Qatar & Accor’s Disappointing New “Industry Leading” Partnership

Filed Under: Qatar

A couple of days ago Qatar Airways and Le Club Accor Hotels announced a new partnership. Qatar Airways advertised this new partnership as offering “reciprocal benefits” and as being “industry leading.” Is that really the case, though?

Per Qatar Airways’ press release, here’s what the partnership entails:

For the first time ever, Qatar Airways Privilege Club members can convert their Qmiles into Le Club AccorHotels points for redemption on accommodation at more than 3,400 hotels and resorts across AccorsHotels’ global network. Le Club AccorHotels loyalty programme members can enjoy the same benefit of converting their points into Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qmiles for redemption on flights to the more than 150 places the airline flies.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club members can take advantage of a conversion rate of 4,500 Qmiles for 1,000 Le Club AccorHotels points, while Le Club members can benefit from an exchange rate of 2,000 points to 1,000 Qmiles. This agreement allows both loyalty members to redeem a number of exceptional rewards across both programmes – sooner.


So there are two problems here.

First of all, when I hear “reciprocal benefits,” I think of things like status matches, special privileges, etc. Sort of like what Starwood and Delta have done with Crossover Rewards, or what Marriott and United have done with RewardsPlus, where eligible members can receive additional bonus points and benefits with the other brand. The only thing reciprocal here is the ability to transfer points.

That’s the other problem. The points conversion rate is horrible. If you’re going to offer a truly reciprocal and lucrative transfer option, then points should transfer at a similar ratio in both directions. That’s to say that you can transfer points between programs without losing much value. In this case:

  • Qatar Airways miles convert into Accor points at a 4.5:1 ratio
  • Accor points convert into Qatar Airways miles at a 2:1 ratio

In other words, if you transferred 9,000 Qatar Airways miles to Accor you’d receive 2,000 Accor points, and if you wanted to transfer those back to Qatar Airways, you’d receive 1,000 Qatar Airways miles.

That means with a transfer back and forth you’d lose ~90% of the value of your points. Ouch!


Bottom line

Ultimately I love when programs add reciprocal benefits. The ability to efficiently transfer points greatly increases their value. However, in this case I see nothing in the way of reciprocal benefits, and also find the transfer ratio to be horrible. There are virtually no circumstances under which it could make sense to transfer points under this partnership, in my opinion.

(Tip of the hat to Wandering Aramean)

  1. I actually reckon Admiral Ackbar, o ye of the short-arsed Arabs, would actually partake of much wailing and gnashing of teeth upon reading your article. Reciprocal? What a load of bollocky gobshite. Keep up the good work, Ben; call it out for what it is!

  2. Always nice to be appreciated, especially when the post structure and examples are identical. :rolleyes:

  3. LoyaltyLobby already reported this last year (Nov & Dec 2016)

    QR has always been offering 3K Qmiles (goodness…) as goodwill gesture (I guess, it’s a standard amount?) whenever I had some issues in flight (in J class). I have absolutely nowhere to use these miles, so at least, good to have an option to convert to other miles (e.g. Qmiles -> Accor -> BA Avios). To me, the most annoying thing is that “You need to contact Qatar Airways to convert Qmiles to Le Club AccorHotels points.”. No online processing. Again, goodness…

  4. Maybe so, but Accor is the only hotel chain I feel any affinity with, perhaps because I spend a lot of time in Europe.

    Otherwise I don’t have a lot of time for hotel programs, while loving airline programs

  5. I can’t say I am surprised. Accor are notorious for over promising and under delivering. I was reading their Platinum benefits and they list ‘LE CLUB ACCORHOTELS CUSTOMER CARE’ as one of the benefits. Sounds great except all that means is they have a handful of FAQ and help topics on their website (not even a priority phone number). Try emailing them and you will be lucky to receive a response. I’ve sent straightforward queries and received replies weeks and even months later.

    In terms of disappointing partnerships, two weeks ago I received an email about a ‘Morning, Noon and Night’ promotion Accor are running with Mastercard (book with Mastercard and get free breakfast). I did a number of searches and this promotion was always more expensive than the standard discounts Accor offer (in most cases this offer was far more expensive). So the ‘free breakfast’ was not really free at all.

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