Hotel Tonight: Seven Day Advance Booking and 10% Credit Back
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User-friendly hotel booking app Hotel Tonight recently updated its service to make finding discounted rooms a bit easier. In the past, the app offered same-day hotel bookings only (typically at a deeply discounted price) in over 500 destinations (over 10,000+ hotels) in the United States, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Those who aren’t quite so last-minute with their hotel bookings will be pleased to know that Hotel Tonight is now offering seven day advance bookings.
To celebrate this, Hotel Tonight is running a special promotion where you can get a 10% credit back on any advance booking (excluding same-day bookings) until October 31, 2014. For every advance booking you make during the promotional period, you’ll get 10% of the total amount billed to your card for the booking (rounded to the nearest dollar) in credits to use on a future booking. The credits will show up in your HT account automatically and expire one year from the date you make the booking.
Furthermore, if this is your first time using Hotel Tonight, you can get a $25 credit using the promo code BKELLY99 (Note: this code is my personal link- if you use it we both get $25 instantly). If you know of any other stackable promo codes, please share them in the comments below.
How to Use
The app is pretty straightforward. Just search for your desired city and scroll through the list of hotel offers. Select your dates, pick your hotel and make your reservation. To make things easier, the app offers a set of categories so you can see what styles of hotels are offered:
- Luxe: An upscale hotel with stellar service, lavish amenities and serious comfort
- Hip: A stylish, sometimes quirky hot spot that’s popular with both locals and travelers alike
- Solid: A comfortable, reliable hotel with all the must-have amenities.
- Basic: A modest hotel with limited extras
- Charming: A hotel, B&B or guest house that’s quaint and intimate
- Crash pad: A budget hostel or inn without many amenities
- High roller: An over-the-top, tricked-out suite or penthouse for VIPs
If the hotels have received enough feedback, the app will also show you a rating of the hotel. HT also offers an express check-in option: you can be notified when your room is ready and simply grab your keys from the front desk. There is an easy to navigate map feature so you can compare hotel locations and and an option to upload photos for your own review if you choose to write one after your stay. You can also save a default credit card in the app to use for all future bookings.
My Experience and Thoughts
One of my biggest qualms with Hotel Tonight was that you couldn’t book rooms earlier than 9:00 am on the day you wanted to stay, so the seven day advance booking is great news. I may not be booking seven days in advance, but it’s nice to be able to book the evening before just to have it handled.
Discounts clearly vary, but often Hotel Tonight can get you about $100 off the going rate at other Online Travel Agencies, and even from hotels’ own websites on the day of your stay. That discount could be big enough to forego earning points and elite credit for some, though the app is also good for booking properties that don’t have a loyalty program, or whose loyalty program you rarely use.
It will be interesting to see whether these numbers hold for more advance bookings. I did a little investigating, and found that while the savings didn’t appear to be quite as large, I would still save money in most situations when using Hotel Tonight (or at the very least, I’d come out even). I tried to make few sample “advance” bookings to test this out.
I started in London with the Morton Hotel on October 2-3, 2014. The hotel website gave me a price of $299 per night. Priceline told me there were no available rooms. Hotel Tonight gave me a price of $285 per night.
Meanwhile, a booking for October 3-4, 2014 at the Raffaello Boutique Hotel in Chicago came up as $135 per night on Hotel Tonight, and $145 on Priceline and the Hotel Raffaello website.
When searching for hotels in Atlanta, it seemed the W Buckhead was the same price on all three outlets for October 4-5, 2014, at $185 per night.
Most of these discounts are small, but look much more substantial when combined with the current 10% back credit or the bonus you get as a first time user using a promo code.
My research and common sense leads me to think that while you can now book seven days in advance, the best prices still pop up the later you book. In the past, I’ve saved up to $100 with day-of bookings on Hotel Tonight, and I’ll continue to use the app for last minute bookings, but it’s good to at least have the option to book more in advance if I want to.
If you have the time, check a few other outlets before you book, like the original hotel website and perhaps Priceline or Expedia. However, if you’re in a rush, Hotel Tonight will likely give you the same or a better price, so you’re probably best off booking through them, especially if you’re booking very late in the game.
As always, make sure to maximize your points earning with Hotel Tonight by paying with a credit card that has a category bonus for hotels or travel, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which gives double points on travel and dining expenses) or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard (which lets you redeem miles at one cent apiece for travel statement credits, and gives you a 5% miles refund on mileage redemptions.
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