Today I’ll be reviewing Pointshound, a company that was a part of the Launchpoint competition a couple of weeks ago.
Pointshound is a third party hotel booking site that allows you to earn miles and points. They operate like any online travel agency, but instead of keeping their whole commission, they kick back the savings to you in miles and points. Everybody loves earning miles and points, right?
It’s uber easy to sign up. Just go to Pointshound.com and enter your email and password. Boom. Then go to your “My Account” page and set up your mileage program of choice to earn miles. I chose United, because I’m a Star Alliance-loving fool.
Pointshound has partnered with these other airlines, too: Virgin America, Delta Skymiles, US Airways, Baltic Miles, American Airlines, Aero Mexico, Hawaiian, and Etihad.
Once you’ve created an account and added your loyalty program of choice, it’s time to book.
Here’s an example of a random booking and the miles you could earn:
This is higher than a typical bonus, because you get 13x points on this Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. Not sure I would want to stay there, but you would earn 2,100 United Miles for a $159 room. Very nice.
A more standard example is:
The Lumen Kimpton property in Dallas is $204 a night and earns you 800 United Miles. One thing I’ve noticed while playing around with the site is that there’s a wide array of hotels to choose from, and I really enjoy that since Jordan and I like boutique hotel chains.
I know this is shocking, since all I talk about is Hyatt. Which brings me to my next point. You will be giving up the opportunity to earn points at the hotel properties where you’re staying, which is a game changer for some.
My first question to Pete when we talked about Pointshound was, “What about earning stay credits towards Elite status?” This is very important for a lot of business travelers and for me at the time, since I was in the middle of a Hyatt Diamond trial, so every hotel stay needed to count.
The good news is that a few weeks ago, Pointshound announced a new “double dipping” campaign that would allow you to receive stay credits and airline miles. Winning.
There are limited cities that currently have the “double dipping” capability, but the major hotel chains are on board: Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton, Marriott, and IHG. To be clear, not every hotel in the chains mentioned above are participating in the eligible cities, but new hotels are constantly being added.
Here’s an example of a “Double Up” booking at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco.
And the “Double Up” prices:
As you can see, the rates are different on the two pages, and there’s more options on the “Double Up” page. That’s because Pointshound is pulling the rates from different places.
The cheapest standard option was $399 and you would receive 1,300 United miles. Ehh. But the “Double Up” had a cheaper rate of $355 with 1,000 United miles + the ability to earn your Hyatt Gold Passport stay credit. The standard rate was for the Bayview room and the “Double Up” rate was for business king, single occupancy.
Here’s the pricing on Hyatt’s site:
The advance purchase rate for the Bayview room is $354.60 and the daily rate is $394. So by using the Pointshound “Double Up” rate – I would earn 1,000 United miles for the same price. But the standard pricing was $50 more with 1,300 United Miles. Cash is king.
In this scenario, I would definitely take the cheaper rate, with less miles, and the ability to earn the stay credit. This is just a random example, so results may vary, but checking Pointshound will become a part of my normal routine when it comes time to pay for a stay.
I like having options, and by rolling out the “Double Up” rate, Pointshound has given me some tempting options when it comes time to book a hotel stay.
There’s also a loyalty tier with Pointshound. The more you stay – the more you earn. Since I’ve only done 1 booking, I’m still at the low level of 1. Shameful.
I’ve found Pointshound extremely easy to use. I think it’s always a win when there are new tools or software to give consumers options when it comes time to make a purchase.
I think that Pointshound will give you some of the best value when it’s time to book a hotel, but not in every situation. I will probably use them when I’m paying for stays at chains I’m not loyal to and don’t care about earning their loyalty points. Also, the robust list of hotels that can be booked on Pointshound offers a chance to earn miles on stays you wouldn’t otherwise earn miles for. That’s a great perk.
Overall, Pointshound is an impressive tool and I look forward to seeing its updates and continued development.
If you sign up through my link (Pointshound) – You and I will receive 250 miles after your first booking. But please feel free to leave your invite link in the comments so others can sign up through it and receive the same benefit. You can find your link under “invite and earn.”
— Noob MasterRead More
It all happened kinda fast.
Hilton devalued their chart, my buddy burned some of his Hilton points and a certificate earned from his Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, and the next thing I knew, I was being forced to snowboard for the first time. Still sore.
I met a couple friends at the Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria property in Park City, Utah and since the room didn’t cost me anything, I was all in. I used some Southwest Rapid Rewards points to get from Austin to Salt Lake City via Denver.
I was pumped about this stay because I’ve heard great things about this Waldorf Astoria and I’m all about trying out new properties. Yes, even if they aren’t a Hyatt. And even though I’m still pissed at Hilton, I really enjoyed my stay. Especially the hot tub and free Spa amenities. Great for recovering from snowboarding for the first time.
I had my buddy ask for an upgrade during check-in and throw in the fact that all three of us were Gold Hilton HHonors members (nothing pushy, just dropping lines). Well, it worked. We got upgraded from a king studio guest room to a one bedroom residence. Big difference.
The one bedroom residence has a full kitchen, washer/dryer, separate bedroom, huge bathroom, living/dining areas, and two gas fireplaces. More on the residence later.
I also prepped my friend beforehand to ask about getting the $32 daily resort fee waived because he booked with points/certificates. They waived the fee as well! Boom. That meant free valet/parking because it’s included in the daily resort fee.
Check-in was smooth and we were treated very well, even though it’s a posh resort. No snooty service here.
The hotel lobby was extravagant. It was definitely a great place to come hang out while you waited on others because there was a large fireplace and plenty of seating options.
The one bedroom residence was perfect for us. The couch pulled out into a queen sized bed. The mattress was a soft memory foam style which made it pretty comfortable to sleep on, but the blankets that were provided were a little too thin for me. I’m not used to cold weather.
The gas fireplaces in the bedroom and living rooms had timers. Nice touch, and helped prevent us from leaving them on all night long. There was a washer and dryer that came in handy since we went to the hot tub several times, and my “ski pants” (don’t ask) were soaked from snowboarding. Rookie.
There was a full kitchen with marble countertops and stainless steel appliances, but the only thing we did in the kitchen was make coffee. There were 2 bottles of water stocked in the fridge when we arrived. The water and coffee were re-stocked daily.
The bedroom was a nice size with a gas fire place and another 42″ inch TV. There was a large window with a nice view that let a good amount of sunlight in. Important for Texans.
The bathroom was legit with a full walk-in shower with two shower heads, and a jacuzzi tub. Oh, and the shower products were incredible! I have never smelled so good. Seriously, so fresh and so clean, clean. And yes, there was another 17″ TV in the bathroom. I don’t usually watch TV in the bathroom, but since it was during the NCAA tourney, I did.
The last day we were at the resort, the sun came out and I was able to enjoy a little time on the balcony before getting too cold.
There were two hot tubs and a heated pool in the middle of the resort. After hitting the powder (ha) all day, it was great to hit up the hot tubs to recover and warm up. I never got into the heated pool, but I highly recommend hitting up the hot tubs if you ever make it to the resort.
The on-site storage was only a quick walk from the main entrance and right next to the gondola to the ski shops, restaurants, and ski lifts.
Even though it was a quick walk, we were taxied by one of the resort cars to the gondola. And this is also the Mercedes that took us to dinner and picked us up for free. Just a perk.
There’s a cafe and restaurant on site. The cafe closes pretty early (1pm), so we never made it there for lunch even though we tried. But we did breakfast at Crave. Hilton Golds do receive breakfast at most Hilton properties, but not at this Waldorf. Even though when we asked about it, the front desk rep was pretty close to extending us the benefit.
The lounge was the standard luxurious ski lodge style, and was quite good.
We all got the french toast, which was highly recommended to us by several people. It was pretty good, but not great. Maybe my breakfast standards are too high from my Hyatt Andaz stays. It was pretty affordable, though, at under $12. Probably not the best place to come with a family for breakfast, though.
The second day of the trip, we went to see what the spa had to offer (for free). And it didn’t disappoint. I think we ended up killing over 4 hours at the spa.
First, we were treated to granola, dried fruit snacks and green tea. Delicious.
Then after hitting up the hottest steam room I have ever been in, soaking in the hot tubs again, and showering in a shower with 36 shower heads, we settled in the “gathering” room to watch basketball.
It was a great room with a large couch, huge table, 2 gas fire places, and a TV. It was perfect for relaxing and watching basketball. You can even order food down there, but we went classy and ordered a pizza. I don’t think the guy selling time shares at the front desk was too amused.
I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend trip to learn how to snowboard. There was even fresh snow!
The Waldorf Astoria in Park City was a great use of my friend’s HHonors points and weekend certificate earned through the Citi Hilton Reserve card. I especially enjoyed that the resort fee was waived because we booked with points. It’s a bummer that Gold members didn’t get free breakfast, but there was the room upgrade and free interent, so who can complain about that? Not I.
The service was great and not pretentious at all. I had a great time enjoying all the amenities the resort offered, especially the hot tubs, steam room, and gathering room. There’s even smores at 7pm, but we never made it to that. Could be fun.
I wouldn’t hesitate to go back, and hopefully next time I won’t spend so much time on my a@#. Felt like I was in a car crash.
(Disclaimer: I receive a referral credit if you decide to apply for the Citi Hilton Reserve card in the post. Thanks for the support if you do!)
— Noob MasterRead More
After spending a couple of days in San Diego and staying at the Andaz downtown, it was on to L.A.
I had one more suite upgrade to use, so I burned it at the Andaz West Hollywood. I paid for the first night with cash money and then used 15,000 Gold Passport points for the second night. The Andaz West Hollywood is a sweet spot because it’s a category 4 Hyatt hotel. Talk about great value. And it’s easy to come up with 15,000 Gold Passport points, since Hyatt is a transfer partner of Chases’s Ultimate Rewards program.
After what seemed like hours on Sunset Blvd., we arrived at the Andaz in West Hollywood. To say that we were exhausted after enduring L.A. traffic is an understatement. Jordan immediately hit up the lounge area for some R&R while I checked us in.
In standard Andaz fashion, we were greeted promptly and received a warm welcome. While checking us in, the Andaz host even combined my two separate reservations so I didn’t have to switch rooms after one night. Two nights in a suite!
The lobby has plenty of comfortable seating options to choose from. Always a biggie for me.
A large portion of my life is spent waiting on Jordan (I kid), so I don’t mind making her wait while I snap a few pics of the lobby. I’m pretty sure she is making fun of me in this one.
Then there’s this “Snoopy on acid” piece of art. I love the modern boutique feel of the Andaz properties, but some of the Andaz W Hollywood pieces were just a little too artsy fartsy for me.
Aaaand… this is my goofy walk-thru video.
The suite was large with lots of space to rest, work, or dine. Whatever your heart desires. I especially liked the large windows with views of Sunset Blvd. I’m also a sucker for an L shaped couch.
Another piece of doggy art.
This was my favorite area of the suite. I enjoyed a pre-breakfast coffee here while answering emails and getting a nice dose of vitamin D. The seat was comfy, even though it didn’t look very sanitary in this picture. Must be the god-awful green.
There were more windows with views in the bedroom, and of course a flat screen.
There were two bathrooms in this suite. Balling, since sometimes a guy needs his b-room privacy.
There was a hand-written note and a stack of apples when we arrived in the room. I always love the little gestures you receive by being a Diamond/Platinum member.
One of the perks of staying at Andaz properties is the freebies. The water and sodas and snacks below were complimentary. I’m always hungry when I arrive at a hotel, or when coming back to the hotel after exploring a city. The snacks are usually healthier options, too.
Since I have Diamond status with Hyatt, Jordan and I received free breakfast. I’m normally a pancake kinda guy, but the spread at Andaz W Hollywood was a good change-up.
You could load your plate with breads, cheeses, meats, fruits, granola, muffins, sausage and potatoes, and then they brought you eggs just the way you like ‘em.
We never made it to the gym, but it had enough cardio and weight options to please anybody. Unless you’re a meathead, I suppose.
Although the Andaz in W. Hollywood wasn’t our favorite Andaz hotel, we still enjoyed it. The suite was practically an apartment with more than enough room, and the staff was friendly and gave us good recommendations on local eateries.
If you rent a car, there’s no public parking, so you have to pay $32 a day for valet. Always a downside.
I can’t say we loved staying on Sunset Blvd., either. It’s a traffic zoo there, but I guess I feel that way about most of L.A. It took us over 2 hours to get from Santa Monica Pier back to our hotel, which was 9 miles away. We thought the worst was over, but it continued later and made us late to the Lakers game! Which is the main reason we were in L.A. I’m a huge basketball fan and I needed (ok, really wanted) to see Kobe live before his glory days are over.
I definitely recommend this Hyatt hotel if you’re using points (or $$), as I do all of the Hyatt’s I’ve stayed at so far. At only 15,000 for a standard room, it’s a steal. And if you don’t have any Hyatt Gold Passport points, you can transfer Ultimate rewards points from your Ink Bold® ,Ink Plus®, or Chase Sapphire Preferred® cards.
I wouldn’t use the two free night certificates earned from the Hyatt Visa, though. Save those for a more inspirational property that’s in a higher category.
(Disclaimer: I receive a referral for the Ink Bold, Plus, and Sapphire Preferred.)
— Noob MasterRead More