Earn up to 5x Points per Dollar on Flights Via Hotels.com?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
I've written previously about online travel agency Hotels.com and the potential for maximizing rewards by booking rooms there via the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. However, only recently I discovered that Hotels.com offers flights in addition to hotels, and according to a TPG reader's report on Twitter, those flights are equally eligible to earn portal bonuses.
I'm cautiously optimistic that this is true, as Hotels.com's terms and conditions state that flight, package and car reservations aren't eligible for the current Ultimate Rewards portal offer of 4 points per dollar spent at Hotels.com (1 base point and 3 bonus points).
I've decided to test the waters by attempting to not only earn this 4x bonus on the booking of a Malaysia Airlines flight through Hotels.com's store on the Chase shopping portal, but also to maximize my purchase by paying with my Chase Sapphire Preferred, which earns 2x points on travel.
Soon after my flight purchase, it showed up on my credit card statement as "Malay Air," earning me base rewards of 2 points per dollar - a total of 1,104.20 points for a purchase of $552.10.
Theoretically, though, my total Ultimate Rewards haul could be 2,954 points, at a rate of 5 points per dollar spent or 5.35 for those, like me, who are grandfathered into the Chase Sapphire Preferred 7% annual dividend. In my November valuations post, I value Ultimate Rewards points at minimum of 2.1 cents a piece, so I'm hoping to get over 11% back in value for booking flight via Hotels.com throughout the UltimateRewards.com/Earn portal.
Online shopping portals are one of the easiest ways to earn bonus points, miles, and cash back. The bonuses you earn are such low-hanging fruit that I almost never shop online by going directly to a retailer. EVreward.com tracks the earn ratios at major portals, but it isn't always updated, so it be sure to double check earn ratios with specific portals before making any purchase.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal used to have a wider selection of travel-purchase options, but it recently dropped online travel agencies Orbitz, Travelocity, and Priceline. However, you can still get bonuses for purchases at Expedia, Hotwire and Hotels.com.
I'll report back when I hear the final word on my purchase from the Chase Ultimate Rewards, but until then, have you been able to earn the 4 points per $1 - or even 5 points or above - by purchasing flights with Hotels.com?