Members of the Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program will qualify for the elite Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers status through new ‘status points’ from 2017: comparable to Qantas and Virgin Australia ‘status credits’.
Distinctly different from ‘rewards points’ which you can swap for discounts on future hotel stays or can transfer to airline frequent flyer partners, these new status points are solely used to determine your level with the program and will be earned in addition to traditional rewards points.
Other changes on the horizon include fixed calendar year membership periods, new tier qualification levels and digital membership cards: here’s what it all means for you, the traveller.
'Status points' now determine your status
Currently, Le Club points earned through generous triple or quadruple points promotions or as bonuses for Silver, Gold and Platinum members are counted towards the number of Le Club points needed to retain your existing status or to reach a higher one.
From January 1 2017, you’ll continue to earn these types of rewards points, but they won’t contribute to your status tally: that will be the job of new status points which you’ll collect at the same time.
For every €10 spent at most Accor hotels including Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel and Mercure (or the equivalent in a hotel’s local currency) from 2017, you’ll pull in 25 status points regardless of your actual tier status.
At the lower-priced Ibis and Ibis Styles brands, that drops to 12.5 status points on the same, to 10 status points at Adagio and 5 status points at Adagio Access: mirroring the current rewards points earning rates of an entry-level Le Club Classic member.
[Click on the table above to enlarge it. Rates effective January 1 2017.]
New membership tier qualification rules
As some activities will no longer earn points that contribute towards your status tally – such as those promotional or status bonuses – the qualification rates for Silver, Gold and Platinum members will be reduced from 2017 to compensate.
Le Club Silver remains within reach after 10 nights spent at any participating Accor brand but will require just 2,000 status points, corresponding to a spend of €800/A$1,200 at most Accor brands rather than the 2,500 points needed today (on-par with €810/A$1,214 spent by an existing Silver member).
Progressing to Le Club Gold will command either 30 nights or 7,000 status points – equal to €2,800/A$4,197 of spend at Accor’s top brands – down from the 10,000 points needed today, but which could be earned from a marginally lower spend of €2,710/A$4,062 by existing Gold members.
Topping the status ladder, a Le Club Platinum card is yours after 60 nights or earning 14,000 status points from €5,600/A$8,395 of spend at most Accor brands, a reduction in number from the current 25,000-point threshold but which is currently achievable from a similar €5,690/A$8,529 spend by Platinum cardholders.
Status based on calendar year, not a rolling period
Effective immediately, any new status level earned will be valid for the remainder of that calendar year plus the entire next calendar year.
For example, reach Le Club Gold in May 2016 under the current qualification rules and you’ll be Gold until December 31 2017. Then, the status points you earn throughout 2017 will determine your status from 2018, and so on.
Most business travellers will find that an improvement over the current system whereby your status is valid for exactly 12 months from the date on which it was earned, but it does mean that those whose stays cross the December/January break might take an extra year to reach the same targets.
Membership cards go digital
From 2017, you’ll no longer receive a physical membership card in the post from Accor for the year ahead, instead keeping a digital copy of the same on your smartphone, accessible via the Accor app.
With Accor oddly changing each member’s actual card number every year, using a digital card ensures you’re always providing a hotel with the most up-to-date information as you check-in, and presents one less thing to pack into your wallet.
For the select few business travellers without a smartphone, we’d expect Accor to provide an alternative such as print at home card, or a physical membership card by special request.
In any case, the number of rewards points you'll earn when staying at Accor's range of brands remains unchanged, as do the benefits of each tier and also the 'conversion' rates from points into hotel savings or to the various airline frequent flyer programs.
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