It was a nice surprise last week when I was helping a friend out with their travel plans that I stumbled on my American Platinum Charge Card account now providing complimentary Shangri-La Jade Membership. They have taken out the Intercontinental (IHG) Gold Membership over the last 2 months which is definitely a real plus.

I have found that after having the IHG Gold membership for a few years (even without it linking to my Amex account) – that it has provided with very limited benefits. The only thing I got out of it was 10% more points when staying at the hotel. My free breakfast or executive lounge access – no upgrades – really as a hotel customer – it did not provide me with any incentives to stay at IHG hotels. These include Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. They do though have one of the easiest programs to earn a heap of points by applying for multiple points promotions. Then also combining them with Point Break nights where every couple of points rooms only go for 5000 points – then you really have a great deal.

But over the last year – there have not been any desirable properties to redeem the 5000 points for – so really has been a big disappointment.

So having the Shangri-La Jade membership instead now is a step in the right direction for Amex. This is a mid-level membership comparable to Hilton Gold status. Probably not as many benefits – but it does include free breakfast for 2 people which can cost at least $80. Include a possible upgrade when available, welcome amenity gifts and a bonus on Golden Circle points when staying there – then it is a great option to stay at this chain.

Shangri-La Jade membership is also included in the Citi Prestige Visa card if you have that card as well.

My impression of Shangri-La has always been very luxurious. Recently we went to a lunch buffet at the Shangri-La Island in Hong Kong – probably the best I have been to in the world – and I’ve been to many buffets. The service provide and attention to detail was 5 star all the way. Even though we did not stay at this hotel (we stayed next door at the Conrad Hong Kong) – I always wanted to try and stay at this hotel. I have now even more reason to stay there and enjoy the benefits with this Jade membership.

We also stayed at the Golden Sands resort managed by Shangri-La in Penang, Malaysia 10 years ago on our Honeymoon – around the time that I really started appreciating hotel loyalty programs. We loved it – even though it was 4 star – myself and my wife had a great time there.

I would put Shangri-La near the levels of the Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons. It’s also great that in a couple of my upcoming trips to Singapore, Maldives and Tahiti that there are Shangri-La Hotels and resorts which I may expore instead of staying at my usual Hilton and Hyatt hotels.

Now is it worth getting the American Express Platinum Card just for the Jade membership? It really depends on how much you travel – if you travel a lot – the Amex Platinum card is a great companion to use the numerous benefits that come along with it. If not – then you will have to justify yourself if it is worth getting or not. 

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