Changes in the Online Hotel Booking Space, and How They Allowed PointsHound to Bring United Back Into the Fold

PointsHound, the hotel booking site that lets you earn airline miles for your hotel bookings, now has United available as a partner — again. It used to, when it launched, but lost its United relationship early on.

Competitor site Rocketmiles had obtained exclusivity in the space with United. The Rocketmiles founder had previously been an executive with MileagePlus. There were erroneous reports that United had taken a stake in Rocketmiles.

Since then however much has changed.

Whether it was merely the expiration of the Rocketmiles’ exclusivity, the Rocketmiles acquisition by Priceline, or relationships with United that relationship that PointsHound was able to leverage, United is back.

The game change for me, of course, would be PointsHound bringing back its ‘DoubleUp’ rates.

When you book through these channels you do not earn loyalty points from the hotel’s program and do not earn credit towards elite status (some programs like Hyatt and Marriott will generally provide elite recognition, while others aren’t supposed to).

PointsHound DoubleUp rates allowed double dipping with airline miles for bookings and earning loyalty points and status. Those disappeared because of problems with the source rate provider. They were supposed to come back but the acquisition seems to have delayed that.

Bringing that back would make it a no brainer to book through PointsHound, though of course it always pays to compare rates. I found plenty of times where PointsHound had cheaper rates than available elsewhere though of course sometimes they could be higher too.

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. I just don’t have that many stays I can afford to book outside loyalty programs and still maintain status. $1,000 is at least 5 days at my usual $180-$200/night corporate rates. At Hyatt this quarter those 5 nights might mean the difference between earning 15,000 points or not earning it. Don’t think I have the stays to throw at Kaligo…

  2. Gary – I had reached out to their team almost a year ago (I booked through them all the time earning tens of thousands of miles) and was also told that the functionality return was imminent. In the time since I have been waiting for their IT to correct the issue, I had all but forgotten about this space. Could you reach out to them again, to determine when, if ever, the ability to earn hotel specific status loyalty points and miles will be back?

  3. @Kyle – they are working on it. It was de-prioritized and moving slowly, but it’s definitely on the radar. There are chain-specific conversations underway, and investigation of a solution like the old one they had. I’m told they’ll have a better update by mid-April.

  4. Fingers crossed–it would be an irresistible option if I could also get my stay credits. But, no hotel points, no deal. ; )

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