Accor + Qatar Airways announce reciprocity that’s not quite reciprocal

Qatar Airways and Accor Hotels announced a deal today to “provide industry leading reciprocal benefits to members across both loyalty programmes.” Seeing a headline and tease like that I assumed something akin to the Marriott/United or SPG/Delta arrangements or even the United/Hertz deal.

Unfortunately, based on what it included in the announcement, it does not appear that there’s really much reciprocity at all and it is far from what the other leaders in that space are offering.

Instead of reciprocity with status benefits or earning potential this appears to just be a points transfer opportunity. And that’s great, but it isn’t even really reciprocal on that front.

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.

Not having transfers at 1-to-1 is fine, I suppose. Not having the transfers symmetrical is all sorts of strange if you’re going to describe the situation as reciprocal. In this case a member with 18,000 Le Club points would end up at 9,000 Qmiles. Transferring those back to the hotel program would leave a traveler with only 2,000 points, a drop of 89%. That’s not particularly good reciprocity at all.

It is also worth noting that Le Club points are essentially cash value against redemptions, where 2,000 points can be redeemed for a 40 euro coupon against a future stay. Buying 1,000 Qmiles can be done online starting at $35. That’s not a great exchange rate for the points. Going the other direction the math suggests that Qmiles are worth about 45 euro cents. I don’t know of anyone who would value them that low.

Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate increased fungibility of points. Being able to move some orphaned points out of an account and getting any value is great. But unless there’s some super-secret other offer they’re not talking about this is far reciprocal, much less industry-leading.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.