Let's walk through the process. Before searching, you select the reward program you'd like to earn points for. Then, it works just like any other booking engine. You enter a destination and the prices come up for the hotels they offer (PointsHounds says they have over 100,000 hotels worldwide participating). As you can see in the example graphic above, the price and points you'll earn are displayed in the search results. Some hotels, such as the Teatro above, are "featured" and offer bigger earnings than others. Other hotels will offer "double up" rewards, where you can earn both airline and hotel points simultaneously. If the hotel is not marked "double up," you won't be able to earn both airline and hotel reward points for that stay.
The amount of points you earn also depends upon how much you use the site (which is a loyalty program in itself). When you sign up for PointsHound, you are at Level 1. Once you book five room nights, you'll reach Level 2 status and your earn rate will increase to 5-7 miles or points per dollar spent. After booking 20 nights through PointsHound, you'll advance to Level 3 where you earn up to 20 miles or points per dollar spent. There is also a referral program that helps you to earn status with PointsHound.
We will certainly be experimenting with this new site over the summer and watching to see if more airline and hotel reward programs jump on board. Feel free to shoot us your thoughts if you've tried it out. We're excited about being able to accumulate points to a specific reward program without necessarily using that program's services. This also seems like a dream come true for business travelers, who would be able to spread some of their points to their personal accounts.