What is the best hotel scheme? – Le Club Accorhotels – The Opinion

In my other post today, I outlined ‘the facts’ of the Le Club Accorhotels loyalty scheme.  This post is my personal opinion, highlighting areas where I think you might want to focus. 

The 10-second summary:

Strong points – big global network, easy to achieve Platinum status via promotions or Amex Platinum, decent Platinum benefits at Sofitel

Weak points – points have a fixed monetary value so no opportunity for arbitrage, little option but to redeem for airline miles at poor rates if you don’t want to redeem for a discount on an Accor stay

Sofitel St James

The longer version:

I think that Accor gets a slightly tough time from sites like Head for Points.  Part of the fun of the miles and points hobby is arbitrage – redeeming points at places which offer an oversized return.  Because Accor has a ‘points equal cash’ structure (2000 points = €40 off), you can’t play that game.

Le Club Accorhotels

It also doesn’t run many big global bonus point promotions, which means it doesn’t get regular coverage at sites like this.

For the regular guest, though, it works well.   If you are Platinum (and Amex Platinum members get that for free), you are getting 8.8% of your room bill back in Accor vouchers since the July 2014 changes.  Spend a working week in a Sofitel running up a £750 bill and you will ‘earn’ £66 for yourself – albeit £66 you need to spend in another Accor hotel.

The benefits – for Platinum members – are also pretty decent at the right properties.  If you’ve got Platinum via your American Express card, it is quite tempting to stay at a Sofitel.  You will get guaranteed lounge access (so free breakfast, snacks and drinks), an upgrade, free internet, late check-out, early check-in AND 8.8% of your room bill back in vouchers – plus up to 10% cashback via a cashback site for the original booking!

My experience of Accor properties is not extensive, as I wrote in my other post.  However, their UK network is surprisingly good, with Novotel and Mercure hotels in most major business cities.  The Sofitel St James in Mayfair (photo above) is a very impressive UK flagship and a decent place to spend your vouchers if you wanted a break in London.

I would have no complaints – given the benefits package and my free Platinum card via my Amex card - if I had to spend some time in a Sofitel or Pullman.  If they played the promotions game more, they would get the level of coverage that the size of the chain deserves.

What is the best hotel scheme? - Le Club Accorhotels - The Facts
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Comments

  1. Paul Irving says:

    Any chance of lounge access if I booked via hotels.com for the mercure Bangkok. I have a platinum card via amex platinum?

    • I was going to ask the same. Do member benefits apply for 3rd party bookings? I stayed at a Mercure in France last year, booked at part of a package. They refused to acknowledge my status or membership, even room service charges didn’t attract any points.

      I was annoyed because I had relied on the stay to help preserve my small balance there at the 1 year mark!

      • Hyatt and Hilton are generally good at recognising benefits, other chains less so.

      • Dannyrado says:

        Nope. I’m plat and stayed at the Sofitel Abu Dhabi, for new year, using otel.com. No room upgrade or points. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have got breakfast or lounge access, but I had them in my room rate anyway.

      • I stayed at a UK Mercure booked via Hotels.com and got a couple of free drink vouchers with my Platinum card. No room upgrade was mentioned, however, our room was significantly bigger than our friend’s room so maybe Platinum was a factor in that?

    • I wouldn’t want to rely on it.

    • Why don’t you just ask the property directly to get a straight forward answer?

    • I am Platinum and booked the Sofitel Budapest via avios.com (using the recent 50% off cash rate – £37.50 per night!). I emailed the hotel a few days before with details of my Le Club membership, and they offered an upgrade to a club room, lounge access and late checkout, although no points of course. Also the hotel experience was excellent in every way.

      If you have a third party booking I’d recommend contacting the hotel in advance to see if they will offer any status benefits, rather than just asking at check-in.

  2. Last year i only made 2 stays with Accor, but on both occasions my Platinum status got me a (worthwhile) room upgrade. One at M Gallery Phuket (great hotel), where i was upgraded to a nice room which had a hot tub on the balcony, and the other at a Novotel where i was upgraded to a huge Executive room.

  3. John Hanson says:

    I asked Accor about third party bookings and the answer was NO the benefits only apply for bookings through their portal or booking centre as Raffels has stated I have booked a stay through Top Cashback that uses their portal so here’s hoping

    • John Hanson says:

      Thanks Lady London. Our first visit is in march but that was booked direct and the second is in may booked through TCB so we will see.
      John

  4. The question is – why would you bother booking an Accor hotel through a third-party site? As Raffles points out, they give a decent rate of cashback on TCB, unlike Starwood or IHG. And they offer a best-rate guarantee – I think they will undercut a cheaper rate by 10%. Given those two facts, there is no reason to risk losing elite benefits (and points, though that’s perhaps less useful for many people) by booking via a third-party site.

    • Dannyrado says:

      Because their best rate guarantee is woeful. It’s takes them at least a decade to read the claim form, then they WILL refuse to honour the claim because you occasionally wear shoes (or more commonly because the better rate has disappeared because it took them a decade to check.)

      Also, my most recent stay was for a prestige suite, which was sold out on accor, but available at an unbelievable price through otel.com.

      • They sound worse than IHG. I’ve never used the BRG, but if they are really are that bad, then I can understand why you might want to take advantage of a good, third-party rate. I guess one has to weigh up the pros and cons….

        • IHG is getting better, they are now answering emails in hours rather than days! And if you get approved, your first night is free.

  5. Another big advantage of Le Club is the frequent special offers – the Happy Mondays offer mentioned here yesterday and the regular sales mentioned in another post.