Ways to Earn Points and Miles While Saving the Earth
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
It’s always a good idea to reduce our environmental impact when we’re traveling, but it’s a lovely bonus to be rewarded when we do.
Recently, Qantas started offering 10 Qantas points for every Australian dollar frequent flyers spend on reducing their carbon footprint. For points-watchers, that’s the highest standard earn rate of any Qantas frequent flyer initiative. Within the first month, members had been rewarded with over a million points for flying carbon-neutral, leading to a 15% rise in carbon offsets. I can only (and like to) imagine what could happen if other airlines followed suit.
Meanwhile back on the ground, we’re seeing more chances to earn points by giving up housekeeping in hotels.
Starwood hotels started this with their Make A Green Choice program that originally offered 500 SPG points or a $5 voucher for food and drink if a guest went without housekeeping. Following Starwood’s merger with Marriott, the program has continued, but when those 500 points became Marriott Bonvoy points they lost almost two-thirds of their value.
Also, the chance to earn points and the number you can claim, will change depending on which hotel and even what part of the world you are in. Some Marriott properties offer 500 points per day, with the option to give up housekeeping for up to three days in a row for a total of 1,500 points, but others, like Fairfield Inn and Courtyard, only give you 250 points per night.
Select IHG hotel brands, including the Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts and Holiday Inn, offer 500 IHG Rewards points per night if you opt out of housekeeping in Europe. But, if you stay with the same brands — as well as Intercontinental, Hotel Indigo, Even Hotels and Avid Hotels — you’ll only get 500 IHG Rewards Club points per stay if you’re in the US.
Other hotels dipping into the idea include Hyatt, which is testing out giving 250 World Of Hyatt points for skipping housekeeping in a selection of hotels, and AccorHotels, which has started rolling out 150 Le Club AccorHotels points in Germany and Austria. AccorHotels also runs regular Instagram competitions where guests can win between 2,000 and 3,000 points by highlighting a green or other Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
There is no official APAC-wide green program, but you can earn 500 Radisson Rewards points at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney if you decline daily turndown and housekeeping service. The program began after a housekeeping staff member suggested it to management, who took the idea to the head office.
As much as I love coming back to a freshly made bed, I jump at these offers and not just because I never like to let a point slip away. It’s because this way I know that I really do have the same towels and sheets and that the hotel isn’t into greenwashing (as in, making misleading environmental claims and not washing my sheets in a legitimately green way).
Some housekeepers, however, are fighting the initiative. Protests by Marriott housekeepers in the United States have included putting leaflets under doors to tell guests that it can cost housekeepers’ jobs if they don’t have enough work and that rooms that haven’t been serviced in days are harder to clean.
Ideally, I’d like to see more of the in-between option that some hotels offer: The trash bins are still emptied and beds still made, so the room feels fresh but no electricity or water is used. In the meantime, I’ll be taking the points when they’re offered.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees