Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published.
I really like Mandarin Oriental hotels…and that’s coming from someone who has never actually spent a night at a Mandarin Oriental property in his life. I’ve visited a good number of the chain’s properties around the world but I’ve only ever been inside to look around, to enjoy a great bar (Las Vegas) or to dine (London, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Milan) but each time I’ve noticed just how good and attentive the service seems to be.
The reason why I’ve never stayed is simple – the properties are priced high and Mandarin Oriental has never offered a rewards program that I could use to book a room on points.
As great as the service (and no doubt the rooms) are at Mandarin Oriental properties I’ve always had other options which, while probably not quite as good, have offered me a lot more value (and required a lot less out-of-pocket spend).
Having said that, times are changing and Mandarin Oriental has now finally come up with a rewards program which it’s calling “Fans of M.O.”
Disappointingly, the new program still doesn’t offer a path for guests to amass points that can be redeemed for future hotel stays but, this is a start, and there are plenty of other reasons why you should join.
Benefits Of The Fans Of M.O.
Firstly, it’s probably important to point out that Fans of M.O. is free to join so you have absolutely nothing to lose by signing up.
Secondly, just for signing up you get some pretty good benefits:
- Free wi-fi when you stay
- A welcome amenity when you check-in (no mention of what this may be)
- Access to “members only offers”
- A choice of 2 (from 8) additional “privileges”
Additional “privileges” include:
- Guaranteed early check-in (from 12 pm)
- Guaranteed late check-out (until 4pm)
- Daily breakfast (for one)
- Dining or Spa credit
- Room upgrade
- Streaming wi-fi
- Celebratory treat
- Complimentary pressing of an item
That list isn’t entirely complete (despite the fact that it comes directly from the Fans of M.O. website) as, when you go to book a room at a MO property, one other option appears on the list :
You can choose for your second privilege to be breakfast for whoever is sharing the room with you.
I like this because:
(a) Breakfasts are expensive (especially at high-end properties) so this is a real money-saver
(b) Solo travelers aren’t forced to use up one of their privilege choices on a breakfast they don’t need.
The “members only offers” appear to be things like discounted suite upgrades, complimentary nights and discounts on luxury experiences like high-end dining and high-end spas.
There looks like there will be other offers and experiences being added soon but the website is being a little mysterious right now:
I have to admit that, at first, I looked at all the benefits and thought how similar they all seem to what you can get through Amex FHR bookings and through bookings made via Virtuoso agents too.
They appear similar because they are similar but I don’t think that’s a reason not to sign up or to ignore fans of M.O.
Firstly, access to Amex FHR properties requires you to have an Amex Platinum card or higher so, if you’re not happy paying an annual fee of at least $450, you don’t have access to these deals.
Secondly, while Virtuoso agents are free to use, who knows how long MO will give them access to these kinds of offers?
Presumably Mandarin Oriental has introduced this program to entice people to book through its portals directly so, if it keeps on allowing other channels to offer the same benefits as the Fans of M.O., its own program becomes pointless….and I can’t see Mandarin Oriental allowing that to happen.
I’m not suggesting that Virtuoso agents and Amex FHR are suddenly not going to be able to offer special deals on Mandarin Oriental bookings….but I am saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if the chain reduced what those agents could offer.
The best way forward is to sign up for Fans of M.O (it costs you nothing) and, when the time comes to book a stay, use all the resources at your disposal to find the best deal.