Now Bigger Mileage Bonus for Your First PointsHound Hotel Booking

On Wednesday I wrote about improvements to hotel booking site PointsHound — that by this coming week there would be about 1000 major chain hotels that you could book on the site and still earn elite status credit and in-hotel benefits, while earning a rebate in the form of a fairly substantial number of frequent flyer miles.

I offered up my referral link for the site. Everyone being referred by an existing member gets 250 bonus miles with their first booking, and the referrer gets 250 miles as well.

But I didn’t even mention the bonus miles that folks would get by using the link, that’s not why I suggested it. It’s that they gave me a link that would allow new members to earn more miles during their first 60 days (and with 6 nights booked during that time keep the higher level of earning). In other words, because using my link offered better mileage earning that signing up directly.

And 250 miles is fairly de minimus in the context of miles earned for bookings through the site which are often in the thousands.

Normally I’m a fairly good judge of the reaction that my blog posts will engender. It’s usually clear when a post will make people excited, or angry, and whether comments will ensue or not. If I want to get a good controversy going I can always just write about babies on planes….

Well this one took me by surprise. A number of folks were frustrated or angry that I’d offer up my referral link for the site, as though I was hoping that folks would use the link so I’d “get paid” in the form of 250 miles.

Frankly, I have millions of frequent flyer miles and the 250 miles from each first use wasn’t much of a motivator for me.

Ironically, in fact, I even asked PointsHound if there was a way that readers using the link could just get all of the miles for using the link? I didn’t wait to hear back in posting because I was excited by the new features and assumed that the referral bonuses were hard coded and not easily changed. I didn’t expect to be able to get this done.

Well, as one commenter notes, the change was done before I even knew it — they received the following email,

“Also, as a thank you for signing up, you’ll receive an ADDTIONAL 500 miles with your first booking, so start shopping.”

“We will also be upgrading your account to Level 2 status, which will happen with in the next 24 hours. You’ll receive an email from us once completed!”

Hopefully the incremental miles will be useful. I am trying my best, each and every day, to bring you the best mileage and other offers I possibly can. In the coming days and weeks I have a couple of giveaways coming as well, because when merchants I like offer things I try to get them for blog readers instead of taking them on. So a few high-value items in the works. Stay tuned!

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. Nice Gary,

    However, this is really going to incense the haters as they will have nothing to complain about, and they will have to do what they hate most- not hate.


  2. You really need an editor:

    “But I didn’t even mention the bonus miles that folks would get by using the link, that’s not why I suggested it. “

  3. I signed-up through your link before they changed the bonus miles. I thought about asking them for the new bonus, but decided it’s too much bother. But could you donate the 250 mile bonus you receive when I make my first booking to the charity of your choice? I’ll do the same and that way I feel like we both get something out of it.

  4. Ignore the haters. The blogger-haters are the static on the line that you need to just accept as background noise. Responding to them is a waste of everyone’s time.

  5. “A number of folks were frustrated or angry that I’d offer up my referral link for the site, as though I was hoping that folks would use the link so I’d “get paid” in the form of 250 miles.”

    As much as Seth sounded like an ass in the tone of his comments, he certainly had I point

    I also found it odd how them allowing a small fraction of domestic chain hotels (an even smaller fraction of which you would actually stay at) to double dip, alone made you go from “not worth covering” to “Why PointsHound is my new favorite hotel site” – especially when you don’t have any actual personal experience taking advantage of it, and the fact that you probably often use discounted rates (corporate, AAA etc.) that you can’t get on PointsHound to book your hotels.

    I think the issue people had was more about “would you have have written an article about it if not for the referral link” and not “given that the article was written, was it wrong to use the link”

    And I’m inclined to wonder on that as well, Seth’s douchyness aside

  6. @KR well I understand that sentence perfectly well… though it was written after flying for 24 hours 🙂

  7. @Rob – I think this is HUGE. That’s why I wrote about it. You can disagree on your assessment, but it has nothing to do with a referral link — the fruits of which I was already trying to get returned to readers. My intention here is not to keep anything from them for myself, so no the referral credit did not drive the post. And while I’ve said in the past that I can be bought, I certainly cannot be bought so cheaply as 250 United miles for those making actual bookings through the site.

  8. You are a great guy Gary. If you only stopped eating animals and ignoring their pain, suffering and horrible death. It will also do wonders for your health. Check Bill Clinton.

  9. “discounted rates (corporate, AAA etc.) that you can’t get on PointsHound to book your hotels”

    Au Contraire I checked an MIA Marriott that I have reserved at the AAA rate, and the PointsHound rate for the same room on the same day, was a mere one dollar more. Plus 400 miles, not to mention the 500 mile 1st booking bonus. 900 miles for one dollar, I’ll take that offer any day.

    Oh, and I received my email confirming my Level 2 status within 20 minutes of signing up.

  10. @ John “this is really going to incense the haters as they will have nothing to complain about, and they will have to do what they hate most- not hate.”


  11. Would a booking through pointshound still be eligible for promos such as SPG doubletake?

  12. Ah, but by giving away his referral points, Gary is secretly deceiving his gullible readers into signing up for more and better offers, making them come back to the his blog more frequently!

    It’s all a plot by the bloggers to influence your behavior. Fortunately, I am wearing my tin foil hat- join me in the fight against blogger mind control!

  13. Gary just carry on. You are supplying all of us with a wealth of useful information for free. Why would any reasonable person begrudge you getting a referral bonus? Those who read your blog should be smart enough to decide which of the links you recommend are fro them. And how can any rational individual; complain about a bonus on a site that is free to join?

  14. I too signed up for this because it was a great offer when you initially posted this. I appreciate your finding these fabulous opportunities and passing them along to us. Isn’t it amazing that people like Seth and Rob are willing to draft off your efforts, and then post crappy comments like they do. Oh well, scumbags will be scumbags and let them hate and wallow in their misery. I’m glad, Gary, that you are here and that you bring us along on your wonderful discoveries. Thank you!

  15. i find PH prices significantly higher than kayak for the SAME properties on the SAME dates

  16. The follow up post is awesome. I will use it and get 700 points more than if I just sign up myself.

  17. Thanks for this. A quick question, as I’m just trying it out now, having signed up through your link. It seems that the bookings are all prepaid (but often cancellable). Is that the case?

    This is a bit of a pain, as with business bookings I can’t get reimbursed until after the stay, so while I’m happy with the cancellation policy, I hate to book things several months out and float my employers.

  18. Adding new meaning to the term “chutzpah”, I see that Seth now is promoting this and has his own link. Wow.

  19. I get the confirmation for the onus points plus level 2, but my account only shows level 1.

  20. wasn’t there a Rocketmiles bonus signup in here last night? I swear there was but when I went to do it today from my pc it was gone

  21. Gary,

    Are the bonus points supposed to post at the same time as the regular points? I just completed my first stay and received the regular points (500), but didn’t receive the bonus.

  22. Hi,

    I am wondering if people from outside the USA (I am from Australia) have been able to use PointsHound.

    I am trying to make a booking and just can’t get any of my credit cards to go through – Amex or Visa.

    I am assuming their merchant account isn’t liking foreign cards but maybe it just doesn’t like my phone number or something else – the error just says an information mismatch has occurred – whatever that means.


  23. @Dale Reardon
    I’m from Brazil and have already used PointsHound. I had this problem with the credit card once, had to call my credit card operator because my card was blocked for foreign transactions.

  24. Hi Gary, is your referral link still active? I’d like to take advantage from elevating to L2 if possible.

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