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. @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.

  2. Trickster says:

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Alex Metcalfe says:

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

  7. 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!!!

  8. I wonder what they will do with the existing points in people’s accounts?

  9. a9504477 says:

    I don’t see the main problem of Accor to be revenue-based redemptions; it’s revenue-based status why i don’t stay there any more as it’s just not worth.

    • You can earn status through nights stayed at Accor. You could do 60 nights at a ibis for Platinum or 60 nights in Sofitels. How is that revenue-based status?

  10. Big Dave says:

    will you still get gold buying an Ibis business card I wonder…

    • Lady London says:

      I took that card for a year. It was a waste of time. You get the welcome drink or whatever even at lower status. the advertised 10% off was offered, about 1 time in a year of very frequent searches.
      I gave Accor something between 22-30 nights that year. The cost of the card only broke even with that level of nights. most of them got only 5% offered – that you get anyway as a member.

      The other naughty bit is that the current way that Accor paid membership card functions, is yes it will give you Gold. But they won’t credit you the equivalent nights for Gold, towards Platinum. So even though you’re Gold you are not having to get just the nights that would take you to Platinum. No, even though you’re Gold you still have to do ALL the nights from scratch. They told me this when I asked them why I hadn’t been upgraded back to Platinum after doing the right number of nights from Gold.

      Oh, and lastly, the way that Accor paid membership currently works, if you sign up in November you only get the Gold till the end of the calendar year. Yup. someone who signed up in February will get the Gold till the longer time, till the end of the calendar year. Your paid membership will still go into the following calendar year, but your Gold status will disappear after the end of the calendar year. When I mentioned to Accor Customer Service that this appeared to have happened, I basically got a very Gallic shrug of the shoulders and they said this is definitely how it is working.

      Very close to fraudulent on the almost-never-really-offering-the-advertised-10% off (it’s 5% mostly, that you get anyway with any level of status). And definitely in my view, fraudulent and unfair to cut off the Gold status at the end of the calendar year regardless of how long someone paid Accor for the rest of this paid subscription.

      The only benefit of that card is that you can cancel usually at 5pm or 6pm on the day of arrival, whereas same price is generally paid for bookings requiring between one and three days’ notice (it varies). So in that sense it’s a good Business card but that’s the only thing it gives you.

      • Richmond says:

        If you buy in January, you will get Gold for two years. However I agree, it’s useful status anyway. I got drinks vouchers but having free drinks is not real benefit. I would prefer actual saving on parking, breakfast, etc.

        • Lady London says:

          That must be a new promo. It was possibly introduced after I discovered they had cut off the gold at the end of calendar year even though the rest of my paid subscription continued into this year. Now I’m really ****ed off.

  11. Let’s hope that they sort out the website etc at the same time !!
    (Is it a coincidence that both the Accor and Air France websites are only semi-functional ?)

    I have platinum status and approx. 42,000 reward points.
    I’m wondering if I should cash in now or wait and see if the redemption scheme changes (for the better ?!).

    In reality platinum status is only really beneficial to me for the higher rate of earning rewards points earned – the lounge access for Sofitels would only be beneficial if I could afford to stay at a Sofitel !!

    • Lady London says:

      Always cash out Accor points as soon as you earn them. There’s no reason not to. As the scheme is revenue based all you will ever get is the strict cash value of the points. There’s no outsize or motivational or gaming “flip” to this. As points can devalue and conditions for use of them change, get rid of these ones as soon as possible.

      the only time NOT to use Accor points towards payment for a booking is if you’re using the booking for any promotion with Accor. The reason is, it’s usually in their terms and conditions that any booking paid all or partly with points, will not quality. And even if Accor might forget one time to put this in the terms and conditions, believe me they’ll tell you it applies and they will refuse to give you the points that you earned, anyway.

      They sent me a promotion a few years back for 2,000 points 1 stay. I did the stay. When I followed it as to why it had not been credited they said it was a promotion intended for Belgium only. Not for bookings in Belgium, as any hotel in the world would have qualified, that was in the terms of the promotion. No, it was a marketing campaign for Belgium members apparently, as I accept emails in multiple languages I received it, they said by their error, but they said as the promoition was only for Belgian members they flatly refused to credit the points. There was no sign of that in the promotion terms.

      so beware the Accor wolf may change it’;s clothing… but it’;s still gonna be a wolf.
      I have a lot of hotel nights to book again this year (I;m a contractor, so it’s feast or famine with regard to hotel nights for me) and I’m just about done with Accor. They only get a booking from me when there’s a really good reason now.

      • Lady London says:

        And right now if you read Rob’s very recent article on here about Accor, there’s 6000 good reasons to book a hotel a few times with Accor.

        That has to be acted on within the next 5 days or so.

    • “Is it a coincidence that both the Accor and Air France websites are only semi-functional ?”

      No because I believe Blue Link (aka Flying blue) manages the Le Club IT and website for Accor.

  12. Actually I think the main problem with Le Club AccorHotels today is the absolutely appalling customer service, and I can’t see that improving with a change of name.

    • Agreed, customer service of the Le Club programme is appalling
      That is an organisational issue that needs to be fixed.

      I actually find the customer service at the properties to be pretty good – not quite on a par with Hyatt but if you are known at the property as a regular visitor then very good.

      • Lady London says:

        I would agree with that. Lots of chains are made up of properties which are not owned by the hotel chain and I always make sure to say how pleased I am to be back again if I send any note to the hotel or when I check in. It’s always very helpful.

        Getting a relationship with an individual property will often pay off. Not always, there can be some nasty surprises, but well worth trying to do if you are in a position to choose the same property over and over again.

  13. Elite tier above platinum – perhaps an ‘Ambassador’ type benefit for 80 or 100+ nights per year
    (Going by feedback on the existing ‘Ambassador’ programme and Accor’s dysfunctionality and poor customer service this would be a negative and pointless to target).

  14. Lady London says:

    I would agree with that. Lots of chains are made up of properties which are not owned by the hotel chain and I always make sure to say how pleased I am to be back again if I send any note to the hotel or when I check in. It’s always very helpful.

    Getting a relationship with an individual property will often pay off. Not always, there can be some nasty surprises, but well worth trying to do if you are in a position to choose the same property over and over again.

  15. Lady London says:

    PPPS (sorry for download) @IanMac I would agree with you keeping the Accor points only if you’;re saving for a redemption in Asia Pacific where Accor hotels have some very high quality properties. Useful if you’re a Platinum at the time of stay.

    • Sofitel Metropole Hanoi fits that bill.
      Stayed there 3/4 years ago – brilliant in every way !!

    • I’ve been stockpiling Accor points for flexibility, for when I finally have enough Hilton or IHG points to make a trip to the Maldives or Bora Bora / Moorea realistic (I wouldn’t be able to afford to stay there otherwise). Obviously redemptions aren’t always available when you want them for other hotel loyalty programmes. If there are no rooms available at the Intercontinental Bora Bora, nor the Conrad for a couple of nights, I can use my Accor points to stay at the Sofitel as long as a room is available for cash. It seems like a sensible back up plan, albeit one that doesn’t give a free breakfast like I’d get at the Conrad!
      Ill be gutted if I have to use them or lose them by a certain date!

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