How to Save Money When You Book a Hotel Room
Travelers have come up with a million tricks to save the most money on airfare, but did you know that there are also plenty of ways to save money on hotels as well?
Hotels, however, are run in an entirely different way than airlines, and you will need to follow a new set of rules to stretch your hotel dollars as far as you can. So here are six ways that you can save money on your next hotel stay.
1. Join a Hotel Loyalty Program
Even if it’s your first stay with a hotel chain, and you have no points in your account, you can still save money by creating an account and joining a hotel loyalty program for free. First, loyalty program members are automatically eligible to receive discounts and other promotions that are offered. Furthermore, members are more likely to receive free upgrades, small gifts at check-in and other special treatment that non-members might actually have to pay for. And of course, once you have accumulated enough points, you can redeem them for a free night’s stay.
2. Get a Hotel Credit Card
In addition to earning more reward points, having a hotel’s credit card will usually grant you elite status in its loyalty program, which generally features even more money-saving perks.
3. Book Early
With the airlines, prices rise and fall constantly in the months before a flight, but with a hotel reservation, the prices will generally rise as the date of the stay approaches. And since most reservations are refundable up until a few hours, or days, before check-in, there is no harm in securing the lowest rate as early as possible.
4. Call the Hotel
While airline representatives might start laughing at you if you try to negotiate a lower fare, a hotel manager will take your request seriously if he expects to have unsold rooms. Your ability to receive a lower rate will be better if you are a frequent guest or are booking multiple rooms. As an alternative, you might be able to ask for a larger room, but at the standard rate.
5. Book a Prepaid Rate
If your plans are firm, many hotels will offer lower rates for customers who prepay their reservations.
6. Ask for Fee Waivers
Many hotels earn most of their money from business travelers, and are eager to earn their repeat business. Ironically, these business travelers have their stays paid by their companies or clients, so they have little incentive to ask for a break on charges like parking, breakfast or internet fees. This is why price sensitive travelers can have a surprising amount of success asking to have these charges removed, especially if the hotel has disappointed them in some way.
If you had to wait in line to check in, were given a loud room, or had an unresolved maintenance issue, don’t be shy about bringing it to the attention of the front desk, and requesting that the hotel make it up to you by waiving some fees.