After I wrote about Belmond’s recent social campaign, reader Sam S. emailed me to ask about the Bellini program I mentioned offhandedly. So without further ado, let’s take a more in-depth look.
Belmond (formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.) is a company that operates a fairly small number (49) of ultra-luxury hotels, river cruises, safaris, and train journeys around the world.
Although Belmond doesn’t have a loyalty program, they do have a preferred partner program called the Belmond Bellini Club where you can get extra benefits during your stay.
For a bit of history, the Bellini Club was named after the signature cocktail of pureed white peaches and Prosecco first concocted by Giuseppe Cipriani of the famed Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, who also opened the Belmond Hotel Cipriani.
Rather than discounting rates, by booking the best available rate via a Bellini Club travel consultant you get rewarded with perks such as a resort credit that can be spent at the hotel during your stay.
The Bellini Club works similarly to the programs of American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, and Virtuoso. If you’re familiar with properties in the Virtuoso network, you’ll find that many Bellini properties are also listed as Virtuoso properties. You cannot combine benefits though, and have to choose which is the better deal when making your booking.
Benefits vary by property, but here is an example of Virtuoso benefits at a Belmond hotel:
• Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
• Daily breakfast, for up to two in-room guests
• Complimentary Wi-Fi
• $100 USD credit per stay (sometimes spa credit, sometimes resort credit, etc.)
• Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
Curious what Bellini benefits look like?
In comparison, here is an example of Bellini Club benefits at a Belmond hotel:
• Upgrade upon arrival, subject to availability
• VIP welcome treats
• Daily Buffet or full breakfast, for up to two in-room guests
• Complimentary Wi-Fi
• $90 USD hotel or resort credit per stay ($200 per stay for select suites)
• VIP Recognition by property management and staff
• Special in-room welcome amenity
• Top-of-the-waitlist priority for high demand properties and experiences
The Bellini Club also sometimes has offers (one just finished in September) where you can get the third or fourth night free. This is an excellent way to lower the nightly rate significantly.
The Bellini Club also offer benefits when booking one their train journeys or river cruises. Here are the perks you receive:
• VIP welcome treats with a local twist
• Complimentary upgrade based on availability at time of check-in
• $45 per person credit for day trips, $100 per person for longer journeys
As Belmond offers safaris, river cruises, hotels and train journeys, if you combine several and book a vacation for $5,000 or more pre-tax with travel providers (not directly with Belmond), you receive a $500 gift voucher valid for 18 months and good for future Belmond bookings.
The drawback with the Bellini Club program is the same as with the Virtuoso and FHR programs – you cannot make the booking yourself at 2am, but have to do so via a travel consultant in their network. If you already have a travel professional you work with for Virtuoso or FHR, they will most likely also offer Bellini Club bookings. Otherwise a quick google search will undoubtedly land you on a travel agency offering Bellini Club bookings.