A year ago Accor Hotels bought Fairmont, and there was no world in which that would be a good thing for Fairmont Presidents Club members (just as over time the IHG purchase of Kimpton wouldn’t be a net plus for Kimpton members).
Years ago Avis rose to prominence with the slogan “We’re number 2. We Try Harder.” Eventually they dropped the “We’re number 2” part and then in 2012 they even dropped the claim that they try harder.
Lobby of the Fairmont Royal York, Toronto
Smaller programs have to try harder, you can show up in any city and walk into a Marriott, Hilton, or IHG property without trying very hard but it takes effort to be loyal to Hyatt or Starwood (or Fairmont or Kimpton). Accor isn’t especially big in the US but they’re a huge chain worldwide. Here’s what the secret Accor loyalty manual says.
When the merger was announced I flagged two issue issues for consumers.
- Le Club Accorhotels doesn’t have a ‘lifetime Platinum’ concept. Several folks took advantage of a Living Social deal that came with Lifetime Platinum status in Fairmont Presidents Club back in 2011 that was surprisingly honored. What happens to those Lifetime Platinums in an Accor future? Do they become Accor Platinums? Do they lose lifetime status altogether?
- What will happen to the Fairmont Visa from Chase?
We know that Accor is going to integrate Fairmont Presidents Club members into the Le Club Accorhotels program which — while they improved elite benefits three years ago — pales in comparison.
We do not yet know:
- Whether the Accor program will get a co-brand credit card, let alone one in the U.S.
- Whether they will honor Fairmont lifetime status in Le Club Accorhotels (even though it would be a devaluation)
Yesterday a Chase spokesperson confirmed to me that “we are no-longer accepting applications for the Fairmont card.” However Doctor of Credit says it’s still possible to apply for the Fairmont Visa, albeit likely not for long.
It makes sense to end applications for the Fairmont Visa even if Chase is going to pick up an Accor co-brand because the benefits that are being advertised will change. They don’t want to promise something to cardholders that won’t be delivered (and they don’t want to open themselves up to regulatory risk for doing so).