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After only two years in business, Rocketmiles has made some impressive strides in the loyalty program and points rewards customer engagement space. In fact, Rocketmiles, a company that helps frequent airline travelers earn extra points by reserving hotel rooms through its website and mobile app, has been successful enough to attract the attention of Priceline Group, which has just announced plans to purchase the Chicago startup for $20 million.
Rather than directly booking with the hotels themselves, Priceline hopes that the new acquisition of Rocketmiles will encourage customer engagement by enticing travelers to reserve stays through their own network.
“We think there’s a really interesting value proposition there for consumers, and that’s why we were interested in bringing them into the group,” Priceline Group spokeswoman Leslie Cafferty said.
Priceline, an online ecommerce site that allows users to name their own price on an array of products and services, does not currently operate an internal loyalty program. So the acquisition is a logical move for Priceline, which seeks to maintain an advantage over competitors by annexing Rocketmiles’ customer loyalty building capabilities.
Rocketmiles works by rewarding travelers with airline miles or points for booking stays in thousands of hotels across the world. Members earn a minimum of 1,000 points per hotel stay and can often earn up to 5,000 in a single day.
According to Rocketmiles, a typical traveler can earn as much as 80,000 points per year. The loyalty program members receive 1,000 bonus points for referring a friend and they can also transfer points to others if they so choose.
Under Priceline’s new ownership, Rocketmiles will continue to operate as before. The ecommerce travel giant will continue to act as if Rocketmiles were still an independent company, which is consistent with previous Priceline acquisitions including OpenTable, Booking.com, and Kayak.
“We’re usually buying them to continue to have them run themselves,” Cafferty said. And that she expects “business as usual.”
For Rocketmiles, this is good news as Jay Hoffmann, Rocketmiles CEO and co-founder, said that he respects the independence that Priceline Group affords its subsidiaries.
“I’ve come to believe that a small team of extremely motivated and agile and fast individuals sometimes are able to get more done than big companies, so that was a really attractive component of working with Priceline,” Hoffmann said. “We’re going to continue to act as a startup.”
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