The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Mumbai-based Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces will launch their strategic alliance in March 2017 with the introduction of the 'Warmer Welcomes' programme, which integrates Taj InnerCircle and Shangri-La’s Golden Circle guest loyalty programmes.

The 'Warmer Welcomes' programme will offer Shangri-La and Taj’s combined six million loyalty programme members a number of benefits.

Members will be able to enjoy elite status perks when they stay at any Shangri-La or Taj hotel with top-tier status matching.

Guests will be able to earn points across 200 hotels, 27 countries and 131 destinations. Members of either programme will now be able to earn award points in their preferred programme while staying with Taj or Shangri-La whether in Mumbai, New Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, London, New York and other key destinations in the world.

Members will also be able to convert points to redeem awards between both programmes.

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces MD and CEO Rakesh Sarna said in a statement: “This alliance will help drive deeper engagement for our most valuable guests and members as they will now be recognised seamlessly at some of the world’s finest hotels across multiple geographies."

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Shangri-La acting president Madhu Rao commented: "“As hotel owner-operators who share similar values and service philosophies but have minimal overlap of properties, Taj and Shangri-La are in a unique position to establish a seamless alliance that goes beyond a marketing partnership or multi-hotel distribution platform. We will be able to enhance brand awareness and increase market share by providing Golden Circle and Taj InnerCircle members more value and more reasons to stay with us.”

As part of its 'Loyalty Is' fifth anniversary celebration this year, Shangri-La’s Golden Circle has rolled out new member benefits and partnerships, the most recent being Infinite Journeys with Singapore Airlines. In addition, Golden Circle has recently introduced programmes such as Event Planner Rewards and The Table by Golden Circle, Shangri-La’s first global dining loyalty programme.

Taj relaunched InnerCircle in 2015 with new features and enhancements, applicable globally across all hotels. The revamped programme has no blackout dates, an easy redemption process with opportunities ranging from accommodation, restaurants and spas, and no expiry of points for active members. Most recently, Taj InnerCircle also redesigned its Epicure programme, renewed with offers that extend globally.