Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Collect Flying Blue miles or use Accor hotels? You can double dip

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It is now over a year since Accor Live Limitless, the loyalty scheme for Novotel, Ibis, Mercure, Sofitel etc, and Flying Blue, the loyalty scheme for Air France and KLM, launched their partnership.

It is a genuine improvement and EVERYONE benefits.  Despite this, it has a very low profile and I think many HfP readers are not even aware it exists.

Accor Flying Blue partnership

This is a clear win for anyone who either flies on Air France KLM or stays in Accor hotels.  You are going to be better off.

You can find full details, and register, on the Accor website here.

How does it work?

This is going to get a little complicated, so let’s start with a simple overview:

Accor Flying Blue partnership

Yes, as it shows:

When you stay at Accor hotels, you will earn 1 Flying Blue airline mile per €1 – on top of the Accor points you would usually earn

When you fly with Air France or KLM, you will earn 1 Accor hotel point per €2 – on top of the Flying Blue miles you would usually earn

You can only be better off by registering for this offer.  As far as I can tell, there is no downside.

There is a tiny bit of small print on the Accor offer.  Stays at their low end brands (Adagio, Adagio Access, ibis, ibis Styles and Mama Shelter) earn miles at lower rates.

Accor Flying Blue Air France KLM partnership

You can also transfer Flying Blue miles into Accor points

You have always been able to transfer Accor points into Flying Blue at the rate of:

2,000 Accor points = 1,000 Flying Blue miles

However, you can now transfer the other way too:

4,000 Flying Blue miles = 1,000 Accor points

Don’t get too excited about this.  Accor points have a fixed value of 2 Eurocents each.  There is no ‘reward chart’ – the points cost for a night is simply the cash price in Euro multiplied by 50.

This means that you are swapping 4,000 Flying Blue miles for a €20 Accor hotel discount.  This is just 0.5 Eurocents per mile, which is VERY poor.

Sign up even if you have ZERO interest in the other scheme!

Why?  Because:

in the worse case scenario, an Accor guest can take the Flying Blue miles earned and convert them back into more Accor points

and a Flying Blue frequent flyer can take the Accor points earned and convert them back into more Flying Blue miles!

Accor Flying Blue partnership

There is a sign-up offer too

Once you have linked your two accounts:

You receive 1 Accor status night and 5 Flying Blue XP status points on your next Accor stay

and

You receive 1 Accor status night and 5 Flying Blue XP status points on your next Air France or KLM flight

Again, the ability to get these sign up bonuses means that any Accor or Flying Blue member who is chasing status should sign up for this, irrespective of their interest in the other partner.

Here is the page to register your accounts, which need to be linked – click here.

Flying Blue UK credit cards

How to earn Flying Blue miles via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Air France and KLM do not have a UK Flying Blue credit card.  However, you can earn Flying Blue miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Flying Blue miles.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Flying Club mile.

Comments (17)

  • Peter K says:

    I always feel it’s telling that you don’t get Accor fans saying how much they love it and have benefited from the brand, unlike IHG, Hilton & Bonvoy.

    • John says:

      Agreed! I was a Platinum via Amex for years, but aside from the welcome drink voucher saw little benefit in the program. Never once a room upgrade, nor a late check-out, both are ‘subject to availability’ of course, seems they never were.

      Once Amex lost Accor, stays were due to convenient hotel location, enough for Gold/Silver, but when a new Hilton opened that was the end of that. I was one stay off keeping Silver, still no incentive to book the closer Accor vs. the Hilton where I’d get free breakfast and high chance of an upgrade, plus staff who saw me come in and said “welcome back” on my second visit, something that never happened in dozens of visits to the same Accor hotel a few hundred metres away.

    • Alastair J says:

      Yeah, it’s not a particularly aspirational or appealing program but it is simple and with tangible benefits.

      It hasn’t created any ‘wow’ moments for me like SPG/Marriott over the years, but neither has it caused annoyance or disappointment (also Marriot!).

    • marcw says:

      It used to be better back in the old good days, when promotional points counted towards status. It was really easy to obtain Gold status with some stays combining them with the multi-stays offers and Happy Mondays.
      I have been treated very nicely with Gold status in Asia, being upgraded to suite in SO Bangkok and villas in Veranda Chiang Mai and Pullman Khao Lak – all for 14 days, booked on some promos (free breakfast promo, 3 for 2, and 3 stays = 6.000 extra points), so on average, I paid IIRC £25 per night per room (for 2 + 2 breakfast). One of my best experiences in Accor and Thailand hospitality. Problem is, can’t go again to the same hotels as I don’t have status anymore and won’t pay to have the same experience.

    • Richard says:

      Maybe we’re just less vocal about it? My life is in a different phase now, but back in the day, I really liked Accor and certainly benefited from the loyalty scheme.

      I think those who say it isn’t “aspirational” are missing the fact that different people aspire to different things.
      I’m not all that interested in luxury facilities at a hotel, because I’m always too excited about going out and exploring whatever city I’m in.

      What I really want from a hotel is to know that it’s going to be comfortable, quiet and in a good location. From that point of view I absolutely loved Novotels and actually was pretty fond of Ibis (though Ibis’s ham-fisted attempts at being trendy annoyed me after a while).

      So having a pot of euros which I could use anywhere, any time, was exactly what I wanted. I would get at least 10% cashback on the booking (through a cashback site) and then 15-20% back in points as well, and it just kept rolling on and on. It was brilliant!

      People who say there was no arbitrage are wrong too, because there were plenty of bonuses for completing a certain number of stays. I used to earn those on cheap weekends in the UK, and then cash them in for hotels abroad.

      I stopped in the end because Novotels changed all their beds, and the new ones were too soft for me. A big shame… but nothing to do with the loyalty scheme.

      • Rob says:

        Remember that, until a couple of years ago, Accor ran this amazing promo where – every Monday – they would dump their spare rooms for the following weekend for £25+. You could genuinely get rooms in London, albeit out at Excel, for £25 and central rooms for £50 or so.

        It was also, arguably, the most generous Amex Plat hotel status until it was dropped. Due to the very few top tier members Accor has, Gold carried more weight than the equivalent with Hilton etc.

        The real issue is the loyalty scheme. The lack of gamification means most people can’t be bothered.

        • Richard says:

          Yes! Before I had my own base in London, I regularly used to book rooms at the Novotel Excel. Even without the “Happy Mondays” offer, they could come down to £40-ish if there wasn’t an event on at the time. One time I got upgraded to a suite where you looked directly down the flight path out of City Airport – a real treat for a geek like me.

          You say there was a “lack of gamification”, but what was the Places app if it wasn’t gamification? Or stacking Happy Mondays with the escalating bonus offers for completing 3 stays? Maybe it didn’t appeal to the “typical” HfP reader, but it was there.

  • Peter says:

    Signed up for this last year, until lockdown I was staying 3 nights a week at an ibis. Gained 2,600 flying blue miles in addition to my usual Accor points, currently 106k. Now working from home till March.
    Staff can make or break any hotel. The ibis I stayed at were very good.

  • Sambe says:

    Do the miles earned from Accor stays extend Flying Blue miles validity? Does a MR points transfer extend Flying Blue miles validity? If so, does the card have to be in the Flying Blue member’s name (or supplementary?)

    • Sambe says:

      From what I can gather, the answer is no: an Accor stay would be a “partially extending activity” which would only extend miles earned from partners. Points transfers generally don’t extend.

  • Alex B says:

    As they’re free what would be a better account to Open KLM or Air France? I would imagine it take me a few years to collect enough to redeem anything.

    I really dislike Accors programme, it’s just not very fun or interesting, and more importantly it only has 12 months expiry and you can’t easily extend it.

    • David D says:

      Air France and KLM run the same scheme called Flying Blue. Your account details are the same for both.

  • Doreen says:

    Interesting- I’m at Diamond level so could indeed benefit when we finally get back to travelling. So do I open an Air France or KLM account or do you just sign up in Flying Blue ? (have been using Air Europa account for Sky Team, which I guess won’t be of use for much longer)

  • ECR says:

    Whilst I like the idea of getting both frequent flyer miles and hotel points neither of two schemes are particularly useful to me as I would only stay in an Accor hotel every one or twice every couple of years. (Whilst it may not have been the best option I did like the way in Hilton until a few years ago you could earn Hilton points and Avios at the same time).

    Last time I stayed in an Accor hotel I had it set up to auto convert to Iberia Avios. I don’t know if this still works as I’ll not be back to an Accor hotel until the middle of next year to check, but in case it still does I think I’m best giving this one a miss in case it changes my frequent flyer scheme from Iberia to Flying Blue.

  • Alex says:

    Keep on getting an error for me when trying to link up with my Flying Blue account – Oops! Something’s gone wrong. We were unable to complete your subscription.

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