While most major hotel chains give you the opportunity to earn airline miles for your nights, these rewards are rarely very generous. And if you’re like me, who first of all doesn’t travel a lot for work, and secondly isn’t very loyal to any hotel chain, you tend to value miles or airline points more than hotel status or points.
This is where Rocketmiles comes in. This online booking agent offers a solid chunk of miles with any booking, and most major frequent flyer programs are supported. Everything from Emirates Skywards to AAdvantage, United Mileage Plus, BA Executive Club and Finnair Plus is here. Unfortunately my “home” program of SAS Eurobonus is not, but the other homeland carrier Norwegian is.
And this is where it gets interesting. Norwegian is offering a solid first-time use bonus for Rocketmiles, giving you 300 extra Cashpoints in addition to the amount Rocketmiles is giving you for the booking.
Cashpoints are both valuable and flexible
For us Norwegians, Cashpoints is a very straightforward currency, as 1 Cashpoint equals 1 NOK (around $0,12), and it is also very easy to use, as you do not need a specific amount to redeem them for flights.
If you have 10 Cashpoints, you can get 10 NOK off your next flight with Norwegian. This makes its value easy to determine, in addition to it being relatively safe against future devaluations.
Back to Rocketmiles. I did a trial search for Washington DC for December 1st – 3rd, and my hotel from last time, Kimpton Mason & Rook, showed up.
Rocketmiles was asking for 2726 NOK for the two nights in a King Executive room, which is the hotel’s most basic room category. For this I would earn 230 Cashpoints, a return of around 8,5 per cent.
Quite alright in itself, although not quite as good as my regular combo of Hotels.com Rewards (between 7,5 and close to 10 per cent, depending on taxes), paired with a kickback website that gives me around 4,3 per cent net kickback from Hotels.com.
If you factor in the 300 NOK bonus, this booking would give me a total of 530 Cashpoints, or a return of over 19 per cent – or even more if you just book one night or a cheaper hotel – I would assume it would be possible to get the night entirely free or even get more Cashpoints than what you paid in some hotels in Asia.
Rocketmiles’ prices vary
My experience is that Rocketmiles has fairly similar prices to other booking sites or the hotel’s own website, but for this particular booking it was actually cheaper than Kimpton’s own site, which demanded $367,34 for the same room and the same two nights.
That’s around 2987 Norwegian kroner at the current rate, around 10 per cent more than Rocketmiles was asking for.
Other, more expensive hotels can yield huge returns, often yielding 15-25 per cent of the total cost of the room in Cashpoints.
Rates seem to vary a little according to how miles and points are valued with each loyalty program, and some hotels are only available with certain programs. If you have more than one program that you use frequently, it might be worth it to run searches with both of them.
Not the friendliest of user interfaces
A warning, though: The Rocketmiles engine is fairly slow, as it uses and interactive Google Maps cutout to define which results to show you.
Also I find that more often than not, only the most basic room category is available, and you rarely get any more miles for booking a higher class of room.
If you don’t have very specific room requirements, it might definitely be worth looking at Rocketmiles – either for getting the bonus from Norwegian or just topping up your balance with your frequent flyer program of choice.