Accor Plus Membership 2019 Review
What is Accor Plus and what do you get?
Accor Plus is a hotel, dining and lifestyle membership program that operates at hotels and restaurants throughout the Asia Pacific region. Hotels include Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis to name a few. Accor Plus members receive, a FREE nights stay, 50% off of meals, half-price room discounts and fast-tracked Silver Le Club Membership. Accor Plus is not a loyalty program; you do not become a member either by staying nights or spending at Accor Hotels. If you want to become a member, then it will cost you AUD 395 a year. What follows is an evaluation of the benefits that will hopefully help you decide whether this is the program for you.
How I came to join
Up until recently my only interaction with Accor Plus was when they would call me out of the blue to invite me to take up their membership, as I had apparently been recommended to them by a family member. In every instance, I had politely declined their kind offer. Before hanging up though, I would always invite them to try their luck with my cousin—the family member I deeply suspected of having been the one who had handed out my private phone number.
That was until earlier this year when a new feature of my American Express Platinum Business Card was a complimentary Accor Plus membership. So now I am a fully signed up member of the Accor Plus program and have used my new card at a number of Accor hotels: the Pullman, Sofitel, Banyan Tree, Sebel, Novotel and Mercure. So hopefully I am now reasonably qualified to give you a run-down of the benefits of the program and to assess whether it is worth the annual fee.
What Hotels does it include and where are they?
The Accor Plus program membership is recognised at over 800 hotels and 1100 restaurants throughout the Asia Pacific region, countries include: Australia, Cambodia, China, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Hotels that recognise Accor Plus membership are the: Banyan Tree, Sofitel Legend, Fairmont, SO Sofitel, Sofitel, MGallery By Sofitel, Pullman, Swissôtel, Angsana, Grand Mercure, Quay West, The Sebel, Cassia, Novotel, Mecure, ibis, ibis Styles and ibis Budget.
While there is a bit of repetition with sub-brands of the Sofitel and ibis, I have found that pretty much anywhere I have wanted to go there has been a good selection of hotels to choose from, ranging from the super luxurious to the value for money.
Benefit 1: A FREE Nights Stay
This is the benefit which captures the imagination and which is how you start to justify in your mind the membership fee of $395. However, just do not get carried away thinking this will result in a free night in a presidential suite.
How the benefit is described by Accor Plus is: As an Accor Plus primary member you will receive one complimentary night's stay at a participating Accor Hotel every year.
The key word here is 'participating'. Not all Accor Hotels will offer the Stay Plus Complimentary night, and those that do will limit which rooms the benefit will apply to. Typically you will need to book well in advance and the free night will apply to the cheapest room—think twin beds with city views. However, you will often be given the option to upgrade your Stay Plus Complimentary Room to one with a King Size bed for a small fee.
In my example below I am using the Sofitel Darling Harbour, as being one of the more expensive hotels in the Accor chain, the free night represents a significant value. I also recently stayed at and reviewed the hotel, so I am very familiar with it—Sofitel Darling Harbour Review. You can see below that the best price on a Superior Room, 2 Double Size Beds for one night if booked through the Sofitel website is $404AUD.
Now when I log into my Accor Plus account I can choose to use my Stay Plus benefit for the same night, and the results show that I can either have the same Superior Room with 2 Double Sized Beds for FREE, or if I spend $50 more I can have a Luxury Room, 1 King Sized Bed, Corner Room.
The limitation to the Stay Plus benefit is that it does not apply to all room types, so say I wanted a room with access to the executive lounge, Club Millésime then the best rate will be the Accor Plus - Advanced Saver Rate BB, and I receive no credit for my Stay Plus benefit.
However, something I really like about the Stay Plus benefit is that it is fully refundable up to 1 day prior to arrival, so if for any reason you need to cancel you do not lose the benefit.
The Stay Plus benefit also works over multiple dates, so if you were to book for multiple days, then the complimentary night will be applied to one of those nights.
Providing you can use the complimentary night's stay at one of the more expensive hotels in the Accor chain, then you can potentially save yourself the cost of membership in one night.
BENEFIT 2: 50% off of Meals
The potential to save 50% of your food bill is another area where the Accor Plus membership pays for itself. I recently stayed at the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort with my wife, and as we dined at the resort restaurant on two consecutive evenings, we in effect had one night's dinner for FREE. If you are interested in learning more about the Pullman Resort in Margaret River, I have written a review which you can read here.
How the Accor Plus dining benefits works is that it is a percentage saving off of the total food portion of the bill based on the number of adults dining:
25% off - 1 member only
50% off - 1 member and 1 guest
33% off - 1 member and 2 guests
25% off - 1 member and 3 guests
In effect what it means is that provided you are eating with two people or more, then you are receiving your meal for free; this is a great benefit as it works at all the food outlets in the hotel. So whether you are having an afternoon snack or a full meal, you are always saving.
The other thing to remember is that participating restaurants in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji are more than happy to accept more than one card. So if you were a table of four and you had two cards, then you would receive a 50% saving. Unfortunately, if you had three cards, then it would not mean even more off as the discount per table is capped at 50%. Another great benefit is that when staying at Hotels & Resorts in Asia then as an Accor plus member you will also receive 15% off of your drinks bill.
As always there are a few exceptions to the rules, in this case: that discounts do not apply to minibars, room service or pool bars. Also, there are some restaurants which do not participate, and there are certain days of the year which fall under a blackout period. Non-Participating restaurants tend to be outlets of other franchises located in hotels/resorts and blackout dates fall on major public/national holidays. For example, you would not be able to use the card at JAAN, the one star Michelin restaurant located in the Swissôtel in Singapore—mores the pity.
Here is where you can see the full range of Dining Exceptions and honestly, as they are relatively few when taken as a proportion of the whole, I do not think that they substantially undermine the general advantage of the dining benefit.
BENEFIT 3: Silver Le Club Membership Status
When you become a member of Accor Plus you are automatically enrolled in the Accor Hotels loyalty program and fast-tracked to Silver status. Silver status normally requires 10 nights stay or 2,500 status points, and it comes with some useful benefits, such as the late checkout and free welcome drink.
Here is the full rundown of benefits.
- Le Club Accorhotels Customer Care
- Members Rates at most AccorHotels properties worldwide, from 5-10% off
- Fast checkout/online check-in
- Priority welcome
- Free Internet worldwide
- Welcome drink
- Late checkout on request and upon availability on arrival
- myResorts benefits
- Discounted Priority Pass membership
- 6 Bonus points for every 10 EUR spent at participating hotels, converted from the local currency where the hotel is located (taxes and fees not included).
To give you an idea of where SILVER membership sits in AccorHotels loyalty program, below you will see a table setting out all the different benefits that accrue to the different membership levels.
There are a couple of provisos I should note: firstly that the late check out is subject to availability and that the FREE Welcome Drink does not mean you can order anything you like at the bar. When you present your drinks coupons you will be given a limited drinks list that will offer a couple of cocktails, a choice of red or white as well as some domestic beers—nothing top shelf but generally very drinkable and what I think is a nice gesture.
For existing Gold or Platinum Le Club members, you will retain your membership tier when you join up with Accor Plus but another benefit of membership is that if you are upgraded to a higher tier once you are an Accor Plus member then your status level will be renewed on the anniversary of your Accor Plus membership rather than the anniversary of when you reached the higher status level, which means that you will enjoy being Gold or Platinum for longer.
Requirements for Gold and Platinum:
GOLD - FROM 30 NIGHTS OR €2,800 IN ELIGIBLE EXPENSES (equating to 7,000 Status points)
PLATINUM - FROM 60 NIGHTS OR €5,600 IN ELIGIBLE EXPENSES (equating to 14,000 Status points)
I particularly like the look of the Room Upgrade with GOLD and the Executive Lounge Access with PLATINUM. However, I have to say that even as a SILVER member I have received a couple of Room Upgrades, most notably at the Pullman Bunker Bay, where I was upgraded from a Standard Room to a Lakeside Villa. The Accor Hotels I have stayed at have done an excellent job at making me feel valued as an Accor Plus member, and this has added to the experience of the visit.
BENEFIT 4: Discounted Room Rates and Red Hot Rooms
As an Accor Plus member, you will receive 10% off of the best-advertised room rate, which is generally the Accor Plus - Advance Saver rate. However, this is pretty much what you can achieve by signing up to the Le Club loyalty program as a Classic member.
RED HOT ROOMS
Where the membership comes into its own is in the member's section of the Accor Plus website that offers RED HOT ROOMS. Red Hot Roms can be up to 50% off of the normal rate. Here is a selection of what is currently available. As an example, I am going to take a closer look at the Mercure Perth.
The offer is for $99 for rooms booked between 9 May and 18 June 2019 and is for any day of the week. I have selected the Standard Room 2 Double Beds on 9 May and what you can see below is that yes there is a Red Hot Rooms Accor Plus price of $99 available for that night, which is significantly cheaper than the next best rate of $147.60 for the Accor Plus Special Offer.
Not surprisingly what I have found is that these Red Hot Rooms are much more readily available from the value brands in the AccorHotels group than from their luxury brands. However, if you are looking for a great price on a room at reasonably short notice, then you will be hard pushed to find a better price anywhere, as they offer phenomenal value for money.
Benefit 5: Partner Offers
There are a couple of excellent partner discounts offered to Accor Plus members; the first is with Qatar Airways and the second with Europcar.
Qatar Airways - Discounted Fairs and Double Qmiles
As an Accor Plus member, you can save up to 12% off on flights with Qatar Airways to destinations in Europe, Asia, The Americas and Africa. As well as the discounted Economy and Business Class fairs as an Accor Plus member, you will earn double Qmiles for all your flights; this means you will need to sign up to Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Qatar Airways has a dedicated booking page for Accor Plus members which you can see here
Europcar 20% Discount
Accor Plus members receive a 20% discount on their car bookings when they book through the dedicated booking page which you can see here.
Now I am often wary when companies tell me that they can hook me up with great discounts with partner companies, as what I often find is that the discount is no better than what the partner company is offering themselves to non-members. That being the case, I have run a quick comparison of the Accor Plus Europcar Discount when booked through the dedicated Europcar / Accor Plus site and Europcar's normal site. The test booking is for a Mercedes Benz C300 picking up from Melbourne Airport for three days.
As you can see the price from Europcar for Accor Plus members is AUD 317.98. Now I have compared this to the Europcar website, and the same booking would cost AUD 389.97, which is a saving of AUD 71.99 or almost 20 per cent.
I find it is often the case that the rental company will be offering its own deals on its website, and this is the case when I look, as Europcar is offering 10% off of the booking price on their prestige range if you book for three days or more.
So even against Europcar's best public offer, the Accor Plus membership 20% partner discount works out to be AUD 36.00 better. What this shows me is that the Accor Plus partner discount genuinely appears to be a valuable benefit which will save you money on what is available on Europcar's website.
Is Accor Plus membership worth it?
As I made clear at the start, I did not pay for my membership as it came with my Amex card. However, hopefully, I have given you a reasonably objective analysis of the benefits that come with the card and a rough monetary figure which can be applied to each. There are also other experience-based benefits which come with membership in the form of exclusive invites to private functions, but the value of them is harder to quantify—you can see what they are here and judge for your self.
YES - Here is why (the Abridged Version):
After having been a member for almost a year and having used the benefits on multiple occasions at a range of Accor Hotels, I genuinely think that as long as you travel predominantly in the Asia Pacific region, then the card will give you a good return on investment, because of the:
FREE night's stay - If you have the flexibility to book a luxury hotel or resort then this benefit can in and of itself be worth more than the membership fee.
50% on Food - Obviously to take advantage of this benefit you will need to commit to spend at one of the 1100 restaurants. If you are lucky enough to have a participating restaurant nearby, then this could be a major saving on eating out over the course of a year.
Silver Le Club membership - I have been very impressed by the level of service that I have received since joining; upgrades have been given and I have enjoyed the welcome drinks and late checkouts. Typically, SILVER Le Club requires that you have stayed either 10 nights or spent €800 in eligible expenses, so in that respect, Accor Plus membership has considerable value.
Red Hot Room Deals - While the more luxurious hotels in the group tend to have restricted supply, if you are looking for a cheap room in a good hotel, then it is a great benefit—perfect for the road warrior.
Partner Benefits - I have to say that I usually use AVIS exclusively, however, the next time I am going to be booking a car I will definitely be comparing it to Europcar, as the 20% discount seems to be a genuine discount that applies to their whole fleet.
I hope you have found this review useful and it has helped explain the benefits of Accor Plus membership. As always, you are very welcome to leave any questions in the comments section below and I will strive to give you a sensible answer.
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