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While getting elite night credits through a specific hotel loyalty program like Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors can give you some perks if you’re a loyal guest at a certain hotel chain, collecting travel booking points through online travel agency (OTA) programs can be another way to get more benefits for your travel experience.
I’m a big fan of collecting travel booking points through OTA as I like to experience different things when I travel. An advantage you can get from joining a travel booking rewards membership is that you have plenty of options to use your points to join any programs that your OTA offers on their platform.
On top of that, some online travel agencies also offer rewards in the form of cashback in addition to travel booking points that you can take advantage of. So in this post, I’m going to write an ultimate guide to travel booking points programs and how to choose the best program for you as a traveler.
So, what do you need to know about travel booking points programs? Here we go!
The Advantage of Collecting Points for Travel Booking
Travel booking through online travel agencies (OTA) such as Expedia or Booking.com is a convenient option for planning your travel for many reasons. The main reason people tend to choose OTA is the practicality of using the platform.
After all, what’s more convenient than having a place where you can get almost every option available in the market when you travel to a new place? From booking a flight and making a hotel reservation, to renting a car for your travel, you can do almost everything you need for your travel on one platform.
All things considered, many OTA also offers rewards points which you can start collecting for every travel booking you make through the platform. For avid travelers, collecting points through OTA definitely sounds easy and promising to fulfill their travel goals.
So, what are the other perks of collecting points for travel booking through OTA?
You can get Discounts for any Travel Booking Through the Platform
The easiest way to use your travel booking points through your membership program on your favorite OTA is by using your points to get discounts for any travel booking through the platform.
Typically, you can redeem your points to deduct the total amount you need to pay whenever you make a travel booking through the platform. And that’s also the reason why this is my favorite way to spend my travel booking points.
Not only is it easy to redeem the points, but you will also automatically get a discount for every transaction you make. It’s also one way to ensure you spend your travel booking points before expiring.
You can get free Upgrades for Flights or Accommodations
Did you know that some hotels and airlines allow you to convert your stay to points even though you book through an online travel agency too?
The first time I booked an Emirates flight through Traveloka, a Southeast Asian-based online travel agency, I thought it wasn’t possible to get miles with the booking. While I thought I could only get Traveloka points for it, it turned out I could also earn miles by signing in to my Emirates Skywards membership and connecting the PNR number to my account.
By doing so, I could get both points to my OTA rewards, as well as miles on the airline’s frequent flyer program. It’s a win-win because I can use both points and miles simultaneously to redeem rewards, whether to get free upgrades or even free flight awards for my next booking!
You can Use your Points Across Merchant Partners
Another advantage of collecting travel booking points through OTA reward programs is that most online travel agencies also have various merchant partners where you can use your points across the platforms.
Whether you want to redeem your points to get discounts on your favorite e-commerce website or book a travel activity with your OTA’s merchant partners so you can get a discount, you can use your travel booking points for that!
It’s more practical for a frequent traveler, as most online travel agencies also provide various travel bookings through their platforms. That way, you can use your points for almost everything available there. Be it hiring a driver and renting a car in your favorite travel destination or booking a ticket to a theme park, you can do it all with your travel booking points!
How to Choose the Best Travel Booking Points Programs for You
Now that you know some benefits of using your travel booking points program to get more perks for your next travel, maybe it’s time to consider the best OTA rewards programs that you can choose to start collecting points.
So, what are the important things to consider when choosing the best travel booking points programs for you?
Choose the Program whose Rewards are Aligned with your Lifestyle
I can’t stress enough that you need to choose the travel booking points programs that are aligned with your lifestyle.
No matter which program you choose, you can only get the most rewards if you use the online travel agency more often. The more you spend on your favorite OTA, the more points you earn to maximize the rewards you can redeem for your next travel plan.
I suggest weighing the pros and cons of using each online travel agency to find one that fits best for your needs. If you’re a digital nomad who travels the world frequently, Expedia Rewards may be the best program for you not only bec ause it offers some promising travel deals in the market, it also offers various travel services from hotel booking, flight, and even cruises.
As for me, since I often travel regionally in Asia, joining travel booking points programs through collecting Agoda PointsMAX or Klook credit seems to make more sense as they offer various travel services and activities in the region.
Choose the Program that Offers Various Travel Products and Activities to Redeem the Points
The best way to maximize your travel booking points is by joining a program that offers various travel-related products to redeem the points. While collecting points through Hotels.com Rewards seem to have perks when booking accommodation through the platform, you won’t be able to use your points for anything other than hotels.
Instead, I will recommend installing the Orbitz app and joining Orbitz Rewards program to start collecting rewards when booking various travel activities through the app. Not only does it give you the best deals for many travel packages, but you can also earn more Orbucks, the travel booking points you can get when you book using the Orbitz app.
Choose the Program that Offers Various ways to Collect Points
The more travel products they sell, the more transaction you can make to start collecting more points. That’s why I advocate choosing an online travel agency that sells various travel products if you want to join their rewards program.
For instance, Rocketmiles allows you to choose whether to earn points or miles when you book a hotel through the platform. On top of that, you can also choose a gift card for your transaction on Rocketmiles instead.
Some online travel agencies give the best offer when you book any travel activities through their mobile apps. You can also take advantage of this to earn more points for every transaction.
Some OTA mobile apps even create more ways for their loyalty members to earn more points through games and daily check-in, making it possible for you to get points without having to book anything through the platform, even when you’re not traveling!
The Best Travel Booking Points Programs
In this section, I’m going to share some of the best travel booking points programs that you can consider now that you know the advantages of collecting points through some OTA rewards programs.
Considering some of the essential points when you join the travel booking points programs through online travel agencies, which one is the best program for you?
What was once a division of Microsoft, Expedia is currently one of the biggest travel agencies in the whole world, with many big travel brands like Hotels.com or Trivago being its subsidiaries.
Unlike its other subsidiaries that are more niche-focused, Expedia offers travel products you can book through the platform while simultaneously collecting points through the Expedia Rewards program. From flights and accommodation to making a reservation for local activities in your travel destinations, you can start collecting points by booking them through Expedia via its website or mobile apps.
You can sign up for Expedia Rewards for free and collect your travel booking points since your first transaction. One of the perks they offer for a new member is to get a 10% off on various hotels with Member-only prices. However, there’s a chance you can even get a discount of more than 10% off on some selected accommodations when you make your first booking with Expedia. You’ll gain the automatic Blue membership status to get the best prices when booking via Expedia.
While you can only earn points in some eligible bookings with your Blue status, you can get double points if you make a booking through the Expedia app. It is the best way to maximize earning points through Expedia, and you can get more rewards once you upgrade your status to Silver and Gold membership.
After that, you can get up to 3 points for every $1 spent on each transaction, and you’ll be eligible for additional perks, including free upgrades and late checkout at the accommodation of your choice!
- Expedia has extensive travel merchant partners, allowing you to book various types of travel products while collecting points you can use for your next travel plan.
- You can use the points for various travel products, from flights and hotels to travel packages booked via Expedia.
- You can earn miles when you book a flight through Expedia by adding your frequent flyer number when booking your flight ticket.
- If you have a travel credit card like American Airlines or Marriott credit card, any transaction made on Expedia will count as a travel purchase, allowing you to get points or miles for each dollar spent in the platform.
- The perks you get as a member of Expedia Rewards will increase with your status upgrade, making it possible for you to earn more travel booking points with the eligibility to enjoy benefits like spa credits or even room upgrades at Expedia’s VIP Access properties.
- Expedia often offers last-minute travel deals with discounts that could be way cheaper than direct bookings with the airline or hotel.
- Monthly installments for any booking made through Expedia are available via Affirm.
- In terms of points value, loyalty members of a specific airline or hotel like British Airways Avios or Marriott Bonvoy points seem to be worth more than Expedia points.
Booking.com Genius Loyalty Program
I’m currently holding Genius Level 3 on Booking.com, but despite that, I’m not exactly a fan of this loyalty program for a few reasons. I think the main reason is that Booking.com Genius Loyalty Program only focuses on hotel booking, although the platform also offers other travel products like flight and travel packages.
As a Genius Level 3 member, I am eligible for up to 20% off at over 390,000 participating properties in the portfolio of Booking.com. In addition to that, I can also enjoy additional perks like free breakfast, free upgrade, and priority support for every booking made through the platform.
While it sounds beneficial for some, I personally think that some other online travel agency offers a better rate than Booking.com, even with the Genius Level 3 discount perks.
Given the idea that Genius Level 3 is practically the highest status on the travel booking programs through Booking.com, I find other travel booking points programs offer more irresistible benefits. If you’re looking into getting more perks for accommodation, Hotels.com Rewards brings more advantages than Booking.com with its free night deal on the 11th stay!
But on top of everything, I still think online travel agencies that offer more travel products offer more advantages when you collect travel booking points through their loyalty program.
- They offer the lifetime Genius level once you pass the threshold for the number of stays within a specific period. I’ve earned my Genius Level 3 lifetime status as I’ve completed 15 hotel stays within 2 years in the past couple of years, even though lately I prefer using some other online travel agency to book accommodation more often.
- The perks for Genius Level 2 and 3 sound quite beneficial with free breakfast and room upgrades, making it worth the status if your biggest spend on your travel is for accommodation.
- Booking.com customer service isn’t the best, so having a Genius Level 3 membership with priority support is quite an advantage when you book accommodation using the platform.
- The only perk you get as a Genius loyalty member on Booking.com is a discount at some selected properties on certain dates. The irony is that you still can get a lower rate on the other platform, making it easier to pivot to another travel booking points program.
Currently a subsidiary of Expedia, Orbitz was initially established in 1999 as the result of a partnership between several major airlines in the United States, including Delta, American Airlines, and United. Despite being a part of the Expedia group, Orbitz Rewards remain separate from Expedia making it a good alternative to its parent company.
While the redemption policy seems quite similar to Expedia Rewards, there are some distinct differences that you can apply with your Orbitz Rewards. Once you sign up for Orbitz Rewards membership, you will be eligible to start collecting travel booking points in the form of Orbucks, which will be worth $1 for each buck.
Just like Expedia, Orbitz also offers various travel products and packages, allowing you to book accommodation, flights, and various travel experiences on the platform. The main difference between Orbitz Rewards and Expedia is that the travel booking points you earn through the platform are only redeemable for hotel booking.
You can start collecting travel booking points through Orbitz on your first transaction on the platform, but you will get more benefits if you upgrade your membership status to Gold or Platinum. Although Orbitz rewards only focus on hotel redemptions, the perks you get if you’re a Platinum member can be a great advantage compared to its parent company.
On top of room upgrades and late checkout, you will also be eligible for TSA PreCheck status application with a Platinum Orbitz Rewards membership. In addition to that, you can also get reimbursement for up to $50 Orbucks for other travel expenses, including extra checked-in baggage and seat upgrades for your flight!
- Orbitz Rewards program is a great option to consider if you’re an avid traveler around the United States, especially if your biggest travel expense is toward accommodation.
- Orbitz is an LGBTQ-friendly travel app, making it easier to find the best accommodations with great reviews that are also LGBTQ-friendly when you travel!
- The unlimited promo codes can be combined with your Orbucks, making it easier to save more money for your travel.
- You can earn more travel booking points on your Orbucks if you make the transaction via Orbitz app.
- If you’re a frequent flyer for some airlines, you can still earn miles when you book flights via Orbitz by adding your loyalty membership number.
- Orbitz offers many great travel packages, which can be super affordable compared to purchasing each travel product separately on the other platforms.
- The travel booking point redemptions are only valid for hotel booking, even though you can earn Orbucks for various transactions via Orbitz.
- The hotel booking via Orbitz won’t make you quality for hotel rewards if you’re a loyalty member of any hotel chain program like World of Hyatt or Marriott Bonvoy.
I previously mentioned that Agoda is my favorite hotel booking site as a Hyatt alternative due to its various ranges of accommodations that I can book through the platform. But other than that, the travel booking points that I can potentially earn on Agoda are also the reason why I use Agoda to book my accommodation whenever I travel.
A subsidiary of Booking Holdings with its Booking.com, I’m quite sure that I prefer Agoda to its parent company for all the potential rewards I can get as a Platinum member. On top of the ability to earn AgodaCash, which can be redeemable to your card as a cashback after your booking is completed, you can also enjoy the perks of collecting travel booking points through the Agoda PointsMax program.
Since 2016, you can earn miles on your favorite airline’s frequent flyer program for every booking made on Agoda. The good news is that Agoda has some airline partners where earning travel booking points on the platform is possible. As of now, you can connect your Agoda PointsMax with various frequent flyer programs, including Virgin Australia’s Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and even United Mileage.
Compared to some other travel booking points programs, I find Agoda the most generous platform when it comes to the possibility of earning points with the best deal compared to some other online travel agencies. Not only can you book accommodation through Agoda, you can now also book flights, travel packages, and travel activities in your destination.
On top of everything, you can start collecting airline miles once you connect to your frequent flyer program while simultaneously enjoying the perks of getting cashback from your transaction.
- Agoda PointsMax is a great travel booking points program if you’re based in Asia-Pacific, as they have a great range of portfolios in the region.
- You can earn airline miles in a good range of frequent flyer programs for every travel booking point you earn from completing transactions on Agoda.
- AgodaCash program is also something that I like about using Agoda to collect travel booking points, as it allows me to earn cashback once it’s eligible to transfer back to my bank account.
- Completing a booking through the Agoda app can give you more perks as they constantly give coupons that make it possible to save money for your hotel booking while getting rewards through points and cashback too!
- As an Agoda VIP loyalty program member, you are eligible for up to 25% off on each hotel booking, which can be combined with a valid coupon on Agoda to get the best deal for your accommodation.
- You can’t earn any hotel points when you make a booking through Agoda, so the perks may not sound as attractive if you’re a member of a hotel chain loyalty program like Hilton Honors.
- For AgodaCash, you need to manually transfer it to your account, so you will have to rely on yourself to get the cashback once it’s redeemable.
Another subsidiary of Booking Holdings, Rocketmiles works a bit differently than its other Booking counterparts. While Booking.com only offers hotel discounts for its Genius loyalty members and Agoda makes it possible to connect your frequent flyer number to get miles when you book a hotel, Rocketmiles gives you the liberty to choose the best way to earn points, miles, or even get a gift card for every booking made through the platform.
Rocketmiles can be a great choice if you’re a member of various loyalty programs and want to get the most of the benefits in just one platform. The good news is that Rocketmiles has partnered up with more than a dozen loyalty programs you can opt for through the platform.
By booking through Rocketmiles, you can choose how you want to earn your travel booking points. While most of Rocketmiles’ merchant partners are airlines, you can also opt for various gift cards and points like Uber or Amazon.com Gift Card. As for the airline partners, you can earn points from various major airline loyalty programs, including American Airlines AAdvantage, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles, and Southwest Rapid Rewards.
- Rocketmiles is especially useful for those who want to collect various travel booking points on the same platform, as it has various loyalty program partnerships that may benefit you to start earning miles and points.
- Rocketmiles is great if you prioritize earning points for miles instead of hotel points.
- You’re free to choose the best hotel with the maximum rewards to earn miles or points through the booking on Rocketmiles.
- They have a great referral program, which you can join to earn extra passive income through your content and recommendation.
- It’s worth collecting miles through hotel booking at Rocketmiles than purchasing points directly through your airline website.
- You can earn up to 10,000 miles for each stay, making it easier to earn miles than having to fly a certain distance to collect travel booking points through the airline.
- Limited hotel options compared to the other online travel agencies.
- The hotel rate isn’t particularly the best.
- You can earn elite hotel status through the Rocketmiles travel booking points program.
Question: What is the best loyalty program for travel?
Answer: The best loyalty program for travel can be subjective, depending on the type of rewards you’re looking for when you make a booking through the travel booking program.
For those who often travel by airplane, it’s always worth joining an airline frequent flyer program as it will give you more perks toward your flight ticket than any others. Considering that many programs have various merchant partners, you can also benefit from using your miles across the platform. Same goes with the hotel loyalty program if you’re loyal to a specific chain like IHG or Hyatt.
However, if you’re not specifically interested in elite earnings through a specific travel holding, you can opt for a travel booking points program through various online travel agencies, which allow you to earn points when booking a travel package on their platforms.
Question: What is the Biggest online travel agency?
Answer: Booking.com and Expedia are two of the biggest online travel agencies in the market. Each one of them has various travel-related subsidiaries, some even have their own travel booking points programs that remain separated from their parent companies.
Apart from Booking.com, Booking Holdings currently have various big names in the travel industry, including Agoda, Priceline, and Kayak. Meanwhile, Expedia is the parent company of various online travel agencies like Hotels.com, Trivago, and Vrbo.
Question: How do you build travel booking points?
Answer: The more money you spend on travel booking, the more points you can earn for the loyalty program you’re a member of. Having a co-branded credit card like Hilton Credit Card might be the easiest way to build travel booking points faster, as you will be eligible to earn points for every transaction made for travel products.
However, there are also some other ways to build travel booking points, including joining various loyalty programs through hotels, airlines, or online travel agencies.
Travel Booking Points Programs: Conclusion
For an avid traveler, joining a travel booking points program can be super beneficial as it allows me to earn rewards for every booking I make through the platform. It also gives more perks if you choose the best program where you will potentially use most of your money for your travel.
The good news is that on top of the loyalty program held by specific travel brands through hotel chains and airlines, we can now also join a loyalty program through online travel agencies, which allows us to explore more ways to collect travel booking points and redeem them for our travel needs.