I received an e-mail from Points Hound today about some enhancements they have for earning airline miles on hotel stays. There were some examples in the e-mail that illustrated the new earning amounts but nothing that detailed a formula for these changes:
If you’re not familiar, PointsHound is a service that allows you to earn airline miles for your hotel stay, and in most cases a lot of them. PointsHound is essentially converting a portion of the commission they earn from the hotel for booking your room into airline miles (or other currencies) and rewarding you. Consider it a rebate for using their booking channel.
The example list covers major metropolitan areas but covers more independent properties than chains, though there is a Sheraon and a Crowne Plaza in the examples. The examples are all about 45-50% more miles than in the “before” example, which is a pretty substantial increase. Since they’ve already made the changes, I don’t have historical data to tell us if all the changes are the same size. I reached out to Pete VanDorn, one of the founders of PointsHound to get a bit more information.
Not surprisingly, Pete shared that there are some better economics for them as a result of their acquisition by Points.com. Points has been a huge player in the points transfer space for quite some time and has strong existing relationships with lots of airline loyalty programs, and likely gets a better “price” when purchasing those miles for Points Hound.
PointsHound has grown up a bit, and Pete also shared with me that they recently added about 30,000 new hotel rates with many different properties that fall under the “Big Earn” category. Essentially, they’re getting a bigger commission and passing more of it on to the customer in the form of miles or points.
The Points.com marriage seems early on to be a powerful one for them. They have one major competitor, Rocket Miles, who has a big-time backer in United Airlines. When United invested in Rocket Miles, PointsHound lost United MileagePlus as an earning partner. With United being one of the largest airlines in the US, this was a painful change for Points Hound users.
These increases in redemption strike me as something that will restore the competitive balance between these two competitors, which could be very good for consumers. Customer acquisition is still at it’s infancy in this business and two healthy companies fighting for your business is rarely a bad thing for a consumer.
The reason I prefer PointsHound to Rocket Miles is their Double Dip rates. Those are where you can still earn points from the hotel and use any elite benefits you might have with a chain. I’m a big fan of elite benefits and have enjoyed the Double Dip rates, something Rocket Miles doesn’t offer. And, in most cases you won’t earn credit for your stay towards elite status with Rocket Miles. I do wish that PointsHound had more Double Dip rates available, as they seem to have gotten a bit more scarce recently.
All in all, this strikes me as a pretty positive improvement for us as consumers. There’s rumors of more redemption partners coming soon with PointsHound, so that’s a good thing as well.
If you haven’t signed up for PointsHound yet, you can use my referral link to earn 250 bonus miles/points when you sign up. I do get the same bonus as you if you use my link, and I appreciate it. I don’t benefit any other way from my relationship with PointsHound and I do use their service myself whenever the opportunity presents itself, which was to the tune of about 20,000 extra miles last year.