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There have been a few hotel booking sites that award bonus miles for bookings appear on the scene in the last year or so. I have mentioned a few of them from time to time, but I have not actually used one myself as I don’t like booking my hotel stays via a third party site since I don’t want to risk not earning hotel points and credit toward elite status. However, PointsHound.com has continued to make big improvements in this department – to the point that I will try to use them myself.
Back in March they introduced the ability to earn both bonus airline miles for the hotel booking with partners such as United, Virgin America, Delta, American, US Airways, or Hawaiian and yet still earn hotel points and elite status with select hotel chains. However, at the time this was only available in a few select US cities with select properties, so it had limited usefulness for most of my travels. The good news is that as of today this “Double Up” program is getting greatly expanded. Here is some info from PointsHound on this expansion.
Double-Up rates are a rate type that guarantees hotel frequent guest program points and status credit earning with bookings at the following 5 chains: Hyatt, Hilton, IHG, Starwood, Marriott, in addition to the miles funded by PointsHound. For the last couple of months we’ve been testing this program with 10-15 hotels in about 12 markets. This beta period has been very successful and we are now ready to operationalize a broader rollout of this rate type.
They are now going from a handful of hotels that offer “Double-Up” to over 1,000 eligible hotels in the US in the five hotel chains listed above. Some hotel chains like IHG and Starwood were already available to book via some portals like Ultimate Rewards and others to earn some extra for your booking, but this is the first opportunity I know of to book Hyatt stays via a “portal”. I am all for picking up a few extra hundred or thousand United miles for booking a stay that I am certain will also earn Hyatt points and stay credit.
I did some searches this morning in Houston and Austin and found some “Double-Up” rates with properties in both of those cities that weren’t there previously. It seems to still be a subset of hotels that participate in “Double-Up”, but there are more there now than there were previously. I was happy to see one of my favorite local Hyatts for “mattress runs” (stays I don’t really need but do to earn elite status and/or bonus points) on the list. Not a ton of bonus miles, but more than I would get before this new PointsHound offering. Update: Heard from PointsHound they are still doing some testing this morning on their larger roll-out, and it will push later today, so expect more this afternoon!
I plan to try out Double-Up myself this week, and will report back on how it all worked out. I think PointsHound is great to use for Double-Up rates at hotels where you also want to earn hotel points, but I think PointsHound is also useful at properties that either don’t offer loyalty programs, or offer programs that aren’t your focus. In those cases you don’t need to worry about whether the hotel offers Double-Up, and you can just go for what can sometimes be some pretty substantial booking bonuses!
If you are new to PointsHound, you can sign-up via specific links that will award you 500 bonus miles on your first booking. If you want to sign-up using my link you will get 500 miles after your first stay booked via PointsHound (the best offer I know of). That link will also give you Level 2 for 60 days which allows you to earn miles at an accelerated rate averaging 4-8 miles per dollar. The more bookings you make via PointsHound, the higher your payouts will be as you go up their levels.
What do you think about PointsHound and their newly expanded Double-Up program? Have you used it in the past, or do you plan to use it in the future?
Disclosure: I do not receive anything as a result of you using my link (or temporarily Gary’s link) for signing up with PointsHound. You get all 500 miles if you complete a booking, which is the best sign-up offer for PointsHound I know of. Because I am a member of their “advisory panel” (which basically means I get emailed updates about PointsHound), I am given Level 3 booking status and may get some mileage bonus if people I refer book twelve stays via PointsHound. In other words, I am writing about PointsHound because I think it is cool, not because of any perks I am getting…but wanted to include that info in case you are curious.