I spent a few nights at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion in Barbados last week, as part of a longer stay on the island. I will do a mini-review of the hotel at some point (summary: not as good as Sandy Lane, where we went afterwards, but not as as pricey).
I achieved top tier Accor Live Limitless Diamond status from my stay. This was from a standing start. Due to Accor’s ‘soft landing’ policy I will now be Diamond or Platinum until early 2024.
I also walked away with 30,000 Accor Live Limitless points. I could convert these into 30,000 Avios via Iberia Plus, but instead I am going to sit on them. Accor has started to run some impressive ‘Experiences’ redemptions in the UK, eg this Chelsea Flower Show VIP trip, and I’d prefer to use them for that. I’m not exactly short of miles.
I used three ‘hacks’ to achieve this. I thought I’d run through them in three separate articles, to highlight some of the lesser known features of the Accor Live Limitless programme.
The second article in this series, about how I bought an ibis Business card purely to get Accor Gold status and its 50% bonus points, is here.
Accor Live Limitless is not the best hotel loyalty scheme
My excitement at hitting Accor Live Limitless Diamond status from a short stay is tempered by the fact that it doesn’t have a huge amount of value.
I will get executive lounge access, where available, and upgrades, but these come with Platinum status. The extra benefits of Diamond seem to be:
- suite upgrade vouchers – but these seem to require you to pay for the room one level below a suite, and to pay a flexible rate (you also need to call to book with these vouchers)
- 4 x €25 dining vouchers – a benefit which no-one has ever received, looking at these Flyertalk comments. Other parts of the Accor website now talk about 10 x €10 dining vouchers – but no-one has ever seen one of these either.
- free breakfast at weekends
- ability to gift Gold status to a friend
If nothing else, however, I lock in a soft landing. I will spend 2022 as Diamond and 2023 as Platinum, which is just as good in terms of upgrades and lounge access.
Accor hack #1 – Accor is the ONLY major hotel chain where multiple rooms count for status
The first ‘hack’ I used to hit Accor Live Limitless Diamond status in just one stay was taking advantage of its industry-leading policy on multiple rooms.
Every hotel loyalty programme has a little golden nugget in it somewhere, and for Accor I think it is the multiple rooms rule.
As my children are now 10 and 13, sleeping on rollaway beds for more than one night doesn’t work for them. And no-one wants to be sharing a bathroom with a 13 year old …..
Our default hotel booking option on family holidays is now two rooms
How do hotel chains usually treat multiple rooms?
With IHG’s recent loosening up of its rules, all of the major hotel groups will now let you earn REDEEMABLE points when you book multiple rooms.
Apart from Accor, however, you cannot earn status points on two rooms.
There are sometimes little quirks, such as Hilton’s insistence that you must merge your rooms onto one bill if you want to earn points from all of them. The end result is the same though. With the exception of Accor Live Limitless:
- you CAN earn redeemable points from multiple rooms (the number varies by chain)
- you CANNOT earn status points from multiple rooms
How does the Accor Live Limitless status system work?
Accor lets you earn up to Platinum status based on spend or room nights. For Diamond status, it is ONLY based on spend.
The standard requirements are:
- Silver – requires 10 nights or 2,000 points (€800 of eligible spend). Benefits are ‘priority welcome’, late check-out if available and a welcome drink and a 25% point bonus.
- Gold – requires 30 nights or 7,000 points (€2,800 of eligible spend). Additional benefits include a room upgrade if available, late check-out or early check-in if available and a 50% point bonus.
- Platinum – requires 60 nights or 14,000 points (€5,600 of eligible spend). Additional benefits include executive lounge access if available, Suite Night Awards and a 75% point bonus.
- Diamond – requires 26,000 points (€10,400 of eligible spend). Additional benefits include complimentary breakfast on weekends, four Dining & Spa Rewards per year worth €25 each and the ability to gift Gold Status to a friend. You receive a 75% points bonus.
In 2021, as a covid mitigation measure, the requirements above have been halved.
This means that I only had to spend €5,200 to reach Diamond status.
How does Accor Live Limitless treat multiple rooms?
The Accor Live Limitless terms and conditions are here (PDF). See paragraph 7.2.2 under ‘Eligible Expenses’.
Whilst you don’t earn ‘nights’ credit for booking two rooms, the spend you generate from both rooms is counted towards status.
How did it work for me in Barbados?
To reach Diamond status from our two rooms at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, I needed to spend €2,600 per room in total over five nights.
This would have hit the required 2021 target of €5,200 of spend for Diamond status, which is 50% lower than usual due to covid.
Spending €2,600 per room over five nights wasn’t difficult, unfortunately, given the cost of a sea view room at a luxury hotel in Barbados during peak season.
If you regularly book two rooms when you stay in a hotel, you might want to focus a little more on the Accor Live Limitless programme.
The ability to count your spending from two rooms towards status means that you could reach a top tier quicker than you think, and certainly quicker than with competing loyalty programmes.
Accor Live Limitless brands include 25h, Adagio, Angsana, Art Series, Banyan Tree, BreakFree, Delano, EMBLEMS, Fairmont, Greet, House of Originals, Hoxton, Huazhu, Hyde, ibis, Legend, M Gallery, Mama Shelter, Mantis, Mantra, Mercure, Mondrian, Movenpick, Novotel, Orient Express, Peppers, Pullman, Raffles, Rixos, SLS, SO, Sofitel, Swissotel, The Sebel and Tribe.
The Gleaneagles hotel in Scotland will be added soon, followings its recent acquisition.
Coming up ….
There are another two parts to this series coming up showing two additional tricks I used to maximise the Accor Live Limitless points from my stay. Part 2, about how I bought an ibis Business card to get Accor Gold status and a 50% bonus points, is here. Part 3, about how I earned another 2,000 Accor points by double dipping with Flying Blue, is here.
Booking Fairmont Royal Pavilion
If Fairmont Royal Pavilion is on your radar, our luxury hotel booking agent Emyr Thomas – details here – can book it for you. He secured me a ‘four for three’ deal, saving $1000 per room, and we also received free breakfast ($125ish per day for a family of four if you pay) and a $100 food credit per room. You will also earn Accor Live Limitless points as usual.
PS. It is also worth mentioning Hotels.com Rewards as part of any discussion on booking multiple hotel rooms. Hotels.com Rewards gives you status AND free night credits for ALL rooms in a booking. Book two rooms for five nights and that counts as the 10 nights required to earn a free night. You don’t even need to be staying – if you make a booking for a friend or relative via your Hotels.com account, you still get the credit. The only downside is that the benefits of Hotels.com Rewards status are limited compared to having status with a major chain.
Accor Live Limitless update – December 2022:
Earn bonus Accor points: Accor is not currently running a global promotion
New to Accor Live Limitless? Read our overview of Accor Live Limitless here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our analysis of what Accor Live Limitless points are worth is here.
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from Accor and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.