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Ritz-Carlton will introduce a loyalty rewards program in response to declining room rates in the luxury hotel industry. The chain long insisted that its customers were not interested in such a scheme. But with the average cost of a Ritz room at $297 at the end of the second quarter, 19% below the 2008 rate, loyalty programs now hold an appeal.

Marriott International, the chain’s parent, will introduce the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program. A 20-night stay at a $300-a-night Ritz room will earn one or two nights at most other Ritz hotels, or 10 nights at a lower-end Marriott brand hotel.

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