9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays

By Amanda Gokee on 24 January 2017 0 comments

Booking the right accommodations can make or break your stay — and your travel budget. So once you've taken the time to carefully research your hotel for your next trip, make sure you secure a good room and rate during your booking. (See also: 25 Hotel Booking Tips From Professional Travelers)

1. Use Rewards Programs

By now, you've probably realized that you should always be earning frequent flyer miles when you fly, but did you know this is also true for hotels? Many major hotel brands such as Hilton and Hyatt offer free loyalty rewards programs that let you accumulate points toward free nights just by staying at properties within their chain. (See also: Breakdown of the Best Hotel Rewards Programs)

If you don’t want to be tied down to one particular hotel chain, online booking sites often have their own rewards programs that allow you to accumulate points and earn rewards by purchasing travel through them. (See also: Little Known Trick to Getting Exclusive Travel Discounts)

2. Earn Elite Status

There's nothing complicated about earning elite status with a specific chain of hotels. To start, you'll want to focus on one chain of hotels that you like and book there consistently.

However, you can speed up the process by using a credit card that gives you elite status. Some give you a status boost just for being a cardmember. With others, you’ll need to spend a certain amount on the card before you get elite status.

Having elite status can get you perks like free breakfast, upgrades, Wi-Fi, bonus points, and welcome gifts. Be sure to mention your status when you complete the booking and inquire about special accommodations or amenities that may be available to you.

3. Take Advantage of Status Match

If you have earned a certain status with one hotel brand, you may be able to leverage this with other chains as well. Call another brand and find out if they will match your status. To qualify for some status match programs, you will have to provide documentation proving your status with the first hotel chain.

Keep in mind that if you've used credit card spending to reach an elite status, this may not qualify you for elite status with another hotel brand.

4. Book Directly — By Phone

It may sound simple, but many people are hesitant to contact the hotel directly, especially in the Internet age where most bookings are done online. People have become accustomed to doing everything from their computers, but sometimes to get the best deal you actually have to call the hotel to book your stay. (See also: The Easiest Way to Negotiate a Hotel Room Rate)

First, you'll need to do your homework to get an idea of the going rate online. Then call the hotel directly. Ask the reservationist to give you a better deal than what you found with a third-party booking site.

Almost all hotels prefer you to book directly with them, since it saves them from paying a commission to an online booking website. Use this to your advantage and ask that they throw in an extra perk for booking directly, like a complimentary upgrade, a room with a view, or another incentive such as free early check-in or late check-out.

5. Communicate Early About Special Occasions

Always inform the hotel if you'll be celebrating any occasion during your stay. Hotels will usually try to accommodate with a free upgrade, and if you're visiting them during your honeymoon they may even throw in a welcome gift like champagne to show their appreciation for your business.

Ideally, you should inform the hotel of your special occasion while you're making the booking, but it doesn't hurt to remind them while you're checking in.

See also: How to Stay in a 5 Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel

6. Take Advantage of Last-Minute Deals

In general, it’s best to reserve your room in advance. But if you have to book at the last minute, you can sometimes do so without having to pay top dollar. Websites like Roomer and Cancelon can help you secure a reduced rate from last-minute hotel cancellations. (See also: 5 Hotel Room Booking Tools Every Traveler Should Know)

7. Use Coupons

Coupons can really reduce the cost of your booking, especially when you're booking a package or last-minute stay. Sites like Groupon are especially good for last-minute deals.

See Also: 25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers

8. Cash in Airline Miles to Buy Rooms

Have you been racking up thousands of airline miles that you’re not sure how to use? You may be able to cash them in to pay for hotel rooms. Many travel rewards credit cards allow you to transfer points to hotel programs, which you can then use to pay for your booking.

9. Write a Review for a Future Booking

Did you know you can earn a commission toward a future booking with Yonderbound? All you have to do is write a review on the Yonderbound website after your stay. Then, when someone books a stay at the property after reading your review, you can earn 70% of the website's commission, which works out to about 10% of the booking’s list price.

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