Being a member of a hotel loyalty program is like a long-term relationship. Over time, you grow and learn to bring out the best in each other. Then, when something big changes, it can turn your world upside down.

That’s probably how long-time GHA Discovery program members reacted to its recent overhaul. Now that the dust has settled, was that a change for the better?

Yes and no… it’s complicated. But let’s take that thought and cover some basics first.

What is GHA Discovery?

For the uninitiated, GHA Discovery is short for Global Hotel Alliance Discovery – a program that brings together 35 independent hotel brands in over 85 countries under one roof.

Among its stable of over 500 hotels, you’ll find top luxury brands such as Anantara, Parkroyal, Elewana, Avani and Kempinski.

Although primarily located throughout Southeast Asia, there are plenty of Australian options as well, including the ever-reliable Oaks Hotels (over 60 properties in metropolitan and regional areas) and five-star Pan Pacific hotels.

The Pan-Pacific Melbourne is one of many locally owned by the GHA Discovery family.

GHA Discovery Levels

GHA Discovery has four status levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum and the brilliantly named Titanium.

Tiers progress in three ways: based on number of nights stayed, dollar value spent, or by staying at more than one brand. See below for more details on how to increase your status.

Plus, for every dollar spent at the hotel or resort, members earn “Discovery Dollars”. The exact win rate depends on your level status and ranges from 4-7%. Members also get access to local offers, such as discounts on dining and spa treatments, that don’t require a stay.

GHA Discovery levels range from Silver to Titanium.

GHA Discovery levels range from Silver to Titanium.

Silver status is where every new GHA Discovery member begins their journey up the loyalty ladder. After that, the qthe qualifications needed to obtain gold, platinum and titanium are:

  • GHA Discovery Gold: Stay 2 nights or spend at least USD 1,000
  • GHA Discovery Platinum: Stay 10 nights, spend at least $5,000 or stay at of them GHA Brands
  • GHA Discovery Titanium: Stay 30 nights, spend at least $15,000 or stay at Three GHA Brands

If you compare the program to programs like Hilton Honors and Accor All Live Limitless, you can reach the equivalent fourth tier in just 30 nights, compared to 42 at Hilton and 60 at Accor.

So what has changed?

The program’s recent “reimagining” introduced the fourth level, faster level progression and a new way to earn and redeem points, or Discovery Dollars as they are now known.

Unfortunately, Discovery Dollars do expire, with the time you have to spend them dictated by your level status.

Instead of allowing members to store them for a rainy day, Silver members only have six months before dollars expire, with 18 for Gold and Platinum and 24 months for Titanium.

Until December 2021, Discovery also had a partner agreement with Priority Guest Rewards, which covered four brands present across Australia: Rydges, QT Hotels, Atura and Independent Collection. It was a great way for Australian travelers to enjoy the benefits of both schemes, with overnight stays in one scheme recognized by the other.

It’s also meant faster tier progression, with stays at some of the more affordable brands in both programs, like Rydges Hotels or Oaks Hotels, meaning you can reach higher tiers and enjoy perks for a spend. financial much weaker, which probably explains why it was cut…

Local experiences have also disappeared. These high-value rewards — which included helicopter rides over Sydney, a full-day wine tour of the Swan Valley, or a $200 hotel restaurant credit — were won once. per calendar year when you upgraded to the next status or maintained your existing status.

Many of these experiences still remain to some degree, although they are now available by spending Discovery Dollars or at a discounted rate for members.

With Priority Guest Rewards no longer a package with GHA Discovery, this means there are fewer domestic options for Australian travellers. However, the breadth of properties in Southeast Asia and the few properties we have locally are still of high quality, especially in our major cities.

Singapore's unique and eco-friendly Parkroyal Collection Pickering.

Singapore’s unique and eco-friendly Parkroyal Collection Pickering.

Why Has GHA Discovery changed?

There are a few potential reasons, but probably the most important is a broader movement towards instant gratification rewards, something that Shangri-La Circle (formerly known as Shangri-La Golden Circle) also introduced in its latest program update. World of Hyatt is also more instantaneous.

According to the GHA, studies have found that “travelers demand instant and fair rewards, not just for overnight stays, but also for expenses incurred during the hospitality experience.” In other words, travelers want tangible benefits from day one, not just having to rack up 15 nights.

The new benefits of GHA Discovery in 2022

For every dollar spent in the program, you will earn Discovery Dollars, which can be used to purchase member-only benefits such as cultural tours, spa discounts and dining offers.

New benefits of GHA Discovery Silver include:

  • Member Rates: Save 10% or more when you book direct
  • Earn 4% Discovery Dollars on your total hotel spend
  • Access member-only discounts and packages
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi access

New benefits of GHA Discovery Gold include:

  • Member Rates: Save 10% or more when you book direct
  • Earn 5% Discovery Dollars on your total hotel spend
  • Access member-only discounts and packages
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi access

New benefits of GHA Discovery Platinum include:

  • Member Rates: Save 10% or more when you book direct
  • Earn 6% Discovery Dollars on your total hotel spend
  • Receive an upgraded room upgrade, where available
  • Stay longer with late check-out up to 3pm
  • Receive a ‘locally inspired’ welcome gift upon arrival
  • Access member-only discounts and packages
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi access

New benefits of GHA Discovery Titanium include:

  • Member Rates: Save 10% or more when you book direct
  • Earn 7% Discovery Dollars on your total hotel spend
  • Receive an upgrade to a double room if available
  • Arrive early with early check-in from 11am
  • Stay longer with a late check-out until 4 p.m.
  • Receive a ‘locally inspired’ welcome gift upon arrival
  • Benefits of Gift Status for Family and Friends
  • Access member-only discounts and packages
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi access

Presentation of local GHA Discovery offers

Sometimes you want a little indulgence, but you don’t have time to spend the night in a hotel.

With this in mind, GHA Discovery has introduced local offers. Available in five categories – dining, spa, remote work, and golf and fitness amenities – they allow members to enjoy benefits such as discounted meals and beverages or spa treatments, without an overnight stay. the hotel.

An easy to use tool on the GHA website allows you to search through the offers available in the destination and period you are looking for, with free or discounted offers.

Is GHA Discovery worth it?

Absoutely. The variety and quality of properties available under the program, particularly in Southeast Asia, is exceptional.

You can enjoy a stay at Singapore’s leafy Pickering Parkroyal, sip cocktails overlooking the Andaman Sea at Avani Ao Nang Cliff Krabi Resort, or live the dream of the Maldives by escaping to Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas, for to name a few.

For business, there is an array of hotels in cities like Bangkok, Singapore, Hanoi and Sydney.

Although limited to the premium tier in Australia, stays at the more affordable options like Oaks Hotel will allow you to progress through tiers and enjoy premium benefits faster.