As a general rule of thumb, I believe in promotions with straightforward T&Cs, although I’m willing to make a concession should the payoff be really good.
But what happens when you combine convoluted T&Cs with an underwhelming payoff? Well, Accor seems determined to find out, with their latest “Missed Celebrations” promotion. It’s almost a thing of beauty how awful it is.
Accor Missed Celebrations Promotion
From 9 November to 15 December 2020, Accor’s Missed Celebrations promotion allows customers to earn cashback when dining at the following restaurants:
|Ellenborough Market Cafe||Swissotel Merchant Court||50%|
|Racines||Sofitel City Centre||50%|
|Winestone||Mercure Singapore on Stevens||50%|
|Royale||Mercure Singapore Bugis||50%|
|Chat & Chow||ibis Styles MacPherson||30%|
|Mikuni||Fairmont||Up to 25%|
|Prego||Fairmont||Up to 25%|
|CLOVE||Fairmont||Up to 25%|
|Asian Market Cafe||Fairmont||Up to 25%|
|Szechuan Court||Fairmont||Up to 25%|
This cashback can then be redeemed from 2 January to 31 March 2021 at the same hotel for stays or dining, but the list of conditions makes my head spin:
- You can only earn or use cashback if your dining reservation is made directly with the hotel; i.e reservations via Chope won’t qualify
- You can only earn cashback from Mondays to Thursdays, during the 9 Nov-15 Dec 20 period
- You can only use cashback from Mondays to Thursdays, excluding eve of public holidays, public holidays, and blackout dates, during the 2 Jan-31 Mar 21 period
- If you use your cashback for stays, you must book the fully flexible rate (i.e no staycation packages)
- If you use your cashback for dining, you can only use it to pay up to half the cost of the bill
- You cannot enjoy Accor Plus dining discounts when using the cashback. Accor Plus dining discounts can be enjoyed when earning the cashback, but cashback will be awarded based on the nett amount after discount
All that not enough for you? Here’s some additional terms for the restaurants at Fairmont:
- You must spend at least S$100 to earn cashback at any of the Fairmont restaurants
- Cashback tiers are as follows:
- S$100-199: 10% cashback
- S$200-399: 15% cashback
- S$400-499: 20% cashback
- S$500+: 25% cashback
- The cashback you can earn is capped at a maximum spend of S$1,000
My goodness, this is hopelessly convoluted. Accor is basically asking you to dine and earn a highly restricted form of cashback, which can only be used for expensive flexible hotel rates, or for half your subsequent dining bill.
Keep in mind that Accor Plus members will almost certainly lose out when they use their cashback, because they won’t be able to enjoy their dining discount.
To illustrate, suppose John dines at Winestone and spends S$200. He uses his Accor Plus membership to get 50% off, and therefore earns cashback of S$50 (50% * 50% * S$200). Subsequently, he returns to Winestone and spends S$200 again. If he wants to use his S$50 cashback, he forgoes the opportunity to enjoy S$100 off the bill via Accor Plus.
- Even if he spends a smaller amount, say S$80, he will at best be indifferent between using the cashback or Accor Plus. Remember, the cashback can only be used for up to half of the bill.
- Even if he returns with a larger party (say four people, who enjoy a discount of 25%), the resulting bill is likely to be higher, and the amount saved from a smaller Accor Plus discount could still be more than whatever cashback he has.
It’s just insane, and there’s no way Accor Plus members (or AMEX Platinum cardholders, who enjoy up to 50% off dining at Fairmont) should bother with this.
Even if you don’t have either, let’s not forget that Chope sells discounted vouchers for most of these restaurants, allowing you to enjoy a no-fuss upfront discount.
- Clove: 10% off
- Racines: 10% off
- Xperience: Up to 20% off
- Mikuni: Up to 30% off
- Winestone: Up to 30% off
- Asian Market Cafe: Up to 35% off
One final point: although Missed Celebrations talks about 50% cashback, it really maxes out at a 25% discount because it requires you to visit twice. If I spend S$100 the first time and get S$50 cashback, I’ll need to spend at least S$100 again to fully utilize the cashback, making the actual savings S$50/S$200= 25%.
I’m sure there must be a few good restaurants lurking in the list above, but this promotion per se shouldn’t be the reason you end up there. You’re much better taking advantage of Love Dining or Accor Plus discounts (if you own a small business, you can get a free Accor Plus membership), or buying discounted vouchers on Chope.
Is there some use case for this offer I’m missing?