Accor – the Sofitel / Novotel / Mercure / Ibis hotel group – runs their loyalty scheme slightly differently to most.
Instead of collecting points to redeem for free nights, you can only redeem your points for money off vouchers. This took a lot of fun out of the scheme, since there was no possible arbitrage (ie no fun in finding very expensive hotels offered at very low points levels).
For Avios collectors, due to a unique arbitrage, the money-off vouchers have historically been a poor way of using your points compared to converting to Avios! You had to convert to Iberia to exploit this, though.
For historical reasons, Iberia has always had a more generous deal with Accor than British Airways for converting points to airline miles. It didn’t matter when each scheme was separate, but since Avios was launched as the common currency, the arbitrage was just weird! The exchange rate was:
- 2,000 points = 2,000 British Airways Avios, but …
- 2,000 points = 5,000 Iberia Plus Avios
You therefore got 250% more Avios by converting to Iberia and then using ‘Combine My Avios’ to move them to BAEC!
On this basis, 2,000 points would get you 5,000 Avios or an €40 discount. This means that you are ‘buying’ Avios for around 0.6p each, which is a great deal! Frankly, forget the vouchers!
However, this deal may be going away. The ability to transfer points to Iberia via Accor is ‘temporarily unavailable’. Members have been told that it is returning soon ‘following the implementation of a new deal between Iberia and Accor’.
However, there is a very real possibility that these extremely generous rates will no longer exist when the conversion does return. And it is too late to convert now if you haven’t already. Let’s see.