French hospitality giant Accor Hotels let on more than a year ago that it was considering a stake in European super carrier Air France-KLM. That transaction never saw the light of day, but a new partnership announced this week is now forming between the two travel giants. Starting this month, loyalty members in each respective program will be given free points for booking and traveling with the partner operator.
Under the scope of the new program, Air France-KLM Flying Blue members will now earn one frequent flyer mile for every euro spent at an Accor property. Similarly, Accor loyalty members will earn one point for every two euros spent flying on Air France or KLM, an attractive prospect for corporate travelers.
It will also now be possible to transfer points between programs. 4,000 Flying Blue miles can now be converted into 1000 Accor reward points while 2,000 points originating with Accor can be converted into 1000 miles.
Like in many similar partnerships, the incentive for each respective loyalty member isn’t astonishing. A one way ticket in economy between Paris and New York on Air France or KLM, for example, can cost somewhere around 22,000 to 25,000 miles; to earn that many points through the partnership would require one to spend between €22,000 ($25,000) and €25,000 ($28,400) on hotel stays.
What it is, though, is free. To participate in the promotion, Accor and Air France-KLM members need only to link accounts. Thereafter, points start flowing in.
The program is also open to all members in each respective loyalty program. Earlier this year, American and Hyatt launched a similar partnership, but it only awards points to those who have elite status in each respective program. With the new partnership at Accor and Air France-KLM, any casual loyalty member can show up to the front door, sign up and start earning miles, a potential windfall for any business traveler who isn’t currently a member of one of the two programs.
And that may be the exact point of the the new partnership. In the last few years, revenue-based loyalty programs and dynamic award pricing have allowed airlines to hyper-target and sell to their base of frequent flyers. By leaning on a similar, parallel audience through a partnership like this, airlines and hotels can further market their products to a low risk, potential group of clients. At the cost of a few miles and points, the airline, hotel and customer ends up happy.