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Kaligo has launched what appears to be a very attractive promo, giving 50% Bonus Etihad miles for hotel bookings. There’s another 20% bonus for paying with an MBNA Etihad Amex or Visa Card, giving a potential 70% in total.
Kaligo has been covered by us several times before. They offer miles from a range of frequent flyer programmes, when you book hotels using their service. Depending on the hotel, room cost and loyalty programme selected, you can sometimes get a sizeable bunch of miles for a hotel you were going to book anyway.
To see if this was a genuine promo, I did a couple of comparative dummy bookings. I used two Kaligo accounts, one that was signed up for the promo, and one that wasn’t. I searched for a night at the London Hilton Park Lane on the 19th of Nov.
Result when using the account not signed up for the promo:
Result when using the account signed up for the promo:
This confirms that the promo is working as advertised, offering me exactly 70% more miles than without the promo. I decided to check out what Avios I would be offered for this booking.
Interestingly, I got almost the same number of Avios as I got Etihad miles even with the Etihad bonus. The cash price is consistently £310. This is a refundable rate for a twin room without breakfast. The cash element doesn’t appear to change based on the loyalty programme selected.
What do those miles cost ?
To see if there was a hidden cost associated with these ‘free’ miles, I decided to look at the price on Hilton‘s own website. I was amazed at the result:
That’s right, your eyes don’t deceive you, the identical room is £40 more expensive on hilton.com than on Kaligo, and that is the HHonors Discount rate. As it happens, there is a Hilton flash sale on, and there are several room types that are cheaper. In fact there is an executive room available for £289. But if you need a room with 2 beds, this is the cheapest flexible room available on hilton.com. Far from those miles costing money, the miles are free AND the room rate is cheaper on Kaligo.
As an aside, on the basis of the lower Kaligo price you could actually submit a Hilton “Best Price Guarantee” claim here and get the room for £310 minus 25%, saving you £77.50 on the Kaligo price. Given that £77.50 is almost certainly worth more than 6460 Etihad Guest miles or 6100 Avios, this would actually be the better option – but that’s not the focus of this article! For more about Best Rate Guarantees, see our dedicated article here.
A couple of caveats and summing up.
Remember of course if you book directly with Hilton, you’ll get Hilton points and credit for the stay, and the cut-off date for cancelling is a couple of days more generous than with Kaligo. However Hilton is generally pretty good at recognising status on 3rd party bookings, so your gold/diamond benefits are likely to be honoured.
The promo isn’t telling any fibs, you are getting 70% Bonus Etihad miles with the promo. So, if you are gathering Etihad miles, it is certainly a good bonus. The sign-up page is here. Bookings must be made by the 30th of November, for stays up to the 31st of March 2017. I’ve also shown that even with the promo, you’re only getting slightly more miles than if you selected Avios.
Finally, the consensus is that these services are generally a more expensive way of booking a hotel. I expected to discover similarly. So it came as a surprise to me that a hotel I picked at random turned out to be cheaper on Kaligo, than on Hilton’s own website. I’m certain it’s not the norm, but it proves that these booking services do sometimes give genuine value.