How I earned 7,000 Heathrow Rewards points (= 7,000 Avios) 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.

Rocketmiles 5000 points bonus

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.

Heathrow Rewards Rocketmiles

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.

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 £):

Rocketmiles 5000 bonus points

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:

Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert hotel

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):

Heathrow Rewards Rocketmiles offer

Conclusion

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.

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Comments

  1. Any bonus offers for opening a Heathrow Rewards account?

    • Yes, requires £150 or £300 airport spend in one day though.

      • Thanks Rob for the quick response

        That won’t work for me but I’ll open an account anyway to get these bonus miles

    • Peter Stewart says:

      I couldn’t find a current promo code but I did get 100 points sign up bonus strait away automatically.

  2. Questions says:

    So could I stay one night for the virgin flying club points, then use a different credit card and email to stay another night for the Heathrow rewards? Thanks

    • Technically yes, but I would have the hotel check you out and you check you back in again to avoid any issues. There is also a very obvious risk that the same name booking the same hotel for two nights back to back is flagged. Easier if you are with your partner and you book 1 night each.

  3. I’m in my 7k Rocketmiles hotel right now. It turned out to be more than the hotel’s own rate but not by as much as 7k points so still good value. I plan to wait for a transfer bonus or use them for parking which is worth double the normal face value anyway.

  4. Concerto says:

    Can Heathrow Rewards be transferred to Flying Blue?

  5. Does the ‘American Express Membership Rewards’ option on Rocketmiles work with UK-based MR accounts?

    • Don’t think so – but I admit I’ve never tried it and I’ve never heard of anyone who has.

      Because of the different global MR schemes it is very possible that it only accepts US numbers.

  6. Richmond says:

    How do you transfers Heathrow Rewards to Avios? DOes it have to be avios.co.uk? What if your account was closed by British Airways last year? How do you open new one? I quickly checked avios website but it says if you’re member of BAEC go and log on BAEC website.

  7. Hi Rob,
    Wonder if you could help with what appears to be a slight glitch when I try to book an airport hotel in Haneda, Tokyo with the Rocketmiles offer. I chose the Royal Park hotel, which seemed then to take me through to booking.com. Would this still qualify for the Rocketmiles deal? Perhaps I should choose a different hotel.

    • No, these don’t count. Only the hotels which clearly show the extra 5,000 points on the first screen (and none of the booking.com partner hotels show this) count.

  8. Peter Stewart says:
    • Impressive. If you lived or worked next door it is almost worth a mattress run – worse scenario is 7000 miles for £70, best is a lot more via a conversion bonus.

  9. laura baden-powell says:

    I think they’ve caught on, as I’ve tried to book 3 times and each time it has been returned with a smaller heathrow rewards offer, 3 times cancelling my transaction when I accept the lesser reward. Have switched hotels and kept clearing cache and got one in the end. Only working with a 2 night stay and not near the action of the city. Lets hope it posts. I’ve never used them before for any booking although signed up 3 years ago

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