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10 Tips on Finding a Good Hotel Deal

by on January 25, 2011 · 6 comments

in Hotel Industry, How To Guides

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Check out my guest blog post about getting a good hotel deal for traveler social networking site Gotsaga.com.

Do you have any ideas that I didn’t cover?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Ric Garrido

    I like your tips Brian. You have the basic good deals listed.

    Question about 40,000 HHonors points and 8 nights.
    Are you talking about a PointStretcher at a category 1 hotel?

    That seems like a rare find.

  • The Points Guy

    Yea- it was an extreme example of using hotel points for reduced priced awards. While redeeming for cat1 hotels isn’t my thing, some people may see value in it.

  • Doug

    Regarding Priceline: Priceline adds $10-20 to your “name-your-price” bid. Sometimes you can get a great deal, but it’s not always such a bargain after the adder. Plus, you can sometimes get stuck with a resort fee on top of that. Given that you are stuck with what you get, don’t use priceline without due diligence. My Priceline approach is as follows:
    1. Check hotels.com or a similar site so you can see what the market fully-refundable price is. Click through to get your cost including taxes, and check for resort fees.
    2. Check Hotwire and compare prices including the adder and check for additional resort fees. Check the Trip Advisor rating also. You can often deduce which hotel it is by judicious use of Trip Advisor.
    3. Bid on priceline such that your total cost is LESS than a similar hotel including fees on Hotwire. If you don’t get it, take the hotwire deal. Remember that Priceline provides less information than Hotwire so you shouldn’t pay as much for a similar hotel. And Hotwire is inferior to Hotels.com, etc so pay accordingly.

    If you are traveling to Las Vegas or Reno, go to the hotels’ web sites and sign up for their emails and/or slot clubs. They often send bundled promotions that are as good or better than you can find on Hotwire or Priceline, especially if you want to stay somewhere in particular or you value the freebies, which are sometimes pretty good.

    If you are going to a resort destination such as Florida or Las Vegas and plan to stay several days, search ebay for “vacation rentals” under lodging. There are quite a few people who rent out their timeshares. They have kitchens and a lot of nice resort amenities, although they usually have housekeeping only once per week. You are not required to listen to a sales presentation since you are renting it from the owner.

    Finally, consider the total cost, not just the hotel rate. 4+ star hotels often have absurd rates for parking, resort fees, high internet charges, etc. especially in city downtown locations. A lot of 2 and 3 star hotels include these with the room rate. And there are taxes also.

  • The Points Guy

    Doug- awesome advice. I totally agree with all of your points, especially on renting timeshares/apartments. So many people will unload them for dirt cheap prices and you often get more space than a hotel. Their is more risk involved and less amenities, but for the $ saved, it can be worth it.

  • Ric Garrido

    There is great value in a category 1 Point Stretcher at 4,500 points per night.

    But finding a Point Stretcher at a category 1 hotel will be a rare find with only about 40 hotels listed in HHonors lowest category
    out of 3,600+ worldwide

    I do not see any of the cateogry 1 hotels are on the current Point Stretcher list.

    I thought there was Hampton Inn Bakersfield, California @ HWY46, but that hotel moved to a HHonors 25,000 points category 3 reward sometime during the past year.

  • Doug

    Since I don’t travel for business very often, most of my purchases are with cash (not points) and I am very cost-sensitive. And with a wife and 2 kids, Priceline and Hotwire don’t always cut the mustard anymore, since a non-refundable room with 2 double beds is not very comfortable for us.

    The diabolical resort fee is what many travelers find truly infuriating, since it is not optional, usually includes nothing that the hotel wouldn’t otherwise be expected to provide, and is simply a cynical attempt on the part of hotel operators to deliberately mislead the consumer. These started in the early 2000′s during the west coast energy crisis as “energy service charges” and some hotels never dropped them, and actually had the chutzpah to continue to call them that well after the energy crisis ended and their energy costs returned to normal. Eventually, they just recognized them as another source of income and substituted “resort” for “energy”, which is ever so slightly less offensive.

    Fortunately, with experience and/or research you can estimate what it will be, and incorporate it in the total cost of your hotel room, which is what matters. Hotwire now provides a notice of the resort fee and an approximation of how much it is, but you need to be sure to look for it on the click-thru details page. I don’t think priceline does, though.

    Some hotels in competitive markets such as Las Vegas have begun to recognize the insult that the resort fees impose on consumers and have rightly used the fact that they don’t impose them as a selling point. This is especially true for hotels that thrive on repeat business. The Harrahs/Caesars chain (whose focus market is based on its rewards program) no longer imposes them, as does the South Point, which is 5 miles south of the strip but a great hotel with some of the best deals in town all around. However, most of the other hotels in las vegas have resort fees. If you look on Hotels.com, the cheapest 3-star hotels listed are usually station casinos, which often are listed at $30 and under, but they tag on a resort fee of $16 or so per night.

    Personally, I have learned to accept the resort fee as long as I know what it is and I am getting a good deal overall. I’m more interested in the total cost of my trip. If I had a way of getting around a $16 breakfast of coffee and oatmeal at a hotel in Washington DC, I’d really be on to something. (fortunately, that one was expensable.)

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