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Rocketmiles is a hotel consolidator that allows users to earn points/miles associated with dozens of loyalty programs around the world when booking hotel stays and with the list of participating loyalty programs including the likes of American Airlines AAdvantage, United MileagePlus, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, the British Airways Executive Club, and even Amex Membership Rewards, Rocketmiles has seen its popularity grow significantly in the past few years.
I haven’t really paid much notice to Rocketmiles over the years because bookings made through the site aren’t eligible for elite status recognition nor do they earn guests points in any hotel programs but a recent tweet caught my eye and taught me something I didn’t know – Rocketmiles also partners with the American Airlines Business Extra program.
Business Extra is a completely separate program to American Airlines AAdvantage and you can accumulate points/miles in both programs at the same time and for the same flights (more info on Business Extra via this link).
Business Extra points can be redeemed for flight awards, upgrade awards, Admirals club memberships, Admirals club day passes and can even be used to gift someone AAdvantage Gold status.
They are primarily earned from flights with American Airlines (as well as flights with select partner airlines) and participants in the program earn 1 point per $5 in eligible flight spending.
As “eligible flight spending” excludes any taxes, fees, or surcharges added to a traveler’s fare Business Extra points are not all that easy to earn if you don’t travel a lot or if you don’t have many employees….and that why this Rocketmiles partnership is so interesting.
Rocketmiles & Business Extra
Rocketmiles bookings earn between 25 and 500 Business Extra points per night (details here) so a single hotel night booked through Rocketmiles will earn a traveler (at the very least) the same number of points as a $125 airfare (before taxes, fees, and surcharges have been added in to the airfare)…but it can also earn the significantly more.
Here are a few results from a search I performed in which I asked Rocketmiles to show me options at LAX for 1 night checking in on January 28th:
As you can see, where a flight would earn a traveler 1 point per $5 spent (before taxes, fees, and surcharges), these hotel bookings offer a far better return – a stay at the Hilton LAX would return 1 point per $1.42 spent (before taxes and fees).
You can even choose to pay more if you’d like the earing rate to get even better:
Overall (and assuming the boost option isn’t used), a $156 nightly rate costs $180.15 once the taxes and fees are added in and that’s still a much better rate than you’d get when booking airfare (1 point per $1.64 spent).
Examples of Business Extra Awards
- US domestic 1-segment upgrade = 650 points
- International one-way upgrade on a discounted fare* = 3,100 points
- PlanAhead (saver) flight awards start at 2,000 points
- Partner flight awards start at 3,000 points
- Admirals Club 1-day pass = 300 points
- Admirals Club annual membership = 3,300 points
- Gift AAdvantage Gold status for 3,200 points
*the cheapest fares cannot be upgraded
A Few Things That Should Be Highlighted
Comparing Business Extra earnings from airfare spending with earnings from hotel spending may highlight just how much better the earnings are when you’re booking hotels…but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Firstly, when you earn Business Extra points though airfare bookings you will also earn AAdvantage Miles which have a value. Rocketmiles hotel bookings will not earn guests points in any of the hotel loyalty programs.
Secondly, when you earn Business Extra points though airfare bookings you will also earn credit towards airline status while Rocketmiles hotel bookings will not earn guests any credit towards hotel status.
In exchange for a good return on Business Extra points a guest is effectively giving up any elite status benefits they would have been entitled to during their stay as well as any hotel points earnings or credits towards hotel elite status.
If you don’t care about hotel status or are making a booking at a boutique/non-chain property this won’t really matter…but it will probably matter to a good number of TFM readers.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that Rocketmiles isn’t necessarily going to be the cheapest way to book a hotel stay. In the examples I’ve shown above (at LAX) Rockletmiles is more or less in line with what Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and IHG are charging via their own sites and that makes the booking a good deal….but this won’t always be the case.
Always compare the price that Rocketmiles is charging with what other consolidators and the hotels themselves are charging to ensure that you’re not paying a hefty premium just to earn a few Business Extra points.
Using Rocketmiles to earn Business Extra points for hotel bookings won’t suit a lot of people because it requires travelers to give up any elite staus perks they may be entitled too as well as giving up hotel loyalty earnings…but that doesn’t make this a bad idea.
Business Extra points can be put to good use with a little planning so if you’re not hooked on hotels status or if you’re planning a stay at a property where you have no status and where the points mean nothing to you (assuming they even offer points) then it’s worth bearing in mind that you may be able to earn a stack of Business Extra Points (or another loyalty currency) when booking your stay…just don’t forget to compare prices elsewhere!