The award traveller’s guide to Accor Live Limitless
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Accor isn’t one of the more well-known loyalty programmes. But there’s a chance that it should be on your radar. As one of the largest hotel chains in Europe, with more than 2,500 properties across the continent, there’s likely to be a property in most destinations you’re looking to visit.
Aside from Europe, its greatest concentration is in Asia — and it’s got hotels that top your bucket list, whether you know it or not. Let’s examine the inner workings of the Accor loyalty programme, Accor Live Limitless.
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You may have whizzed past Accor hotels (or even stayed in one) without realizing it. Accor has 50 unique brands, including:
|25hours||Delano||ibis Styles||Novotel||The Sebel|
|Angsana||Gekko||Mama Shelter||Paris Society||Sofitel Legend|
|Art Series||hotelF1||Mantis||Potel & Chabot||SO/|
|Astore||The House of Originals||Mercure||Pullman||Swissôtel|
Accor offers a full spectrum between budget and five-star experiences. It isn’t just a high-end programme, but it’s no slouch with its offering of aspirational hotels. Some examples of iconic Accor properties include: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Sofitel London St James, and Raffles Dubai.
If you stay in Accor hotels with any frequency, you’re throwing money away if you’re not a part of its loyalty programme. However, if you only find yourself at Accor’s doorstep every couple years, you will struggle to find value for your points since Accor points expire after 365 days of account inactivity.
According to the programme terms and conditions, to reset the clock, you’ll need to earn points from staying at an Accor hotel.
In the meantime, let’s look at all the ways to collect and use Accor points.
Earning Accor points
Accor awards points per 10 euro spent on eligible hotel spending. You’ll receive as little as 5 points and as high as 44 points, depending on your elite status and the Accor hotel brand you’re booking. Accor points are worth a flat rate for hotel stays, about 2.2 cents each. That means you’ll receive as little as 1% return and as high as 8.8% return on your Accor hotel stays.
If this sounds confusing, don’t worry. Accor has a neat tool to calculate the points you’ll earn on your next hotel stay according to elite status tier, hotel brand and room cost that you can find on the bottom of this page.
You’ll earn points for everything you pay for at the hotel, including spa treatments, minibar, paid TV and food. Check out the full list of Accor restaurants here.
Book a day room
Accor gives you the option to book a day room in the event that you simply need a place to rest during the day. This can be so handy, especially between long flights. When you book a room for the day, you can use all hotel amenities, such as the bar, sauna, pool, gym etc. You will earn points on your stay, as well.
In experimenting with this, I found day rooms to sometimes be more expensive than simply buying a night with the hotel, so it’s not clear why anyone would opt for this.
Here’s the price of a day room at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise:
And here’s a full night:
The day room price is slightly lower than a refundable nightly rate, but nowhere near worthwhile in my opinion.
Online shopping portal
Use the Accor Shopping portal to earn points on purchases you’d make anyway. They’ve got a wide variety of popular stores such as Apple, Urban Outfitters, iTunes, Adidas, Sephora and more.
Related: Maximizing online shopping portals
Accor partners with nine airline loyalty programmes, allowing you to convert the miles you earn when you fly into Accor points. Below are the conversion rates.
Accor’s partners are a reminder that the hotel’s concentration is in Europe and Asia. You won’t be able to transfer rewards you’d regularly earn, like American Airlines and Delta miles, etc.
Flying Blue partnership
You’ll receive 1 Accor point for every 2 euros you spend on eligible flights with Flying Blue (the loyalty programme of KLM and Air France).
You can credit the rewards you earn with Avis, Hertz and Europcar to Accor. With Eurostar and GrabRewards, you’ve got the option to convert the rewards you earn into Accor points. These options can translate into decent savings.
For example, you’ll earn 3 Accor points per dollar spent with Hertz. Accor points are worth 2.2 cents each toward Accor hotel stays, meaning you’ll effectively receive 6.6% back for your rental car (not to mention the points you’ll earn by using a rewards credit card).
Accor gives you the option to earn points from an assortment of travel partners, from luggage brands to online travel agencies to Priority Pass.
You’ll earn 1 Accor point per 2 euros you spend on planning an event at the following brands:
Other ways to earn Accor points
There are several more options for earning Accor points, but they’re extremely obscure or irrelevant for the vast majority of us. For example:
- You can convert bank rewards if you have an account in the U.A.E
- You can earn points by visiting a collection of spas primarily located in France
- You can take quizzes to earn points at a very poor rate
None are enticing, nor are they convenient.
Redeeming Accor points
Again, there are no real sweet spots in this programme per se, as they do not have an award chart with tiers of hotels the way you’d find with Hyatt or Marriott. Instead, the points you earn are worth a flat rate for hotel stays, at about 2.2 cents each.
This doesn’t mean collecting Accor points is a bad move — there are great deals to unearth with Accor. Just know that you’ll never receive an outsized value for your points unless they introduce a new redemption or promotion.
The good news is you don’t need sufficient Accor points to cover your entire hotel bill, but you must redeem at least 2,000 points at a time, which will provide you with 40 euro off your stay. To use them for a hotel stay, you can offset the cost of your hotel bill by:
- Redeeming points directly online by logging onto your online account
- Instructing reception to use your points for your stay at checkout
- Calling Accor and telling a Customer Care Advisor that you’d like to book with points
If you have to cancel your room, your points will be refunded.
Note that not all Accor hotels participate in the Accor loyalty programme. I can’t find a list of properties not participating in the programme, but the site does say you can redeem points with:
“34 brands, 110 countries, 3,960 properties, from luxury to budget-friendly and resorts to home stays.”
This would seem to indicate that nearly 1,500 hotels aren’t bookable with points. That’s really inconvenient. To find eligible hotels, you’ll need to locate an imperceptible coin symbol beside participating hotels, so you may have to search them one by one. Squint really hard and you can see it:
You can redeem points for gift cards at Onefinestay, essentially a luxury version of Airbnb, only available at top destinations of the world. You’ll find its homes and villas in:
These are jaw-dropping properties. You’ll receive an average of 1.53 cents per point (at time of writing, dependent on value of the euro relative to the U.S. dollar). That’s notably worse than redeeming your points for Accor hotel stays.
Additionally, keep in mind that with The Platinum Card from American Express U.K., you’ll also receive a £150 credit for every Onefinestay house rental of at least £150 in spend. Some properties have a three-night booking policy, so you may have to spend more to get the discount.
Accor partners with 31 airlines, allowing you to convert your points into airline miles at various rates. Remember, you won’t want to transfer your points to an airline unless you can receive a value greater than or equal to 2.2 cents per Accor point.
Notable transfer rates include:
- Delta: 4,000 Accor points = 2,000 Delta miles
- Iberia: 3,000 Accor points= 3,000 Iberia Avios
- Qantas: 2,000 Accor points = 2,000 Qantas points
- United Airlines: 2,000 Accor points = 1,000 United miles
There is potential to receive good value from a few other airlines on the list, but these four stand out. For example, you can transfer Accor points to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio. You can book a lie-flat business-class seat on Iberia from Chicago (ORD) to Madrid (MAD) for just 34,000 Iberia Avios, which could easily cost £1,500+ if paid with cash.
You can use points to finance future events at Accor hotels.
Experiences and products
You can redeem Accor points for unique adventures and fun events in travel, sports, concerts, culinary experiences and more.
You can also purchase wine, luggage, perfume, power tools and other random items on the site’s shopping section.
You can redeem your points to offset your meal at Accor restaurants. You can use your points at its bars and restaurants even when you’re not staying at the hotel.
You can use your points at the following rates for transportation around Europe:
Accor has five levels of elite status, though none but the two highest tiers present compelling benefits.
Platinum and Diamond status come with access to an executive lounge when available and a Suite Night Upgrade, valid for only a single night. Diamond comes with some other goodies, such as complimentary breakfast on weekends and up to 100 euro in dining and spa credit, but it’s honestly nowhere near as generous as elite status with most other hotel chains.
It does not currently appear as though Accor is open to status matches or challenges. Data points from Status Matcher indicate that Accor is not interested in granting matched status to Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton elites.
The greatest thing going for Accor hotels is its beautiful properties around the world. While Accor points are worth quite a lot (~2.2 cents each), they are historically difficult to earn. Accor doesn’t have a cobranded credit card, it provides unfavourable transfer rates from the majority of its partners, and earning points through stays is slow, even with its most prestigious elite status. However, if you’re planning a lot of travel throughout Europe, it could be worth making your stays with Accor in order to take advantage of its largest perks.
Featured photo by Sopotnicki/Shutterstock.