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Pete Van Dorn, co-founder and CEO of hotel booking site PointsHound, explained to Loyalty 360 why his eight-month old company is unique.
“The sheer number of miles we offer users is unique,” Van Dorn said. “In the past, frequent flyers could earn 1 or 2 miles per dollar spent on a limited set of hotels, usually just the major chains. And maybe 3x miles per dollar spent during a limited-time promotion. We’ve changed the equation by offering anywhere from 3x all the way up to 20x miles per dollar spent, depending on the hotel. The selection we offer is also unique. We’ve expanded the breadth of options significantly by enabling these earning opportunities across 10 loyalty currencies at 150,000 hotels globally, including chain hotels, independent or boutique hotels, resorts, motels, and even vacation rentals.”
As frequent travelers are also often members of several hotel loyalty programs – 65% participated in two or more hotel loyalty programs in the past six months – PointsHound wants to reward its users with the hotel points and status credits they covet most. As a result of PointsHound user feedback, its Double Up program allows members of major hotel loyalty programs the opportunity to earn their frequent guest points, status credit, and elite benefits in addition to the frequent flyer miles already awarded.
Van Dorn said Double Up will be expanded to include more than 3,500 chain hotel properties in more than 100 U.S. cities. Hotel brands that qualify for Double Up rates include Hyatt Gold Passport, Starwood SPG, Marriott Rewards, Hilton HHonors, and IHG Priority Club frequent guest programs.
With the launch of the Double Up program PointsHound can now guarantee travelers hotel points and credit toward re-qualifying their elite status.
Van Dorn explained why he created PointsHound, which launched in October last year.
“The current complexity and fragmentation of the loyalty space was a big factor in its creation,” he said. “Consumers belong to so many programs these days, all of which are competing for attention with one-off, limited-time promotions that are hard to keep track of. This makes it difficult for consumers to maximize their earning across multiple programs. So recognizing that most consumers are active in multiple loyalty programs, we built a single site that allows consumers to compare earn offers across multiple programs in the same way Kayak simplified shopping for flights. We feel aggregating these offers is a better customer experience than logging into five different loyalty program accounts and doing five searches for the same thing.”
The PointsHound platform integrates with multiple hotel inventory sources and pulls back real-time rates and availability for each search, Van Dorn said. This earn algorithm also takes into account how much the user has engaged with PointsHound in the past (rewarding more engaged users with an accelerated rate of earning) as well as the different types of rates the hotels make available to us. Some hotels offer us “Big Earnings” rates which allow for massive mileage earning and others offer “Double Up” rates which allow for dual earning of miles funded by PointsHound, plus credit with the hotel’s frequent guest program.
Van Dorn hopes the program allows users to receive more of the currencies they value from purchases they are already making.
“Our goal is to help simplify the process of reliably getting the most out of the loyalty programs they are active in,” he said. “We think the answer is a single point of sale for shopping loyalty accrual offers across multiple currencies and multiple products. Not only will we be adding new loyalty programs in the coming months, but also new products to earn points on beyond just hotel stays.”
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