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Yahoo acquires MileWise flight-search service and shuts it down

@denschaal

May 09, 2013 11:57 am

Skift Take

A shakeout has been looming among sites that track rewards miles and offers mileage-related flight services. MileWise’s demise is the first among several other companies that will likely fade away.

— Dennis Schaal

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MileWise announced today that its “team will be joining Yahoo,” and that the MileWise service, which showed flight options based on your reward mileage, will be shutting down.

It’s been tough going for mileage-tracking services such as MileWise and TripIt, to name a few, as four major U.S. airlines — Southwest, United, American and Delta — have refused to let these sites access members’ account information.

And, flight-search anyway has tight margins and is a rough slog.

Rumors were rampant about talks between Yahoo, which is desperate to hire tech talent, and MileWise, which hasn’t updated its Twitter account since mid-April.

Pando Daily broke the story several days ago that talks were heating up between the two parties.

In October 2012, MileWise struck a partnership with ITA Software, enabling travelers to pay for flights using a combination of cash, airline miles and/or hotel points.

That’s a wonderful feature, but it wasn’t enough to enable MileWise to reach a mass audience, and with flight-search such a revenue-margin-stingy business, it obviously was tough for MileWise to hang on.

MileWise, founded in 2010, had secured about $1.5 million in seed funding.

Here’s MileWise’s statement:

“We’re proud to announce we’ve been acquired by Yahoo!

“MileWise began almost four years ago with the goal of creating a simple, powerful product to help people and providers get the most value out of their rewards.

“Along the way, we’ve been lucky to connect with an incredible community of fellow travelers, without whom we wouldn’t have made it this far. To everyone who took MileWise for a spin: THANK YOU! You shared our vision of what MileWise could become, and generously donated your time and passion towards making it a reality.

“As part of the transition, the MileWise service will be shutting down. It’s tough to say goodbye to something we’ve dedicated so much to. But, we’ve tried to make it easy to take your data with you. We’ll be sending everyone an email with instructions on exporting your data, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate toemail us.

“The MileWise team will be joining Yahoo! in NYC’s Bryant Park office. We’re thrilled to be joining such a talented group of inventors, and can’t wait to get working on the next big thing coming out of Yahoo.

“Again, we’d like to thank everyone who supported us along the way: our investors, our employees, our partners, and most importantly, our fellow travelers.

“The MileWise Team”

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