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Etihad Guest has announced a partnership with Booking.com which allows members to earn miles for bookings made through a dedicated co-branded version of Booking.com’s website.
Most miles and points enthusiasts will already know that booking hotels through third party sites like Booking.com will mean that they almost certainly won’t earn points in that particular hotel’s loyalty program, nor will they be able to avail themselves of any elite benefits they may have been entitled to had they booked direct through the hotel’s own booking channels…but that doesn’t mean that 3rd party sites should be ignored.
There are already plenty of occasions where booking through a 3rd party site makes a lot of sense (e.g. where the hotel being booked doesn’t have a loyalty program of its own, where the guest doesn’t have elite status with the hotel being booked, when a cashback site offers a better deal for using a 3rd party site than you’d get if you book direct etc…), and now Etihad Guest has just made those occasions a little more rewarding.
As of 1 August 2019, Etihad Guest members using Booking.com/etihadguest will earn between 3 and 6 Etihad Guest miles for every dollar spent (excluding taxes and fees).
Yasser Al Yousuf, Etihad Airways Vice President Commercial Partnerships, said:
We are always looking for new ways to add value to our loyalty programme and now through this partnership with Booking.com, we are delighted to give travellers the ability to earn Etihad Guest Miles not only when booking flights, but their accommodation as well.
Etihad Guest Miles will automatically be awarded 8 to 12 weeks after the guests complete their stay.
I’ve taken a quick look at the co-branded site in an attempt to see if there was a set pattern to which properties earn 3, 4, 5 & 6 miles per dollar respectively…but it’s not very clear.
I’m not even sure there is a pattern.
When searching in Los Angeles, for example, the Four Points at LAX is offering just 3 points per dollar and, as it is a middle-of-the-road airport hotel, that’s not particularly surprising.
Moving up in the world, the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown (complete with abhorrent destination fees) will earn guests 4 points per dollar…
…and one of the high-end properties in West Hollywood, The London, will earn guests 6 points per dollar:
Based on those three properties alone it would appear as if the number of points being offered is based on either the standard of the hotel or the price being paid….but that’s not actually the case.
If we take a look at the Standard West Hollywood, it’s offering 5 points per dollar (for the same dates as all the other properties mentioned so far) and that makes no sense at all.
The Standard West Hollywood is nowhere near as good a hotel as the InterContinental Downtown LA and is cheaper than the InterContinental Downtown LA and yet the Standard offers guests 1 more mile/dollar than the InterContinental.
I suspect that the number of points on offer probably has some correlation with the amount of commission Booking.com is charging each property…but I can’t be sure.
Readers should be careful when choosing to book via the Booking.com/Etihad website as it’s possible that better deals are available elsewhere.
These miles aren’t being offered for free (they’re being paid for in one way or another) so you should make sure that any rates being offered on the co-branded site aren’t significantly worse than those being offered elsewhere…and don’t forget to check what the cashback sites are offering too.
I’m a fan of Etihad Guest as its miles are very useful for booking American Airlines premium cabin awards at a great rate (assuming you can find such awards), so they’re not a currency that should be dismissed out of hand.
Also, as Etihad partners with Citi and American Express, travelers don’t have to rely solely on earnings through Booking.com to build up enough miles for an award – Etihad Guest balances can be topped up quite easily via Membership Rewards or the Citi ThankYou program.
I don’t expect I’ll be earning significant numbers of Etihad Guest miles via the new Booking.com partnership, but I will be bearing it in mind the next time I’m booking a boutique hotel or a hotel where I have no status (and no interest in earning status) – as long as the room rates being offered are fair it will be a good way to keep my Etihad Guest miles balance going in the right direction.