In 2018, luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental launched a guest recognition program, named Fans Of M.O. Almost across the board I’d typically argue that a hotel loyalty program is worth participating in, though this might be one case where it’s not. I just completed my first Mandarin Oriental hotel stay in years (which I’ll be reviewing soon), and I wanted to share why.
What is Mandarin Oriental’s Fans of M.O. program?
Fans of M.O. is Mandarin Oriental’s guest recognition program. It’s free to join, and it offers members exclusive privileges. The catch is that this isn’t really a loyalty program, in the sense that you don’t earn or redeem points, and there are no status tiers.
Rather you get certain perks just for being a member, based on booking direct. For those wondering about the “fans” name, this is in line with Mandarin Oriental’s typical branding, as the fan is Mandarin Oriental’s logo, and the company has long had ad campaigns with celebrities saying that they’re “fans” of the brand.
Fans of M.O. benefits for all members
Mandarin Oriental Fans of M.O. members receive certain benefits with each stay. Now, of course manage your expectations, since everyone can join the program for free. So, what benefits do you receive (note that the exact details vary by property)?
- Complimentary Wi-Fi, though most Mandarin Oriental properties offer this for all guests anyway
- Dining benefits when you dine at Mandarin Oriental properties, including a special treat from the chef
- Spa benefits when visiting a Mandarin Oriental spa, in the form of a treatment enhancement
- Member offers and experiences in the form of unique experiences and select from select luxury partners
- Discounts at Shop M.O., Mandarin Oriental’s online store
These are all perks worth being aware of, though there’s an aspect to the program that’s much more valuable.
Fans of M.O. members can select two privileges per stay
The more interesting aspect of the Fans of M.O. program is that members can choose two exclusive privileges with each stay. The execution of these benefits varies by hotel, but you can select from the following:
- Early check-in, as early as 12PM
- Late check-out, as late as 4PM
- Daily breakfast, for one guest (you can select this twice to get breakfast for two guests)
- A dining or spa credit
- A room upgrade
- Streaming Wi-Fi, giving you faster Wi-Fi that allows downloads, playing games, streaming, and more
- A celebratory treat, to help make a celebration memorable
- Pressing service, with complimentary pressing or laundering of your favorite item
As mentioned above, the exact details of the perks vary by hotel. If you’re curious about the exact perks, you’ll need a Fans of M.O. account, and then during the booking process you’ll see the option to select your perks. During this process it also lists the details of each benefit.
You can select benefits for up to two rooms, though since there’s no cost to join the program and no points are at stake, you can always just set up additional accounts for other guests, if you have more than two rooms.
The catch with Mandarin Oriental Fans Of M.O.
On the surface the Fans of M.O. guest recognition program probably sounds great — you’re getting some pretty valuable perks all just for booking direct. So, what’s the catch?
There’s also the Mandarin Oriental Fan Club program, which is available through select luxury travel advisors. For booking through Mandarin Oriental Fan Club, you receive the following additional perks:
- Choice of $100 food & beverage credit or spa credit, once per stay
- Daily full breakfast for two
- Personalized welcome amenity
- Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
- Priority waitlist clearance & no walk policy
- Priority early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
The catch is that you have to choose one program or the other — either you can book direct with Fans of M.O., or you can book through an advisor with Mandarin Oriental Fan Club perks, but you can’t have both.
Almost no matter how you slice it, Fan Club is better than Fans of M.O. Mandarin Oriental Fan Club gets you breakfast for two, a room upgrade subject to availability, a hotel credit, and more. I don’t necessarily want to say that Fan Club benefits are better for everyone, but… I kind of don’t see any type of stay profile where they’re not?
Maybe if you value having one piece of clothing laundered, and absolutely nothing else?
Mandarin Oriental has the Fans of M.O. guest recognition program, which is free to join. Members can select two perks with each stay, which could range from breakfast, to a hotel credit, to a room upgrade.
While it’s great that Mandarin Oriental offers this program, the catch is that in almost all cases the guest recognition program offers less value than Mandarin Oriental Fan Club, since you have to choose one or the other.
What do you make of the Fans of M.O. loyalty program?