I’m currently in NYC right now, and I just finished my university exams, so I’m still taking a bit of a breather from all the posting after that exciting post yesterday. Anyways, I ran into this Flyertalk thread while I was doing my reading.
We all know that Accor gives away it’s top tier Platinum status away for free which I’ve written about here and here (the signup offers in the posts have already been removed by Accor). So it’s also not very difficult to get many other hotel statuses for free or next to nothing.
That’s why I found this post particularly amusing:
A few months ago was checking into an MGallery , small queue at the checkin desk. My turn came, and I asked whether there would be any chance of an upgrade, as a gold member. The young receptionist checked and said there was just one junior suite left, and she would be happy to upgrade me.
The chap behind interrupted, quite rudely pushing in front of me, and said that he was platinum, and should therefore have the upgrade. She asked him to wait his turn but he was quite insistent to the point of beligerence. I really didnt want a scene, and shrugged and stepped back.
The receptionist took his card, tapped away at her computer, and asked him when was his last stay at an accor hotel. He foundered for a moment, and then said “I dont remember, not long ago”. She then very politely asked him how he came to be a platinum member, as he had no stays or points recorded at all, looking at him quite pointedly. He mumbled something about loyalty, and she handed his card back to him, She completed my checkin, providing drink vouchers and also complimentary breakfasts (which was good, and unexpected).
The only problem was enduring the slightly venomous glances from the other couple for the two night stay.
So it seems that there is a way for the reception staff to check, and some of the more switched on hotels in the chain are aware.
The person being really rude might have something to do with it, but this isn’t new. IHG has Royal Ambassador status which is only available through actual heavy hotel stays (50+ nights) unless you get a referral certificate invite for a real nice friend (which I wish I had), and most hotel chains have secret super elite tiers above published top-tier status. I think what’s also really interesting that it seems that it’s the first time that I’ve read about a lower tier elite status holder who got status from stays who got an upgrade while a freeloader didn’t.
Of course, we can’t be sure that this is consistent across the Accor chain. But I still found it really interesting how the “free” Accor Plat might not be worth as much as we think. If you legitimately get elite statuses I also think (as an armchair CEO) that this might actually be a really good way of ensuring loyalty, by having very few published benefits but going above and beyond for loyal members. Technically, AMEX “pays” the hotel chains for elite status in the case of holding a credit card, but it’s probably very little compared to actual loyalty by paid nights.
I guess that’s something to consider next time you’re using your Accor Plat!