I recently stayed at Vivanta Coimbatore and went through couple of new experiences which I thought would be useful for many. Here are they:
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I’ve always thought booking Taj hotels through centralised reservation is the best way to book but recently realised that it is not. Thanks to the long wait times on centralised reservation line.
So I figured out that the best way to book is through in-house reservation team. This usually means respective property will confirm you the booking over phone, block the room for you and that’s it. It hardly takes 2 mins and all they need is your TIC number, nothing more.
It was a breeze when I experienced it the first time and its highly useful when it comes to upgrades, more on that later.
Note that sometimes a group of hotels maybe handled by this in-house reservation. For ex, I was told that a single team handles booking for all taj hotels in Bangalore.
Taj generally never cares about your loyalty tier.
I can confirm this after so many experiences since past 4 years. I was “never” greeted with something like “thanks for being gold member, your benefits are … etc” and never got auto upgrades either.
On other side, Marriott never misses to greet the Elites the right way. That’s a world of difference!
So Taj usually never upgrade you either, unless you ask. And oh, sorry, they never care about your “upgrade requests” done during on the booking, almost never. So you’ll have to ask for an upgrade while check-in.
But the good thing about booking via in-house reservation mentioned above is that you can also ask for the availability of the next room category. If they see sufficient vacant rooms, they will straight away block the upgraded room for you, as it happened in my case.
This however depends on season, demand, property, etc. however the point to note is that the in-house reservation can see live inventory and so they can help you better with upgrades.
I’ve been having couple of unused Taj upgrade vouchers on my account ever since I became a gold member. You may know the available vouchers on a/c via Taj Whatsapp Service: +918828408825
And whenever I ask for an upgrade at Taj properties they just upgrade the room if available and don’t usually care about redeeming the voucher.
Surprisingly though this time the property redeemed the voucher as expected and gave me the upgraded room. They couldn’t redeem the voucher by swiping my TIC card but they were able to do it manually emailing the innercircle team.
One of the reason I continue to stay at taj properties is Taj vouchers, as I can use them for anything and everything spent during the stay. This includes food, room service, spa, etc. Just post all your bills to your room and settle it via Taj vouchers while check out. Simple.
The taj vouchers behave as a cash equivalent and can be used at all taj properties. However Amex issued taj vouchers can’t be used at ama stays & trails. Rest, it’s all smooth, for now. Yes, you heard that right, and you don’t need to have any doubts on that.
What’s your experience with Taj hotels booking/upgrades? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Nice article Siddharth. If possible give details about utilizing Amex Taj vouchers ( Gold collection or spend Mileatones one like the recent Diwali offer). Like applicable on which properties, How to book , things to keep in mind etc.
You can use at any property. You don’t even need to mention the voucher while booking. Just redeem while check-out.
Siddharth- To use AMEX issued vouchers, we need to declare while booking room via Taj reservation system; as rooms are booked at best available rate and not Taj member’s rate.
Is this understanding not right ?
Yes Siddharth – Can we get more clarity on the same please?
Hotel loyalty programmes have never made sense to me. At least with airlines (even those are unnecessary), there is a means to an end – but hotels are so fragmented that you shouldn’t let one property/chain latch on to you when you have dozens and dozens of options.
It depends. Taj Gold tier is great in a way, for ex, it gives 25% off on the regular rate.
Does booking Taj/Marriot etc from sites like Booking, Agoda etc help us get points?
You don’t get anything booked via a thir part incl all OTT platforms like Agoda, MMT etc. Direct Corporate booking is considered for points.
My recent stay at Taj Agra, I used 1 room via Epicure voucher 20% regular rate (which is less than one for Amex voucher) another via Amex voucher. Amongst 3 nights, we got upgraded upon ask for Monday, they cited no upgrades during weekend as it was running full. Booking for vehicle for travel was available only Innova Crysta.
I tried at Taj Westend Bangalore, they said don’t have in-house reservations team
But Vivanta Marathahalli said me about that “single team” for entire bangalore. So this is NEWS to me!
Hi Siddharth, What is upgrade in hotels, I usually hear this word from 5 star hotels, lounges and airtickets?
A bigger, better room usually. Hotel Lounge access depends on the property.
Do you know if I can use multiple Amex Taj vouchers in a single stay. Let’s say I have 2 vouchers each of Rs 10,000/-, can you use them both during my single stay at Taj?
Yes, you can. I always do, works pretty smooth!
One basic query. When booked through phone, they take credit card details but charge only when doing checkout. How is it if booked from website, does the card get immediately charged? How is it in other hotel chains? I have never booked directly at hotel websites
Card is never charged while booking, unless its a prepaid type reservation.
Can the Amex taj vouchers be used at Taj’s restaurants, spas etc without booking a room? Or is booking a room mandatory.
Booking a room is mandatory to use these Taj vouchers.
I was informed at Taj Bengal that I can use these Amex vouchers at restaurants also.But only problem is since they are for one time use, you will have to consume entire Rs 10000 amount.
That’s a surprise. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve used my Amex Taj vouchers in Vivanta Pune for ordering and home delivery of birthday cake and other food stuffs. I’ve used other Taj vouchers in restaurants without hotel booking many time. Any specific voucher need to be used in one go. Thats the only condition.
Thanks for the valuable info. I need a little more help.
If I redeem 48K MR points for 2*14K Taj vouchers, can I redeem for room bookings? If yes, how? I don’t have any Taj membership.
Just call hotel and book. While check-out pay the bill by voucher. Simple process. 🙂
But do inform that you are going to redeem vouchers, rates are different.
Can you comment on this. When you say rates are different, do you mean voucher users have to pay more.
Suppose I don’t tell them I have vouchers and just on checkout and payment tell them, will that not be allowed.
How you managed to get these many upgrade vouchers?
My experience with Taj upgrade went well, got some unbelievable room upgrades and missed few upgrades also
Most of the times when they upgrade ,they do it without voucher
I got them when I was upgraded to Gold tier as gold tier comes with these complimentary upgrade vouchers.
Yeah, used to happen to me as well and this is the first time they took time to redeem the voucher. Maybe now it comes at a cost for hotels? not sure.
do they charge any fee for an upgrade and if do then is it a concessional fee ?
I normally dont have an upgrade voucher !
If you are a Taj loyalist, buy some shares in INDHOTEL. I get some 20+ 25% off vouchers every year in addition to other offers, discounts and promos from time to time as a shareholder.
Agree, I got a couple of 25% dining vouchers as well. Probably the best brand that treats the shareholders like elites.
This sounds interesting. Can you buy just 1 share or need a bunch to get these mailers.
How many shares one should hold to be eligible for these offers and how to get the discount vouchers?
~100 shares is sufficient but not 100% sure on the exact requirement.
Have shared more insights into these shareholder offers in a separate article: Taj Shareholder Offers
Do they send shareholder coupons via email, or physically by post? In which month are they generally issued? Also what vouchers are sent- are those discounts on room or food or upgrades?
I used to get Leela vouchers in past (as LHV shareholder) but they stopped now after ever mounting losses.
Both email offers and post. Not sure which months, maybe they send quarterly. I haven’t paid attention. Mostly dining vouchers but occasionally stay offers as well.
I get “I was unable to fetch details” whenever I try to view my vouchers. I am on Epicure Gold via Amex Platinum, but my vouchers seem to have not been updated. Do you know how to get it fixed?
Ask Amex Concierge to look into it, just as I did. 🙂
I had received Physical vouchers for Epicure – from Amex Plat Chrg.
I had to voice out the number during booking and they had told to carry the physical voucher which i handed over during check in.
Your post came in at the right time 🙂
I was having a doubt on the Amex issued Taj Vouchers. Can the voucher also be redeemed for food at Taj hotels?
My experience at Taj Bengal-
1. Amex issued Taj vouchers are one time use only. Unlike Taj Gift cards issued by Citi Prestige, they can’t be used multiple times .
2. I has booked my room on Members rate through Taj Reservation centre. Amex vouchers cannot be used to settle bill against Member rate. They can be used again non member rate only.
3. If you have booked room Members rate and post the restaurant bills on the room, Amex vouchers can’t be used either. You will have to use them at the restaurant directly.
This is my first hand experience at Taj Bengal.
One more thing… I had 20 % Discount voucher issued by Taj Epicure which clearly mentioned that it can be used for single booking irrespective of the number of days. However despite reading out the same to Taj Reservation centre, I was told that their systems are accepting the 20% voucher for one night only and for remaining days , I will have to make a separate booking.
I recently used it for 3 nights stay at Taj, one room I used Amex voucher at higher rate, 20% coupon for one room at member rate. Both rooms were for 3 nights stay
We booked three rooms for one night on Member Rate of TIC (10% discount on regular rate). Posted all our bills on room. Cleared 34k using 3 Amex Vouchers, and paid 15-16k on card. No issues whatsoever at Taj Lands End, that too on a super packed long weekend when everyone was on staycation. Even got Room Upgrades as we checked in on time.
Can multiple vouchers issued from various sources be used for a single grand/expensive stay ?
For example, can is use multiple Amex issued vouchers of various amounts + a separate Taj gift voucher, for a single expensive 2-3 night stay at Taj Rambagh Palace for instance ?
Yes Hasan, can be done. I’ve redeemed Taj Vouchers bought from Amazon + Amex issued Taj Vouchers for a single bill and it works. They’ve a very simple redemption process.
However, as you might know, some high end properties may not encourage Amex Taj vouchers on discounted rates. So you might need to have a backup plan in such rare case scenario.
Recently I received a ‘30% off on dining’ code from Taj, visited a SeleQtions hotel for dinner. I showed the voucher and said I ll pay the rest via dineout (dineout passport gives 25% off and additional discounts via dineout cash and DCB), but they refused saying I can only use either voucher code or dineout! So if you use the code, you gotta pay the rest in card or cash only. I wondered what difference does it make to them whether I pay via card or dineout, but they insisted either dineout or voucher code, not both. I had to let go the code, and used dineout. BTW, I had a ‘30% off on stay’ which I used for room booking, and settled it via milestone based Amex Taj voucher, no questions asked on that.
30% is sweet. I got only the 25% ones. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Sid, these were not shareholder coupons, but codes sent to me as a regular TIC member, probably for not having used Taj for nearly a year. 4 codes were sent: 30% off on stay, 30% off dining, 30% off Jiva spa, 25% off Qmin home delivery. 12 week validity.
Does anyone have club mahindra membership, any views on the same? Thanks
Yes, have been using it for about 5 years now. They have good and well maintained properties in their list and they are spread across the country quite well.
I stayed at Taj Westend Bangalore and paid with Amex voucher. Had booked members rate directly on taj website and selected pay at hotel option.
What exactly in-house booking means? You mean to say book at counter to get the room upgrade offer?
Is the Amex Taj voucher transferrable. Nothing is mentioned in the voucher about the same. Kindly clarify
They don’t check the owner I think. Anyone owning the voucher can use it
Does card member need to be present? and the booking also needs to be on his/her name?.
I was wondering if I can book stay for my parents, on their name.
Has anyone tried something like this?
I had a question – do the Taj have a tip jar or are we expected to tip individually? What is the range of the tip? from bell boys to other staff