While shareholder perks shouldn’t be the primary motivation for investing, they can be the icing on the cake when buying stocks in a company you believe in.
Although these aren’t as common as they once were (Disney used to offer shareholders discounts on its ever-escalating theme park tickets, for example), there’s still a handful of useful ones out there, offered by companies as a means of “capital appreciation”- showing their appreciation for your capital.
Let’s look at some of the benefits offered to shareholders of travel companies like airlines, hotels, and cruise operators.
ANA/Japan Airlines: 50% off domestic airfares
This benefit is only good for those with registered addresses in Japan, but shareholders with a minimum of 100 ANA (TYO: 9202) or Japan Airlines (TYO: 9201) shares will receive 50% discount coupons on one-way airfares for domestic routes.
The number of coupons received depends on the total number of shares you own, but ANA generally awards 1 coupon per 100 shares while JAL awards 1 coupon per 200 shares. ANA coupons can be used for anyone, while it’s not so clear for JAL.
SAS: Star Alliance Gold
Again, this won’t useful to anyone in Singapore, but shareholders resident in Sweden, Norway or Denmark who own at least 100,000 shares in SAS (STO: SAS) will receive either EuroBonus Gold or Diamond status, both of which are the equivalent of Star Gold.
- 100,000-999,999 shares: EuroBonus Gold
- 1 million shares or more: EuroBonus Diamond
The maximum number of EuroBonus Gold statuses granted under this program is 5,000 each year; if there are more than 5,000 eligible candidates, the benefit will be awarded to the 5,000 with the largest shareholdings. There is no limit for EuroBonus Diamond.
In case you were curious, 1 SAS share today trades at about 2 SEK, or S$0.31. 100,000 shares would therefore cost you about S$31,000. It’s probably cheaper to buy S$15,000 of fully refundable Singapore Airlines tickets with your AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend for instant KrisFlyer Elite Gold, however…
Royal Caribbean: Up to US$250 onboard credit
Shareholders with a minimum of 100 Royal Caribbean shares (NYSE: RCL) will be entitled to up to US$250 of onboard credit per stateroom. This depends on the duration of your cruise:
- 5 nights or less: US$50 per stateroom
- 6-13 nights: US$100 per stateroom
- 14 nights or more: US$250 per stateroom
To claim this benefit, send the following information to [email protected]
- Royal Caribbean confirmation number
- Ship name
- Sailing date
- Copy of current brokerage statement (60-90 days) or trade confirmation (30-60 days)
Alternatively, you can fill out an online form via this link.
There is no limit to the number of times this benefit can be used. Requests must be sent at least 2-3 weeks prior to sailing, and the full T&Cs can be found here.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Up to US$250 onboard credit
Norwegian’s shareholder benefit is practically identical to Royal Caribbean’s- any shareholder with at least 100 Norwegian Cruise Line shares (NYSE: NCLH) will receive up to US$250 onboard credit
- 6 days or less: US$50 per stateroom
- 7-14 days: US$100 per stateroom
- 15 days or more: US$250 per stateroom
What’s interesting is that Royal Caribbean uses nights, while Norwegian uses days. I’m guessing this means the two programs are the same (i.e 6 days on Norwegian is the same as 5 nights on Royal) in terms of generosity. However, NCLH shares are trading at ~US$26 as of today, much less than RCL at ~US$83. Talk about dividend yield…
Carnival Cruises: Up to US$250 onboard credit
Again, Carnival’s benefit is very similar to Royal Caribbean’s and Norwegian’s, although given their geographical reach and various brands, the quantum differs slightly.
Shareholders with at least 100 Carnival Cruise stocks (NYSE: CCL) will receive up to US$250 onboard credit, as follows:
|≥ 14 days||US$250||€200||£150||A$250|
|North America: Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, Costa Cruises|
Europe: Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises
UK: P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess
Australia: P&O Cruises, Princess, Carnival
To claim this benefit, send an email to the relevant address listed here with your name, reservation number, ship and sailing date, together with a brokerage statement. Requests must be received at least 3 weeks prior to sailing, and the full T&Cs can be found here.
Accor: Gold status
Shareholders who own at least 50 shares in Accor (EPA: AC) are invited to join the Accor Shareholders Club, the chief benefit of which is Accor Gold status.
Let me say flat out that there’s very little to be excited about here. Accor Gold (which normally requires 30 nights or €2,800 in annual spend) gives you a welcome drink and theoretically a room upgrade upon availability, but is otherwise quite useless, and only the third highest status in a five-tier program.
This offer was a whole lot better before 2015, when Accor Platinum was granted- Accor Platinum members at least get free breakfast. Accor devalued the program with just three months’ notice, and as of today, Gold status through shareholding is valid for one year only (granted till 31 December of the year following the year of subscription).
IHG: Discounted hotel rates
IHG has long mentioned a shareholders’ discount in its Investor Relations section, but offered precious few details on the perks. Just one share is required to participate, but it’s a non-starter for most because it requires you to hold your shares “in certified form, in their sole name, with the companies registrar.” My understanding is that it’s near impossible for someone in Singapore to do that, since your shares will be held by a nominee (your broker) instead.
Should you somehow get around that requirement, you’ll get access to a website which gives 15% off the best flexible rate (source: Flyertalk). Full prepayment is required, and reservations are non-refundable. That makes this benefit of dubious value, given you could easily book an advance purchase rate and end up paying around the same price.
Of all the travel benefits available to shareholders, the ones offered by cruise companies would probably be the most relevant to us in Singapore. These should never make you buy shares you wouldn’t otherwise have, but if you believe in the company’s prospects anyway, they’re a nice little bonus.
Any other travel-related shareholder benefits out there?