Thursday, August 18, 2011

Two Miles-Earning Opportunities With Hotel Stays

Many hotel groups have agreements with a number of different airlines, whereby stays within a particular chain can earn miles instead of their own proprietary points. Typically, you can opt to earn either miles or points, although a few programs such as Hilton HHonors allows the option to earn both on one stay. Throughout the year, hotels will run promotions offering bonus miles with specific airlines. There are two current promotions that may be worth a second look.

1) Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards bonus points at four different Starwood Preferred Guest hotel brands:
  • Between August 1, 2011 and December 15, 2011, every eligible stay at all Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element hotels and resorts in North America will earn 1,000 bonus RR points. There is no limit to how many points you can earn.
  • Remember that the bonus is given for every stay, meaning whether your stay is 1 night or 10 nights, you will earn the same 1,000 points. Thus, mattress hopping between different hotels in the same area for 1 night each will maximize your earnings.
  • The best part about this offer is that the bonus RR points are in addition to the regular SPG points you earn on stays, which is 2 points per dollar spent, or 3 points per dollar spent if you are a Gold or Platinum Preferred Guest. If you have selected the Airline Direct Deposit earning method (and specified Southwest Airlines) instead of SPG points, you will still receive 600 RR points per eligible stay in addition to the bonus points from this offer.
2) British Airways Executive Club bonus miles at any Hyatt hotel worldwide:
  • Between August 1, 2011 and October 31, 2011, every eligible night at any hotel within the Hyatt group will earn 1,000 bonus Executive Club miles. A maximum of 30,000 miles can be earned with this offer.
  • The bonus is given for every night, so you can stay at a Hyatt Place Hotel, for example, for 5 consecutive nights and you will earn 5,000 Executive Club miles.
  • You must choose to earn miles for your stay and provide your British Airways Executive Club account number at check-in. This is one of the downsides of the Hyatt Gold Passport program. There is no way to register online so that you always earn miles; you must specify this each time you check-in at the hotel. In addition, keep an eye on your Hyatt Gold Passport account after your stay because sometimes they will still post points instead of miles, and you must call in to get it fixed.
  • While not detailed in the terms and conditions, it does appear that you will continue to earn the normal 500 Executive Club miles per stay, in additon to the 1,000 bonus miles per night.
  • Make sure you register prior to your first stay during the promotion period.
Given a choice between the two promotions (and if there are both Hyatt and Starwood properties nearby), I would go with Starwood, simply because SPG points have a much higher value than miles. In addition, British Airways imposes exorbitant fuel surcharges even on their award flights, making them less desirable in this case.

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