How I earned 7,000 Heathrow Rewards points with a £135 Rocketmiles hotel booking
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Back in September, we wrote about an excellent hotel promotion.
Hotel booking site Rocketmiles was (and still is) offering ‘first time users’ 5,000+ easy Avios or other airline miles for a one night booking.
I tried this offer out myself last week when I was up in Manchester to visit PremiAir. I earned a total of 7,000 Heathrow Rewards points on a £135 room booking which will convert into at least 7,000 Avios. Read on for how that worked out.
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.
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.
Get 5,000+ miles with your first Rocketmiles booking
Via this special link, you will earn 5,000 bonus miles, on top of your base miles, when you make your first booking through Rocketmiles.
You have until 31st December to book and the stay can be at any point in the future. You get 5,000 bonus points on all participating hotels.
Not all hotels are participating. There seems to be some sort of cost threshold, and you also do not get the bonus if you book one of the hotels on the site which is offered via the Rocketmiles partnership with booking.com. It is very easy to see which hotels are taking part, however.
You should assume that ‘first booking’ means that NONE of the following have been used before to book via Rocketmiles – your rewards programme number, your credit card number AND your email address.
Of the reward schemes we tend to cover on Head for Points, the following are included in the offer:
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Flying Blue
- Heathrow Rewards
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
“But what about Avios?” you shout …..
I was coming to that.
IN THEORY, Avios is excluded. The small print of the offer says:
“Promotion cannot be redeemed through AerLingus Aer Club, Amazon.com Gift Cards, American Airlines Business Extra, British Airways Executive Club, Caesars Total Rewards, Malaysia Enrich, @MyAirItalyClub, Norwegian Rewards, REI Gift Card, Sony Rewards, Uber Gift Cards, Vueling Club.“
All of the companies highlighted are Avios partners.
However, IN REALITY, you CAN earn 5,000 Avios from this offer. How? By crediting to Heathrow Rewards.
Why should you credit your Rocketmiles stay to Heathrow Rewards?
Usually, when you earn miles via Rocketmiles, they are sent directly to the partner of your choice – Avios, Virgin Flying Club, Etihad Guest etc.
The Avios airlines, however, are excluded from this offer.
However, if you credit to Heathrow Rewards instead you can ultimately move the bonus to Avios and earn 5,000 points.
Why? Heathrow Rewards has a lot of 1:1 transfer partners. 5,000 Heathrow Rewards points from this offer can be transferred into:
- 5,000 Avios
- 5,000 Virgin Flying Club miles
- 5,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles
- 5,000 Royal Brunei RoyalSkies miles
- 5,000 Emirates Skywards miles
- 5,000 Aegean Miles&Bonus miles
- £50 Heathrow Airport shopping voucher
- £100 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.
If you’re not a member of the scheme yet, you can find out how Heathrow Rewards works in this article.
There is also the opportunity for a transfer bonus
Heathrow Rewards ran some aggressive transfer bonuses in 2017 and 2018. So far in 2019 we have only seen one deal – a 50% bonus on transfers to Asia Miles, which is still running until 18th November. However, we used to see:
- 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 Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines or Emirates miles – which you can earn directly from Rocketmiles – it may well make more sense to credit your stays to Heathrow Rewards instead 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.
The bonus points show up during the booking process for participating hotels so there is no risk that you do not get them, unless Rocketmiles later identifies you as a ‘previous customer’. You will see something like this on screen, with the extra 5,000 points clearly marked where it is offered (click to enlarge – this screenshot is in $ but you can switch to £ pricing via a menu option, and you pay in £):
Do not book if you don’t see the 5,000 bonus points listed. It means that your hotel is not participating.
How did it work out when I tried it?
Needing a hotel in Manchester for one night – and knowing that I had to check out early and would get breakfast at PremiAir – I was fairly ambivalent about where I stayed as long as it was decent.
This seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out this deal.
Booked five days in advance, there were only TWO participating hotels in Manchester. I chose the Marriott Manchester Victoria & Albert Hotel on the edge of the City Centre:
The price was £135. This was the same as the price offered on marriott.com to non-members of Marriott Bonvoy. The discount for Bonvoy members was very tiny so I only ‘overpaid’ by £5 or so.
This hotel earned 2,000 base Heathrow Rewards points plus the 5,000 bonus. This was an excellent return of 7,000 Heathrow Rewards points. If Heathrow Rewards ever repeats its ‘100% bonus on transfers to Heathrow shopping vouchers’ offer then I can cash them in for £140-worth.
There was also a VAT quirk, however. Rocketmiles books your room from outside the UK and so no VAT is triggered. As this was a HfP work trip, I would be able to reclaim the VAT usually – a £135 room only really costs me £112.50. The net difference, adjusting for income tax and NI, is that I ‘overpaid’ in total by around £17 plus the value of the Bonvoy points I would have earned. This was worth it for 7,000 Heathrow Rewards points.
For anyone travelling for personal use, ignore the VAT discussion above. It doesn’t impact you.
It was interesting to note that Rocketmiles paid the hotel £77. This means that Rocketmiles will have broken even on the transaction after paying Heathrow Rewards £50-70 for my 7,000 points.
Don’t worry about your Heathrow Rewards points expiring. You need to go three years without earning points for that to happen, and simply spending £1 in the airport gets you another three years.
I checked out on Wednesday 6th November and the Heathrow Rewards points posted yesterday (Monday 11th):
This is a good deal if you are new to Rocketmiles and well worth a try if you can fit it in to your schedule. Remember that you need to book by 31st December but the stay can be at some future date.
The special Rocketmiles booking page is here. Remember that you must be a first time Rocketmiles customer, and that means using a credit card number, email account and transfer partner account number which is they do not recognise.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.