Get the review on how PointsHound compares to other booking portals when it comes to saving money and earning rewards with your favorite loyalty programs.
PointsHound is an online travel agency that focuses strictly on booking hotels and accommodations. Booking stays through their website allows you to earn points and miles with over 20 different loyalty programs. This gives you a little bit of flexibility by allowing you to choose what rewards you want to earn. PointsHound works best for those who aren't loyal to any specific hotel brand since there's a change that you will not receive credit towards hotel status and your status will not be honored. This will vary depending on hotel, so you will want to keep this in mind. This page will cover booking through PointsHound and provide some comparisons against other top booking websites.
Earning Rewards With PointsHound
PointsHound allows you to earn points and miles with 18 different loyalty programs. In order to get started, you'll want to sign up for a PointsHound account. Signing up allows you to easy select a loyalty program when booking your hotels. Those who sign up also have the ability to be awarded with more points per $1 spent. PointsHound has three different levels: signing up, Level 1 when you reach 5 nights, and Level 2 when you reach 20 nights. The boost in points will vary depending on the rewards program, but it can be well worth it to book sign up and earn those extra miles.
Once you've signed up, you'll be able to log in and go to My Programs. The site is owned by Points.com so if you're a member of their site, this page and the process to add programs will look familiar.
You'll then have a list of loyalty programs pop-up on the right. Checkmark the programs that you have an account with. PointsHound allows you to earn rewards with the following programs:
- Flying Blue (Air France-KLM)
- Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
- Alaska Mileage Plan
- Icelandair Saga Club
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Spirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT
- LATAM Pass
- American AAdvantage Miles
- Etihad Guest Miles
- United MileagePlus
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Finnair Plus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
You will need your first name, last name, and membership number in order to register a loyalty program.
Once you've registered a program, you can click on Start Earning to be sent to the PointsHound main page with that program selected. You can also freely select a rewards program from the homepage.
Booking Hotels With PointsHound
Now that you've set up your rewards programs, you'll want to book a hotel to earn your rewards. I'll take a look at a one week stay in Atlanta during mid-November for two adults.
Once you do the search, you'll get the usual list of results. The program that you're earning rewards for will be displayed in the upper right hand corner.
This page allows you to sort by:
- Price Lowest to Highest
- Price Highest to Lowest
- Miles Highest to Lowest
- Star Rating Highest to Lowest
- Guest Rating Highest to Lowest
You'll also have access to various filters which includes price, star ratings, Trip Advisor ratings, amenities, and neighborhoods.
For this example lets take a look at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. Once you click on it, you'll be given the details on the hotel. You can then select a room type and a rate. PointsHound gives you the chance to earn more miles with a higher rate. The room rates for the Double Standard at the Westin range from $229 to $338 per night depending on how many miles you want to earn on your booking.
When you follow through with the 'Book Now', you'll be given the option to enter guest information, verify the membership number of the rewards program you selected, enter your payment info, and billing address. You'll also be show the final price and the amount of miles you'll earn before agreeing to book the hotel.
Are The Higher Rates Worth It?
Let's re-visit those different room rates that offered more miles in exchange for paying a higher amount. The table below lists the total cost and amount of miles you earn for each rate.
|Westin Atlanta Perimeter North|
|Rate A||$1,607.83||24,700 Miles|
|Rate B||$1,824.51||30,700 Miles|
|Rate C||$2,257.87||42,700 Miles|
With each higher rate you're getting a better deal in terms of how much you're paying out and the miles you're receiving, but is it worth paying an additional $650 for 18,000 United Miles? United Miles has an average cash value of 1.4 cents when used for award flights. So you're looking at an average value of $252. So you're paying $650 for $252 worth of miles. Of course, there's a possibility that you can get higher than a value of 1.4 cents. You would need to redeem your United Miles for 3.6 cents each to make Rate C worth picking up. That's not impossible, but it can be hard to do if you're not flying Business/First class with United.
Are The Prices Better?
Lets take a look at the same hotel across multiple booking sites. I'll also include the extra bonuses you can earn from signing up through the booking site rewards program as well as using cash back portals to stack savings. The three cash back portals I'll be looking at are listed below. You can click on a program (when applicable) to learn more about earning cash back through their portal.
Do note that the amount of cash back offered from these sites change can change day to day. It's always best to check each portal before making any online purchases due to the consistent promos that these portals offer. You can use CashBackMonitor.com to easily find out which site is offering the most cash back.
PointsHound will give you $346 in United Miles with Rate A (the cheapest rate). There are no cash back portals that support PointsHound. Do note that the more you book with PointsHound, the higher your PointsHound Level will raise which will earn you more miles you earn per $1 spent booking through them.
Hotels.com Rewards will give you a free night after your first 10 hotels. The free night will have an average value of all 10 hotels which will be equal to 10% off. The best cash back portal as of this article is RebatesMe with a total of 3% cash back. So Hotels.com will get a total of 13% off.
Booking.com is also apart of all three cash back portals. As of this article, both Rakuten and TopCashback are offers 6% cash back. So Booking.com will get a total of 6% cash back.
For Priceline, all three cash back portals offer the same rate of 5% off for booking hotels through their website.
Agoda.com Rewards offers both AgodaCash and their PointsMAX program to earn points/miles with various rewards programs. On top of that, you can also use cash back portals. Both TopCashback and RebatesMe are offering 6% cash back on bookings made through Agoda.com.
Signing up for a free Marriott Bonvoy account and booking directly through Marriott will earn you Marriott Bonvoy Points and you'll be able to book at the Member Rates. TopCashback has the highest offering of 6% cash back. I give Marriott Bonvoy Points a value of 0.7 cents each. As a basic member, you'll earn 10 Marriott Bonvoy Points per $1 spent on the reservation.
Lets take a look at the costs, the total in savings (combination of points, cash back, and rewards), and final overall cost.
|Westin Atlanta Perimeter North|
In this example, the cheapest rate is going to be Agoda.com which is around $266 cheaper than most of the other choices even through you will not get any AgodaCash or points/miles with PointsMAX.
If you're looking to include the rewards you'll get out of booking this Atlanta Hotel, PointsHound would indeed be the best choice. You'll pay out a higher base price of $1,607, but you'll earn $346 (average) worth of United Miles.
Want to earn credit towards status? You can book directly through Marriott and start working your way towards Marriott Elite Status. Sure you'll pay out a little more than Agoda and PointsHound, but as you climb in status you'll earn benefits when staying at Marriott Hotels and you'll earn more points. If you had Titanium Status in the above example, your total value would come out to be $1,284 which is still $20 more expensive than PointsHound, but you'll earn complimentary upgrades, free breakfast, gifts at check-in, and much more. So you'll have to compare the pros and cons of paying slightly more in exchange for the benefits you'll receive.
PointsHound Rates Calculator
Comparing the prices for a hotel rate in PointsHound? Enter the amount of rewards you'll earn, how much the rewards are worth to you, and the price of the hotel. Make sure that you follow through with the booking so that taxes/fees are part of the final price.
|PointsHound Rate Calculator|
|Miles Earned||Total Cost||Miles Per $1 Spent|
|0 Miles Per $1 Spent|
|0 Miles Per $1 Spent|
|0 Miles Per $1 Spent|
Overall, PointsHound is not a bad option for anyone looking for another way to earn rewards with their favorite frequent flyer programs. They're capable of having competitive rates with similar booking sites and their program offers a solid amount of rewards. Just be sure that you take cash back portals and rewards offered by other programs into consideration when coming up with your final price.