GLOBAL HOTEL PROGAMS
Accor Hotels A|Club: Hilton, IHG and Marriott hotels are not everywhere you may need to be for international travel. Accor Hotels, one of the global top five hotel chains, has more hotels worldwide than Marriott or Hilton, and more hotels outside the U.S. than IHG.
Accor Hotels’ 4,000 properties far outnumber the branded hotels of any other major global chain in regions outside of North America. Brazil, for example, has 133 Accor brand hotels while IHG, Hilton and Marriott combined have 10 hotels.
Accor Hotels’ A-Club loyalty program represents over 2,100 hotels in eight brands. Sofitel, MGallery and Pullman are upscale brands. Novotel, Mercure and Suitehotel are midscale. Ibis and allseasons are in the economy segment. A loyalty program this large is too big to ignore; especially for the global traveler. Membership in A-Club is free.
A separate, fee-based (270[euro] per year) Accor loyalty program, A-Club Favorite Guest, offers hotel rate discounts, additional hotel benefits and accelerated A-Club points earning of 3.5 points per 1[euro].
Accor is a sizeable hotel chain, however, 40 percent of the Accor global portfolio are budget brand hotels, including Motel 6 (U.S./Canada), Etap (Europe), Formule 1 (global) and Hotel F1 (France). These brands do not participate in Accor’s A|Club loyalty program.
Earning and Redeeming A|Club Points
A|Club base-level members earn two points per 1[euro], except one point per 1[euro] for Ibis and allseasons hotels. 2,000 A|Club points may be exchanged for a 40[euro] hotel certificate or US$60 certificate valid for unrestricted use at over 2,000 Accor hotels worldwide in Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, allseasons, Ibis and Accor Thalassa properties. Accor certificates are also valid for ClubMed resorts.
4,000 A|Club points may also be exchanged for 2,000 miles with several airline partners, but this exchange is less favorable than hotel stay rewards.
A|Club Elite status
A|Club elite status is earned by either total nights or reaching point thresholds in a 12-month period. All A|Club points earned count as elite points. Hotel spending, bonus points and partner activity all count for reaching elite status just as with IHG Priority Club Rewards.
Silver elite status requires 10 nights or 2,500 points and earns 50 percent elite bonus points; three points per 1[euro]. Gold elite requires 30 nights or 10,000 points and earns 75 percent elite bonus points; 3.5 points per 1[euro] . Platinum elite requires 60 nights or 25,000 points and earns 100 percent elite bonus points; four points per 1[euro].
The basic way to get more value out of A|Club is the same as with other major hotel loyalty programs–attain elite status and use loyalty promotions to increase the points earned per [euro] in spending. A Platinum member staying at a hotel during a triple points promotion can potentially earn eight points per 1[euro].
Accor and A|Club Promotions
Accor has experienced the same economic downturn as other major hotel chains. A myriad of summer promotions offered 50 percent off rates, 2x and 3x points and free nights on multi-night stays. Most of the summer promotions ended in August. Look for new loyalty promotions for September stays at www.insideflyer.com/link/?1755.
Accor Advantage Plus in Asia
Accor Advantage Plus is a loyalty program exclusively for residents of Asia with attributes of A|Club and Favorite Guest. A US$200 annual membership fee provides instant A|Club Silver elite status, a free night certificate, hotel rate discounts of 10 percent and hotel food and beverage discounts from 15 to 50 percent. A unique feature is a free supplementary card granting member hotel discounts to a partner. There are over 340 Accor hotels in the Asia-Pacific region including 50 Sofitel Hotels. Advantage Plus members may earn and redeem A|Club points worldwide.
There are dozens of smaller regional and global hotel chains operating hotel loyalty programs. Check the hotel brands for your destination and do a little research into smaller hotel chains to find high value promotional offers and points-based loyalty programs. Here are a few lesser known loyalty programs.
Shangri-La Golden Circle: Earn one free night for every four nights to Sept. 30, 2009. Shangri-La has 64 luxury hotels, primarily in Asia.
Taj Hotels Inner Circle: 75 luxury hotels with 60 in India. Taj offers Cash & Points awards.
Jin Jiang Hotels Prestige: Largest Asian-owned hotel group has nearly 500 hotels in China. Jin Jiang has promotional offers like Buy 2 Get 1 night free.
Sol Melia Hotels Mas Rewards: Over 300 hotels in 30 countries, primarily in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean. Free membership has immediate rewards of free breakfast and late checkout.