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The final installment of a five part series exploring some of the best features of a seriously underrated loyalty programme.
Accor’s ‘Le Club’, doesn’t seem to get a lot of love in the travel/points/miles blogosphere. I think this is probably because of a lack of properties in the US (where a lot of the big bloggers are based), but whatever the reason – it’s a real shame.
For those of us in the UK (and much of the rest of Europe too), ‘Le Club’ can be a great programme, if you know how to make the most of it…
We’re going to help you do exactly that with this five-part series of posts, as follows:
Part Five: Elite status – why you should want it, and how to get it fast
Part Five: Elite status – why you should want it, and how to get it fast
What is it?
The big hotel chains all offer perks to the guests who stay with them most frequently. The details vary, but the general idea is that the more you stay with a particular chain, the better the benefits you receive. After a particular number of nights/stays (or Points earned) with a hotel chain you reach a ‘status’ level, and enjoy the benefits associated with that level.
Accor’s loyalty programme ‘Le Club’ has four status levels – Classic, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Status can be gained either through the number of nights you stay in Accor hotels, or through the number of Accor Points you earn from your stays. Once you hit a status level you get to keep it for a year.
The status you get just for signing up , unsurprisingly, doesn’t offer any significant benefits. Being a member allows you to use online check-in (if the hotel offers it) and to check out by just dropping your key off (the hotel emails you the invoice). Accor also has a variety of private sales which you need to be a member to access, and these are sometimes rather good. Being a member also means you can start to earn Accor Points on your stays too.
Silver (10 nights or 2,500 points)
Silver status gets you free internet, a welcome drink (usually a voucher to use at the bar), and late check-out (if available). In other words, nothing spectacular but comparable to the other major chains.
Gold (30 nights or 10,000 points)
Gold status grants you the option to request early check-in rather than late check-out (the rules state that this is an either/or, but in my experience hotels are happy to grant both, if they have availability. You also get a room upgrade (if available) to the next room category. Guests with gold status are also supposed to be offered “VIP Treatment”, but I have never been able to discern any tangible benefits from this. Guaranteed room availability (if booking at least 3 or more day in advance) is listed as a benefit, but I suspect the rate would be ludicrously high in practice, so this is of limited value.
Gold guests staying at Sofitels get a complimentary newspaper, and gold guests at Suite Novotels have access to a “City Car” for up to four hours (subject to availability) – which could be a valuable perk, although the details on how this works are a bit thin (if anyone has any experience, please let us know in the comments!).
Platinum (60 nights or 25,000 points)
Platinum status offers all of the above plus executive lounge access (if the hotel has a lounge). Lounge access typically involves complimentary breakfast, snacks and soft drinks during the day, as well as canapes and alcoholic drinks for a couple of hours in the evening – but the precise details and the quality of the offering, depends on the specific hotel.
Platinum status also tends to result in considerably better upgrades, including suites sometimes, but this really can vary immensely depending on the hotel. If a suite upgrade is important or you’re celebrating a special occasion, my top tip is to simply let the hotel know in advance! It doesn’t always help, but it can be genuinely remarkable what some hotels are able to do to make sure you have a great stay.
Some of Accor’s brands also offer platinum guests a small additional bonus, like a 10% restaurant discount at Mercure hotels, or free soft drinks from the minibar at MGallery hotels.
Take a look at the full details for each of the different status levels.
My experience of having Platinum status with Accor has been very good. I stay quite a lot at hotels in UK city centres (usually using the Happy Mondays rate) and upgrades to the best ‘Executive’ rooms at Novotels and to suites at Mercure hotels (when the hotel has them), as well as free drinks vouchers and sometimes free breakfast, are definitely appreciated.
Outside of Asia, it’s only really the more expensive Sofitel brand hotels that have executive lounges (and even then not all of them), but free breakfast, snacks and a few drinks in the evening, all help soften the blow of higher rates.
Accor platinum status ranks somewhere in the middle compared to top level status at other chains – not as good as Hyatt Diamond for example, but a lot more consistent than IHG.
In other words, it’s definitely nice to have – but should you go substantially out of your way to stay 60 nights, or spend 10,000 Euros a year with Accor to hit the 25,000 Points requirement? Absolutely not.
How to get status quickly
One key advantage with Accor is that you can qualify for status based on Points earned, and all Points count towards status – including bonus Points. Gaining status can therefore be surprisingly easy.
I wrote about the big bonus Points offers that Accor runs in Part Four of this guide, sometimes offering up to 10,000 Points for as little as six nights. Taking advantage of a promotion like that would grant you gold status in six nights, rather than thirty.
when Accor are running an offer for a fixed number of frequent flyer miles, getting status can be even easier.
The way that Accor processes bonus Miles is a bit odd – they credit them as Accor Points into your ‘Le Club’ account first, and then send them over to your frequent flyer account. The transfer ratio to most frequent flyer schemes is two Accor Points to one Mile, so if there was an offer for 2,000 Miles per stay, your ‘Le Club’ account would have 4,000 Accor Points temporarily added to it before being automatically transferred over.
In the post on bonus Points, I mentioned an offer that Accor ran in 2014 for 5,000 Air Canada Miles per stay. This was an amazing offer in itself, but it also meant that you got gold status after one stay. 5,000 Air Canada Miles required 10,000 Accor Points to be temporarily put in your ‘Le Club’ account first, and 10,000 Points is the requirement for Gold. Platinum status requires 25,000 Accor Points, so just three stays was more than enough – rather than the usual 60 nights!
There aren’t any big bonus Points or Miles deals on right now – but we’ll let you know as soon as there are!
If you can’t wait, the other option is to get the American Express Platinum Charge Card, which includes Accor Platinum status and a variety of other benefits for the hefty £450.00 annual fee.
If £450.00 is a bit rich, remember that you get a pro rata refund of the annual fee if you cancel or downgrade the card, and still keep your status for the year!
We hope you have enjoyed this in-depth guide to the inner workings of Le Club. Please note that our general guide to Le Club is available here, and you are always free to ask any questions in the comments below or on our forums.