Members of the Accor Plus hotel loyalty program will keep their benefits for longer this year as the coronavirus continues to curtail domestic and international travel.
Separate to Accor Live Limitless (ALL), Accor Plus is a paid program offering discounts on dining and hotel room rates across Asia Pacific, as well as a complimentary hotel night every year in return for the yearly $395 membership fee.
“The impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives is daunting and has also affected our members' opportunity to use and enjoy the benefits of their Accor Plus membership,” acknowledges Accor.
To alleviate this, the company is rolling out a blanket six-month membership extension for all Accor Plus cardholders – including Supplementary and Discovery cardholders – who hold or held a valid Accor Plus membership at any time in April 2020.
By extending the membership period, Accor Plus accountholders will have longer to use the program’s dining and hotel room discounts, before their next annual fee is due.
(For a small number of cardholders previously offered a bonus three months upon joining Accor Plus, this six-month extension replaces that offer, rather than being cumulative. As such, their ’12 months with three months free’ membership will be valid for a total of 18 months.)
Separately, all unused Stay Plus free night vouchers will also see their validity extended by up to six months, to align with the traveller’s revised membership period. Unused ‘Member for a Day’ certificates will also be extended in the same way.
Any vouchers issued by Accor Plus for complimentary breakfast and complimentary wine will also be valid for an additional six months. Most of these vouchers currently show a December 31 2020 expiry date, and so will now be valid until June 30 2021. Vouchers will not be reissued with the new date, but hotels will be advised of the extension.
No replacement Accor Plus membership card
Accor expects all membership extensions will be processed by May 31 2020, after which, each member’s new expiry date will be visible online and via the Accor mobile app.
However, replacement (physical) Accor Plus membership cards will not be issued to reflect this change.
Once the expiry date on the member’s current card has passed, they will only be able to use their benefits during the extension period by presenting their digital membership card, accessible via the Accor ALL app for Android and iPhone.
(Accor Plus membership is linked to a traveller's ALL account, keeping everything in the one app and on a single digital membership card.)
Members who find themselves unable to use the Accor app must instead contact Accor to request a “Temporary Letter” confirming their new expiry date, which can be presented in tandem with their expired plastic Accor Plus membership card to access benefits.
When the Accor Plus membership is renewed after the revised expiration date, a new membership kit and plastic membership tag will then be provided.
Members will wait longer for their next Stay Plus voucher
While unused Stay Plus vouchers will be extended by up to six months, members will have to wait longer for their next Stay Plus voucher.
That’s because these vouchers are only issued when a new Accor Plus membership year begins: and with current membership periods prolonged by up to six months, this defers the date that members can expect a new Stay Plus voucher to become available.
For paying Accor Plus members whose annual fee will be similarly deferred, that's unlikely to be an issue: but for American Express Platinum Charge Card and Centurion Card members who receive Accor Plus as part of their package of benefits, it’s a less-than-welcome change.
By postponing the next Stay Plus voucher by six months, these AMEX cardholders will face an 18-month gap in between free night vouchers, which could mean no free stay at all during their 12-month AMEX membership year.
That’s despite being charged the full AMEX annual fee for that same period: currently $1,450 for the Platinum Charge Card, and $5,000 for the Centurion Card.
Executive Traveller has contacted American Express to confirm whether the card issuer plans to offer any respite to its own members, given customers are still being charged AMEX annual fees in full while unable to use most of their card's advertised benefits.