A behind the scenes look at the launch of Miles and our latest momentum with rewards partners, investors and our growing community of users
Every year, the average person travels thousands of miles via some form of transportation. If you live in a major city, you can easily spend up to 90 minutes commuting each day, representing hundreds of hours every year. And yet, despite this, mobility is a universal behavior that largely goes unrewarded.
Solving for this gap in the market was the big idea that led to the launch of Miles. When Paresh Jain, Parin Shah and I left our roles at Cisco and Morgan Stanley to found our own company, we didn’t know that our next adventure would be called Miles, or even what it would empower people to do. But collectively we saw an opportunity to deliver more value to people as transportation continued to evolve.
In early 2016, we began developing Miles – a universal rewards platform built for the shared economy. Our vision for Miles was bold and unwavering: to deliver value for every mile traveled, across every mode of transportation, anywhere in the world.
Introducing Miles – A frequent flyer program for ground transportation
In July 2018, we successfully launched the Miles platform and app on iOS, positioning it as “a frequent flyer program for ground transportation”. Simply put, Miles allows anyone with a smartphone to earn miles and rewards as they travel, redeemable with merchants, retailers and transportation providers across categories. Whether by car, rideshare, plane, train, subway, bus, bicycle or on foot, Miles effortlessly awards your commute – with alternative or sustainable modes of transportation rewarded even further.
The response from consumers at launch was incredible. With a strong lineup of partners offering exclusive rewards, we saw thousands of downloads in the first 48 hours. The spike in interest at launch required we make some updates to keep up with demand. This included improvements to our platform as well as additional capacity to process millions of miles traveled, earned and redeemed by users.
Building momentum as the world’s first universal rewards platform
To fully realize our vision for Miles, we not only needed to deliver a great user experience but also define a completely new category and way to reward all forms of transportation, regardless of where or how people travel.
Our core team has worked tirelessly to develop and improve the Miles’ experience –seamlessly rewarding users for every trip they make in the physical world while keeping data completely private. Developing and expanding our partnerships is also a constant area of focus for our team.
Since our initial launch in summer, we’ve made tremendous progress in delivering on that vision. Today tens of thousands of consumers use the Miles app – now available on Android, in addition to iOS. In total, Miles users have earned more than 270 million miles, redeeming approximately 40,000 rewards, with an average value of $20 per reward.
“The wide variety of rewards, coupled with the novel approach to earning them, puts Miles in a category of its own,” notes Alex Kaufman, Principal with JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), which led the latest investment round in Miles. “We’re excited by Miles’ early traction and growing user base as well as its ability to help companies acquire and keep customers through more effective and relevant marketing.”
Strategic investment by JetBlue Technology Ventures, Porsche Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund and SAIC
Today we’re thrilled to announce a series of momentum updates including product enhancements, new rewards partners spanning major brands, cities and transportation providers, as well as strategic investments by JetBlue Technology Ventures, Porsche Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund, and SAIC, China’s leading automotive manufacturer. In total, Miles has now raised with more than $5.75M in capital with other investors including Urban Us (VC); Scrum Ventures (VC); Panasonic and Gabe Klein (Co-founder CityFi), among others.
“With Miles, no matter how you travel – by foot, bike, car, plane, or boat – you can earn rewards in a simple and unobtrusive way,” said Bonny Simi, President of JetBlue Technology Ventures. “The wide variety of rewards available through the Miles app, coupled with the novel approach to earning them, puts Miles’ program in a position to revamp customer loyalty.”
“At Porsche, we want to accompany our customers throughout their daily lives, including all forms of their individual end-to-end mobility,” said Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT. “With our follow-on investment in Miles, we further strengthen our partnership with a strong and experienced team. Our goal is not only to offer tailored digital products and services, but also to incentivize and reward more sustainable driving.”
“Sony Innovation Fund has been looking to broaden its mobility-related portfolio and our investment in Miles is a great way to do that,” said Toshimoto Mitomo, Senior Investment Executive, Sony Innovation Fund. “Miles has gathered substantial traction since its initial launch and we look forward to working closely with the company as it further builds up its technology and broadens its reach.”
More than 75 brands now offer 120 exclusive rewards
New reward partners Miles is announcing today include Amazon Audible, Ray-Ban, Getaroom, Getaround, Harry’s, Home Chef, illy, Oakley, Postmates, Saucy, Rhone, Rockport, TOMS, Thrive Market, Vudu, among others. Miles also continues to expand its partnerships with transportation providers including Getaround, Silvercar, TravelCar, and Zipcar.
In total, Miles now has more than 75 rewards partners, offering more than 120 exclusive rewards to users. Other major brands offering rewards though Miles include Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Cole Haan, and many more.
Delivering More Value to Commuters and Cities
Miles is also teaming with several cities and transportation authorities to promote greener travel. This week, Miles announced a partnership with the City of Sacramento, Sacramento Regional Transit, and Sacramento State to offer bonus miles and rewards to local commuters when they choose alternate or more sustainable forms of transportation (walk, bike, carpool or transit).
“Miles is an innovative program to incentivize low carbon travel options and helps the City meet its ambitious climate and mobility goals,” said Hector Barron, Director, Public Works, City of Sacramento.
Contra Costa Transportation Authority also offers rewards through Miles platform to nudge users to choose public transit or stay off of highways during commute time. The City of Aspen also recently completed a pilot with Miles.
Across the board, Miles rewards all of its users who choose alternate forms of transportation. If a user carpools or takes a rideshare service (i.e. Lyft or Uber), they earn 2x miles. Users who ride the train or public transit receive 3x the miles. Ride a bike and receive 5x miles or choose to walk or run and earn 10x miles.
Helping cities shape their vision to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and offer a sustainable mode of travel helps us address a genuine need for our existence. Our goal at Miles is to help cities across the country and around the world.
Get started today to make every mile count
To get started with Miles and make every mile you travel count, simply download the app. Every day we offer a series of new rewards from our partners, as well as local market challenges to earn additional exclusive rewards.
Designed to work seamlessly in the background, Miles automatically logs each trip you take from point A to B and the mode of transportation, while keeping your data completely private. You can easily view your progress and miles earned per trip while receiving personalized rewards with leading brands across categories – redeemable either online or at a nearby store.
To learn more about the value Miles offers local businesses and brands, check out our blog post here.