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. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Associate Editor Brendan Dorsey.
Shopping portals are one of the essential elements of earning tons of points and miles. TPG reader K1s23 wants to know how to maximize a hotel booking with a shopping portal…
Do Hilton stays booked through Ebates qualify for elite nights and earn points too?TPG Reader K1s23
There’s an ever present debate over whether to book through an OTA like Hotels.com or directly with the hotel. While you can usually earn miles and enjoy loyalty program perks when booking an airline ticket through an OTA, the same doesn’t typically hold for hotels. But is there a way you might be able to save more cash (or earn extra miles) while booking a hotel though a shopping portal like Ebates without forgoing points and perks?
Yes, booking a hotel through a shopping portal should still qualify to earn elite nights and hotel points. This is because when clicking through a portal, like Ebates or the United shopping portal, it brings you directly to the hotel’s website and not a third party travel agency (i.e. Expedia or Priceline) that actually books rooms on your behalf. And when booking a stay directly through a hotel’s website, your visit should help with your elite status qualification and allow you to earn points on the stay.
In other words, as long as a shopping portal takes you directly to the hotel’s website to book, your stay should work like any other you booked directly with a hotel operator. Just be aware that if you do book through an OTA like Hotels.com or Expedia, your stay likely won’t count towards elite status, and you’ll walk away with no more hotel points than you started with.
Because of this, clicking through a shopping portal really is a no-brainer, since you’ll net whatever points and elite credits you would get for the actual stay at the hotel, the points earned from the purchase on your credit card and then the points, miles or cashback from the portal itself. That’s a solid triple dip and can add up to a serious return on the stay.
For instance, Ebates is currently offering 1% to 2% cashback on Hilton bookings, depending on your Hilton Honors elite status:
If you’d prefer to collect United miles, you can earn an extra mile per dollar spent on bookings at Marriott properties (though you might get a higher rate if you hold a United card like the United Explorer Card):
And American Airlines’ shopping portal is currently offering 5 miles per dollar (or a 7% return) on all IHG bookings:
These earning rates would be in addition to any bonus that the corresponding portal is offering, like this fall’s offer of 1,500 bonus United miles for utilizing its platform for an online purchase.
Of course, these rates many change over time, so I’d recommend using a website like Cashback Monitor to compare cashback, mile and points earning rates at different shopping portals when you’re ready to book.
Other ways to save while still earning elite credits and hotel points would be to use the Citi Prestige’s 4th night free program, although make sure to book over the phone since booking online qualifies as a prepaid rate through an OTA and won’t allow for elite status and point earning.
On the other hand, if you’re happy using an OTA, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card both earn 10x miles on stays booked and paid for at Hotels.com/Venture – which can be stacked with Hotels.com rewards program, effectively earning 20% back on your stay.
Featured image by The Points Guy staff.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees