MileWise Launches Search Engine for Frequent Fliers

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MileWise is a new search engine designed for frequent fliers that helps you find flights you can pay for using cash, airline miles or hotel and credit card points. The startup lets users track their air miles and rewards programs points in one single interface, then leverages that information to suggest which flights offer the most value.

Unlike on other flight search engines where flights can be ranked by price, number of connections, airlines, or like on Hipmunk, by “agony” (a combination of factors), MileWise also takes in consideration your rewards earned when ranking its results.

The flight data comes from  Orbitz, Everbread and directly from the airlines at present. And MileWise may include data from “another major flight inventory provider” in the future.

When viewing your search results, the points, miles and cash options are shown using different colors, while the number in the bubble on the left help to rank the flights based on mile- or point–to-dollar value.

Similar flight options are collapsed by default, but clicking the link on the right beneath a search result will expand them. You can also filter flights by payment method, airline, card, number of stops and flight times.

Currently, the service supports over 300 rewards programs. But it doesn’t just dumbly collect your data. MileWise tracks your rewards in order to warn you if they’re about to expire, points you to great deals you may have overlooked and keeps you from being surprised by large airline fees that sometimes accompany awards. It will also help you to earn more rewards by calculating the number of miles a flight will earn, including bonuses from status and cabin.

Funding and Future Plans

The MileWise team includes co-founder Vinay Pulim, who previously started Isovia (acquired by Motorola) and Reble.fm (acquired by Playlist.com) and who was Chris Dixon’s first engineering hire at Hunch. There’s also co-founder Sanjay Kothari, from Boston Consulting Group and co-founder Nick Meyer, formerly a co-founder at Reble.fm. Seye Ojumu is a more recent hire, and travel veteran Frederic Deschamps from Northwest Airlines advises.

The startup has $1.5 million in venture capital from Atlas Ventures, Founder Collective, General Catalyst, High Line Venture Partners and iNovia Capital, as well as angel investment from Nivi Babak, David Cohen, Geoff Judge, Mitch Kapor, David Kidder, Josh Kushner, Alex Lloyd, Tom McInerney, Jacob Pechenik, Keith Rabois, Naval Ravikant, David Tisch and Kal Vepuri. It plans to raise another round in 7 to 8 months.

MileWise has several potential revenue models under consideration, with a commissions model being considered of the near future. Later on, it will be able to make smart recommendations based on user behavior, like suggesting a user sign up for a credit card for a particular flight in order to gain the points needed to book it. Further down the line, the company may be able to turn its data into insights for partners. But the founders are careful to state that user privacy protected in all cases, and data will be anonymized. MileWise is also considering offering premium services, but nothing has been decided yet.