Free Top Tier Elite Status With 33 Hotel Brands Through December 2019

GHA Discovery is the loyalty program for Omni hotels, Rydges, Alila (part of Two Roads Hospitality, which is being acquired by Hyatt), Kempinski, Anantara, Pan Pacific and more — 33 brands in total.

Discovery is an experiences program, not an earn and burn program. It’s all about status and recognition.

Right now their top tier of elite status — Black — is available free on a trial basis. GHA Black status gets:

  • Two category room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • 9 a.m. early check-in (subject to availability)
  • 6 p.m. late check-out (subject to availability)
  • Free bottled water, free internet
  • Most importantly — local experiences

You earn a local experience award upon achieving Platinum status and Black status, and staying for the first time at a new participating brand. These are things like private golf lessons from a PGA pro, meals, cooking classes, even a helicopter flight.

GHA Discovery is offering Black status complimentary to World Elite Mastercard cardmembers. (HT: Milelion)

The GHA website and its offer terms do not mention any restrictions on eligibility other than having a World Elite Mastercard. The offer is detailed though on the Middle East and Asia Pacific Mastercard page so this may be geographically limited.

I currently have GHA Black status under a trial offer, but haven’t yet had occasion to use it, and also as a result cannot test to see if my account upgrades upon request.

Signup requires calling Mastercard. I rang up and got bounced around between Mastercard benefits, Citi Concierge, and Citi benefits. As an apology before being transferred to World Elite Mastercard credit card travel and benefits (1-800-627-8372) who sent me to I was given 5000 American AAdvantage miles. As I say though I already have Black status so can’t fully test the offer for U.S. residents versus those in Asia or Mideast. Please share your own experiences if you try.

GHA Hotels status under this offer lasts through December 31, 2019. You don’t receive the local experience award for earning Black status, but people who have taken advantage of similar offers in the past have told me it still offers local experiences for each new brand you stay at — which is any brand if you’re a new member.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Offer is valid till 31 December 2019.
  • Black Membership Status will be valid from time of successful enrolment or upgrade until 31 December of the following year. …
  • Cardholders are not eligible for Local Experiences unless they meet the required Qualifying Nights or the other eligibility criteria.
  • Earning of Qualifying Nights for the first membership year will be based on a 12-month period starting from the date of registration. In the event you do not meet the required Qualifying Nights to maintain the Black Status, a second qualification period will run from 1 January of the year following the registration until 31 December of that year. Thereafter, earning of Qualifying Nights to maintain the Black Status will be based on calendar years.
  • The standard DISCOVERY Program Terms and Conditions apply.
  • For more details please visit
  • The products and services offered under this Promotion are provided solely by GHA, under such terms and conditions as determined by GHA, and Mastercard accepts no liability whatsoever in connection with such products and services.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. WTH is a local experience? Unless that experience involves complimentary breakfast, I don’t think that’s a compelling pitch for me.

    And no hotels in Japan, Korea or Taiwan? This program makes Hyatt look like they have a kickin footprint.

  2. Rydges Hotel at the Sydney Airport international terminal is a GHA property where “Black” (Rydges Platinum) get those benefits, very useful.

    In fact Rydges have a few excellent properties around Australia, though sadly the Perth Rydges is gone, it’s now the IC Perth – and IMO that’s a step downwards, IHG seem to have crammed some more rooms into each floor

  3. GHA’s loyalty program doesn’t offer points or free nights, just these “local experience” vouchers which do sound utterly worthless. But their Elite status benefits like 6pm checkout, they’re worth having. No breakfast though.

  4. I called the number you gave and was connected to Citi Prestige Concierge. They said this promotion is only for credit card holders in Africa and the Middle East. What was your experience Gary?

  5. I have GHA Black thru Jetsmarter. What a great way to light $15,000 on fire. Their bait and switch is one of the worst. It’s not my fault they had an unsustainable business model. The GHA Black has gotten me suite upgrades at Omnis though.

  6. Thank you, this is especially good to use in SE Asia where some great GHA properties are located.

    Which one of our commonly used MCs is World Elite Mastercard?

  7. @Hal – Once again Gary posts nonsense without actually checking on the details of anything. The same information was provided to me and I spoke to a supervisor about it as well. It would be nice if these kind of details were looked into before encouraging blog readers to enroll in something that is literally unavailable to a large portion of your readers.

  8. It’s a very narrow offer : you need to be World Elite Mastercard in Asia Pacific. Only Citi Prestige Hong Kong offers this privilege to pretend to this promotion. Well…thanks indeed

  9. Just wanted to share my experience ….

    After wasting 32 minutes of my morning talking to 4 different reps (starting in India, of course) using the number on the back of my Citibank AA Platinum Select World Elite MC. Requested to speak to my Mastercard Concierge as the offer says, and they did not have a clue what I was talking about. After several placement on hold, was told that they have a memo that it specifically states the offer is targeted to people who reside in the ME and Africa.

    I am aware of the HUACA concept, but I’m not willing to waste any more time on this!

  10. Just called the Citi World Concierge and they are now aware of this promotion (everyone seems to be calling he said) and unfortunately it’s only for those residing outside of the USA (he didn’t say ME/Africa only specifically but I bet that’s the case) 11am Pacific Time Tuesday Oct 30th

  11. I had GHA Black for a while and did get pretty consistent upgrades. In London the free experience options included a pair of tickets to most west end shows which t me was a great benefit which I used a number of times. Some nice hotels in this, at the time I had a lot of travel to the Pan Pacific in Singapore. At the time (4-5 years ago) Black status was rare and the recognition was real.

  12. Similar experience. Called MC Works Elite number listed in article. They transferred me to Citi Concierge who said “we’ve been getting a lot of calls about this. We checked with our supervisors and this is available only in Asia and the Middle East.” Luckily, my total call wait time was under ten minutes.

  13. US cardholder – called to get this offer and was told it was only for APAC cards issued, not for US cardholders

  14. Just called the MasterCard concierge for my World Elite Barclay Arrival+. No wait time to get through, was connected instantly, but they also said the offer is just for residents of Africa and the Middle East. They confirmed they’ve been getting a lot of calls about it.

  15. Thank you for contacting Mastercard Travel and Lifestyle Services with your request. Unfortunately, we have been informed by the Global Hotel Alliance that you are ineligible for the upgrade.

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