UPDATE: The Air Miles Travel Hub has changed. Read more about it on a more recent post here.
A few days ago, I noticed something new on the Air Miles website. In the Travel section, under the “Find Hotels” button, it says “Get loads of Miles and find great rates on your hotel booking (CDN $) with the AIR MILES Travel Hub.” Upon clicking, it brings you to the search page where it says,” Get loads of miles + competitive rates on your hotel stay.” So that’s the question. How “competitive” are the rates? And what is meant by “loads of miles”?
When it comes to earning extra points or miles through a booking site, this is not new. Three that I’m aware of are Kaligo, Pointshound and Rocketmiles. Rocketmiles, I believe, is currently the only one through which you can earn Aeroplan miles and it offers occasional promotions for first-time users to earn a bonus. It seems the Air Miles Travel Hub has a connection with PointsHound because when you google “air miles travel hub”, it says under the link: “Book hotels with PointsHound and earn thousands of airline miles for every night you stay. Choose to earn in 18 programs and counting” and the booking interface looks quite similar. Also, when I clicked on “Bonus Offer” on one hotel listing, it said “PointsHound has extra-special deals…”
I generally recommend hotel bookings be made directly through the hotel or chain’s website to ensure you get points, capitalize on any promotion and enjoy perks of elite status, if applicable. The exception is when a deal on an OTA or “online travel agency” is too good to pass up. (Still, there are so many OTAs it’s hard to know exactly which ones should be avoided). Reputable websites like Rocketmiles or this new Air Miles Travel Hub can be a good option particularly when the accommodation you’re eyeing does not belong to any chain. This is a way to get some points or miles anyway.
The search feature allows one to filter by price, miles, quality or best. You can also filter by star rating or neighbourhood and see the results on a map. In the FAQ it says that cancellation terms vary. I will compare rates for equivalent rooms that have similar terms. All rates are in CAD. In the course of this research I discovered that the Air Miles Travel Hub displays hotel rates with taxes included. This should be stated explicitly on the site to avoid confusion. Note also that when you choose a multi-night stay it displays the total number of Air Miles.
Here are a few examples in the Halifax area on a random date of September 7. Rates listed are tax included for the cheapest room type.
Hotel Site: $169 “Best Available Rate” (CAA $154; Senior $144)
AM Travel Hub: $169 + 100 Air Miles
Hotel Site: $158 “Best Available Rate” (CAA is $143)
AM Travel Hub $149 + 90 Air Miles
Hotel Site: $114
AM Travel Hub: $114 + 20 Air Miles
If you’re thinking of taking advantage of the great Autumn fares to Europe here’s a Paris example:
Halifax – Paris Sept. 15-22 Icelandair $568
Grand Hotel Francais (6 nights)
Hotel Site: $1254
AM Travel Hub: $1208 + 910 Air Miles
I also checked Orlando March 12-16
DoubleTree by Hilton at Entrance to Universal (4 nights)
Hotel Site: $868
AM Travel Hub: $868 + 1490 Air Miles
The above examples seem to make it worthwhile to at least check the offers through the Air Miles Travel Hub before you decide where to book. If the price is the same after you’ve checked around, and no loyalty program considerations take priority, this might might be a good way to get some extra Air Miles.