Use PointsHound to Earn Bonus Miles + Elite Status Credit on Hotel Stays

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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. 

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  1. I just booked a room with them for this past Saturday night. Will be interested to see what points post and when.

  2. Jane, how did the rates compare to what you saw elsewhere? Did you go for just a mileage bonus or the Double Up? Keep me posted on the miles posting!

  3. Will booking through Points Hound qualify as a stay for the current Marriott promotion with getting a night free after 2 stays or does that only count for reservations done directly with Marriott?

  4. My impression after taking a quick look is that the “double up” rates aren’t especially competitive. AAA etc are cheaper. But if someone else is paying…

    @Todd if it’s eligible for Marriott points it will be eligible for Megabonus.

  5. A big disappointment so far.
    I signed up with Gary’s link several days ago, and thought that all the Marriott properties they listed at that time, at nearly the same price as Marriott AAA rates, would qualify for Double UP as of today.
    But checking right now for MIA hotels, out of the scores of properties listed, only 5 are noted as Double UP, and none of them are Marriott affiliated. So if I use PointsHound I forfeit the stay twice get one free night Marriott Megabonus. Plus the lower rates, similar to what I can get thru Marriott at refundable AAA rates, are non-refundable thru PH.
    To make matters worse, on some of Hyatt properties that do qualify for Hyatt points, when you choose the DU option, the rate increases. So you are essentially just buying the miles thru PH. Fine perhaps if your company is paying the bill, but not a good deal at all for leisure travelers. As that saying goes, things that are too good to be true, are usually too good to be true. 🙁

  6. So, let me make sure I’m clear…

    I book through them. I get all the benefits of my elite status. I get night/stay credit toward my elite status. I get bonus airline miles…?

    Seems like a no-brainer unless the rates are outrageous which they are by some reports.

  7. Just heard from PointsHound again, and they now expect over 3,000 hotels to offer Double Up starting in about 3 hours or so.

  8. At first I thought “they fixed it”, as the Residence Inn at MIA was now listed as Double Up, and the total cost was only one dollar more than the Marriott AAA rate I already have reserved. And instead of non-refundable, I can cancel up to 6pm day of arrival, same as the AAA rate.

    Then I saw this:

    “Your credit card is charged at the time you book. Bed type and smoking preferences are not guaranteed”

    My current reservation guarantees a King Bed in a non-smoking room. They won’t even guarantee a non-smoking room? Plus I have Silver status with Marriott since I have the co-branded cc. But there is no way to tell Marriott about my status. So now I will end up with the ground floor room next to the HVAC unit and the dumpster, all so I can have an extra 400 miles per booking? And in two months, when I haven’t booked at least 6 nights with them, I will be demoted to level 1, and only get 200 miles per booking. So not worth it…..

  9. No status? No problem! Many hotel chains offer the option of earning mileage points rather than the branded hotel points. For instance, with Marriott hotels, you can earn 600 airline miles per stay, and you have a choice of which airline program you prefer. Since I am not chasing status, I find it more lucrative to take the airline miles than the hotel points.

  10. Not being able to enter your membership number on the resrvation (sounds like what Robert is saying) makes this a non-starter for me.

  11. The PH reservation page says:

    “Marriott Rewards Points and Elite Benefits — Guaranteed! – We’ll collect your Frequent Guest Number after you’ve complete {sic} this booking.”

    So maybe they will link the PH reservation to your Marriott account right after you make it? I’ve got to wonder, though, guaranteed or what? What is your recourse if you don’t in fact get them?

    Also, I am registered for the Marriott Megabonus program with an up to level 5 free night certificate after two paid nights. Do they guarantee that as well, or only points and standard elite benefits? That level 5 certificate is worth far more to me than the 800 miles I would get for a first time booking.

    If anyone finds out the answer to that, please let us know.

  12. Looking at booking a 2-day weekend at a Holiday Inn in Manila. Want to combine this with the Get50 promo ($50 MasterCard refund offer) that IHG is offering. Will this work?

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