May 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm NZST #2352
I think this program is worthwhile signing up for if you travel within NZ and Australia and now and again further abroad.
Rydges is the brand that comes to mind in NZ (and there is that Museum in Wellywood). They are at least in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. Auckland and Wellington you have to pay for parking. Not sure about Queenstown as I taxied that stay.
The Rotorua and Queenstown rooms are a bit ‘dated’ and the breakfasts also feel that way. I haven’t had breakfast in all of these places but recall the Auckland dinner restaurant, Wellington breakky and Christchurch breakfasts are all good. Rotorua Queenstown are edible but not really as nice as some other places.
The great part about PGR is the benefits you enjoy with GHA properties for only a few stays with PGR (Rydges etc).
You only need 5 stays to reach platinum benefits ie a room upgrade with GHA. You don’t get that in any of the other programs (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). 10 stays gets you PGR black = GHA black = double room upgrade. It’s such an amazing feeling to be upgraded (and I’m not talking just the higher room floor type upgrade). The local experience GHA offer are pretty cool too and I swear they go over and above.
There are a number of GHA properties in Australia but they are really crazy cool further abroad. Their hotel range has a lot of character vs some other hotel chains that seem a bit clinical. I’ve had upgrades being PGR basic = gold in Melbourne and Cairns.
The downsides are that points in the PGR program are only valid for 36 months and I’m yet to redeem. I did search some forward bookings and there was some availability but the reality is we haven’t needed them just yet so I can’t comment much on the redemption aspect. My understanding is there is a set number of reward nights at various properties and when they’re gone there are no more released. Although I did look at Sydney over new years and surprise surprise there were no reward nights.
In your first year you’ll need 12 stays to get a free night, you get the automatic 10% member discount and sign up is free, the welcome drink and possibly some slightly later check out (but I suspect no later than a nonmember could get without status). Once you’re Black it should only take 7 stays (150 points are needed for a reward night). I personally think the first year will essentially get you the equivalent of 2 nights free (10% off if you stay ~ 10 stays and the points accumulated to 12 stays). I’m not sure which other programs can offer that.
What I like most is the 50% off F&B even if dining alone as a Black member at Rydges properties. 20% I think for other levels. Breakfast is excluded although you can redeem points for breakfast or dinner and they come through immediately. I wouldn’t underestimate the value of this. A+ requires you be dining with another person to get a 50% discount which stinks if you’re there for work and alone. The SYD/BNE properties are accessible by train and MEL by skybus.
You get all of this without paying the price of an Accor plus membership which makes the programme very attractive to me. The better status recognition at GHA properties is a massive ++. I’ve stayed at properties in Europe and Bali and they’re simply outstanding and go way over and above the expected (vs Accor which ‘under delivered’). A+ still has its place in my world but I love the surprise of GHA for minimal effort. I plan to do some Asia stays with this network.
You should consider Rydges for 5 stays then angling for the upgrade overseas 😛 I’ve rocked up and never said anything and they’ve just rambled off benefits. A bottle of wine and chocky’s or upgrade to rooms with separate lounge area and balcony or some ridiculous couples ensuite with newly fresh fruit dialy, an entry and exit card from the GM and gifts make me sing this programs praises.
I know HH, SPG, Accor have been done to death but, I really feel this program deserves some attention. It fits me to a tee (currently).
Also there is a GHA fast track to platinum offer on currently from business traveller. I think it was 38.99 USD = $59 NZD for a sign up. Realistically your room upgrade is going to cost more than $59. So is platinum status.
Found this via FT.
Think about it 😛May 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm NZST #2355Mauricio FreitasKeymaster
I used Rydges a lot. The Wellington and Auckland hotels are really good… However the room rate increased so much, it’s something like 150% more now than it was five or six years ago.
Also they reset your earnings every year so can’t accumulate much if you don’t travel a lot.
You do get a free beer on arrival if you have the card, so there’s that…May 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm NZST #2360
I agree that AKL,WLG are the better Rydges properties with CHC in the middle. I honestly am always gob smacked by Auckland prices for any chain hotel. They’re generally horrendous. AKL and Welly peeve me off a bit from a parking perspective.
Not sure what you mean about resetting earnings every year. My account shows a cumulative total rather than a yearly total? Your points should last for 36 months. I have emailed them and I do think they’re somewhat on the slow side from a customer service perspective but they still seem to come up with the answers I want so far.
I’m a bit ‘so so’ on the welcome drinks side of things. Accor do the same but most of them are house wines, beers etc which generally stink so I go for the OJ or Coke Zero or forego the drink. I appreciate the thought though. I am sure Queenstown let me put it towards cocktails 😀 yum yum!
But the GHA properties are the gem in this programme along with the 50% off F&B. Even if you go once a year to a GHA property – consider it unforgettable. Aiming for Anantara Siem Reap next year. Apparently you can score some NZ APD with this also 🙂
If I could have any bed in the world it would be a Rydges King sized Dreambed – sigh……May 31, 2017 at 8:25 pm NZST #2557
Wellywood’s getting a Rydges! Don’t think I’ll need to stay though. I like crashing at my cousins place for a catch up.June 1, 2017 at 7:48 am NZST #2559drajkParticipant
I’ve stayed at Rydges Wellington several times and enjoyed the late checkout and a free drink. I’ve found however that due to room being charged back to a corporate I’ve never been credited with a stay or points even though reservations appeared on PGR pre stay and I was given other benefits.June 1, 2017 at 3:25 pm NZST #2564
I’ve stayed at Rydges Wellington several times and enjoyed the late checkout and a free drink. I’ve found however that due to room being charged back to a corporate I’ve never been credited with a stay or points even though reservations appeared on PGR pre stay and I was given other benefits.
Oops I should have said Wellington airport is getting a Rydges.
Do you have issues with stays not crediting to other loyalty programs if work related? Have you emailed or asked PGR about this? They do actually seem to answer.June 1, 2017 at 4:32 pm NZST #2568Steve BiddleKeymaster
It’ll be very interesting to see how well it goes. With Wellington airport being so close to the City I don’t see the demand for overnight stays for late arrivals / early departures like many other cities. The appeal of some of the other accommodation nearby is actually the cheap parking they offer.July 21, 2017 at 10:45 pm NZST #3134
Probably targeted towards those farther afield that don’t like to account for traffic in travel time. I very much dislike it – would rather be in bed! Will be interested to see how they style it.August 22, 2017 at 2:46 pm NZST #3316
Just going to add to this. Some may know the Hilton South Wharf in Melbourne was rebranded to Pan Pacific end of July. I never stayed previously as prices were >$300 and at times $400 but I stayed as a GHA member and well, I can see why this property was a favourite amongst AFF members including HH loyalists.
Anyway, paid for Premier King maybe skyline view? and received the advertised 2 room upgrade to the Yarra Suite which includes lounge access which I never really looked into so missed canapés and breakfast – oops! Grabbed a hot chocolate later etc once I looked up benefits. Free wifi, water. Looking at a few dates down the track prices seem reasonable < $300 so it might be that I’ve found a favourite hotel in Melbourne (although not if they put the prices back up later). I have my SQ number linked to GHA so hoping miles turn up (only 500 per stay I think but better than nothing). Have some miles to chase from a different GHA property. I’m not sure if it’s all the GHA hotels but at least Kempinski and Pan Pacific. Will need to look into others for SQ accrual. If they could get that working smoothly would cherish the programme even more.
Another good reason to use the PGR program.September 1, 2018 at 2:26 pm NZST #4988
I’m just going to put another feather in the cap of the Rydges program.
London is a bit of an expensive city, accommodation not excluded and with some programs moving to dynamic pricing even for award nights I’m happy that with Rydges you can book the Kensington property for a flat 150 points. Just the standard rooms available. Happens to be close to where I need to be.
A link to the property:
I’m generally finding availability when looking 2 months out for a couple of properties I’ve looked at from time to time.September 1, 2018 at 2:32 pm NZST #4989
Did I mention it’s 2 min walk to Gloucester station? Convenient!January 29, 2019 at 6:34 am NZDT #5444
Kensington London has left the Rydges portfolio.
But, I see Mt Cook Hermitage is bookable via Rydges.
Wellington airport also due to open mid feb and taking bookings.
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