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, decent Platinum benefits at Sofitel including ‘subject to capacity’ lounge access, luxury options improving with Swissotel / Raffles / Fairmont purchase

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, harder to earn status following 2017 changes

Sofitel Terminal 5 Heathrow

The longer version:

I think that Accor gets a slightly tough time from 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.

It also runs few big global promotions, and those that do run often have very narrow booking windows.  This meant that it doesn’t get much editorial coverage.

For the regular guest, though, Le Club AccorHotels works well.  If you are Platinum, you are getting 8.8% of your room bill back in Accor vouchers.  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.  At a Sofitel (such as 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.

Le Club AccorHotels review

My experience of Accor properties is not extensive.  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.

We have reviewed two new UK Accor hotels in the last year and both were impressive.  Novotel Blackfriars (review) has the new contemporary look being rolled out across the chain (and a swimming pool).  The new ibis Styles at Heathrow (review) is also showcasing a new, modern design – despite “only being an ibis” I think any HFP reader would be happy there.

The ‘Happy Monday’ offers – where unsold UK rooms for the following two weekends 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.  Smart readers will have a redemption room booked at another chain and then look to switch to a ‘Happy Mondays’ room at the last minute, getting their points back for another stay another day.

For the average Head for Points reader, the programme has got less valuable this year.  You can’t deny that.  The loss of Platinum status for American Express Platinum cardholders impacted many of us.  The fact that points earned from promotions no longer count towards status has hit those who earned status the hard way.

(One modest loophole going forward may be to buy an ibis Business Card for €90.  This gives automatic Gold status in the AccorHotels scheme.)

I still have eight months of Platinum status left and I would have no complaints – given the benefits package and the generous % of my rate repaid in vouchers – if I had to spend some time in one of their properties.

How Brad is flying around the world for 116,000 airline miles + £285 + $30
TRIPLE points on Club Carlson stays until June - a potential 50%+ rebate!
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Comments

  1. Sididdly says:

    I’ve always avoided Accor for the reason that the rewards are cash based. Unfortunately, I think that Hilton has nearly gone down this route as well despite claims to the contrary. When the new ‘cash plus points’ scheme was rolled out a few weeks ago it looked amazing. Examples such as Conrad St James for 57K )usually 80) and London Bankside for 44K (usually 70). However, whenever I look now most of the prices seem to be dynamic and reflective of the rate. So a decent redemption at a high value hotel when the cash rate is high is very rare or extinct.

    • This was all well-publicised when people were discussing the changes.

      Hilton’s program IS revenue-based except that the maximum year-round redemption prices have not increased.

      57K points = US$285. The flexible rate on that day would be around £228.
      44K points = US$220. The flexible rate on that day would be around £176.

      Previously it would just have been a bad deal to redeem 80K points when the paid rate was less than say £300.

      However if a hotel is 50K points and the paid rates are consistently over £200, then it would have been a good-to-OK deal to redeem and as nothing has changed, it is still a good-to-OK deal.

      • Yes, the key bit is the maximum redemption rate caps – I suspect them to gradually disappear in due course…

  2. Alex W says:

    Accor does usually get a decent rebate from the likes of topcashback, currently up to 15%. Even so I think you can get a better return most of the time in most other chains. Hilton i am normally getting 25-30% back. Just look at the recent Carlson example of over 50%!

  3. I asked this q last night…

    Does anyone know if Accor status match Hilton Gold or Diamond?

    • James Henson says:

      I’m currently trying it the other way round: from Accor Gold (which I earned through various stays last year) to Hilton Gold. I will let everyone know if the application is successful!

    • AFAIK, Accor does not offer status match. You can buy Gold status though!

    • Statusmatcher.com is your friend.

      • It is claimed here http://www.statusmatcher.com/report/56326 that you can get Accor Concierge from IHG Spire Elite.
        Have not tried it (yet)

        • Genghis says:

          That’s Club Carlson. Looks like Accor don’t do status matches

          • True; sorry, must read more carefully next time.
            On the subject of challenges, if you fail to meet it are you banned from trying again? ever?

        • I’ve just requested to status match my IHG Platinum Elite (as I’ve taken the black card out this week) to Club Carlson Gold. This should help my Sun/Mon/Tues stay in Oslo on the bonus points in June.

          Also handy that my IHG account is PE now (not got the credit card yet). Heading to NYC CP later today, wonder if I’ll get any upgrades. Then onto Boston CP next week.

  4. AspirationalFlyer says:

    I had a great 2016 with Accor hotels platinum status. The best two examples were an upgrade from the cheapest room at the Sofitel Downtown Dubai to a great Opera Suite with direct views from the lounge onto the Burj Khalifa and views from the bath (!) down Sheikh Zayed Road. In Egypt (Luxor) I was also upgraded to a fantastic suite of historical significance. Even at Ibis properties where I’d paid very little, they always tried to accommodate requests for a ‘room with a view’ (to the extent they had them) and usually gave welcome letters. Sadly, I only have gold status now!

  5. One big reason to go Accor over IHG for me; is topcashback regularly; pretty much monthly the cash back jumps to 15% cash back on Sofitel class hotels.Since they bought Swissotes they have also been doing 7.5% back on that group of hotels.

    To prove there isn’t one size for all; i for one prefer the cash based rewards. I can choose the room class I want rather than getting the one that overlooks the rubbish burning pile you get with a lot of other hotels reward rooms. Would love ihg or others to have a BA like upgrade system for reward nights; pay 50% more for a deluxe, 100% more for a suite. Would burn through my millions of ihg points in a hurry if that happened.

  6. Richard says:

    Also note that accor gives fairly generous cashback via topcashback, varies depending on the brand but you will get another 5 – 10% of the room rate back.

  7. I tend to use Accor hotels for odd nights because they seem to have a wider coverage wherever I need to be in the UK and they are generally cheaper than other places. The Happy Mondays deals are great for a weekend in London for £80. I’ve done 4 Ibis and 2 Ibis Style nights in the last month. All very good combination of price and location.

    Given how frustrating my Accelerate targets were this quarter, I may end up using Accor more for UK stays.

  8. Monopolies commission says:

    I generally find I get upgraded with Accor Platinum unlike IHG where for years back in the day as a Platinum I got at best moved from a standard double to a standard double on a higher floor (or closer to the corner).

  9. booked a week in the visabella in spain for 2K but no points etc. thought i would get a shed load and achieve status!! how can they do that? it is one of their hotels and they do tell you no points. sam

  10. Murtaza says:

    Accor is my go to hotel group for bookings. I don’t get any travel with my work so all the bookings i make are personal and since it’s always on a budget, I’ve managed to get some bloody good deals everyone i book.

    Earlier this year, i booked 6 nights in Dubai at the world trade centre ibis for less than £40 per night. I had breakfast included as well as given the last room on the top floor. I only have Gold membership, but i get very good value for money.

    Topcashback makes it even better! No complaints here :)

  11. I had a great experience at Pullman Berlin in October. Extremely clean, very spacious room, accommodating to our late check out request and an amazing breakfast.

    My partner is a teacher so that limits our holidaying (in terms of cost) but for quality, relaxation, cost and in particular location their upscale hotels are a perfect choice for us.

    As chris & Murtaza say TCB / Quidco offers are always a welcome addition too.

  12. Most of times..rooms are psid by companies. .so it is all bonus for points hunters!

  13. Rob –
    Have I been ‘conned’ by Accor? I had a long-standing flexible points & cash booking with them, and needed to change the date.
    I rang them to change it and was told “We cannot do that directly – you must cancel, get the points back in a few days, and re-book”. The cancellation went straight through, but the points never appeared in my account and are presumably now expired. Any ideas, anyone?
    Regards, Mark

    • If anyone’s still here (!), I chased Accor, and they reinstated these points OK. Very pleased, as I suspect that in fact those particular points had expired during that time.

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