Nutmeg Avios

Accor completes acquisition of Fairmont, Swissotel and Raffles – what next for Le Club?

On Tuesday, the acquisition of FairmontSwissotel and Raffles hotels by French group Accor legally completed.  It beat the legal completion of the Starwood / Marriott merger by a few days – that deal is also expected to finalise in the next week or so.

As part of the deal, the Qatar Investment Authority and the previous owner of Fairmont / Swissotel / Raffles, Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company, have become major shareholders in AccorHotels.

The deal brings iconic properties such as The Savoy in London, Raffles Singapore, Fairmont San Francisco, New York’s The Plaza, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City and Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris into the Accor fold.

The actual number of hotels belies their importance – there are only 114 open properties, plus another 40 in the pipeline, compared to the current 4,000 Accor hotels.  The deal is a game changer for Accor, however, in terms of its presence at the top of the market.

AccorHotels Fairmont Raffles Savoy acquisition

What does this mean for Le Club AccorHotels members?

Not as much as it could, unfortunately.

Le Club AccorHotels works differently to other hotel loyalty schemes.  You do NOT exchange your points for free nights.  Instead, you redeem them for money-off vouchers to use in their hotels at the rate of 2,000 points = €40.

This means that there is no arbitrage opportunity.  You can’t make a killing by using your points to get a room at the standard points cost on a night when cash prices are sky high.   You get the same value for your points at the ibis in Rotherham as you will at The Savoy in London.

There is no downside for Le Club members, of course:

You have more hotels where you can earn points

You have more hotels where your status benefits will be respected

You have a wider range of places to spend your points

In any event, it will take some time for these hotels to be integrated into the Accor system.  Even the simple act of being able to earn points from your stays will require substantial IT upgrades at each hotel.

If you are a member of Fairmont President’s Club, there will be a process of integration into Le Club AccorHotels.  The company has not yet set out a timeline for this.

Most concerned will be those people who bought Fairmont lifetime top tier status for a few thousand US$ during a promotion a few years ago – this looked like a good deal at the time since it came with a number of free annual nights in a suite at any Fairmont property.  If there is one thing to remember about the loyalty game, it is that any mention of ‘lifetime status’ refers to the lifetime of the programme and not to YOUR lifetime – as any bmi British Midland ‘lifetime Gold’ will tell you.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Iberia Plus Kids .... another way of earning Avios when your children fly
My review of the Hotel des Indes, The Hague, Presidential Suite!
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  1. mark2 says:

    Also Fairmont Chateau Montebello which is an enormous log cabin in the forest between Montreal and Ottawa. It has twelve square miles of forest where you can shoot a moose if you must (an can afford it). This is the only hotel where I have stayed twice (except work). A few miles away is Parc Omega.
    We have stayed at the Frontenac, but now that I am retired we just walked through the lobby last year.

  2. Dave R says:

    One other potential benefit for LCAH platinum members would be lounge access in more hotels.

  3. Jordan D says:

    And nothing for those of us who are Swissotel Circle top tier members … having earned that the hard way.

  4. peter says:

    I wonder if these will appear on the ‘Happy Monday’s’ promotion 🙂

    • I could go for that! The Raffles Singapore would do me as my wife costs me a fortune with her preference for the older properties in town.

  5. JamesWag says:

    Real shame Amex Plat holders will be losing Le Club Accor status shortly 🙁
    I’ll stop using them I’m afraid once I don’t have status 🙁

    • Mine is still good until Dec 2017, but I agree it is a loss for Amex Plat and that is why I have given it a break for at least a year to see if the benefits get more enticing in relation to the yearly cost.

      Along with the Cathy gold card I think the Accors platinum has been the most useful for me.

  6. Genghis says:

    It is indeed a loss as it was the only top tier status from the Amex Plat for status matching.
    However, there are plenty of reports on Status Matcher about IHG Premium Elites (available with the IHG £99 card) being matched to Hilton Diamond. Could also hit Spire Elite if necessary through Tesco>Virgin>IHG transfers (timed for the start of the year so essentially have two years’ status).

  7. Love the Accor Group and the addition of these hotels will be great! It’s quite interesting that each of these have been placed above the Sofitel range on the Accor website (which I take as a hierarchy for luxury, mid-scale and budget hotels).