Obtaining elite status with a hotel loyalty program usually requires a large outlay in spend. For the Accor Hotels ‘Le Club’ loyalty program, you’d normally need to stay at least 30 nights or make approx $4,500 in spend to qualify for Accor Gold status.
However, a little known loophole can see anyone fast track their way to instant Accor Gold status. How? Simply purchase the Ibis Business Card.
The Ibis Business Card is marketed to business travellers who frequently stay at Accor’s budget Ibis chain. Cardholders get a 10% discount on rooms and breakfast when staying at Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget hotels. However, the promise of 12 months of elite Accor Gold status – which delivers a range of benefits – is arguably the sweeter part of this deal.
The cost of signing up for the Ibis Business Card is just 90 Euros (around $148 AUD at the time of writing). As we'll explain below, this is value you can easily get back with just a few stays.
Is Accor Gold status worth purchasing?
Accor revamped their somewhat maligned loyalty program a few years back. With consistent improvements to upgrades, service and perks, Accor Le Club has started to position itself as one of the best hotel loyalty programs for Australian travellers. The chain has continued to grow its footprint in Australia, where the range of Accor hotel brands includes Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Mercure and Novotel.
While Accor Gold status unlocks a range of membership benefits, in our opinion, the two most valuable perks are:
Early or late check-out
When you hold Gold status with Accor, you can choose either an early or late checkout. In the past, we’ve been able to access check in as early as 9 am and check out as late as 5 pm as an Accor Gold member. This benefit might even save you an extra night room charge if you’re arriving on an early flight or departing on a late one.
Single category room upgrade
As with many other chains, this benefit is pitched as ‘subject to availability’. However, we’ve found room upgrades have almost always been applied when staying at Accor properties in the past few years. Sometimes, hotels will upgrade by several categories.
Tip: A number of Accor hotels incorporate Executive lounges which serve free breakfast (often cooked), evening drinks and canapes. We’d suggest booking a room category one tier lower than the Executive lounge to maximise your chances of obtaining an upgrade with access. Always request your upgrade at the time of booking, and again when checking in.
Accor Gold status also comes with a number of additional smaller perks that could save you money you’d otherwise spend. These include a free welcome drink at the hotel bar, free internet access, early access to Accor Private Sales and ‘VIP Treatment’ which provides touches like a welcome amenity (e.g. fruit plate) or a bottle of wine.
In our experience, identifying yourself as an elite guest usually also leads to a speedier and more positive resolution in the event you find yourself needing to raise any issues or complaints as part of your stay.
While the Ibis Business Card is probably not worth purchasing speculatively, if you're planning on just a couple of stays in an Accor property over the next 12 months and can make use of the benefits we've listed above, you'll likely come out ahead.
You'll find the full list of Accor gold benefits here.
How do I purchase the Ibis Business Card?
You can sign up for the Ibis Business Card online. Access the joining form here. If you happen to be staying at an Ibis, Ibis Budget or Ibis Styles hotel in Europe, you can also sign up at the reception desk.
When you complete the joining form, you'll need to enter your existing Accor Le Club membership details to ensure both accounts are linked. If you don't hold Accor Le Club membership yet, you can sign up for free here. Note that some people have reported issues combining Accor Plus accounts with the Ibis Business Card – we're about to give this a go, so will update this post with our findings.
Final tip: Leverage your new Accor Gold status for a ‘status match’
Once you've obtained your shiny new Accor Gold status, you might want to try leveraging your status with yet another hotel chain. There are no guarantees, however, a number of chains may be willing to match your existing loyalty program status with their competitors if you approach them.
This can take the form of a straight ‘match’ (where you are comped comparative status immediately) or a status ‘challenge’ (where you need to qualify for status by completing a set number of stays within a period of time). We’ve previously written about this topic here.
Will you consider purchasing the Ibis Business Card?
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