You may think you have scored a great deal on your latest hotel room booking. Chances are, you probably settled for less on the hotel’s website booking engine. The key to finding the absolute lowest hotel price is using a combination of a third party search engine called HotelsCombined, corporate rates, Best Rate Guarantee rates, and price mistakes.
HotelsCombined scours the internet on many third party sites to find cheaper rates for major hotel chains such as spg.com, priorityclub.com, clubcarlson.com, and hhonors.com. There are also a lot of boutique hotels and hostels on HotelsCombined if that’s your thing. I prefer to stay at chain hotels because I can leverage my hotel elite status and get stay and night credit. A great technique is using the filter feature and type in the name of your hotel so you can compare prices. If your hotel is not listed on HotelsCombined, you may want to expand your search mileage radius by using the +30 mi, +60 mi buttons.
There are many corporate rates available such as AAA (must have an AAA card, although I’ve never been asked to show one). If you work for a major corporation, try to find out what the corporate code is so that you can plug it into the hotel’s booking engine. The main public ones are AAA and Hilton’s Family MVP. To use the HHonors MVP corporate rates, go to www.hiltonfamilymvp.com and run a search. To be eligible, you only need an HHonors number, which you should sign up for if you don’t have one already. Use www.beatthetimer.com for select Starwood Hotels in Europe, Middle East, and Egypt.
You can use HotelsCombined and compare the prices to major chains, such as Starwood, HHonors, Priority Club, and Club Carlson and get them to match the 3rd party site. This is called invoking the Best Rate Guarantee policy. Starwood offers 2,000 Starpoints (worth $60 in my book @ 3 cents per point) or 10% off the lowest price as a Best Rate Guarantee award. Angelina from Just Another Points Traveler has a great list of Best Rate Guarantee policies from major hotel chains.
I recently wrote an article on how to use American Airlines AAdvantage miles and leverage your elite status for hotel rooms. Sometimes you can find a bargain like I did last 4th of July spending only 7,000 AA miles on the W New York. I recently redeemed 5,000 AA miles on a Hilton hotel in Dallas for my upcoming stays in June. You can still receive elite status benefits with a third party stay.
Follow me on Twitter as I am always actively scouring for hotel deals and mistake fares. Just recently in late March, I re-tweeted a deal from Brian at The Points Guy to all my followers about $30 rate at the Phoenician hotel.
Always try to book a refundable rate just in case you find a lower price at a later date. Sometimes non-refundable rates are tempting, so go with your gut feeling on those deals. With existing bookings on a refundable rate, keep searching religiously for lower rates using the methods I have discussed above.
Remember, hotel prices are very dynamic and good luck on you next hotel booking!