Is a Taj Epicure Membership Worth It?

Taj's premium dining program, Epicure, gives excellent financial benefits and other perks. What would it take for Epicure membership to be worth the price tag?

As one of the most luxurious hotel groups in India, Taj offers excellent fine dining at its restaurants. While anyone can enroll in its InnerCircle program for free to earn rewards, Epicure is a premium, paid dining membership costing Rs. 13,500 + tax per year. Its main benefits include significant value back on dining, drinks and spa, a complimentary stay, room upgrade vouchers and late checkout.

Some credit cards actually offer complimentary Epicure membership, but we did the math to help one determine whether paying for it could be worth the cost.

Who Should Consider Epicure?

Epicure membership could be worth it for 1) people who both stay and dine at Taj properties and 2) people who just dine but never stay at Taj. Using example room and dining rates, people who stay and dine at Taj could break even on 5-8 meals per year. People who only dine but don't stay at Taj could break even on 11 meals.

Taj Epicure Benefits
25% back as points on dining, bars and spa transactions
50% back as points on first 3 dining transactions (excluding meals while staying at Taj)
Complimentary stay in base room at most properties (excluding blackout dates 23 Dec to 15 Jan)
2 room upgrade vouchers
InnerCircle Silver status (includes late checkout up to 5pm)
Happy Hour – buy 1 get 1 drink free (every day of the week)
No points expiry

Breaking Even If You Stay & Dine at Taj
Assuming 18% GST, Epicure membership costs Rs. 15,930 (13,500 + 2,430). We valued a complimentary stay at about Rs. 7,081 using base weekend rates at Taj properties across India's 4 largest cities.

Assuming this Rs. 7,081 value, the complimentary stay would account for 44% of membership cost. One would need to earn Rs. 8,849 in additional value back to break even, which would likely occur via dining for most. If one only dines at Taj during hotel stays, 50% back on first 3 transactions would not apply. So, one would need to spend at least Rs. 35,397 during the year on dining, earning 25% back. Below is an example meal cost for 2 at Varq, Taj Mahal Delhi.

Assuming the above cost, one would need to dine at least 8 times during stays at Taj throughout the year to break even on membership.

Alternatively, if one dines at Taj at least 3 times during the year when not staying at the hotel, it would only take 5 total meals to break even. This is because those first 3 meals would earn 50% back.

Breaking Even If You Dine Only
If one wouldn't use (or simply wouldn't value) the complimentary room voucher, Epicure membership would be worth it if one dines 11 times per year. He would get 50% back on his first 3 meals and 25% back on the remainder.

For Whom is Epicure Worth the Most?

We outlined a few examples to help figure out whether Epicure membership is worth it. Its financial value varies greatly by individual, depending on whether one would stay at Taj during the year and how much one would dine, drink or use the spa. Additionally, some may also highly value Epicure's qualitative perks like room upgrades and/or late checkout. Importantly, make sure to consider how you would use these premium benefits before signing up.

This article originally appeared on ValueChampion's blog


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