Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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I am running three articles this week to outline three hacks that I used to maximise the Accor Live Limitless points I earned on a stay in Barbados. This is the final one

I earned Diamond status in Accor Live Limitless in just one stay, as well as picking up 30,000 points.

Part 1 of this series explains how I managed to hit Diamond because of Accor’s unique benefit of letting points from multiple rooms count towards status (click to read).

In Part 2, I showed how I turned a £65 investment in an ibis Business card into €189.

Accor Flying Blue partnership

In Part 3, below, I will show you how I picked up an extra 2,000 Accor Live Limitless points due to their partnership with Flying Blue.

It is now almost three years 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.

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 the Accor and Flying Blue partnership work?

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

Accor Flying Blue partnership

As you can see:

  • 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.  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

What happened after my Barbados stay?

My base spend, converted in to Euros, was just over €7,500 excluding taxes. (Yes, I know, but Barbados luxury hotels at October half-term are never going to be cheap, and when you have two rooms ….)

This got me just over 7,500 miles in Flying Blue – or it will then they post. No sign yet ….

I have no interest, at all, in 7,500 Flying Blue miles. Even ignoring their tough expiry policy, I have over 1 million Virgin Points which I can use to book Air France or KLM flights.

What I intend to do, when the miles post, is to transfer 500 American Express Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue.

This will take me to 8,000 Flying Blue miles, which I can transfer to 2,000 Accor Live Limitless points. It will take my points from my stay from 28,000 to 30,000.

If no good Accor Live Limitless redemptions turn up, the 2,000 Accor points I got from my 8,000 Flying Blue miles can be turned into 2,000 Avios via Iberia Plus.

Accor Flying Blue partnership

There is a sign-up offer too

There is even a sign-up offer if you link your Accor and Flying Blue 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

This has very little value in terms of getting Accor status, but is certainly useful if you collect Flying Blue points and earn status in that programme.

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.

Conclusion

I have not focused too heavily on Accor Live Limitless in the past, but as I was spending a lot of money in one it made sense to see how I could make the most of it. I hope these three articles proved useful.

Remember that Fairmont Great Windsor Park (website here) is gearing up to open in the New Year – I am hoping to get a sneak peak of the spa this week. Gleaneagles (reviewed here) is also about to join the Accor Live Limitless fold. If you are looking for somewhere plush for a UK weekend break, you too may be spending more time looking at Accor Live Limitless.


Accor Live Limitless update – February 2023:

Earn bonus Accor points: Accor is not currently running a global promotion

New to Accor Live Limitless?  Read our review of Accor Live Limitless here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our analysis of what Accor Live Limitless points are worth is here.

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

Comments (40)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • John says:

        Accor ditched some gamification such as Places. Some other stuff is still running such as WelcomeFans.

        Other programs shed gamification to a larger extent IMO. Thinking of IHG which had Accelerate which was huge.

        • Ikaz says:

          Welcome fans closed down during the Pandemic. I actually won quite a few tickets for the Paris arena with them, and still have tickets for Elton John that they gave me. I also use a lot of my points for experiences with Accorhotels, their box at the Paris arena is an amazing experience (although they have closed down the open bar recently, and now only seem to offer 2 glasses of champagne per person, I used to get well over a bottle, which was always good), the food is good and there is a representative from Accorhotels that attends, and I have met some passionate staff. Once my flight from the UK was delayed, so the first band was starting and I wasn’t at the arena, I received a call on my mobile asking for my arrival time, and upon arriving at the sold-out venue, I was escorted from outside the arena to the box, that made me feel special. They have also given me free seats to the box one day, and I had over half of it for me and friends for a fun night out.
          I am 8 nights from Platinium this year, given that I have requialified for Hilton, Marriott and IHG, I will push the extra nights towards Accor. There is not much difference between silver and platinium in most UK hotels, but going to Asia is where it makes a difference, and I have had some of my best upgrades and lounges at Sofitels in that part of the world.

      • the_real_a says:

        Happy Monday’s was an introduction to the brand for many. I stayed at places i otherwise would not, and since have continued to return to many of the hotels i tried out. I would never have dreamed of staying at an ibis pre happy Monday’s but will quite happily stay in them when i just need a comfy bed and shower. Ibis breakfasts are not bad at all.

        • Erico1875 says:

          We did several Happy Monday stays at IBIS South Bridge, Edinburgh. Got breakfast too thrown in for the £25 room rate.

      • Lady London says:

        I know I missed that completely but the Happy Mondays must be gone for rather 5 years now maybe more. Not a couple only, sadly

  • 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.

    • Mikeact says:

      No…you have to take a flight.

  • 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)

    • Doreen says:

      And perhaps I should have read all the comments first ! I see David D has covered this😀

  • 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.

    • Jonny says:

      Same for me, Alex.

      • Leigh says:

        I tried this last time and got the same error, I’d assumed it was due to my account being set to auto-convert to Iberia (as every promo I try to register for fails as well)

  • John says:

    “I have over 1 million Virgin Points which I can use to book any Air France or KLM flight I may want to take.”

    I would consider this to be a bit of a misconception. For AF and KL, there is a tremendous gap between Flying Blue award inventories and partner award inventories.

    The gap is so huge that if you are serious about booking AF/KL on awards, you cannot ignore the Flying Blue program.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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