If I’m being honest, I usually skip deals that offer extra miles for booking hotels. In my experience, the rates are almost always higher than what you could get on your own. Plus, you usually give up cash back. I’m just not that interested in getting an extra 800 miles in an airline program I may or may not end up using in the future. I’m not saying that you can’t score a great deal, especially if you have to book a very expensive property anyway. I just never found anything worthwhile.
That’s why I almost ignored this particular deal, and it would have been a mistake. Yesterday I saw a post on Frequent Miler mentioning that Lufthansa program is giving out 30X miles per euro (27X miles per dollar) on Booking.com reservations.
Link to a deal (copied from FM website)
You do have to sign up for Miles and More membership first (free), then book via website mentioned above. I actually happened to have a reservation for several apartments on Booking.com in Zakopane, Poland. That’s where I’m hoping to meet my family next July. I checked the rates by going through the promotional link, and they were exactly the same as what I got on my own. You don’t have to prepay your reservation to get miles, but you do have to book through the end of December.
So, I went ahead and canceled my reservation and rebooked it via Lufthansa link. If all goes well, I should get almost 38k Lufthansa miles no later than 64 days after the stay is completed.
It’s very rare that you can get miles 100% free, but this is one of those times. I literally booked the exact same apartments for the exact same rate. It only took me a few minuets to cancel and rebook. Can’t beat that.
I was also thinking about reserving two hotel rooms at a boutique hotel in Bruges, Belgium. I figured that I might as well book them now, while this incentive is in place. So, I should get an additional 18k Lufthansa miles if all goes well. If our plans change, I can cancel both reservations without penalty.
But how valuable are Lufthansa miles anyway?
To me, they are not worth a whole lot. Miles do expire 3 years after they are earned, unless you have top-tier status. So, I will have to prioritize using them as soon as they hit my account. Lufthansa program does pass on fuel surcharges, making some awards obsolete. But if you live near a United hub, you could get some decent value out of these miles, at least in theory. BTW, United does not have fuel surcharges. Of course, it does depend on whether there are saver awards available, and United has been pretty stingy with releasing those recently.
A few options that interest me personally are flights between Sarasota and Denver (20k miles one-way), and Tampa and Quebec City (18k miles). The latter would actually be quite a good deal, as cash fares tend to cost $250 per person one-way on this route. So, even after factoring in taxes, we should get 1 cent per mile. Not bad. Of course, finding award seats on Air Canada will likely be a challenge. Flexibility is key.
Then again, these miles will cost me nothing, zero. So any value I get out of them is a win. And if I don’t find a good use for this stash, I can always gift them to Nancy or another friend in this hobby.
Booking.com vs. travel portals
I’m a big fan of Booking.com website and find myself using it more often than not. It offers way more options than Chase/Capital One travel portals or any other travel booking sites. The apartments in Zakopane I’ve mentioned earlier were not even listed anywhere but Booking.com And the hotel in Bruges was listed as “sold out” on Chase and Capital One despite having availability.
As nice as it is to get 1.5 cents per point on lodging via cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve, what good does it do if you can’t book what you actually want? That’s why Booking.com is the winner in my book. I don’t use it all the time, but I certainly check it first when looking for lodging. And if I can pick up almost 55k miles for free, that’s even better.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.