Two new hotel booking services have sprung up recently which offer a twist on the usual third-party booking service. Both Rocketmiles and PointsHound give you a large slug of airline miles with every hotel night you book.
Rocketmiles is a partner with Alaska, American Airlines, Delta, Etihad Guest, Flying Blue, Hawaiian Miles, jetBlue, United, US Airways and Virgin America.
PointsHound is a partner with American Airlines, AeroMexico, Baltic Miles (!), Delta, Etihad Guest, Hawaiian Miles, US Airways and Virgin America.
Both operate on a similar model. They have relationships with a number of hotels in a small number of cities. PointsHound has by far the bigger coverage – 150,000 hotels – whilst Rocketmiles deals with just 1,000.
Rocketmiles, in general, will pay you more miles. This is because they are buying their rooms via wholesale agreements and so have more flexibility (ie a bigger profit margin) to play with. Given the number of properties that PointsHound deals with, I assume they are using a standard agency model with a lower margin.
Here are some examples for London on Monday 16th September.
Choosing American as my earning currency, PointsHound generally offers 200-700 miles for the booking. The outlier was the Park International on Cromwell Road which offered 1,650 AA miles for a $173 room. (Note that, once you have made more than 6 nights via PointsHound, your earnings level is increased.)
Rocketmiles had some seriously big numbers on offer. They never offered less than 1,000 AA miles. The Cavendish in St James offered me 5,000 AA miles for a $415 room. Best Western The Cromwell offered 3,000 AA miles for a $199 room.
It is worth noting that Rocketmiles rooms will NOT earn points or elite benefits most of the time, because they are wholesale rates. PointsHound has arrangements with around 1,000 branded hotels that they WILL give points and status benefits – these are flagged as ‘DoubleUp’ on their website.