Which Hotel and Airline Loyalty Programs Pair Well Together?

By TripIt

January 28, 2020

By Johnny Jet – For the past 20 years, Johnny Jet averaged 150,000 miles and 20 countries a year. He has been featured in many major publications and appeared on ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC and PBS.

Frequent travelers know the value of being loyal to a certain airline or hotel. Instead of only focusing on earning airline miles or hotel points, some partnerships let you earn both. Consider pairing these hotel and airline loyalty programs to maximize your award miles the next time you travel.

Marriott Bonvoy and Emirates

As one of the largest hotel loyalty programs, Marriott Bonvoy has some fun opportunities—and their most exciting partnership might be with Emirates. Enrolling in the Your World Rewards lets you earn Emirates miles on Marriott stays and Marriott Bonvoy points on Emirates flights.

You can also enjoy matching loyalty status. Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members can enjoy Elite in-airport benefits including priority boarding and check-in.

Marriott Bonvoy and United Airlines

Marriott Bonvoy Titanium and Ambassador Elite members can enjoy complimentary United MileagePlus Premier Silver elite benefits. The RewardsPlus partnership gives you these complimentary United Airlines perks:

  • Access to Economy Plus at check-in for you and one companion (when available)
  • One free checked bag (up to 70 pounds)
  • Premier Access airport services (where available)
  • Earn 7 award miles per $1 on United purchases

You will also be able to convert your United MileagePlus miles to Marriott Bonvoy points at a 1:1 ratio. 

American Airlines and World of Hyatt

You can earn both American Airlines AAdvantage miles and World of Hyatt points when you link both loyalty accounts. It’s also possible to earn a fast-track status in one program from participating in the other. Plus, American Airlines ConciergeKey members can also receive instant World of Hyatt Globalist status. 

Airbnb and Delta Air Lines

You may find yourself staying at short-term Airbnb rentals more often than a standard hotel. Booking your Airbnb itineraries through Delta lets you earn 1x Delta SkyMiles per $1 spent. As Airbnb doesn’t have its own loyalty program (yet), this is a great way to earn more travel miles with Delta Air Lines.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels lets you earn 250 miles per stay with select domestic and international carriers. Several options include Alaska, American Airlines, United, and Spirit. It’s possible to earn more miles when you travel abroad. Some airlines award you a fixed number of points per dollar you spend. 

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines partners with different hotel loyalty programs and independent hotels to award KrisFlyer miles on stays. You can earn up to 25,000 miles when you purchase a Club 1 Hotels membership.

Some travel booking sites also award KrisFlyer miles. This is a good way to earn frequent flyer miles at hotel brands you may not stay at often enough to earn free nights.

Hilton Honors and Priority Pass

You can earn Hilton Honors points when you purchase Priority Pass airport lounge membership. Some premium credit cards offer complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. But if the hotel points are more valuable to you, it’s possible to earn up to 10,000 Hilton points when joining Priority Pass. 

Rocketmiles

Several airline programs partner with Rocketmiles where members can earn up to 10,000 miles per night, depending on where they stay. For most stays, Rocketmiles only lets you earn airline miles, but the hotel will match your current hotel loyalty status. The stays may also count as a qualifying night to maintain hotel elite status. Booking through Rocketmiles may earn more miles than doing so through the airline’s direct partnership with the hotel.

Branded Credit Cards

An indirect way to maximize your hotel and airline miles (and possibly save money on travel) is by using a branded credit card. Each card purchase earns travel points. Some cards earn bonus points on select travel purchases outside of the co-brand loyalty program. This might be your best option when you’re not loyal to a certain airline and hotel pairing.

Hotel credit cards are more likely to award bonus points on airline purchases. For instance, select co-brand cards for Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt hotel loyalty programs earn bonus points on plane tickets.

You normally need to purchase plane tickets directly from the airline to earn the bonus purchase rewards. These rewards points deposit into your hotel loyalty account. Then, the frequent flyer miles go into your airline account once your flights are complete.

A few airline credit cards now offer bonus rewards on hotel bookings as part of their credit card perks. Similar to the airline credit cards, you will likely need to book your hotel stay directly from the hotel. This is usually your best option as some hotels won’t award hotel points if you reserve your nights on a third-party travel agency.

Here are some of the cards that offer bonus points:

  • AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard: 2x AAdvantage miles on hotels and car rentals
  • Aer Lingus Visa Signature: 2x Avios on hotel accommodations
  • British Airways Visa Signature: 2x Avios on hotel accommodations
  • Iberia Visa Signature: 2x Avios on hotel accommodations
  • United Explorer Card: 2x MileagePlus miles on hotels booked directly from the airline

Most airlines credit cards still tend to award 2 airline miles on airline purchases and 1 mile per $1 on non-airline purchases.

Airline Miles or Hotel Points?

In addition to these partnerships, most hotel loyalty programs give you the option to earn miles instead of hotel points. To explore these different partnerships, log into your airline or hotel loyalty account. You will need to enter your corresponding frequent flyer number to change your earning preference. Many of the largest airlines partner with your favorite hotels to offer this option. 

DisclaimerOpinions expressed here are author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by TripIt. The author may include references to products from advertisers. For an explanation of this contributor’s advertising disclosure, please click here.