Jun032010

Earning Miles from Hotel Stays Chart – US/Canada Airlines

Earning miles instead of hotel points for stays

Earning miles for hotel stays may be a good choice when seeking miles to top off an account for a frequent flier award. Picking up 2,000 miles that places you within reach of an airline award after four hotel stays may have more tangible and immediate value than hotel points.

Your hotel travel pattern will determine your best route to miles. Eight of the ten hotel chains surveyed for this article award miles based on a fixed rate per hotel stay. A frequent guest with numerous one-night stays can potentially earn far greater miles through hotel stays than using hotel points-to-miles exchange.

500 miles per stay is most common across industry, 250 miles at economy chains

Hotel loyalty programs offer 500 airline miles per hotel stay as the most common earning rate for airline partners. Best Western and Choice offer just 250 miles per hotel stay with most airlines.

A general rule for hotel programs is a member choosing to earn airline miles will not earn hotel points for the same stay. Choosing to earn miles for hotel stays also makes the member ineligible for most points-based loyalty promotions.

Check with your hotel program’s customer service for details on setting your account to earn miles and the impact of earning miles on other promotional offers.

Hilton HHonors lays claim to being the only program to regularly offer both points and miles for the same hotel stay, although Hyatt and Starwood have allowed promotional miles to be earned in addition to hotel points on several occasions in the past year. Hilton HHonors also distinguishes itself with the most airline partners of any hotel program at more than 50 airlines.

1 Program offers variable earning depending on hotel brand and/or elite level.

2 Carlson goldpoints plus: 500 miles per stay at Radisson and Park Plaza brands. 250 miles for Country Inn and Park Inn.

Keep in mind that goldpoints plus has a high points earning rate at 20 base points per $1 in hotel spend at a Radisson or 15 points per $1 for Country Inn and Park Inn. Promotional bonus points and elite bonuses may offer higher miles earning potential in a points-to-miles exchange rather than earning miles for hotel stays.

Example: Exchange points-to-miles with goldpoints plus at rate of  2,000 points = 250 miles; 50,000 points = 8,000 miles; 100,000 points = 18,000 miles.

Spend $400 on a Country Inn stay and you earn 6,000 points as a base member with no elite or promotional bonuses. The 6,000 points convert into 750 miles in a points-to-miles exchange and offers a better earning rate than 250 fixed miles for your hotel stay.

Goldpoints Plus bonuses can lead to high miles earning by collecting points and exchanging goldpoints into miles. The recent goldpoints plus quadruple points promotion on a four-night stay at a Radisson Hotel spending $800 as a top elite member with a 50% elite bonus earned 90 points per dollar. A member could earn 72,000 points on a single four-night hotel stay. Convert 72,000 points-to-miles and you earn 10,750 miles. That sure beats choosing fixed miles and earning just 500 miles per Radisson stay.

3 Choice Privileges – Airline partners earn 250 miles per stay. Southwest earns 0.5 credit per stay. Choice Privileges does not give points or miles for hotel stays in the following countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

4 Fairmont President’s Club – General members earn 500 miles per stay. Premier elite earn 750 miles per stay. Platinum elite earn 1,000 miles per stay.

5 Hilton HHonors – Most airlines earn 500 miles per stay. Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites only earn 20% miles with most airlines. Southwest earns 0.5 credit per stay with any Hilton brand. Aeroplan earns no miles for Homewood Suites.

6 Hyatt Gold Passport – Almost all airlines earn 500 miles per stay.

7 InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards – Airlines in the Americas (except Air Canada Aeroplan) earn 2 miles per US$1 for Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Hotel Indigo. Earn 1 mile per $1 for Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. Earn 500 miles per stay for InterContinental Hotels. Air Canada Aeroplan earns 500 miles per stay, regardless of brand.

8Marriott  Rewards – Earn 2 miles per $1 at Marriott, Renaissance, J.W. Marriott, Autograph Collection, and Marriott Vacation Club International. All other brands: Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments earn 1 mile per $1.

The high exchange rate for Marriott points-to-miles transfers generally favors earning points for hotel stays and then transfer Marriott Rewards points-to-miles.

Assume $2,000 is spent over 5 stays and 13 nights. The hotel stays earn 20,000 points or 4,000 miles. You will actually earn 25% more miles by earning points and exchange 20,000 points into 5,000 airline miles through Marriott Rewards. 

9Starwood SPG Most airlines exchange at rate of 1 point = 1 mile. Elite members earn 3 points per $1, thus 3 miles per $1 with most airlines. Members may choose to earn Direct Deposit Airline Miles. SPG points convert on 1:1 basis to airline miles automatically as earned . This is a better rate for earning miles than the exchange rate of 2 points = 1 mile for Continental Airlines and United Airlines.

Airline Direct Deposit earns 20,000 miles for 20,000 points with airline partners, including Continental and United, but points-to-miles exchange only earns 12,500 miles for airlines with a 2 points = 1 mile exchange rate. 

Earning Starpoints rather than Airline Direct Deposit is a better miles earning method for most SPG airline partners with a 1 point = 1 mile exchange rate. The 25% miles bonus for 20,000 point transfers earns 25,000 miles with most airlines.

10Wyndham Rewards – Wyndham Hotels and Hawthorn Suites earn 500 miles per stay with most airlines. Other Wyndham brands earn 2 miles per US$1 with most airlines.

The Southwest Airlines Factor – All brands in all hotel chains partnering with Southwest earn 0.5 credit per stay. A free roundtrip flight on Southwest requires 16 credits. Best Western and Choice normally earn 250 miles per stay. This is just 1% of a 25,000 mile airline ticket. Hotels offering 500 miles per stay earn 2% of a domestic award. Southwest earns over 3% of the 16 credits needed for a free domestic ticket with every stay. Southwest is the safe play when staying outside your primary hotel loyalty programs or for hotel stays with low miles earning potential.

Hilton HHonors Factor

For example, ten 1-night stays at a Hilton Garden Inn earn 500 miles per hotel stay if HHonors account is set to earn Points & Fixed Miles. Spending $1,000 earns 10,000 HHonors points and 5,000 United Airlines miles (or miles from about 50 other airlines). You can change 10,000 HHonors points into another 1,000 miles for 6,000 miles total.

HHonors Points & Variable miles with $1,000 in hotel spend will earn 1,000 miles (1 mile per dollar) in this scenario and 10,000 HHonors points. Convert the 10,000 points into 1,000 miles and you earn only 2,000 miles compared to 6,000 miles with Points & Fixed Miles.

Change the stay pattern to one stay with $1,000 in hotel spend. Points and Variable Miles still earns 2,000 total miles, whereas Points and Fixed Miles will only earn 500 miles for the stay and 10,000 points for another 1,000 miles. Your choice is 1,500 miles earning Points & Fixed Miles or 2,000 miles choosing Points & Variable Miles.

Choose HHonors Points & Points and earn 15 points per dollar (15,000 points for $1,000 in hotel spend). HHonors points need to be transferred in 10,000 point increments so you will only be able to exchange 10,000 points for 1,000 United miles.

Related Loyalty Traveler posts:

Here is a link to my March 28 Loyalty traveler post comparing Points-to-Miles exchange rates across hotel programs. This earlier post may not be a precise exchange rate analysis, but the general picture is pretty clear for comparing the major programs for miles earning potential with airlines in the Americas.

Hotel Miles per Stay for European, Middle East, and African Airlines

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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  1. UNITED ELITES EARN 2,500 MILES PER STAY AT HYATT
    November 1, 2009 – January 31, 2011
    (Registration required, see the link below.)

    http://www.goldpassport.com/gp/en/aa/offer1.jsp?me02_mbr_src=UAEL2

    United Airlines® Mileage Plus elite members are invited to earn 2,500 miles per stay (500 base + 2,000 bonus) at any Hyatt worldwide through January 31, 2011.

    Earn 2,500 miles per stay
    – Join Hyatt Gold Passport today.
    – Stay at any Hyatt worldwide between November 1, 2009 and January 31, 2011.
    – Provide your Hyatt Gold Passport and Mileage Plus account numbers at reservation and check-in.
    – Request Mileage Plus miles at check-in for each of your eligible stays.

  2. Neil35 – Thanks for including the Hyatt link.

    There are abundant miles promotions with most of the hotel loyalty programs. Hyatt has probably had the best, but Marriott is offering 60,000 Delta Skymiles with 13 stays this summer, and Hilton has has numerous triple miles promotions.

    The chart in this post lays the framework for hotel miles. If a hotel program is offering quadruple miles, the 4x is based on the “base miles” level shown in this chart.

  3. This post is a GREAT post!!! It’s an outstanding reference on earning miles from all the major and many minor hotel loyalty programs including insights about important nuances that often come into play when one is deciding where to stay.

    Now that I’ve got beau-coup points and free night certificates, my hotel stay decisions are driven by getting the most airline miles possible. I don’t have any experience with using airline miles for flight awards but I keep seeing that many people have problems using their miles when they want to with some frequent flyer programs. I’ll use Delta Skymiles as an example of one where they have to lowest rating when it comes to people using their miles and getting award flights. Thus, what looked like a great promotion earning 5,000 bonus Delta Skymiles per Marriott stay (up to 60K miles) may not be good if you can’t get award flights with that airline. So I find that I have to concentrate on getting miles from the air carriers with the flights I want and not be distracted by attractive bonus offers from other airlines that I may not be able to use.

    Thanks for your frequent posts! I’m sure there’s a great travel book here just piecing these posts together as chapters much like newspaper columnists have collections of their best columns put into a book. Yours, when you get a good book deal, will sell out at any and all airport bookstores.

  4. The primary problem with a book is the information changes so quickly in loyalty programs. I initially created the airline chart in March when I was developing hotel loyalty program comparisons for some articles. Since that time Marriott Rewards announced its breakup with American AAdvantage. Hyatt Gold Passport went through its first hotel recategorization in several years.

    I think a digital book that could be updated on the fly is the ideal loyalty program solution. Kindle? iPad? Anyone?

    Hey, book editors! Call me.

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