Every traveller has a different approach to building their loyalty profile. Some prefer to focus hard on one particular program, while others spread the love around a bit.
When it comes to hotels, we find it best to focus our efforts on two loyalty schemes. You already know we’re fans of Hilton Honors, but today we want to talk about our other top hotel loyalty pick: Le Club AccorHotels.
Overall, Accor doesn’t have the same global brand recognition as Hilton, but many would be surprised to know just how big its portfolio is, including luxury names like Sofitel, Swissotel and Pullman, mid-range hotels like Mercure, Sebel and Novotel, and more budget-friendly options like the Ibis range. Overall, their presence is pretty small in North America, with hotels in just a few major cities (though this is expanding), but they have a massive presence in Australia, Asia and Europe.
So why do we love the Accor program so much?
1. A straight-forward redemption process.
While most loyalty programs lump hotels into various categories and then determine point redemptions by category, Accor’s program is much simpler to use. Every 2000 points equate to 40 €. Converted to your local currency, this makes it pretty easy to determine how much value you have. Currently, we have just over 34,000 points sitting our Accor account, which equates to roughly $960 Australian – plenty to fund a few upcoming adventures!
You can use points to cover some or all of the price of your accommodation. So if for example, you want to book a hotel for $262.50 AUD, and you only have (or want to use) 6,000 rewards points, you can redeem those points and just pay $94 AUD out of pocket.
2. Loyalty benefits
Over the last several years as Platinum or Gold Le Club Accor members, we have truly found the service to be exceptional at most of the hotels we’ve stayed in. While Hilton Honors allows you to essentially buy your status by getting a qualifying credit card, Accor loyalty seems more reliant on actual loyalty, so they really take care of their members.
Just by joining Le Club Classic (free, entry-level membership), you get access to benefits including complimentary internet, priority check-in and access to a range of private sales.
When you move up to Silver, you start getting little benefits such as a free welcome drink, and once you achieve Gold you have access to benefits like room upgrades and late check-out.
We find Accor to be particularly good with the room upgrades, which are always based on availability. We were upgraded to a gorgeous suite on our honeymoon, moved up to a junior suite on a recent trip to Japan, and have gotten complimentary ocean-view rooms more often than we can count. The welcome drink is also a lovely touch and varies by hotel – from custom cocktails at the Sofitel Brussels to two cans of beer handed to us at check in at the Osaka Ibis Styles!
3. Intuitive apps
Accor has a few apps, which make it easy to book accommodation, track your points and even earn bonus points. The first, is the AccorHotels app, which allows you to manage your account and bookings. We won’t go into too much detail on this one as it’s pretty similar to most other hotel apps, but we will say that overall we find AccorHotels to be easy to use, intuitive and less glitchy than many of the other apps we’ve tried.
The second app is Places – an app that integrates with your Facebook and allows you to earn points for virtually checking in to your hotel. It’s pretty simple: when you stay at an Accor hotel, you check in on the app, wait for the stay to be verified by Accor, and then are eligible to receive points and badges.
There are badges available for a range of activities, including checking in certain countries, frequenting the same type of hotel, or booking specialized accommodation. Each badge has a different value, so you might get the Magnifique badge, which is 800 points, for checking in at three Sofitel hotels, or might get 500 points with the Lover badge for checking in at 10 Accor hotels.
Overall, it’s a fun app that offers a bit of a snapshot of your travel style, while also offering points along the way!
4. Variety, value and options.
We are yet to find another hotel portfolio that offers such a broad range of accommodation options in so many cities. As mentioned, Accor’s only downside seems to be a low presence in North America, but in Europe, Australia and Asia, you are spoiled for choice! There are also some great hotels in South America and Africa that we would love to check out (Novotel Cusco anyone?)
We also love that Accor caters for traveller at every budget, so it’s incredibly easy to maintain our loyalty – we were able to stay in an Accor hotel when we spoiled ourselves on our Fijian honeymoon, as well as when we just needed a place to crash after a 1am flight into New Zealand.
Overall, in terms of options, value for money and simplicity, it’s hard to beat Accor. If you’re looking for another hotel portfolio to add to your list, we’d absolutely recommend checking it out!