Merchant Innovation

Priceline Picks Up Rocketmiles For $20 Million

Rocketmiles, a two year old start-up that allows customers rack up frequent-flier miles by using its apps or website to book hotel rooms, will reportedly be acquired by Priceline for a cool for $20 million through its venture unit, according to people familiar with the matter.

The acquisition would aid Priceline’s attempts at incentivizing customers to book lodging through its network, as opposed to through hotel chains’ individual sites and apps. In recent years, travel websites have had to spend more energy fighting off hotel and airline companies who would like to cut out the middle man and lure people directly to their own sites and reward programs.  Generally speaking, travel sites make the bulk of their money with hotel bookings – the airfares function as bait to get customers in the door.

Rocketmiles correlates those hotel stays into rewards miles; for example, one night at the Hilton Garden Inn in New York for $269 might be worth  3,000 frequent-flier miles for a Rocketmiles user. The travel service notes on its website that an average traveler will accrue 80,000 miles annually by using its hotel booking service.

Rocketmiles has raised $8.5 million in venture capital from August Capital and Chicago Ventures, among others, and says it has hundreds of thousands of users.

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