Sunday Reader Question: What is Virtuoso?

There are a number of speciality hotel booking programs, like AMEX Fine Resorts and Hotels and VISA Signature Hotels. My favourite program is Virtuoso.

Virtuoso is a hotel booking program that certain travel agents sign up for. Typically a city’s top hotels will be included in the Virtuoso system. You can check the available Virtuoso hotels, but you can’t book with Virtuoso online. You have to go through an approved travel agent. My affiliate partner, Easy Award Booking, offers expedient Virtuoso booking services [I do not get a kickback].

When you book a hotel using Virtuoso, you typically pay the lowest available rate while receiving a number of benefits, such $100 food credit, complimentary upgrade, etc. You will always receive a full breakfast.

For example, I was looking at the Park Hyatt Toronto for two nights. Hyatt, Expedia, and other Online Travel Agents (OTA) were charging $259.00/night. With Virtuoso, I’d get the same $259.00/night rate, but would get full breakfast daily, $100 hotel credit, and an upgrade. Considering I would have paid for breakfast anyways, that’s a savings of $30/day, and then another $100 off which I can apply for dinners or lunch. With the Virtuoso benefits, that drops my rate down to $358, a discount which you couldn’t achieve using Hyatt corporate codes or other OTA discounts.

It’s sort of a pain having to book Virtuoso rates with a travel agents, a task that takes a bit of time as it’s done through e-mail. I wish you could book them like any other OTA, but it’s really not that much work and the benefits offer significant value.

You can’t separate consecutive nights into different bookings in order to get the bonus more than once. For example, for my two night booking at the Toronto Hyatt, I couldn’t book the nights separately to get the $100 credit twice. The hotel would merge the bookings and I’d only get the benefit once. HOWEVER, not that I’ve tried it, but say you’re staying three nights at one hotel, perhaps you could book the first night on Virtuoso, the second night on AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts, and the third night on VISA Signature Hotels… just a thought 😉

If you’re looking at a nicer hotel that is partnered with Virtuoso, there is substantial benefit in booking with them.

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