EXPLAINED – Benefits of PointsHound?

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PointsHound is an Online Travel Agent through-and-through with the key focus on rewarding you airline miles for hotel stays. Their approach is similar to that of Kaligo and RocketMiles and is in contrast to Hotel loyalty programs, where you earn in their program (assuming they have one) or the likes of Agoda, Booking.com or Hotels.com for that matter as they have their own rewards program.

PointsHound was a San Francisco startup and the first online hotel booking service designed specifically for frequent travellers before it was acquired by Points International who provided loyalty solutions for Southwest and Wyndham.

The key benefit of PointsHound is their double-dip feature whereby they allow users to earn miles with select airline partners in addition to hotel points (and sometimes elite benefits/stay credits) that would normally only be earned by booking directly with the hotel.

How Many PointsHound Miles Will I Earn?

While many websites in Online Travel Agent space run their own loyalty programs Expedia, Agoda and Booking.com are notable examples, offering cashback or nights off in reward, PointsHound is a bit different. PointsHound rebates you only in the form of miles, therefore, you can expect to see quite a large number of miles being rebated back to you.

However, PointsHound miles are not tied to the property or price. As a result, there’s no way to estimate how much you’ll earn without doing a search on HelpHound. More Importantly, the miles earned differ between airlines too based on the weight airlines put on 1 redeemable mile – I only make this point as many reviews compare the same hotel between two airline loyalty programs.

The exact type of earnings that you’ll earn on a given stay are tied by the agreed commission structure between PointsHound and the hotel – but the company groups what you can except into levels.

  • Level 1 – 0-5 Nights and earn 3-8x miles
  • Level 2 – 6-20 Nights and earn 5-10x miles
  • Level 3 -20+ Nights and earn 7-20x miles

Unsurprisingly, the more you spend with PointsHound the more miles you can earn.

Double Dip & Hotel Elite Status When Booked Through PointsHound?

Members of PointsHound have access to over 150,000 hotels worldwide, including boutique and non-chain properties across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You receive a generous pile of airline miles when you book, but your stay will be treated as non-qualifying and you won’t receive hotel points or, usually, status benefits. 

A couple of years back, PointHounds realised that people were not booking because they could not claim qualifying stays. Therefore, for fewer miles, you can elect to “double-dip” and receive both miles and qualifying stays with hotel brands.

Obviously, this is not for all chains and is dependent on the agreement structure between PointsHound and the respective hotel. The chains which support double-dipping include:

  • Hyatt
  • Hilton
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Marriott and Starwood properties

Does Pointshound Provide Good Value?

What’s more, prices can vary from ‘market’ to ‘noticeably higher’ so always compare before booking. Its unlikely that PointsHound will be the cheapest on the market. It doesn’t claim to be and doesn’t target the market that is looking for the cheapest deals.

PointsHound clearly targets the market that is focused on airline miles. Therefore, don’t be surprised if prices aren’t the cheapest, or in some cases even more expensive than booking direct.

You should be comparing the cost of buying miles directly from the airline as a comparator and if the difference (having shopped around) is worth it.

Other factors you should be considering is cancellation policy and if there are any other fees if you require to change your booking.

I would only consider it ‘good value’ if the final price is in a reasonable margin when tallying up the bonus points earned through PointsHound and the credit card points you’ll earn from the purchase vs. booking direct or other Online-Travel Agents.

In Summary

PointHound provides an option for earning points and if you select the double dip feature you kind of get the best of both worlds.

Would I blindingly book all my trips through PointsHound – probably not – while the concept is sound, it doesn’t always fit the ‘good-value’ box as buying the miles separately from the hotel stay can actually be cheaper, but there are certain use cases for it.

This is defiantly one site you would want to check for your next hotel stay though if you are all about miles.

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