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

In my article yesterday, I outlined ‘the facts’ of the Le Club Accorhotels loyalty scheme. This article 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 including ‘subject to capacity’ lounge access

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 Terminal 5 Heathrow

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

Until late last year, it was also running few big global promotions.  This meant that it didn’t get much coverage.

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 (Heathrow T5 pictured above). You will get ‘subject to capacity constraints’ 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.

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 is a very impressive UK flagship and a decent place to spend your vouchers if you wanted a break in London.

The ‘Happy Monday’ offers – where unsold UK rooms for the following weekend are offloaded every Monday and Tuesday for £25 to no more than £60 – are also very generous.  If you ever need a weekend hotel at short notice, this should be your first stop.

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 continue to run good promotions then I think we will all have to start taking them seriously as an option.

(To see our complete list of current Accor promotions, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. SydneySwan says:

    The real problem with Accor points is you lose them after exactly 12 months of no activity and unless you have 2k of them you can’t spend them. Mrs SydneySwan has 799 points expiring in 4 weeks but her next booking is in 7 weeks time. Points will have disappeared by then. Anyone know of a way around this.

    • Try filling in enough e-rewards surveys to hit the threshold (seven weeks might be enough time, although whether the boredom completing them is worth the le club points is debatable!)

    • flibbly says:

      There used to be trick to convert <2000 points to Avios by signing up for auto conversion via a special link, but its a coupple of years since I did it so don't have any more info sorry. If you've plenty of time to search Flyertalk its detailed on there somewhere!

      • autoconvert to BA still works for anything below 2000

      • Moonman says:

        I tried the trick auto convert via the air berlin landing page recently and couldn’t get it to work. Would be interested to hear if anyone else had successfully rescued a few points from their account

      • I just have used it to send some of my wife’s points due to expire to Iberia. If you set the account to auto convert you will get an email notifying the points have auto transferred. Ensure you set the partner first as selecting the auto convert button will send to the partner you have previously selected. You do not get a notification in your Accor account.

  2. Does the T5 Sofitel honour platinum privileges on lastminute.com “secret” bookings ?

    • I’d be interested in this too!

    • I booked a £97.00 top secret hotel stay last September at the Sofitel T5 on my way back from SIN. I recevied the usual upgrade of room and normal lounge access.

    • Andrew S says:

      Yes it does. Make sure you hand over your plat card as the first part of your checkin.

    • I found they did on mine, I just showed my electronic card in the app at check-in. They also honoured it on a stay with a BA hotel voucher (due to missed connection – I even earned points on that one!). On my Lastminute.com stay they mistakenly charged me again and ignored my emails about it, I complained to the hotel GM and they refunded the double charge and offered my 4k Accor points :)

  3. I’d disagree on the Arbitrage point, on the most recent promotion you could have bagged 8,000 points worth €160 (£120) for an outlay less then this possibly as low as £75 (3 × £25 stays)

      • I meant arbitrage for spending. InterCon Park Lane is 50k points whether cash rate is £175 or £500. Accor requires 300 per cent more vouchers at peak in a similar scenario.

        • I accept that scenario Rob, but I’ve found no problem using points for a cash discount on rooms I would have booked anyway, the points acquired costing less than the discount I was getting

          • The arbitrage being from both spend and redemption, but understand what you mean

          • I disagree that the points having a fixed cash value is q negative. It means that you can get a good points redemption at cheap hotels as well as top end ones. This is usually not the case with other schemes such as IHG. It also gives you the option to use your points towards any room type which is also not possible at other chains. For me, the biggest negative about Le Club is the lack of hotels with lounges, making platinum status not as worthwhile as it should be.

  4. Richard Brown says:

    I am an Amex platinum member and indeed got the Accor platinum card for free. Sadly it does not seem to last forever, as have just been downgraded to silver! Do you know if this is supposed to be the case?

  5. Accor Club is my preferred hotel scheme as it’s easy to get status on points, not just actual stays. The major drawback though is even with Gold, they don’t guarantee the early check in, late check out, or upgrades – it’s on a best endeavours basis when you arrive. I’ve tried emailing the hotels in advance to secure benefits but most don’t reply or when they do they quote best endeavours.

  6. The Accor scheme in my opinion is one of the best to get a suite with very little loyalty required if you are Platinum. I find the Sofitels and Pullmans in the Far East are superb hotels providing great service. If you look at a hotel in the Sofitel website you usually find there is very little cost difference between rooms until you get to suites. I usually book a room which is one level below a suite. The room upgrade kicks in and a lovely suite is provided.

    I also have been offered very late check outs and access to the executive lounge when I have a late flight.

  7. I have no experience myself but it seems like lounge access doesn’t mean free breakfast.

    “This is what Accor have told me:
    Quote:
    we kindly inform you that Platinum customers have access to the lounge from 12 am to midnight so breakfast is not included. However, there are snacks in the afternoon (12h to 2PM), tea time (3:30 PM to 6 PM) and wine tasting (6:30 PM to midnight) ”

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/accor-le-club-accorhotels/1585719-there-breakfast-lounge-sofitel-rio-copacabana-2.html

    • 12:00 AM is midnight! so that would mean 24hrs.

      Lounge access is available at Sofitel T5 with platinum and you can get a small continental style breakfast. I always go for the “fat boys” in the main restaurant though ; ))

      • sandgrounder says:

        Maybe thats the way they roll in Rio but no problems hitting the pastries at LGW last week.

  8. Quick question about the program.

    I booked a BA flight to Newcastle and booked a stay at the Novotel there at the airport, through BA – (flight + hotel, booked and paid for in one transaction).

    I’m LeClub Accor Platinum through ownership of an Amex Platinum Charge card.

    I understand, that I wont get any LeClub Accor points, though is there any way of getting LeClubAccor Platnium benefits (room upgrade, most importantly), even though I wasn’t asked for my membership number on booking?

    I will receive bonus Avios points though, for the cost of the flight+hotel package, as well as the usual tier points and normal Avios through the flight itself.

    Also airport taxi transfers to and from the hotel are included, but don’t anything about this?

    • Contact the hotel and give them the details of your stay and your Accors number, ask for an upgrade and any other special request you may have.
      I have asked for points on checkout when I have not booked through Accors and have still received them. It about being pleasant an persuasive to the hotel employees.

    • When you get in the taxi ask them about the free transfer and they will call ahead and ask from the car. I think they started offering the service when they built the new Db tree as this hotel is not in walking distance

      • I don’t know anything about taxi transfers. I’ve just got the pre-paid hotel voucher, printed off from my itinerary, from Manage My Booking on the BA website. So I do just get in the taxi upon arrival, and tell about the free transfer? What if the driver claims they don’t know anything about it, and I end up paying for it?

  9. Raffles says he doesn’t particularly like Accor because of its lack of arbitrage – however, this is not necessarily a bad thing. As a Platinum member, you get 8.8% worth of points back every time. Compare that to IHG – you get 10 points per dollar spent (i.e. per 70p spent). If you value each point at 0.5p (as Raffles does), then you’re getting 5p of value per 70p spent, which is just over 7% – less than with Accor! And, to be perfectly honest, I don’t really go along with the 0.5p valuation of IHG points since that usually only applies to the expensive Intercontinental hotels – and I’d never book those hotels anyway, since there are far better hotels in that price range.

    Arbitrage may make the points hobby more exciting – but we shouldn’t be blinded by it to real value.

  10. I am having huge problems with the €160 promotional offer. I made my first two stays two weeks ago, and I’ve been chasing them up since. However, they’ve now claimed I’ve made the bookings outside the promotional period (which is incorrect), and the booking dates they’re quoting are actually the dates that I “checked in online”. It’s been an absolute nightmare dealing with them.

  11. Cloud Runner says:

    AC’s experience chimes with mine.

    LCAH seems to be a decent scheme with TERRIBLE customer service…

    I would say they screw up the points calculation way more than half the time (always in their favor, strangely enough) and it always takes multiple contacts with them to get it corrected.

    P.S. I also got the free breakfast at LGW the other week but this was because my free Plat upgrade landed me on the 8th floor :)

  12. If anyone understands how the Accor points redemptions work I’d appreciate clarification!

    Having received a Platinum card with my Amex Plat in December, I’ve been enjoying exploring the chain (Sofitel great, Mercure good, Novotel good) and earning some points (even, I think, on some 3rd party bookings without prompting).

    I am confused though because I’ve now amassed 9000 points and for a new booking it has just offered to allow me to use 4000 points to reduce the bill by £111 or ~ €155.

    Now I thought that 8000 points was equivalent to €160 so I am surprised … can anyone explain this please or clarify what the “rules” are and whether sometimes surprisingly good options pop up?!

    Cheers