Can I Earn Hotel Points for Booking More than One Room?
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TPG reader Kar Min sent me a message on Facebook to ask about earning Starpoints:
“Can I book rooms at two different Starwood hotels at the same time and earn points for both stays? Does it matter if I'm the one checking in/out, or if my card is used to pay for each room?”
While you generally can't accrue frequent flyer miles on another person's fare, some hotel programs offer extra rewards when you book more than one room. That creates some interesting opportunities to earn points, miles and elite credits when you travel with a group.
Starwood Preferred Guest allows you to earn points (as well as elite night and stay credits) for up to three guest rooms at a single property, provided that you pay for the charges on one folio and you actually stay in one of the rooms. Even better, your elite benefits may also apply to each room — this isn't guaranteed, but I've found it happens more often than not. Other brands take a similar stance, as Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and others also allow you to earn points on more than one room at a time.
It's less clear whether you'll earn rewards for booking rooms at different properties on the same night as Kar Min suggested. There are certainly legitimate reasons for doing this: If you're booking at the last minute and availability is limited at one hotel, for example, or if your group is splitting up for a day to explore different parts of the same city. So long as you're the one physically checking into each room, it seems like you could fulfill the requirements described above. Unfortunately, Starwood doesn't see things that way.
While the SPG program rules don't address this issue specifically, the word from Starwood reps is that simultaneous stays are not eligible for rewards. There's a fair amount of anecdotal evidence from people who have earned points and elite credits from more than one property at a time, but others have been denied from the outset, or have earned rewards at first only to have Starwood reclaim them later. I'd say your odds of seeing both stays counted are middling at best.
To maximize rewards in this situation, your best bet is probably to book any additional rooms at a property belonging to another loyalty program. I doubt this is what Starwood had in mind when the policy was put into effect, but it's the natural result. Assuming other factors are equal, if I can't earn points for booking with a second SPG property, then I'll likely take that business elsewhere.
If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at email@example.com.