hotels http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9066/all en-US 8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000049917430_Large_0.jpg" alt="saving on travel accommodations online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The online accommodation landscape is changing quickly. New websites are popping up every day, each with a unique way to search for different types of lodging. But sometimes sites like Airbnb have hefty service charges, while booking engines like Expedia and Booking.com often take a 25% cut from the hotel, which is sometimes passed on to the guests. I've traveled for over six years and have stayed in over 400 different hotels, hostels, and apartments around the world, and I've found a few ways to get cheaper (or even free) accommodation online. Here they are.</p> <h2>1. Try House Sitting</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig">idea of house sitting</a>, while gaining traction, is still very foreign to most people. When I tell people that I've house sat in beachfront villas on the Caribbean Sea and in casitas in the jungles of Costa Rica, they often expect that I knew the owners or that I've somehow solicited myself door-to-door.</p> <p>The fact is, finding beautiful homes to house sit all around the world is easier today than it's ever been, thanks to websites like <a href="http://www.trustedhousesitters.com/">TrustedHouseSitters.com</a>. This site has the largest collection of available house sitting jobs on the web and it's really easy to get started.</p> <p>All you have to do is sign-up for their yearly service ($8.25 per month) and you'll have access to thousands of potential house sitting gigs around the world. I've seen everything from mountain top bungalows in Fiji, to vineyards in France, and even castles in the UK. It seems too good to be true, but it's really not.</p> <p>To better your chances of landing that perfect job, create a profile with your picture and a brief write-up about yourself, get some reviews from other people you've house sat for in the past, and complete a police check (usually done at your local police station for a fee).</p> <p>Once you've created your profile, you'll receive an email in your inbox every couple of days with potential house sitting jobs. Then all you have to do is wait until there's one that suits your needs, send the owner a message, and hope to get chosen!</p> <p>If you are chosen, you typically do a quick Skype call and then a few weeks later, you'll be flying off to your temporary dream home... where you'll stay for free.</p> <p>Usually the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-400-a-week-as-a-pet-sitter">listings include pet sitting</a>, so you'll have to take care of an animal during your stay, but sometimes there aren't any pets and you just get the house to yourself. The jobs typically don't pay, but we have had some experiences where the owners give us a small salary for staying.</p> <h2>2. Use Local Property Sites</h2> <p>When big companies like Expedia and Airbnb charge a fee to the hotel or apartment owners, that cost is usually passed on to you, the guest. To avoid this, you can sometimes find the name of the property owner on these sites, and then run a Google search to see if you can find the same property listed on a local website.</p> <p>Local websites generally have much lower fees, so you can potentially save 10%-15% off of the total cost of your accommodation. In Malta, for example, you can find many apartments online through large websites, but Malta also has a few locally run sites like <a href="http://shortletsmalta.com/">ShortLetsMalta.com</a>, where you can find the same properties much cheaper. In Guatemala, there's <a href="http://rentalsatitlan.com/">Atitlan Solutions</a>, and in pretty much every town or country, there's a local website that will have cheaper accommodations than the big search sites.</p> <h2>3. Contact the Owner Directly</h2> <p>This is a particularly good trick if you're looking for short let apartments around the world. The way to contact the owner directly is similar to finding local websites in the previous tip. You just have to go into Airbnb or Villas.com and find a place you like, then look at the owner profile and see if they list their name or the name of their property management company.</p> <p>Once you have that, you can run a Google search to see if you can find the owner directly online. Sometimes they have their own website for the property, and sometimes they don't. If they don't have a website, they probably won't show up in Google, but there's another tactic you can use.</p> <p>Head to Facebook and search their name and the destination where the property is located. For example: &quot;John Doe Puerto Vallarta.&quot;</p> <p>Facebook will show a list of people by the same name in or around that city. You can match the person's profile photo to their picture on the booking site, and then send them a direct Facebook message asking them about the property.</p> <h2>4. Check the Hotel Website</h2> <p>A lot of hotels don't like the fact that when they have 100 rooms occupied in their establishment, they're paying 25% of their total revenue to big booking sites.</p> <p>This is why many hotels offer financial incentives for booking directly on their websites. Once you find a hotel on a booking site, consider running a Google search with the hotel name and see if you can go directly to their site.</p> <p>Compare the prices between the booking engine and the direct website and you'll often find that you can save upwards of 15% by booking directly with the hotel.</p> <h2>5. Haggle, Haggle, Haggle</h2> <p>Once you contact the local rental agency, the apartment owner, or the hotel's website, you can bargain. With hotels, they may not have as much leeway to give you more of a discount, but you can send the owner an email and ask for a percentage off the room rate if you're staying more than a couple nights.</p> <p>Usually with rental agencies and apartment owners, there's a fair amount of negotiating space. You can save a lot of money, especially considering that you'll already be saving the fees from the big booking sites. I rented an apartment in Malta for two months and I ended up saving nearly 30% of the cost by contacting them directly and bargaining for the price. It really works!</p> <h2>6. Consider Couch Surfing</h2> <p>Saving money is great, but free lodging is even better. The term &quot;couch surfing&quot; is becoming more mainstream, but there's still a misunderstanding of what's involved.</p> <p>Many people hear it and think, <em>I don't want to sleep on someone's couch!</em></p> <p>But in reality, there are thousands of couch surfing opportunities where you have your own room, a queen-sized bed, and even your own bathroom. Couch surfing is now a universal term for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-that-anyone-can-travel-for-free">staying in someone's home for free</a>, not just crashing in someone's living room.</p> <p>The great thing about couch surfing is that you get a real local experience when traveling to a new destination. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture than by staying in a local's home?</p> <p>To start couch surfing, head to <a href="https://www.couchsurfing.com/">CouchSurfing.com</a> and sign-up for free. You can then browse through 400,000+ hosts around the world, and in no time at all, you can arrange to stay with somebody overseas. It's a great service.</p> <h2>7. Try Home Exchange</h2> <p>Another great way to get free accommodation is to do a home exchange. Made famous by the 2006 movie: <em>The Holiday</em>, home exchanges are a really cool concept. Head to <a href="http://www.lovehomeswap.com/">LoveHomeSwap.com</a>, sign up for $20 per month, and start swappin'!</p> <p>Of course, some downsides of this option are that you have to own a home, and you have to be willing to let a stranger stay in your home in exchange for getting to stay in theirs. But if it means you can fly to London and stay in the historical city for free... why not?</p> <h2>8. Check Out Volunteer Exchange</h2> <p>Websites like <a href="http://workaway.info/">WorkAway.info</a> and <a href="https://www.helpx.net/">HelpX</a> also offer travelers a great way to earn free accommodations all around the world, while helping out the local communities along the way. Basically it's an exchange. You sign up for a fee and then you have access to all of the volunteer opportunities on the website, and there thousands in over 135 countries.</p> <p>Browse through the listings, find a rewarding placement, and enjoy free accommodations (and sometimes food) in return for your services. Whether you decide to work on organic farms in South America, teach children in Asia, or help out at orphanages in Africa, your lodging will be earned, but the experience will be priceless.</p> <p><em>Have you tried any of these accommodation hacks? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-travel-accommodations">Save Money on Travel Accommodations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals">3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel accommodations hotel deals hotels save money travel hacks travel tips Mon, 23 May 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Nick Wharton 1714250 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Save Big at Hotels http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-big-at-hotels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-big-at-hotels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_laptop_hotel_000046691626_0.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to save big at hotels" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found helpful articles on ways to save money at hotels, great options for selling your clothes, and simple tips forå people who eat alone.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Ways-Save-Hotels-41178939">17 Ways to Save Money at Hotels</a> &mdash; Tell the hotel if you're traveling for your birthday or anniversary. You may be eligible for a bottle of champagne or even a free upgrade. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalbeautiful.com/blog/spring-cleaning-hacks-options-selling-clothes/">Spring Cleaning Hacks: Best Options for Selling Your Clothes</a> &mdash; Tradesy is a good option for higher end items, like a Louis Vuitton bag or Marc Jacobs jeans. [Frugal Beautiful]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bestkeptself.com/2016/05/02/5-simple-tips-busy-people-eat-alone/">5 simple tips for busy people who eat alone</a> &mdash; Spend less time in the kitchen by cooking enough for two meals. You can give leftovers new energy by adding fresh veggies. [Best Kept Self]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/money-tips/save-your-bucks-at-the-ballpark/">Save Your Bucks at the Ballpark!</a> &mdash; Games with giveaway items are usually marked up, so avoid these if you want a deal. Check your team's schedule, pick a non-promo game, and buy tickets ahead of time. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="http://sustainablog.org/2016/05/smart-recycling-tips-sensible-home-owners/">Smart Recycling Tips for Sensible Home Owners</a> &mdash; Don't know what to do about your old furniture? There are professional teams that can help your furniture find its best use, whether it's resale, recycling, or donation. [Sustainablog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2016/05/01/10-powerful-mantras-to-stop-you-from-judging-people/">10 Powerful Mantras to Stop You from Judging People</a> &mdash; Remember that we all take different roads toward fulfillment and joy. Someone who isn't on your road is not necessarily lost. [Marc &amp; Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/15-surprising-qualities-of-creative-geniuses/">15 Surprising Qualities of Creative Geniuses</a> &mdash; Creative geniuses fail well. They know that failure can provided a useful learning experience. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/5-warning-signs-may-much-stress-life/">5 Warning Signs You May Have Too Much Stress In Your Life</a> &mdash; When we feel like we're losing control, we actually try to control even more in our lives. Usually, that ends up being the people around us. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://www.theorderexpert.com/why-now-is-the-right-time-to-get-started-on-your-goals/">Why Now is the Right Time to Get Started on Your Goals</a> &mdash; Life is always changing. If you don't start on your goals now, you may become distracted or sidetracked and never get to your goals at all. [The Order Expert]</p> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/shortcuts-for-entrepreneurs/">3 Shortcuts for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get Profitable FAST</a> &mdash; Find a mentor who will give you solid advice on your business venture. Your greatest resource is the human brain! [Due.com]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-big-at-hotels">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel best money tips hotels Thu, 05 May 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Amy Lu 1703706 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Spring Break Budget Busters to Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_on_vacation_000069738815.jpg" alt="Friends finding spring break budget busters to avoid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to whoop it up on spring break? Let your fun flag fly without obliterating your bank account by avoiding these getaway budget busters.</p> <h2>1. Lodging</h2> <p>Even now that I'm in my mid-30s (that's the first time I've written that &mdash; gimme a minute), I still prefer inexpensive lodging to high-end hotels when I travel, at least when it's on my own dime. As an alternative, I opt for short-term apartment rentals (like Airbnb or VRBO) or even crash with friends to help save a ton of money that, when you think about it, I'm just sleeping away.</p> <p>Anita Covic, destination specialist TripTogether, a travel site that helps travelers meet other travelers, also thinks this route is the way to go.</p> <p>&quot;Cutting costs doesn't have to be stressful, and one of the biggest costs that can be cut is lodging,&quot; she says. &quot;Personally, I think hostels are a great alternative to expensive hotels. Airbnb is a great option for a large group of people. Eating out can add up as well. Try booking a hostel or Airbnb [rental] with a kitchen and stock up on groceries that can be easily converted to quick breakfasts and lunches.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Airfare</h2> <p>Save on airfare by knowing when to shop for plane tickets, and use a multifaceted approach by consulting discount sites and the airlines proper to see who offers the best price. You also can avoid spending full price for airfare by setting alerts for deals. If you happen to earn frequent flyer miles, check out the new award travel search engine <a href="http://pexportal.com">PEX+</a> to find the best price on an award ticket.</p> <h2>3. Eating Out</h2> <p>When you're on vacay, it's easy to get lax on your waistline and your wallet. Keep both of these areas in check by curbing your cravings for junk food (which might go hand in hand with those hangovers, by the way) while trying to make more of your meals wherever you're staying (made easier with a kitchen). Find ways to munch for free instead of popping into a restaurant, café, or fast-food joint for every meal.</p> <p>&quot;Dining out at new restaurants is one of the best parts of traveling, but there's no need to eat out three meals a day,&quot; reminds saving expert Andrea Woroch. &quot;Many hotels and hostels offer some sort of free breakfast, typically consisting of fruit, cereal, and pastries, which is plenty to start your day. Sandwiches are an easy meal to prepare in-room, which you can then pack as lunch for a day exploring the city. When looking for a spot to eat, use apps to track down coupons for nearby restaurants and search for daily dining deals via Groupon Now.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Alcohol</h2> <p>Oh, alcohol. It's the stuff that many great spring break memories are made of &mdash; but it can quickly take your budget from hero to zero if you're not careful. To reduce how much you're spending on booze, remember one word: pregame.</p> <p>&quot;Drinks at bars and restaurants are very expensive, so if you're planning to do some drinking, try to plan a get-together somewhere where you can bring your own alcohol &mdash; like someone's hotel room &mdash; before you go out,&quot; advises The Stave Diaries travel blogger Stefanie Parks. &quot;This way you can get your alcohol from a grocery or convenience store and won't have to splurge for more expensive drinks while you're out.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Entertainment and Activities</h2> <p>When you're traveling, you want to see and do as much as possible within your destination. However, an action-packed schedule comes with a cost. Before you embark, take time to review entertainment and activity options and identify those that are most important and affordable to you.</p> <p>&quot;There are plenty of free things you can do on your trip, like a day at the beach, viewing art galleries, or simply exploring city streets,&quot; Woroch says. &quot;You can even skip the pricey guided tours and take a self-guided walking tour for free. Print city guides from resources like <a href="http://citywalkingguide.com/">City Walking Guide</a> or download a walking tour guide on your mobile device using apps like <a href="https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/audio/audio-europe">Rick Steves Europe Travel</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/city-maps-walks-470+-cities/id417207307?mt=8">City Maps and Walks</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Hidden Fees</h2> <p>The money trap is right there in the name &mdash; hidden fees &mdash; and these can add up to a substantial amount when all is said and done, slowly chipping away at your budget along the way.</p> <p>Saveful.com's Louis DeNicola details some of the more common offenders.</p> <p>&quot;Rental car companies can charge around $10/day for a collision damage waiver, but many credit cards include that coverage free of charge,&quot; he points out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=seealso">What Does Car Rental Insurance Really Cover On Your Credit Card?</a>)</p> <p>Travelers should also look for hidden hotel-related fees. Some hotels in popular tourist destinations charge a resort fee on top of the standard room rate. Hotels may offer extra perks, such as free Wi-Fi, to members of their loyalty program &mdash; even brand new members.</p> <p>&quot;Some hotels' minibars have weight sensors and you might get charged even if you didn't drink or eat anything,&quot; DeNicola adds. &quot;Review your bill before leaving the hotel.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Convenience-Store Goodies</h2> <p>When you have a packed spring break schedule of exciting activities, it's not only easy to eat out more than you normally would, but popping into convenience stores for quick snacking items also is more prevalent. Two dollars here and there for bottles of water, coffee, candy, and chips may seem like insignificant expenses, but if you're doing it every day, you'll find that you're wasting a decent chunk of change.</p> <p>&quot;Limit the excess you spend on drinks and snacks by packing fruit or granola bars and a refillable water bottle to stay fueled and hydrated during a long day of exploring,&quot; Woroch suggests.</p> <h2>8. Mobile Data</h2> <p>I recently traveled to Montreal for the New Year's holiday and I was conscious to turn off my mobile roaming and data as soon as we crossed the border from the United States into Canada. But would you believe that when I received my bill for that period there was $20 of international charges on it? Apparently I wasn't fast enough, or the networks got crossed as I approached the border, and I incurred the fees I was trying to avoid. And that was within seconds to minutes. Can you imagine what I would have been charged had I left it one for a few hours or days?</p> <p>Woroch warns against a similar situation.</p> <p>&quot;To avoid pricey data-overage fees, turn off pop-up notifications and use a <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/free-wifi-finder/id411134124?mt=8">Free Wi-Fi Finder</a> app to track down local hotspots. Otherwise, turn on your phone's Wi-Fi locator to find a free Internet connection wherever you are and take this time to post pictures and reply to emails.&quot;</p> <p>She also recommends downloading any maps you may need ahead of time.</p> <p>As an extra tip, if you have an experience like I did during my Montreal trip, be sure to give your wireless carrier a call to explain the situation. If you're a loyal customer, they may waive those minor, erroneous fees like they did for me, but you won't know unless you pick up the phone to fight it.</p> <h2>9. Photo Memories From Secondary Sources</h2> <p>Photo ops are everywhere these days, and there are plenty of companies that are cashing in on them, like pictures you get at the beach and those funny snapshots at the end of a thrill ride. Don't fall for it. You and every single person you know is armed with a phone at their fingertips. Set up backgrounds and strike your own poses to enjoy free shots that you can post to social media immediately or print when you get home.</p> <h2>10. Souvenirs</h2> <p>I have a rule at my house than nothing comes home from vacation that isn't either some form of art or a useful object &mdash; which means to say that no junk souvenirs, like spoons, shot glasses, and other bric-a-brac, are welcome. My photos are good enough memories of my time on vacation, and they help me save money, space in my luggage, and a backache from having to carry otherwise heavy objects.</p> <p>Blogger Barb Webb provides other easy ways to cut back on souvenir spending.</p> <p>&quot;Theme parks, hotels, and restaurants often have buttons, stickers, postcards, and other trinkets they gift for free to patrons,&quot; she says. &quot;Stop by the local tourism office and you'll find everything from free coloring books to posters and key chains to add to your souvenir collection. Also look for local extension agencies that will have free treasures like recipe cards, calendars, and other small items.&quot;</p> <p>To turn photos into more organized memories like I do, Woroch suggests using the <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/keepsayk-photo-books-instant/id884920246?mt=8">Keepsayk app</a> to organize pictures and create a photo book, or use deal sites like Coupon Sherpa to find coupon codes from photo book makers like Snapfish, which usually offers steep discounts.</p> <h2>11. Gas</h2> <p>Gas is affordable now, but we don't know where it will be in a few weeks or months when we're more on the go. Even while it's inexpensive, you still want to score the best deals possible.</p> <p>&quot;There are a few ways to reduce your fuel costs, including using the <a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com/App">GasBuddy</a> app to find the cheapest gas nearby; paying with cash to avoid the extra 10 cents for credit card charges; and using your warehouse club membership to save up to 30 cents per gallon at their fuel pumps,&quot; Woroch says.</p> <p>On a personal note, I've been visiting BP stations almost exclusively to fill up at the pump for a few months, and I use its loyalty card to rack up points. Just the other day, I received a generous kickback of $.63 per gallon &mdash; yes, you read that correctly &mdash; which resulted in a total savings of about $10 for a complete fill-up. My total cost was $18 and change for a full tank of premium gas, all because I swiped my loyalty card consistently. Totally worth the two seconds it takes.</p> <p><em>Are you headed away for spring break? How do you plan to save? Where will you splurge? I'd love to hear about your vacation plans in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-known-ways-to-save-when-booking-spring-travel">6 Little-Known Ways to Save When Booking Spring Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-take-a-frugal-grownup-spring-break">4 Ways to Take a Frugal Grownup Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel">20 Secrets of Last-Minute Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel Airfare alcohol budget busters food costs hotels overspending spring break trips vacation Thu, 24 Mar 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1678011 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_stressed_computer_000081007957.jpg" alt="Man learning what not to buy on Groupon or Living Social" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Groupon and LivingSocial can save you a bundle on a lot of things &mdash; from restaurants to gifts to vacations. But these daily-deals sites aren't <em>always</em> the best bargain around. Check out these items you should steer clear of when shopping on these super-savings behemoths.</p> <h2>1. Makeup</h2> <p>I don't wear or buy makeup (okay, maybe a dab of concealer here and there; no shame in my fleek game), but I know well enough that you shouldn't buy makeup from third-party vendors. You don't know where it's been or possibly even what's in it, which can be very problematic when you're putting it on your face or generally have sensitive skin. It's just a good habit to practice buying your makeup directly from the source in safety-sealed packaging.</p> <p>Jenn Haskins, who writes popular fashion and beauty blog hellorigby.com, recently had an unfortunate experience with makeup she purchased on LivingSocial.</p> <p>&quot;I purchased makeup on LivingSocial that appeared to be an expensive makeup brand, but what I received instead was an unlabeled counterfeit product,&quot; she says. &quot;Luckily LivingSocial refunded me, but I definitely won't be making that mistake again.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Hotel Rooms</h2> <p>We all want to save as much as we can when we travel &mdash; myself included &mdash; so deeply discounted hotels on Groupon and LivingSocial are quite attractive. Sometimes they're a great buy, while other times you could be paying more for the room than if you had made a reservation directly through the hotel. Mike Catania, consumer savings blogger and co-founder of PromotionCode.org, provides more detail into the dynamics of renting hotels on daily deal sites.</p> <p>&quot;Because hotels only offer a limited number of rooms to a certain provider, Groupon/LivingSocial can offer them near cost because they're making the commission from the hotel for running the offer,&quot; he explains. &quot;If demand surges and you've already booked the hotel, you very well could save up to 40% off the available rate. Alternatively, if demand lags and the booking dates are approaching quickly, the hotel will drop the price beneath what they offered it to Groupon/LivingSocial and you could end up having paid a 20% premium for buying the Groupon/LivingSocial offer when they released it instead of waiting for the best time to buy.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Generic Gadgets and Tech</h2> <p>As a general rule, I tend to regard high-priced electronics and gadgets as higher quality than their less expensive counterparts. That's perhaps not true 100% of time, but I'd give it a solid 98% accuracy rating considering that I've typically had great experiences with tech that cost a pretty penny opposed to bargain buys. My philosophy gets a bit iffy, however, when Groupon and LivingSocial get into the mix. In fact, if the tech deal seems too good to be true on these sites, it probably is, says Kristin Cook, managing editor for BensBargains.com.</p> <p>&quot;Groupon and LivingSocial are notorious for rebranding generic items and giving them ridiculously high &quot;retail&quot; prices,&quot; she reveals. &quot;Before buying anything, do a quick Google Shopping search. If the only site selling the brand is Groupon, odds are high you can find the same item under its more generic name on eBay or Amazon.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Store Vouchers With Lots of Restrictions</h2> <p>When it comes to Groupon and LivingSocial vouchers with a long list of restrictions, buyer beware.</p> <p>I had an experience once with a carpet-cleaning service whose Groupon deal promised a $70 cleaning. What I didn't recognize until after the fact (because some of the details weren't even listed) was that there were additional charges for the type rug, size of the rug, and more. What I thought would save me money cost me way more than I anticipated &mdash; hundreds of dollars more, in fact, which was nearly the cost of a brand new rug &mdash; plus the service itself wasn't that great.</p> <p>&quot;Many stores include rules and restrictions making the voucher almost useless,&quot; Cook says. &quot;Specifically avoid vouchers that can't be used for items on sale or can't be applied to shipping/handling costs.&quot;</p> <p>In other words, read through all the restrictions before you buy the deal, and try not to let that low, low price suck you in without being fully informed.</p> <h2>5. Things That You Can Get for Cheaper &mdash; Or Even Free</h2> <p>It seems like a no-brainer to not pay for something you can get for free, but it's easy to overlook that fact when Groupon and LivingSocial are waving &quot;unbeatable&quot; deals in your face. Ultimately, however, your eagerness and laziness could cost you.</p> <p>Stefanie O'Connell, Millennial finance expert and author of <a href="http://amzn.to/1SRp8FW">The Broke and Beautiful Life</a>, talks about the time she found an awesome deal for a museum &mdash; except it wasn't really a deal at all.</p> <p>&quot;I live in New York City and love using Groupon as a resource for low cost activities, but I found one particular &quot;deal&quot; I stumbled across to be incredibly off-putting,&quot; she says. &quot;Groupon was advertising a deal for $18 admission to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The MET admission, however, is a suggested donation. The full suggested donation amount is $25, more than the $18 Groupon price &mdash; but it's still suggested donation, meaning you could just as easily give $18 directly to the MET, without Groupon taking any part of that cut.&quot;</p> <p>O'Connell's tip is probably the best tip when browsing Groupon or LivingSocial for deals &mdash; compare other existing prices to the advertised daily &quot;deal&quot; to ensure you're getting the best discount. Online coupon codes, discounts from direct-marketing emails, and other savings may work out better for you than the one-and-done approach you take when purchasing from Groupon or LivingSocial.</p> <p><em>What are some things you'd never buy on Groupon or LivingSocial? Have you ever been burned by these deal sites? Let's talk about it in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-groupon-refund-when-a-company-closes">How to Get a Groupon Refund When a Company Closes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-all-that-stuff-the-police-seize-and-its-cheap">How to Buy All That Stuff the Police Seize. And It&#039;s Cheap.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping coupon sites deals groupon hotels knock offs livingsocial online shopping rip offs too good to be true Wed, 23 Mar 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1675387 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tropical_vacation_000045753702_0.jpg" alt="Woman using expert tips for redeeming miles for free travel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A bite from the travel bug can be a pricey itch to scratch. While we've covered many ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-secrets-from-the-worlds-most-frugal-frequent-travelers?ref=internal">travel the world for less</a>, one of the simplest ways to jetset on a dime is to take advantage of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">credit cards that offer travel rewards</a>.</p> <p>Wondering how to get the most bang for your rewards mile buck? The experts weighed in and gave us 12 tips to get you travel-hacking like a pro.</p> <h2>1. Treat Yourself to International First Class</h2> <p>Flying business or first class on an international flight can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But in the wonderful world of rewards points, that luxury can be yours for only about twice the amount of miles you'd spend on an ordinary round-trip domestic flight. Ariana Arghandewal, who blogs about her years of travel-hacking experience at <a href="http://www.pointchaser.com/">Pointchaser</a>, has capitalized on this amazing value in a major way.</p> <p>&quot;I recently booked a vacation to Asia for myself and four family members, using a combination of points and miles,&quot; she shares. &quot;We traveled to Singapore, Bali, and Hong Kong in mixture of business and first class. The airfare alone would have set us back $12,000 per person. Instead, we redeemed just around 125,000 miles per person. We stayed at some of the best hotels in each city and received elite benefits like club lounge access and amazing room upgrades.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Book Award Tickets Immediately... Or at the Last Minute</h2> <p>This is a tip many travel-hackers agree on. When it comes to awards flights, timing is everything.</p> <p>Grant Thomas of <a href="http://travelwithgrant.com/">Travel With Grant</a>, a BoardingArea blog, explains: &quot;When it is time to search and book your award ticket, you have the greatest chance of success if you book way in the future (10&ndash;12 months before your flight) or last minute (one to two weeks before your flight). This does not work 100% of the time or during holiday travel, but it works pretty consistently.&quot;</p> <p>Daraius Dubash and Emily Jablon of <a href="http://millionmilesecrets.com/">Million Mile Secrets</a> echo this advice. They take it one step further in suggesting you book saver-level awards seats, which let you use a minimum amount of rewards points, as soon as you find them &mdash; they don't last long, especially for flights during peak times such as summer or during holidays.</p> <h2>3. Say Hello to the Avio</h2> <p>Jonathan Sacks, frequent jet-setter and blogger behind <a href="http://everybodyhatesatourist.net/">Everybody Hates a Tourist</a>, makes use of this great little hack involving the British Airways club currency, Avios. &quot;While everyone wants to redeem miles for exotic destinations, it can be hard to find those awards,&quot; Jonathan explains. &quot;For only 4500 Avios, you can fly on any Oneworld Alliance flight of up to 650 miles.&quot;</p> <p>This can be a killer way to score rewards flights on typically short, but pricey trips. You can earn Avios through the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-together-for-less-with-british-airways-visa-signature-credit-card">airline's co-branded card</a>, or by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">transferring points from participating rewards credit cards</a>.</p> <p>For those who aren't in the know, Oneworld Alliance is not just British Airways, either. This group of affiliate airlines includes American Airlines, Air Berlin, Japan Airlines, Quantas, LAN Airlines, and many others.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-airline-partnerships-can-supercharge-your-travel-rewards">The Secret to Redeeming Travel Rewards with Airline Partners</a></p> <h2>4. Get Companion Pass Status</h2> <p>How cool would it be if your spouse, parent, or best friend could tag along on flights with you &mdash; for free? If it sounds too good to be true, it's not. Enter the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-domestic-frequent-flyer-program-southwest-airlines-rapid-rewards-premier-credit-card">Southwest Airlines Companion Pass</a>.</p> <p>This top-tier benefit is awarded to frequent fliers who accrue up to 110,000 qualifying points in one year with the airline's co-branded rewards card. Once you hit that milestone, your Companion Pass will let a travel partner of your choice fly free with you for the remainder of the calendar year <em>and </em>all of the next! Get your timing right, and that's almost two years of free flights.</p> <p>Robert McNamara, the Vagabond behind <a href="http://frugalvagabond.com/">The Frugal Vagabond</a>, is a big fan of the Companion Pass. &quot;My fiancé and I have traveled all over the U.S. and Mexico &mdash; me on miles, her on the Companion Pass &mdash; for only the cost of airport taxes,&quot; he says. &quot;In May, we traveled to Mexico for a total of $95 each in taxes, round trip! For domestic flights, those taxes come down to only $11 per person round trip! Unbeatable!&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">Best Credit Cards with Airline Companion Tickets</a></p> <h2>5. Forget Layovers... Enjoy a Stopover!</h2> <p>Stopovers give travelers the opportunity to literally stop and see the sights of a location en route to their final destination. While this can be a costly decision for conventional travel, it becomes a killer value when using rewards points. Drew Macomber, expert travel hacker, explains:</p> <p>&quot;Most miles allow you to stop in at least one other destination for as long as you want. Spend one week in London, and then one week in Rome... and it doesn't change the price of the ticket! If you did this with a revenue ticket it would increase the price a ton, but with most airlines, it doesn't cost any extra miles.&quot;</p> <p>Drew has a breakdown of airline stopover rules, including &quot;open jaws&quot; (flying between three cities with one leg of the journey open), on his blog, <a href="http://travelisfree.com/2014/12/04/list-of-airline-stopover-routing-rules/">Travel Is Free</a>.</p> <h2>6. Stay in Style</h2> <p>Rewards cards aren't just for miles. With a little research, you can find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-free-hotel-status-upgrades">co-branded hotel rewards cards</a> that not only grant you frequent flyer miles, but free nights in any resort bearing their brand. Many also award killer freebies and extras when you hit certain spending requirements. Robert Winter of <a href="http://www.mylakecountrytravel.com/index.html">My Lake Country Travel</a> has scored an amazing value with this type of co-branded card.</p> <p>&quot;By spending just $2,500 in four months, [I got] a two-night weekend certificate and gold status,&quot; he says.&quot; &quot;This [got me] a $1200 per night room at the luxurious Conrad Maldives including daily breakfast and happy hour. I just used this award and it was amazing!&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards">Breakdown of Benefits and Value of the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and Credit Cards</a></p> <h2>7. Pick Up the Phone</h2> <p>Did you know that many airline websites don't show all of their affiliates in search results? Instead of trying to book your miles through the Internet, pick up the phone. Call the airline rewards program directly and ask them to do the booking for you.</p> <p>Kyle Zuvella, the travel-hacking pro behind <a href="http://thefarawayguide.com/about/">The Faraway Guide</a>, breaks it down:</p> <p>&quot;Let's face it: calling an airline is usually a terrible experience. But it also holds hidden value, because almost all airline agents can view partner airlines not shown on the website. This means that flyers have an immense amount of unrealized options when it comes to their itinerary. More options equals more potential for value.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Prepare for Peak Season</h2> <p>Peak seasons are a point of consideration for any form of travel. You should definitely consider time of year when using your miles, too. John Z. Wetmore, who travels frequently to film his public affairs TV series <a href="http://www.pedestrians.org/index.html">Perils for Pedestrians</a>, points out that much like when purchasing normal travel amenities, seasonal demand can totally change the value of a rewards mile.</p> <p>&quot;With American Airlines, a round trip to Europe is just 40,000 miles after the middle of October, versus 60,000 miles during the summer,&quot; he points out. Do a little homework to find out what time of year will net you the most value for your hard-earned points.</p> <h2>9. Watch Out for Fees</h2> <p>Wetmore also points out that in addition to costing you miles, a flight can also come with taxes, airport fees, and sometimes other arbitrary charges. That's money directly out of your pocket &mdash; and the more you spend, the less bargain you're really getting for your rewards miles. For example, booking through American Airlines partners (OneWorld Alliance) may require you to do a bit of price-comparison.</p> <p>&quot;American waits for you to select a flight before telling you the cash cost,&quot; John explains. &quot;You need to go back and forth to make sure you have the best deal.&quot;</p> <p>He also points out that British Airways is known for its higher-end fees. A point to consider.</p> <h2>10. Use Multiple Rewards to Steer Clear of Crazy Connections</h2> <p>As we all know, getting from Point A to Point B in an airplane can involve lots of annoying stops along the way. This is where accruing miles across different programs can be a lifesaver. Instead of being tethered to one airline or limited group of affiliates, you can look at several different options for getting to your destination in the shortest possible time, with the most straightforward connections.</p> <p>John Wetmore shares an example: &quot;If you want to fly from Hong Kong to Honolulu with the American Airlines program, they send you all the way back to the U.S. mainland, and then back to Hawaii. But United will send you from Hong Kong to Honolulu via Beijing, Seoul, or Tokyo, saving you many long hours of backtracking across half the Pacific.&quot;</p> <p>Look before you book.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a></p> <h2>11. Join a Forum or Two</h2> <p>If you're new to the world of rewards miles and travel-hacking, you may want to connect with your fellow travelers online through forums or groups. This is a great way to pick up some insider tricks of the trade for earning points, netting the best redemption values, and finding amazing deals. Kristen Addis, investment banker turned lifestyle traveler behind <a href="http://www.bemytravelmuse.com/">Be My Travel Muse</a>, is a fan of online travel-hacking communities, even if you have to pay a fee to join.</p> <p>&quot;It's worth reading up on forums and joining groups that share travel-hacking strategies, so that you can maximize every dollar you spend in an intelligent way,&quot; she shares. &quot;It takes some time to learn the ropes, but it's worth the investment in order to get elite status for free.&quot;</p> <p>She points out the crazy-but-true story of the man who racked up <a href="http://gizmodo.com/how-an-engineer-earned-1-25-million-air-miles-by-buying-1339646546">1.25 million miles buying pudding</a>. Being in the know ahead of time will let you jump on great opportunities to rack up points before the issuing company realizes it's too good to be true.</p> <h2>12. Keep Track of Your Miles</h2> <p>Imagine the bummer of your miles expiring before you got to use them. Don't let that happen &mdash; it's money burned. Expert travel-hackers are unanimous in their diligence of carefully tallying and monitoring their rewards points, and many swear by <a href="https://awardwallet.com/?Register=1">AwardWallet</a>. Simply sign up, input your credit cards, and let AwardWallet alert you when your balance changes or points are nearing expiry. It even has accompanying (free!) apps for iOS and Android devices.</p> <p><em>How do you make the most of rewards miles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-bellucco">Amanda Bellucco</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">9 Ways to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-sell-or-donate-your-airline-miles">6 Ways to Sell or Donate Your Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel best value first class frequent flyers hotels miles points rewards travel hacking Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:15:40 +0000 Amanda Bellucco 1601082 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000062614562_Double.jpg" alt="excited woman credit card miles trip" title="excited woman credit card miles trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A bite from the travel bug can be a pricey itch to scratch. While we here at Wise Bread are no strangers to teaching you ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-secrets-from-the-worlds-most-frugal-frequent-travelers?ref=internal">travel the world for less</a>, one of the simplest ways to jetset on a dime is to take advantage of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">credit cards that offer travel rewards</a>. Millions of people are able to fly and stay for free (or pretty close to it) thanks to the wonder of rewards miles.</p> <h2>How Credit Card Points Work</h2> <p>Travel credit cards come in many forms. Some are generic bank cards, while others are branded to partner with specific hotel chains or airlines and their affiliates. Despite what logo is printed on the plastic, the concept is the same; every time you (responsibly) swipe, you rack up rewards points to use toward a much-needed getaway. There is a seemingly endless variety of cards to choose from, each with their own benefits and features. With a little research, you're sure to find the perfect fit for you and your travel needs.</p> <p>Want in on this action? We're rounding up the smartest ways to get the most out of travel credit cards, with advice from some of the Internet's most experienced lifestyle travelers. Get earning!</p> <h2>1. Pick the Right Card</h2> <p>There are a few basic options to weigh for just about every travel credit card on the market. Almost always, one of the first points of interest will be the bonuses. A hefty sign-up bonus may be a marketing tool to reel you in, but they're often worth it &mdash; many will even cover the costs of a domestic flight in and of themselves. Matt Kepnes, blogger behind <a href="http://www.nomadicmatt.com">Nomadic Matt</a> and best-selling author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399173285/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0399173285&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GMHP4EZMKIO7CAH6">How to Travel the World on $50 a Day</a>, is a big advocate of the sign-up bonus. &quot;I simply won't sign up for a card that doesn't at least give me 30,000 points when I sign up,&quot; he writes. &quot;Otherwise, it takes too long to get to a redemption.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Current Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses for Miles</a></p> <p>Kepnes also encourages people to look at minimum spending amounts, annual fees, and points per dollar. If you have to spend a small fortune to earn your bonus, or only ever earn one point for every dollar you spend, it may take longer than you'd like for your miles to gain traction. He points out that having to pay an annual fee isn't necessarily a bad thing &mdash; and many of those cards make up for it in added features.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards with Annual Fees</a></p> <h2>2. Use the Card!</h2> <p>Earning points is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. As long as you're vigilant about paying your credit card bill on time &mdash; and you should be &mdash; forego the cash and pay with plastic. Some travel credit cards even have their own shopping portal, letting you rack up additional rewards while making purchases through hundreds of partnering online retailers. And if you're a frequent flyer, using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal">co-branded airline credit card</a> will give a boost to your miles count and offer additional perks, too.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></p> <h2>3. Know That Points Are Not Created Equal</h2> <p>Not to confuse you, but rewards points are not on level playing fields across the board. There is no standard worth or conversion rate they all must fit, and 50,000 points on one card may be nowhere near the same as 50,000 points on another. Howie Rappaport at <a href="http://www.frugaltravelguy.com">Frugal Travel Guy</a> breaks down the difference between general credit card points and branded airline or hotel rewards cards:</p> <p>&quot;...To the untrained eye, 100,000 hotel points with Marriott may appear to have a similar value as 100,000 [Starwood Preferred Guest] points &mdash; in fact, they do not,&quot; he writes. &quot;The potential values of the hotel points aren't even close.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value?ref=seealso">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a></p> <p>It's also a good idea to check out the free <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rewards.html">Wallaby</a> app. Wallaby will help you maximize your rewards and figure out when's the best time to use each of your cards.</p> <h2>4. Those Pesky Blackout Dates</h2> <p>Many hotels and airlines prohibit rewards travelers from using their points during certain times of the year. Generally, these &quot;blackout dates&quot; fall around holidays and other times of hot-commodity peak travel. If you're a frequent peak-season jetsetter, or someone who just wants to be home for the holidays, you should take this into consideration. Otherwise, what's the point? Read the fine print and see if you can find yourself a rewards card with no blackout dates.</p> <p>Or, use a travel rewards card that simply gives you a statement credit for your travel purchases. These cards offer the most flexibility in terms of redeeming rewards for travel. You aren't limited to a specific carrier and can avoid the limitations airlines can put on award redemption. While these rewards don't carry as much potential value, consider the value of points that are wasted and left unused. Check out credit cards like the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-it-miles-simple-and-flexible-travel-rewards?ref=internal">Discover it Miles</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards-card-review?ref=internal">Capital One Venture</a>.</p> <h2>5. Foreign Transaction Fees</h2> <p>If you're planning on using your card overseas, you may want to read up on its foreign transaction policy. Sure, you may be reeling in the savings thanks to your points, but that can easily be canceled out by expensive fees on purchases made outside of the States. Kristin Addis, investment banker turned globetrotting expert behind <a href="http://www.bemytravelmuse.com/">Be My Travel Muse</a>, points out, &quot;If you're going to make the most of your purchases abroad, make sure it's with a card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, as they will take away from any benefit gained from miles.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees</a></p> <h2>6. Keep Track of Your Points</h2> <p>These days it honestly couldn't be simpler to keep track of your points. <a href="https://awardwallet.com/?Register=1">AwardWallet</a> is a favorite among travel hackers who want an organized approach to tallying their rewards &mdash; it even has free apps for iOS and Android devices. Simply list your credit cards, and let AwardWallet alert you when your balance changes or points are nearing expiration.</p> <h2>7. Put Your Small Business to Work</h2> <p>Matt Gibson, adventure travel writer and photographer behind <a href="http://xpatmatt.com/maximize-frequent-flier-airmiles-with-a-good-credit-card/">Xpat Matt</a>, knows a thing or two about credit card miles. He points out a lesser-known tip on his blog: &quot;Some small business credit cards have their own programs that will enable you to collect miles while buying business-related products,&quot; he says. &quot;This is a fantastic way to rack up charges and miles and is definitely something small business owners should look into.&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso">Best Small Business Credit Cards</a></p> <h2>8. Set Your Goals</h2> <p>This piece of advice from Daraius and Emily, expert travel hackers behind <a href="http://millionmilesecrets.com">Million Mile Secrets</a>, is perhaps the most fun point on this list. Before you go crazy trying to rack up those rewards miles, take some time to actually think about your travel goals for at least the next year. Think about where you want to go and how you want to get there. Do you plan to fly coach, or does first class sound more appealing? Are you looking for a luxury hotel, or simply a place to crash? Are you bringing family or friends? Are you going abroad, or simply touring the U.S.? These are all factors that will determine how many points you need, what <em>kind </em>of points you need, and let you get an idea ahead of time how to start spending accordingly. That way you aren't stuck with an odd number of leftover points, or paying for too many expenses out of pocket.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=seealso">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></p> <h2>9. Consider the Alternative</h2> <p>Another great piece of advice from Million Mile Secrets brings attention to the fact that some forms of travel don't lend themselves to rewards points. Maybe you prefer long road trips. Maybe you're planning a cruise. If this is the case, look into a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back card</a>. Cash back cards will convert the points you earn into credits to spend as cash. Daraius and Emily also point out this is a good way to cover incidental expenses and other small costs while traveling, but note that these cards generally don't offer the best value.</p> <p><em>What hacks do you use for making the most of rewards miles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-bellucco">Amanda Bellucco</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citi-double-cash-rewards-card-pays-you-to-pay-off-your-debt">Citi Double Cash Rewards Card Pays You to Pay Off Your Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel cash back frequent flyers hotels miles points rewards travel hacking Mon, 12 Oct 2015 09:00:41 +0000 Amanda Bellucco 1586398 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Best Credit Cards with Sign-up Bonuses for Hotel Stays http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-sign-up-bonuses-for-hotel-stays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-best-credit-cards-with-sign-up-bonuses-for-hotel-stays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000051350630.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many travel rewards enthusiasts look to credit cards to earn free flights, but unfortunately the airlines are now making it extremely difficult to use your miles for award flights at the lowest mileage levels.</p> <p>At the same time, there are many hotel credit cards that offer as much value as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">airline cards</a>, or more. Furthermore, these cards often come with excellent sign-up bonuses in the form of reward nights that are both valuable and easy to redeem.</p> <h2>Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card</h2> <p>The Marriott Rewards&reg; Premier Credit Card offers a generous 50,000 bonus points after spending 23,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. With award nights starting at 7,500 points at Category 1 properties, that can be as many as six nights! Cardholders earn five points per dollar at Marriott locations, two points per dollar at restaurants, car rental agencies, and for airline tickets purchased direct with the airline. Earn one point on all other purchases. You also automatically get Silver Elite Status which offers priority late checkout, 20% bonus points on stays, and more.</p> <h2>IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card</h2> <p>IHG represents the world's largest hotel company with over 4,900 hotels worldwide. Their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-nights-with-ihg-rewards-club-select-credit-card">IHG&reg; Rewards Club Select Credit Card</a> offers a big sign up bonus of 70,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. (Reward redemption start at 10,000 points.) Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar spent at IHG hotels, 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1 point spent elsewhere. Additional benefits include 10% rebate on point redemptions, up to 100,000 each year, a free night worldwide each year of cardmembership, and platinum elite status which come with its own set of benefits like free internet, priority check in, and complimentary upgrades. The annual fee of $49 is waived for the first year.</p> <h2>Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express</h2> <p><a title="Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express" alt="Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=40&amp;pid=14&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1255"><img width="154" border="0" height="97" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/starwood-preferred-guest-consumer-081115.png" /></a>SPG includes over 1,200 hotels and resorts worldwide and include brands like St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton, and more. The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=40&amp;pid=14&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1255">Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express</a> offers new cardholders 25,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. Cardholders earn 2 points for purchases at SPG hotels and 1 point on all other purchases. The annual fee is $0 for the first year and $95 after. Terms and conditions apply.</p> <p><strong><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=40&amp;pid=14&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1255">Click here to learn more and apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=40&amp;pid=48&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" class="img-exempt" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/11-12-CitiHHonorsReserve-191.jpg" /></a>There are more than 4,200 hotels and resorts worldwide under the Hilton HHonors program, including brands like DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, and more. The <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=40&amp;pid=48&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xname">Citi&reg; Hilton HHonors&trade; Reserve Card</a> from our partner Citi offers two free <em>weekend</em> nights at select hotels and resorts after new cardholders make $2,500 in purchases within the first four month. Other features included 10x points for purchases at Hilton properties, 5x points for airline and car rental purchases, and 3x points on all other charges. Cardholders receive one free weekend night if you $10,000 each year. You also enjoy HHonors Gold status which include benefits like free internet, 5th night free, and Gold Membership Hotel benefits. There is a $95 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=40&amp;pid=48&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi&reg; Hilton HHonors&trade; Reserve Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Hyatt Credit Card</h2> <p>The Hyatt credit card offers new cardholders two free nights at any Hyatt in the world, once they spend just $1,000 within three months of account opening. Considering that there are some properties that sell for over $1,000 per night, this is an exceptional offer. The card earns 3x points for Hyatt purchases, 2x points for restaurants, airline tickets (purchased directly from airline) and car rentals, and 1 point for other purchases. Each year you'll receive a free night at any category 1-4 property and as long as you're a cardmember, you're upgraded to Platinum membership in the Hyatt Passport program, which include benefits like free internet, late check out, and more. There is a $75 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <h2>Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card</h2> <p>The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after your first purchase, and another 35,000 points after spending $2,500 within 90 days of account opening. These points are enough to be redeemed for at least one free night, since award nights run from 9,000 to 70,000 points per night. In addition, cardholders receive another 40,000 points each year upon renewal. 10x points are earned from spending at Carlson Rezidor hotels, and 5x points everywhere else. Cardholders also receive Gold status automatically, which include benefits like free upgrades, early check-in and late checkout, discounts on food/beverage, and more. There is a $75 annual fee for this card.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-sign-up-bonuses-for-hotel-stays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-road-trips">Best Credit Cards For Road Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-cruises">Best Credit Cards for Cruises</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">5 Best Co-Branded Airline Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel best credit cards hotels Thu, 06 Aug 2015 04:28:56 +0000 Jason Steele 1503639 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Credit Cards with Free Hotel Status Upgrades http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-free-hotel-status-upgrades <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-free-hotel-status-upgrades" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hotel_000039117268.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you like to be treated like a VIP when you check into a hotel? These are the guests who have a special priority line for check-in, and are offered perks like room upgrades, late checkouts, and even free breakfast and Internet. Normally these perks are reserved for hotel's most frequent guests, but anyone can enjoy these benefits if they hold the right credit card.</p> <p>In fact, one of the primary benefits of holding a hotel's credit card is all the perks you will receive when you stay at a property within that chain. So here are the five best credit cards that can help you upgrade your hotel status. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards">Breakdown of Benefits and Value of Hotel Rewards Programs</a>)</p> <h2>The Hyatt Credit Card from Chase</h2> <p>This card grants all cardholders Platinum status in Hyatt's Passport program, which features preferred room upgrades, complimentary Internet access, expedited check-in service, and a 2:00 pm late check-out upon request. Cardholders earn three points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels, two points per dollar spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, and at car rental agencies. One point is earned for each dollar spent elsewhere. And as a Platinum member, cardholders also earn an additional 15% points bonus on their base points, for a total of 8.75 points per dollar. Finally, get one free night each year. Hyatt offers any unsold standard room as an award, with no blackout dates or capacity controls, starting at just 5,000 points per night.</p> <p>New cardholders receive two free nights at any Hyatt in the world, after making just $1,000 worth of purchases within three months of account opening. Get an additional 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the first 3 months. There is a $75 annual fee for this card that is waived for the first year.</p> <table class="table-design1"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td> <p>Hyatt Gold</p> </td> <td> <p>Hyatt Platinum</p> </td> <td> <p>Hyatt Diamond</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Normal Requirements</p> </td> <td> <p>Enroll</p> </td> <td> <p>5 qualifying stays or 15 eligible nights in a calendar year</p> </td> <td> <p>25 eligible stays or 50 eligible nights in a calendar year</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Bonus Points</p> </td> <td> <p>5 base points on Hyatt purchases</p> </td> <td> <p>5 base points on Hyatt purchases + 15% point bonus</p> </td> <td> <p>5 base points on Hyatt purchases + 30% point bonus</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Upgrades</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Preferred rooms</p> </td> <td> <p>Best room available upon arrival; Suite upgrade 4 times annually.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Hotel &amp; Airport Lounges</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Access to Regency Club or Grand Club; 2 United Club passess annually.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Internet Access</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Complimentary</p> </td> <td> <p>Complimentary</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Check-in/Check-out</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Expedited check-in area; late check-out 2pm</p> </td> <td> <p>Expedited check-in area; late check-out 4pm</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Free Breakfast</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature Card from US Bank</h2> <p>This card offers Silver status in the Club Carlson rewards program, which features benefits such as complimentary room upgrades, early check-ins and late check-outs, and rollover nights. You'll also get a jump on getting to Gold status with 10 qualifying nights. Cardholders earn 6 points per dollar spent at Club Carlson properties, which include Radissons and other brands. 3 points per dollar spent is earned from all other purchases. New cardholders can earn 60,000 points after spending $1,500 on the card within the first 90 days. Additionally get 25,000 bonus points each year plus one free night after spending $10,000 each year and renewing your card. There is a $50 annual fee for this card.</p> <p>The basic Red Member status (which doesn't fit on the chart below), offers 5% discount on food and beverage and 20 Gold Points per dollar spent on eligible stays and food purchases.</p> <table class="table-design1"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td> <p>Silver Member</p> </td> <td> <p>Gold Member</p> </td> <td> <p>Concierge Member</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Normal Requirements</p> </td> <td> <p>15 nights or 10 stays per year</p> </td> <td> <p>35 nights or 20 stays per year</p> </td> <td> <p>75 nights or 30 days per year</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Point Bonus</p> </td> <td> <p>20 Gold Points per dollar spent on eligible stays and food/beverages + 15% bonus</p> </td> <td> <p>20 Gold Points per dollar spent on eligible stays and food/beverages + 35% bonus</p> </td> <td> <p>20 Gold Points per dollar spent on eligible stays and food/beverages + 75% bonus</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Food/Beverage Discounts</p> </td> <td> <p>10%</p> </td> <td> <p>15%</p> </td> <td> <p>20%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Rollover Nights</p> </td> <td> <p>Carry forward Eligible Nights toward Elite Status</p> </td> <td> <p>Carry forward Eligible Nights toward Elite Status</p> </td> <td> <p>Carry forward Eligible Nights toward Elite Status</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Complimentary Room Upgrade</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Early Check-In/Late Checkout</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Free Breakfast</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card</h2> <p><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=48&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xcard" target="_top"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/11-12-CitiHHonorsReserve-191.jpg" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=48&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname" target="_blank">Citi&reg; Hilton HHonors Reserve<sup>TM</sup> Card</a> from our partner Citi grants customers instant Gold status in the Hilton HHonors program, which offers free Wi-Fi at all Hilton properties, 5th night free, and additional My Way Membership benefits like bonus points and upgrades. Cardholders who spend $40,000 on their card within a calendar year are upgraded to top-of-the line Diamond status. Every year, receive one free weekend night after spending $10,000. New applicants receive two free weekend nights after spending $2,500 on their card within the first four months of account opening. Points are earned at a rate of 10x at Hilton properties, 5x on airline and car rentals purchases, and 3x on all other purchases. There is a $95 annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=48&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend" target="_top">Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi&reg; Hilton HHonors Reserve<sup>TM</sup> Card today!</a></strong></p> <!--<h2>Hilton HHonors&trade; Surpass&reg; Card from American Express</h2> <p><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=119&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcard" target="_top"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/hilton-hhonors-surpass-american-express-033116.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>Like the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=119&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname" target="_top">Hilton HHonors&trade; Surpass&reg; Card from American Express</a> also offers complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold status, as well as a chance to earn an upgrade to HHonors Diamond Status when you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases within a calendar year. This card also offers complimentary Priority Pass membership which provides access to over 600 airport lounges around the world at a reduced fee. Cardholders also receive 12 points per dollar on eligible purchases at Hilton Portfolio properties, six points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S supermarkets , and U.S. gas stations, and three points per dollar for all other eligible purchases. New cardholders get 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card Membership (offer ends May 4, 2016). Terms and conditions apply. There is a $75 annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=119&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend" target="_top">Click here to learn more and apply for the Hilton HHonors&trade; Surpass&reg; Card from American Express today!</a></strong></p>--><!--<h2>Hilton HHonors&trade; Surpass&reg; Card from American Express</h2> <p><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=119&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcard" target="_top"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/hilton-hhonors-surpass-american-express-033116.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>Like the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=119&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname" target="_top">Hilton HHonors&trade; Surpass&reg; Card from American Express</a> also offers complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold status, as well as a chance to earn an upgrade to HHonors Diamond Status when you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases within a calendar year. This card also offers complimentary Priority Pass membership which provides access to over 600 airport lounges around the world at a reduced fee. Cardholders also receive 12 points per dollar on eligible purchases at Hilton Portfolio properties, six points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S supermarkets , and U.S. gas stations, and three points per dollar for all other eligible purchases. New cardholders get 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card Membership (offer ends May 4, 2016). Terms and conditions apply. There is a $75 annual fee for this card.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=35&amp;pid=119&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend" target="_top">Click here to learn more and apply for the Hilton HHonors&trade; Surpass&reg; Card from American Express today!</a></strong></p>--><table class="table-design1"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td> <p>Blue Tier</p> </td> <td> <p>Silver Tier</p> </td> <td> <p>Gold Tier</p> </td> <td> <p>Diamond Tier</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Normal Requirements</p> </td> <td> <p>Enroll</p> </td> <td> <p>4 stays or 10 nights</p> </td> <td> <p>20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points</p> </td> <td> <p>30 stays, 60 nights, or 120,000 base points</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Point Bonus</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>15% on HHonors Base Points</p> </td> <td> <p>25% bonus on HHonors Base Points</p> </td> <td> <p>50% bonus on HHonors Base Points</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Free Nights</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>5th night free</p> </td> <td> <p>5th night free</p> </td> <td> <p>5th night free</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Complimentary Internet</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Express and Late Check-Out</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Complimentary Access to Fitness and Health Clubs</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>My Way Membership (bonus points and upgrades)</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Gold Membership Hotel Benefits</p> </td> <td> <p>Diamond Membership Hotel Benefits</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card from Chase</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-nights-with-ihg-rewards-club-select-credit-card">IHG&reg; Rewards Club Select credit card</a> offers all cardholders Platinum Elite status in the IHG Rewards program, which covers Intercontinental hotels, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and several other brands. &nbsp;This status level features free Internet, priority check-in, a 50% bonus on base point earnings, room upgrades, and more. The credit card offers five points per dollar spent at IHG properties, double points for purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and one point on all other purchases. Additionally, get 10% rebate in points redeemed each year and a free night each year of card membership at over 4,900 hotels worldwide. New cardholders can receive 70,000 bonus points after spending &nbsp;just $2,000 on their card within three months of opening. There is a $49 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.<strong><br /> </strong></p> <table class="table-design1"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td> <p>Club</p> </td> <td> <p>Gold Elite</p> </td> <td> <p>Platinum Elite</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Normal Requirements</p> </td> <td> <p>14 nights in a calendar year</p> </td> <td> <p>15 Elite Qualifying Nights, 20k Elite Qualifying Points, or 10 Elite Qualifying Nights at 3 IHG brands in a calendar year</p> </td> <td> <p>50 Elite Qualifying Nights, 60k Elite Qualifying Points, or 40 Elite Qualifying Nights at 4 IHG brands in a calendar year</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Free Internet</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Priority Check-In</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Bonus Points</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>10% bonus on base points</p> </td> <td> <p>50% + rollover extra nights towards next year&rsquo;s qualification</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Complimentary Upgrades</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>N/a</p> </td> <td> <p>Yes</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-free-hotel-status-upgrades">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-sign-up-bonuses-for-hotel-stays">5 Best Credit Cards with Sign-up Bonuses for Hotel Stays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards">Breakdown of Benefits and Value of the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards best credit cards Hilton hotel rewards hotels hyatt IHG Fri, 03 Jul 2015 05:25:23 +0000 Jason Steele 1475012 at http://www.wisebread.com The 8 Best Hotel Rewards Programs http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-hotel-rewards-programs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-best-hotel-rewards-programs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pool_000015776815.jpg" alt="Woman at hotel pool" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does the never-ending cold and snow this winter have you thinking about a fabulous, far-flung destination? Before you book that vacation, make sure you're getting the best deal when it comes to hotel rewards.</p> <p>The following six programs give you a big bang for your travel buck, and offer some unique and fun options, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=seealso">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Starwood</h2> <p>If this isn't a good recommendation, I don't know what is; I have friends who choose their travel destinations based upon where they can earn and use Starwood points. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html?language=en_US">Starwood Preferred Guest</a>&nbsp;(SPG) program is one of the most popular in the industry &mdash; and for good reason. With over 1,100 locations in over 100 countries within its network, you have your pick of options from mid-range to luxury. Starwood also has over 30 airline partners that allow Starwood points to transfer (1:1 exchange rates on most airlines) into their award programs. Even better, get 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer. (Get even more rewards with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-card-the-starwood-preferred-guest-credit-card-from-american-express">Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express</a>.)</p> <h2>2. Kimpton</h2> <p>I love Kimpton properties because they are so unique and the customer service is second to none. The <a href="https://www.kimptonhotels.com/karma-rewards/overview">Kimpton Karma Rewards</a> program includes its own properties as well as lodging at over 60 other hotels. Most properties are located in major cities. This program is unique because points can be redeemed for spa credits in addition to free nights and room upgrades. As a Karma Rewards member, you can select your room location and even the type of pillow you want. Best of all, you can gift the points you earn, as they are fully transferrable.</p> <h2>3. Marriott</h2> <p><a href="http://www.marriott.com/rewards/rewards-program.mi">Marriott's Rewards program</a> is all about diversity. The Ritz-Carlton hotels, the Renaissance hotels, and the Residence Inns all fall under the Marriott brand, which is well-known around the world for delivering luxurious stays for both business and leisure travelers. Earn points across the widest array of property types at any of 18 individual brands (including a whopping 3,700 locations) under the Marriott umbrella. You can also redeem these points for flights on Delta and United Airlines.</p> <h2>4. Hilton</h2> <p>Hilton has a truly global footprint of properties &mdash; it's not often you're in a city that does not have at least one Hilton property. And, with high end brands like the Conrad and the Waldorf-Astoria, you'll want to save your points for those! The <a href="http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/index.html">Hilton HHonors program</a> includes over 4,000 locations in 90 countries. Also like Marriott, you can redeem points for air travel, but HHonors points can be used with 50 airline and rail partners. Just make sure to use and/or accrue your points in a timely fashion, as points expire if your account is inactive for one year.</p> <h2>5. Hyatt</h2> <p>Hyatt properties are impressive. The Andaz hotels are some of the hippest places out there, and the Park Hyatts are some of the most luxurious. The <a href="http://www.hyatt.com/gp/en/benefits/membership.jsp">Hyatt Gold Passport</a> offers redemption for free nights with no blackout dates as well as points to miles conversion with over 30 participating travel partners.</p> <h2>6. IHG</h2> <p>Formerly known as the Priority Club, the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is a hotel brand name that not many travelers may be too familiar with. However, they certainly may have heard of the hotels that fall under the IHG's large network, which includes the Crowne Plaza and the Holiday Inn properties. With over 4,900 hotels across the globe under their brand, frequent travelers may find it quite beneficial to have a loyalty status with this line of hotels.</p> <p>Out of the many great benefits offered by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ihg.com/hotels/us/en/rewardsclub/home">IHG Rewards Club</a>, the best is probably the ability to redeem my earned points for a variety of rewards, like nights at one of IHG's hotels, airline miles with partner airlines, shopping through their online portal, gift cards, and more.</p> <h2>7. Select Registry</h2> <p>If a bed and breakfast is more your speed, there's a rewards program for these kinds of properties, too, even though most are independent businesses. <a href="http://www.selectregistry.com/rewards/index.asp">Select Registry</a> gives you the chance to earn points at any of the boutique hotels, inns, and bed and breakfast locations that belong to its network. Once you have stayed 12 nights at any of these locations, you earn a $100 certificate redeemable at any of the properties.</p> <h2>8. Secret Escapes</h2> <p>You may recognize the <a href="http://us.secretescapes.com/">Secret Escapes</a> brand from their TV commercials (which are delivered in a voice barely above a whisper). While not a traditional rewards program, it's a fantastic value for adventurous travelers who enjoy luxurious hotel stays at bargain prices. Secret Escapes uses the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deal_of_the_day">flash sale model</a> that we know from sites like Gilt.com. Discounts are up to 70% off the normal rates at these luxury hotel locations. A small booking fee of no more than $20 applies to any stays over a $99 total.</p> <p>Travel expands our horizons and teaches us new things about ourselves and the world. So while you're out cruising the globe, make sure to keep these hotel rewards programs on hand so you can rest easy while taking in all the adventure. Sleep well!</p> <p><em>What's your favorite hotel reward program?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-hotel-rewards-programs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel hotel rewards hotels Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:00:11 +0000 Christa Avampato 1320813 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-hotel-check-in-484378693-small.jpg" alt="couple hotel check in" title="couple hotel check in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's nobody better than a professional traveler to know how to get great hotel rates, free upgrades, and tweak their rooms to make their stay as comfortable as possible. In this article, a panel of professional travelers share their 25 best hotel hacks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers?ref=seealso">15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers</a>)</p> <h2>Credit Cards, Membership Programs, and Status Hacks</h2> <p>Before even searching for a hotel, some professional travelers start their hotel hacking with credit cards, membership programs, and status hacks to ensure the red carpet is rolled out well before they arrive.</p> <h3>1. AAA Membership</h3> <p>Chris Guillebeau travels the world (all of it &mdash; having recently completed his mission to visit every country), and is a New York Times bestselling author, founder of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">Travel Hacking Cartel</a>, and writes for a small army of remarkable people at <a href="http://www.chrisguillebeau.com/">ChrisGuillebeau.com</a>. When he's not staying at a hotel for free with frequent flyer miles, Chris says a simple membership with AAA can go a long way.</p> <p>&quot;A small investment in AAA membership (which anyone can join, from anywhere in the world) can save an average of 5%-10% on many hotel stays. Even if it doesn't save money, rates booked through AAA are usually cancellable until the day of arrival, which helps a lot with flexibility.&quot;</p> <h3>2. Use Hotel Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses</h3> <p>Matt Kepnes aka <a href="http://www.nomadicmatt.com/">Nomadic Matt</a> is author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399159673/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0399159673&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=55LXWNOPLJ2PJKLH">How to Travel the World on $50 USD Per Day</a>, and has been traveling the world since 2006. Matt advocates applying for hotel credit cards with hefty sign-up bonuses that will afford you up to a week's worth of free accommodation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=seealso">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a>).</p> <h3>3. Transfer Miles From Universal Credit Cards</h3> <p>Although Matt likes the occasional sign-up bonus, his steadfast hotel hack surrounds the use of universal miles, using travel rewards credit cards that allow you to transfer points to any number of airline and hotel programs. &quot;You can transfer those points to hotel loyalty programs and redeem them for free rooms.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>4. Get Automatic Status With Your Credit Card</h3> <p>Al-Nawaz Rajan generally pays 2-star prices for 4-star hotels, and shares his travel hacking tips on <a href="http://www.creditwalk.ca/">Credit Walk</a>. He's a fan of using platinum cards that get you upgraded status at hotels just for being a card member. Some of those cards come with a hefty fee, but the upgraded status is worth its weight: &quot;Some of the benefits of higher status include late checkout, free breakfast, Internet, upgrades to suites/better rooms, additional point earning, and welcome gifts.&quot;</p> <h3>5. Get Your Status Matched</h3> <p>Once you have status with one hotel or brand, you can get that status matched with other hotels. Elizabeth Houck has flown over a million miles in search of budget premium experiences, and has lots of great advice to share at <a href="http://www.elizabethhouck.com/">ElizabethHouck.com</a>. She says getting your status matched is as simple as calling the loyalty line and requesting a Status Match or Challenge.</p> <p>&quot;Brand Y will want a copy of your most recent status statement from Brand X faxed or emailed (sometimes mailed) to them. Follow Brand Y's requirements and instructions and usually within a couple of weeks you will have status.&quot;</p> <h3>6. Earn Status With Cheaper Hotels</h3> <p>If you're still working on getting status to begin with, Elizabeth suggests focusing all your efforts and hotel points on one brand. This doesn't have to cost a fortune either: &quot;Most hotel loyalty programs are based on nights, not dollars spent. If you need X number of nights for status in a particular program, consider short one-night stays in a 'lesser' property to achieve status for less bucks. Think Park Hyatt vs. Hyatt House or Hyatt Place.&quot;</p> <h2>Hotel Hacks for Booking</h2> <p>The trick to hacking your way into booking hotel bliss is to know where to find the deals, and how to book them. Here are some creative ideas.</p> <h3>7. Email the General Manager</h3> <p>Elizabeth Houck is now consistently upgraded to the king suite at one particular hotel, because she emailed the general manager after having a mediocre experience at their hotel. &quot;I wrote the GM about the experience and he was happy to extend a fantastic rate for me to give the hotel another chance. Needless to say, the upgrade to the king suite on my next visit was well worth the few minutes it took to write the email.&quot;</p> <p>Once she had a relationship with the GM, Elizabeth wasn't afraid to ask for more. &quot;In a follow up phone call before my next arrival, I asked for exactly what I wanted &mdash; a good rate, no resort fee, and a king room. I then emailed him confirming my stay.&quot;</p> <h3>8. Use Bidding Sites</h3> <p>Dalene and Pete Heck of <a href="http://www.hecktictravels.com/">HeckticTravels.com</a> sold everything in 2009 to travel the world, and have been named 2014 National Geographic Travelers of the Year. They enjoy the deep discounts offered by using hotel bidding sites.</p> <p>&quot;We are recent converts to <a href="http://www.priceline.com/">Priceline.com</a> and <a href="http://www.hotwire.com/">Hotwire.com</a> &mdash; two sites that have allowed us to save big money on hotel rooms. While we never know the exact hotel we will be staying at before we book it &mdash; we only choose by location and &quot;star&quot; rating &mdash; their prices are deeply discounted we have never been disappointed.&quot; (For more information on how to bid on hotels, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals">3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals</a>).</p> <h3>9. Call the Hotel</h3> <p>If it's your first stay at a given hotel, and you don't have a reason to contact the general manager, you can still negotiate a good deal. Mike Richard has been a professional traveler since 2006, and is the founder of <a href="http://www.vagabondish.com/">Vagabondish.com</a>. His advice is decidedly low-tech but effective: Simply call the hotel and ask them for a deal.</p> <p>&quot;This works especially well with mom-and-pop hotels or smaller chains. Find the best possible deal online, then call the hotel and see if they'll do better. I find better deals more than 75% of the time.&quot;</p> <p>Mike adds that the hotel has incentive to give you a deal, since by calling them directly to book, they won't have to pay commissions to a third party booking site.</p> <h3>10. Go Last-Minute With Groupon</h3> <p>If you have some flexibility (and nerves of steel), wait until the last minute and use sites like <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11675857">Groupon</a> to nab a deal. This tip comes from Kristin Addis, a former investment banker who quit her job to travel full-time, and now blogs about her nomadic adventures at <a href="http://www.bemytravelmuse.com/">Be My Travel Muse</a>.</p> <p>&quot;You can get a room somewhere like Las Vegas the day of or the day before for much, much less, but of course you must be very flexible!&quot;</p> <h3>11. Use Country/Currency Arbitrage</h3> <p>A few professional travelers polled use country/currency arbitrage to nab a hotel deal. Kristin says &quot;sometimes looking at booking engines specifically geared towards Australia, for example, can result in savings if booking in Australian Dollars. If I'm using a travel credit card that doesn't charge fees for foreign transactions and has fair rates for currency conversion, it can be a great way to save some money on a room.&quot;</p> <p>Erin Bender of <a href="http://www.travelwithbender.com/">Travel With Bender</a> concurs. &quot;Search in different country-specific versions of the same website and also try an incognito browser window. For instance <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11307852">Expedia.com</a> can be cheaper than expedia.com.au even when you take the currency exchange rate difference into consideration.&quot; Erin has traveled the world since 2012 with her husband and two young children.</p> <h3>12. Go Long</h3> <p>Erin also suggests if you are staying somewhere for more than a week, contact the hotel directly to negotiate a lower rate. It's less work for the hotel to keep one customer than to turn over the room constantly; &quot;we have saved up to 75% on nightly rates by negotiating a better monthly rate with the owner.&quot;</p> <h3>13. Use Price Guarantees</h3> <p>When she's not actually traveling, Deia Bong spends her time figuring out how to travel more, and then writes all about it on <a href="http://www.nomadwallet.com/">Nomad Wallet</a> (and on Wise Bread). She benefits from price guarantees offered by major hotel chains.</p> <p>&quot;Some hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton will match the lowest price you can find and give you freebies or further discounts on top of it.&quot; As an added bonus, by contacting the hotel for their price guarantee and booking directly with them (as opposed to using the third party site where you may have found the lowest rate), you'll earn loyalty points for your stay. &quot;Each hotel chain has a different system for handling price-matching requests, so check their website before making a claim. If your claim is approved, the extra discounts are added automatically.&quot;</p> <h3>14. Use Booking Sites With Low-Price Guarantees and Loyalty Benefits</h3> <p>&quot;If you don't like the idea of sticking with one hotel chain's loyalty program, use booking sites with lowest-price guarantees instead. I personally like the loyalty program at <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11200399">Hotels.com</a>, which gives you one free night for every 10 nights you book through the website &mdash; this goes for the 100,000 eligible hotels on the website,&quot; offers Deia.</p> <h3>15. Advise of a Special Occasion in Advance</h3> <p>Although you can always mention a special occasion at check-in and hope for an upgrade if it's available, Nicole Connolly does it in advance.</p> <p>&quot;If you are visiting a hotel for a special occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary, let the property know when you make your booking as many hotels will give you a complimentary upgrade to help you celebrate. You might be lucky enough to find yourself in a Deluxe Spa Suite with champagne and chocolates awaiting your arrival.&quot;</p> <p>Nicole and her husband Michael have been full-time travelers since 2012. They are travel writers, bloggers, and travel consultants, and they share travel tips and destination guides at <a href="http://www.suitcasestories.com/">Suitcase Stories</a>.</p> <h2>Hotel Hacks at Check-In</h2> <p>Even if you've booked your hotel without points, status, or a special occasion to celebrate, you can hack your way into a decent room with these tips.</p> <h3>16. Slip 'Em a $20</h3> <p>Elizabeth Houck once read that the easiest way to get an upgrade in Las Vegas is with a $20 tip at check-in.</p> <p>&quot;I tried it and jackpot! I've literally done this dozens of times and only once was I not upgraded. At check-in, you always provide ID and a credit card. I simply pull out a $20 bill, fold it, and place it under my cupped hand at the counter; reception always notices. If I get a special view, or upgrade, or some other perk, they get the money; if nothing is available I've not committed myself. One time I asked for an upgrade and only had a $5 on me, but it was enough to get a king corner room.&quot;</p> <h3>17. Offer a Review</h3> <p>Sabrina Iovino of <a href="http://www.justonewayticket.com/">JustOneWayTicket.com</a> has been traveling almost non-stop since 2008 and spends a lot of time in hotels and resorts around the world. If she doesn't book a good hotel deal in advance, she tries to get a deal on the spot.</p> <p>&quot;It helps to mention something like 'are you also on <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.com/">Tripadvisor</a>? I'd love to write a review...' &mdash; sometimes it leads to an upgrade, better rooms, or a free breakfast.&quot;</p> <h3>18. Ask to See a Few Different Rooms</h3> <p>Nick and Dariece are the nomadic couple behind <a href="http://www.goatsontheroad.com/">Goats On The Road</a>, which inspires others to turn their travels into a lifestyle. During their many years of sleeping in foreign beds, they've learned a few tricks to make their stay comfortable.</p> <p>&quot;We recommend asking to see a few different rooms when you arrive. Why? Because more often than not, the owner or manager will try to get rid of the least desirable rooms first. You may find yourself sleeping in a dark damp room with a view of the neighbouring building, when there's a lovely bright room with an amazing view of the city right next to you! Rooms in hotels can vary greatly. Ask to see a few &mdash; it can't hurt.&quot;</p> <h2>In-Room Hotel Hacks</h2> <p>Once you've checked in and are pleased with your digs, here are a few hacks to make your stay even more comfortable.</p> <h3>19. Ask for Dishes</h3> <p>Rhoni Speed of <a href="http://www.livingourlife.com/">Living Our Life</a> and her son have been traveling on a budget for over 16 months, enjoying culture, language, food, and helping others. Instead of spending a small fortune eating all meals out, she keeps some meals simple.</p> <p>&quot;I will always ask for some dishes in our room even if we do not have a fridge, in order to have breakfast or snacks on our own to save money and time and for just relaxing.&quot;</p> <h3>20. Towel Heaters Are Clothes Dryers</h3> <p>Hotel laundry services are ridiculously expensive, and a little hand laundry is a necessity when you travel full-time as Rhoni and her son do. &quot;If they have towel heat racks in the bathroom I will do some hand-washing of clothing and use the racks for dryers.&quot;</p> <h3>21. Stream Shows to the Hotel's Big-Screen TV</h3> <p><a href="http://www.matt-gibson.org/">Matt Gibson</a> is a Canadian travel writer and photographer who has lived in Taiwan, Guatemala, Mexico, the USA, and traveled extensively on four continents in the past decade. He always carries a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DR0PDNE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DR0PDNE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MO57NG36EB2IFZFW">Google Chromecast</a> with him.</p> <p>&quot;If your hotel has Wi-Fi and your TV has an HDMI input (which most do), then you can use the Chromecast to stream video online to the hotel TV from your computer, tablet, or phone, so you can keep up on your favorite series' on Netflix no matter where you are.&quot;</p> <h3>22. Use the &quot;Do Not Disturb&quot; Sign for Security</h3> <p>Matthew Karsten of <a href="http://www.expertvagabond.com/">ExpertVagabond.com</a> has been exploring the world as a professional travel blogger and photographer for four years. &quot;If you're staying in a cheap or sketchy hotel somewhere and don't want to leave your expensive stuff alone with housekeeping, just keep the &quot;Do Not Disturb&quot; sign outside your door for the length of the trip. They won't know if you are in there or not, and who really needs the room cleaned every single day?&quot;</p> <h3>23. Don't Use the &quot;Clean Room&quot; Sign</h3> <p>As an addendum to Matthew's tip, don't use the &quot;Clean Room&quot; sign. It not only tells housekeeping that you would like your room cleaned, but it also tells everybody &mdash; including potential people up to no good &mdash; that you're not in the room.</p> <h3>24. Override Thermostat Motion Sensors</h3> <p>Being on the road three to four days each week as a flight attendant, Glenn Ward appreciates a comfortable (and cold!) hotel room. He uses <a href="http://www.lifehacker.com/override-your-hotel-room-thermostat-and-set-it-as-hot-o-1462595059">this trick from Lifehacker</a> to override the thermostat. &quot;Now when I go to bed at night I don't have to worry about not moving enough to engage the sensors and keep the room cold,&quot; says Glenn.</p> <h3>25. Keep the Power On With a Spare Card</h3> <p>Many hotels use key card systems that are rigged so the power is only on in your room when you stick your room key/card into the slot by the door. This means when you're out, there's no air conditioning and no power to charge your electronics. Override this by sticking an old credit card or membership card (in some cases a simple business card will work) into the slot.</p> <p><em>What's your best hotel hack? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30">The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel">How to Stay in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels">10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel hotel hacks hotels lodging travel hacks Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:00:08 +0000 Nora Dunn 1240314 at http://www.wisebread.com The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-on-phone-175979380-small.jpg" alt="man on phone" title="man on phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's something you may not know: Hotel rates are not set in stone. It's often possible to get the best deals simply by picking up the phone and negotiating your way into low rates, upgrades, and freebies. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-secrets-of-last-minute-travel?ref=seealso">20 Secrets of Last Minute Travel</a>)</p> <p>Very rarely will these opportunities be advertised, so the only way you can find out if a hotel negotiates is by picking up the phone and asking the hotel staff. Just follow the steps below, and remember to be nice, be polite, and charming as hell.</p> <h2>Timing Your Visit</h2> <p>If your trip coincides with the busy season, it's unlikely that the hotel will negotiate their rates. When they can get other guests to pay full price, they're probably not going to give you any discounts.</p> <p>If you travel during the off-peak season, however, you're in luck. Hotels are more willing to negotiate when business is slow. The front-desk staff should have some leeway to allow discounts for guests who ask.</p> <p>You'll have a better chance of succeeding if you call as soon as you know your dates. You can try calling at the last minute or even negotiating in person when you arrive at the hotel, but you may end up not getting a room at all.</p> <p>Regardless of whether you speak with the hotel staff by phone or in person, do it when they're not busy. Avoid check-in and meal times; call in the late afternoon instead. You don't want to speak with someone who is overwhelmed by arriving guests at the reception desk. You want his full attention, so it may be a good idea to ask if it's a good time to talk at the beginning of the call.</p> <h2>Making the Call</h2> <p>Before you call, arm yourself with the hotel's published rate, as well as the rates of its competitors. You can get this information from the hotels' official websites and hotel booking sites. To minimize your searching time, go with comparison sites like <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.hotelscombined.com">Hotelscombined.com</a> and <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.trivago.com">Trivago.com</a>.</p> <p>If the hotel is part of a chain, there may be a national or even international hotline. The operator at the 800 number will probably not have any power to give you a discount. Call the hotel directly instead and ask to speak with the manager, if possible.</p> <h3>Ask for the Best Rate</h3> <p>Start the negotiation by saying something like, &quot;I found your rate online for $200 per night. Is that your best rate?&quot; You may or may not get a better deal right away.</p> <p>Follow up by asking, &quot;Is that the best you can do?&quot; or, &quot;Can you do better than that?&quot;</p> <p>If you still don't get the rate you want, continue by saying, &quot;I can't spend more than $150.&quot; Then, see what response you get. It's a good rule of thumb to try getting 25% off your starting rate because hotels generally pay that amount to third-party agents like online booking sites and travel agents for finding guests.</p> <h3>Mention the Competition</h3> <p>You can also try dropping the names of the hotel's competitors. For example, you can say, &quot;Hotel Down the Avenue has a free gym for guests to use and they only charge $175 per night. Would you be able to give me $150 per night?&quot;</p> <h3>Tweak the Dates</h3> <p>If you have some flexibility, ask the hotel manager, &quot;Does that happen to be a busy time for the hotel? Would you be able to lower the rates if I change my dates?&quot; Hotel rates fluctuate a lot, so simply adjusting your travel dates could affect the rates dramatically.</p> <p>Another trick you can use is to start out with a two-night stay and later say, &quot;I can extend my stay to three nights if you could give me a better deal.&quot;</p> <h3>Special Discounts</h3> <p>Ask if there are any special discounts. The hotel may call it a special rate or saver rate.</p> <p>Hotels often have discounts for AAA members, AARP members, senior citizens, government workers, military members, veterans, travel industry employees, hotel shareholders, business travelers, and loyalty program members. Boutique hotels may even offer introductory rates for first-time guests.</p> <h3>Discount Rooms</h3> <p>Much like the clearance racks at clothing stores, hotels also often have discount rooms that they don't offer to regular customers. There's usually a defect that makes the manager decide to keep the room empty. For example, there may be a stain in the carpet or a lamp may be missing.</p> <p>Depending on the hotel, you may be able to get this room at a discount. Just ask, &quot;Do you have any out-of-order rooms? I'd be willing to stay there if the price is right.&quot;</p> <h3>Upgrades and Special Requests</h3> <p>If you have a special request, leave it for later in the phone call. Otherwise, you may be given a more expensive room. You want to know their base rate so you can decide for yourself if whatever addon you want is worth the extra charge.</p> <p>Once you get a rate you like, ask, &quot;Oh, by the way, will this be an ocean-view room?&quot; If the hotel manager says it's not and that you'll have to pay more for an ocean-view room, you can judge for yourself whether to pay the higher price.</p> <p>This is also a good time to ask, &quot;Could you throw in the breakfast?&quot; You can also ask for a room upgrade or free parking.</p> <p>Before you end the call, get your reservation confirmation code and the name of the person on the other end of the phone. These details will help you if there's any confusion or problem with your reservation later.</p> <p><em>Have you ever negotiated a lower room rate? What worked for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deia-b">Deia B</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30">The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-travel-accommodations">Save Money on Travel Accommodations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels">10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel accommodations hotels lodging negotiation room rates Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Deia B 1183823 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hotel-couple-86530766-small.jpg" alt="hotel couple" title="hotel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>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: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Refuse Maid Service</h2> <p>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.</p> <h2>2. Book International Travel on Non-US Websites</h2> <p>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: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals">3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals</a>)</p> <h2>3. Check Corporate Rates</h2> <p>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 &quot;best available&quot; rate, though, as I've seen the corporate rate higher than the best available before.</p> <h2>4. Work at a Hostel</h2> <p>If you're staying at hostels, make sure to form a good relationship with the people working there &mdash; 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!</p> <h2>5. &quot;Flash&quot; Sales</h2> <p>Many times, hotel chains and hotel room wholesalers offer up &quot;flash&quot; sales with limited inventory, offering up rooms at a steep discount. Starwood has their weekly &quot;StarPicks,&quot; and IHG Hotel Group has their &quot;PointBreaks&quot; for award stays. Be sure to follow each hotel chain on Twitter and Facebook as a way to find out about these rare deals.</p> <h2>6. Don't Choose</h2> <p>My personal favorite website, Hotwire is known for selling you a hotel room in the city you want, in the area you want &mdash; 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.</p> <p>The &quot;Name Your Own Price&quot; 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 &mdash; but if you do an Internet search for the area you're traveling to and &quot;Priceline,&quot; 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 <a href="http://www.betterbidding.com">BetterBidding.com</a>.</p> <h2>7. Points</h2> <p>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!</p> <h2>8. Credit Cards</h2> <p>Want to accrue points faster than staying per-night with hotel chains? Get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=internal">co-branded hotel credit card</a>. With the <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=175&amp;pid=10&amp;fot=1142">Hilton HHonors&trade; Card from American Express</a>, for example, new cardmembers can get 50,000 bonus points after making $750 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. (Terms and conditions apply.) 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.</p> <h2>9. Status</h2> <p>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 <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=175&amp;pid=48">Citi&reg; Hilton HHonors&trade; Reserve Card</a> 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.</p> <h2>10. Negotiate!</h2> <p>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 &quot;no&quot; if you don't ask!</p> <p><em>How have you found deals on hotels? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mark-jackson">Mark Jackson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel">How to Stay in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30">The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit cards discounts hotels lodging Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:00:06 +0000 Mark Jackson 1158804 at http://www.wisebread.com The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30 http://www.wisebread.com/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2472286332_29cfd68427_z.jpg" alt="hostel" title="hostel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While the term &quot;hostel&quot; seems synonymous with youth culture and student backpacking trips, I've met people of all ages and professions while staying in hostels. What many adult travelers don't realize is that hostels are great for business people, retirees, and even family vacationers who just want a clean bed to sleep in and a safe place to stash their luggage while they explore a new city. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Most hostels I've stayed in throughout Europe cost anywhere from $40 to $70 per night, far less than hotels in the same cities. While I've met a huge array of people from all walks of life in hostels, I've found that people who prefer to stay in hostels are united by a minimalist travel philosophy more than anything else. I've met European aristocrats who stay in hostels because they don't see the value in paying for a hotel room that they will basically use as storage for their laptop computers and spare underpants. It's not just about stretching a Euro. It's about a type of travel experience that puts human interaction over privacy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-travel-off-the-beaten-path">5 Reasons to Travel Off the Beaten Path</a>)</p> <p>If I could only give one piece of advice about staying in hostels as an adult it's this: <a href="http://www.hostelz.com/hostel/55583-Funny-Palace-Hostel">Read the online reviews</a> before you make reservations. Reading online reviews is the best way to avoid experiencing what my sister and I refer to as Wong Family Travel Blunders. And by blunder I mean our parents accidentally booking us into a Panamanian brothel for a family vacation. (In my parent's defense, the brothel's beachfront view was spectacular.)</p> <h2>Hostelling International</h2> <p>Official hostels are part of a huge network of hostels that operate under the umbrella of <a href="https://www.hihostels.com/">Hostelling International</a>. HI requires a <a href="http://www.hiusa.org/membership">membership</a>, which is basically just a card that costs $28 per year and gives you discounts and benefits such as currency exchange and free email access during your stay. If you don't think you'll be staying at least six nights a year in HI hostels, then you can stay at most official hostels for an additional $5 per night, and save a little money by not buying a membership. There's really no risk in not signing up for a membership in advance, as after six nights, HI will give you a membership. If you decide to pay as you go, make sure you pick up a &quot;guest card&quot; at your first HI hostel and get it stamped each day, so you can prove you've stayed the required six night minimum for membership.</p> <p>Although HI Hostels have to maintain safety and cleanliness standards to stay in the network (which is comforting) some official hostels still have curfews, daytime lock-out, limited check-in times, and other old-fashioned rules that are annoying to contend with as an adult business traveler who is arriving on the 3 a.m. train and doesn't want to wander the city streets until dawn.</p> <h2>Independent Hostels</h2> <p>Independent hostels are becoming more commonplace. Independent hostels are not part of the Hostelling International network and don't require a membership card. The benefit of independent hostels is flexibility; they don't have to conform to the rules and bureaucracy of Hostelling International. The drawback of independent hostels is that they don't have to conform to the rules of Hostelling International in terms of cleanliness. Also, while HI Hostels have gender-segregated dormitories, some independent hostels only have mixed-gender dorms and apartments.</p> <p>For women travelers who do not feel comfortable sharing communal space with men (or just want a make-up mirror and hairdryer in the bathroom) there are hostels that <a href="http://www.hostelbookers.com/article/travel-for-women/female-friendly-hostels-europe/">cater to women</a> who are traveling solo.</p> <p>While there are <a href="http://www.the-beehive.com/">some</a> independent hostels that rival boutique hotels in terms of their charm, a lot of flea-bag hotels have started listing themselves online as hostels, since &quot;hostel&quot; apparently sounds more appealing than &quot;flop-house&quot; or &quot;roach motel.&quot; (Do your research or risk staying in brothel.)</p> <p>Although hostels supply guests with clean sheets and towels, you will have to supply your own soap and shampoo. While I don't enjoy schlepping extra toiletries with me when I travel, most hostels more than make up for this minor inconvenience by providing cheap or free Internet access and other money saving perks.</p> <h2>Book Early</h2> <p>Obviously, the best-reviewed hostels fill up early, especially during high tourism events like Oktoberfest and Carnivale. Make reservations early to ensure you'll have a place to sleep that fits your needs.</p> <p>Pro Tip: Call the hostel directly!</p> <p>Hostels, like hotels will usually hold a few beds for drop-ins, or don't update the online booking service when someone cancels a reservation. Even if the online booking service says there are no beds, it never hurts to double-check.</p> <p>Also, if you like a specific hostel, quiz the owner or manager for leads on other great hostels. I've been able to daisy-chain incredible vacation accommodations with no advance planning by asking my current hostel staff to reserve me a bed in my next destination city.</p> <h2>Co-Habitating with Kids</h2> <p>While I am usually twice the age of most of my hostel bunkmates, at age 44, I am rarely the oldest person at a hostel. In fact, Hostelling International offers a reduced membership rate for people over 55, which make hostels a great deal for senior travelers.</p> <p>Personally, I enjoy the company of Kids These Days, and likewise, exploring new places with people who are still full of vim and optimism about life. As a business traveler, sharing communal space with young adults is often a welcome respite after spending the day with grown-ups who view business travel as an inconvenience rather than an opportunity have fun.</p> <p>That said, I value my sleep, and make a point of avoiding hostels that have glowing reviews about their 24/7 <a href="http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/play/worlds-craziest-party-hostels-718516">party atmosphere</a>. As a night owl, I hate lock-out curfews. They are infantilizing and cramp my late night snack schedule. As an old person who went to college, I love lock-out curfews because they force my bunkmates who are hardcore, binge-drinkers to spend the night barfing in the street and not in our shared shower.</p> <p>On a side note, because most car rental companies will not rent a car to anyone under 25 years of age, hostels in rural or suburban areas outside of the city center and beyond the reach of public transportation, usually cater to older people by default.</p> <h2>Consider Communal Spaces</h2> <p>While the classic hostel experience is sleeping in a twin bed, in a dormitory, and storing your luggage in a locker, many hostels offer private rooms or apartments with shared or private bathrooms. Sharing a private room in a hostel is a great way for couples to enjoy a romantic getaway on the cheap. Families can get a huge break on travel costs by sharing a suite or apartment.</p> <p>Hostels with communal kitchens can make a pricey vacation affordable. When I travel I eat the free morning meal that the hostel provides (which can be anything from a cup of coffee and a cookie to a huge buffet), and at night I make a simple meal of bread, cheese and fruit in the communal kitchen. Eating in the hostel for two meals allows me to blow my food budget on extravagant and memorable lunches.</p> <p>While I can count on one hand the number of bad shared bathroom experiences I've had in my life, take some precautions: Wear flip flops in the shower to avoid getting fungal infections and wake up extra early if you have an important morning meeting &mdash; you might have to wait in line for the shower. Also, if you are sharing one toilet with a number of strangers, be strategic about using it. Don't be the lady who pees in the sink of the communal kitchen because she waited until the last minute to go.</p> <p><em>Frugal travelers, please share the name of your favorite hostel, or your best hostel tip in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-hotel-stays-with-wyndhams-best-rate-guarantee">Get Free Hotel Stays with Wyndham&#039;s Best Rate Guarantee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation">25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cheap travel frugal travel hostels hotels lodging Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:00:29 +0000 Max Wong 1162783 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways to Get Hotel Deals http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hotel-laptop-484374965-small.jpg" alt="hotel couple" title="hotel couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sure, you can get low hotel rates by shopping around on several websites. But if you're the type of traveler who's willing to spend a bit more time for greater savings, there are other ways to get better deals. These three hotel booking methods take some time and effort, but you'll gain access to exclusive hotel rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Flash Sales</h2> <p>As the name suggests, a flash sale has a time limit, so you'll have to make up your mind quickly. Depending on the deal, the flash sale may only last for a couple of hours, although some flash sale deals remain available for a few days.</p> <p>You can find flash sale hotel deals on several dedicated travel private sale websites.</p> <h3>Jetsetter</h3> <p><a href="http://www.jetsetter.com">Jetsetter</a>, for example, offers discounts of up to 40% off regular prices of hotels and tours. You can find a wide variety of properties here, from lofts in big cities to secluded villas. You have to become a member to access these deals, but membership is free.</p> <h3>Vacationist</h3> <p>Another popular travel flash sale website is <a href="https://www.vacationist.com/">Vacationist</a>, which partners with <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/">Travel + Leisure</a> to give you a detailed review of each hotel. Vacationist claims to offer savings of up to 60% off hotel stays. Again, you have to get a free membership to book these deals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package?seealso">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Travel Package</a>)</p> <h3>Other Travel Flash Sites</h3> <p>Other travel flash sale websites to check out: <a href="http://www.voyage-prive.com/">Voyage Privé</a>, <a href="http://www.tripalertz.com/">Trip Alertz</a>, and <a href="http://www.tablethotels.com">Tablet Hotels</a>.</p> <p>Don't overlook general discount websites. Sometimes you can find hotel deals on websites like <a href="http://www.groupon.com/getaways">Groupon</a> and <a href="http://www.livingsocial.com/escapes">LivingSocial</a>.</p> <p>Before you book, pay attention to the fine print because there may be restrictions and surcharges that apply to flash sale reservations. For example, there may be black-out dates or extra fees for weekend stays. You may also have to pay higher penalties if you need to modify or cancel your hotel stay later.</p> <h2>Deals on &quot;Secret&quot; Hotels</h2> <p>A secret hotel deal is one where you're not told the name of the hotel until you've booked and made a payment. The hotels don't want to publicize these deals because these low rates could dilute their brands and make their other guests unhappy.</p> <p>Even though the booking website won't show you the hotel name, you're given its star rating, approximate location, and details about its amenities. From this information, you can often guess which hotel it is.</p> <h3>Secret Hotel Sites</h3> <p>Several websites offer secret hotel deals under different names. They are: <a href="http://www.hotwire.com/hotel/">Hotwire Hot-Rates</a>, <a href="http://www.priceline.com">Priceline Express Deals</a>, <a href="http://www.travelocity.com">Travelocity Top Secret Hotels</a> and <a href="http://www.lastminute.com/hotels/top-secret.html">Lastminute.com Top Secret Hotels</a>.</p> <p>To book a hotel, you start by entering your destination and travel dates. The search results will show you a few hotel options, which may include both secret hotel deals and regular hotel listings. You can simply book one secret hotel room based on the limited information provided, or you can probably find out the hotel name if you have some time to spare.</p> <h3>How to Identify a Secret Hotel</h3> <p>Begin by reading the hotel listing very carefully, looking for any distinctive feature that differentiates it from other hotels &mdash; a hot tub on the balcony, for example, or a fireplace inside the suite. It's okay if there's no such feature, but it will help you pinpoint which hotel it is more easily if there is.</p> <p>Then, copy a snippet of the hotel description and paste it into a search engine. If you're lucky, the search result should show you which hotel it is. Otherwise, sift through other hotel listings on the booking website that have the same star rating and location until you come across one with the same features as the secret hotel.</p> <h2>Price Bidding</h2> <p>With price bidding, you can potentially get really big savings, but you need to know how to use the system.</p> <p>Before you read any further, you should know that hotel bidding is probably not for you if you have very specific preferences. There are limited options and you get minimal information about the room. You won't be told the name of the hotel, and you won't be able to choose your bedding configuration. You also won't be able to request a non-smoking room, a room with a certain view, or multiple connecting rooms.</p> <h3>Where and How to Bid on a Room</h3> <p>Hotel price bidding is available on <a href="http://www.priceline.com">Priceline</a>, where it's called the &quot;Name Your Own Price&quot; feature.</p> <p>To start the bidding process, you specify the dates of your stay, the lowest hotel star rating you'd take, the area where you want to stay, and the price you're willing to pay. The website will find hotels that match your criteria. If there is a hotel that accepts your rate, you have a booking. Otherwise, you have to wait for 24 hours before submitting another bid.</p> <h3>Bidding Tricks</h3> <p>There are a few tricks you can use to make more than one bid per day. You can easily double the number of times you can bid by working with your partner or a friend. You can also bid the same price by adding more possible hotel areas if you're flexible about the neighborhood. If you have a strict budget, Priceline will let you bid the same price again if you drop your minimum star rating.</p> <p>There are more complex ways to improve your chances of getting hotel deals quickly on Priceline. If you need help with bidding strategies, visit <a href="http://www.biddingtraveler.com">Biddingtraveler</a> or <a href="http://www.betterbidding.com">Betterbidding</a>.</p> <p><em>Have you scored major deals on hotel rooms? How'd you do it? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deia-b">Deia B</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-get-hotel-deals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-negotiate-a-cheaper-hotel-room">The Easy Way to Negotiate a Cheaper Hotel Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel hotel deals hotels room deals Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1148416 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Have the Best, Cheapest Summer Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beach-467352195.jpg" alt="beach" title="beach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I decided to leave my 9-to-5 and work from home, I knew it would take some financial trickery. I went over our monthly and yearly budgets over and over again to find room and determine areas where we could cut back. One of the first line items on the chopping block? Summer vacation funds.</p> <p>Not having much to spend on travel doesn't have to be the end of your great summer adventure, however. My family has found some rather crafty ways to get around and enjoy the sights and sounds of new places on the cheap. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Explore Locally</h2> <p>When I think travel, I often let my mind go wild with far off places. What I've discovered most recently is that there are tons of fun places to visit within my own home state. Head to your local welcome center (you know, the ones on all the major highways) and check out the promotional pamphlets for attractions near you. Then make your bucket list and go!</p> <h2>2. Set an Early or Late Date</h2> <p>Mid-summer is peak season at a lot of popular spots, so if your dates aren't strict, try different combinations. Many hotels offer (sometimes wildly) different rates depending on when most people have time to trek. Early June to the week before July 4th or early September after Labor Day are awesome times to get great prices on summer hot spots. Bonus: They'll be less crowded too! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation?ref=seealso">Easy Ways to Save for Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>3. Be Counterintuitive</h2> <p>Along those same lines, head to the slopes this summer! Tripping in the off-season is a fun way to get to know a place more intimately. For example, I know for a fact that Vermont is just as gorgeous &mdash; if not more &mdash; in the warm months than it is when all the ski bunnies descend in droves.</p> <h2>4. Road Trip It</h2> <p>Part of the fun is in the travel itself. Rather than jet around from location to location, pack your car with necessities (and lots of snacks!) and plan a route that's worth the drive. One dream my family has is to plot out a road trip visiting with family and friends, which will be both frugal (free places to stay and free tour guides!) and fun. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-money-on-a-great-american-road-trip?ref=seealso">10 Ways To Save Money on the Great American Road Trip</a>)</p> <h2>5. Try Camping</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/camping-4256950-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The first trip my husband and I took together was to the southern coast of Maine, and we camped there for five blissful nights. If I remember correctly, our site fee was around $30 a night and we cooked most of our own food, making for quite an inexpensive trip! If you're not totally into roughing it, check out <a href="http://koa.com/">KOA campgrounds</a> &mdash; you can find one near most cities and big attractions in the US and Canada. Most have a selection of tent sites, cabins (with TVs!), and even more luxurious accommodations that are cheaper than hotels.</p> <h2>6. Cook In</h2> <p>Wherever you stay on vacation, it can be tempting to go out to eat for every meal. Last year when my family visited NYC for a week, we got a taste of local food without the added up-charge. Find a great local market (in that case, we stopped by <a href="http://www.eataly.com/">Eataly</a> daily) and assemble your own meals with local, fresh ingredients if you're staying someplace that will allow it. Our shore rental has a grill, and I can't wait to use it!</p> <h2>7. Mind Your Perks</h2> <p>Along those same lines, check out hotels that offer free breakfasts or other meals to guests. Growing up, my parents always chose Embassy Suites for their bountiful warm breakfasts (for free!) and evening receptions that kept both adults and kids satiated. Smaller hotels may also have discounts with local restaurants and attractions, so be sure to do your research ahead of time to get the best hookups.</p> <h2>8. Buddy Up</h2> <p>Chances are, you're not the only one looking for a change of pace. If you have close friends or family with similar interests, try planning a joint vacation and splitting some of the costs. We go to the Jersey Shore each year with family and everyone pitches in for food and the vacation rental. Setting ground rules ahead of time can help avoid uncomfortable situations, so making lists and designating different responsibilities accordingly is the key to keep everyone happy.</p> <h2>9. Try a Rental</h2> <p>That's right &mdash; our family shares a rental home for our beach trip. It's a heck of a lot less expensive than a hotel. Plus, rentals offer an impressive number of perks &mdash; like full kitchens, beach tags, community pools, etc. &mdash; that might help save you money in the long run. Try sites like <a href="http://www.vrbo.com/">Vacation Rental By Owner</a> (VRBO) if you're new to this thrifty idea (and, of course, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-get-a-vacation-rental-instead-of-a-hotel">Airbnb</a>).</p> <h2>10. Make It a Quickie</h2> <p>If you have your heart set on a certain place that happens to be expensive, consider shortening the trip to cut down on hotel, food, and entertainment costs. A weekend getaway is often just as refreshing as a whole week's trip, but with less than half the cost. (You can also save some of your vacation days by planning it in conjunction with a holiday &mdash; just beware that hotel and travel costs change as well.)</p> <h2>11. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>You can occasionally cash in on this year's rates for <em>next</em> year by locking in your vacation at checkout. Some hotels (and vacation rentals) reward loyalty with a small percentage discount, so it's worth a check if you'd like to frequent your destination for years to come. Plus, it feels sort of great knowing the fun is already on the calendar so far in advance.</p> <h2>12. Survey Flight Options</h2> <p>There are a host of considerations related to flight, not limited to fare fluctuations, baggage check fees, and hub of choice. If you're flying where you want to go, make sure you get the best fare by checking apps like <a href="http://www.yapta.com/">Yapta</a> to get alerts when ticket prices are low. Try airlines like <a href="http://help.jetblue.com/SRVS/CGI-BIN/webisapi.dll?New,Kb=askBlue,case=obj%28634%29">JetBlue</a>, which offer free baggage checks. And investigate options with flights from both large and small airports for price comparison.</p> <h2>13. Stay Off the Beaten Path</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/travel-5365846-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It's true that major cities and other vacation favorites offer lots in way of entertainment and fun, but sometimes sticking to more rural locations can be a breath of fresh air. Whether it's scoping out the national parks or just visiting a less frequented beach or smaller city, you'll enjoy a bit more room to relax and a thicker wallet.</p> <h2>14. House Swap</h2> <p>Do you have a friend or family member in a far away place (or not so far away) who might be willing to switch residences for a week or two? House swapping is a fun way to see a new part of the country without spending outrageous lodging costs to stay there. By staying in someone's house or apartment, you'll be sure to have a kitchen and other necessities that simple hotel rooms can't afford you. Just be sure to water plants, get mail, and feed the cat so your friend will return the favor.</p> <h2>15. Offer Your Services</h2> <p>There are costs at home associated with travel that often get neglected in the planning. Things like animal boarding, house-sitting, lawn care, and other responsibilities can cost if you don't have a plan in place. Offer your services to cat sit and water plants for a friend and he or she will likely return the favor.</p> <h2>16. Volunteer</h2> <p>If you'd like to bring more meaning to your summer vacation, consider checking out these free and low-cost opportunities to volunteer abroad via <a href="http://www.vaops.com/">VAOPS</a>. Sure, your trip won't consist of days on end laying on a beach towel, but you'll be investing time and energy into an area with the reward of an amazing experience.</p> <h2>17. Consider Your Options</h2> <p>Before choosing a destination, search around for all the opportunities for free entertainment. Washington D.C., for example, has a plethora of free museums to keep you and your family entertained for days. Beaches can sometimes charge hefty parking or entry fees, but those off the radar are often free and much less crowded. Look beyond those popular spots for the most savings.</p> <h2>18. Utilize Resources</h2> <p>There are a number of travel websites with deals and steals on vacation packages, airfare, and more. If you don't know where to start, just check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites</a> &mdash; they can save you a fortune!</p> <h2>19. Ask Around</h2> <p>Once you get to your vacation spot, resist the urge to hit up all the ritzy tourist destinations. Instead, ask some locals for their favorite restaurant and entertainment picks. Usually these options are less costly and allow you to become more immersed in the place you're visiting.</p> <h2>20. Park Your Car</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/travel-5313151-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>One of my favorite things to do when I get someplace new? Walk or run around town and identify places I might want to go. My family tries to stay somewhere central (even if it might cost slightly more) so we can leave the car behind. That way, we lower our gas bill, parking costs, and even those unexpected parking or traffic tickets. Those are pesky costs sometimes piles up when speed limits and meter rules are somewhat elusive.</p> <h2>21. Exhaust Alternatives</h2> <p>Have you ever checked out community marketplace <a href="https://www.airbnb.com/">Airbnb</a>? It's sort of like VRBO, but it's more unique. You rent from people in over 34,000 cities and 192 countries. Better yet: You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed">rent out your own spaces</a> to make some extra money for travel as well.</p> <h2>22. Frolic to a Festival</h2> <p>One of our beloved summer vacations is to a local music festival each July. The tickets go up for sale in the beginning of the year, so we try to sign up early to get the best rates. From there, there's a small onsite camping fee &mdash; but otherwise, food is the only major expense (and we bring most of it with us for what a week's worth of groceries would cost). All that's left to do is sit back, relax, and listen to the tunes waft through the breeze.</p> <h2>23. Pack Smart</h2> <p>If you know you're going to be driving through rest stops or waiting long hours at airports, try to resist the usual temptations. All those magazines, books, bottled waters, fast food meals, and other comfort items add up. Pack your travel bag the smart way and bring your own supplies &mdash; snacks, neck-pillows, library books, etc. &mdash; from home for free.</p> <h2>24. Fuel to Your Advantage</h2> <p>Now's the time to use your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">credit card that earns points for gas</a> and other travel purchases. Apps like <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gasbuddy-find-cheap-gas-prices/id406719683?mt=8">GasBuddy</a>, <a href="http://ipod.about.com/od/iphoneappsreviews/fr/Smart-Fuel-App-Review.htm">SmartFuel</a>, and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id299969005?mt=8">Fuel Finder</a> can certainly save you some major dollars on fueling that will accumulate to big bucks over time.</p> <h2>25. Stay Home</h2> <p>I think by now we've all heard the word &quot;stay-cation,&quot; right? The idea? If you're really strapped, you don't need to go anywhere to get some rest and relaxation. Sometimes just taking a few days off and living it up in your hometown does the trick. Much like with traveling locally, you'll want to make a list of things to do. Now's the time to check out that new restaurant that opened downtown. Hang your hammock and enjoy!</p> <p><em>How do you save on summer travel? The more tips the better &mdash; I'm sure we could all use a vacation!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-have-the-best-cheapest-summer-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid">11 Spring Break Budget Busters to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-cheap-summer-vacations">8 Great, Cheap Summer Vacations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guide-to-staying-at-hostels-for-people-over-30">The Guide to Staying at Hostels for People Over 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-vacation-destinations-that-stretch-your-dollar">11 Vacation Destinations That Stretch Your Dollar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas">9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cheap travel hotels road trips summer vacation vacation Mon, 26 May 2014 09:00:13 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1140314 at http://www.wisebread.com