Free Points for Social Media Checkins

Since last summer TopGuest has been offering points for check-ins on Foursquare at various hotel chains.

They started with Priority Club, added Hilton and some others. And though I was initially skeptical, I quickly made it a part of my daily routine. I check in at the Holiday Inn a couple of blocks from my office each day, and also at a Doubletree a few miles away as well. And I get 50 Priority Club and 50 Hilton HHonors points daily. Unfortunately though I do this frequently I cannot become ‘mayor’ of either property, because I travel too much, there appears to be someone checking in at each hotel who literally does it every single day without fail.

Yesterday it was reported that Best Western Rewards has been added to Topguest. That prompted me to link my Best Western Rewards account to Topguest and test a checkin at a relatively sort of kind of nearby Best Western property, it worked and posted quickly to my Topguest account. And it also prompted me to link my Choice Privileges account.

There’s much discussion of the ins and out of Topguest and receiving points for free at Milepoint. The gist is that you sign up for a Topguest account and then link a social media platform like Foursquare to it. Then you also link your frequent guest programs, and each time you ‘check in’ on Foursquare at a participating hotel property, Topguest knows it and awards you points. Some points, like HHonors points, post instantly. Other points, like Priority Club, post later on in batches. But while the points for any given checkin are modest (50 Priority Club points are worth about 30 cents), the fact that you can do this day after day, and during true downtime (I do it walking to my office usually, when I’m not otherwise going to be very productive), I’ve found it worthwhile.

The Topguest partners that I find worthwhile are:

  • Priority Club, 50 points per day for checkin at an Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza or Holiday Inn.
  • Hilton HHonors, 50 points per day for checkin at a Doubletree.
  • Best Western Rewards, 50 points per day for checkin at any Best Western hotel in North America.
  • Choice Privileges, 50 points per day for checkin at any Quality Inn, Comfort Suites and Cambria Suites.

Ones I’m not personally doing:

  • Virgin America Elevate, 25 points per checkin at a Virgin America airport terminal or baggage claim. Seems an easy one but I’ve not been engaged in Virgin America’s program.
  • Kimpton InTouch, one stay credit for your first checkin. If you’re into Kimpton’s program, it’s a free stay credit… but I don’t really do the Kimpton program.
  • Wyndham Rewards, 50 points per day for checkin at any Wingate by Wyndham. (There just aren’t any nearby Wingates for me.)
  • Total Rewards, 50 points for checkins at Caesar’s in Vegas.
  • Voila Rewards, 50 points per checkin daily at one of their network hotels.
  • Clubhotels, a personalized reward for every 5 checkins.
  • Avis, 10% off a rental for UK checkins.
  • Additional offers from Standard Hotels, Viceroy Hotels, and Thompson hotels.

All in all, a whole bunch of points just a few points at a time via social media, although Starwood caught on with a recent promotion and actually required bonuses for checkin be done in conjunction with an actual reservation. That’s thinking! The bonus was also more lucrative (250 Starpoints), so it’s hard to fault them for being more restrictive. But I’ll take the free points for checking in with my phone while I’m not doing anything else, while it lasts.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I just signed up and the welcome email pictures an attractive young woman in a short dress checking in on her smartphone from inside a luxurious hotel room. I couldn’t help but speculate that perhaps they are picturing the ideal demographic segment for Top Guest: high class escorts. They are young, attractive, and wear short dresses like the woman in the signup email. They are frequently inside medium to high end hotels which participate in the program. The rooms are not typically booked or paid in their name so they need an alternate way to earn points. Their madame’s can friend them on foursquare to keep track of business operations and logistics. There is abundant dead time to do a quick checkin when their clients are freshening up or smoking a cigarette. Plus they are actually staying in the hotels so they are not circumventing the intent of the program. Who could be a more perfect member for Top Guest?

  2. I’ve been doing Doubletree checkins for awhile now but never saw points post even on TopGuest. I complained about it (but was hesitant to bring it up since I don’t have any Doubletrees extremely close to me) and they responded that they’d had trouble with the Hilton interface and that they’ve fixed it now and points have posted.

  3. Not sure which Priority Club property you’re talking about, but I might be the one keeping you from being mayor from you if you’re downtown.

  4. I did this for Priority Club and HHonors points also. However I got pinged recently for violating TopGuest’s TOS for checking into a property without actually being a guest there. Just be careful. I feel like this is unfair, because they did not give me a timeline to when my account will be able to recieve points again.

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