Just as I had fallen in love with Accor again…..

UPDATE : Accor have reviewed the matter again and resolved everything, so all is well and I can return to my usually much happier Accor posts.

I’m interrupting my seemingly never ending tale of my five weeks in the United States to admit that my fan boy like of Accor has been dented once again. I’d add that I have an average of 90 nights per year over the last four years at Accor hotels, so there’s a great deal that they do very well. I have carefully checked on three occasions that Accor are content with their customer service responses being reprinted below and wouldn’t have done so if they objected. I’ve taken out the customer service staff name, although they were all sent by the same person.

I’ve also got a quote from IHG (who I keep flirting with) but this can wait for my post about this on my little Accor web-site which I desperately need to bring up-to-date. Next week…..

OK, going back to October, Accor sent me this:

“Boost your points balance and earn up to 6,000 Reward points* on your upcoming stays of two nights or more.

Register for the offer and book by 1st November for stays at participating hotels until 21st December 2022.”

It’s well-known, since I keep going on about it, that Accor Poland hotels are all run by Orbis and they are run to a high degree of competence. Indeed, they’re perhaps the best multi-site operator from any chain that I’ve come across, Orbis know exactly what they are doing. This meant that I thought I’d book three two-night stays in Poland during my week there in mid-November.

After booking, I read carefully the terms and conditions and noticed:

“Any stay paid in full or in part with one or more ALL – Accor Live Limitless vouchers are not eligible for this offer and cannot be included in the count of stays for this offer.”

I had paid for one of the two night stays using Limitless points. I wasn’t quite sure what a Limitless voucher was as I haven’t seen them use that terminology before, and I’ve also used Limitless points before when booking on this offer and it has worked out. So, I thought I’d phone Accor to see if I needed what the offer meant, whether I could remove the points I had used to pay with or failing that, I’d just book another two night stay in London. This meant that I was covered whatever.

Anyway, Accor customer service tell me that Limitless vouchers are Limitless gift certificates and my booking isn’t impacted as they’re different to Limitless points. This does make sense, as Accor have recently been selling gift certificates recently at a discounted rate and it makes sense they don’t want those added.

However, to avoid any possible confusion, I email Accor to confirm this.

They reply:

“Thank you for contacting your Customer Service and confirming that your request regarding point application request is saved under the reference Case.XXXXXXX

I am pleased to inform you that I have already contacted the hotel in which you have stayed in order to provide you with the most appropriate answer.

Rest assured that we are making every effort to respond to you as soon as possible.”

I wasn’t quite sure why they were trying to contact the hotel, this wasn’t a query that was anything to do with the hotel (and I hadn’t yet stayed there anyway). However, a few hours later they replied:

“Dear Mr. Julian White,

Regarding your booking ****** will be applied for this promotion.

If you need any other assistance, please contact us again.”

That seems quite clear? So, I’ve checked by phone and email and got clear answers.

Anyway, of course the points didn’t credit, which meant that I lost 3,000 Accor points, which is something around £45 or so. I contact Accor customer service.

“Dear Mr. Julian White,

Thank you for your response.

I am writing to you regarding your request pertaining to the offer Earn up to 6,000 Reward points by staying with us.

The terms and conditions of the offer that you have accepted include the following:
Any stay partly or entirely paid with ALL – Accor Live Limitless Reward points will not be eligible to receive this offer.

In accordance with these terms and conditions I cannot respond favorably to you. We regularly offer new promotions on our website. Do not hesitate to consult the terms and conditions of the different offers in order to be able to be sure to benefit from them.”

This incidentally was written by the same customer service agent who had emailed saying my booking did meet their rules. I realised then that he’s just perhaps trying to bury this under the carpet. Just a thought, but perhaps I am too sceptical. If he’d have said he was mistaken, that might have been more honourable and I might have just left it rather than get anyone into issues within Accor.

“Dear Mr. Julian White,

I am contacting you regarding your request concerning your reservation ******* for a stay at Mercure **********.

When making this reservation on the 21/11/2022 you chose a non-refundable and non-changeable rate. These restrictive conditions accepted while making the booking, cannot allow us to make any changes nor ask for a refund.

And it clearly says “Any stay partly or entirely paid with ALL – Accor Live Limitless Reward points will not be eligible to receive this offer.” in condition of sales.

Unfortunately this booking is ineligible for this offer. Thank you for understanding.”

Note he says “clearly says”, despite that he himself and Accor phone customer service had got it wrong. This email is also untrue, the hotel could have changed the booking if it wanted and I’ve stayed there over 15 times. But, it’s irrelevant anyway, I would have just made another booking in London for before I went to Poland if they told me that my booking wasn’t covered.

I politely replied that they had been mistaken, so it wasn’t clear. Within seven minutes of his previous message he replies:

“Dear Mr. Julian White,

I have been asked to respond to your request regarding your reservation ********8 for a stay at Mercure ******.

Following your initial discussions with our services, your file has been reviewed by our expert team. The conclusion of our investigation unfortunately does not allow us to respond favorably to your request. We remind you that the terms and conditions of sale of the chosen rate specify that your reservation cannot be modified, canceled or refunded. We are not in a position to provide you with a response different from the one you received previously and therefore we have to close your file.”

I didn’t ask for anyone to review the case, I was just making sure they realised that two customer service staff had been very clear. But this customer service agent is expecting me to believe that within seven minutes another staff member from the “expert team” has been able to listen to the call, read the emails and reply with a decision. That’s efficient I’d say. At this point, there seemed little point progressing matters if they’re apparently closed the file.

I complained to a contact at Orbis Hotels who had told me to contact them if Accor customer service ever did anything like this, and they’ve arranged something which has pleased me sufficiently to just give up on the issue and post here instead. I’m still down on the deal, which is moderately annoying. But, the failure of these offers is rampant with Accor, it’s really not worth risking trying to book with them unless someone was going to the hotels anyway. These offers fail for all manner of reasons, not just the situation I mentioned above.

As to why I’m disappointed? I hate when people book things with the expectation of getting a particular bonus, especially when they make big efforts to clarify the terms and conditions. This could have been someone who had very little money and was relying on the bonus points, on what was genuinely a generous offer.

Anyway, I’ll bore people separately next week on my Accor web-site, as I have some quotes I’m going to use from hotels I’ve contacted muttering about this. Right, back to boring people with my tales of my US trip and apologies for this little interlude.