Rocketmiles was a sweet spot for those looking to quickly accumulate American Airlines Loyalty Points and status; there’s been a change in their relationship.
Rocketmiles Was The Go-To Source For Cheap, Quick American Airlines Loyalty Points
When American Airlines Aadvantage changed the rules of its program to count Loyalty Points earned anywhere (except for sign-up bonuses), Rocketmiles became a prime target. The ability to earn large swaths of miles that were both redeemable and counted towards status improved the value.
In a prior post, I cited an example where a traveler could secure enough miles earned through a single transaction to put them within striking range of entry-level elite status with American Airlines.
Rocketmiles earns a commission from booking hotels and pays part of that back to the traveler in the form of miles or points in a variety of loyalty programs. Commissions for highly targeted properties might include up to a 40% commission, of which, Rocketmiles would put out enormous offers for Loyalty Points in this case, attract buyers, and keep the difference.
For what it’s worth, I used to be a regular user of Rocketmiles before hotel status became important to me. Most offers were between 3,000 miles/points per night, and 5,000 for an average of about a $200/night room. I may or may not have accumulated half a bitcoin through a few transactions when BTC was trading in the hundreds – and sold it for $300 at a 50% loss.
There’s Been A Change
Last week, Rocketmiles sent out emails to clients that their relationship with American Airlines was going to change. Here’s an example of what was possible a few months ago:
To keep things consistent, I aimed for Hilton’s in Orlando close to the same price point as the same exact hotel didn’t come up during my search period. Here’s the current offer on Rocketmiles:
For the avoidance of doubt, other programs that didn’t see the same elevated level of bonuses as American did remain as they always have been. Here are United and Alaska bonuses respectively.
United Airlines MileagePlus
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan:
Business Extra Remains A Bright Spot
For what it’s worth, and frankly, this might be the most important part of this transition, there is still a worthwhile reason to book Rocketmiles if you’re a regular American Airlines business traveler. American Airlines’ Business Extra program is a business incentive program that allows companies to earn their own points (Business Extra Points) but it has a very different award chart at just 8% of equivalent base redemptions compared with Loyalty Points. Here’s Business Extra’s domestic award chart:
Here is the same earnings but in Business Extra points.
While it’s not as good as some of the other options available, 100 Business Extra points (still for redemption on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, or Japan Airlines) are still worth far more than 300 Loyalty Points. By comparison, a domestic award that costs 25,000 Loyalty Points would take 83.3 of these stays vs. just 20 with Business Extra.
I expect this relationship to be adjusted soon as well so if you’re a member of Business Extra, now is probably the time to jump on this.
AA Hotels Is The New Option
In an email that Rocketmiles sent out this week, the brand expressed that it was transitioning. The headline for the email was Things are changing, but that’s ok!
“The AAdvantage® program is changing for members who book hotels using Rocketmiles.
We know how important it is for you to make the most of your rewards, so check out the AAdvantage HotelsTMplatform, a streamlined way to earn miles and Loyalty Points on every hotel booking. Plus, you can also redeem miles on hotel stays, all in one place.
Explore the platform and unlock your next AAdvantage®reward level even faster.” – Rocketmiles email
When looking at AadvantageHotels.com, they have a far better rate than Rocketmiles, but still well below what was offered on Rocketmiles before the transition. Again, for consistency, here’s the same search but on AA Hotels instead:
For comparison, these earnings are essentially the same as Rocketmiles unless you’re an American Airlines credit card holder. However, those rates, even for credit card holders do not beat rates for common consumers on Rocketmiles with Alaska Airlines and in some cases, United Airlines.
Rocketmiles offered a fast track to easy, and affordable Loyalty Points and status on American Airlines. American Airlines has all but ended any incentive to use Rocketmiles and transitioned customers with the help of Rocketmiles to its hotel booking platform where earnings remain uncompetitive, especially for those who do not hold a co-brand credit card. It’s disappointing to see, especially given the massive increase in status requirements for American Airlines this year, but unsurprising. Business Extra points remain a value for qualifying businesses that participate with the program.
What do you think?