsula Hotels do not have a traditional loyalty program, they do offer select benefits when booking with a travel agent. These can include:

  • Daily full breakfast for up to two persons
  • “Peninsula Time” – Flexible check-in and check-out time
  • Room upgrade to the next category upon arrival, subject to availability
  • Upgraded welcome in-room amenities
  • Complimentary long-distance calls via VOIP in hotels at Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Paris and Bangkok

Peninsula suites are some of the nicest we’ve ever stayed in and booking through an advisor was the only way we’ve been upgraded in the past.

Boutique Luxury Hotels

When it comes to boutique hotels, while they may not have their own programs, their are still benefits to be had by going through a travel agent. You can expect some of the same benefits as the major programs like room credits, breakfast, and upgrades to be a standard part of the travel agent benefit offering.

The big benefit with travel agents for boutique hotels is the ability to help you select one that is right for you. Boutique hotels can vary greatly in who they serve but there are so many hidden gems out there that travel agents typically know best.

If you are interested in a destination but flexible on hotels then let your travel agent know and they will be able to pick one out for you.

How to book with a travel agent

How to actually book is a pretty simple process and the travel agent will typically handle everything for you.

Need a travel agent? Submit a booking request with Travel Season and we will pair you with a certified concierge

Once you have located a travel agent you will simply provide them your trip date, details, budget, and anything else you may want them to know about your upcoming travels. If you already have a hotel picked out then great but a travel agent can also help guide you to one that works best for you.

Most of the communication will be done over email / call but generally we found the process to move pretty quickly.

The travel agent will also take some time to learn your preferences – do you like sweet or savory snacks? do you like booking activities or enjoy relaxing?

All of this will be covered in your profile and from there you will have a confirmed booking in no time.

Don’t have a travel agent or don’t know where to start? Let us help! You can submit a travel request via Travel Season and we will pair you with a certified travel agent.

Summary & Takeaways

Luxury hotels are constantly offering benefits to encourage travelers to stay and by partnering with travel agents they can extend the amount of bookings they get. Travel agents typically work with many clients and hotels want to lure them in by offering additional perks.

Even if you books hotels yourself there are benefits you are leaving on the table by not going through a travel agent. For no added cost you can get additional perks and make your trip that much better.

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