A Loyalty Traveler guide for earning miles from hotel stays.
Most frequent flyer programs allow members to earn miles when staying at hotels. The table below shows which airlines partner with each of the 10 major global hotel loyalty programs, plus a few other loyalty schemes like AIR MILES, Amtrak and Multiplus. Most of these partnerships allow airline miles or points to be earned for hotel stays instead of hotel program points. Hilton HHonors allows members to earn both points and miles for the same hotel stay. The table shows that Hilton HHonors, with 61 airline partners out of 68 listed, is the top hotel loyalty program for airline partnerships and earning miles. The poor points-to-miles exchange rate with HHonors makes earning points on hotel stays the better earn rate for many travelers.
Some airline partnerships allow hotel points to be transferred into frequent flyer miles. Transferring hotel points to airline miles tends to be more restrictive for some hotel programs than earning miles directly from hotel stays instead of points. For example, Starwood Preferred Guest allows members to earn frequent flyer points with Southwest Airlines through its SPG Airline Direct Deposit program; however, the transfer of Starpoints into Southwest Rapid Rewards points is not permitted.
• Hilton HHonors is the leading program for airline miles from hotel stays. Hilton has an expansive list of airline partners and HHonors Points & Miles is the industry leading model for earning miles from hotel stays. All HHonors airline partners are eligible for earning Points & Fixed Miles for Hilton brand hotel stays. The programs that also participate in HHonors Points & Variable Miles earning are indicated on the chart. Frequent guests with short stays at Hilton can rack up big miles as long as you avoid Hampton Inn, Home2Suites and Homewood Suites where the fixed miles earned are severely limited. You need to actively manage your HHonors earning preference to take advantage of points and fixed or variable miles to improve earning at different Hilton brands.
• Hyatt dropped several airline partners in 2012 including Aeroplan, Alaska Mileage Plan, Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns and US Airways Dividend Miles. That is a big hit for North America travelers. Hyatt Gold Passport added HawaiianMiles, so there is some consolation.
• Starwood Preferred Guest offers the option of Airline Direct Deposit where Starpoints are automatically transferred into airline miles. This is the better earning option for United MileagePlus miles where earning 20,000 Starpoints converts to 20,000 United miles compared to earning only 12,500 United miles in a points-to-miles transfer.
Southwest Airlines earns 600 points per stay, which is probably not such a good deal on expensive stays.
• Choice Privileges has a better points to miles transfer rate with Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards at 1,000 Choice points = 300 Rapid Rewards points compared to 1,000 Choice points = 200 miles with other airlines. Choice Hotel stays earn Southwest Rapid Rewards at a rate of 600 points per stay compared to 250 miles per stay with most airline partners.
• Best Western stays also earn 600 Southwest points per stay in lieu of hotel points. Most airline partners, except Miles & More, earn 250 miles per stay at Best Western. Best Western hotel stays earn 500 miles per stay with Miles & More.
• And regarding Miles & More, the frequent flyer program is often listed as Lufthansa, yet represents many European airlines including Lufthansa, Austrian, LOT Polish, SWISS, Brussels and other regional airline partners like Adria, Croatia Airlines and LuxAir.
• The global airline alliances, oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance, mean miles in one airline member can be used for flights with other airline members in the alliance. Most airlines also have additional airline partners outside the alliance for more miles redemption opportunities. Of the 68 frequent flyer programs in the table, 39 are tied to one of the three major global alliances. There are over 100 airlines for redeeming miles for award tickets through the programs represented in the table.
• Looking at low-cost airlines, Spirit Airlines only partners with Choice Hotels and AirTran A+ Rewards no longer partners with any major hotel chain after the IHG Priority Club partnership ended in 2012.
Ric Garrido writes Loyalty Traveler:
Hotel Value for Frequent Guests found at
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