I was a little harsh in my original review of Rocketmiles, which I compared to PointsHound. Both services allow you to earn airline miles when you book a hotel stay through their respective web sites. However, there are a few key differences in their business models. After writing my review, co-founder Jay Hoffman reached out to me so we could discuss how Rocketmiles targets consumers and may offer greater value than PointsHound.
What it boils down to is how involved you want to be in the reservations process. I am a control freak. If I rank the travel experience, the destination comes first, then the search and booking process, and finally the actual trip to the destination. There is something satisfying about comparing all the options, finding the best one (which may not be the cheapest but incorporates many intangible factors), and then assembling the pieces into a complete itinerary.
Most people in my family — and in fact many of my friends, too — are the complete opposite. They don’t want to worry about which hotel they should book let alone which of a dozen web sites they should use to book the same hotel. I can identify with them. Grocery stores irritate me when they stock 50 different brands of tortilla chips. Too many choices can be overwhelming. Sometimes I am less concerned with getting the best deal than I am about getting a good experience.
Rocketmiles offers that simplicity of choice. They could probably afford to expand their hotel options in some markets. I remain convinced that offering only two hotels in a city like Seattle is too limiting during the busy summer months. But when I recently tried to help my future in-laws book their hotel for our wedding, I realized just how much of a headache it is when you have to compare 200 hotels.
I think Rocketmiles does an excellent job at making quality selections among the few hotels it does offer. You shouldn’t worry you’ll end up in a dump. I think Rocketmiles also does an excellent job at offering a large number of miels in your favorite airline program. Maybe you could get a better deal elsewhere, but not always by a significant margin. And finally, I think Rocketmiles does an excellent job at providing an easy customer experience and friendly user interface. Understanding their service is pretty simple. PointsHound, despite it’s superior benefits in some areas, can be a little complicated to a new user. This is something I’m trying to help them with.
PointsHound is still my preferred booking portal. I like the control, the options, the surety of my hotel elite status. On this last point, I told Jay that I don’t really care as much about hotel points and would be more open to using his site if he could at least guarantee my stay and night credit for status. When you stay in hotels as often as I do, it’s nice to be able to expect a room upgrade and free breakfast.
And this is something that both Rocketmiles and PointsHound could offer but don’t really publicize as a benefit. Many of their rates (including PointsHound’s standard rates that aren’t advertised as Double Up) occasionally earn elite stay and night credit. It’s inconsistent. It’s not guaranteed. And there are no indications on either web site when it might happen.
But the choice to award the stay credit is made by the individual hotel. I get the sense that both booking portals know which hotels these are and could add some kind of indicator. Rocketmiles doesn’t because it’s one more opportunity to confuse. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take control of the situation yourself. If you book a stay through Rocketmiles then you should definitely consider adding your account number to the reservation just in case. If you end up getting credit, keep a note and go back. Hopefully that serendipity will follow you through future reservations.
Learn more about Rocketmiles by visiting its FAQs. Contact information is at the bottom of the page.
Disclaimer: Use my referral link to sign up for Rocketmiles and we both earn 1,000 miles after you make your first booking.