Earning travel rewards points has never been so easy thanks to Agoda’s PointsMAX. It's easy to use interface means that you can see how many points you'll earn on each booking.
Over the last few years we have spent much of our time on the road. At this point, we have got the whole travel planning thing down to a fine art... and along the way we have even picked up a few tricks; We've figured out the best days to fly, what airlines have the best deals, when to stay in a rental vs. a hotel and what websites and apps to use to make the process easier. Thanks to the awesome power of the internet it is possible to both save money, and discover unique and interesting experiences if you know where to look.
Now unlike some travelers, we're not obsessed about saving every last cent and earning every possible reward point -- even though we do like to make savings when we can! There are people who have become experts in gaming points systems and finding flight deals, and who devote hours and hours to the practice. While we might be a bit more adept than the average person, we are not those people…it’s a full time job to master rewards points!
Sometimes it can seem like a lot of effort is needed in order to get any meaningful rewards or deals, and I just don’t have the time and patience for it. I would rather spend my time out exploring whichever beautiful place I find myself in rather than sitting on a computer pouring over deals for hours on end. I also don’t like the idea of creating complicated flight sequences in order to earn the maximum number of points and air miles. I want to go where I want to go as quickly and as comfortably as possible.
You can imagine then, how I reacted when I saw that Agoda had launched a points program, PointsMAX -- a program that allows you to earn points on 36 different rewards and loyalty programs when booking a room. I’m sure it’s good I thought, but it will probably require more effort than I am willing to put into it. I dismissed it at first, but after a couple of days my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to investigate for a trip we were planning to Venice, Italy.
I entered the name of a hotel which we we were interested in staying at and found that the price was exactly the same as what was being offered through other travel search engines. Some more comparisons gave me the same result – as a search engine Agoda will certainly give you deals that are just as good as you will find on its competitors. The difference however was that only Agoda was able to show me how many rewards points i'd earn by making the booking. The value of their new points feature was now immediately obvious. Basically with Agoda's PointsMAX system, it's an easy way to see what hotel offers give you the max amount of points for the loyalty programs you belong to, in one simple interface
That hotel which I was looking to book would earn me close to 1000 points on a loyalty program I was already signed up to. Had i not used Agoda, I would have missed out on some easy reward points.
The problem is that there are so many loyalty schemes, points systems, and rewards cards out there that it can be hard to keep track of what you are signed up to. What’s more, it can sometimes be hard to know if the thing you are booking is affiliated with one of your plans. And if you’re like us, not really loyal to one program, it can be a daunting task to log into every program you belong to, and find the best deal. The Agoda system makes it clear as day. Not only will you find a good price, you will also know instantly whether you have the chance to earn points or not and with one program…a genius idea.
You simply create an account, connect the various rewards programs you belong to (they currently work with 36 programs) and voilà you’re ready to go. As you begin to search, you’ll notice that each result tells you how many points you stand to earn by making a booking, depending on what rewards program you want to use. Having everything listed in front of you, in an easy to read interface, makes it easy to remember which ones you are signed up to, where to get the best deal and you can be sure that you will never miss out on points again.
While the system is relatively new, it is growing quickly and there are already a large number of rewards and air miles programs affiliated to it – including many of the most popular ones. You can earn miles with American Airlines, United and Delta through Agoda, as well as with British and Qatar Airways, and Emirates. Velocity frequent flyer program is also on board, as is Avios Travel Rewards Program. Overall it is a pretty good selection, and I am sure that the list of partners will continue to grow over the next few years.
There is no question that this is a powerful tool and one which we will be using in the future, however after some experimenting with the PointsMAX system, I did notice a couple of things that you should be aware of if you choose to use it.
First of all, in order to get the points you may find yourself paying a little more for the room itself. There were a couple of occasions where I made a search and found that the price was slightly higher with PointsMAX turned on than it was for the same room with the system turned off. This might be a worthwhile trade off depending on the number of points on offer, but it is something to take into account. This is far from the norm however, and most searches will return the same price either way. It is a good idea to take the extra time needed to work out whether there is a price difference, and if so, whether the points justify paying a bit extra.
Another thing, is that because you are booking through a third party (Agoda), it can take some time for the points you earn to actually make it onto your reward account. This could be anywhere from two to eight weeks. For many people this will not really be an inconvenience, but if you are planning a trip and hoping to use some of your points straight away, you might find that you have to wait until next time to reap the rewards of your bookings.
Despite a little initial skepticism, I have to admit that I like what Agoda has done and I haven’t been able to find a similar system to use. Reward programs are something which we have benefitted from occasionally but we have never really found ourselves motivated enough to really engage with them fully. This has changed that a bit, as it makes it so easy to earn points – it requires more or less the same amount of effort as booking a hotel normally takes. While I will still be comparing prices found on other websites, I will definitely be visiting Agoda more from now on.
For more information about Agoda PointsMAX, please follow the link below