Personal connection trumps status when it comes to room upgrades

by Allan Yong
Vancouver Pacific Rim

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10,400 Euros is the price you need to pay to get the top-tier status with Accor Live Limitless (ALL), with no requirement for nights stayed. Given the composition of Accor’s properties in Canada, which consists of 6 Novotels, 1 Sofitel, 1 MGallery, and 19 high-end Fairmont properties, it is an expensive status for many of us who live in the North. How does the Accor top-tier Diamond status compare to other tiers? And can personal connections unlock room upgrades better than status? We had a unique opportunity to test this at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver.

Accor Live Limitless – Loyalty Tiers

For those not following the new-ish ALL program, here is a quick breakdown of the benefits for each level.

  • Classic: Basic benefits as soon as you join, including member rates and advance access to sales.
  • Silver: Classic benefits, a welcome drink, late checkout, and a priority welcome.
  • Gold: Silver benefits plus Room upgrades, guaranteed availability, and early and late checkout.
  • Platinum:  Gold benefits, lounge access (no Fairmont gold), breakfast in Asia-Pacific hotels, and a welcome gift.
  • Diamond: Platinum benefits plus suite upgrades, weekend breakfast worldwide, the ability to nominate a Gold member, and 100 Euros of Dining and Spa.
  • Limitless: Invitation-only level with exclusive benefits like gifting Platinum status, points transfer, and a personal ALL assistant.

a screenshot of a card

For most people, a Diamond tier status unlocks when they spend 10,400 Euros on Accor properties. But even at the highest tier, benefits come with restrictions – the primary breakfast benefit offered to Diamond members is available on weekend stays only but do not cap or limit how many things you can order. Through this benefit, I have had a great breakfast experience at Sofitel Shanghai and across the Fairmont properties in Canada.

Another significant benefit for Diamond members is the 5 Suite Night Upgrades (SNU), where you get guaranteed five nights in upgrades. The booking and application for SNUs are not straightforward, though, as you have to book an eligible rate to use these SNUs. Upon digging into the Accor terms and conditions – Corporate Rates, ibis Business and Accor Plus membership card rates, Family offers, and package rates are some that are ineligible for SNU.

Fairmont Pacific Rim – Room Upgrades

Fairmont Pacific Rim is one of the best luxury hotels in Canada. The modern rooms with waterfront, city and mountain views and the Award-winning restaurant Botanist have garnered an ardent fan following. The hotel also features resort-style Willow Stream Spa, and a pool with sundeck on the rooftop, offering incredible views of the North Shore and Burrard inlet. The food and beverage quality and consistency at Fairmont properties in Canada are miles ahead of the competition. Also, one of the primary reasons I buy the Fairmont gift cards is whenever they are available at a discount (Amex Offers).

We booked two rooms for our stay, one through a Diamond status account (my friend’s) and the other with a Silver status account (mine). Based on my experience with other programs, status rarely guarantees an upgrade; repeat stays at the property, and personal connections get you much further. Given my Silver status, I had no hopes of a room upgrade, let alone a suite. Fortunately, I knew someone at one of the Fairmont properties in Vancouver who passed on my request to get an ocean-view room for my one-night stay in downtown Vancouver.

During check-in, I was surprised that we both got the same room (Deluxe Partial Harbour View) a few floors apart with the same views and welcome amenities. My friend with Diamond status got a room on a higher floor with a fitness kit, including a pair of running shoes. Everything else was the same as my room as a Silver status member. We both got a welcome drink and late checkout (Silver benefits). I believe my connection got me the upgrade from a base room to a Harbour View room, whereas my friend with Diamond Status was not even considered for a suite upgrade which is a core benefit of the program. And yes, there was suite availability showing online at check-in.

Room upgrades

Welcome amenity for Diamond member

Room upgrades

Drink coupons for both, Silver and Diamond members

Pacific Rim Vancouver

Deluxe Partial Harbour View Room

Pacific Rim Vancouver

Same Room Upgrade for Silver and Diamond member

Pacific Rim Vancouver

Same View from our rooms

Besides the inconsistent application of elite benefits, our stay at the Fairmont Pacific Rim was fantastic. We were a bit sad that the Botanist was closed during the night of our stay. I enjoyed looking at the harbour and cruises departing on their voyage.

Room Upgrades – Take Away

Just another day in the world of hotels playing inventory games or won’t upgrade to suites because housekeeping is expensive. As I have experienced multiple times, building personal connections at hotels and being a repeat customer that spends some money at the property outweighs any status benefits when locking in upgrades. What’s your experience been like?

Title Image: Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver

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Greg August 3, 2023 - 7:11 pm

Better save the money and stay at the Waterfront if that’s the best upgraded room they give you at the Pac Rim instead of an Ofuro or similar. Plenty of rooms there like that at the Waterfront, cheaper, and more of them with the same or better views than what you each received.

Lara S August 3, 2023 - 5:20 pm

I’ve gotten upgrades at Fairmont Orchid almost every time whether I was Silver or Gold just by asking nicely. This past couple of weeks they were booked full but got me an upgrade from partial ocean view (you can see it from balcony) to full ocean view (you can lay in bed and see ocean). We go maybe every 2-3 years? So I wouldn’t say we are super great customers. By far the reason we go, though, is the fantastic service. Every Fairmont or Raffles I’ve stayed in has had this in common. I don’t stay at Accor hotels more because they don’t have a huge presence where I travel for work, but I would if I could. Instead I get mediocre Marriotts, ha!

Anshul August 3, 2023 - 6:01 pm

Exactly! As long as you are a repeat customer, most properties are willing to go the extra distance for you. Key is to ask nicely 🙂

Allan Yong August 4, 2023 - 9:28 am

There are always a few very nice properties who truly shine in hospitality. Others, business normally comes first.

Sam August 3, 2023 - 2:13 pm

FREE running shoes??

Anshul August 3, 2023 - 4:06 pm

Haha – To use, not to take.

Allan Yong August 4, 2023 - 9:29 am

You can take the socks with you


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