Earn 8,000 Avios in one night with new hotel partner Rocketmiles

I wrote an introduction to hotel booking site Rocketmiles here. It is a small-scale (ie limited selection) business which offers significant airline mile bonuses when you book.

At the time I first covered it, it was working almost exclusively with US airlines.  Over the last year Rocketmiles has moved closer to home, partnering with Etihad, Qatar, Turkish, Norwegian and now – finally – Avios points.

This is how the company works:

Rocketmiles has deals with various hotel room consolidators to provide it with rooms at wholesale prices.  Whilst the selection of hotels available is not huge, the large profit margins on the rooms allow them to offer very generous mileage incentives when you book.

Rocketmiles will offer you 1,000 – 5,000 Avios points PER NIGHT when you book with them.

Rocketmiles2

Their pricing, frankly, is rarely the cheapest.  If you can find a room on Rocketmiles you will often be able to find it on other consolidator websites for less.  The price should, though, compare well with booking the hotel directly from its own website.

As an example, I searched for London on Monday 20 October.  The Danubius Regents Park offers 5,000 miles per night and was £176, rising to £215 with taxes and fees.  That compares favourably with booking directly via the Danubius website, where you will pay £212.

However, Kayak found the same room for £126 on another site and both rooms were fully refundable.

In general, you should not pay more with Rocketmiles than you would if you booked direct.  At the same time, you should recognise that any hotel on Rocketmiles is playing in the ‘consolidator’ market and you may be able to find it being quietly touted around at a price below the official rate.

If you are not spending your own money when booking hotels, it can be very attractive.

Note that, for reasons not fully understood, their site does not accept UK-issued American Express cards although it will accept Visa and MasterCard OK.

Generous launch offer

As a launch offer, you will receive a bonus of 3,000 Avios points when you create a new Rocketmiles account and make a booking.

The 3,000 Avios additional bonus is valid for bookings made by the end of the year for stays until the end of April 2015.

There are two separate booking links.  Click here to book and earn miles in avios.com or click here to book and earn miles in British Airways Executive Club.

The sign-up bonus is, without a doubt, a decent deal.  It means that you will receive at least 4,000 Avios points (3,000 bonus miles plus 1,000 base miles) even for the cheapest one-night stay they offer.

Looking at, for example, Birmingham on Monday 20 October, their cheapest rate was £64 (Menzies Strathallan) rising to £78 with all fees.  You would 4,000 Avios for that booking – 1,000 base miles and the 3,000 bonus – which is clearly a decent deal.

I should point out that I have seen more generous Rocketmiles offers for other airlines – I recently received one from Qatar Airways offering 5,000 bonus QMiles on my first booking.  There is ALWAYS a first booking deal of some sort available so don’t feel under any pressure to sign up now.

Here is the small print of the Avios deal (these are the avios.com rules, the BAEC rules are identical):

Avios UK Travel Reward Programme members who have not previously made a booking via Rocketmiles will be eligible for a 3,000 Avios bonus, in addition to the standard award rate of between 1,000 and 5,000 Avios, if they register with Rocketmiles, choose Avios as their loyalty programme and make a booking between 01/09/14 – 31/12/14, hotel stays must be completed by 30/04/15. Bonus and standard Avios will be awarded within 5 days of the completed stay. Standard Avios awarded will vary depending on the hotel booked and duration of stay. Members will be advised at time of booking how many Avios will be awarded. Generally hotel rewards points will not be awarded in addition to the Avios awarded.

It is important to remember that you will not earn hotel loyalty points or status credit from your stay booked via Rocketmiles.  Depending on the chain, you may or may not be able to get your status benefits honoured (free internet, free breakfast, upgrade etc).

Rocketmiles is fully approved by British Airways.  You can see their page at ba.com here.  Do NOT book via the link on that page, though, as you will not receive the additional 3,000 Avios.  Use the two links above instead.

Those of you with a cunning mind will have realised by now that, since you earn Avios via Rocketmiles in both avios.com and British Airways Executive Club, you could easily open two accounts with different email addresses and earn two sign-up bonuses ….

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. So if you are spending your employers money, it is ok to overpay by £50 per night, just to bag some extra Avios? Cant you see anything wrong with that?

    • I agree, that bit is somewhat unethical, I treat my employers money like it was my own, if I wouldn’t spend mine I won’t spend my employers, simple as that.

      • Of course if a recent FT thread is to be believed, some employers will pay £7000 for CW but not £3000 for F on the same plane!

      • So you book your hotel stays via a consolidator found at Kayak, giving up all your points and elite benefits, instead of letting your hotel travel booker pay the headline rate?

        • At my former company we were encouraged to arrange all travel wherever possible on BA via a company agent. All points and miles were pooled but only a few top dogs ever benefited. Fortunately, it wasn’t compulsory so I arranged my own travel, mostly on UA twice a month to SFO. I collected enough miles to keep me flying F and J for 7 years after quitting the company. My only regret was not being into it enough to realize I would have been better crediting to BMI.

      • Thats very noble, but I’m with raffles on this, employers money is employers money and I spend it differntially to my own. My company policy allows me to fly business class which I do. Would I pay for business class tickets in cash on a regular basis – no. So by your logic, I should downgrade myself to economy to save them some money as this is what I would do if i were paying with my own money.

        • No. If your employer is happy for you to fly business class and stay in 5 star hotels, good for them.
          My problem is deliberately paying a higher rate for EXACTLY the same product.

          • As with most companies, my employer has an official travel manager/booker (e.g. AMEX or Carlsonwagonlit) offering the official price my company will pay. I am allowed to book my own travel, provided it is cheaper than the “official” price.

            To motivate me to search, there has to be a significant incentive – and this would be one of those occasions. My employer is happy (cheaper than offical price), I am happy (lots of avios).

            My employer simply does not want me spending hours trying to shave that last pound off the travel.

          • Yes. If your employer is ok with that, all good, I can see the point. Its open to abuse though.
            I can see an opportunity for an expensive taxi firm. Double the fare but you get some Avios. Its all on expenses. MPs and Bankers will love it.

          • Heathrow Express gives Avios now, remember ….

            What bankers used to do is to buy books of blank taxi receipts off taxi drivers. Things have moved on now and you will find a thriving market in taxi receipt books on ebay. You then fill in a receipt for expenses and take the tube.

          • Rather obviously they weren’t talking about a scenario like that… You are still saving your company money – Raffles described a scenario where you deliberately cost your employer extra money so you can get a kick back.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking a moral high ground – I’d do it if I could get away with it. But don’t pretend it’s something it isn’t.

          • Callum – i didnt read it like that.

            Im not sure if your work policy is to book on hotels.com etc but must large corperations do not work this way. Your argument assumes that your company is getting the lowest price through its channels… unless your are in an SME i doubt this is the case.

            If points didnt influence spend, then there would be no points in the first place, and we all would be without a hobby…

          • I’m with you on this – it’s like the IHG rates that offer an extra 1,000 points for an extra $10 or whatever. Unethical to book that & charge the rate back to your client or employer.
            I’m sure the original article could have been worded a little more subtly…

          • It is worth remembering that one of the biggest scams – perpetuated by all big companies – is recharging clients for air fares. All big companies get a fat rebate from British Airways at the end of the year based on a percentage of their spending. Does the client get a partial refund on those tickets? Of course not.

      • Depends how profitable and large the company is in my books.

    • Czechoslovakia says:

      Well, I`m fortunate to have my own company, so my employer is, in effect me. Given the corporation tax bill I`ve just got, I`d be tempted to be honest. But ethically I couldn’t justify more than a 15% price difference. And I only fly Y on business.

  2. What would be unethical is for Raffles to state his website is “for helping UK business and leisure travellers maximise their miles” and then stop plugging an opportunity or pointing out the downside

  3. There is one extra point which was not clear in the original article although I have just edited it. The Danubius, for the date I mentioned, is £212 on their own website. This compares to £215 with Rocketmiles. On that basis, getting 8000 Avios for £3 is an amazing deal.

    Yes, the hotel is dumping its rooms via consolidators which is why Kayak can find a £126 room (which is probably close to what Rocketmiles pays) via an obscure website. However, you are NOT being ripped off compared to the price that the hotel is charging directly.

    • Why does that remotely matter? If you can get the room for £126 then that’s the price you compare it to, not the standard price. You are getting the 8000 for £89, not £3.

      If you can bill it to your employer then it’s still good value, but I’d hardly say it’s that good if you’re the one paying.

      • I have never seen a business (admittedly, my experience is with big corporates) where a PA goes off to search the internet for the cheapest possible price for a hotel. They will either book directly via the hotel website or, more likely, with their corporate travel agent who uses the official hotel price.

        The old ‘no-one ever got fired for buying IBM’ quote still rings true in every sphere of business. Its unlikely your boss will thank you for saving £50, but if you end up using a fake hotel booking site that tempted you in with a cheap deal and you both turn up to find no sign of your bookings, your career will probably take a downturn.

        If you had to stay at the Danubius for some reason – perhaps there was a conference there – are you seriously saying that you would go off to Kayak and start searching for obscure hotel booking sites to find a deal? Or would you just go to the Danubius website and book it?

        • If I had to pay for the room then yes, though it’s painfully obvious that my spending habits are in a different world to yours! Unless I had a pressing need to be in that specific hotel for some strange reason, I’d be just as happy in a Holiday Inn down the road anyway.

          Though I’m not sure why you find that so shocking, these discount sites exist for a reason – many people use them!

          • Just think for a moment, you’re talking private, others are talking corporate.

            Corporates have rules & as long as you operate within rules, you’re fine. A little flexibility often used.

            Privates, you want to get the best value for money outcome, not necessarily cheapest btw.

            Not the same thing.

  4. I was looking for a hotel for one night, prices are reasonable compared to hotels.com etc, but if you set currency to USD 12 hotels come up compared to only 7 if it’s GBP?!?

  5. Hmmm morals aside, here is a worked example:

    Roketmiles: 8 nights in Phuket at peach hill resport in november – 42,000 avios (!) – £1240
    Hotels.com: As above – £709

    £531 for 42,000 avios

    Does not look such a good deal…

  6. Just to pitch in again – when London is busy (as in this week) the differences look less marked. The Hilton Croydon is £112 on Rocketmiles, which matches expedia and other ‘proper’ sites on Kayak. Yes it’s available for £99 with onhotels, but I wouldn’t book that.

    Indeed the Thistle Piccadilly is £60 cheaper on rocketmiles for Wednesday than via Kayak – with the bonus of 5k Avios.

  7. Can someone give me a reason why you would employ a “corporate travel agent” or have a such titled department of a big firm if all they do is give you the “official rate”
    Any one can do that, -cant they?

    • A lot of seriously powerful people have lost their PA or have to share a PA. Makes life easy.

    • The corporate travel agent used by my company have negotiated fixed rates at various commonly used hotels. These normally significantly under cut the open market rate.
      Of course if the open market rate is cheaper they can book that as well.

    • On a workplace of 1000-2000 people (and who need to travel) not everyone is as seasoned as we are on this site.The cost/risk of booking the wrong flight, or mistakenly not conforming to policy (which can have severe repercussions) means it reduces burden on line managers (who otherwise would have to approve the detail of the travel)

      They are also current on the latest developments, especially to other sites which are frequently visited. Only last week i was advised that my taxi choice had gone out of business and this prevented me being stranded at the destination!

      The often overlooked benefit is safety. Booking centrally allows the company to keep a track on the whereabouts of all employees. When the Asiana pilots forgot how to fly into SFO our two guys on the flight got direct help from a company representative within 2 hours. Similarly our team in Ukraine were called and evacuated a few hours before the trouble started

      • Our lot happily pay fully flexible prices on everything because they want us to be fully flexible.

  8. So whats the cheapest hotel room found so far to yield the most Avios?

  9. On a different topic, here is an exchange I had with Rocketmiles:

    me, from UK: “Went online to book a hotel and it didn’t accept AMEX. I was amazed at this!”

    Rocketmiles: “We do accept American Express. Sorry for any difficulty you may have experienced in the process of booking. Can you provide any error message that appeared?”

    me, from UK: “My AMEX card was accepted when I set it up in “add cards”. When I chose an hotel and selected “book room” it said card not accepted for GBP”

    Rocketmiles: “Unfortunately we currently only accept AMEX in USD and CAD.”

    I don’t think I will be booking through your site. I will post this in “Head for Points” where I first saw this.

    • How weird! I cannot for the life of me see why this would be an issue for Amex.

      • I would imagine they are happy to pay the extra Amex charges in the US where there is a much greater expectation that you should be able to use it, whereas people over here will be used to having backup cards to use where Amex isn’t accepted.

  10. From Raffles, above “What bankers used to do is to buy books of blank taxi receipts off taxi drivers. Things have moved on now and you will find a thriving market in taxi receipt books on ebay. You then fill in a receipt for expenses and take the tube.”

    IIRC, you used to be a banker of sorts? 😛

  11. I’m used to corporate travel agents routinely booking rooms at fully flexible rates, supposedly to save on cancellation fees. I have even known them do that when I’ve pitched up on the hotel car park and asked them to get me a room.
    I frequently called them to advise that I could book the room much cheaper myself.
    I have always assumed that they work on commission and the higher the rate the more they earn.
    Why do organisations use them? Well that is a conundrum. Best thing would be to ask the decision maker………but that person always seems to be away on expensive holidays!???

  12. Do you have to check in to get the Avios, or just book and no show ?

  13. If I were to book an IHG hotel via rocketmiles, would that count towards the into the nights promotion stays?

  14. Clearly an US-based site, with headline prices displayed ex-VAT (of questionable legality here in the UK in my opinion). Worth it alone for the generous sign-up bonus, but would be wary of using again as I’m spending my own money.

    • I have been challenging them on their headline prices by email and phone. They claim to be competitive, but are clearly not. Actually more than twice the price of other online companies. They claim they only quote refundable prices, but not everyone needs refundable bookings. Shame really as we could have happily topped up our AA miles by sharing our bali bookings for January. But we cannot justify a difference of £55 per night extra to gain 2000k AA miles per night. Also don’t accept UK amex! Really, what are they like! They want to reach out to the UK market???

  15. Just got 8K Avios for a stay in Seattle in December, at a rate no different to the hotel’s own site! That’s a nice dollop of Avios in the bag essentially for free – thank you, Rob!

  16. I booked twice with two accounts and got both the 3K Avios.com first purchase bonus and the 3K BA Executive Club first purchase bonus….and the Rocketmiles system caught it. No go on that. But I did get 7K Avios for an upcoming stay in Austin, Texas in January, amazing!

  17. So, is the consensus these guys do NOT take UK based Amex cards?
    If so, might want to be flagged in the article.