Will the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel chain adopt a loyalty program?  It’s possible.

As you know,  Ritz-Carlton - the luxury hotel chain that belongs to the Marriott family - doesn’t let you earn Marriott Rewards points, although you can redeem Rewards points for Ritz-Carlton stays. The chain’s traditional position has been that its customers prefer to be recognized over rewarded. But when the luxury hotel market started to sink about 18 months ago, I wondered if we might see Ritz-Carlton adopt a program of its own of some sort. So when I recently sat down with Ritz-Carlton chief Simon Cooper to discuss the recent rebound in luxury, I asked him about the possibility. Here is what he said:

“We for the last 10 years always looked at the role that (loyalty) rewards might play in Ritz-Carlton,” he told me at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Va. “Guest have always said ‘I prefer to be recgonized’ (but) with last year’s focus on value, guests have said ‘if I can get recognized and get value for my frequency, that would be nice.’”

He cites the American Express platinum card as “evidence that luxury consumers would like to have both.” Along those lines, if Ritz-Carlton did create a program, “it would all be focused on luxury experiences,” he told me.

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