With all three major U.S. airlines now offering separate reward miles and elite-status qualification miles through their frequent-flyer programmes, it was only a matter of time before a major hotel programme followed suit. That Rubicon was crossed last week, when Accor Hotels announced changes to their Le Club Accor reward programme that did just that. In the new programme, Le Club Accor members will earn elite status separately from rewards.
The new programme is complicated, with multiple levels of earning in both the reward and status columns based on at which Accor properties members earn. Members who frequent the company's Adagio Access properties, for example, earn only five status points, while members who stay at upscale properties can earn up to 25 status points per visit. The whole programme seems designed by accounting committee, in which members earn points in half-point increments and multiple examples are required to clarify how members can earn.
One change, however, is definitely member-friendly: Le Club Accor members who do earn elite status will now retain that status longer. In the old programme, elite status lasted for a single year; in the new programme, elite status lasts until the end of the following calendar year, regardless of at what point in the previous year you earned it. Reach Platinum status in April of 2016, for example, and you'll keep it until the end of December 2017 even if you don't earn enough status points in 12 months. That change gives members more time to retain status - a nice perk for frequent travelers.
You can read more about the changes to the Le Club Accor programme on the company's web site.
- Rick Ferguson