Today only: Earn up to 12x Amex Membership Rewards points on hotel bookings

Oct 12, 2019

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One of the fundamental elements of the points and miles hobby is that you should maximize every online purchase by going through a shopping portal. This doesn’t just apply when buying items online; you can also score bonus points, miles or cash back on travel purchases by using shopping portals.

And today’s an excellent day to make hotel reservations as you can get up to a 24% return on your spending (based on TPG’s valuations). Here’s how.

For reservations made by midnight Pacific Time on Oct. 12, Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is offering up to 12% cash back on 150+ stores to celebrate National Savings Day. As part of this, Rakuten is offering some excellent cash-back offers on hotel stays — which include:

The platform is also offering 10% back with a variety of other merchants, including Coach, eBags, Jansport and Lands’ End.

Although Choice earnings are usually limited for elite members, the terms of this flash sale doesn’t include any such limitations:

Those screenshots mention 12% cash back, but I promised 12x American Express Membership Rewards points in the headline. Well, that’s because new Rakuten members can opt into earning Membership Rewards points instead of cash back as long as you have a MR-earning credit card.

If you already have an Rakuten account, you can’t switch from cash back to MR points — but there’s always the option of creating a new account through this link.

At current TPG valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each. That means the 12x Membership Rewards return on IHG or Choice reservations is worth around 24 cents per dollar spent. And, if you know how to maximize American Express Membership Rewards points, you can get even more value than that.

For example, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book first-class round-trip flights to Japan for as little as 90,000 Membership Rewards points. Taken to the extreme, you could spend $7,500 at IHG or Choice hotels during this Rakuten promotion to get 90,000 Membership Rewards points — which is enough for that round-trip first-class award on ANA when transferred to Flying Club.

ANA first class. Photo by Zach Honig / TPG.
ANA first class. Photo by Zach Honig / TPG.

On a much more practical side of things, you can score United awards for cheap through Avianca’s LifeMiles program, which was recently added as a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. After a recent tweak, you can now score United flights for as cheap as 6,500 LifeMiles each way. That means you can get a free United flight just for spending $542 on IHG or Choice hotels through this promotion:

Even better, since you’re booking directly with the hotel through these shopping portals, you’ll still earn hotel points, elite credits and be able to use elite benefits.

Before you book, make sure to register for and check your IHG Accelerate offers so you can potentially earn even more bonus IHG points from the reservation. Then, make sure you’re putting the purchase on the right travel rewards credit card to further maximize your earnings.

While we haven’t seen many IHG offers recently, it’s worth checking your American Express cards for Amex Offers and Chase cards for Chase Offers. If you don’t have any offers, use a card that maximizes your spending at IHG hotels:

For Choice, your best credit card options are:

The information for the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Featured photo by Poike/Getty Images

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card



CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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