I recently reviewed the option to earn airline reward miles with hotel bookings and now it’s time for an in-depth review of Kaligo, one of the portals allowing you to do that! Do the miles earned really make it a better deal than booking through the hotel website with their “best rate guarantee” or the big hotel booking portals? Find out below!
If you want to earn airline reward miles with your hotel bookings, you need to make sure your preferred airline is part of the program: Kaligo is currently partnering with 28 airlines around the world. That list includes American Airlines and United in the US, Air France/KLM and British Airways in Europe, Etihad and Qatar in the Middle East and Singapore and Cathay Pacific in Asia. While that covers a lot of the big players, Delta in the US, Lufthansa in Europe and Qantas in Asia-Pacific are missing from the list! StarAlliance and OneWorld are much better represented than SkyTeam!
Sign-up for Kaligo is easy and they offer frequent promotions with a variety of partners. Currently, you can earn bonus miles with the following airlines:
Thai Airways (earn at least 5,000 miles for bookings before December 31, 2015)
British Airways (bonus of 3,000 Avios for first booking by December 31th, 2015)
I used an AirAsia promotion (5,000 bonus miles) earlier this year and earned more points with one hotel booking than with all my flights over the years! Other current promotions include Etihad and Avianca!
This is how their booking screen looks like, not much different to other hotel booking sites:
I value airline miles generally at 1.5cents/mile, because I use them only for premium cabin awards, resulting in a value of $45-75 for these sign-up bonuses. Whether that is a good deal or not depends on the hotel prices they charge! So, I conducted a number of test searches, looking at three cities around the world (Bangkok, London, San Francisco) for weekend and weekday stays of 1 or two people. I compared those searches to the hotel’s own website and the big booking portals hotels.com and agoda.com to assess the value of the overall deal, including the headline price minus the value of the miles you earn!
The first thing that you notice when you start a Kaligo search is that you’ll get a good selection of hotels, from 226 in San Francisco to 846 in London. While that is only roughly half of what hotels.com or agoda.com offer, it’s sufficient choice to find a hotel you like in the neighborhood you want at a price you can afford.
While you get a good selection of hotels, the prices on offer are not very appealing: The prices per night are consistently higher than when booking through the hotel site or a generic hotel booking portal and even the value of the miles you earn can’t turn around that picture!
Conclusion: Kaligo needs to work on their hotel prices, if they want to be a competitive hotel booking site! Currently, you can find the best value during the promotions I outlined above. When you do book through the links above and collect the bonus points, you still have to be careful and compare the hotel rates they charge to ensure you are not overpaying for those miles. Kaligo was most competitive for hotels in Asia and was the cheapest for the Riverside Montien in Bangkok with the next best offer being 42.5% higher! If you are in desperate need of airline reward miles, proceed with caution – you might be better off with credit card offers or outright buying miles during an airline promotion!
If you find a good deal and get value out of the promotion, I recommend to sign up via the promotion links above. If they don’t match, you can alsosign up through my link, you get a 1,000 miles bonus at Kaligo – and I do too, after your first stay!
Stay tuned for reviews of Rocketmiles and PointsHound, as well as a comparison down the road!