Today (March 18th, 2016): travel tip: how to get the best deal at a luxury hotel and save money?
Today is the second anniversary of my travel blog, and to celebrate the occasion, I repost one of my most popular articles, covering tricks and tips to get the best deal at a luxury hotel, helping you saving (tons of) money. Who doesn’t love a good bargain at a luxury hotel? And who doesn’t hate paying full prices? Getting a good hotel deal always feels great, and there are always some things you can do to get significant discounts.
In this blogpost:
- Inspiration for finding the right hotel
- Tips for when to book
- Tips for booking a room at the cheapest rate
- Tips for booking a room with (complimentary) extra perks
- Tips for staying for free at luxury hotels
- Key points
Think I forgot a tip? Share your own travel tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel in the comments section below.
INSPIRATION FOR FINDING THE RIGHT HOTEL
- Be inspired by my luxury travel website & blog. Every week, I post top 10 travel lists and reviews of luxury hotels. You can subscribe to my newsletter (3x/week) and/or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Be inspired by Kiwi Collection, a great website featuring the best luxury hotels around the world.
- Read Tripadvisor reviews.
- Read Flyertalk posts (google the name of the hotel + flyertalk).
- Watch Youtube clips of luxury hotels (you can find some examples on my Youtube Channel).
TIPS FOR WHEN TO BOOK
- Do not book too late as the best luxury hotels will often sell out months in advance. Do not count on a last-minute deal (which are not offered by most high-end hotels anyway).
- When you want to save some bucks, travel in the shoulder season (e.g. summer months for the Caribbean, autumn months for the Maldives), but try to avoid the worst months weather-wise as you may find yourself very disappointed despite the fact that you saved a lot of money!
TIPS FOR BOOKING A ROOM AT THE LOWEST PRICE
- Most of the time, the cheapest room rate can be found on the aggregator websites Hotelscombined and Trivago. These aggregators verify hotel prices at hundreds of other sites (e.g. Booking.com, Hotels.com, Hotelopia.com, Onhotels.com, Otel.com, Expedia, etc…) and show where you can book the cheapest rate. Try it out for yourself here:
- The member-only websites Jetsetter, Secret Escapes and the Vacationist (which do not feature on aggregator websites) negotiate temporary, heavily discounted rates with some of the world’s finest hotels. Membership is free and without hassle (just submit your name and email address). Sign up for the Jetsetter, Secret Escapes and Vacationist newsletters, so that you stay updated about their temporary offers. Read here why I love Jetsetter so much, and here why I am a fan of Secret Escapes.
- You should always compare the price that you find on aggregator or member-only websites with the one featured on the official hotel website to make sure that it is the best price indeed. Do not forget to click the “special offers” section that is present on most hotel websites (and which can save you lots of money).
- If you find a better, publicly available rate on another website than the official hotel website, you can submit an online Best Rate Guarantee claim. If your claim is approved, not only will the lower price be matched, but you will also receive an additional 10 to 25% discount (depending upon the Best Rate Guarantee program of the hotel chain). Finding a better rate than the one on the official website is not difficult at all, as you can read here.
- Except when staying at one of the big hotel chains (Starwood, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Hilton), I advise you to book your hotel stays via the website Hotels.com , which is one of my prefered hotel booking websites and you can read here why. In a nutshell: Hotels.com is not only very generous in matching the best price that you may have found on another websites, but you also collect credits towards free hotel stays, and they always have discount coupons on offer. However, you will not collect points for a hotel loyalty program when you book your stay via Hotels.com, explaining why you should always book a stay at one of the big hotel chains (Starwood, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Hilton) on their official websites.
- Search for discount coupons which are widely available on the internet (google the hotel booking website or hotel name + coupon). For example, Hotels.com regularly sends out 10% discount coupons by email (although these coupons are not valid for the big hotel chains).
- Sign-up for the newsletters of your preferred hotel (chains) or hotel booking website. They often email coupons or advanced notifications when they’re having a sale.
- Stay for free at a luxury hotel by using hotels points and credits that you collected in a hotel loyalty program (although only very few of the high-end luxury hotel chains offer that option).
- Stay for free or at a highly discounted rate at a luxury hotel by keeping an eye out for erroneous rates in this Flyertalk post.
TIPS FOR BOOKING A HOTEL ROOM WITH (COMPLIMENTARY) EXTRA PERKS
- Some of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands will only publish the best rates on their official hotel website. For example, if you consider a stay at an Aman resort – widely recognized as the world’s top hotel chain – you should not waste your time trying to find a lower price on an aggregator or member-only website as you won’t find one.
- Check the hotel website directly for packages that include extra perks like spa credits, breakfast, or complimentary nights.
- Absurdly, when booking a room at a luxury hotel, it is sometimes advised not to book it directly on the official hotel website, but rather through a Virtuoso travel advisor, which will cost the same but comes with complimentary VIP perks (e.g. upgrades, dinners, early check-in, late check-out, spa credits). If you are an Aman junkie, like me, then Virtuoso is the only way to book your stay, but the same is true for Four Seasons, Rosewood and Six Senses hotels to name a few. You cou can read here why I love Virtuoso so much. Most of the times, Virtuoso hotel bookings are not made online, but through a Virtuoso travel agent. There are exceptions though, such as the website of Classic Travel which offers a great online booking tool and is one of my prefered hotel booking sites.
- Holders of an American Express Premium or Visa Signature credit card benefit from extra perks when they make the booking via their credit card travel office and/or pay with their credit card. Contact your local credit card company to find out whether they offer this travel service.
- Elite members of hotel loyalty programs will receive several benefits during their stay, ranging from late check-out and complimentary WiFi to suite upgrades and breakfast. Click here for more info.
- Elite members of Cathay Pacific‘s frequent flyer program (Marco Polo Club) are entitled to special benefits (e.g. early check in, late check out, room upgrade, complimentary breakfast) with partners such as Hilton, Hyatt, Fairmont, Marriott, Langham, Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, Swissotel, Peninsula, Swire and Ritz-Carlton. While some of these deals only apply to hotels or rentals in the Asia-Pacific region, others do not; the Mandarin Oriental benefit is applicable worldwide, for example.
TIPS FOR STAYING FOR FREE AT A LUXURY HOTEL
You can always try your luck and score a complimentary stay at a luxury hotel by reading my tips for getting free hotel nights.
- Inspiration: this website + the Kiwi Collection.
- When money is an issue: book outside the high season.
- Cheapest room rate: mostly found on Hotelscombined, Trivago, and/or the official hotel website. Always check all three of them.
- Best Rate Guarantee: match a lower rate and receive an additional discount.
- Free extra perks: book a package on the hotel website, through a Virtuoso, or via your credit card travel office.
- Complimentary stay: subscribe to of a (hotel) loyalty program.