Anyone can book a hotel room—but not everyone can save big while doing it. Travel like a genius with these hotel hacks that will help you save money on your next stay, from lowering the nightly rate to avoiding surcharges for Wi-Fi.
- Book Directly with a Hotel
To encourage direct bookings (and avoid paying commissions to sites like Expedia or Hotels.com), many hotels now guarantee that you’ll find the lowest possible rate on their website. If you see a lower price elsewhere, call the hotel and see if it will honor it. Many chains will not only match lower prices elsewhere on the web but also throw in extras such as a free night (Choice Hotels) or a gift card toward future travel (Best Western).
Another benefit of booking on the hotel website? Most chains only grant loyalty points to travelers who book directly
- Earn miles with every hotel booking
This contradicts our last hack a bit, but stay with us here. If you’d rather collect frequent flier miles than hotel points, a site called Rocketmiles is for you. Each hotel booking on the site generates thousands of miles for the loyalty program of your choice. So you may pay a few bucks more a night than you would if you booked directly, and you won’t get any hotel loyalty points, but if you travel frequently you’ll rack up miles that you can parlay into free flights down the road — which could save you even more in the end.
- Take Advantage of Falling Rates
If you’ve ever agonized over when to book your hotel (“Will the rate go down if I wait a few more days?”), there’s an app for that. Book with Service, and you’ll automatically get refunded any time the price drops between when you book and when you stay. Another option is Pruvo, which will alert you if it finds a cheaper option after you book; you can then cancel your original reservation and make a new one using the site’s own booking service.
- Booking late? Use a last-minute app
If booking ahead isn’t your thing, you can take advantage of deals on unsold rooms the day you arrive by using a last-minute app such as Hotel Tonight or Booking.com.
- Know Your Days of the week
Downtown hotels that draw lots of business travelers may be more affordable on the weekends once the suits have cleared out. Meanwhile, cozy B&Bs that specialize in romantic weekend getaways typically offer lower rates during the week. Time your booking accordingly to save.
- Resell your room
If your plans change unexpectedly and you’re left with a nonrefundable hotel booking that you can’t use, you can resell it to someone else using sites such as RoomerTravel.com. You won’t get the full price back (sites typically charge a fee, and your room won’t sell if you don’t offer a bit of a discount), but it’s better than losing everything you’ve already paid.
These sites save buyers money too—it’s not uncommon to snap up a room for half the price of the initial booking.