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  • Guernsey Globetrotter 608 posts

    Warning – this post contains maths! Let’s hope I get it right… 😉

    I have recently signed up for the All Signature program to benefit from discounted reward points and targeting Platinum status as a bonus (see this thread if you want the boring details https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/combinations-of-all-paid-programs/).

    As a result, I have been doing some number crunching on spend necessary to earn status points and I noticed that on my two most recent stay data points (Jan 24 and June 23 at LHR Sofitel) Accor have used a very unfavourable conversion rate of circa €1.07 to the £ ! Even Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng didn’t manage to get it that low so it seems like a sneaky rip-off to me. The rate in Jan 24 and June 23 were near identical at a mid-market of c. 1.165

    I checked the rate Accor use when you are redeeming points for GBP stays and currently it’s about €1.169 which seems near enough OK. For comparison the rate I see now on Revolut is c. 1.165 (as an aside, the GBP-EUR rate has been remarkably stable over the last year or so).

    So basically they have one rate for redemptions that is at the higher Euro rate, which suits them as you are getting less pounds off for each 2c point. They have another rate when calculating how many status points they give you on your spend and this uses the lower Euro rate which gives you less status points for your £ spend.

    The spread between these two rates is about 10cents which is a lot – sad face as @Froggee would say 🙁

    Their T&Cs indicate they use a Reuters rate for redemptions:
    If Reward Points are redeemed to obtain a discount on the price of accommodation or an expenditure charged in a currency other than euros, will entail the application ofthe Accor Group’s benchmark exchange rate is used, as taken from the Multicurrencydatabase (a database of monetary and financial information from Reuters bank).

    Similarly for earning points their T&Cs use almost identical wording:
    For crediting Points, the amount paid in localcurrency outside the euro zone will be converted to euros before applying the earned Points scales. The exchange rate applied by the hotel at check-out is taken from the ‘Multidevises’ database (a Reuters Bank database of monetary and financial information).

    The T&Cs also define the word Points as referring to both Rewards Points and Status Points so no difference on exchange there.

    So what’s the answer here- is anyone familiar with this Reuters index and does it really have such a massive spread from market rates between the buy and sell sides or are Accor ripping us off?!

    Froggee 983 posts

    You rang?

    I just had a look at my last two and they are similarly off.

    There is no way there will be a bid/offer spread on any database at Reuters so something funny is clearly happening.

    Sadly because I am unemployed retired I no longer have access to fancy currency databases but it appears to me that they are very, very close to being 10% off.

    From my last couple of French stays I noticed that the tax charge there was 10% (the invoice has before tax and all taxes included columns). The French ones posted perfectly. I wonder if they have set the system up weirdly so that it takes the excluding VAT price and then lobs off 10% as if that was a gross French price?

    It’s the only thing I can think of.

    I’m there in a few weeks so I may actually ask when I inevitably get a wrong points credit.

    10% a stay isn’t life threatening unless it mucks up status! (Which it could possibly do for me also.)

    Guernsey Globetrotter 608 posts

    Interesting @Froggee … I realise that when I questioned whether this was a deliberate rip-off or just a feature of this Reuters index there was a third possibility- a cock-up!

    Applying Hanlon’s razor was what I was missing.

    Their own terms imply there should be consistency on the conversion rate. The redemption rate is very close to what you’d expect the mid-market to be. It would be a very odd to have an asymmetrical spread around the mid-rate, so I think we’re on to something.

    Likely an IT issue that they’ll fix, if (and this could be a BIG IF) we can find the right person to report this to.

    Where exactly are you heading in a few weeks? I can imagine being met with a very Gallic shrug at the front desk if I tried to raise this in my best pidgin French!

    Froggee 983 posts

    Why the Sofitel at Heathrow of course! That’s the only Accor hotel I stay at in the UK (so far).

    And the two I checked were also thusly the Sofitel at Heathrow so it would be helpful if someone had nights at a UK Accor hotel that isn’t the LHR Sofitel to see if it’s all UK hotels.

    There is also the possibility that they’ve somehow coded it wrongly to factor in a nonexistent service charge of 10% as you don’t appear to get points on e.g. room service tray charges.

    Guernsey Globetrotter 608 posts

    There’s definitely something not quite right here @Froggee – just don’t get too hopping mad with our friends at LHR Sofitel 😉

    Rob
    HfP Staff
    2,299 posts

    When VAT was reduced during covid there were issues with hotels not adjusting the tax element before awarding points based on the net amount. This is possibly something similar.

    Froggee 983 posts

    Good morning @Guernsey-Globetrotter !!!

    I am hear to report back. Annoyingly the Sofitel messed up my expressly checked out bill charging me for one of the two rooms when both had been prepaid. They then corrected this (without being asked) several days later but, when doing so, double charged me for breakfast. I have now emailed them.

    Je n’en reviens pas. C’est dingue. As they would say.

    Anyway, the way the points have posted gives us the answers to the existential question you asked.

    One room net of VAT at £130.62 earned 348 points
    Breakfast net of VAT at £45.00 earned 132 points

    Eyeballing the GBP-EUR chart I got 1.173 as the closing rate on the day of my stay. This calculates perfectly for breakfast and is out by exactly 10% for the room rate.

    So the conclusion is that they have messed up how points are allocated for accommodation but not F&B which is weird. But very Accor.

    For giggles I’m going to send them a stay from December and claim the points (they say within six months on their website). I’ll be fascinated if they ignore me, post the points, or tell me to take a hike.

    Guernsey Globetrotter 608 posts

    Excellent detective work @Froggee – Bravo mon ami – Poirot would be proud!

    If you post the contact for your message then I will follow-up also for my last stay in January. A concerted approach may preclude a Gallic shrug as a response… or I may just be the eternal optimist 😀

    Grant 116 posts

    I have just had reward and status points and nights, post for a stay which was booked via third party, and thus they have come as a bit of a surprise. The total number of points roughly corresponds to the price I paid for the accommodation converted to Euro.

    I don’t appear to have received any points for the additional F&B spend at the hotel which should be worth an additional 2,500 reward points or so. I would expect them to appear as a separate line in the statement.

    Do I poke the bear?

    Guernsey Globetrotter 608 posts

    It’s hard to say without knowing how many points are at stake if they reverse the accommodation credit – 2,500 extra points is worth €50, so that’s your potential gain… If you are going to try it on, get in quick before @Froggee and I potentially make their CS team even more grumpy than usual!

    Froggee 983 posts

    I just filled in the Accor form here for the short change in points. Given that the staff at the hotel don’t seem capable of understanding that they have double charged me for breakfast I think a structural points shortfall could be a stretch too far.

    https://collections.accor.com/en/claimpoints

    As for @Grant’s F&B spend, I would check that the hotel is on Accor’s list where non-guests can earn points on F&B and if so, go for it!

    https://all.accor.com/loyalty-program/dining-offer/index.en.shtml

    Froggee 983 posts

    Good morning @Guernsey-Globetrotter !!!

    For giggles I’m going to send them a stay from December and claim the points (they say within six months on their website). I’ll be fascinated if they ignore me, post the points, or tell me to take a hike.

    We have modest progress but definitely time to give up. I got an initial swift reply from Accor ignoring the bulk of my question and merely saying that my December stay had posted. I went back and asked them to actually read my question. They then replied saying they had emailed the hotel to ask. They have now replied saying “we are delighted to inform you that it has been correctly registered to your account”.

    The world’s most complex adjustment has now been done to the December stay with the result that the points accrued for that stay have changed from 1,200 to 1,255. It is impossible to calculate any rationale for how they have decided on an extra 55 points.

    So the conclusion is that it appears you are structurally shortchanged 10% on accommodation; they might randomly adjust it if you ask; but unless you really need these points for status purposes, life really is too short.

    Guernsey Globetrotter 608 posts

    Well that’s frustrating @Froggee ! Quel surprise that is the outcome when dealing with Accor CS #gallicshrug

    Nevertheless, I have picked up the baton and submitted my own support ticket. I am approaching it as me helpfully highlighting a systemic problem to be to be fixed for all their UK members. I will report back on any ‘progress’ and fully expect to be banned for life shortly 😀

    Plan B is the T&Cs provide that after 60 days of raising this with CS if it hasn’t been resolved I have the right to refer to the Travel and Tourism Mediator in Paris, so I look forward to that option immensely too! Wish me bon chance mes amis

    Froggee 983 posts

    Je t’envoie des ondes positives

    Guernsey Globetrotter 608 posts

    Je t’envoie des ondes positives

    Merci mon brave!

    Grant 116 posts

    I had a similar response from Accor to @Froggee to my claim for points on F&B spend. Again, clear that they hadn’t actually read my email and only had a cursory glance at my statement to see if there was a line relating to a recent stay.

    I was on the verge of giving up the chase but having read the above, I felt encouraged to have another go and politely asked them to actually read my email and the attached invoice this time!

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