If you are about to be redeeming Le Club Accor Hotel loyalty points for the first time there is something you maybe interested to know before you do. The points may not be as valuable as you first think. The reason why is also something which you can’t control. Even still, I value my membership of the Accor Hotels loyalty program and will enjoy continuing to redeem loyalty points in future.
If you’ve read my best selling book on Amazon you will know that I am a big fan of customer loyalty programs. Okay you concede some personal information but when it comes to travel, these organisations have lots of this information already. Many travel company loyalty points are built into the price you pay for a hotel, flight etc anyway so you might as well take the benefit. This is as true of Le Accor Club as most other schemes. They are free to join and you can reduce travel costs by being a smart customer.
Why I like the Le Club Accor Hotel Loyalty Program
So before I go into the details of what I learned about Le Club Accor hotels loyalty scheme let me tell you why I like the rewards program:-
– it is free to join
– I earn points for every Euro (€) that I spend at their hotels, not just on the room cost
– points never expire, as long as I stay at least one night in one of the 2,700+ Le Accor hotels each year; not too difficult for me
– my loyalty is recognised with immediate upgrades to higher status on the scheme. For instance to move to Silver status requires 10 nights of stays in Le Club Accorhotels over a year, Gold (which I currently am) requires 30 nights a year and Platinum can be reached with 60 nights a year
– my loyalty card status is recognised. As a Gold card holder I receive complimentary internet access with each stay and a welcome gift (most recently this was a free drink at the bar)
– I can make my Accor hotel reservation online via their website or by phone
– I can redeem points for hotel stays without any black-out dates (not all schemes have this)
– or I can redeem points for air miles (I’ve already got a few of those) or with some of their partners
These are all great benefits of Le Club Accor hotel loyalty program. So why is there something to be wary of.
What you need to know about redeeming your Le Club Accor hotel loyalty points
The reason is to do with my experiences of redeeming Le Club Accor hotel loyalty points and foreign currency exchange rates.
Accor hotels are a French company so primarily operate in Euro. For those of you unfamiliar with the Euro (€) it is the currency of many European mainland countries, including France. (Also, for those presenters on CNBC Squawk Box it is worth knowing that the Republic of Ireland also uses the Euro.)
The United Kingdom (UK) however does not. Our currency is the British Pound £ (GBP).
When you redeem Le Club Accor hotel loyalty points they are valued in Euro (€). It is advertised that every 2,000 points is worth €40. So 6,000 points is worth €120 to possibly redeem against a hotel stay.
I was looking to make a points redemption for a stay in the UK. I was also accessing the Accor Hotels website from England. As a result all prices were quoted in GBP rather than €uro.
I attempted to make a points redemption for a wonderful looking apartment hotel in Liverpool. Unfortunately there was a temporary problem with the points redemption area of the website so I had to ask for a call back to make my Accor hotel reservation with points.
Once I received the call back (which was very quick) I began talking about making my reservation with Le Club Accor points.
I explained the place I wanted to stay and for how long. The normal price for this stay was a little over £200. Points were able to be redeemed for this stay but could only be redeemed in full blocks of 2,000. Each 2,000 points equalled €40. Now remember this reservation was showing in £ GBP not € Euro.
It struck me as odd that unlike other hotel loyalty schemes, points are redeemed for a currency value rather than an actual points value per stay. This means that you are exposed to currency movements. This can make it more tricky to plan for a hotel award booking.
When I made this booking it cost me 12,000 points and £22.06. This was equivalent to the £209 price to pay for the booking instead of points.
I quickly went online and looked at the bank and tourist rates for that specific day to see if I was given a fair exchange rate for my points redemption.
Tourist rates that day varied from around €1.2566 / £ to just over €1.3062.
So did I get a good redemption? Well let me demonstrate:-
My Accor hotel reservation would cost £209 if I was paying for the full booking.
A points redemption actually cost me £22.06 plus 12,000 points. So let’s break this down:-
£209.00 – £22.06 = £186.94 (which is the value of 12,000 points)
So £186.94 = 12,000 points = €240 (6 x 2,000 points)
That means €240 / £186.94 = €1.28 / £
So the redemption rate was around mid-market. Thankfully it looks like Accor Hotels are not trying to gain extra benefit through an unfavourable exchange rate.
That being said, as the customer I am the one exposed to currency movements. If I’m honest I prefer the idea of a set points number for redemption like you find with Hilton Honors from Hilton or Marriott Rewards. Then you can see your points build in your account and know exactly when to redeem. (Of course this is subject to the rules of the scheme not changing!)
So what do you think? Is redeeming Le Club Accor Hotel loyalty points for € as opposed to a set point redemption value a good idea? Can you benefit from the exchange rate moving in your favour? Or should we always know how many points we should be aiming for to get that desired award? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.