Earn Qantas, Virgin Australia frequent flyer points on hotel stays

By Chris C., May 18 2015
Earn Qantas, Virgin Australia frequent flyer points on hotel stays

Whether you’re planning an overnight domestic hop or a longer international jaunt, don’t miss out on earning a hoard of Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer points on your next hotel stay.

With many hotels, it’s not as simple as presenting your frequent flyer card at the check-in desk: you’ll need to join that hotel’s own loyalty program first, and use that program to funnel points to an airline of your choice.

Here’s how it’s done with Accor, Hilton, IHG and Starwood, and how you could also be earning frequent flyer points at any hotel around the world – even if they’re not traditionally tied to an airline and its loyalty scheme.

Accor Le Club / Le Club Accorhotels

Covering brands such as Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel and Mercure, Accor’s Le Club scheme lets its members earn Le Club points when staying in-house, which can later be converted into airline frequent flyer points.

The number of Le Club points you’ll pick up depends on which hotel brand you’re staying with and your Le Club membership tier, although once you’ve notched up 4,000 Le Club points, you can trade those in for 4,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

Virgin Australia isn’t part of the Le Club program, but those same 4,000 Le Club points could also get you a lesser 2,000 miles with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and more.

Unless all of your stays are company-funded, another smart way of using your Le Club points is to offset the cost of a future hotel visit, with 4,000 Le Club points equal to €80 in savings – roughly A$113 using today’s exchange rate.

Hilton HHonors

Going beyond the Hilton chain to include Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, DoubleTree and more, Hilton HHonors members can earn frequent flyer points by setting their HHonors earning preference to ‘Points & Miles’.

That serves up 10 HHonors points per US$1 spent (or its equivalent in the hotel’s local currency), along with a side dish of two Virgin Australia Velocity points or one point or mile with Qantas, Singapore Airlines, United, Emirates, Etihad and more on the same spend.

Your other option is to select ‘Points & Points’ – delivering 15 HHonors points per US$1 in lieu of also earning frequent flyer points.

Members who take either path can then manually convert their HHonors balance into frequent flyer points, with 10,000 HH points equal to 1,500 Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer points, or 1,000 miles with most other airlines.

IHG Rewards Club

Counting InterContinental Hotels, Hualuxe, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and more under its umbrella, IHG Rewards Club members must choose up-front whether to earn Rewards Club points or airline frequent flyer miles – you can’t earn both as you can with HHonors.

IHG’s frequent flyer rates vary by airline and brand. With Qantas you’d net three frequent flyer points per dollar on hotel stays within Australia, a fixed 1,000 frequent flyer points per stay at overseas InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties and 600 points per stay with all other chains.

Virgin Australia is similar in Australia although provides a flat 600 points per stay abroad with any chain, while airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Cathay Pacific deliver a simple 500 miles per stay in any country, including Australia.

American Airlines, Singapore Airlines, United and more offer different rates again: two miles per US$1 spent at most brands and one mile per US$1 at Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

IHG members can also convert 10,000 Rewards Club points into 2,000 frequent flyer points or miles with the airlines above and more.

Starwood Preferred Guest / SPG

At chains such as Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels and Le Meridien, all Starwood Preferred Guest members first earn Starpoints, which can later be swapped for frequent flyer points.

Qantas is absent from SPG’s long list of airline partners, although Starpoints can be converted to frequent flyer points on a 1:1 basis with Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and more, or on a 2:1 basis with United’s MileagePlus scheme.

As an added bonus, you’ll grab an extra 5,000 Starpoints with every frequent flyer transfer of 20,000 Starpoints, which boosts a 20,000-point balance into 25,000 frequent flyer points or miles with most airlines.

Entry-level Preferred members need at least 2,500 Starpoints in their account before they can become frequent flyer points, Gold members need just 1,500 Starpoints while Platinum members enjoy no minimum transfer limits.

Qantas Hotels, Agoda + Velocity

While other hotel chains may offer frequent flyer points on selected room rates or in exchange for points earned in their own loyalty programs, a simpler way to earn points on the road is to book via Qantas Hotels, or at agoda.com.au/virginaustralia.

That brings about three points per dollar with the Red Roo, but you’ll need to watch that your chosen hotel indeed awards Qantas Points, as the Qantas Hotels booking engine won’t spit out any frequent flyer points on bookings made unless that hotel is also linked-up to Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Agoda, on the other hand, delivers three Virgin Australia Velocity points per dollar on all hotel bookings – whether or not that particular hotel is also a Velocity Frequent Flyer partner in its own right, while Silver, Gold and Platinum members also receive a 50%, 75% or 100% bonus on top.

But as with Qantas Hotels, there’s also a catch here: you only earn points when booking at agoda.com.au/virginaustralia, not on the regular Agoda website. Forget to use that special link and you’ll earn no frequent flyer points at all.

Also keep in mind that using either Qantas Hotels or Agoda to reserve your next hotel stay will likely mean forfeiting any loyalty points with that hotel’s own program, the accumulation of ‘nights’ or ‘stays’ in that same program, and in some cases your on-property benefits such as upgrades and free Internet.

Also read: Want points for your hotel stay? Avoid third-party booking websites

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2012

Total posts 125

A good informative article Chris.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 186

Just to clarify the last point in the article. Is it explicitly stated in say IHG t&c that booking through a third party say Qantas hotels prevents your IHG status being recognised and benefits apply? That's a pain...

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2476

Hi DrTGanguly,

We can't interpret a program's Terms and Conditions for you, although this is covered in more detail in the article linked immediately below that paragraph.

While a property may or may not choose to recognise your existing status even booking via third party website, you wouldn't earn any additional 'nights' under the IHG program and thus a stay booked via a third party wouldn't help to retain that status.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 476

Hi Chris

This is a really complex space now particularly for those of us who can pick where we stay and how to direct loyalty points.

Whilst I can choose where I stay within budget limits I know my hotel preference behaviours have changed in the past 18m - due primarily to

  1. My credit card (Amex platinum) includes reasonably high status levels across most major hotel groups; and 
  2. Qantas Hotels seem to be aggressively in the market with really attractive offers - quite often I'll find the hotels I want with points multipliers up to 6x
So when I'm needing to book hotels I'm usually deferring to Qantas first to determine what special offers are available and if nothing stands out, I'll then check those Hotel groups where I've got status and am close to redeeming points for something like a family weekend away. 
Prior to this I would have looked at where I'm likely to be working in the next 6-9m and directed hotel stays at whichever group was likely to deliver most benefits...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 360

I don't know why would anyone want to credit their hotel stay to Qantas points, unless it's under some promotion where your earn rate is at least 2x other FFP and the rate is the cheapest!

When I travel, unfortunately it's all out of pocket, I tend not to stick to the big hotel chains, but some reasonably priced, but comfortable, clean and conveniently positioned business hotels, these ones are often best found on agoda. But also other 3rd party ones like Rocket Miles, Points Hound and Kaligo.  Sometimes I can find hotel at super cheap rate at the same time earning heaps of points. (Note, these sites often have a higher rate, you practically are "buying" the points. But not always.) Overall I find Agoda the best value, but always shop around. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 241

Good post Chris.

When it comes to hotel perks, (rather then points,) I’ve had the best success with ringing the property directly. I simply say something like we’re both business people, I’ll book with you now over the phone so you don’t have to pay commission and there are no issues with modifications, but are there any specials?

I’ve gotten free upgrades, breakfast, internet or all three! I’ve got no status with any of the hotel loyalty programs either. I get that I miss out on points, but I’m OK with forfeiting a few hundred points for a few extra perks.

Also, as someone in the accommodation biz, all of the online travel agencies (OTA’s) have parity agreements with hotels. That is, if and OTA such as Agoda is telling you they have the best price, it’s spin. You should be able to get it elsewhere too.

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