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Accor is scrapping Le Club – new loyalty scheme and new benefits coming soon

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Accor announced initial details on Thursday morning of a plan to scrap Le Club AccorHotels and replace it with a new loyalty programme from 2020.

The new programme will be called ‘Accor Live Limitless’ (oh dear) although that does have the catchy acronym of ALL.  Here is the logo:

Accor Live Limitless announced

This is what we know so far from the Accor press release this morning and the relatively word-less website which is here:

A new elite tier will be introduced above the current Platinum level – but we don’t know what the benefits will be

Elite benefits will be improved at all levels

There will be a strong focus on ‘experiences’ redemptions – Accor has signed partnerships with entertainment organiser giants AEG and IMG to get access to their concerts and events.  Over 60,000 tickets (per year?) will be available, some in private boxes, across Europe, Asia and Latin America. 

Accor has signed a shirt sponsorship deal for Accor Live Limitless with Paris St Germain football club, replacing Emirates.

As part of the deal, Accor Live Limitless will sponsor the Taste of London food festival in 2020 as well as the versions in Paris, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and Toronto

The programme will include 30 brands including recent acquisitions such as Orient Express, Banyan Tree, Raffles, Delano, Angsana, SLS, OneFineStay, Mondrian, Movenpick, Fairmont and Swissotel as well as legacy brands such as Ibis, Novotel, Mercure and Pullman

The full press release is here (PDF) but isn’t hugely helpful, containing lines such as:

“Accor announces today a disruptive and dramatic shift of its loyalty program into a fully integrated global platform integrating rewards, services, and experiences across our entire ecosystem to bring value everyday life whether you work, live or play.”

Accor is investing €225m into Accor Live Limitless so it will be interesting to see what they get for their money.  That said, Emirates was paying €25m-€30m per year for the Paris St Germain shirt sponsorship and reportedly walked when asked for €80m per season to renew.

There is also a new corporate logo, which looks like this:

New Accor logo

But will Accor Live Limitless solve Accor’s fundamental problem?

The problem with Le Club AccorHotels today isn’t the lack of access to restaurant festivals or pop concerts.

It is the fact that the loyalty programme has revenue-based redemptions.  

1 Accor point gets you 2 Eurocents off your next Accor hotel booking.  You can transfer them to airline miles, but with a few exceptions (luckily Iberia Avios is one of them) the conversion rate is 2:1 so you are ‘paying’ a ludicrous 4 Eurocents per airline mile.

There is no incentive to build up your Accor points by doing more stays.  Whether you have 2,000 or 2 million, they are only worth 2 Eurocents each.

There are no high profile redemption opportunities.  If a room is €500 on a peak night, you will need a 25,000 points to book it (2 Eurocents per point) whilst when the same hotel is €100 you pay just 5,000 points.  You never get that feeling you get with other programmes when you realise that you can make a huge saving on a peak night stay with just a handful of points.

For the new programme to be a success, Accor needs to:

offer aspirational redemptions at sensible points prices

give members a reason to build up their balance, since at present there is no logic to keeping more than the minimum 2,000 points in your account that is needed for a €40 hotel voucher

improve their elite benefits and make them GUARANTEED, not at the discretion of the hotel

If Accor does move away from fixed value redemptions, it would also open the door to offering transfers from American Express Membership Rewards or similar programmes.

You can find out more in the press release here and on the new ALL website here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Somebody complained in the other article about not being able to use IHG points for Club access etc – at least Accor points CAN be used to book higher categories.

  2. Sussex Bantam says:

    I have to say I quite like LeClub.

    With a young family I’m often trying to book something different to “standard room” which makes redemption opportunities difficult or expensive. With LeClub I can at least always use the points for something meaningful.

    Plus – I always get a free drink which is definitely appreciated!

    • Scallder says:

      SB – Whilst I haven’t done this since my daughter was born, I have used points to book a standard room somewhere and then paid cash to upgrade the room – this was at the Westin Whistler three years ago to go from a studio to a 1 bed suite. So you might be able to take this approach moving forward – I’ll certainly be doing that moving forward (assuming hotel allows it obviously!)

    • I have stayed in a few Accor hotels and enjoyed most of them. The problem I tend to find is that there is rarely availability for a family room when you have a teenager in tow so we end up booking with a different chain.

  3. Hmmm…yet another points scheme from Accor (the rebrand to leclub from A|Club which itself only began in 2008!).

  4. Nick Burch says:

    Every so often, Accor email me a special redemption offer which does offer excellent value. There was one over Valentines weekend that included Standard Premier tickets on Eurostar, with special gin tasting on board, 3 nights at a nice Paris hotel, and a bunch of events on the weekend, for IIRC about €250 worth of points. There have been some other tempting ones too

    They also have some fixed price offers under “Dream Stays” – https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/leclub/use/dream-stays.shtml

    So, some reasons to build up a balance, but not nearly as many or as easy to explain as Hilton or IHG or similar! Plus the lack of decent elite benefits unless you’re Plat at a Sofitel with a lounge…

  5. @Rob, you tend to home in on aspirational redemptions across loyalty schemes in general on a regular basis. While there is no doubt these are appealling to many of those who can rack up substantial miles and points balances such as HFP readers, is there any real evidence to suggest that they are important within the bigger picture of running a successful loyalty schene? With millions of members isn’t it the case that the success of a schene owes much more to the predominance of lower to middle earning members who redeem potentially valuable miles and points for low value awards because they lack the know-how or capacity to reach the levels required for aspirational redemptions? While the schemes will clearly prefer not to alienate and drive off their most successful members (particularly those who reap success through paying cash), there does seem to be evidence that they try to limit aspirational redemptions, e.g. access to LH First or to suites at hotels. You also mention from time to time the reluctance of some in the industry to engage with HFP and other blogs. Don’t these factors suggest that the schenes prefer to actively limit and discourage aspirational opportunities, and that going forward we msy find them increasingly difficult to come by?

    • Fair point, but human nature means that aspirational works. Talk to the Etihad marketing team about the TV ads for the Residence. You think that is selling any Residence seats? No chance. Does it sell loads of Economy seats? Yes.

      The other point is that empty hotel rooms and airline seats are worth diddly squat if not sold, irrespective of flight class or hotel star level. The fact that the value collapses to £0 across the scale means that filling those seats through the redemption of large chunks of miles and points is commercially sensible.

      Oddly Emirates First is a outlier because the marginal costs of me flying are huge. The cognac they serve is £790 per bottle. Their recommended red wine is £250 a bottle. (These are shop prices, not restaurant prices.) Having someone on who makes them crack open a couple of bottles gets expensive ….!

      • If you believe that Emirates (or any airline) gets charged that much for those bottles… … anyway,,, i don´t drink something because it´s expensive. I drink it because I like it.

        And your example about the Residence ad. That´s total bollocks, that´s called marketing and nothing to do with FFP. Anyway, we know how that story ends as well.

        • The Etihad example is about positioning. I spent 2 days with Hilton in Washington last year and their key concern with Hilton Honors is that they lack aspirational redemptions which offer exceptional value. People don’t book them but they like the option.

          To some extent this is also why Nectar is a dog. And Nectar is basically the same model as Le Club.

          By the way, in my experience people overestimate what others pay for things, even with volume. Haut-Brion can sell its production many times over. If Emirates wanted 10% of it they are more likely to refuse – due to the distortion of their existing distribution chain – than offer a massive discount.

      • More a case of seeking insights than making points. I find the way these loyalty schemes work is very interesting, in many respects they are not quite what they seem or not quite what we would expect.

        Fully appreciate your views on Nectar but in light of what has went on at Clubcard I think that view needs to be reassed and a little more generous. IME at least, it has been so much easier to earn loads of points with Nectar than Clubcard, and it has felt effortless. Got value out of LNER, eBay, Nero and even double up so personally I cannot complain. True to form though they are now a lazy dog, missing a great opportunity to go after Clubcard.

        • I can GURANTEE you that people flying economy don’t fly economy because the potential Residence redemption. They fly economy because it’s cheap/cheapest/affordable fare available. With your theory, no one would fly Ryanair/easyjet or the likes. Anyway, the hotel programs are not really comparable to airlines FFP – since the product offered is similar across airlines. In contrast, hotel chains are quite different – there’s no point comparing the cheapest Ibis room with the cheapest Sofitel room for instance. Ryanair vs BA on short haul, little differences unless you have status – that’s why FFP are so successful. There’s actual value in them.

          Honors has a a problem since they moved from a fixed price redemption to a revenue based redemption. And it only makes sense to redeem points on extreme luxury hotels, where all associated costs make the stay expensive regardless. Without the Amex Platinum *free* Gold status (or equivalent in other countries), I tell you, no one would really give a sit about this program.

          My point about the price of the bottles was not related to discounts, but to taxes/duties.

          Anyway, Le Club AccorHotels is the biggest hotel scheme in Europe for a reason, even though “points guru” don’t like it.

        • Sorry BJ, this was meant a reply to Rob above.

        • Marcw – if I’m paying, I rarely fly anything but economy. I avoid Ryanair and Easyjet, because its just an unpleasant way to spend a few hours of my time. I avoid the dry airlines, because that’s a dull way to spend a few hours of my time. When I search for prices to my chosen destination, I consider a plethora of variables – price is definitely high on the list, as is FFS, whether I can use those miles realistically before they expire, and whether there are exciting, aspirational redemptions. I’m not aiming for the Residence, but that’s probably because I’m a realist and I can do the Maths (sadly there are plenty of people out there who aren’t and can’t), so I’ll just aim for business and first.

          There are others like me.

  6. Trickster says:

    Am I alone in thinking this was something to do with Marriott when I saw that logo?

  7. Harry Hv says:

    Accor’s loyalty program is deliberately awful because they are selling a subscription-based status called something like “Accor Plus”, you pay about $300 per year and you get the benefits normally associated with elite status.

    So the loyalty club has a built-in glass ceiling to protect their subscription-benefits – for example you’ll never be offered free breakfast because the paying crowd are getting half-price breakfast as a benefit

  8. I did Top Gear Live in the Accor box at The O2 a few years ago for 2,500 points (€50) a ticket, which made for a more exciting redemption than a Happy Monday’s Ibis. And they’ve had the odd UK VIP experience recently, but at much higher price points. The Accor Arena redemption pricing may give an idea of what to expect, I think it’s normally around 10-15,000 points for 2 tickets.

  9. I havnt stepped foot in an Accor hotel since they dumped Amex platinumcard holders. Prior to that was around 15 nights a year. It seemed an odd decision as the cost to them of a space available upgrade was minimal. Now I focus on Hilton and their brilliant free breakfast.

  10. Alex Metcalfe says:

    Any impact to being able to convert Qmiles into Accor points?

  11. Nigel the Pensioner says:

    Good old Accor! I remember the email sent to members asking about different symbols, slogans and titles. None were particularly inspiring and Im still not sure whether “LIVE” is live or live!!
    I have platinum status purely from stays at LHR T5, which I still rate very highly and use the meagre points value earned for all but free rooms at the Novotel at BHX prior to an early morning flight. The “luxury” of the Novotel is still the only hotel within walking distance of the terminal building at BHX!!!

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