Hotel bookings can be one of the most lucrative sources of frequent flyer points, with the likes of Qantas Hotels offering 3 points per $1 AUD and Virgin Australia Holidays offering up to 6 points per $1 AUD for Velocity Platinum members. Combined with regular promotions from Qantas Hotels of up to 9 points per $1 AUD, these can quickly add up to very healthy frequent flyer balances.
Unfortunately the biggest downside to booking your stays through frequent flyer portals, and any online travel agent (Hotels.com, Expedia, etc) is the lack of loyalty benefits and recognition at the hotel itself. There are many benefits to be obtained from acquiring status with your preferred hotel chain; such as free upgrades to bigger rooms or rooms with preferred views, late checkout, and complementary breakfast.
The good news is that almost all of the major hotel chains allow you to collect points from your hotel stays that can be converted to airline points. Infact, most hotel chains have a very large pool of airline points and miles currencies that you can select.
LeClub points transfer 1:1 to Velocity Points, Qantas Points
LeClub points transfer 2:1 to Asia Miles, Emirates, Etihad
|Spend ($ AUD)||Classic||Silver||Gold||Platinum|
|$1 at Accor*||1.75||2.17||2.59||3.08|
|$1 at ibis, ibis Styles||0.88||1.09||1.30||1.54|
*except Adagio, Adagio Access, ibis, ibis Styles and Mama Shelter
Using 1 AUD = 0.71 EUR. LeClub points based on spend in Euros.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)
SPG points transfer 1:1 to Velocity Points, Asia Miles, Emirates, Etihad
|Spend ($ AUD)||Preferred||Gold||Platinum|
Using 1 AUD = 0.74 USD. SPG points based on spend in USD.
Table shows earn rates for Velocity and Qantas Points once transferred from HHonors Points.
|Spend ($ AUD)||Blue||Silver||Gold||Diamond|
Using 1 AUD = 0.74 USD and earning style set to Points & Points. HHonors points based on spend in USD.
World of Hyatt
Table shows earn rates for Qantas Points, Asia Miles, Emirates and Etihad once transferred from World of Hyatt Points.
|Spend ($ AUD)||Member||Discoverist||Explorist||Globalist|
Using 1 AUD = 0.74 USD. World of Hyatt Points based on spend in USD.
In summary, even if your goal is maximising your airline points, there is still the possibility of earning a solid amount of airline points by booking directly with your hotel chain instead of through a frequent flyer portal.
The decision comes down to whether you value the hotel status benefits above the extra points you may have obtained from booking via a frequent flyer portal.
Example — Qantas Hotels vs SPG Gold
For example, booking directly via SPG if you’re Gold will earn 2.2 frequent flyer points per $1 AUD spent. This is 0.8 points less per $1 AUD than if booked via Qantas Hotels. Aussming the hotel is priced the same on SPG and Qantas Hotels, if the value of the booking is $300 and you value your frequent flyer points at 1 c per point, you are missing out on only $2.40 worth of value, which is easily offset by the extra benefits obtained with the SPG Gold status; such as room upgrades and late checkout.