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The Complete Guide to Accor STEP

Accor is a Europe-based hotel chain with more than 5,000 properties in over 110 countries. While a majority of its hotels ...

Last updated: 2024-03-22

Read time 19 mins

Accor is a Europe-based hotel chain with more than 5,000 properties in over 110 countries. While a majority of its hotels and resorts are located in Europe and Asia, there is a strong North American presence found in the luxury Fairmont hotel brand.

If you have an upcoming stay at one of the more upscale brands in its portfolio, it’s in your best interest to know about Accor STEP, a preferred partner program. By booking your stay through an authorized travel advisor, you’ll benefit from an elevated experience at the same cost as if you were to book it yourself.

What Is Accor STEP?

Accor STEP is Accor’s preferred partner program. “STEP” stands for “Special Travel Experience Program”, and with it, you can receive elite-like benefits at participating Accor properties without having to work towards status.

You won’t be able to make a booking through Accor STEP on your own. Instead, you’ll have to book through an authorized travel advisor who can inform you whether or not your desired Accor hotel participates in the program, and what the additional benefits are.

While not all Accor hotels have opted in to STEP, quite a few have. In Canada, all of the Fairmont hotels, such as the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, as well as the Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile, can be booked through Accor STEP.

Book the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge through Accor STEP and receive elevated perks

Of the 45 brands that fall under Accor’s umbrella, there are just 11 that have properties in STEP: Fairmont, Sofitel, Raffles, SO/, MGallery, Pullman, Mövenpick, Swissôtel, Rixos, SLS, and 21C. These different brands fall under the Luxury, Premium, and Lifestyle by Ennismore collections.

You’ll be able to find a strong footprint of Fairmont, Pullman, and Sofitel properties in many countries around the world, which you can mostly book through Accor STEP. Other brands, such as Raffles, have relatively fewer properties, while others, such as SO/, only have a handful of properties that participate.

Within each brand, not every hotel is available with STEP benefits, but your travel advisor will be happy to let you know if the rate is available for your requested destination.

Your best bet is to send in a booking request and see if your stay can be elevated through STEP.

What Are the Benefits of Booking Through Accor STEP?

By booking one of the participating hotels through Accor STEP, you can expect to receive the following benefits at no extra cost:

  • $50 or $100 (USD) credit per stay
  • Complimentary breakfast for two
  • One-category room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability)

The two most beneficial perks here are the $50 or $100 (USD) credits, and the complimentary breakfast for two.

It’s important to note that the $50 or $100 (USD) credit is earned once per stay, no matter how many nights you book. You won’t be able to receive multiple credits if you book several one-night stays, as that goes against the terms and conditions of the program.

With that in mind, the best part is that the credit can be used for any hotel charge aside from room rates, and is not limited to spas or restaurants, as is usually the case with hotel credits offered through other preferred partner programs.

As for the complimentary breakfast, recall that not even Accor’s highest-level Diamond members are guaranteed to receive complimentary breakfast during all stays. Rather, it’s only offered as a benefit during weekend stays worldwide or daily at hotels in the Asia–Pacific region.

Enjoy complimentary breakfast for two by booking through Accor STEP

Therefore, having free breakfast included in your stay through STEP can be a substantial benefit, even if you do have elite status with Accor.

Upgraded rooms can be a significant enhancement during a stay, especially at a luxury hotel brand such as Fairmont. Room upgrade requests can be made ahead of time, but aren’t guaranteed until check-in, and are subject to availability.

Early check-in and late check-out are also perks that come subject to availability; however, as long as the hotel isn’t at capacity, you should expect to have it granted, and you’ll be prioritized over others if you book with STEP.

It’s always nice to have access to your room if you arrive early, especially after a long trip. In a similar fashion, having a late check-out time is an underappreciated perk, particularly if you’re hoping to rest at the hotel prior to an evening or late-night departure.

How to Maximize Value with Accor STEP

While booking through STEP will already enhance your stay, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re getting the best value by crunching some numbers. You may also luck out and further elevate your stay by stacking other offers and promotions.

Compare with Public Rates

As with any preferred partner program, there may be cheaper rates available for your stay, including corporate rates, prepaid rates, or promotional rates; however, these tend to have much stricter cancellation and change policies.

When comparing prices, the amount that you pay for an Accor STEP booking will almost always be the same amount you can find if you were to book with the hotel directly at the best flexible rate. If you happen to have access to a cheaper rate, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to see if you’ll still get outsized value by booking with STEP.

Even if you have access to cheaper rates, STEP rates might wind up being a better deal

While you might save a few dollars, keep in mind that you won’t enjoy the same level of flexibility if you need to cancel or change your reservation, and you also won’t get any of the Accor STEP benefits.

You’ll need to consider for yourself how much the flexibility and STEP benefits add to your specific stay. At times, the $100 (USD) credit alone can more than make up for the difference in prices.

Compare with Virtuoso and Amex FHR

Similar to Accor STEP, Virtuoso and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts are programs that give you additional benefits if you book hotel stays through them.

You can only book Virtuoso hotels with a travel advisor, while Amex FHR can only be accessed if you hold the American Express Platinum Card or the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Most, but not all, of the luxurious properties offered through Accor STEP can be booked through Virtuoso or Amex FHR. The rates tend to be similar across all three programs, but there are some key differences to be aware of.

Below is a table that summarizes the similarities and differences between Accor STEP, Virtuoso, and Amex FHR.


Accor STEP


Amex FHR

Complimentary breakfast

Daily breakfast for two guests

Daily breakfast for two guests

Daily breakfast for two guests

One-category room upgrade

Subject to availability upon check-in 

Subject to availability upon check-in

Subject to availability upon check-in

Property credit

$50–100 (USD), varies by property

$100 (USD), varies by property

$100 (USD), varies by property

Early check-in

Subject to availability

Subject to availability

12pm, subject to availability

Late check-out

Subject to availability

Subject to availability

Guaranteed 4pm

For example, Amex FHR offers a guaranteed 4pm late check-out, while the other programs only offer late check-out subject to availability.

Therefore, if a late check-out is of the utmost importance to you, Amex FHR may be your best option, but it’s only available if you hold one of the Platinum cards.

Compare the various benefits offered with different preferred partner programs 

On the other hand, booking through Accor STEP will certainly give you the best chance for a room upgrade or an early check-in request, as hotels will often prioritize these requests if you book through their own proprietary program rather than a third party. Therefore, even if you have status with Accor already, you’ll have the highest priority for an upgrade if you book through STEP. 

Maximize Free Night Promotions

While it’s not available across all Accor STEP properties, some will provide a Third or Fourth Night Free if you book through the program. When the free extra night is an option, and it coincides with your travel plans, then booking through Accor STEP is an absolute no-brainer, as the price you pay will be an incredible deal even before factoring in the additional STEP benefits.

Suppose you’re planning a trip to Whistler, and with its great location and dining options, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler could be a great choice for a hotel.

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler sometimes offers great deals on stays through Accor STEP

A four-night stay is listed at an average of $1,039 (CAD) per night for a Deluxe King Bed Room, for a total charge of $4,913 (CAD) with taxes included.

The same room for those same nights could cost just $3,290 (CAD) by booking through Accor STEP, if there were to be a Fourth Night Free promotion.

What’s more, the free night is not automatically selected as the cheapest night; rather, the free night is taken as the fourth night during your stay, even if it happens to be the most expensive night. So, if you have flexibility, you can structure your dates in such a way that the free night lands on the most expensive night in your stay, in order to get the best deal.

It’s important to note that these deals aren’t always available, so you’ll need to get in touch with your travel advisor to see if you can benefit from a great offer like this.

Amex Offers

When you make a booking through Accor STEP, your credit card will be charged directly by the hotel. Therefore, even though you book through a travel advisor, you’ll ultimately pay at the hotel as if you were to have otherwise booked the stay yourself.

In the past, American Express has had Amex Offers that include Accor properties. For example, one such offer was to spend $350 (CAD) at Fairmont and Sofitel Hotels and get $70 (CAD) back as a statement credit. 

There’s no downside to taking advantage of an Amex Offer like this, since you’re charged directly by the hotel when you book through Accor STEP, which would trigger the statement credit. 

Book Shorter Stays

The $100 (USD) credit is only given once per stay, no matter the number of nights. Therefore, the credit will be relatively more valuable on shorter stays rather than on longer stays.

Again, note that booking separate consecutive nights at the same hotel through an Accor STEP rate will be treated as a single booking, and you’re only eligible to receive the credit once per stay.


Booking through Accor STEP affords you with elite benefits for the same price you’d pay if you book a stay on your own, without having to earn elite status to begin with.

What’s more, Accor STEP bookings can often be the best deal available when factoring in the complimentary breakfast, property credit, and free nights, when applicable.

So, whether you prefer a stay at one of the many luxurious Fairmont hotels in Canada or abroad, or if you’re looking to explore one of the many other upscale Accor hotels throughout the world, be sure to get in touch with a travel advisor to further elevate your stay.

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