The award traveler’s guide to Accor Live Limitless

Feb 5, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Accor isn’t often discussed among points and miles enthusiasts. It makes sense on some levels. There are only about 120 properties in North America, making it an impractical investment for most of us living on this side of the pond.

However, the chain is surprisingly prominent in the rest of the world, with more than 5,400 properties in total. Its greatest concentration is in Europe and Asia — and it’s got hotels that top your bucket list, whether you know it or not. Now that Capital One has added Accor Live Limitless as a transfer partner, it’s much easier for many of us to earn and redeem Accor points.

Let’s examine the inner workings of the Accor loyaltey program, Accor Live Limitless.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In This Post

Overview

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
Adagio Disruptive JO&JOE Onefinestay Mantra
Adoria Fairmont John Paul Orient-Express Sofitel
Angsana Gekko Mama Shelter Paris Society Sofitel Legend
Aparthotel Grand Mercure MamaWorks Peppers SLS
Art Series hotelF1 Mantis Potel & Chabot SO/
Astore The House of Originals Mercure Pullman Swissôtel
Banyan Tree Hyde MGallery Raffles Tribe
BreakFree ibis Mondrian ResDiary VeryChic
D-EDGE ibis budget Mövenpick Rixos wojo

Accor offers a full spectrum between budget and five-star experiences. It isn’t just a high-end program, 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.

My wife and I stayed at the Raffles Dubai a few months ago and were upgraded to a Diplomatic Suite. Raffles Dubai is the number one rated hotel in Dubai on Tripadvisor. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy.)

If you stay in Accor hotels with any frequency, you’re throwing money away if you’re not a part of its loyalty program. 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 program terms and conditions, to reset the clock, you’ll need to earn points from staying at an Accor hotel. (Though we’ll be sure and test out if a transfer from Capital One might do the trick.)

In the meantime, let’s look at all the ways to collect and use Accor points.

Earning Accor points

Hotel stays

Accor awards points per 10 euros 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

Airline partners

Accor partners with nine airline loyalty programs, 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 program of KLM and Air France).

Transportation partners

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 one of the top travel rewards credit cards).

Travel partners

Accor gives you the option to earn points from an assortment of travel partners, from luggage brands to online travel agencies to Priority Pass.

Related: Capital One new and improved transfer partners

Credit card transfer partners

There’s really only one viable transfer partner at present, but that’s one more than there was up until now.

You can transfer Capital One miles to Accor at a rate of 2:1 (2 Capital One miles = 1 Accor point) from cards such as:

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One miles can be used at a rate of 1 cent each to “erase” travel purchases, including hotel stays. If you were to redeem 50,000 miles toward a paid stay at an Accor hotel charged to the card, you’d get $500 in travel. However, if you transferred your points to Accor at a 2:1 ratio, you’d receive 25,000 Accor points. That’s worth $550 in free Accor hotel stays in their program, so it may make more sense to go that route, though you wouldn’t be earning Accor points the way you would if you “paid” for the stay by charging it to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and then wiping out that charge with your points.

Related: How to redeem Capital One miles at a fixed value

It’s hardly worth noting, but you can indirectly transfer points to Accor from all major flexible points programs, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. All these programs transfer to Flying Blue (the loyalty program of KLM and Air France). From there, you can transfer Flying Blue miles to Accor at a rate of 4:1. In other words, you can turn 4 Amex Membership Rewards points into 1 Accor point.

It’s a horrible value, but it’s still good to know your options.

Related: How and why to calculate award redemption values

Event planning

You’ll earn 1 Accor point per 2 euros you spend on planning an event at the following brands:

This includes business meetings, conferences, receptions, private events and much more.

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.

The hotel that started a collection - the Fairmont San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
The hotel that started a collection – the Fairmont San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Redeeming Accor points

Hotels

Again, there are no real sweet spots in this program 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 euros off your stay ($44.16 at the time of writing). 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 program. I can’t find a list of properties not participating in the program, 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:

Onefinestay

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:

U.S.

Europe:

Caribbean
Mexico
Central America:
Asia:

Oceania

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.

Airline miles

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 $2,000+ if paid with cash. That means you’d receive a value of 5.88 cents per Accor point.

Book a one-way business-class flight on Iberia for the equivalent of just 34,000 Accor points. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.)

Event planning

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.

Restaurants

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.

Transportation

You can use your points at the following rates for transportation around Europe:

Elite status

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 euros 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.

Related: Hotel elite status match challenge plans for 2020

Bottom line

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 unfavorable transfer rates from the majority of its partners, and earning points through stays is slow, even with its most prestigious elite status.

Related: Best hotel credit cards for 2020

On top of that, Accor is mainly concentrated in Europe, so anyone from the U.S. will have a difficult time racking up points for free stays. But now there’s a new option: Your best bet for collecting Accor points in the U.S. is by transferring Capital One miles to Accor at a 2:1 ratio. You can quickly earn Capital One miles with cards like:

Featured photo by Sopotnicki/Shutterstock.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.