A few weeks ago I wrote about American Airlines new hotel booking website. It’s a partnership with Booking.com. Essentially AAdvantage members can earn bonus miles for booking hotels through this portal. The site operates in the same fashion as Rocketmiles and Pointshound. Depending on the property, you can earn up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles per night. Typically, the more expensive the hotel, the more bonus miles you’ll earn. Well, I just booked my first stay using American Airlines Hotels and I’d like to give some background on why.
American Airlines Hotels?
I should make one thing clear, I have no idea what American Airlines is calling this new site. Here’s a screenshot from the email announcement I got a few weeks ago:
I’m just going to call this American Airlines Hotels instead of “Our new hotel site”. Perhaps this is some sort of beta program, who knows. It’s really difficult to even find the site online if you didn’t get the email. Anyway, just click this link if you can’t find it.
Why I’m Using American Airlines Hotels
Points and miles strategies are always changing. Furthermore, everyone has different preferences on how to best use their points. Last week I had an epiphany about earning hotel points and status. In short, I’ve concluded that I’d rather earn bonus airline miles on hotel stays than hotel status and points. I don’t see nearly as much value in a suite upgrade as I do a lie flat seat on a long-haul flight. As a result, I’m gravitating towards sites like Rocketmiles, and now American Airlines hotels for my hotel bookings. Perhaps this could change down the road, but that’s where my head is at right now. For this particular booking, American Airlines hotels had a higher mileage bonus than Rocketmiles.
North Las Vegas Hotels
Tomorrow I’m hitting the road for a quick business trip up to Las Vegas. Our client is in a rather nondescript part of town often referred to as North Las Vegas. My colleague pinpointed the exact area where we’d need to stay. There were four hotel options just off the highway that would work for us:
Hampton Inn North Las Vegas – $130/night
Best Western North Las Vegas – $120/night
Springhill Suites North Las Vegas – $170/night
Cannery Hotel & Casino – $70/night
As you can see, none of these hotels are glamorous. Very basic roadside hotels. When we travel for work we’re hardly in the room. As long as it’s relatively clean, then we’re happy. These four hotels are all in the same range on Tripadvisor and have similar reviews. Of course the major difference is that the first three have loyalty programs, while Cannery is independent.
American Airlines Hotel Booking
On the surface, Cannery seemed to be the best option as long as I stay out of the casino. It’s $50/night cheaper than the next closest choice. Of course if I were a Hilton, Marriott, or Best Western loyalist, I’d probably ignore that reality and blindly go to one of the other three. I’m done with that line of thought for time being. Instead I decided to go with Cannery. I’m saving $50, and earning 1,000 AAdvantage miles for my stay. Sure that’s not a ton of miles, but it’s more valuable than any points I would have earned at those other hotels.
I think one important thing to note is that I own my own business. As a result, saving $50 is inherently more valuable to me than somebody that is expending their trip. If all four properties were the same price, would I still choose Cannery? I’d say yes unless I was able to score a large Marriott bonus. But reality is, they aren’t the same price…
At the moment I’m feeling good about my shift in hotel strategy. These mileage bonus sites open the door for me to stay at several independent properties that I might not have otherwise explored. Furthermore, this is one small step closer to something I value much more than suite upgrades – a free premium cabin ticket overseas.