Finding Good Hotel Prices –
I love Starwood Preferred Guest and I am a Platinum member. That means I need 25 stays per year or 50 nights in order to keep my status. I qualify on stays as I typically only stay at a hotel one night at a time.
Whenever I am looking for a hotel, I start with SPG and search via www.sheraton.com just out of habit. I enter the city that I am looking for and the dates and when the matrix comes up listing all the Starwood Hotels in the area, I modify the types of rates that are displayed so I can find the best rate.
I typically search for the following rates:
Best Available Rate
SPG Hot Escapes
This will displays a variety of rates and I look for the best rate before booking. The corporate rate is one that I am affiliated with so I search on that because at times the rate is better than the other rates that are offered.
Unless it is the last minute, I always book a rate that can be cancelled as I know that the rates typically change as it gets closer to check in date. With travel delays and changes are possible so I do my best to avoid a reservation that cannot be cancelled. However, there are some ways around the cancellation but it is always easier to not have to deal with it.
I book the reservation and from time to time I go back to search.
Starwood offers a best rate guarantee so I will also check a multi-hotel booking search engine such as Hotels Combined to see alternative rates. Unfortunately, Starwood generally only approves claims where there is a significant savings, but it always helps to look just in case.
In the event that there is a lower rate I fill out a best rate guarantee claim via Starwood Best Rate Guarantee. I figure it doesn’t hurt to put in a claim even when the difference is minimal because you never know if it will be approved. If it is approved, they will match the rate plus give bonus Starpoints so it is always worth trying. I have found that it takes some time for SPG to get back to you and oftentimes the lower rate goes away by that time.
As I mentioned, hotel rates change frequently, so keep watching. I have found some significant savings by following this method.
If I find a lower rate on Starwood, I book a new reservation and go back and cancel the existing one once I have the confirmation at the lower rate.
It is a challenge getting in 25 stays, but I feel it is worth it, so everything I can do to get the best rate helps to reduce the out of pocket cost.
What methods do you use for finding the best deals?