If you’re looking to make a staycation booking, or any hotel booking worldwide for that matter, between now and 31st December 2020, there’s an option to keep in your back pocket which can net you 5,000 bonus frequent flyer miles.
That’s roughly equivalent to almost S$100 in value, so even though the option isn’t catch-free, it’s well worth considering.
What is Rocketmiles?
Rocketmiles is an Online Travel Agency (OTA), similar to Agoda and Kaligo, sharing some of the commission it receives for a hotel booking in the form of miles credited to your frequent flyer account after your stay.
The catch? As with most OTA bookings your booking will not be treated as a qualifying stay by the hotel for status purposes if you’re clocking up nights or points in their own loyalty scheme. If you’re already a status holder, your benefits may or may not be applied, depending on the hotel chain and sometimes even the hotel itself.
Like with Kaligo, we therefore only tend to recommend sites like Rocketmiles if you’re staying:
- at an independent property;
- at a chain you already have sufficient status with / in a room type that gets you the perks anyway; or
- at a chain you don’t bother collecting points / status with.
If you or your partner / travelling companion are first-time customers of hotel booking service Rocketmiles, booking an eligible property between now and the end of 2020 will net you 5,000 bonus miles across a range of loyalty schemes.
Those likely to be of most interest to our readers include:
- Alaska Mileage Plan
- Avianca Lifemiles
- British Airways Avios
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Qatar Privilige Club
- Turkish Miles&Smiles
Booking is through this dedicated link.Pro Tip: Cheaper properties tend not to be eligible for the promotion, however do play around with different frequent flyer programmes as some then unlock a wider range of hotels.
It’s not always a good deal
Since Rocketmiles works by sharing some of the commission it receives for each hotel booking with you in the form of miles, it often means paying more than the best available rate for the stay.
It also means some bookings will earn you more miles or points per dollar spent than others (where the commission Rocketmiles receives is a greater percentage).
That’s not to say it is always more expensive though. Our experience is that Rocketmiles rates for your chosen property fall into one of three categories:
- The rate is the same as booking direct or through other OTAs, so the miles / points are ‘free’ (if you’re not forgoing status benefits)
- The rate is higher than booking direct or through other OTAs, but the miles / points awarded more than justify the difference (e.g. buying miles at 1 cent each)
- The rate is higher than booking direct or through other OTAs, and the miles / points awarded don’t justify the difference (e.g. buying miles at 2+ cents each)
The important thing to do is shop around first, then consider whether Rocketmiles is giving you a good rate for the hotel of your choice. Always compare with a direct booking and other OTA’s before committing, and only ‘buy’ miles at a sensible rate you are personally comfortable with.
Here are a couple of examples where Rocketmiles might make sense for a Singapore staycation booking with 5,000 bonus miles when we looked at a two-night weekend stay from 13th – 15th November this year, crediting to Asia Miles.
Example: ‘free miles’
Booking a Deluxe Room at Equarius Hotel Sentosa through Rocketmiles earns 11,000 Asia Miles instead of the usual 6,000 miles under this promotion.
That’s almost exactly the same price as booking directly through the hotel website.
Given that 11,000 Asia Miles are almost certainly worth S$200+ when used against future redemptions on Cathay Pacific or oneworld airlines, Rocketmiles is an obviously preferable option, giving you over 15% ‘value back’ on this booking.
Since Rocketmiles buys points from some airlines more cheaply than it does from Asia Miles, there are potentially even better options to credit this booking to among the participating frequent flyer programmes we outlined.
Here’s how the others stack up for the same booking:
|FFP||Normal Rate||Bonus Rate|
As you can see there are potentially far more generous frequent flyer programmes to transfer into than Asia Miles in this example, especially Turkish, Alaska and Avios.
16,000 Alaska Miles, for example, would set you back ~S$400 in one of the airline’s regular 50% bonus promotions, potentially much more lucrative than other options for future redemptions.
Even better – stay for one night
Most of you doing a staycation will be looking for a two-night stay, however this Rocketmiles 5,000 miles bonus offer is for your first booked stay, which can be of any duration.
That means you’ll actually get better value in terms of miles earned per dollar spent if you just use it for a one-night stay.
In this example you’ll still get 7,000 Asia Miles (instead of the regular 2,000) for a one-night stay, close to 14 miles per dollar spent.
Example: ‘buying miles’
Looking at the same weekend in November, we picked a Pool Terrace Room with M Club lounge access at the Marriott Tang Plaza, with the following rate using this Rocketmiles promotion:
You can pick up this room on the same refundable rate basis via the Marriott website as a Bonvoy member (it’s free to join, so why wouldn’t you?) for a bit less:
As you can see you’re paying around S$72 more when booking through Rocketmiles, for 9,000 Asia Miles in return. That’s the equivalent of ‘buying’ Asia Miles for 0.8 cents each, while their value is closer to 1.9 cents each, more than double that.
Even as a Bonvoy Platinum member, given that you’re getting M Club access anyway with this rate you’re only really losing out on ~10,000 Bonvoy points (worth around 0.8-0.9 Singapore cents each) by booking through Rocketmiles.
We would say the Asia Miles offer here is far better, though it does depend on your personal circumstances.
Most of the hotels now open for staycation bookings in Singapore have some form of deal on offer when you book direct. You won’t necessarily get the best rate, nor the additional staycation perks, if you book through Rocketmiles.
While the 5,000 bonus miles can be a very attractive deal, make sure you’re not losing out on benefits you would value more, like dining credits, free parking, etc., which may outweigh the miles value for your chosen property if a good staycation deal is on offer when booking directly.
Given that the promotion is for worldwide hotel stays, we would also suggest perhaps keeping this one in mind for an overseas booking later in the year, when it may be more clear which border restrictions will be relaxed.
While you must book under this offer by 31st December 2020, your stay can be anytime.
KrisFlyer is excluded, or is it…?
Unfortunately the most popular miles currency in Singapore, KrisFlyer miles, is excluded from this offer.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to credit to KrisFlyer.
If you’re a regular reader you’ll probably have heard of us occasionally talking about Heathrow Rewards. Like Changi Rewards, it’s an airport loyalty programme fundamentally based around regular travellers earning points for retail spend in the airport terminal.
Remember that two-night Equarius staycation we looked at above with between 11,000 Asia Miles (or up to 17,000 Turkish Miles&Smiles points) thrown in for the same price as a direct booking?
It’s even better with Heathrow Rewards.
As you can see you’re netting 18,000 Heathrow Rewards Points with this booking, better than any of the ‘popular’ frequent flyer programmes we outlined above.
The best part? Heathrow Rewards points can be transferred 1:1 into KrisFlyer miles, or in fact quite a number of FFPs:
- Aegean Miles + Bonus
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Lufthansa Miles & More
- Royal Brunei Royal Skies
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
It’s free to join Heathrow Rewards, and your account can be wholly managed online without the need for a physical card.
That means if you’re willing to go to a bit of effort you can not only transfer a very attractive number of miles into KrisFlyer under this Rocketmiles offer via Heathrow Rewards, you can even get superior rates with the likes of BA Avios and Emirates, while also unlocking the elusive Lufthansa Miles & More programme (not a Rocketmiles partner).
We made this work for our most recent holiday in Hoi An, Vietnam, before COVID-19 hit, with a rate at Four Seasons The Nam Hai identical to the hotel’s own rate via Rocketmiles.
While this wasn’t a cheap vacation by any stretch, with 59,000 Heathrow Rewards points accrued it was a no-brainer to book this way. We have since moved the points into KrisFlyer miles.
Hold out for a bonus?
Better still, Heathrow rewards runs occasional points transfer promotions for its airline partner schemes (the latest to KrisFlyer was a 25-50% bonus), so if you’re willing to hold onto the points for a while and wait for the next bonus to be announced you could even find yourself transferring up to 50% more miles into KrisFlyer.
Just remember that your Heathrow Rewards points expire if you don’t have any new transactions for 3 years, so be sure to have transferred them by then, unless you’re a Heathrow regular in which case you won’t need to worry too much as all your points stay ‘alive’ provided you transact at least once every 3 years.
When do the miles credit?
Rocketmiles will credit your selected loyalty programme, including the bonus miles with this offer, within approximately 2 weeks of the hotel stay being completed.
With a large number of staycation perks on offer across most Singapore hotels between now and the end of the year, this promotion might actually be better to keep in mind for an overseas booking later in the year.
Assuming you’re new to Rocketmiles, or the person booking the room is, then provided you lock in by 31st December 2020 you’ll pick up the 5,000 bonus miles regardless of your stay date, meaning it can be well into 2021.
(Cover Photo: Four Seasons Singapore)