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The Tool To Get Hotel Award Alerts

This is a review of Hotel Hustle, the coolest hotel tool ever. Oops, I guess that spoils the review summary.

As I’ll explain in the next couple of weeks, I owe a huge thanks to the Hotel Hustle tool. Without it, I likely would not have many of the hotels I have booked now.

There are a number of dates, and a number of hotels, where award availability stinks. But I get award availability emails and text messages when those awards become available.

This post is about the tool that allows you to set hotel award alerts. While I’m grateful for the help it has provided me, that’s not why I’m writing this. Truth is, this tool has been my secret weapon.

The problem:

The dates you want aren’t available for award redemption… but you really want them. But you have to book somewhere else because award availability is going elsewhere.

Of course, all award nights are refundable. This means that you keep checking back in once a week, or whenever you remember, and you rarely find what you’re looking for.

And really, what are the odds that when you remember to check, it happens to be when someone else canceled their awards.

It’s a poor use of time, and ultimately, it’s an ineffective way to find award availability.

 

The Solution:

I search for a specific date with Hotel Hustle, and if there’s no award availability, I simply set an alert.

When it does open back up, I get a text and/or email alert telling me that it is now available.

I book.

 

Like… totally, for real!

And that’s not just how I theorize it will work, I have gotten many texts and emails, where I stop what I’m doing and book.

Well, normally I wait until I get back to the hotel room and book.

Thankfully, so far, every time I’ve made the booking because of this tool.

Better yet…

 

My Review

Every one of the hotels I set an alert for somehow opened up at one point or another. Even with seemingly barren award availability, eventually I got an alert. And like I said, I always got the booking after getting the alert.

Amazing.

 

I figure there are two main reasons for the rooms consistently opening up.

1) Because the hotel had people cancel before the cancelation deadline.

2) The hotel has the rooms for sale with cash, and they eventually just open them up for awards. Much like airline awards.

 

Depends on the chain

I will say that my experience largely depends on the chain.

I’ve been doing the IHG thing since 2012, and I’ve noticed award availability always comes up. In the past, I would know this because I would make IHG my home page and check every 30 minutes when I was desperate. But it often worked out.

For example, the Crowne Plaza on Times Square came available the day before New Years Eve.

But now, with Hotel Hustle, it always becomes available. At least with IHG, it never fails, and with even more sparse hotel award availability situations.

 

However, when I first gave the tool a try, it was with Club Carlson. The Radisson in Austin actually. It was always sold out of basic rooms because the basic room and the standard room were the same thing, but the hotel had a way of limiting award space. It’s a crappy thing with some Club Carlson chains. And it never opened up.

But I’m not counting that example for a few reasons. For example, I was new to the tool, and I didn’t need that hotel to open up since I had another booking, so I probably didn’t pay as much attention.

Plus, I think it really is a Club Carlson thing. Most chains are very good about being at least more even towards award availability and standard rooms.

And I’m telling you, even with the best IHG hotels, they have opened up in my testing.

 

How it works

I’m going to walk through an example with London on NYE.

 

1) It’s a hotel award search engine

The “normal” use of this tool is to search for different hotel awards across the different chains in one city. It’s already super cool, because it’s searching for live availability.

You can uncheck the chains that don’t apply to you, or filter by distance and star rating.

I used the sorting to only see IHG and Hyatt, whom I have free nights with.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.33.42 PM

There’s not a lot available. As you can see Hyatt has no award nights, and of the tons of IHG hotels, very few have award availability.

 

2) Find hotel –> Click “Create Alert”

I used my browser to search for the “InterContinental” and found the Park Lane hotel I was looking for.

If there is no award availability, it will say “create alert” instead of the points price. In this case, the IC Park Lane has room for sale for cash on IHG.com, but no award rooms. Hopefully those will open up, so let’s click, “Create Alert!”.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.35.28 PM

 

3) Alert is set, but click “Manage Alerts”

Now I can manage all my alerts, and see that it is indeed active. This means that I will get email alerts but not text alerts. I rather like the text alerts.

Under the column “SMS Alert?”, click that “x”, and turn it active. This will allow the tool to send you texts for that specific award alert.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.39.44 PM

 

4) After booking, make it inactive

After booking, go back to “manage alerts”, and click the “x” to make it inactive. Otherwise you’ll get more alerts.

That’s it.

 

Conclusion

Pay the $2.99

The free version has 5 free alerts, but doesn’t have text alerts!

It’s $2.99 a month – and then you get 30 alerts.

I signed up when the free version had 15 alerts and I still paid! I knew I wouldn’t have 15 at once, but I knew right away that this tool would save my butt. I wanted to support this tool. The last thing I needed was it shutting down before my big trip because it was under-supported.

 

Certainly try it out!

If you need more than 5 alerts (like I did end up using), at that point you’ll know it’s worth the $2.99 to snag that much needed hotel award.

I’m not getting paid to say this stuff, and like I said, I’ve unnecessarily paid. And I’m not doing this to support it or say thanks… although, it’s nice.

I’m writing about this tool because it is freakin sweet! And this blog is about how I’m getting all the cool things I’m doing. Without this tool, many of my IHG free nights would have been used somewhere less cool. I rely on this tool, and I thought I would share it with you.

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for the vote of confidence and the review. I always love hearing the success stories.

    Two small bits to clarify:
    1) The free version gets 5 alerts and the paid version gets 30. Also the SMS functionality is only for paid accounts.
    2) The price went up to $2.99/month as of earlier this year. Still stupidly cheap. And it come with great oneworld alerts, too.

    Reply
    • Great. Got the info updated. I couldn’t find it since I paid already.

      Yea, the tool is fantastic. Multiple times I got a text while walking with a friend. I got a “and it actually works?” reaction. I’m super impressed that you were able to pull this off so well.
      Kudos! And please keep it up.

      Reply
  2. Hi Drew, thanks for your great site. Sorry off-topic here, but are you aware of changes to United routing rules? I was looking at a trip SFO-SIN (stopover)-NRT-SFO. This used to price at 70k but now it comes up to 80k as the system just adds up each segment. Do you have any idea why? Thanks!!

    Reply
  3. This was awesome when it worked. I was looking for a Carlson hotel in Athens and it emailed when it came open and I was able to book it. Did not work so well in Edinburgh where it did not even find most of the award hotels so I couldn’t set any alerts. This was about 9 months ago, so, hopefully, whatever the issue was then has been worked out, because it is a slick tool when it works.

    Reply
  4. Nice write-up. Just returned from Japan, had 4 Hotel Hustles running at 4 different IHG’s and not one came up. And you get Times Square on New Years. Wow. I probably did something wrong.

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the information that award availability can change right up until the last minute. We booked hotels in Venice several months ago. We have a very early (6:40 am!) flight out of Venice so we wanted to stay close to the airport on the last night. The Marriott is right there by the airport, but when I was looking there were no award nights so I booked elsewhere.

    Right after I read your post, I looked at the Marriott again, and guess what, I can now book a room with points!

    I will definitely be checking our Hotel Hustle on future trips. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Shssssshhhh! Giving away my technique to get my favorite destinations 😉

    Reply
  7. I m surprise that you didnt try out all the major chains just to test its
    accuracy.

    Reply
  8. It’s a great idea, but I’m having trouble with the functionality. The datepicker is only showing me October, I have to manually insert the date. Also ran a search for Paris in May, it’s not showing any Hyatt properties but I’m finding availability on Hyatt site.

    Reply
    • I agree that this is a really cool idea, but I am also having some trouble. I just searched in Milan and neither the hotel I have booked or the Park Hyatt show up in the search results.

      Reply
  9. Seems good but tool failed to even pick up the Hyatt Key West when I ran it for Key West. Picked up another Hyatt hotel but did not even register that the principal Hyatt existed at the premier location in Key West. Epic failure.

    Reply
    • I retract this. The date used was too far out for Hyatt search engine but not for other hotels. No Hyatt hotel shown. Sorry for false alarm

      Reply
  10. I’d love to use this tool to find reasonably-priced Hiltons (well, one in particular) but the problem is, if there is ANY availability with points you can’t set an alert, it seems. So when Hilton has a room outrageously-priced at 153,000 points a night available, that prevents me from setting an alert to tell me if any 50k per night rooms open up.

    Reply
  11. Is Janice correct? That’s what I was wanting to do.
    But I have a bigger problem. I think the program defaults to searching for 1 adult or maybe 2 adults, no kids. I’m bringing my kids at least on this trip and the Hilton site itself shows 145,000 points required for the night with 1 or 2 kids (2 beds) but has only 40,000 points required for 2 adults and no kids (1 bed). Hotel Hustle shows 40,000. Be nice to input the number of people into Hotel Hustle but that would probably double the work of the program, so I understand that. Nice tool though if childless. Another perk to holding off having kids Drew.

    Reply
  12. Question: I want to stay 2 nights at Park Hyatt Tokyo anytime between July 1 – 10. Do I set up the alert for 1 day at a time? or just Park Hyatt check in July 1 checkout July 10? Will the system alert me of 1 day award opening within those dates? like say July 5 became available but not other dates. Thank you!

    Reply
    • My assumption is that if you choose 1-10, it will only tell you if all those dates are available. You could do two day chunks or 1 day at a time. I always do 1 day at a time.

      Reply

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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