Is there such a thing as an Accor Credit Card?
With a recent focus on hotel reward credit cards here at Thrifty Points we thought we’d take a look at the options for people seeking to use an Accor Credit Card in the UK to earn Le Club points. Unlike some of the other international hotel chains, Accor sadly doesn’t offer a branded Le Club credit card.
However, most people don’t know that it’s actually possible to earn American Express Rewards points and convert these to Le Club Accor points through a third party reward programme. This is one of the more complicated methods of earning reward points using a credit card, but if you’re prepared to bear with me I’ll explain exactly how you can redeem Le Club Accor points with a UK credit card.
Transferring to Le Club Accor is however a terrible idea and as such we recommend an easier and more cost effective way of redeeming Accor Hotel bedrooms using reward points earned from an alternative Le Club Accor credit card. Read on to find out more.
Let’s start by taking a quick look at the Accor Hotel loyalty programme. Le Club AccorHotels provides access to over 3,500 hotels and 20 brands situated in 100 countries. Major brands within the portfolio include Raffles, Fairmont, Swissotel, Sofitel, Novotel, M Gallery, Pullman, Mercure and Ibis. 25% of the hotels are situated within France with the remaining hotels located throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and America. In comparison to US brands such as Marriott and Hilton, Le Club AccorHotels has a relatively weak representation across the US.
Let's break this post down...
Best Alternative Le Club Accor Credit Card?
As alluded to earlier there is no specific Le Club Accor credit card currently available in the UK market. That said you are able to earn American Express Rewards points and indirectly convert these to Accor Le Club points.
How can this be done? As you may or may not know, Finnair is a mutual transfer partner of both American Express Rewards as well as Accor Hotels. This allows someone with Amex Rewards points to transfer points to Finnair at a rate of 1:1 and subsequently transfer points to Le Club Accor. What you should however be aware of is that you’ll receive a rate of just 1 Le Club AccorHotels point for every 7 Finnair points transferred! I’ll cover in detail why this may not be a good idea later in this Accor Credit Card review as well as a nifty trick to redeem Accor Hotels using Amex Rewards points for less…
Free Accor Credit Card Alternatives
So if you’re still looking for an alternative free Le Club Accor credit card, let’s take a look at your options:
- American Express Gold Card (reviewed here): Free for the first year, the card offers a market-leading sign-up bonus of 20,000 reward points which if converted to Le Club Accor would result in 2,857 points. These would be worth €14 if redeemed for a night’s stay at an Accor hotel as I’ll explain later. The possible alternative Le Club Accor credit card also offers an ongoing earnings rate of 1 point for every £1 spent as well as 2 free airport lounge passes. After 12 months you’ll be charged £140 pa for the card – I’d strongly recommend that most people cancel the card before the free 12-month period is up. You can also benefit from an increased sign-up bonus from 20,000 to 22,000 points if you use this link.
Paid for Accor Hotel Credit Cards
Being limited to credit cards which earn American Express Rewards points means that the only premium card comes with a whopping £450 annual fee. HOWEVER for some people (including me) the numerous benefits of this card actually result in it being surprisingly good value. What is this card?
- American Express Platinum Card (reviewed here): As I mentioned, this card comes with both a £450 annual fee and a whole host of benefits. The sign-up bonus of 30,000 points (which can be increased to 35,000 points using this link and scrolling down to the correct card) when you spend £2,000 on the card in the first 3 months is worth between £175 and £350 depending on how they’re redeemed. You’ll also receive:
- International Travel Insurance for the whole family (this could save at least £150 per year!)
- A free priority pass providing unrestricted access to over 1,000 airport lounges. You’ll also be able to take one guest with you free of charge.
- Free car-hire insurance
- Complimentary Eurostar lounge access
- An ongoing earnings rate of 1 point for every £1 spent
- Lounge access when flying with Delta
- Free membership to the following hotel reward programmes:
- Hilton HHonours Gold
- Melia Rewards Gold
- Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade
- Starwood Preferred Guest Gold
- Club Carlson Gold
Things You May Not Know You Can Do With the Points from Le Club Accor Credit Cards
Unlike most hotel reward programmes, Le Club AccorHotels operates a model whereby members can redeem points for vouchers which can then be offset against the cost of a room.
2,000 points is equal to €40 (no GBP available I’m afraid) which works out at a rate of €0.02 per point. As such, the sign-up bonuses and ongoing earnings rates of the alternative Le Club Accor credit cards are calculated as follows:
- Amex Gold
- Sign-up bonus of 22,000 points (if you use this link) converts to 3,143 Le Club points (transfer rate of 1:1 between American Express and Finnair, then 7:1 between Finnair and Accor). At €0.02 per point the sign-up bonus would be worth a measly €62.86. To put this in context, if you were to redeem for Amazon vouchers (which is generally considered a poor redemption method) this would result in a value of £110!
- Ongoing earnings at 1 point to £1 – divide by 7 and times by €0.02 equals 0.3 cents per £1 spent. You’d be better off applying for an American Express Cashback Card (reviewed here) which would give you 1% on all credit card spend.
- Amex Platinum
- Sign-up bonus of 35,000 (if you use this link and scrolling down to the correct card) converts to 5,000 Le Club points and would be worth €100. With the potential to redeem with Avios (see how I value an Avios point here) at close to 1p, the sign-up bonus could be worth as much as £350!
- Same ongoing earnings as the gold card.
Why You May Not Want to Use an Alternative Accor Credit Card UK
So let’s assume you’re thinking of booking an Accor branded hotel and you’d like to use some of your hard-earned reward points. What should you do? Let’s look at the various options below:
- Easiest (but worst!): By using the ‘points for purchases’ function on the American Express Rewards website you can use points to pay off your credit card statement at a rate of 0.45p per point. For comparison this would make the sign-up bonus of the Amex Gold Card worth £99 and as such better than attempting to transfer to Accor. Therefore if you simply paid for your Accor hotel night on your new credit card you’d be able to save £99.
- Slightly more complex (but better!): You can transfer your American Express Rewards points to the British Airways Executive Club at a rate of 1:1. From there it’s actually possible to redeem points for hotels including an extensive list of Accor Hotels. In the example below, it’s possible to book the Savoy for either 65,850 points or a cash value of £454. This would result in a points value in the region of 0.7p per point – better than both the 0.45p achieved by using points to pay off your credit card balance or the terrible 0.3 cents you’d get for trying to convert to the Accor!
Le Club Accor Credit Card – Our Conclusion
As we’ve seen within this Accor Credit Card review, whilst it’s possible to create an alternative method of earning Le Club points through a credit card, you’d be mad to want to transfer points across to Le Club Accor to only achieve a worse rate!
With a voucher-for-points structure the Le Club AccorHotels reward programme is unlike most other points-based loyalty programmes on the market. As such there are limited (in fact no) opportunities to carry out booking arbitrage where you could redeem a very expensive hotel for a low number of points.
If you’re looking for a free credit card which offers the flexibility to not only book Accor hotels (through BA) but also allows you to redeem with a number of other retailers, airlines and hotel companies then we’d strongly recommend the American Express Gold Card – read our full review here. Don’t forget to cancel the card before the first free year is up! You can increase the sign-up bonus from 20,000 points to 22,000 points by using this link.
We hope you’ve found this Le Club Accor Credit Card review useful and, as always, please do reach out if you have any questions or comments. Happy points collecting.
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