Using Rocketmiles to earn points, miles or gift cards on hotel stays
You may not want to earn points with a particular hotel loyalty program if you don't use the program frequently. Instead, you may decide to book through your credit card's travel portal if doing so will get you bonus earnings on your card. Or, you may decide to book through an online travel agency to earn rewards.
There are plenty of online travel agency rewards programs. But one that you may have received emails from in the past is Rocketmiles. This program claims you can "Earn prodigious rewards for your hotel stays -- from 1,000 to 10,000 points or miles per night."
This claim sounds appealing, especially since Rocketmiles is one of many ways to earn American Airlines Loyalty Points. So, in this guide, I'll take a closer look at Rocketmiles and whether it's worth using to book hotel stays.
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What is Rocketmiles?
When you book directly with a hotel, you'll earn points in that hotel's loyalty program, assuming (of course) that they have a loyalty program and you're a member. When booking with Rocketmiles, you instead choose what type of points, miles or gift card you want to earn for the stay. For example, you can choose to earn American Airlines miles on your hotel stay when you book through Rocketmiles.
Best of all, Rocketmiles says, "We design our search engine to show as diverse a selection of hotels as possible across a range of quality, price, and location." So, luxury travelers and backpackers can both find hotels within their budgets.
Related: Why infrequent travelers shouldn't book with hotel chains
How much will I earn?
When you book through Rocketmiles, your earnings will vary based on many factors. As a result, you'll need to search on Rocketmiles to see how many points or miles you'll earn for a particular stay and reward type. Luckily, you can sort the results by the points, miles or gift card value that you'd earn:
The exact type of earnings you'll get on a given stay may differ based on the program selected. As a result, you may want to consider a few different programs before booking. For example, compare the following results that earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles with the above results that earn American Airlines Aadvantage miles:
As the two examples above show, you can earn at most 5,000 American miles or 6,000 Alaska miles through Rocketmiles for a stay in Bogota, Colombia, on April 13. TPG's latest valuations peg these earnings at $81 and $108, respectively. So, considering the paid cost for these nights, you'd get a decent return.
You can do even better if you search carefully. For example, here's an example where you can earn 2,000 American Airlines miles on a $71 stay.
If you're flexible regarding your exact location and lodging type, you may find a hotel that offers a lot of points, miles or gift cards for a modest price. However, the earnings don't necessarily scale if you stay multiple nights. These are the best options if you want to stay in Bogota for two nights on April 13-15:
As such, if you're willing to move hotels partway through a trip, it's worth searching to see if you can boost your earnings by booking multiple shorter stays.
Related: Don't book hotel stays directly if you want to earn maximum American Loyalty Points
Will I get elite benefits when booking through Rocketmiles?
In general, you won't earn hotel points or have your elite status recognized on stays booked through an online travel agency like Rocketmiles. You can ask to add your loyalty number to your booking at check-in, but expect that you may be told elite earnings and benefits aren't available since you booked through a third party.
If you're an elite member with a given hotel program or are working toward getting elite status, you likely want to book directly when staying with that program. But you may turn to Rocketmiles when staying with hotels outside your primary program or boutique properties that aren't affiliated with a program.
Related: Comparing 4 top hotel elite status levels — and how to easily earn them
How do I know if Rocketmiles is a good deal for me?
If you're considering a particular booking on Rocketmiles, compare the final price, cancellation policy and inclusions with a few other websites before booking. In particular, I recommend comparing rates for the property on Rocketmiles, the hotel's website and your favorite online travel agency.
For Rocketmiles, consider the final price, the bonus rewards you'll earn through Rocketmiles (including Loyalty Points, in the case of earning American Airlines miles on your booking) and the credit card rewards you'll earn from the purchase. Remember that you may be able to earn more rewards by selecting a different earning program on Rocketmiles. You can use TPG's latest valuations as a starting point for the valuation of the miles or points you'd earn.
If you use Hotels.com Rewards, consider the final price, how the stay will affect the price of your next free night (roughly 10% back) and the credit card rewards you'll earn from the stay. Meanwhile, consider the final price and the credit card rewards you'll earn from the purchase when booking through credit card travel portals. After all, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can earn 10 points per dollar spent on hotels booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually).
Finally, for booking directly with the hotel, consider the final price, elite benefits, progress toward elite status, hotel loyalty program points earned and the credit card rewards you'll earn from the stay. Remember to consider booking through a shopping portal to maximize your earnings too.
Related: How to use the new Capital One Travel portal
Who should use Rocketmiles?
Rocketmiles can be particularly useful in several specific cases:
- You aren't interested in elite benefits or elite earnings (or are staying with a program that doesn't require you to book directly, such as InterContinental Ambassador)
- You would normally stay at one of the properties offering a high bonus on Rocketmiles.
- You don't have a particular property in mind, so you can book the hotel that provides the best reward-to-cost ratio.
- You need to generate account activity with an airline loyalty program to keep points or miles from expiring.
- You want to earn airline miles or gift cards on your hotel booking.
In particular, some American Airlines loyalists are excited about earning Loyalty Points when booking through Rocketmiles and opting to earn American Airlines miles.
In the end, Rocketmiles is another option to consider when booking hotels. The two primary reasons travelers might avoid Rocketmiles are if they want elite benefits and earnings, or if they find that another program provides better value.
Related: Why to book your next hotel stay through an online travel agency
Rocketmiles provides an option for earning points, miles or gift cards on hotel stays. The Rocketmiles site can be particularly appealing if you don't have hotel elite status and want to stay at a hotel that is offering a nice bonus on your dates. Especially if you haven't decided on a particular hotel, Rocketmiles may be worth checking when booking hotels.
As someone looking to requalify for American Airlines elite status this year, earning American Airlines miles (and Loyalty Points) with Rocketmiles is more appealing than ever. However, I still don't plan to book many Rocketmiles stays. After all, I'm focusing on earning Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status and World of Hyatt Globalist status this year, so I'll need to book directly with these programs to get elite earnings and benefits.
Rocketmiles can undoubtedly provide a good earning option for some travelers, though. In particular, Rocketmiles can be an excellent option for travelers without hotel status who want to focus these reward earnings on just one program. I recommend at least investigating your options on the site when booking your next stay.