The Accor hotel group is headquartered in France, and owns more than 5,000 hotels in the world. It has very strong presence in the majority of Europe and Asia.
Accor has been very busy with acquisition and strategic collaboration in recent years, and as a result it’s incorporated many new brands into its system. Marriott Bonvoy has a total of 30 brands after the purchase of Starwood, but as a comparison, Accor has 39 brands as of today.
The main brands are:
- Luxury: Banyan Tree, Raffles, Fairmont
- Upscale: Sofitel, MGallery, Pullman, Swissotel, Movenpick
- Midscale: Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure
- Budget: Ibis, Ibis Styles, Ibis Budget
You can see how Accor used to be very weak in the top-end market – all brands in the Luxury spectrum were acquired or tied in lately.
Accor’s loyalty program is called Accor Live Limitless (sounds weird to me), or in short, just ALL. Note that not all brands listed on their website are ALL participating. For example, you don’t earn any points / benefits at any Ibis Budget hotel worldwide, nor in any Ibis hotel in mainland China.
[Membership Tiers and Benefits]
Accor Live Limitless has the following six membership tiers:
- Classic: entry level, free internet when booking direct
- Silver: 10 nights or €800 spend; benefits include 24% bonus points, welcome drinks and late check-out
- Gold: 30 nights or €2800 spend; additional benefits include 48% bonus points in lieu, room upgrade and early check-in
- Platinum: 60 nights or €5600 spend; additional benefits include 76% bonus points in lieu, executive lounge access (except at Fairmont) and free breakfast in Asia Pacific
- Diamond: €10400 spend; additional benefits include free breakfast at weekends worldwide, four €25 vouchers, and gifting a Gold card
- Limitless: invitation only; concierge service and gifting a Platinum card
Plus a few other benefits such as suite upgrade voucher, F&B discount and free mini-bar, varying by brand. Please refer to this page.
Compared to the other major players, Accor’s elite benefits are not very competitive. Diamond members, which is the highest publicised level, can only expect free breakfast at weekends after contributing more than ten thousand euro. And don’t get me started on the four 25-euro vouchers…
Platinum members gain complimentary access to executive lounges, which sounds nice, but there are very few hotels that even feature one. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think any Accor hotel in France has an executive lounge.
It is a different story in Asia though. Platinum members are guaranteed free breakfast any day of the week, and a lot of mid- or high-tier hotels do have executive lounges where you can enjoy complimentary drinks and dinner buffet.
There is also a paid program in Asia Pacific, namely Accor Plus, which offers very good food and drinks discount at Accor hotels, as well as special room rates that can represent great savings.
Also in Asia Pacific, there is a special scheme called MyResorts at resort hotels. Members get additional breakfast, special family programs and so on.
You earn 25 points for every 10 euro you spend in the Accor Hotel Group. This includes what you originally pay for the room, and also food & drinks and other incidentals charged to the room. Note that the earning rate is discounted at budget / apartment brands such as Adagio and Ibis.
As we mentioned earlier, not all hotels bookable on Accor’s website are ALL participating. So look for this sign before you make the booking:
Accor has a very straightforward, purely revenue-based redemption system. Every 2000 points can be turned into €40, and you can convert at the time of booking, or upon hotel check-out. For the latter, you may suffer an exchange rate loss though if the hotel’s currency is not Euro.
The advantage of Accor’s system is simplicity. You should use your points whenever you can, without calculating how much worth you’ll get out of your points. Points can be redeemed against most rates, and all room types – I know many people from other hotel programs complain about the lack of opportunity to use points against premium room types.
On the other hand, simplicity may also mean dullness, as you can never get excited from the exceptional use of your points. With the points of other hotel schemes, it cost me £20 for one night at Hilton Garden Inn Bali, £150 for New Year’s Eve at Holiday Inn London Mayfair, and £400 for a luxurious suite at St Regis New York. None of these is possible within Accor.
You can convert Accor points into airline miles, but most of the time it is a bad deal. Accor has a reciprocal program with Flying Blue though, meaning that you can earn Accor points when flying KLM / Air France, and earn Flying Blue miles when staying at Accor hotels.
You can also convert Accor points into Deutsche Bahn points, then exchange for DB, TGV or even Eurostar train tickets.
The best part about Accor is how frequent it runs sales and promotions – actually I don’t think you can find any other hotel chain that matches them. It usually runs the following large-scale sales:
- Super Sale – two or three times a year and covers (almost) everywhere. You are likely to get 40% or 50% off, sometimes with free breakfast included
- Private Sales – updated weekly on Tuesdays but not available all the time. Covers different countries each week, and the discount can be as good as 50%
- Red Hot Rooms – Accor Plus in Asia Pacific only, the list updates regularly and may include very nice deals
Regarding bonus point promotions, the most classic one is “stay three times earn 6000 points”. There are very often region-specific promotions too.
Accor was my favourite hotel chain once, back in the days when I was gifted Platinum as an Amex Platinum cardholder, and there were insane Happy Monday deals in the UK every week. Unfortunately this is not the case anymore, and it is generally agreed that they have the worst customer care amongst all major hotel chains, so I’m no longer keen to stay with them. However, if you are not too bothered with loyalty programs, and just want heavily discounted rates, Accor may be the right choice for you.