Digital Booking Sites

Rocketmiles Expands Overseas, Secures Exclusive Partnership with United

@SamShankman

Jul 29, 2013 9:48 am

Skift Take

Travelers are becoming savvier with collecting and redeeming loyalty points as it becomes easier to do so with tie-ins across travel providers. There’s no reason Rocketmiles’ U.S. success won’t also translate into international bookings.

— Samantha Shankman

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Rocketmiles, the hotel booking site that rewards users with airline miles, announced its international expansion last week.

The startup launched in early April with hotels in 15 cities and miles redeemable on five airlines. Today, hotel bookings are available in more than 300 cities including Paris and Tokyo. Etihad and Virgin America have since joined with the platform as well.

The product was designed for business travelers, who remain the target customer throughout the user experience; however, founder Jay Hoffmann tells Skift, “We’re surprised that leisure travelers are using it as well. It is appealing to the general public, not just miles fanatics.”

Although Hoffmann wouldn’t share exact numbers on repeat customer rates, which he describes as “incredibly high,” Hoffmann did explain that the average customer travels 12 times a year and stays 2.2 nights per each stay.

Scuffle Over United’s Mileage Plus

RocketMiles closest competitor PointsHound offers users 9 frequent flyer programs for over 150,000 hotels in the U.S. and abroad.

Skift has learned that PointsHound has removed United’s Mileage Plus from its platform after United Airlines discontinued the partnership. A PointsHound spokeswoman tells Skift that United made a “made a strategic investment in RocketMiles which came with exclusivity.”

Hoffmann confirmed that Mileage Plus is now only on Rocketmiles but stated that United had not invested in Rocketmiles.

A United spokesperson declined to comment on the terms of the commercial relationship.

The tie-up makes sense as Hoffmann managed partnerships at United Mileage Plus for three years prior to the launch of Rocketmiles.

The exclusive partnership between United and Rocketmiles also makes sense to PointsHound whose spokewoman tells Skift, “Overall though, PointsHound feels that all of this strategic interest is validating the entire travel space and not at all surprising given the early traction and rapid growth both PointsHound and RocketMiles have experienced.”

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