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Is Accor Live Limitless the best hotel loyalty scheme? (Part 1)

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This is the first of our overview series on the major hotel loyalty programmes, which hasn’t been updated for almost two years. Each scheme will be covered over two articles on consecutive days. One will list the basic facts of the scheme – basically ‘How does Accor Live Limitless work?‘ – and the other will be my subjective view of what is of particular merit.

The full series of articles can be found here:

Accor Live Limitless covers 5,300 hotels globally.  Folowing an acquisition spree over the last few years, the group now has 43 brands which is more than any other chain:

  • the ‘legacy’ brands include Pullman, Sofitel, Mercure, Novotel and Ibis
  • recent acquisitions have added Fairmont, Swissotel, Movenpick, Banyan Tree, Gleneagles, Hoxton, Delano, Mondrian and Raffles amongst others (not all of which are part of the loyalty scheme)
  • other brands, often with only a couple of sites, include Faena, Jo+Joe, SLS, Rixos, M Gallery, Peppers, 25 Hours, Mama Shelter, Tribe and Greet

The home page for the programme is here. The full list of Accor brands is here.

Accor Live Limitless review

What is the geographic spread?

Accor has the largest number of non-US hotels of any chain.

The group is well represented throughout the UK at all price points, including The Savoy which is managed by Fairmont. Gleneagles in Scotland and the Hoxton chain joined the Accor fold in 2021 but are not yet available for earning or redeeming points.

Regular travellers are most likely to come into contact with them via the Sofitel at Heathrow Terminal 5 and at Gatwick.  There is also a low key but impressive Sofitel in St James in Central London pictured further down.

The chain is poorly represented in North America. 

Historically Accor was not well represented in the luxury segment. This has improved sharply with acquisitions such as Banyan Tree, Delano, Swissotel, Raffles and Fairmont.

What are the elite levels in Accor Live Limitless?

Accor Live Limitless has four elite levels, with a new Diamond tier added at the time that ALL was launched:

  • 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, 10 Dining & Spa Rewards per year worth €10 each and the ability to gift Gold Status to a friend. You receive a 75% points bonus.
Is Accor Live Limitless the best hotel loyalty scheme?

This HfP article compares the number of nights or spending required to earn top-tier hotel status. It is easier to earn Accor Platinum status, either by nights or by spend, than it is to earn comparable benefits from Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, IHG Diamond Elite or Marriott Platinum.

Accor allows you to earn points from two rooms per night – click the link for full details. Importantly, it is the ONLY major chain which allows you to earn credit towards elite status from multiple rooms. Other hotel schemes will give you points towards free nights for multiple rooms, but not points towards status. I earned Accor Diamond status via this route when we booked two rooms at the Fairmont in Barbados in 2021.

Platinum status was, until 2016, given free to American Express Platinum card holders.  The removal of this benefit was a big loss for American Express as Accor was the only chain to offer free top tier status to cardholders. American Express Platinum continues to gift Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold, Radisson Premium and Melia Gold status to cardholders.

You can still get ‘free’ Accor Live Limitless Gold status as a benefit of purchasing the ibis Business card for £65This article covers the ibis Business card benefits. If you are planning an expensive Accor stay, it might make sense to buy this first due to the value of the Gold elite status bonus you would get on future trips.

Suite upgrades – at the time of booking – were introduced when Accor Live Limitless replaced Le Club AccorHotels. They were very hard to use until recently, when it became possible to book online. This was a big step forward and made them far more valuable. The number you receive each year as an elite member is driven by your spending.

Accor is the only major hotel chain to offer soft landings with elite status. If you do not retain your status you only drop by one level.

Full details of elite benefits can be found here.

Accor does not offer lifetime status.

Sofitel St James hotel

How do you earn Accor Live Limitless points?

Accor does not have a typical ‘earning and burning’ structure. Spending is totally revenue based with no opportunity for arbitrage.

Non-status members earn 2.5 points for every €1 spent at the hotel at most brands. On the Accor website, this is often described as a 5% rebate.

Lower earning rates apply at Ibis, Ibis Styles, Mama Shelter, Mantra, Peppers, Breakfree, Art Series, Adagio, Jo&Joe and Greet. Some brands do not participate in Accor Live Limitless at all.

Here is the official earning chart (click to enlarge) which includes the elite bonus. In terms of earning status points, what counts is what a ‘Classic’ member receives as you can see from the bottom row.

This is what you earn per €10, oddly, so divide by €10 to get points per €1 spent.

Accor earning chart

There are a few other partners where you can earn points.  Relevant ones for a UK resident are Europcar, Club Eurostar (you can convert points both in and out) and ClubOpinions market research surveys. There is also an online shopping portal called Accor Collections.

Most importantly:

You can only register for one of these airline partnerships, and you cannot change your selection for 12 months. For the majority of our readers, you would want to register for the Qatar Airways partnership. You can transfer the Avios from Qatar Privilege Club to British Airways Executive Club via this process.

This HfP article looks at the full list of ‘two way’ airline partnerships run by Accor Live Limitless. Accor is the ONLY major hotel chain which lets you convert airline miles into their points.

In general, it is far harder to earn Accor points without staying in their hotels than it is with IHG, Hilton or Marriott.

What are Accor Live Limitless points worth?

We have an article dedicated to working out what Accor Live Limitless points are worth which you can find here.

Unsurprisingly, given the revenue based nature of redemptions, our mid-point valuation is 2 Eurocents. You can only beat this by redeeming for event tickets.

How do you spend Accor Live Limitless points?

For every 2,000 points you collect, you can redeem for €40 of Accor credit. The primary use of this is to redeem in Accor hotels.

At the core brands, you are effectively receiving cashback (in Accor credit) of 5% as base member, rising up to 8.8% for Platinum members.

If you don’t want to spend your credit in an Accor hotel, there are a small number of other options such as Europcar.  Sports tickets (for example French Open Tennis, or events at the Accor Arena in Paris) are occasionally made available for points. In London, you can redeem points for events at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith. In recent years there have been excellent value redemptions for tastings at the Taste of London food festival.

Accor has partnerships with British Airways and another with Iberia which allow you to transfer your Accor points into Avios.  Weirdly, BA and Iberia have different exchange rates.  Swapping your points to Avios with BA gives you a 2 to 1 rate whilst doing so with Iberia gets you a far better 1 to 1 transfer rate.  Of course, what you should do is convert to Iberia and then move your Avios from Iberia Plus to British Airways Executive Club using the ‘Combine My Avios’ function.

Think carefully before you do this, however.  Because you could use your points for an Accor voucher instead, you are effectively paying 2 Eurocents per Avios (2,000 Accor points = €40 or 2,000 Iberia Plus Avios). This is very expensive and you would be better off using the points for a hotel stay if possible.

Does Accor Live Limitless run bonus point offers?

The group does not run the sort of regular, back to back, global promotions that we have come to expect from Marriott, Hilton and IHG.  You cannot book an Accor property and automatically expect to be able to take advantage of an offer.

A typical Accor promotion will involve earning double points by booking numerous 2+ night stays during a fixed period, with stays needing to be booked well in advance to qualify. They are not hugely flexible.

See our ‘Hotel Offers‘ page for any current global offers.

Accor Live Limitless review

Do Accor Live Limitless points expire?

Your points will expire exactly 12 months from your last activity.

If you do not have a stay planned, you could eat or drink at an Accor hotel, buy something via the Accor Collections online shopping portal (it can take 2-3 months for points to credit) or transfer in some points from Eurostar, Qatar Privilege Club or Flying Blue.

You can learn more about how to stop Accor Live Limitless points expiring in this article.

Can you upgrade Accor hotels using points?

No – except to the extent that you negotiate a better room for cash at check-in and then use your Accor credit to pay for it.

Are ‘cash and points’ redemptions available?

Yes, to the extent that you can part-pay your room with Accor credit whilst paying cash for the balance.

Can you transfer Accor Live Limitless points to airline miles?

Accor points can be transferred to a number of airlines.

Uniquely among major hotel programmes, Accor has different exchange rates for different airlines. British Airways is 2:1 whilst Iberia is 1:1 so you should ALWAYS move your Accor points to Iberia Plus. You can then use ‘Combine My Avios’ to move them to your British Airways account.

Because you could use your points for an Accor voucher instead, you are effectively paying 2 Eurocents per Avios (2,000 Accor points = €40 or 2,000 Iberia Plus Avios). This is very expensive and you would be better off using the points for a hotel stay if possible.

Accor Live Limitless reviewed

Can I earn Avios directly without collecting points?

Yes, see here. You can earn Avios by showing your British Airways Executive Club card at check-in. The amount will depend on which brand you are staying with – it is 1.25 Avios per €1 with the upper end brands.

You will not earn any Accor Live Limitless points. However, you must still be a member of Accor Live Limitless in order to do this.

What are the Accor Live Limitless UK credit card partnerships?

Can you get elite status with a UK credit card?  No – but you can buy an ibis Business loyalty card for £65 which comes with Gold status.

Is there an Accor credit card in the UK?  No

Is Accor an American Express Membership Rewards partner?  No. In theory you could transfer to Avios at 1:1, move them to Qatar Privilege Club at 1:1 and then transfer to Accor at 4:1 but this is a massive loss of value.  The same applies to routing American Express points to Club Eurostar or Flying Blue.

Purchasing and transferring Accor points

You cannot purchase Accor points.  This is not surprising, given that in most cases they can only be redeemed for a fixed cash value of 2 Eurocents each.

My opinion

Part Two of this article – click here – gives my personal opinion of Accor Live Limitless.

Accor Live Limitless update – March 2023:

Earn bonus Accor points: Accor is not currently running a global promotion

New to Accor Live Limitless?  Read our review 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.

Comments (21)

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

  • 1958 says:

    Accor like to have local monopolies whilst appearing to offer choice. Many airports (such as Auckland) have Novotel or another Accor brand. Similar situation at Darling Harbour Sydney (until the W opens).
    Also, Accor were the only hotel group that took away my points for failing to stay during Covid. All the other groups showed more leeway.

  • Marko says:

    Accor’s customer support is dreadful. They will take ages to reply – even if you are a Diamond member – and they often provide useless copy+paste answers from some part of their website. A lot of fluff, but no concrete answers.

    Their promotions are pathetic. First of all, they don’t notify members properly (I always find out from LoyaltyLobby, I never received an email about their promos and I have all emails enabled + check my spam folder frequently). Secondly, they always make it super complicated – limited to regions, a lot of extra requirements and worst of all, bookings during the qualification period that were made prior to registrating do not count. So you would have to cancel your existing stay and rebook it to make it eligible for the promo.

    Recognition in Hilton and Marriott is much better in terms of upgrades, amenities and early check-in and late check-out. I only truly feel valued in Raffles and Fairmont, but those already are high-end properties and I tend to have good spending there, so that is more likely the reason I am being treated extremely well.

  • Ian says:

    I am not sure the earning table is correct. All tiers earn status points at the same level, which is the same as Blue, what you have shown is the reward points which are what calculates how
    Much you get to spend not how your status is calculated.

  • harry hv says:

    Qantas is also an auto-transfer partner. But it’s hard to get any value out of Qantas’ mean FFP.

  • josh says:

    “Is Accor Live Limitless the best hotel loyalty scheme?”
    I really like your blog but I presume this is a joke or Accor must have given you a lot of incentive to write this:) Get real man!!!
    Accor is a fourth rate program as ALL of my travel colleagues agree unanimously. Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt are light years ahead. Even third tier IHG is a better program.
    Accor DOES NOT provide anything at all such as:
    1.Breakfast is most important benefit of loyalty (usually worth 60-80 PER NIGHT).
    2. guarnateed Suite upgrade
    3. 4pm checkout
    4. lounge access- few accor hotels have them

    lastly Accor status is HARD to obtain , their customer service is DREADFUL and they make it hard to keep your points after 12 months so easy to lose them.
    Frankly i do not know anyone (among my group of 50 travellers in consulting) who would ever stay at an Accor hotel) except for 1-2 french citizens who have a strange bias:)

    • Rob says:

      All six articles have the same title. Until you see the 2nd one you won’t realise the format is fixed!

      To be fair, at Fairmont St Andrews last week I was given the biggest single-room suite (so arguably a junior suite) I have ever had, anywhere, in 35 years of doing this stuff. It was a 5 night stay too.

      At the end of the day, 5 nights in Barbados got me a year of Diamond and now a soft landing year of Platinum, plus 10 suite night awards, so can’t complain.

  • Thahanif says:

    Just received an email from Accor, they have an offer giving out a handful of free bonus status nights with your next stay.

  • Alan says:

    Good old Betteridge’s Law at work I see 😜

  • ankomonkey says:

    Is the ‘live’ in ALL pronounced to rhyme with ‘Viv’ or ‘Clive’? I’ve always assumed the former.

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

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