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In 2016, Accorhotels – the group behind Sofitel, Pullman, Mercure, Novotel, etc – acquired Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, the company behind luxury hotel brands Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. You can read more about the acquisition here. Accorhotels is now merging the Fairmont President’s Club into its own Le Club Accor programme. The switchover will happen on 2 July 2018.
All Fairmont President’s Club members will be automatically switched over. You can find out more about the change here. Your existing elite status will be adjusted as follows:
Things get a little complicated if you are a member of both schemes:
Your new status will be valid until 31 December 2019.
Although existing Fairmont e-certificates will remain valid until February 2019, a quick look at the ‘new’ benefits table shows that, for Fairmont customers, this merger is in fact a devaluation. You will no longer receive complimentary night e-certificates and the guaranteed early check-in/late check-out benefit is now, under the Le Club Accor scheme, ‘subject to availability’.
With the switchover complete, all members will earn Le Club Accor points at the following standard rates. (Remember that 1 Le Club Accor point is worth 2 eurocents–the scheme is completely revenue based):
- Classic members earn 2.5 points per euro spent (5% cashback);
- Silver members earn 3.1 points per euro spent (6.2% cashback);
- Gold members earn 3.7 points per euro spent (7.4% cashback);
- Platinum members earn 4.4 points per euro spent (8.8% cashback).
You will often do much better. Accor run very frequent promotions, offering double, triple or quadruple points. And of course their ‘Boost promotion’, which lets you earn 120€ worth of points for three 2-night stays however cheap, is a must for those with lighter schedules. For the high-end brands like Sofitel and Pullman, you will often be able to bag 15% cashback on top when clicking through from Topcashback.
Because 1 Le Club Accor point is worth exactly 2 eurocents, there is no room for arbitrage when redeeming points. For example, if a room is selling for 100€, you will require 5,000 points; if a room is selling for 250€, you will require 12,500 points, etc, (though you could always part pay of course).
The merger is good news for Le Club Accor customers but bad news for Fairmont President’s Club members. The latter will no longer earn complimentary night certificates and some guaranteed benefits will henceforth be ‘subject to availability’. If a benefit is not guaranteed, it is a possible perk, not a real benefit. It is as simple as that.
Overall, Le Club Accor has worked well for me so far, offering often up to 15% cashback via topcashback and frequent promotions on top of the usual points earned. I have never had issues with getting status recognition, but maybe I have just been lucky thus far. The programme would definitely be more attractive if Accor offered some guaranteed benefits.