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New Club Med Program Offers Few Rewards

Isn't a trip to Club Med its own reward?

Apparently not. Last week, the all-inclusive resort chain launched its own frequent-stay program, Club Med Great Members.

Great members, presumably, deserve a great program, with great perks. What they get is ... nothing, until they reach Silver status, after staying 50 nights or spending $8,000. Then they get priority reservations service, a 15 percent discount at resort boutiques (but only on Club Med-branded merchandise), and a 10 percent discount on "a selection of" excursions.

The next status tier, Gold, isn't reached until a member has logged 110 days or spent $20,000 at Club Med. At that level, members receive the aforementioned Silver perks plus late checkout, priority check-in, airport transfer, and room upgrades—most asterisked as "based on availability."

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Reading Club Med's press release, the word that kept coming to mind was 'tepid.' This is a program with high hurdles and so-so rewards.

A vague promise of "priority in the resort to avoid unnecessary delays?" Discounts on overpriced t-shirts? That's not much appreciation for someone who spent 50 or more nights at Club Med.

How about a free night after 10 stays? Or some airline frequent flyer miles, to help defray the costs of getting to one of Club Med's 80 resorts?

Here's an idea: Establish a marketing relationship with Hilton or Marriott, giving Club Med customers access to a proven loyalty program that does a better job of recognizing and rewarding loyalty.

Great members? Maybe. Great program? Hardly.

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