Rocketmiles vs Kaligo vs PointsHound (Part 6) – Other Benefits, Positives & Negatives And The Results

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This is the last in a series of six posts in which I’m taking a closer look a the 3 big “miles for hotel stays” websites.

Part 1 – A look at the choice and quality of loyalty programs offered and a look at the selection of hotels available on the sites.

Part 2 – A look at the prices the sites are offering.

Part 3 – A look at mileage earning opportunities – USA Centric Analysis

Part 4 – A look at mileage earning opportunities – UK Centric Analysis

Part 5 – A look at what miles you should be electing to earn

Part 6 – A look at other benefits offered, positives/negatives to using these sites & a summary of the findings with conclusions.

Rocketmiles v Kaligo x PointsHound

What are Rocketmiles, Kaligo and PointsHound?

These are hotel booking sites which allow you to earn miles, in a variety of loyalty programs (predominantly airline loyalty programs), when you book hotel stays.

What other benefits do Rocketmiles, Kaligo and PointsHound offer?

Sign-Up bonuses:

All three sites regularly offer a sign-up bonus for new members. Current deals are as follows:

  • Rocketmiles – 3,000 miles for your first booking
  • Kaligo – 10,000 miles with a $1,000 spend
  • PointsHound – no bonus on the site at the time of writing.

These sign-up bonuses can vary on a weekly basis so getting a nice bonus from the site you want to use is very much hit and miss. Having said that, overall, Kaligo appears to offer the larger and more consistent bonuses.

Referral Program:

Both PointsHound and Rocketmiles will give you and whomever you refer 1,000 miles (each) following the successful completion of the first booking. Kaligo is yet to come out with a referral bonus.

The referral programs are pretty much useless as the sign-up bonuses the sites offer are almost always far better than the 1,000 miles you get from a referral.

Best Rate Guarantees:

I couldn’t find any mention of a ‘best rate guarantee’ on either Kaligo or Rocketmiles but PointsHound does have, what they call, “Our Low Price Guarantee”:

“If you find a lower rate for your hotel on another site, we’ll refund the difference to you. Book with us and enjoy total peace of mind!”

“If you find a lower rate at any time up until hotel’s cancellation window, we’ll match the price. The lower price you find needs to be for the same dates, length of stay and room type.”

As is often the case, there is a catch:

“Only rates tagged with “Price Match Guarantee” on the Hotel Details page are eligible.”


“The lower price you found must be available on another website directed to consumers in the same locale, and must be for the same hotel, dates and room type.”

So the BRG only works for hotels Rocketmiles chooses to apply it to and you can’t go scouring the web to see if someone in another country is being offered a better deal because – hardly impressive.

Overall none of the sites really have any amazing additional benefits so Kaligo’s higher bonuses wins this round for them.

WINNER: Kaligo
Second: PointsHound
Third: Rocketmiles

What positives and negatives are there to using the sites?

The positives:

  • You earn airline miles for booking hotels stays. Some airlines and hotels do have partnerships that allow you to earn miles for hotel stay but usually not a the same earnings levels that you’ll get on Kaligo, PointsHound and Rocketmiles
  • As I showed in part 2, just because these sites are offering miles doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be more expensive than the popular online travel agencies – you could earn miles while paying no more than you’d pay on Expedia.

The negatives:

  • If you book through these sites you won’t earn any credit towards elite status in any of the big hotel chains – not an issue if you’re staying at an independent hotel/resort.
  • Even if you hold elite status with one of the hotel chains you choose to stay with they will almost certainly not afford you the benefits of that status if you book through a 3rd party – the same would be true if you book through Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline etc…
  • The lack of a solid “best rate guarantee” is a negative – I like to know that I have some comeback if I find a better rate within 24hr of booking a trip.

Are there any other negatives about the sites?

I’m not a fan of additional fees that hotels like to levy (like resort fees) and I’m even less of a fan of travel sites which don’t make it clear if fees are included in the total or not.

Kaligo doesn’t appear to always split out or show fees that will be due at the hotel so it’s hard to know if these are included in the rate quoted or if you’re going to get a surprise when you check-in/check-out.

Taking the Kapalua Villas on Maui as an example:

This is what Kaligo shows on the booking page…


No mention of any fees due to be paid at the resort.

And this is what PointsHound shows…..

pointshound-kapalua-with-feesYou could assume that the $374 “Due at hotel” that PointsHound is showing is already included in the Kaligo price because that would make the prices similar….but how do you know?

Rocketmiles shows the fees separately too….

rocketmiles-kapalua-with-fees-shownLeaving aside the fact that “miscellaneous fee” is simply not a good enough description when you’re asking someone to pay for something (call me old-fashioned but I like to know what I’m paying for) there is another issue:

It would appear that the sites don’t necessarily agree on exactly what you will be asked to pay at the hotel. As you can see from the screenshots above, Rocketmiles says that the fees to be charged at the hotel total $335 while PointsHound is quoting $374. The reason for the discrepancy becomes obvious when you click on the “information” symbol next to the fees on the PointsHound page:

pointshound-kapalua-feesFor some reason, the “miscellaneous” or “mandatory” fee is greater if you book through PointsHound – why?!

If you’re booking through one of these sites (or any other site for that matter) always be sure to have a full understanding of what your end cost is going to be.

The Results:

The winners in each category were:

  • Most loyalty programs – Rocketmiles
  • Quality of loyalty programs offered – Rocketmiles
  • Most of hotels offered – Kaligo
  • Quality of hotels offered – PointsHound
  • Prices of hotels offered – PointsHound
  • Number of miles earned per reservation – Rocketmiles
  • Number of miles earned per dollar spent – Rocketmiles
  • Additional benefits – Kaligo

I could have come up with a scoring system to produce a winner but I’m not sure how accurate it would be or how much use it would be – different people will place different weightings on different categories. Besides, no scoring system that I could think of would represent the gulf between the 3 sites in certain categories (number of loyalty programs, cheapest prices etc…).

Instead here’s a table showing how the sites did across all the tests – you can pick which is more important to you and go from there:

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 17.21.30Thoughts on the results:

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this series of small tests but they’ve been very interesting to perform – I definitely know all 3 sites a lot better now.

It was interesting to see that Rocketmiles either fared very well or very badly in the tests – it didn’t come in second place once. Kaligo and PointsHound were more middle-of-the-road in performance.

For what it’s worth, once I’ve selected a few hotels I’d be interested in visiting, I think my first port of call will be PointsHound. They offer my preferred loyalty programs and I value price over points – I can collect points a myriad of other ways without having to part with more cash than I need to.

Experienced miles/points collectors will already have a value for the different miles they collect so, if you fall into this group, you can make a calculated decision whether to ‘buy’ miles at whatever rate Kaligo, PointsHound and Rocketmiles are offering – just be careful not to collect miles for which you have no immediate plans.

Less experienced miles/points collectors should almost certainly focus on price of accommodation first and worry about the miles earned later – it’s just too easy to overpay and too easy to begin hoarding miles that will then only devalue.

A large miles/points balance isn’t indicative of someone good at the miles/points hobby – knowing when to collect and how to redeem for maximum value, is.

It’s important to remember that loyalty programs are set up to encourage us to make irrational decisions that end up putting more money in the pockets of those running the programs. So it’s our job to make sure we don’t fall into that trap.

The trick is not to let the number of points on offer sway your decision – even if the number of points you’re getting per dollar spent seems attractive. Money in your pocket will almost always be better than points in a program for the majority of travellers so, unless you have a solid plan on how you’re going to use the miles in the short-term, you should let price rule the day and consider any points you get as a bonus.