Rocketmiles was one of the first award programs on the market that lets you earn airline miles for hotel bookings and you will frequently see their ads and promotions with specific airlines, often offering 3,000 miles for your first booking and more miles per Dollar spent on your hotel bookings. I recently reviewed How to earn Miles with hotelbookings and now will take an in-depth look at Rocketmiles.
If you want to earn airline miles for your hotel bookings, Rocketmiles offers a long list of partners, a total of 36. That includes United, American Airlines in the Americas, British Airways and Flying Blu in Europe, Etihad and Qatar in the Middle East and Singapore Airlines and AirAsia Big in Asia as some of the major players. Notably missing are Delta in the US, Lufthansa in Europe, Emirates in the Middle East and Cathay Pacific and Qantas in Asia-Pacific.
The booking screen is just as easy: Select your destination, dates and rewards program and you are on your way…. except that the next screen is where one of the biggest limitations of Rocketmiles becomes obvious: The severe limitation of available hotels at any given destination. I did three sample searches to evaluate the program and found only 24 hotels in Bangkok (hotels.com had 1,273), 26 hotels in San Francisco (hotels.com had 533) and 68 hotels in London (hotels.com had 1,597). Considering that this small number of hotels in each city is spread over a large area, it doesn’t leave you with a lot of options. If you are flexible with the airline reward program, you can try different ones: For example, the number of available hotels in Bangkok was 58 with AirAsia Big – more than twice the number of hotels with American AAdvantage! If Rocketmiles would carefully curate the most desirable hotels or best values in each city, I’d be ok with the limitation, but that is not really the case. I picked these three cities because I know them well and in each city the short list included very few hotels I’d consider popular or would recommend. While some reviewers see the short list as “helpful”, I’d consider a serious limitation with very little upside compared to other booking sites!
So, where is the value? Rocketmiles offers frequent promotions. You can regularly find sign-up offering 3,000 miles on your first booking! That’s a $45 value and a generous offer worth trying out, if you can find a hotel you like! Rocketmiles also “recommends” hotels with very high miles offers – I found offers of up to 10,000 miles for a booking. Unfortunately, when I compared the prices for these “recommendations” they were the worst deals! For example, the Montien Riverside in Bangkok offered 10,000 miles at a price of $184/night. Sounds great? Not really: The Montien Riverside is available at the same nights for only $68 on hotels.com. Across all of my sample searches (three cities, three hotels each, different dates & room requests), Rocketmiles did well in San Francisco and was worst of all providers in Bangkok. In total, it was significantly more expensive than hotels.com, but cheaper than going directly to the hotel websites when considering the value of miles earned!
Conclusion: If you are planning a specific award trip, need some extra miles to be able to book the ticket and can’t get them via a credit card, Rocketmiles can be an option. It’s especially helpful for one-night bookings with the sign-up bonus. Before you book, I’d recommend to compare to hotels.com or agoda.com to make sure you actually do get a good deal. I’d be especially careful with Rocketmiles “recommendations” as they were the worst deals in each city I tested. I also recommend to read TripAdvisor reviews before booking to ensure those “recommendations” are not hotels well past their prime, in bad locations, with bad service or similar issues! Overall, Rocketmiles won’t be my go-to portal to book hotels, but I will check it out for good deals on promotions!
If you are interested, you can sign-up with a 3,000 point bonus right now using this link! If you want to earn AirAsia Big miles, you can earn 10,000 bonus miles by signing up here! Once these promotions end (or if you want to do me a favor), you can sign up through their referral program here earning you and me each 1,000 points. Check it out to see if you can earn some easy miles, but watch out that you don’t end up paying a lot for those miles with non-competitive rates!