The award traveler’s guide to Accor Live Limitless

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Accor isn’t often discussed among points and miles enthusiasts. It makes sense on some levels. There are only about 150 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 5,100 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 loyalty program, Accor Live Limitless.

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Overview

You may have whizzed past Accor hotels (or even stayed in one) without realizing it. Accor has 52 unique brands, including the following:

21C Museum Hotels Delano JO&JOE Onefinestay Sofitel
25hours Fairmont John Paul Orient-Express Sofitel Legend
Adagio Aparthotel Gekko Mama Shelter Paris Society SLS
Adagio Aparthotel Premium Grand Mercure MamaWorks Peppers SO/
Adoria hotelF1 Mantis Potel & Chabot Swissôtel
Angsana The House of Originals Mercure Pullman Tribe
Art Series Hyde MGallery Raffles VeryChic
Astore ibis Mondrian Adagio Aparthotel Access wojo
Banyan Tree ibis Budget Mövenpick Rixos
BreakFree Thalassa Huazhu Hotels Group Ltd. The Sebel
D-EDGE ibis Styles Novotel Mantra

Accor offers a full spectrum of brands, ranging from budget ato five-star experiences. Some iconic Accor properties include the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Sofitel London St James, and Raffles Dubai.

My wife and I stayed at the Raffles Dubai a few years 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 of years, you may struggle to find value for your points since they expire after 365 days of inactivity.

According to the program terms and conditions, you’ll need to earn points from hotel stays to reset the clock. In the meantime, let’s look at Accor’s elite status levels.

Accor elite status

Accor has five levels of status, with varying benefits. Interestingly, you can earn status by completing either a certain number of nights or spending at hotels. The required spending is in euros, so keep that in mind if you’re hoping to earn Accor Live Limitless status that way.

Classic

Members who join Accor Live Limitless get Classic status. At this level, members get advanced access to private sales, online check-in and fast check-out. The best part, as with all base levels, is that you’ll earn points on your Accor stays (more on that later).

Silver (800 euros spent or 10 nights)

Members earn Silver elite status after spending 800 euros or staying at least 10 nights. Once you get to this level, you’ll enjoy the following perks:

  • Priority check-in
  • Late check-out
  • Welcome drink

Gold  (2,800 euros spent or 30 nights)

Accor Live Limitless Gold status is earned after 2,800 euros spent or 30 nights. You’ll get all the benefits of Silver status, plus the following:

  • Guaranteed room when booking up to three days before check-in
  • Early check-in or late check-out
  • Space-available upgrade to the next room category

Platinum (5,600 euros spent or 60 nights

Platinum status requires 5,600 euros in hotel spending or 60 nights. When you reach this status level, you will automatically receive two Suite Night Upgrades, each of which can be applied toward one night. You can earn additional Suite Night Upgrades for every 4,000 Status points earned, up to 12 times per year. Here are all the extra benefits Platinum members receive:

  • Guaranteed room when booking up to two days before check-in
  • Executive Lounge access
  • One Suite Night Upgrade

Diamond (10,400 euros spent)

Accor’s Diamond top-tier status is unique in that you have to spend 10,400 euros on hotel stays to earn it. There is no option to earn it via stays. At this level, you’ll get the following additional benefits:

  • Complimentary breakfast on weekends
  • Four 25-euro Dining & Spa Rewards
  • Ability to gift Gold status to someone else.

Considering how difficult it is to earn Diamond status, I expected more substantial benefits from this level. Breakfast is only free on weekends, which is not impressive when compared to a program like Hilton Honors, which offers their mid-tier Gold elites free breakfast every day of the week.

Related: Hotel elite status match challenge plans for 2020

How to earn Accor points

With such a vast hotel portfolio with so many great properties, having Accor points can come in handy. Here are all the ways you can earn Accor points:

Hotel stays

Accor awards non-elite members 5-10 points per 10 euros spent on eligible hotel spending. Elite members can earn up to 44 points per 10 euros spent.

Accor points are worth a flat rate of 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 if 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 sometimes to 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.

Accor shopping portal

You can 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

Transfer points from Capital One

Capital One is Accor’s only transfer partner in the U.S. Capital One miles transfer to Accor at a 2:1 ratio, which isn’t ideal since many airline transfer ratios are 2:1.5. You can quickly earn Capital One miles with the following cards:

Airline partners

Accor partners with ten airline loyalty programs, allowing you to convert the miles you earn when you fly into Accor points. Based on these conversion rates, we don’t recommend converting your miles to Accor points. The exception would be if you have “orphan miles” that you want to unload.

  • Aegean Miles+Bonus: Convert 2,000 miles to 500 Accor points
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue: Earn 1 point per 2 euros spent on Air France/KLM. Convert 4,000 Flying Blue Miles into 1,000 Accor points.
  • Azul ToduAzul: Convert 10,000 TudoAzul points to 1,000 Accor points
  • Finnair Plus: Convert 3,500 Finnair Plus points to 500 Accor points
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club: Convert 7,000 Fortune Wings points to 1,000 Accor points
  • LATAM Pass: Convert 5,000 LATAM PASS miles to 2,000 Accor points
  • LATAM Pass Brazil: Convert 5,680 LATAM PASS miles to 1,000 Accor points
  • Oman Air Sindbad: Earn 500 Accor points for 1,500 Sindbad miles
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club: Convert 4,500 Qmiles to 1,000 Accor points
  • Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer: Convert 4,000 Safar Flyer miles to 1,000 Accor points

Transportation partners

Silver car driving down Kaikoura Highway
(Photo by C Levers/Shutterstock)

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 euro 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 popular luggage brands to online travel agencies to Priority Pass.

Related: The best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access

Credit card transfer partners

At the moment, Accor has only one viable transfer partner for those based in the U.S. 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:

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.

While it’s not the best vlaue, it’s still good to know your options.

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

Event planning

You’ll earn 1 Accor point per 2 euros spent on planning an event at over 24 brands. Eligible events include 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 most of us. For example, you can:

  • Convert bank rewards if you have an account in the U.A.E
  • Earn points by visiting a collection of spas primarily located in France
  • Take quizzes to earn points at an abysmal 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)

How to redeem Accor points

Now for the fun part! Accor has thounsands of hotels in prime locations around the world, but that isn’t your only redemption option. Here’s a look at all the ways you can redeem your Accor points:

Hotels

Acccor does not have an award chart with tiers, so there are no “sweet spots” to speak of. 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. It also means that Accor points can be more practical, since you don’t have to worry about maximixing each point.

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, which is a bit 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.

Onefinestay

You can redeem points for gift cards at Onefinestay, essentially a luxury version of Airbnb, only available at the world’s top destinations. You’ll find its homes and villas in the following in the U.S., Europe, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Asia and Oceania.

These are jaw-dropping properties. You’ll receive an average of 1.53 cents per point (dependent on the value of the Euro relative to the U.S. dollar). That’s notably worse than redeeming your points for Accor hotel stays.

Accor award chart for Onefinestay
(screenshot courtesy of Accor.com)

Airline miles

Accor partners with 33 airline programs, allowing you to convert your Accor 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. Transfer partners include the following airlines:

  • Aegean Miles+Bonus
  • Aeroflot Bonus
  • Aero Mexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air China Phoenix Miles
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia MileMiglia
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • Azul ToduAzul
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Finnair Plus
  • Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club
  • Iberia Plus
  • Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Clb
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege
  • Korean Air SkyPass
  • LATAM Pass
  • LATAM Pass Brazil
  • Oman Air Sindbad
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Smiles
  • Royal AIr Maroc Safari Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
  • TAP Portugal Miles & Go
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles& Smiles
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Australia Velocity

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.)

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. You can redeem 1,000 points for every 10 euro charge.

Transportation

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

  • Die Bahn: Redeem 2,000 Accor points for 1,000 Bahn Bonus Points
  • Europcar: Redeem 2,000 Accor points for 20 Euros
  • Eurostar: Redeem 4,000 Accor points for 350 Club Eurostarmpoints

Related: Best hotel credit cards for 2020

Bottom line

The greatest thing going for Accor is its portfolio of 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 most of its partners, and earning points through stays is slow, even with its most prestigious elite status.

On top of that, Accor is mainly concentrated in Europe, so anyone from the U.S. will have difficulty racking up points for free stays.

Additional reporting by Ariana Arghandewal

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy

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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.

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