First, I’ll give my list of hotel deal ideas, and then my thoughts on each one.
List of hotel deal ideas:
- Cap1 10x on hotels.com + Hotels.com Rewards 10% back = 20%
- Hotel promo codes (often 15% discount)
- Citi Prestige 4th Night Free (capped at 2 nights per calendar year)
- Roomertravel.com/rooms (I sort by discount)
- Hotwire (read: How To Easily Know Your Hotwire Hotel)
- Hotel Promotions – check frequentflyerbonuses.com
- Check for a Best Rate Guarantee
- Use a site like Trivago and check for a discount site (I saved $100/night by booking on a site I never heard of)
- Obviously, credit cards that give hotel points
1) Capital One 20% on Hotels.com
Explanation: the Capital One Venture Rewards Card gives 10x points on Hotels.com, and Hotels.com Rewards essentially gives 10% back in credits towards a future stay (after 10 stays). Together you get 20% off.
Not bad, but not always great.
As you’ll see if you continue to read about hotel promo codes, there is currently a 16% code for cheaptickets.com. Assuming the price is the same on both sites (which is most likely true), then a 16% discount, plus being able to use another card (like the CSR) gives just as good of a deal. It seems that if there is a ~16% promo code, the Cap1 deal is way less helpful.
However, if this stacks with promo codes (which sometimes exist with hotels.com) that would be huge. If you can deduct 16% before getting 20% back, that’s a great, easy deal.
I’ve seen no evidence it works, and was told a promo code didn’t work on that site. So perhaps codes don’t work on that link, but it’s worth checking for those who have it! (Again, see the later section on promo codes).
2) Promo Codes (often shared on FlyerTalk).
The only thread I check on FlyerTalk, I check often… And that’s the one on Hotel Deals. Specifically, one of the top threads is “General list of Codes and Promos“. You have to check the most recent page and the most recent posts, because they expire.
But I regularly find 15% off, and I even once was the first in the Hotel Deals thread to see $100 off Orbitz bookings (using MasterPass to pay). I made a LOT of bookings that day before they cut off the promo.
I also got a bunch of free nights in Vegas before that promo died too.
(Any suggestions for other ways to find promo codes? Any of those Chrome plugins that auto-insert promo codes?)
3) Citi Prestige 4th Night Free
It’s capped at 2 nights per calendar year, but it’s worth using for those who have the card and want a non-points booking.
Literally anything I know about this card is from Frequent Miler, so check out the Complete Guide To Citi Prestige 4th Night Free.
This is a site where you can resell prepaid hotel rooms that you can’t use. Unfortunately for someone, they often won’t get booked, especially last minute unless they drop the price 75%!
I got the Presidential Suite of the Westin San Francisco for $100, although I could see at checkout that someone had originally pre-paid $1,300.
This page in particular allows you to sort by “discount”. I’ve been tempted to make a trip around some of these amazing deals. I recently saw overwater bungalows at the InterContinental Bora Bora for a little over $100 a night (instead of $1,000). I was tempted to book a flight that day.
But often the best deals are last minute.
It’s hit/miss (mostly miss), but worth checking periodically for the great ones.
5) Figuring out Hotwire’s mystery hotels
You need to read: How To Easily Know Your Hotwire Hotel.
The summary is this:
Hotels give undersold rooms to Hotwire at a discount as long as Hotwire sells them as “mystery” hotels, so there isn’t a cheaper way to book their brand.
But I only look at hotels that give the hint of “Your Hot Rate hotel is guaranteed to be 1 of these 4” – like this photo:
Right away, in this example, we’ve narrowed it down to the only two hotels that match a 4.0 rating, and then I google to check how many TripAdvisor reviews they have, and by then I can usually narrow it down to the exact hotel.
However, cross reference with Kayak or something to make sure you’re actually getting a discount!
I’ve gotten huge discounts on hotels in many different places, but I also pass up a lot of hotels labeled as a big discount, when I find I can book at the same price and still earn points.
6) Hotel Promotions – check frequentflyerbonuses.com
As you may already know, my main hotel strategy for a long time has been to pay at cheap hotels during great promotions to earn free nights. We booked two weeks in Bora Bora and Moorea with all hotels free, using all free night certificates, most of which were earned during promotions.
There’s not always a great promotion, but the best place to check for promotions is frequentflyerbonuses.com.
7) Check for a Best Rate Guarantee
As I posted about yesterday in “List Of Hotel Best Rate Guarantees“, you can get discounts by finding a lower rate elsewhere, booking direct with the hotel chain, and then filing a claim explaining where you found the lower rate and what your reservation is.
Normal is a 10% to 25% discount, however, I listed a few chains that give as much as a free night (even on a one night stay)!
8) Doublecheck a site like Trivago and check for a discount site
This is pretty simple, but when I want to book a non-chain hotel I check Kayak or Trivago specifically for that hotel to see if there are lower rates elsewhere.
Just by Trivago searching weird sites like Amoma and Prestigia, I’ve saved a ton of money. I don’t know why these sites sometimes are way cheaper, but I had a fine experience booking.
I searched a hotel in a farflung place that was over $350 a night and Trivago found on one of these sites the same hotel for half price, and a nicer room.
9) Obviously, credit cards that give hotel points
Right now Hilton has 125,000+ point cards, Marriott 100,000 cards, and a 50,000 point Hyatt card.
I’d much rather have 80,000 airline miles or flexible Chase points, but if you’ve gotten all those bonuses, hotel cards might still be an option for you.
But hotel points are generally worth less and proven by the fact that you might get more free nights out of a 50,000 point Hyatt card than a 100,000 point Marriott card. So search for prices of places you’d like to go and see what the hotel prices are, then determine which hotel card is best for you.
There are lots of promos and chain discounts, there are membership sites, and many other ways to get hotel deals…
But this is a list of strategies I think are good deals and most are ones I use regularly.
If you think I’m leaving out any big ones, please let me know! I’m always looking for ways to save money on hotel stays, especially long stays!