Hotels My Way
A great way to add to your points balance is to use Qantas Hotels for all of your accommodation bookings. You’ll earn 3 QFF points for every dollar, but look out for promotions when Qantas offers up to triple points. Think of this as a way that your CURRENT holiday can help to start paying for your NEXT holiday.
Qantas may not have as many properties as booking.com, and the search engine is a little less user friendly, but I think it’s still worth it for the points.
If you really don’t like the Qantas search engine, try looking at properties on another booking site like booking.com. Once you’ve found your property go to Qantas to see if they have the same hotel.
Before you commit to the booking you should check a comparison website like trivago to see if the property is cheaper somewhere else – Qantas has a price guarantee. Find the same property at a cheaper rate somewhere else and Qantas will match it AND give you 1000 bonus points for your trouble.
The price guarantee is subject to various conditions (of course) and must be exercised on the day of booking. I’ve never tested it – because I’ve never had to. It specifies Australian websites, so I’m not sure if they’ll match booking.com.
Having said that, the support and assistance I’ve received from Qantas on a couple of occasions when things went wrong has been excellent. Dealing with Booking.com on the other hand has usually been a long drawn out ordeal.
The other disadvantage of Qantas Hotels is that you are charged at the time of booking. Typically with booking.com you won’t pay until you arrive at the property.
If you are like me, you don’t have overwhelming loyalty for any particular hotel brand. Choosing a hotel is primarily about location for me. So I won’t mind if the perfectly located hotel is a Hilton or a Hyatt or a Howard Johnston (subject to price of course).
That’s why I never paid too much attention to hotel loyalty programs – because I never stayed at the same brand often enough to collect a useable points balance.
But I’ve recently changed my view. Most hotels belong to a group loyalty program and most group loyalty programs have airline partners. Meaning that you can redeem those scrappy points balances for QFF points and actually get to use them one day.
For example, the Hilton HHonours program covers Hilton, Hampton, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria hotels and more. You earn up to 10 points per $US spent on stays. You’ll earn more points for your spend at the property. And you can set your preferences to automatically convert your points to a range of airline miles programs including Qantas Frequent Flyers.
Book Hilton Hotel at Qantas Hotels for $2000 Earn 6000 QFF Points
Pay with Qantas Amex Ultimate card Earn 2500 QFF Points
Spend $200 on room charges at Hotel
Earn 14,960 HHonours points exchange for miles Earn 2244 QFF Points
That’s a total of 10,744 points for a $2,200 spend. Using my redemption valuation of 3 cents per point, you’ve just added $322 worth of buying power to your QFF balance.
Here are some of the major hotel loyalty programs that allow you to exchange points for QFF points:
World of Hyatt
Choice Privileges Choice Hotels
IHG Rewards Club
Pan Pacific Discovery
Accor Hotels Le Club
They all have different redemption rates, exclusions and conditions, but all are free to join.
So my tip is: join them all!
Set your redemption preferences to Qantas, tell the hotel you are a member on check in, and hoard all those extra points on your next holiday that might otherwise go to waste.