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Easy way to find and book Virtuoso rates
If you aren’t familiar with Virtuoso, you should be. Virtuoso is an exclusive network of agents who are certified members of the Virtuoso network. The Virtuoso network collectively maintains special relationships with the best in partner hotels, cruises, tour companies, and airlines. You don’t need to join Virtuoso or pay any fees, all you need to do is contact a Virtuoso agent. That agent will then use their access to the Virtuoso network to gain access to the collective bargaining deals that have been negotiated. The idea behind Virtuoso is that they can use the size and scope of their network as leverage to get great deals and benefits. These collective bargaining deals allow Virtuoso to compete with American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts without having to join a club or hold a premium credit card. It’s really a great proposition.
You can find an agent in your area here
Here’s a look the hotel benefits offered by Virtuoso
- Speical Virtuoso rate
- Upgrade upon arrival
- Daily Full breakfast for 2 people per room
- Early check in ( noon ) and late check out ( typically 4 )
- Special on site property amenity: $100 spa credit, $100 food/bev credit, etc
The benefits offered by American Express FHR, Virtuoso’s closest competition.
- Special Amex FHR rate
- Upgrade upon arrival
- Daily breakfast for 2
- Early check in ( noon ) and late check out ( 4 )
- Special on site amenity: $100 spa credit, resort credit, food/bev credit, etc
The amenities of these two programs are very similar, but Virtuoso edges out Amex with a daily ‘full’ breakfast vs Amex only guarantees a daily breakfast. I have used Amex FHR a lot, and that specification has a wide spectrum of interpretation by member hotels. Varying from $50 credit, continental, to buffet, etc. With Virtuoso you know you’re getting a full breakfast option which typically includes the continental option plus cooked items or buffet. That can be a solid $50 a day difference in amenity value.
It’s the ‘check out’ price not ‘check in’ price that matters most
When comparing hotels for vacation it’s valuable to be able to compare and contrast all the various aspects of your stay. Perhaps Virtuoso offers a food and bev credit and full breakfast, whereas FHR is offering a high tea amenity and a lower rate. Either way, by looking online you can assess all of those value propositions yourself.
What if you don’t want to use an agent, or you want to compare rates without corresponding with an agent?
That’s what got me searching online. I’ve used Virtuoso before when I stayed at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal. While the agent was easy to work with, I like to look at a lot of options, and I end up feeling a little guilty asking for more and more rates. I’ve actually asked for rates several different times and ended up not seeing the value in the Virtuoso property or canceled the trip. So while I’ve only used a Virtuoso rate once, I’ve inquired multiple times. I just felt bad that I’d occupied someone’s time and didn’t book. It’s so nice that Amex has a search portal for Fine Hotels and Resorts which allows me to compare and compare and compare.
I found ClassicTravel.com
This website allows you to not only shop rates, amenities, etc of Virtuoso member hotels, but it also allows you to book them without contacting an agent. That is amazing. Now don’t get me wrong, Virtuoso agents can offer a lot of value especially if you use them a lot, or spend a lot of money. After all Virtuoso agents are given a kick back referral fee for making reservations on your behalf, so if you spend considerable money through the agent, they will work harder to get you special perks and upgrades. The reality of my situation, and that of most people, is that I don’t do that, but rather look for the best deal and may use Virtuoso here and there. ClassicTravel allows a far easier way to search rates and book if you want. Guilt Free.
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