It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned PointsHound on this blog, so I decided to provide a reminder about this booking portal that makes it easier to earn extra frequent flyer miles when you reserve your next hotel. They now have 18 partners, including airlines and other loyalty programs. You can even earn Bitcoin, though I think it’s a fad.
PointsHound works by taking a piece of its commission from selling you the hotel room and using it to buy miles that it deposits in your account. It’s very similar to any other online travel agency loyalty program, like Expedia Rewards, except for two factors: (1) I think PointsHound is far more generous and (2) it’s generally more useful to add miles to a program you already participate in than to join a new program. That said, PointsHound does have its own frequent customer recognition program, categorizing people as Level 1, 2, or 3 and giving the higher tiers more points for every booking.
Two basic rate types exist on PointsHound. There are the regular rates that are backed by a low price guarantee and the same availability you would find on any other online travel agency. Think of Expedia, but with a bigger reward for every hotel you book and a cleaner interface that keeps the focus on hotels — not cards, airfare, or vacation packages. PointsHound also has what it calls “Big Earn” rates that may earn double, triple, or quadruple miles thanks to a limited inventory of rooms it negotiates with each hotel. The hotel rate may be cheaper, too.
Here’s an example of a four-night mid-week stay in Dallas coming up in October. Note that you can earn over 10,000 miles as Level 1 (entry level) member with a rate around $181 a night. If you booked directly with Hyatt, the Hyatt Regency DFW would charge $249 as its Hyatt Daily Rate. You not only save ~$70 but also earn 2,500 American Airlines miles each night.
To give you a sense of how being a frequent customer can help, here’s a peek at my own booking options when I log in as a Level 3 member. The rate stays the same, but now I can earn over 14,000 miles for a four-night stay. That’s over halfway to a round-trip domestic ticket!
In the past I’ve been a big fan of a third rate category, PointsHound’s “Double Up” rates that let you earn bonus miles through PointsHound while remaining eligible for participation in the hotel’s own loyalty program, such as Hyatt Gold Passport. This is unusual because many hotels forbid earning stay credit or hotel points when you book through an online travel agency. (PointsHound gets around this by booking separate inventory that may be priced differently and typically awarding fewer miles due to the lower commission.)
Double Up was the main reason I was excited about PointsHound when it first launched, but to be honest I haven’t been able to find any Double Up rates in a few recent searches. I’m not exactly sure of why this is and will have a few questions to ask the founders next time I run into them. I’m disappointed the concept didn’t take off more quickly. However, I am glad to see that they have been able to add so many partners. They continue to offer some good deals for earning miles for those travelers who may not be as interested in the traditional hotel loyalty program.
You can join PointsHound and get 1,000 extra miles on your first booking when you use my referral link (I’ll get 1,000 miles, too). This is better than the standard referral offer of 250 extra miles. I hope you find it useful and rewarding!