Heathrow Rewards, the Heathrow Airport shopping loyalty scheme, added a new partner yesterday – hotel booking site Rocketmiles.
Heathrow Rewards gives you 1 point for every £1 spent in Heathrow (1 per £10 on foreign exchange) or on Heathrow Express tickets (online bookings only). Once you’ve earned 250 points you can exchange them for miles or shopping vouchers.
This is not, as you might think, a new spending opportunity. It is actually a new EARNING opportunity for Heathrow Rewards points, which opens up some interesting options.
What is Rocketmiles?
Rocketmiles – if you are not familiar with it – is a similar website to PointsHound, Agoda and Kaligo.com. You can earn airline miles and other loyalty points, in a wide variety of schemes, when you book your hotel stays via rocketmiles.com.
Rocketmiles also has regular ‘first user’ bonus promotions. These are often worth an additional 3,000 miles or points in your chosen programme if you are a new customer. There isn’t an offer like this running at the moment as far as I know.
(There is a valuable Kaligo.com offer at the moment. You will receive 5,000 Avios with £500 of cumulative spend or 10,000 Avios with £1,000 of cumulative spend when you book before 11th July – your stays can be later. Details are in this HFP article.)
The one downside of Rocketmiles is that your stays will be treated as ‘non-qualifying’ by the hotel. This means that you won’t earn points in the hotel’s own loyalty programme and you probably won’t get your status benefits either. Rocketmiles, Kaligo.com etc are best used when booking a stay at an independent hotel or at one where you don’t actively collect their points.
Why is this new Heathrow Rewards partnership interesting?
Usually, when you earn miles via Rocketmiles, they are sent directly to the partner of your choice – Avios, Virgin Flying Club, Etihad Guest etc.
However, if you credit to Heathrow Rewards instead you will get substantial extra flexibility.
Why? Imagine a hotel stay booked via Rocketmiles which would earn 3,000 miles or points. Send those to Avios and you get 3,000 Avios. Send those to Heathrow Rewards and you would have the choice of:
- 3,000 Avios
- 3,000 Virgin Flying Club miles
- 3,000 Etihad Guest miles
- 3,000 Emirates Skywards miles
- 3,000 Miles & More miles
- £30 Heathrow Airport shopping voucher
- £60 Heathrow Airport parking voucher
…. and you could even mix and match across the various redemptions. You can leave your points sitting in Heathrow Rewards until you are firm about where you need them.
A note on Miles & More
Lufthansa Miles & More is not a Rocketmiles partner because Lufthansa runs its own clone site called Miles & More Hotels. The Heathrow Rewards partnership now allows you to pick up Miles & More miles via Rocketmiles for the first time.
There is also the opportunity for a transfer bonus
Heathrow Rewards has been running some aggressive transfer bonuses recently. We have recently seen, for example:
- 100% bonus on redemptions for Heathrow shopping vouchers
- 50% bonus on transfers to Virgin Flying Club
- 50% bonus on transfers to Avios
- 100% bonus on transfers to Miles & More
Even if your only interest from Rocketmiles is earning, say, Avios points, it may well make more sense to credit your stays to Heathrow Rewards and wait for a transfer bonus. If there is no bonus, you can still convert at the standard rate and you aren’t any worse off.
If you are an existing Rocketmiles customer you can use this immediately if you wish to switch from taking Avios etc directly. If you are not, you might want to hold off for a decent ‘new customer’ bonus offer to come along.
PS. There is one odd thing about how Rocketmiles works. It returns a different number of results depending on your partner. In London for 21 July, it offer points with 32 hotels if you select Heathrow Rewards, 79 for Avios and 80 for Virgin Flying Club. For Sheffield, it offers 7 hotels for Heathrow Rewards but 18 for Avios and 52 for Virgin Flying Club. The reason seems to be the distance used – in Sheffield it only shows Heathrow Rewards hotels in the city centre, whilst when you switch to Virgin as a partner it shows you hotels as far away as Barnsley!
PPS. Heathrow Rewards points under this offer do not count towards ‘premium tier’ status – this requires you to earn 500 points purely from Heathrow Airport spending
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)