Regular readers of this blog are familiar with PointsHound and Rocketmiles. These are hotel booking sites that reward you with miles for your reservation. Basically they’re rebating commission to you in the form of points with your favorite program.
When you book through third party sites you generally don’t earn points with the hotel’s own loyalty program. You usually don’t earn credit towards elite status in that program. And with Starwood and Hilton (though not with Marriott and Hyatt) you may not have your elite status recognized.
I find these sites useful for:
- People who aren’t elites in a frequent guest program, or aren’t chasing status.
- When I have to book outside my preferred chain, I’d rather earn miles than strand points in a hotel program I rarely use.
- When I’m booking for other people. I can make reservations for people who don’t care about miles and points, and earn miles myself for making their reservation.
The newest entrant into this space is Kaligo.
These sites usually offer some kind of referral credit for getting new members to sign up and book. As is my customary practice, I’ll ask if it’s possible to give readers the credit instead of taking it myself. Kaligo has agreed, and created two links to use.
- Kaligo – Earn 1000 Extra Bonus American Miles With Your First Booking
- Kaligo – Earn 1000 Extra Bonus United Miles With Your First Booking
This is on top of the standard first-time booking bonus of up to 10,000 miles.
The first-time booking bonus with American and with United is:
- 10,000 miles if you spend $1000 or more
- 5000 miles if you spend $500 but less than $1000
- 1000 miles if you spend under $500.
When booking through these sites it’s useful to comparison shop. My tests show you pay about the same price at Kaligo as you would on other online travel agency sites — plus you get miles. They also have access to a much larger pool of hotels than Rocketmiles. They have fewer mileage partners than the more-established sites, but they do have United as a partner, which PointsHound lost in favor of MileagePlus working with Rocketmiles (the founder of Rocketmiles is a former United loyalty executive).
My impression has long been that Rocketmiles awards the most miles, with the smallest set of hotels. Kaligo is a strong points-earner, with a broader set of hotels. PointsHound was my favorite when they were offering ‘DoubleUp’ rates that also let you earn hotel points and elite status credit, and I’m hopeful that returns.
Regardless, with a generous first-time booking promotion they’re worth checking out for your next hotel where hotel points aren’t key. And if you use my links you can earn an extra 1000 United or American miles with your first booking (for avoidance of doubt, I do not receive anything if you do this).
While the site rewards the most expensive rooms the most, you can even do pretty well on low-priced rooms. It’s not lucrative enough to be booking hotels just for the miles, but it’s lucrative enough to be earning miles when you do need a booking.