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

Dec 13, 2019

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One of the fundamental elements of the points and miles hobby is to 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.

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is offering up to 12% cash back at over 200 retailers today to celebrate 12 days until Christmas. As part of this sale, Rakuten is offering some excellent cash-back offers on hotel stays — which include:

The platform is also offering 12% back with a variety of other travel merchants, including CheapTickets, eBags, JanSport, Lands’ End, SnapTravel and Viator.

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

At current TPG valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each. That means the 12x Membership Rewards return on these hotel reservations is worth around 24 cents per dollar spent. 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 during this month’s transfer bonus to book first-class round-trip flights to Japan for as little as 70,000 Membership Rewards points. Taken to the extreme, you could spend $6,000 at IHG hotels during this Rakuten promotion to get 72,000 Membership Rewards points — 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)

Or, you can book Delta One Suites to Asia for just 60,000 Flying Club miles — which require a transfer of 47,000 American Express MR points during the transfer bonus. That would require less than $4,000 in spending at these 12x merchants today to get a Delta One Suite flight to Tokyo, Beijing or beyond.

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

In a much more practical move, you can score United awards for cheap through Avianca’s LifeMiles program, which was recently added as a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. Domestic United award flights start at just 5,000 LifeMiles. That means you can get a free United flight just for spending $420 on IHG 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 the ability 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.

Although we haven’t seen many IHG credit card spending 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:

Return percentage based on TPG valuations and not provided by issuers

The information for the Citi Prestige 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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

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.

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More Things to Know
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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