Guide to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts: a luxury hotel booking service for Platinum cardholders

Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) is one of the key benefits of holding a Platinum Charge, Business Platinum Charge or Centurion card.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the resources available to help dig into FHR properties, key locations and some examples of the benefits – think $100 room credits, spa treatments and upgrades.
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Changes to Hilton Honors: points pooling + status extensions good; but not so sure on the new points+pay option

Hilton Honors is this month dramatically altering its redemption pricing model, as well as introducing some other changes – including a change from HHonors to just Honors – and this is our take on how they may affect your travel plans.

Hilton Honors points are a useful major points currency to consider if you have an affinity for the Hilton Hotels chain.

In this guide, we cover key hotel locations, status benefits, transferring points between programs, and how to get the best value from earning and redeeming Honors points. Continue reading…

Great deal: earn triple Qantas Points on Airbnb bookings made this week

Most travellers are familiar with the accommodation service Airbnb, which offers the option to bypass traditional lodging options like hotels for a more ‘local’ experience staying in an apartment or house (or treehouse).

What a lot of people don’t know is that just by clicking through a dedicated link, you can earn frequent flyer points on every dollar spent on Airbnb stays. Continue reading…

Kaligo partners with Velocity as a new earn and redemption option for hotel bookings – but it’s poor value

There a few partnerships that Velocity Frequent Flyer Members can take advantage of to earn Velocity points for hotel stays, both domestically in Australia and beyond.

This post is intended as a brief overview, a guide for those who didn’t realise you could also earn Velocity points from your hotel stays and want to know the basics.

Short version: there are a few different types of partnerships between Velocity, hotel chains and online aggregators to understand from which you can earn points from your hotel stays – booking through Virgin Australia Holidays, Kaligo or Agoda PointsMAX; earning directly into Velocity from hotel partners; and transferring your points to Velocity from a hotel loyalty program. Continue reading…

Asia Miles extends 30% bonus on transfers from hotel partners, but SPG no longer included

Asia Miles is one of our preferred programs for long-haul oneworld redemptions, with favourable pricing over Qantas Frequent Flyer, for example, on a number of routes.

Like most frequent flyer programs they have a number of partnerships for earning points from hotel stays – whether you book directly with the hotel or via an online travel agent.

They have extended their 30% bonus on Asia Miles earned from points transfers from a range of hotel partner programs until the end of February, which is pretty decent deal. Continue reading…

When and why to consider Expedia+ rewards to earn points for flight, hotel and other bookings through Expedia

Expedia.com.au is understandably a popular booking channel for flights, hotels, car hire, activities, and many more travel needs.

When you book through Expedia you can also join their Rewards program – Expedia+ – which allows you to earn points which can be redeemed for credit for future bookings with Expedia.

Expedia+ points awarded for flight bookings are available in addition to the frequent flyer points you’d normally earn by booking direct. Expedia has no booking fees, and flight prices should generally match what you can find through the airline direct, so it’s worth considering ‘double-dipping’ by booking with Expedia and also earning Expedia+ points. Continue reading…

Intro to Club Carlson – hotel loyalty program for Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Plaza Plaza hotels

Club Carlson is the loyalty program of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, the owner of around 1,300 hotels in about 100 countries, including the Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Park Plaza hotel brands.

In this guide, we’ll highlight key hotels in Australia and overseas; explain status benefits; and how to maximise value in earning and redeeming Club Carlson points. Continue reading…

Intro to Virtuoso – a travel agent hotel booking channel for free upgrades, hotel credits and breakfast

‘Virtuoso’ is a travel agent only booking channel that offers customers free room upgrades, breakfast and a $100 USD hotel credits, and often at a cheaper rates than many of the popular online travel booking websites.

The system operates through an international network of travel advisors and includes over 1,300 hotel properties worldwide, from large chains to small boutique properties. Continue reading…

Hotel rewards demystified – everything you need to know to get started earning points from your hotel stays

Knowing how to navigate the world of hotel bookings for maximum return (points, cash, status and/or benefits) is a minefield, and is hard to get your head around at the best of times.

Hotel chains and their loyalty programs are constantly running offers for discounts, sales and bonus points, and ultimately it’s hard to know where to go to look for both a deal and to be rewarded for being loyal.

Given there are so many ways to book hotels, and methods of earning rewards and discounts, in this guide I’ll try and lay out my thoughts on the basics of hotel loyalty. A version of this guide was published back in 2015, so it was time for an update!
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Qantas Hotels have 9 Qantas Points per $ on all hotels worldwide until November 16th

In a quick 3 day flash offer, Qantas Hotels are offering 9 Qantas Points per $ on all hotels booked through the platform until midnight November 16th (Wednesday).

9 Qantas Points per $ is about the point at which I start to get interested in running the numbers on whether it’s worth booking through Qantas Hotels vs other channels – that’s a return of around 9% to 13% based on a Qantas Point value somewhere between 1c and 1.5c per point. The last time we saw this offer was in May.

The ability to earn points was recently opened up for all partner hotels – meaning there are now 140,000 at which you can earn at least 3 Qantas Points per $ at when booking through Qantas Hotels.

The offer excludes airbnb bookings, which still earn at 1 Qantas Point per $.
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Want the lowest hotel rate? Don’t book direct

Major hotels have been waging a war against Online Travel Agents (OTAs) for years – hotels couldn’t publish lower rates than what is listed on the OTAs own platform. This is why room prices on OTAs and hotel sites have been similar for so long.

In most cases you could get more value from booking directly through the hotel as there would be loyalty points, elite status and often better rooms available that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to access if booked through an OTA, as hotels positively discriminate towards their own booking channel.

In this article, originally published on Medium and edited for Point Hacks readers here, loyalty program expert Mark Ross-Smith explores a range of options for trying to secure the lowest hotel rate when making your booking.
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