Has The ACSI Card Had Its Day

Tincataylor

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We are currently coming to the end of our third winter tour of Spain and Portugal and we have noticed some big changes regarding camp site capacity and their attitude to people travelling with an ACSI card. When we first came in 2015 we toured from Benicasim round the coast and ending up in Lagos in Portugal, and we never booked ahead because there was always spare capacity and we were made welcome at the reduced ACSI rate. It was the same in 2016 and in 2017 we decided to take a break for a year.

Now in 2018 we have had several instances where sites were either full or only had a handful of pitches available. When we have tried to book ahead on some sites we have been told that no advance bookings are available to ACSI card holders and that we have to turn up and take pot luck. In addition the amount of pitches available to ACSI card holders seems to have diminished to the less desirable ones with the better pitches not available. In 2015 we never came across this kind of discrimination and it was just a case of walking the site with a map and telling them which pitch we wanted.

Now I can fully understand from a business perspective that the site owner, given that there is a shortage of pitches, would rather sell a pitch at a premium as opposed to a discounted ACSI rate. However it does beg the question “has the ACSI card had its day”???

The Tincas
 
Jul 29, 2013
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Where did you go as we have not had anything like that in the western end of Spain where we are, there has always been room and we could pick our pitches.
Perhaps the more popular spots such as at Benidorm etc are doing it?
 

motorhomer

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The price has gone up as well. When we first got Acsi most sites were no more than 13 euros. Now they are usually 19. If you stay more than a couple of nights many sites have offers that are cheaper than their Acsi rates. We have just got home from Spain, our last site in Spain offered to compare the acsi cost with their non acsi cheapest rate when we left and charge us whatever was least. In fact there was almost no difference.

The other change over the years is that more and more sites are simply full! We never used to book and always got in. Now we sometimes cannot. There are too many people with motorhomes!!!!

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jollyrodger

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As I travel solo ,then when ringing ahead or booking in I've ask the question what's the cheaper option ,site price or ACSI ?..
Most sites its been cheaper without acsi .
A couple said this year it didn't matter as sites prices were going up and would be the same .
Won't be staying at them or renewing ACSI this year .
 
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Oct 7, 2013
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We have just planned a trip down through France and on to Southern Spain.

Our stops are either Aires or ACSI sites.

On checking the websites of the campsites we have selected the average saving with ACSI is 11 euros per night.

As yet we have never come across “pitch discrimination “ with ACSI, other than those forewarned in the book.

It will be interesting to see what we think after the trip.
 
May 31, 2015
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I wouldn’t be without it, saved the cost of the card many times over and never had problems with pitches, in fact I don’t say I’m on ACSI till I’ve picked a pitch and it’s never been a problem. A few times I’ve only told them I’m ACSI when it comes to paying at the end of our stay... still ok..(y)

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May 15, 2008
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I don't see it as pitch 'discrimination', as sites get full the number of available pitches becomes less and obviously they will be the less desirable ones.
Having said that some sites, such as Playa Tropicana, Alcossebre limit which pitches are available through ACSI but they do have variable pitch prices.
 
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I hope not as I've only just ordered one for the first time!

I had intended to just turn up in France and Spain (and curiously doing the NC500 there are two good sites too). Is the collective view that it is better to book ahead explaining that I have an ACSI card?
 

EX51SSS

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I got my first ACSI last year and totally satisfied and got this years book and we'll be using them occasionally on our jollies. I would have to buy a site book anyway, so why not buy with one that gives a deal?
Of course, it won't be for everyone and some will find fault with something given for nothing whatever that might be but as long as I get similar to what I got last year, then I'll happily pay for years to come.

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Mikey RV

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Sites are a lot fuller now than even a couple of years ago. The site we were on in Villajoyosa was full to max, where last year was only about 60% full for the same time of year. Asked if I had ACSI would it be cheaper. No
 
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ACSI good value in Germany last September
The benefits for the sites is to attract more customers in low season.
If lots of folk are turning up anyway sites are not going to offer many pitches at discount
Got ours for this year again

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TerryL

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Just back from a shortened winter trip, had to limit ourselves to Spain this year (family commitment).

We've always been great proponents of ACSI and have never yet failed to save the cost of membership. We tend not to use many proper campsites but I always check what the going rate is and this year it's always been well above the ACSI rate, even the new €19 level. Despite being told that everywhere was full, we had no problem finding good pitches at any of the sites we used, although to be fair these were in the more northern Costas - we used commercial aires further south. Cannot comment about the more popular areas but it did seem busier than last year.

The only time we came across ACSI "discrimination" was in Switzerland where apparently it is not uncommon to have a limited number of pitches for ACSI users. On one occasion there we found ourselves paying for perhaps the most expensive overnight we've ever done when all the ACSI pitches had gone. Only stayed 2 nights (minimum).
 

Lenny HB

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Have had an ACSI card for the last 3 years but never saved much. Don't use sites unless we have to, In Greece sites charge exactly the same with or without the card. In Croatia saved a couple of Euro on a couple of sites and non ACSI sites gave you a discount if you had a camping card. Last year only did 2 trips to France used Aires & wild spots. Debateable if it's worthwhile for us.
 
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We ve not bought Acsi this year although a factor in this decision is thatwe re not planning much travel for other reasons.

We have been using it for about 7 years and we have noticed a steady increase in pitch restrictions and costs and we don't stay on campsites that much, we found it a particular problem in Croatia last year where there were pitch restrictions and 'booking fees' and upgrade fees in fact the one acsi site where you couldnt pay by card the total price ended up being about 28 euros for a 17 euro advertised fee when the real costs were attributed.

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Oct 7, 2013
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Have had an ACSI card for the last 3 years but never saved much. Don't use sites unless we have to, In Greece sites charge exactly the same with or without the card. In Croatia saved a couple of Euro on a couple of sites and non ACSI sites gave you a discount if you had a camping card. Last year only did 2 trips to France used Aires & wild spots. Debateable if it's worthwhile for us.
If you don’t use sites much then there is no point in paying for ACSI.

We use a mixture of Aires and ACSI. We have never failed to “get our money back” within about three nights stay.

If you don’t use sites don’t pay for ACSI. If you use sites, (at least in France and Spain) it’s a no brainer. Can’t comment on Germany. We had bad experiences there and have no wish to return.
 
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will be trying to book a pitch at a popular site, tomorrow, just realised we are hoping to be there over Easter!! wouldn't usually, but meeting up with friends.
 

Candapack

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We use Acsi and still find it good value. Agree with comments 're limited pitches on some sites, and have had difficulty trying to book ahead.
Having said that, I'm surprised that some sites (Spain mainly) bother with it in winter, when they would likely be full or close to full anyway.

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Lot lover

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It's a simple pay back calculation - if the money you save exceeds that of the annual ACSI sub keep using the card, if it does not, don't.

Those who travel solo, do not need/use ehu or do not have a dog may find that the site's normal rate is less than ACSI, the rest of us may not.

We have been staying on the W coast of Portugal, a bit N of Lisbon where the ACSI card saves about EUR 6 per night. My wife is paranoid about aires/wilding so it's sites for us. It is cheaper to do this way than change my wife.
 

Emmit

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As an aside, when we were having our 'waterworks' troubles ooh! er! Missus, we called in at "Movil Rodan" which is a caravan/motorhome repair, storeage, sales business, 4Kms down the road (southbound from Benicassim) (first turn off to Castellon).
They have the ACSI 2018 books for sale @ €17.45

Just in case anyone is down here and wants/needs the book.

With regard to the OP. we are at Alicante Imperium in Villajoyosa and it's not only packed, (we are actually on a pitch meant for a w/e cabin), I am aware that someone who has been here for six weeks is HAVING to leave on 28th Feb because they've already forward booked his pitch, (This, after he casually said that he would be leaving at 'The end of February' in a conversation.
 
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We use Acsi and still find it good value. Agree with comments 're limited pitches on some sites, and have had difficulty trying to book ahead.
Having said that, I'm surprised that some sites (Spain mainly) bother with it in winter, when they would likely be full or close to full anyway.
Possibly apart from Cost blanca /de sol 3-4 years ago they'd be lucky in most places to be half full .
It appears only to be the sheer amount of French, warned off Morocco the last 3 years, that are around & you never used to see them before except for carnival.

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Dec 29, 2012
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While most ACSI sites are charging 17€ or 19€ it does include at least 4 kw of electric. This year I have noticed a lot of sites are charging for electric by the kw from day one.
I think the ACSI card is still worth having but you just need to do the maths each time.
 
Jan 22, 2012
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In answer to the question I would still recommend ACSI to others. In most cases it does save you money, however we've noticed more sites charging a 'tourist' tax and the prices do appear to have gone up over the years. We subscribed to ACSI when they first started the discount card and raved about it to others. We are not as enthusiastic about it as we originally were but still wouldn't be without it but I think ACSI should take some of these criticisms on board.
 
Oct 7, 2013
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In answer to the question I would still recommend ACSI to others. In most cases it does save you money, however we've noticed more sites charging a 'tourist' tax and the prices do appear to have gone up over the years. We subscribed to ACSI when they first started the discount card and raved about it to others. We are not as enthusiastic about it as we originally were but still wouldn't be without it but I think ACSI should take some of these criticisms on board.
The Tourist Tax is payable whether or not you use ACSI.

Camp site fees have increased over the year so ACSI have presumably had to increase the charge, which goes to the site anyway. Only a small proportion of the total goes to ACSI.

If you consider an increase of 2 euros on the top rate for ACSI excessive you should compare like for like price increases on the Sites standard tariff. I suspect you will find comparable.

As already said by others, if you are going to wild camp, then ACSI is not for you. If you use sites why would you not consider ACSI.

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Jan 22, 2012
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The Tourist Tax is payable whether or not you use ACSI.

Camp site fees have increased over the year so ACSI have presumably had to increase the charge, which goes to the site anyway. Only a small proportion of the total goes to ACSI.

If you consider an increase of 2 euros on the top rate for ACSI excessive you should compare like for like price increases on the Sites standard tariff. I suspect you will find comparable.

As already said by others, if you are going to wild camp, then ACSI is not for you. If you use sites why would you not consider ACSI.
We went 3 years without paying tourist tax on many of the sites we visited, last year it was virtually every site we used. Also when we went to other sites in the same town they weren't charging the tax?
 
Oct 7, 2013
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We went 3 years without paying tourist tax on many of the sites we visited, last year it was virtually every site we used. Also when we went to other sites in the same town they weren't charging the tax?
That surprises me as the Tourist Tax appears to be universal throughout France, though at different levels.

I am aware of two sites where they had so many complaints from Tourists, about the Tax, that they simply included it in their Tariff. You still pay it, but don’t realise it.

That may be the explanation for your experience.

The Tax has to collected by the site operator and then forwarded to the appropriate authorities. More work for them with no increase in income. they don’t like it either.
 

Lenny HB

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While most ACSI sites are charging 17€ or 19€ it does include at least 4 kw of electric. This year I have noticed a lot of sites are charging for electric by the kw from day one.
I think the ACSI card is still worth having but you just need to do the maths each time.
I thought the ACSI deal was supposed to include electric?
One reason not that attractive to us as we don't normally use EHU.

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Sep 7, 2017
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Have just looked at their two sites in Scotland, both well located for the NC 500. I think with ACSi there is likely to be a saving around £5-£6 per night dependant on how the converstion from euros is done. Those three or four days will pay for the card and then anything we get from Europe will be a bonus.

We are planning 3 weeks in Spain with about a week driving through France and although there is a rough plan (including using aires), we intend to take each day as it comes. A quick look at a couple of the sites that caught our eye also seem to offer a very good discount through ACSI.

As everyone says it does depend on availbility and hidden extras, so we will have to see how it goes. The books and app themselves are also useful so I guess if we decide it is not worth it we will still have those. But, I can't see how financially it willl be anything other than worthwhile.

I can see that with an ACSI card we won't get the best pitches, to be honest I hadn't really expected that we would. That seems only reasonable to me on the you only get what you pay for principle.
 
Dec 29, 2012
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I thought the ACSI deal was supposed to include electric?
One reason not that attractive to us as we don't normally use EHU.
Quote from ACSI website:
"Electricity: connection of max. 6A.
Consumption to a max. of 4 kWh per day"
 
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