Today (August 15th, 2014): Travel Tip: 8 reasons why I love Hotels.com to book luxury hotels & save money.
Disclosure of interests: this post is not commissioned and solely based on my own experience.
Hotels.com is one of my favorite hotel engine booking websites, as you can read in my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel (besides booking through Jetsetter or booking directly on the hotel website using a Best Rate Guarantee). You can save lots of money when you book a luxury hotel through Hotels.com and here are 8 reasons why:
- Hotels.com allows payment in your own currency (the choice of currency can be adjusted at the top of the website). As such, you avoid paying the sometimes heavy foreign currency taxes (up to 3%) that come with most credit cards (a hidden cost that many are not aware of).
- Hotels.com has almost permanently discount coupons available (subscribe to their newsletter or simply search for them on google). Discounts on hotel bookings vary from 10% (most of the time) to a rare 15%. Unfortunately, almost all of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands are excluded from the list of hotels for which you can use a discount coupon. However, surprisingly, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts is the only ultra-luxurious hotel brand that is most of the time eligible for discount coupons on Hotels.com (almost guaranteeing you a 10% discount on every Four Seasons booking).
- They have a simple but excellent loyalty program, called “Welcome Rewards”. When you book and stay 10 nights at eligible hotels, you’ll get 1 night free to redeem at another. Hotels.com works out the average value of all the 10 nights you’ve collected and gives it back to you as a free night. Unfortunately, hotels stays that are booked using a discount coupon do not count towards the Welcome Rewards program.
- At first, you may think it does not matter to participate to the Welcome Rewards program: one night free for every 10 hotel stays is identical as applying a 10% discount for every hotel booking (since coupons are widely available anyway). But, contrary to the ordinary 10% discount coupons, the coupon(s) you receive through the Welcome Rewards program (after accomplishing 10 eligible nights) can be used for big discounts at almost all hotel chains, including the world’s most exclusive hotel brands. This is especially a lucrative business when you use Hotels.com for both company & leisure travel: you collect Welcome Rewards coupons through business stays, while you spend them on personal travel.
- Hotels.com also has an excellent Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) program: If you find a cheaper price, Hotels.com will match that rate (and refund you the difference). And finding that cheaper price is not difficult nor time-consuming at all: just use the aggregator websites Hotelscombined and Trivago, which both verify hotel prices at hundreds of other sites (e.g. Expedia, Bookers, Otel.com, Hotels.com, Hotelopia.com, Booking.com, etc…) and show where you can book the cheapest rate.
- The Hotels.com BRG is available only for exact itinerary matches, including property, room type, and dates of travel (as is the case with all other BRG programs). The BRG also includes an identical cancellation policy (which can make it harder for your BRG claim to be approved).
- A major and unique advantage of the Hotels.com BRG program is that you can submit a BRG claim from the moment of reservation until 23:59 (PST) the day before your stay (this large time span is unique in the world of BRG programs).
- Another advantage is that hotel bookings that were matched for a better price remain valid for the Welcome Rewards program (when no discount coupon was used).
- Tip: Use the UK or USA site to submit a BRG claim since their response rate is remarkably faster as compared to Hotels.com websites of other countries.
- From time to time, double Welcome Reward coupons are available and you will earn double Welcome Rewards for stays booked with this type of coupon (e.g. a 2 night stay will result in a 4 Welcome Rewards credits). This is one of the best deals in the hotel industry as it means that you will receive a free night after completing just 5 nights (valid for almost all hotels, including luxury hotel chains).
After completing a stay, you will be invited by Hotels.com to leave a rating. As a gesture, you will sometimes be rewarded with a 10% off or double Welcome Rewards coupon for your next booking. Contrary to the widely available discount coupons mentioned above, a 10% off discount coupon earned through a hotel review is available for almost all hotels, including luxury hotel chains. It takes less than a minute to leave a review and you can even do it from your mobile device.
- Hotels.com gives freedom in your hotel choices. Member of hotel loyalty programs (such as Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, …) tend to stay at hotels of those brands in order to receive the extra perk associated with their elite status, but that way they often pay more and miss the opportunity to stay at the very best hotel in the area. And while elite status perks are great, they can often be achieved using other tricks.
- When not booking your luxury hotel stay through Jetsetter or the website of your preferred hotel group (using a Best Rate Guarantee), make your booking on Hotels.com.
- Participate to the Welcome Rewards program (when you make not use of the widely available 10% discount coupons) and start collecting free hotel night.
- When applicable, submit a Best Rate Guarantee (after verifying prices on Hotelscombined and Trivago).
Reviews of hotels that I booked through Hotels.com with (huge) discounts:
- Hotel review: Jade Mountain (St Lucia)
- Hotel review: Gili Lankanfushi (Maldives)
- Hotel review: The Resort at Pedregal (Cabo, Mexico)
- Hotel review: The Langham Chicago (USA)
- Hotel review: Raffles Le Royal (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
- Review: Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali’s most spectacular hotel