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Accor to launch Visa credit cards across Europe which will earn Accor Live Limitless hotel points

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Accor Live Limitless, the loyalty scheme for Novotel, Mercure, ibis etc, yesterday announced a huge but confusing deal with Visa.

Instead of doing deals on a country by country level, Accor has done a GLOBAL credit card deal with Visa.  Credit cards will be issued by “Visa partner financial institutions and banks in key markets across Europe, North and South America, Middle East and Asia Pacific”.

I’m slightly confused by this.  Visa cannot force Barclaycard, Lloyds Bank, Creation or Virgin Money to issue an Accor credit card!  Accor will still need to negotiate, country by country, to find an issuer.  The only carrot is presumably that Visa has agreed especially low fees for processing the transactions.

Accor to launch Visa credit cards across Europe

Let’s imagine that Accor does find a UK bank to issue an Accor Live Limitless credit card.  There is a further problem – Accor Live Limitless is a 100% revenue based loyalty scheme.

1 Accor point = 2 Eurocents off a hotel room.  There is no ‘reward chart’ and therefore no gamification element.  You can’t be clever and save your points for a day when hotel prices are high.  You get 2 Eurocents per point, 365 days of the year.

This means that an Accor Visa card will, effectively, be a cashback credit card.  It’s just that the cash has to spent with Accor!  Given that most cashback credit cards in the UK are paying 0.2p or 0.25p per £1 spent, we can’t expect much.

Perhaps I’m wrong.  If they gave you 0.25 Accor points per £1 spent then you would be getting 0.5 Eurocents of free hotel rooms per £1 with no availability restrictions.  It would be attractive.

If you only got 0.125 Accor points per £1 spent (0.25 Eurocents of hotel credit), of course, it would be a waste of space.  You would be far better off with a cashback credit card paying 0.2p – 0.25p per £1, given that cash can be used anywhere.

Let’s see if Accor can surprise us.  I imagine it will take at least 18 months to launch anything.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)