Rocketmiles is a hotel booking site where you earn thousands of bonus airline miles for booking hotel stays at the prevailing rate online. You can earn:
- American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
- Delta SkyMiles
- Hawaiian Miles
- United MileagePlus Miles
- US Airways Dividend Miles
- and, starting today, Virgin America Elevate Points
Everyone knows hotels booking sites get big commissions for being the middle man, and Rocketmiles passes part of that commission back to us in the form of thousands of miles.
To celebrate adding Virgin America as the site’s sixth airline partner, today launches a four-week promotion from Rocketmiles: earn 3,000 extra Virgin America Elevate points in addition to the Elevate points you would ordinarily earn from booking your first stay through Rocketmiles. Earn 5,000 bonus Virgin America Elevate points if you have Virgin America status!
Plus if you use this referral link, you and I also earn 1,000 bonus miles upon check out from your first booking!
The combined 4,000 bonus points from booking your first stay today is worth about $80 to me!
12k Virgin America points is enough for one way to Hawaii and 20k is enough for one way in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, so the points here are substantial!
How can you earn thousands of bonus Virgin America points by booking a hotel stay today? Why do you want Virgin America points?
Rocketmiles launched a few months ago and explains its business this way:
The key claim is the first one that Rocketmiles charges “the same hotel rates” as the hotels themselves and other online booking engines. If that’s true, Rocketmiles will give you thousands of miles for something you would have done anyway–AKA free miles. I have tested this claim twice and will give my results below.
Rocketmiles estimates that the average business traveler would earn 80,000 free miles per year using Rocketmiles, and of course that’s not inclusive of today’s bonus.
The average business traveler takes 12 trips every year and stays 2.4 nights per trip. Sarah fits this description. She earns an average of 3,000 miles for each night she books on Rocketmiles. That’s 80,000 extra miles every year.
Rocketmiles prides itself on offering fewer hotel options than other hotel-booking sites, curating a list of only a “handful” of hotels in select cites:
Indeed when I searched Los Angeles in October, Rocketmiles offered 11 choices, and Kayak.com offered 790.
Does Rocketmiles offer the same price?
This is the biggest question for me. If Rocketmiles offers the same price you can get elsewhere, it is offering free miles for booking at Rocketmiles.com out of the huge commission online hotel-booking sites earn. And it means you can book hotels for business travel guilt free, knowing that you aren’t costing your company anything extra.
If Rocketmiles doesn’t offer the same price as competitors, then booking at Rocketmiles would be conceptually equal to buying the bonus miles in exchange for paying the higher rate.
My Test Booking in Los Angeles
Go to Rocketmiles now and run some searches to see the number of points you’d earn on your typical hotel stay and whether the prices match other engines. Make sure your search includes Virgin America as the points you want to earn and is for a stay before December 31, so the stay would count toward this promo.
I’m considering a stay in Los Angeles for two days after the Chicago Seminars this October. Here was the top of my search results for downtown Los Angeles on those dates (results are organized by the part of the city and miles you can earn from a booking):
For a two-night stay, I could earn up to 6k Virgin America points–not including today’s bonuses–on a room that costs $249/night by choosing the LA Hotel Downtown.
But how does the $249/night rate at Rocketmiles compare to competitors? It is the same price as kayak.com returned for the hotel by searching several competing hotel booking engines.
The JW Marriott at LA Live also had the same price on Rocketmiles as Kayak, though the Millennium Biltmore was $12 cheaper on Kayak.
In fact, 9 out of the 11 hotels in Los Angeles were the same price on Rocketmiles as on kayak.com. For more examples and to see the results of a test I performed on the Las Vegas market with Rocketmiles, see this post.
The clear lesson is to search on Rocketmiles and its competitors and figure out in each case whether it makes sense to book with Rocketmiles because sometimes the prices do differ substantially as they did for the LA Hotel Downtown last night when I was doing a test booking.
When the prices differ by more than a few dollars, I would run the numbers. I wouldn’t buy 10,000 United miles for the $208 difference in price (over two nights) on the LA Hotel Downtown. But when the prices are the same, and you can earn 10k United miles or 6k Elevate points for a hotel booking you need anyway, why turn down almost $200 worth of free miles?
And with today’s bonus, the LA Hotel Downtown on my dates would earn 6k Elevate Points like usual plus 3k bonus Virgin America points plus 1k bonus miles of your choice if you use my referral link to sign up.
- 6k Elevate Points are worth $120 to me
- 3k Virgin America points are worth $60 to me
- 1k bonus miles of your choice are worth another $20
That’s a $200 rebate, which is about a 40% rebate through the stacking of the promotions!
To get all those bonus points:
- Sign up for Rocketmiles through this link, so we each get 1k bonus miles upon your first stay.
- Make a booking by July 15 by 11:59 PM CT at the promo page where Virgin America is automatically selected as the partner of choice. The results screen does not include the 3k point bonus according to the Rocketmiles rep I asked.
- Complete the stay by December 31, 2013.
Why would I want Virgin America points?
Virgin America points are valuable for awards on Virgin America itself–awards start at 2,500 points. And Elevate points are even more valuable for awards on Hawaiian Airlines–roundtrip to Hawaii for 20k points–and Virgin Atlantic–roundtrip Upper Class for 35k points.
See 20k Points Roundtrip to Hawaii, 45k Roundtrip to Asia, 55k Roundtrip to Australia for info on redeeming with Hawaiian.
See Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 35k for info on redeeming with Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Australia.
Will I Earn Hotel Points and Elite Status Credit on Rocketmiles Bookings?
Rocketmiles claims you won’t earn hotel points on your stay, but you usually will earn elite status credit:
Will I earn hotel rewards points during my stay?
Generally, hotel rewards points will not be earned in addition to your Rocketmiles preferred currency. However, we are excited to be posting thousands of miles or points to your account, compared to the hundreds of miles you might be used to earning today.
Will my Rocketmiles reservation count toward elite status with my hotel’s loyalty program?
YES, typically. Although you may not earn hotel points for purchasing your hotel reservation with Rocketmiles (you earn miles instead), your stay at the hotel does count toward your status level with most hotel groups.
Not earning hotel points is a bummer, but since those would be worth far less than the miles earned on Rocketmiles, it’s a fair trade off. Not earning elite status credit doesn’t matter at all to me because I have elite status at several hotel chains through credit cards (Hilton, Hyatt) or free sign ups (Accor). But if an elite status credit is crucial to you, I would avoid booking at Rocketmiles.
Are Rocketmiles Bookings Refundable?
Yes. The cancellation policy depends on the hotel, but it’s right above the Confirm Booking button. Here’s the cancellation policy for the Encore Las Vegas.
To cancel, email email@example.com.
When do the miles post to your email account?
The miles post within four weeks of check out according to Rocketmiles. I think they generally post much faster–within days–from first-hand accounts I’ve heard.
Rocketmiles takes advantage of the huge commissions available to online hotel-booking sites to offer big airline miles for booking through Rocketmiles.
Sometimes Rocketmiles’ prices match its competitors, and sometimes they don’t. Double check before booking with Rocketmiles because only when the prices match is making a Rocketmiles booking like earning free miles.
Today through 11:59 PM CT on July 15, 2013–you will earn 3k Virgin America points for making your first Rocketmiles booking! That’s in addition Virgin America points you can earn.
Sign up for a Rocketmiles account through my referral link, and we’ll both earn 1,000 miles upon your first booking.
Referral Link: Rocketmiles
Full Terms & Conditions:
Qualifying Activity: To qualify for the booking bonus of 5,000 bonus points for Elevate Gold and Silver members or 3,000 bonus points for general members, a qualifying member must complete a booking through Rocketmiles between 12:00 AM (CST) on June 20, 2013 and 11:59 p.m. (CST) on July 15, 2013 and complete the hotel stay associated with such booking by December 31, 2013. Booking bonus of 5,000 bonus points or 3,000 bonus points is awarded to qualifying members for their first booking through Rocketmiles (with associated stay) only – all subsequent bookings and associated stays will not qualify for the booking bonus. Rocketmiles bookings made after 11:59 (CST) on July 15, 2013, no-show reservations, and bookings cancelled prior to check-in will not be eligible. Please allow 6-8 weeks for bonus miles to post in a qualifying member’s account after hotel stay is completed and the qualifying member has met the stated conditions.------------------------------------------------------------
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.
Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.