Rocketmiles guide: How to earn airline rewards on hotel stays

By booking stays through the Rocketmiles portal, you can top off miles balances with your favorite airline

 

Rocketmiles Guide

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If you are a frequent flyer hoping to top off a miles balance or fast-track your way to your next trip, you might be surprised to learn you can also earn airline rewards on thousands of hotel stays. With Rocketmiles, frequent travelers can earn additional points with the airline or rewards program of their choice without having to book extra flights.

Southwest Rapid Rewards members hoping to rack up enough miles for a Companion Pass can also use Rocketmiles to get there faster. Since the booking platform is a travel partner of Rapid Rewards, some of the points you earn by booking hotel stays through Rocketmiles can help you qualify for your Companion Pass.

By booking on Rocketmiles, even a $400 hotel stay can earn you upwards of 10,000 airline miles. However, you might not always be getting the lowest price per night, and you won’t be able to enjoy your hotel elite status perks when you book through a third party. Read on to see if booking through Rocketmiles is right for you.

What is Rocketmiles?

Rocketmiles is a unique online platform for booking hotel stays at thousands of properties around the world. Users can link one of dozens of rewards programs – including Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus and more to earn points on their bookings.

Most of the rewards programs you can link to Rocketmiles are airline programs, but there are a few exceptions, such as Uber, REI and Buzz Points. No matter which program you link to Rocketmiles, rewards enthusiasts can get great value out of the platform. If you are trying to top off a miles balance or reach a certain threshold in your rewards account, Rocketmiles opens up a whole new category of purchases to earn you points.

How many miles can you earn?

The number of points you earn on Rocketmiles varies greatly by rewards program, so you’ll want to consider a few different options before booking your stay. No matter which program you choose, the earning rate on Rocketmiles seems to be competitive. For example, here’s how many Southwest Rapid Rewards points you could earn for booking a four-star hotel in Los Angeles for two nights.

Rocketmiles Mondrian for Rapid Rewards

 

The same stay can also earn you 12,000 United MileagePlus miles.

 

Rocketmiles Mondrian for MileagePlus

 

Overall, it seems that a higher price per night generally earns more points when using Rocketmiles. However, even if you are looking for a more moderately-priced hotel, you can still earn great rewards.

Rocketmiles Comfort Inn for Rapid Rewards
Rocketmiles Comfort Inn for MileagePlus

 

We value both Southwest Rapid Rewards points and United MileagePlus miles at more than one cent per dollar (1.6 cents and 1.52 cents respectively), meaning booking through Rocketmiles has a competitive rewards rate. Since airline rewards programs such as these have a higher point value, you can potentially earn around a point per dollar on hotel stays booked through Rocketmiles.

While linking your airline rewards program can unlock some great earning rates, cash back programs like Uber aren’t quite as competitive.

 

Rocketmiles Mondrian for Uber

 

The rewards rate for this two-night stay only comes out to about 25 cents per dollar. Though not quite as valuable as booking with an airline program, using Rocketmiles with cash back programs like Uber or to receive an Amazon gift card can still get users a nice bonus.

When to use Rocketmiles to book hotel stays

Since there are so many different platforms to book hotel stays with all sorts of rotating deals, it can be hard to know where to book your next trip. Despite different rewards, nightly rates or benefits, choosing to book through Rocketmiles is often your best bet – especially in the following situations.

You need to top off an airline miles balance, but don’t have any flights to book

If you are trying to hit a certain miles threshold with your airline rewards program – whether you are trying to earn enough for an upgraded ticket or elevated status – Rocketmiles can help you get there. Rather than having to wait for your next flight to earn more points, you can use Rocketmiles to rack up rewards on hotel stays.

Rocketmiles is offering a limited time promotion with your favorite airline

Rocketmiles regularly offers special promotions tied to different rewards programs that can significantly increase the miles you’ll earn on a particular purchase. The site has previously offered bonuses up to 3,000 points just for linking a certain rewards program (like Southwest Rapid Rewards) and booking your first hotel stay. With the bonus offer, you’ll earn significantly more on the purchase than if you’d gone through another platform. 

You were already planning to stay at a hotel on Rocketmiles

If you have a favorite hotel that is already included on the Rocketmiles platform, it is in your best interest to earn any extra points you can along the way.

The nightly rate is competitive with other travel sites

Before booking a stay on Rocketmiles, do some research on other booking sites like Hotels.com as well as the hotel’s website to ensure you are getting a good nightly rate. If the price per night combined with the rewards you’ll earn make Rocketmiles the best value, booking on the site is a no-brainer.

When not to use Rocketmiles to book hotel stays

There are a few potential drawbacks to booking your hotel stays through Rocketmiles, so it might not always be your best option. If any of these scenarios apply to you, you might be better off booking your next hotel stay directly with the property or through another site.

You want to earn hotel loyalty points or enjoy elite status benefits

The biggest limitation for frequent travelers is simply that Rocketmiles is a third party booking site. If you are part of a hotel loyalty program and enjoy elite benefits, stays booked through Rocketmiles are probably not eligible. That means elite perks like free breakfast, early check-in or complimentary Wi-Fi won’t be included, even if you stay at your favorite hotel chain. In addition, you won’t rack up any hotel loyalty points for the stay.

You are hoping for the cheapest price per night

Rocketmiles is owned by Priceline, so their portfolio of hotels and prices is pretty wide. For the most part, you can find a great deal on the platform. However, you can often find a better price per night by booking directly with the hotel and taking advantage of special promotions.

Your hotel loyalty points are worth more than airline miles

If you are part of both an airline rewards program and hotel loyalty program, it is important to consider which points get you the most overall value. For example, consider you are a member of both United MileagePlus and Hilton Honors. Since the average United MileagePlus point is worth 1.52 cents and the average Hilton Honors point is worth 0.5 cents, you might eke more value booking your Hilton stay through Rocketmiles and earning MileagePlus points along the way. However, this can change drastically based on your loyalty programs. If your hotel points are worth more, consider booking directly with the hotel instead.

Another booking site will earn you more rewards

Rocketmiles is a unique website, offering points and miles for dozens of different rewards programs. However, other booking sites -- such as Hotels.com -- offer similar promotions. When you book through hotels.com/venture, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card holders earn 10 points per dollar. Because Capital One miles can be transferred to 14 travel partners, Venture cardholders could potentially earn more miles by using Hotels.com instead of Rocketmiles.

Rocketmiles and the Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest Rapid Rewards members have even more to gain from using Rocketmiles. Booking hotel stays through the site can bring you one step closer to earning your Companion Pass.

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best benefits of the Rapid Rewards program, letting members designate a companion to bring on any Southwest flight for the year for just the cost of taxes and fees. Unfortunately, it requires members to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points or 100 qualifying flights in a year. Hitting this threshold is particularly difficult, as only certain points qualify toward the Companion Pass.

Rapid Rewards points earned through Southwest partners do qualify for earning your Companion Pass, so Rocketmiles users are in luck. Since Rocketmiles is a travel partner, some of the points you earn for your hotel stays can help you get to your Companion Pass just a bit faster.

Tip

 

Tip: Keep your eye out for special promotions. In the past, Rocketmiles has offered 3,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points just for making your first booking. 

However, it is important to note that only base Rapid Rewards points earned on Rocketmiles count toward the Companion Pass. This includes the points you earn based on the price and duration of your hotel stay. Any bonus points offered during special Rocketmiles and Southwest promotions will not count. So while Rocketmiles hotel stays can be another category of purchase to earn Companion Pass qualifying points, you’ll still have to spend quite a bit to enjoy the perk.

Is Rocketmiles worth it?

Since Rocketmiles might not always list the cheapest price per night, deciding to book on the site varies widely by stay. Whether you end up using the platform or not, it is a good idea to do some research before booking any hotel stay. Check out sites like Hotels.com to compare rates and make sure the hotel isn’t offering any special promotions only available through their site.

Overall, Rocketmiles seems to boast similar rates to other budget sites. For example, the two-night stay at the Mondrian in Los Angeles pictured above is offered at the following rates on three popular budget booking sites.

 

Rocketmiles Hotels.com Expedia

Room assigned at check-in

$409
Not offered
Not offered

Deluxe Studio

$475
$409
 $409

Suite with Balcony

Not offered
$459
 $459

Loft, View

Not offered $1,600
 $1,600

Penthouse

Not offered
$2,100
 $2,100

At this particular hotel, the Deluxe Studio room is the cheapest available option. So opting to have your room assigned at check-in doesn’t sacrifice any value. Because of this, the Rocketmiles rate is competitive with other sites. However, Rocketmiles does offer fewer options for room type.

The same is true for more moderately priced hotels, like the two-night stay at Comfort Inn Los Angeles pictured above.

 

Rocketmiles Hotels.com Expedia

2 Queen beds, no smoking

$184
$194
$194

1 King bed, no smoking

Not offered
$184
 $184

In addition, Rocketmiles seems more inclined to expensive hotels. The platform does include some budget-friendly options, but not as many as sites like Hotels.com or Expedia.

You’ll also want to consider the value of any elite status perks you enjoy by booking with your favorite hotel chain. If you aren’t saving enough money or earning enough airline miles to offset this loss, stick with a direct reservation.

If Rocketmiles is boasting a cheap rate, or one slightly higher but with more rewards, it is in your best interest to use the platform. You can easily rack up airline miles on a new category of purchase with a solid earning rate.

Final thoughts

If you are a frequent traveler who enjoys the luxuries of hotel elite status, booking through Rocketmiles probably isn’t for you. Booking through the hotel instead will count toward your hotel loyalty points and is potentially a better value.

However, if you need a few extra miles to book your next trip or are looking for extra ways to stockpile Rapid Rewards to earn a Companion Pass, booking through Rocketmiles can be a great way to maximize your rewards.

See Related: How to get the Southwest Companion Pass, Third-party booking sites trip up hotel rewards


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Updated: 04-20-2019