Earlier this week I got a call from Lisa and Justin at Pointhub and we discussed their new website opened in August of this year. It is a typical mileage aggregator with the additional features of searching for paid tickets and awards on the same page. In addition, they give a recommendation on paying cash or using your miles and/or points. They are still loading loyalty programs and international airlines, but the site shows promise already for those who need a place to store their points and miles account numbers and get some help with deciding the age old question:
Do I use miles or pay cash?
At present the site does not take into account extra status inventory (United 1Ks have additional award inventory) but it does factor in many variables when you’re determining if you should pay cash or use points.
I asked Lisa and Justin to give me a synopsis of their site and it follows below. Please feel free to share your opinions and suggestions with them.
- PointHub (www.pointhub.com), a free loyalty program, shopping and management destination, is the single best source for powerful point-redemption recommendations, point loss prevention, and rewards program management.
- PointHub empowers business and leisure travelers to make better use of their incentive programs, reducing the $16 billion lost annually in unused frequent flier miles and rewards points.
- Patent-pending Cash vs. PointsÒRecommendation Engine provides qualified, real-time, side-by-side comparisons between purchase price and rewards points for airlines and hotels, so travelers can determine the best value for their travel.
- The Recommendation Engine eliminates blackout periods and cross-referencing factors such as redemption fees, elite status opportunities, point expiration risk, and personal travel preferences, to provide “best value” travel recommendations that can actually be booked using cash or rewards points. Registered users simply click on the desired option and they are sent directly to the travel provider where they make their reservations without having to enter their personal information again.
- In estimating the value of points and miles, PointHub started with the reward program’s tax filings, current and upcoming terms and conditions, industry accepted values and intrinsic value surveys. But just as world currencies fluctuate, PointHub’s point values fluctuate based on our users’ decisions to use cash or points. PointHub is exploring ways to add transparency to the dozens of factors its “Cash vs. Points Recommendation Engine” computes for each flight and hotel recommendation.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases