When I was younger, it was ingrained into my mind that the hotel room doesn’t matter when traveling. Yes, I’ve stayed at Motel 6’s, Rodeway Inn’s, HoJo’s and Econo Lodges. I mean, why would I spend so much money on a hotel room when I won’t spend much time in the room anyway?
Fast forward to today when I spend a lot of time in the hotel room thanks to hotel loyalty programs and the benefits of elite status that provides free room upgrades. Most of my vacations have been memorable because of the hotel room and the extravagant suite upgrades. Throughout my frequent flyer career, I’ve held top tier status with Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton, Marriott, and Priority Club.
So why does the hotel room matter?
It can make or break your vacation. Your vacations are memories and you don’t want to bring back that image of remembering that cramped room with little to no amenities.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get an extravagant room. That’s where travel hacking and the exploitation of hotel loyalty programs come into play.
You also don’t have much leverage in terms of compensation when you book a non-chain hotel and don’t hold some form of elite status.
There are times when booking an expensive hotel or redeeming a large amount of points for a hotel room doesn’t make sense.
A recent example of mine was staying in Bogota for five nights. My flight arrived at midnight, so I booked a cheap hotel for my first night in the historic city-center of downtown Bogota. I booked the Ambar hotel for $29 which was a single room with a bath. It was in a sketchy area, but I wasn’t going to arrive at the hotel until shortly after 1am. I intended to only sleep for a few hours before grabbing breakfast at 6am and heading out to explore before heading to my next hotel.
Do you care about your hotel room?