Skip to content

Quick Points: Earn American Loyalty Points when you stay at hotels and rent cars

Jan. 21, 2022
4 min read
Rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside
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.

Hotel chains and car rental companies have had their own loyalty programs for decades, encouraging travelers to earn free hotel nights and free car rental days. However, even the most experienced travelers may forget that many hotel and rental car companies actually allow you to earn a different type of currency: airline miles.

This is especially relevant after the recent, massive changes American Airlines AAdvantage announced late in 2021. Now, your spending with various hotel chains and rental car companies can add up to airline elite status.

While this is not always the most rewarding option, today we'll walk through how you can change your earning preferences to earn airline miles instead of hotel or car rental points — and what you will get if you do.

For more TPG news, deals and points and miles tips delivered each morning to your inbox, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

How to earn airline miles instead of points

We've assembled a list of links below to popular hotel chains and car rental companies where you can change your earning preference. While each program handles things a bit differently, you'll essentially be choosing to earn airline miles whenever you patronize one of these chains. All you need to change your preference is your frequent flyer number.

You can change your preferences pretty much at will, but it can be a bit cumbersome. For example, even though Hyatt has a link to change your earning preference on their website, a member of TPG team had to involve a Globalist concierge to make changes recently. Multiple attempts to access the profile page for Dollar Rental Car were met with errors. Still, this will give you a good place to start if your goal is to earn more airline miles on hotel stays and car rentals:

Related: Meet the man who’s earned 1.2 million United miles by renting cars

(Screenshot from marriott.com)

Should you opt to earn airline miles?

As with many earning opportunities associated with travel, whether you should earn airline miles is another story. For starters, there are sometimes fees associated with earning airline miles through these partnerships. As an example, Hertz charges up to $1.50 per rental day to earn airline miles instead of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points.

Also, different programs have different earning amounts. For example, Dollar Car Rental will award 50 American AAdvantage miles per day, whereas customers choosing airline miles with Hertz can earn one mile per dollar spent on the base rate of their rental.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

World of Hyatt is actually one of the most generous when it comes to awarding airline miles. Members can actually earn World of Hyatt points and AAdvantage miles on their paid bookings. With Marriott and IHG, you have to pick one currency.

One thing to note is that you can still earn elite status and get your usual elite benefits with the hotel and car rental programs when you choose to earn airline miles. So, if you're a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite crediting to American, for instance, you can still get free breakfast as a welcome amenity.

Related: Chasing American Airlines elite status? Here are 13 ways to earn Loyalty Points

Bottom line

Alternative earning methods for many hotel programs and rental car companies have been around for quite some time. The recent changes at American Airlines have shone some light on an old benefit and made this path more appealing for many folks chasing elite status in the AAdvantage program.

In general, the airline mile earning rates for car rental companies have rarely been show stoppers, especially with the surcharges. If you don't need free car rentals or a free hotel night, however, those airline miles may be just enough to get you over the top for elite status.

Featured image by (Photo by Andrea Rotondo/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023