Getting started – which hotel loyalty programs should you join?

We started out by looking at the top frequent flyer programs for Australians to join, and his post goes quickly into the handful of hotel loyalty programs for which you should do the same.

Hotel loyalty programs are useful to understand and engage with, as they are usually more flexible than frequent flyer programs by allowing you to transfer the points out to a range of frequent flyer partners.

Alternatively you’ll be able to redeem the points for hotel stays or credit for future travel.

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20% bonus on points transfers into Etihad Guest with American Express and the major hotel loyalty programs

I love a simple promotion – there’s not heaps of use for this one, but if you have an Etihad Guest award in mind, this is a good way to get more value out of your American Express Membership Rewards points (or other hotel program points, excluding Starwood).

Etihad will kick in 20% on top of any transfer from the programs listed here until the 30th November (the say 31 November on the offer page, but all sane people know that November doesn’t have 31 days…) with the points crediting within 7 days of the transfer. Continue reading…

Europcar Privilege program – a guide to discounts, benefits, gaining upgrades and status matching from other programs

I’ve been making a few car rentals recently and given that Virgin Australia offers either Executive or Elite status with Europcar once you hit Velocity Gold or Platinum, it’s worth knowing about the benefits you’re eligible for if you fly a lot with Virgin.

I’ve chosen to rent with Europcar mainly due to competitive rates and the ability to select specific ‘prestige’ makes / models of cars to suit your taste and budget. Recently I’ve rented an Audi A1, Audi A3, and a new Mercedes E Class wagon.

The point of this post is not to convince you to rent with Europcar versus anyone else – more to outline the most effective ways to credit points earnt from rentals and also some of the details of Europcar’s recently launched ‘Privilege’ loyalty scheme for frequent (or even infrequent) renters.
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Accor LeClub – Iberia transfer rate falling, and a way to get low points balances out of your account

I’ve written a few times about leveraging the Accor LeClub program to transfer points into British Airways (or Iberia Avios) at very appealing rates.

The method is

  1. Earn points with Accor
  2. Transfer them to Iberia Plus Avios at 2 Le Club : 5 Avios
  3. Transfer from Iberia to BA using Avios.com
  4. Use the handy BA booking system to book Avios redemptions (e.g 4,500 Avios for Sydney – Melbourne)

The key parts to this process are both in point 2 – the transfer rate for Iberia is effectively 1:2.5, compared to BA directly which is 1:0.5 for the exact same points currency. Secondly, once your account is enabled for auto transfers out of Accor LeClub, any points you earn (even nominal amounts) are transferred immediately out.

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How to merge Accor LeClub accounts, to transfer points or stays

If you’ve taken advantage of one of the many Accor Platinum status sign up offers that crop up, you may have reason to want to merge your old (non-Platinum status) account with the newly minted account in order to transfer some points or completed stays over to your new account.

I was in this situation for my own account with several thousand points in after the recent ‘Discovery Tour’ promotion, having earn 2,000 points for myself and a few family members. Each of these balances is worth 5,000 Avios when transferring via Iberia Plus, which is enough for a one-way Sydney-Melbourne flight on Qantas, for example. However I’d need a Platinum account to be able to transfer them out.

Platinum LeClub accounts are useful beyond elite recognition in hotels, as they also allow transfers out to partner programs below the 4,000 point threshold in place for lower status accounts, meaning I could get these points out to an airline frequent flyer account more easily if I were Platinum. So, it’s worth doing.
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Accor LeClub Platinum Status – offer still open

I’ve previously written about the benefits of Platinum status with Accor hotels – it’s a useful account to have in your back pocket, especially given their range of properties in the region.

They regularly run sign up offers for Platinum (highest-tier) status accounts, but they usually get closed down quite quickly as users find and take advantage of them.

This current offer is still open though, and has been since mid December – go for it while you still can. You can easily combine an old, lower tier account with a new one by contacting their customer service team, so there’s nothing to lose.
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The Sofitel Melbourne Hotel review – Junior Suite

I was in Melbourne for a few nights for work and fortunately the Sofitel at that time was just under my company’s acceptable nightly rate. I’ve had Platinum status with Accor LeClub for a while, and I was interested to check out the Sofitel and see what benefits they might throw my way.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my good camera with me on this trip, but I managed to grab a few serviceable pictures of the room and the hotel – my room for once in fact actually looked exactly like this press image. I got lucky with the upgrade. Continue reading…

500 free Accor LeClub points per week with the ‘Discovery Tour’ quiz

I go a year or more without writing about the Accor LeClub program in any real manner, to 3 posts in a week so. This time around, there’s 500 free LeClub points for answering a quiz on Facebook, correctly placing 10 of their hotels on a world map.

That’s 500 Qantas points, or better still, 1250 Avios.

This is a weekly promotion until 13th November, so looks like there are 4 weeks of opportunity – figure 2000 LeClub points = 2000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points, or as I keep harping on about – 4,500 Avios. Yep, enough points from playing a quiz once a week for a month for a one way short domestic flight in Australia, Europe, the US…

This one’s worth following through; and full terms are here.

Accor Platinum Status; & 40% off Sofitel sale

So, that post earlier this week on how to make the most of points earnt from Accor Hotel stays? Good news – one of the key components of that strategy, holding Accor LeClub Platinum membership – which yields double points on stays at Novotels, Sofitels, etc. – is back with an open link for Platinum sign upthanks to Gary from View from the Wing.

As Gary notes, these links have a habit of dropping like flies, so get in and sign up while you can. Accor are generally pretty amenable to merging accounts if you already have one without Platinum status – just sign up and email them later.

There’s also a 40% off sale for stays between December 1st and March 31st if you book by October 21st. I had a great stay at the Sofitel Melbourne recently, and would definitely recommend it if the rate is good for your booking, for example.