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Hopper jumps into the travel experiences game with PlacePass acquisition

Oct. 19, 2021
4 min read
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Travel app Hopper has acquired PlacePass, one of the largest activities aggregators in the world. Not only will Hopper offer its own travel experiences on the app, but it will also power Marriott Bonvoy's Tours and Activities platform through Hopper Cloud.

The rollout is currently slated for sometime in 2022, though Hopper has yet to release an official launch date.

This is Hopper's first foray into the travel experiences business, joining other major brands such as Airbnb and Amazon in offering unique tours, activities and virtual experiences to users.

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"We're thrilled to join such a dynamic and innovative team and accelerate Hopper's entry into the tours and activities space," said Ethan Hawkes, CEO and co-founder of PlacePass, in a press release.

You can find a wide range of bookable experiences on PlacePass — everything from a day cruise to Bimini in the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to a New York City sunset sailing to a New Orleans mafia, murder and madames historical tour.

(Screenshot courtesy of PlacePass)

Unfortunately, you won't be able to book experiences through the PlacePass website once experiences are introduced on the Hopper app. You'll have to go through Hopper to book PlacePass activities.

Remember that PlacePass also runs Marriott Bonvoy's Tours and Activities platform, which allows you to earn points on your tour and activities bookings. For example, a $199 luxury sunset sailing experience in San Diego will earn 549 Bonvoy points (on top of any other points you earn through using the right credit card).

Little, if anything, will change in how you book experiences through Marriott due to this acquisition, but we could see additional functionality come to the platform.

Hopper Cloud also offers products such as "Cancel For Any Reason" travel coverage. Hopper told TPG that while it will power Marriott Bonvoy's Tours and Activities platform, the rest of the brand's fintech offerings will not initially be integrated into the platform.

However, it's not out of the realm of possibility that we'll see deeper integration down the road.

“We are currently in a supercycle of travel, with high consumer demand for novel tours and activities," said Frederic Lalonde, CEO and cofounder of Hopper, in a press release. "It’s a natural extension for Hopper to look holistically at the trip our customers are taking and offer the best experiences to enrich the travel journey.”

Hopper's growing footprint

Hopper is well on its way to becoming a giant in the travel space. What started as a price prediction tool to help users maximize savings when booking flights has transformed into a consumer-facing OTA and a broader provider of fintech and travel software for other brands.

(Screenshot courtesy of iTunes)

App users can book flights, hotels and rental cars through Hopper while using tools such as price prediction, price freeze, price drop guarantee and more. And businesses that partner with Hopper Cloud can offer these tools and more to their own customers.

Hopper has also made leaps in the partnership space — linking up with Capital One to power the credit card issuer's new travel portal, partnering with Lufthansa Group to access New Distribution Capability (which is an IATA program that helps airlines sell flights through travel agents and other third-party booking platforms) and teaming up with Amadeus to bring price freeze and "Cancel For Any Reason" coverage to its customers.

The company is one of the few in the travel industry to grow at this scale during the pandemic. According to a press release from Hopper, it's just getting started.

As Capital One's new travel portal is rolled out and the transformation from this new acquisition comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see where Hopper expands next.

Photo by AerialPerspective Images/Getty Images.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
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  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees