Nov052013

RocketMiles Hotel Rate Analysis

The RocketMiles affiliate links blog posts are coming fast today to promote the 5,000 bonus miles anniversary offer. I decided it was time for Loyalty Traveler to do a little reality check into this offer. I like a good deal.

Is this a good deal to get 6,000 or more miles for a single hotel stay booking?

Here is a check of three California vacation locations with Carmel/Monterey, Napa and San Francisco.

The first thing to know is the selection of hotels is extremely limited for each location.

San Francisco

Thursday November 7, 2013

  • Best Western Plus Airport Inn & Suites $169. Earn 6,000 miles. Best Western.com $140. $29 higher rate.
  • The Lodge at Tiburon $169. Earn 6,000 miles. Kayak.com $160. $9 higher rate.
  • Orchard Hotel $509. Earn 9,000 miles. Kayak.com $502. $7 higher rate.
  • White Swan Inn $379. Earn 7,000 miles. Kayak.com $376. $3 higher rate.
  • Pickwick Hotel $399. Earn 7,000 miles.
  • Hotel Del Sol $259. Earn 6,000 miles. Joie de Vivre hotel website $259. No rate difference.

San Francisco shows the Best Western Airport at $169 to be $29 more for 6,000 miles earned with a RocketMiles booking. The Lodge at Tiburon is only $9 more. The differences are lower for hotels in San Francisco city, if you can afford those kinds of rates for a hotel night.

Napa Thursday 11/28 (Thanksgiving)

  • Silverado Resort $239. Earn 7,000 miles. Kayak.com $190. $49 higher rate.
  • Bardessono $600. Earn 7,000 miles. Kayak.com $577. $33 higher rate.
  • La Residence $219. Earn 6,000 miles. Kayak.com $186. $33 higher rate.
  • Napa River Inn $259. Earn 6,000 miles. Kayak.com $249. $10 higher rate.

For each hotel the RocketMiles price is higher. Napa River Inn is a member of Preferred Hotel Group.

Price range is $10 to $49 more to book through RocketMiles. That is certainly a price worth paying a little more for 6,000 or 7,000 miles.

Monterey/Carmel Tuesday November 12.

RocketMiles lists 5 hotels. Kayak lists 195 hotels.

  • Monterey Plaza Hotel $449. Earn 7,000 miles. Kayak.com $303. $147 higher rate with RocketMiles.
  • Sanctuary Beach Resort $188. Earn 6,000 miles. Kayak.com $188. Same price.
  • Spindrift Inn $199. Earn 6,000 miles. Kayak.com $216. Spindrift Inn website $199. Same Price.
  • Coachman’s Inn $229. Earn 6,000 miles. Priceline.com $127.20. RocketMiles is $101.80 higher.
  • La Playa Carmel $286. Earn 6,000 miles. Travelocity $244. RocketMiles is $42 higher.

There are significant price discrepancies for some of these Monterey area hotels. Monterey Plaza is $147 higher rate on RocketMiles and Coachman’s Inn $102 higher. Spindrift Inn is a good deal at the same $199 price.

*****

Observations:

  • RocketMiles hotels are a small number of hotels for an area.
  • Several hotels had the same rate on RocketMiles as the hotel’s own website. Several hotels were within $10 of the hotel’s own website rate.
  • In Monterey there were some large rate discrepancies with 2 of 5 hotels charging $102 and $147 more per night.

Bottom line: Booking a RocketMiles hotel today for the Anniversary 5,000 miles can be a good deal for bonus miles if you can find a hotel with a reasonable rate for 6,000 or more miles.

All these rates are more than I typically spend on hotel nights. Best Western SFO at $169 will be nearly $200 after tax to earn 6,000 miles. That is about $100 more per night than I typically spend at SFO where rates fluctuate wildly and Best Rate Guarantee claims are easy to catch.

I value 6,000 miles at $75.

I have never booked a RocketMiles hotel stay.

Even though the 5,000 bonus miles are a good incentive, I do not see any hotel rate offers that motivate me to launch my first hotel stay bonus with RocketMiles today.

https://www.rocketmiles.com/anniversary

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. Very nice analysis, Ric! You are the ONLY blogger who remains conscience and honest during this Rocketmiles frenzy.

  2. As I’ve said for a long time (sorry Jerry) Rocketmiles picks some nice hotels, and they’re not an awful choice if you don’t care about elite status, but the fact is you’re just paying for a hotel room plus extra to buy miles. Sometimes you’re buying miles at a good rate. Often not. Thanks for reminding people to be wary of some of these “deals,” Ric.

  3. Some bloggers may be be giving out their affiliate links today, I haven’t read the posts, but if they are they will be surprised (perhaps they didn’t read the t&c) to learn that referral credits aren’t stackable with this promotion.

  4. Thank you Ric. This is useful and practical info with a clear conclusion. My quick analysis of alternative prices for the hotels I booked for my three trips in Nov-Dec showed either no availability of substantially higher prices at Rocketmiles.

  5. Strangely I was just looking for a hotel in Sonoma for a couple of nights mid-November and came to the identical conclusion. Hotels.com with its effective 10% off is a far brtter deal.

  6. I spent about 10 minutes this morning searching a variety of cities dates where I will need a hotel room.

    NOTHING was interesting.

    I really have a hard time figuring out the business model here. I guess it’s like Scottrick says — you’re getting a hotel room and buying some miles. Two activities that don’t seem like they should go together.

  7. Rocketmiles is a wonderful tool for people who travel for work and are reimbursed of their expenses. They are reimbursed and also get some additional miles in their accounts.
    This is the main target of a website like Rocketmiles.
    For the casual traveler, there are definitely better alternatives.

  8. The Fairmont San Francisco is a good deal at $199. I saw that for one of the dates I checked.

    The hotel creates a giant gingerbread house in the lobby for the holiday season.

  9. The one factor that you are leaving out is the price difference between comparable hotels. Someone dealing with RocketMiles’ limited selection of hotels is likely not looking for a specific hotel, and would be as willing to take the Residence Inn as the Homewood Suites across the street.

    As an example, in Philadelphia (a city I know well) on November 21st-22nd, the Hyatt at the Belluevue is $321 after tax w/ 6000 miles on RocketMiles, and within a similar price elsewhere. I can get a similar room at the Loews 4 blocks away for $197 after tax on the AAA rate, or the DoubleTree 1 block down the street from the Hyatt for $207 after tax for the AAA rate. Hotwire has a rate of $158 for what 2 minutes of investigating appears to be the Marriott 4 blocks away from the Hyatt.

    This places the cost of the 6,000 RocketMiles at $.02-$.0275, pretty expensive considering all of the bloggers that have been going apeshit over this promotion.

  10. FWIW, I’ve used rocketmiles twice (on a double miles promotion earlier in the year). Including tax I got 8,000 miles for $160 hotel room (which was $30 more expensive on kayak) and another awesome boutique hotel for 4,000 miles and $120. Plus 1st booking bonus and referral bonuses, I made 16,000 in one go. It was worth it for me, but stack your promotions! Also these were hotel stays where I absolutely needed to book a room and couldn’t redeem points or something.

    I also like that they also have more international destinations and non-chains (example- I can earn miles on a hotel in Nizwa, Oman, and the price is the same/better than all the other hotel sites). FWIW

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