Don't book your hotel until you read my tips for finding a cheaper hotel rate and scoring a few upgrades.
I’ve put together a few tips you can use to find a cheaper hotel room and maybe a few extra perks along the way. Lodging can get expensive and takes a big bite out of your fun vacation cash.
Book direct with hotel websites and sign up for their loyalty program
A great way to receive free upgrades is to sign up for a loyalty program and use the same hotel chain whenever possible.
Member perks at hotels often include free Wi-Fi and. My personal favorite hotel loyalty program is Starwood Preferred Guest. I have SPG Gold status through my American Express card and am consistently offered room upgrade, lounge access, and bonus points.
Book early and keep checking rates
As soon as you know travel dates, check the hotel cancellation policy and book the room. Keep checking back for any discounts, promos or lower rates. It’s easy to re-book for a lower price, and if the prices go up, you have already locked in the lower price. I always check back again right before the cancellation period, sometimes hotels want to fill the empty rooms and will lower the room rate.
Sign up for a price drop and sale alerts for a cheaper hotel room rate
Sign up for price alerts through websites like Hotels.com and Trivago and Kayak, and they will take send you a notification via email or text letting you know when the prices start to drop.
Book using offer codes
Most hotels offer a small discount off their best deal is you book using an offer code from AAA or AARP. If you are member of a trade or professional organization check if there are any exclusive discounts available for your use.
Sign up for loyalty programs and book through the travel websites
If you don't travel enough to rack up free rooms at hotel websites or prefer more variety, then opting for a third party website loyalty program may just be the answer.
Hotels.com members can book 10 nights and get one for free.
Travel Apps can help you find a bevy of discounts for cheaper hotel room rates. Everyone is aware of apps from Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, and Trivago. Also, try Hotel Tonight or Jetsetter for finding last-minute discounts on rooms.
Book a room at a new property
Sometimes hotels will be looking to increase business and offer excellent room discounts just to get the word out.
Tips for getting a hotel upgrade upon check-in
Check in later in the day
Check-in toward the end of the day may offer the best chance of getting a coveted free room upgrade.
Hotels have a better idea of the occupancy later in the day, they are more likely to offer upgrades for unbooked premium rooms. If usually check in 2 hours or so after the posted check-in time.
Asking for a corner room
If you're looking to upgrade to a corner room, be discreet and polite and avoid asking for special perks when others are waiting to check-in. The hotel won’t want to make anyone waiting to check-in behind you just so they can assist you with a special request, unless of course, you have the coveted elite status.
Don’t be shy about letting the hotel know if your unhappy and wan a cheaper hotel room rate
If you are plagued by noisy neighbors or a less than clean room it can ruin your hotel experience and you should speak up. Just remember be polite and don’t take any frustration out on the front desk staff.
To make it right the hotel may offer an upgrade for the rest of your stay, a points credit or a free drink at the hotel bar.
Don’t find something to complain about just in hopes of getting an upgrade, the hotels are hip to that tactic.
Planning for Future Hotel Stays
Hotels partner with various companies sometimes offer the chance to earn extra points through a partnering agreement or shopping portals.
Most credit cards have travel offer ranging from cash back to bonus points or miles. It’s worth a couple of minutes to check credit card for additional discounts that may be offered.
Do you have any tips or comments to share for finding the best rate at a hotel?