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Get special benefits booking luxury Accor hotels via the STEP programme

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Accor has decided to follow the other major hotel groups and relaunch its special incentive programme for luxury travel agents.

Luckily for you, we partner with such an agent – Emyr Thomas of Bon Vivant – which means that you can access these deals.

Welcome to Accor STEP …..

Fairmont Banff Springs discount
Fairmont Banff Springs, Canada

What is Accor STEP?

Accor STEP is, like Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Hyatt Prive, Hilton Impressario, Mandarin Oriental Fan Club and IHG Luxury & Lifestyle, a special benefits programme which can only be accessed by selected luxury travel agents.

These schemes are driven by the US travel market. Whilst virtually unheard of in the UK, most wealthy Americans will use a personal travel advisor. These tend to be self employed individuals who contract with a bigger travel group to provide access to deals and back-end support. It’s similar to how, in finance, St James’s Place works in the UK.

In order to keep ‘front of mind’ with travel advisors, the big hotel groups offer access to special benefits. The travel advisors can offer their clients these exclusive privileges for booking with them, which guarantees the booking and their future loyalty. Everyone wins.

Well …. everyone wins except people who don’t have access to a luxury travel advisor. Don’t worry, however, as you can use our hotel booking partner, details below.

Which Accor brands take part in Accor STEP?

Accor STEP benefits can be booked at ALL hotels in the following brands:

  • Fairmont
  • Raffles
  • Sofitel Legend
Raffles Singapore discount
Raffles Singapore

It applies to some hotels in these brands:

  • SLS
  • Sofitel
  • Delano
  • 21C
  • Rixos
  • MGallery
  • Pullman
  • Swissotel
  • SO/

For the majority of participating hotels there is no minimum stay requirement. A few of the cheaper hotels on the second list require a two night stay.

The current list of participating hotels is here (Excel). Annoyingly Accor does not highlight which of the lower end hotels require a two night minimum stay.

Participating UK hotels are:

Fairmont Windsor Park discount
Fairmont Windsor Park

Are Accor STEP rates the same as online rates?

Yes. You will pay the Best Flexible Rate shown online.

There are likely to be cheaper Advanced Purchase rates available. If you are happy to pay in advance and don’t need a refundable rate then you need to do the maths as to whether the STEP benefits are worth the extra cost.

What benefits does Accor STEP offer?

Accor STEP gets you the following benefits:

  • Free room upgrade at time of booking or check-in, if available (depending on property)
  • Complimentary daily breakfast for two
  • $100 hotel credit to be spent during your stay
  • Early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability)
  • VIP welcome
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Clearly, if you would otherwise book an Advanced Purchase rate, then you are paying a small premium to lock in these benefits.  The free breakfast, upgrade and $100 hotel credit should easily put you into ‘profit’ though on the price difference.  If you would usually book a flexible rate, these extra benefits are genuinely free.

(Let’s be clear. Getting a $100 hotel credit AND free breakfast on a 1-night stay is an exceptional return.)

For clarity, you will earn Accor Live Limitless points and elite night credits on top and you pay on departure. If you have Accor status, the benefits will stack as best they can. Our article on what Accor Live Limitless points are worth is here.

Raffles Palm Dubai discount
Raffles The Palm Dubai

How does this offer work with the current American Express Fairmont offer?

If targetted, you will receive £125 cashback on a £750 spend at a participating Fairmont property. The deal runs until 30th September.

It is available at just four Fairmont hotels:

All of these hotels also take part in the Accor STEP programme.

So …. you book a room via Bon Vivant at one of these four participating Fairmont hotels. Because it is an Accor STEP hotel, you get the upgrade, free breakfast, $100 of hotel credit, welcome gift and early check-in / late check-out if available.

Assuming you spend £750, you will also get £125 cashback from American Express.

You will also receive your Accor Live Limitless benefits and points. It’s not a bad deal.

If you simply want to take advantage of the American Express Fairmont offer by booking a cheaper Advance Purchase rate, bookings can be made directly on all.accor.com. The American Express offer requires, in theory, that you book a ‘pay at checkout’ rate but – as long as you book on the Accor site and not via an intermediary – this is usually not an issue.

To book

If you want to make an Accor booking with Accor STEP benefits, Emyr Thomas of Bon Vivant, who we partner with, is an Accor STEP agent.  You can drop him a note via the form here.  Emyr has worked with us for many years now and readers have booked well over £1.3 million of rooms through him.  I also use him for my personal travel when I can.

Comments (25)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Simonbr says:

    Thanks Rob. Emyr is excellent. He is fast, uncomplicated and patient. We decide where we want to go, know what it costs, ask him what he can add and most of the time we get a better deal than we would booking direct. He costs us nothing, his commission comes from the hotel. He can’t help with loyalty points or IC Ambassador free night bookings.

  • Can says:

    Pity that Rixos resorts outside UAE are not included….

  • AlanC says:

    Best Flex rates at Accor you can use your Accor points to pay or part pay at checkout. Would this be an issue here?

    • Rob says:

      Not if you can use points at checkout (can you?).

      • AlanC says:

        Used points to reduce a pre paid rate at St Andrew’s. Reception just took the points required and refunded my card. I was told flexible rates easiest to manage.

    • Gordon says:

      You pay the hotel directly on checkout so I don’t see why not….

  • Marco Polo says:

    The Amex offer is only showing 4 hotels available.
    We are due to go to Vancouver next month.
    Any way to ascertain as to whether the Fairmonts in Vancouver qualify.

    • Rob says:

      The Amex offer is only for those four hotels.

      You will never see an Amex hotel offer which covers anything except Western Europe.

  • Cwyfan says:

    Remember that some benefit packages from Bon Vivant require 2 nights stay, and it is $100 per stay not per night.

  • Lady London says:

    Was that an implied recommendation for St James’s Place Rob?

    • Rob says:

      Absolutely not!

    • Lady London says:

      Hmm to someone just starting out, since the general recomnendation here on Emyr is so good, some of that light might fall on any other name mentioned as working similarly. When I waa younger if I’d been looking for a name anything mentioned by you since you are so excellent at what you do, I might have followed up Rob.

      I’ll leave it now.

  • HH says:

    I won’t name who as it’s a competitor of Emyr’s, but there’s a US-based agent who offers full web functionality to search and book these special travel agent rates without having to email or speak to them, which is far more convenient. If Emyr / HfP could provide that functionality, I expect you’d get so much more business coming your way…

    • BSI1978 says:

      Surprised by this; would have assumed that the hotel operators wouldn’t want to risk these rates being viewed/accessible by a wider cohort than just the TA.

      • Hbommie says:

        I don’t think its a secret that the usual rate in these circumstances are ‘best available rate’ on the hotel websites. The benefits and personal touch is what differentiates here.

    • Rob says:

      You’re missing the point slightly. Most of the value in using Emyr is actually in the way he handles your booking. If you have any sort of requests (special occasion, connecting rooms etc) he is on the phone to the hotel on the day you arrive to ensure it is done. Want to tweak your dates etc? It’s far easier just to email him and say ‘add a day here, cut a day here’. It’s like having a PA to deal with your travel requests.

      For example … we always take two rooms in the same Dubai hotel each October when we visit my wife’s sister. For three years in a row, it failed to deliver connecting rooms irrespective of what I did in terms of booking notes, emailing before arrival etc. We always had to wait 1-2 nights for a pair to open up and then pack up and move. For the last 3 trips Emyr has booked it and he has ensured that it is done.

      You also shouldn’t underestimate the clout he has by virtue of being one of the few people doing this in the UK. I believe he is the single largest agency booker of Four Seasons Hampshire, for example, which gives him the ability to ensure that what you want to be done gets done.

      • Brian78 says:

        “For three years in a row, it failed to deliver connecting rooms irrespective of what I did in terms of booking notes, emailing before arrival etc. ”

        Why did you continue to stay somewhere that can’t get basic things right?!

  • Gordon says:

    The Radisson comments link takes you here Rob. Have you adopted the same IT system BA has 😆

    • Rob says:

      That’s due to an IT cock up yesterday which is still washing through.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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