10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels
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In my travel experience, I've become quite good at finding a great hotel deal. This post is geared to those of you that would like to find the same deals like me and travel the world a little cheaper! (See also: Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards)
1. Refuse Maid Service
This option is available at Starwood Hotels worldwide, and you can ask at other hotels if they offer it as well. If you refuse maid service at Starwood on multi-day stays, you can net either a $5 daily voucher or 500 daily points added to your Starwood account.
2. Book International Travel on Non-US Websites
One tactic I've used during my trips to Europe is to look at the foreign versions of websites that I frequent. Often, they have cheaper rates or free perks that aren't offered to U.S. residents. (See also: 3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals)
3. Check Corporate Rates
This can be a great option if you work for a large firm. Often, corporate rates can save you hundreds of dollars on your room, especially during busy times. It's always good to check this rate against the "best available" rate, though, as I've seen the corporate rate higher than the best available before.
4. Work at a Hostel
If you're staying at hostels, make sure to form a good relationship with the people working there — you may get to work in exchange for room and board. I've done this before, and I can say it's a good way to see a city on a budget!
5. "Flash" Sales
Many times, hotel chains and hotel room wholesalers offer up "flash" sales with limited inventory, offering up rooms at a steep discount. Starwood has their weekly "StarPicks," and IHG Hotel Group has their "PointBreaks" for award stays. Be sure to follow each hotel chain on Twitter and Facebook as a way to find out about these rare deals.
6. Don't Choose
My personal favorite website, Hotwire is known for selling you a hotel room in the city you want, in the area you want — but you don't get to find out ahead of time what the hotel is. The result? You save big money, sometimes 75% on the price of the hotel room. I use this in Las Vegas, where the hotels are easy to guess by their location and amenities.
The "Name Your Own Price" function on Priceline is similar to Hotwire in that you won't know the hotel until you finish payment, but this site differs in that you make a bid for a hotel. If you bid too low, your card will not be charged. The key with this site is to not overbid for your hotel — but if you do an Internet search for the area you're traveling to and "Priceline," you can find many online forums online that can help you with your exact city that you are traveling to. One great place to start is BetterBidding.com.
Not really a surprise, but a reminder: loyalty points! By staying at the same hotel chain for all your hotel stays, you accrue points that can then be redeemed for a night anywhere on earth that they have a property!
8. Credit Cards
Want to accrue points faster than staying per-night with hotel chains? Get a co-branded hotel credit card. With the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, for example, new cardmembers can get (for a limited time) 75,000 bonus points after making $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Considering that you can book a room for as little as few as 5,000 points, that bonus alone can save you a bundle on your next vacation.
Another way to save some money at hotels is by using a frequent guest status. You can get this by staying at hotels a lot, or by getting a hotel credit card. For instance, having the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card will automatically get you Hilton HHonors Gold status, which gets you large room upgrades and free breakfast at Hiltons worldwide. Other chains, like Marriott and IHG hotels, also offer mid-tier status with their credit card products.
Sometimes, if you're a good talker, you can pit hotels against each other. If you see a hotel in the same town that you would like to stay at, see if they'll match the cheaper rate of their competing hotel. The answer is always "no" if you don't ask!
How have you found deals on hotels? Please share in comments!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.