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Do Flight Attendants Earn Points For Staying In Hotels Between Flights?

by SharonKurheg

If you’ve followed Your Mileage May Vary for any period of time, you know that in between our bona fide informative posts about credit cards, hotels, airports, airlines, our travels, etc., we tend to throw in more quirky topics here and there. Because everyone needs to know about 36 things Virgin Voyages don’t tell you about their cruises, that time when the South Park guys bought Casa Bonita, one of the best travel-related pieces The Onion ever wrote, and, of course, everything you ever wanted to know about the pineapple people.

That reputation for quirkiness, if you will, apparently precedes us. I know this to be true, because one of our longtime readers, Christian P., recently asked us a question that other travel bloggers probably wouldn’t cover: Do flight staff earn hotel points for staying in hotels between flights?

I didn’t know the answer, but I intended to find out.

Background information: when flight attendants, pilots, etc., fly, they ideally start and end in their home city. So, for example, they live in Las Vegas, work for Spirit, and hopefully begin their day at Harry Reid International Airport (LAS), fly to all the places on their schedule, and their last flight of the day ends at LAS, so they can sleep in their own home, in their own bed.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always end that way. A flight attendant from Honolulu (HNL) may fly to Newark (EWR) and then has to sleep over in Newark because they’ve already flown as many hours as they’re allowed for the day.

Of course, that’s simplifying the matter, but in that circumstance, the airline pays for the flight crew to stay in a hotel overnight. Each airline has contracts with hotels all across the country (and, for international flights, around the world), so their staff has a place to spend the night if they can’t get back home on a given day, because of their schedules, locations, how long they’ve worked that day, etc.

Most contracted hotels are name brands we know – Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, etc. Those that are name brands all would, of course, typically offer, respectively, Hilton Honors points, World of Hyatt points or Marriott Bonvoy loyalty points for guests paying cash (or the electronic equivalent thereof) to stay with their brands. But whether or not the flight crew get said points has a lot of variables, which are usually included in the specifics of those aforementioned individual contracts. Said specifics will vary from hotel to hotel, even if it’s the same brand. So an airport adjacent Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites in Des Moines may give flight crew hotel points for their stay, but the one closest to, I dunno, say DFW, might not.

Other hotels won’t give flight staff points, but they’ll offer them room nights (this happens more often than giving them points). This, in turn, can eventually give the flight attendants, pilots, etc. status with whatever chain it is.

To add to the confusion, some of these hotels MIGHT gives you points or room nights…but only if you buy something. So if you charge a soda or candy bar to the room, you can get the points. And if you forget to do so, you can kiss that room night goodbye.

That’s how it was explained to me by friends who are flight attendants for, respectively, JetBlue, Spirit and Delta. And then another friend of mine who works for Delta put it this way:

Yeah, there are always contracts at those hotels we stay at for our layovers. However, it all just depends on what that individual contract stipulates and/or what the individual hotel operator wants to do when it comes to points/stay credit. I can really only speak to what I know at DL, and that’s, in general, we do not get points but usually get stay credit – but it is very inconsistent across brands and even across individual properties. It is usual for me to find myself with stay credit at most brands, but typically I have to make a small room charge in order to “activate” it, if you will. Again, it all just comes down to the individual contract and what is offered. That also includes things like discounts for food and beverage, as different airlines usually get a different discount for purchases at each hotel.

Yet another friend, who currently works for Spirit but used to work for one of the legacy airlines, mentioned another interesting fact: Spirit tends to put their staff up at lower-level hotels than the legacy airlines do. This isn’t really surprising – ultra-low-cost carriers charge less, but it means they have to save wherever and whenever possible.

So there you go. Do flight staff earn hotel points for staying in hotels between flights? It’s a definite maybe. Sometimes. And it’s never consistent, even across the same brand. And you may get a night credit instead, which can eventually earn you status. And you may have to make a small purchase, but maybe not. Or you may get nothing for staying there on the company’s dime. It all depends.

*** Many thanks to my flight attendant friends from Delta, JetBlue & Spirit who help me with the answers to this, post. And a special thank you to our reader, Christian P., for asking about it.

Feature Photo: CityFlatsHotel

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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