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Have You Ever Earned Loyalty Points For Blind-Booking a Hotel Room?

May 12, 2010 at 10:21 AM | by | Comments (5)

Sleeping around may not be worth it if you can't earn loyalty points.

If you've been following our Adventures in Blind Booking, you would know that we are on a serious blind booking kick. It's all about the best deals, baby! But we have momentarily come down from our bargain-hunter's high to reflect upon a very serious issue--our loyalty program points.

When we Facebooked our love of blind booking, a fan of ours pointed out that while he loved getting the "awesome deals" on sites like Hotwire and Priceline, usually hotels will not give you loyalty points because you did not book through the hotel.

This is very true. Many hotel loyalty programs state this in their program's Terms and Conditions (See below.) Yet it's never been a big deal for us because we like to sleep around and so for the past few years our loyalty membership cards have collected dust in our desk drawer.

However, there have been exceptions.

We were given SPG points for a Planet Hollywood in Vegas stay booked through Hotwire. And our Facebook friend said that Hilton did credit him once, although they admitted they do not normally do this. (La Quinta and Crowne Plaza, however, did not.)

We also were told that we would receive a 1,000 Virgin America points for our recent Morgans Hotel stay which was booked through Quikbook's new Secret Sale. (They haven't showed up yet but we're holding out hope.) You can read even more instances of earning points through third-party booking sites on FlyerTalk here and here.

Now that we've started to take a very keen interest in loyalty programs again (see our interview with The Points Guy), not being able to earn points for our blind-booking stays might cramp our deal style. While we figure out what we're gonna do, we'd thought we ask you to share your experiences with third-party booking sites and loyalty points.

Have you earned loyalty program points when using a third-party booking site or a blind booking site? Let us know which hotel and where in comments below!

Just for good measure, we hit up the Terms and Conditions for the four hotel loyalty programs below to see what they had to say about earning points on third-party booking sites. This is what we found:

SPG:

“Eligible Charges” are charges incurred by you on your room account for Eligible Rates, food and beverage (excluding alcoholic beverage purchases where prohibited by law), direct dialed telephone and direct-dialed in-room fax, laundry/valet, and in-room movies and video games only. Eligible Charges do not include:
(a) room charges that are not included in the definition of Eligible Rates (NOTE: certain pre-paid rooms where the booking is made through a third party are not Eligible Rates);

HHonors:

Stays booked via "opaque" channels where the brand is unknown at the time of purchase are not Eligible Stays for the purpose of earning points, miles or stay credit toward VIP tier status, or the receipt of VIP tier benefits such as upgraded accommodations / amenities or access to health clubs.

Marriott Rewards:

Prepaid wholesale rates booked through 3rd party online retailers are not eligible for points, miles or Elite night credit, including, but not limited to, Priceline.com, Hotwire.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, Hotels.com, etc. Wholesale packages and series tours are not eligible for points.

Priority Club (IHG):

Points are not issued for stays at the following reduced room rates (“Non-Qualifying Room Rates”; “Non-Qualifying Stay”)...most rates booked through most third party web sites....

Comments (5)

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Marriott

I got Marriott points from blindbooking on Priceline, but then never again. Just 3 nights from a foreign Marriott, and then when I stayed at another intl Marriott not too long after that, they wouldnt give me points.

Not the Points - But I did get the privileges

I got a great $120 rate at the Hilton New York on Avenue of the Americas via Priceline a couple of years back, I was Hilton Diamond and checked in at the Diamond Desk, they gave put me on the HHonors Floor, Gave me Lounge Access and Free Breakfast.

Same thing at the Hilton at O'Hare last Year, again I got a Free Breakfast, with a $60 Hotwire Rate.


Points

I have received points before for my stays, but with priceline it's tricky.  The price you paid priceline isn't usually what was actually paid to the hotel. At a Holiday Inn once, I paid about 45 per night on priceline, but my account was credited only 35 points per night. At other chains I have recieved points, but I feel that they were mistakes and really weren't meant to be added to my account.

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