Fairmont Platinum And Premier Members Announcement
It’s been a tough couple of months from Fairmont. First we found out Le Club AccorHotels would be replacing The Fairmont President’s Club effective July 2, 2018. Then we learned from Amex that the accelerated Fairmont Platinum status would be discontinued immediately on the American Express Platinum and American Express Business Platinum Cards, with no announcement of a similar benefit for Le Club AccorHotels.
Needless to say, loyal Fairmont enthusiasts were not happy (myself included), with many reaching out to head office to voice their displeasure. Well, it seems they got the message, and in an attempt to ease the pain (or more likely minimize a mass loss in revenue come July), they are offering a second set of certificates to all Fairmont Platinum and Premier members. Here’s a snippet from the email I received this morning:
Your Fairmont President’s Club membership will continue until July 1, 2018. On July 2, 2018 you will receive a Platinum membership with Le Club AccorHotels, the most elite tier in the program.
As a gesture of our gratitude for your loyalty through this transition, you will be eligible to receive as a bonus another full set of Fairmont President’s Club e-certificates in July. This will be in addition to the e-certificates you receive in March.* All you need to do is have two qualifying stays with Fairmont, Raffles or Swissôtel between January 1 and July 1, 2018.
This is really good news to me! Many Fairmont Platinum members I talked to were upset with the handling of the program merger and had committed to ditching Fairmont once all certificates were used. I considered shifting most of my stays to Marriott/SPG since any qualifying stays at Fairmont would be wasted, as I have zero interest in keeping status with Le Club AccorHotels. That being said, most Fairmont Platinum and Premier members will still stay at some Fairmont hotels between now and July, so this is a great way to offer them a parting gift.
I consider this is pretty good move for Fairmont too, as the second set of certificates won’t be issued until July 2, 2018 when the Fairmont President’s Club is terminated, and presumably when many Fairmont loyalists will jump ship to other brands. I know I’m more likely to choose a Fairmont Hotel after July 2 if I have a confirmed suite upgrade at the time of booking…
The Fine Print
It’s actually quite easy to be eligible for this offer, with only 2 qualifying stays required between January 1st and July 1st, 2018. Here’s the official fine print from Fairmont:
To receive a bonus set of e-certificates, two stays must be actualized between January 1 and July 1, 2018 on qualifying rates with Fairmont, Raffles, and/or Swissotel. Qualifying rates are determined by Fairmont in its sole discretion and can be deemed non-qualifying at any given time without prior notice. Travel-industry rates (including, but not limited to airline crew rates, travel agent rates and tour group escort rates) or other deeply discounted rates will not be considered qualifying rates toward member status. Complimentary or barter room stays or any stays booked through any third party online travel channel website (including, but not limited to: HotelTonight.com, Booking.com, Rocketmiles.com, Priceline.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Lastminute.com, Travelocity.com, Orbitz.com, Travelweb.com) are considered as not qualifying and will not be eligible for credit.
Certificates will be issued on July 2, 2018 if you qualify, and will expire on February 28th, 2019, the same date any unused certificates from the 2018 status year expire.
How I Plan To Use
The Fairmont President’s Club is (was) my favourite hotel loyalty program. Needless to say, I plan to get maximum value out of these certificates! Brad and I both re-qualified as Platinum members, so between the two of us we, we will each have (as of July 2, 2018):
- 4 free night certificates
- 8 room upgrade certificates
- 8 suite upgrade certificates
- $400USD in dining/spa certificates
Now, I’ve already accepted that I won’t be able to use all of these certificates before they expire. I will probably transfer most of the room upgrades to friends and family who don’t have status (As Fairmont Platinum we always seem to get the best available room at check-in -somewhat of an unpublished benefit of the program). As for the suite upgrades and free-night certificates, I’m tempted to use them in one of two ways:
Use the four free-night certificates at different properties when paid rates are high, or at properties I consider aspirational, and apply a suite-upgrade on each stay if possible. I’ve managed to get some really good redemptions using certificates, and wouldn’t mind recreating some of those experiences. Examples include a stay at the historic Plaza Hotel in New York City, a Junior Penthouse Suite with lounge access in Singapore, and The Fairmont Pacific Rim in a Deluxe Harbour View Room for New Years Eve.
The more likely option, though, will be using the 4 free-night certificates on one trip, combined with a suite upgrade. I’m thinking Hawaii next winter, where we could really go out in style, and use all of our dining/spa certificates in one trip for a truly memorable stay! I guess the tough part will be choosing between The Fairmont Orchid and The Fairmont Kea Lani.
I think this is a nice gesture by Fairmont, though I have no doubt people will consider it too little, too late. The Fairmont President’s Club was unique in offering certificates, and their loyalty recognition was incredible. Hearing that Le Club AccorHotels (one of the least rewarding programs, in my opinion) would be replacing the President’s Club was tough news, and a move that had me questioning where I’ll shift my loyalty in the coming year. While I don’t think this move by Fairmont will change my mind overall, it will certainly not go unnoticed, and as a result, I will be spending at least 4 more nights at Fairmont hotels before July to take advantage of this offer.
For anyone considering doing the same, be sure to book with the hotel directly to ensure your stay is qualifying, and don’t forget to use Life Experience gift certificates to save 25% off your stay at Canadian properties (even valid for discounted, prepaid stays booked directly through the hotel).
What do you make of this offer from Fairmont? Is it enough for you to stay loyal once Le Club AccorHotels replaces the President’s Club?