Book a hotel
When booking a room at a luxury hotel, you will have to choose whether you want the cheapest price for that room, or whether you want to enjoy extra perks and/or flexibility. I hereby present you my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel and save (lots of) money:
- 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 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.
- The Kiwi Collection is a great website featuring the best luxury hotels in the world.
- Read Tripadvisor reviews.
- Read Flyertalk posts (google the name of the hotel + flyertalk).
- Watch Youtube clips of hotels (you can find some examples on my Youtube Channel).
TIPS FOR WHEN TO BOOK:
- Do not book too late as the top luxury hotels will often sell out months in advance. Do not count on a last-minute deal (which are not offered by most top 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 lowest 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, Otel.com, Hotelopia.com, Onhotels.com, Expedia, Ebookers, etc…) and show where you can book the cheapest rate. Try it out for yourself:
- The member-only websites Jetsetter, Secret Escapes and the Vacationist (which do not feature on aggregator websites) negotiate temporary, special rates with some of the world’s finest hotels, which can represent a discount of up to 60% (room only or room with breakfast). 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.
- Always compare the price that you found 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 an save you lots of money).
- If you find elsewhere a lower price than the one offered on the hotel website, make us of a Best Rate Guarantee. Not only will the lower room rate be matched, you will often receive an additional discount as well (of up to 25%)!
- Make use of discount coupons that you can find anywhere on the internet (google the website of hotel name + coupon). For example, Hotels.com is one of my prefered hotel booking websites that regularly sends out 10% discount coupons by email (albeit not for the big hotel chains though).
- Except when staying at one of the big hotel chains (Starwood, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Hilton), I always try to book my hotel stays through the website Hotels.com 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 have always have discount coupons on offer.
- Sign-up for the newsletters of your preferred hotel (chains) or booking website. They often email coupons or advanced notifications when they’re having a sale.
- Stay for free by using hotels points and credits that you collected in a hotel loyalty program (albeit very few of the top luxury hotel chains offer that option though).
- Stay for free or at a highly discounted rate by keeping an eye out for erroneous rates on this Flyertalk post.
TIPS FOR BOOKING A ROOM WITH (FREE) EXTRA PERKS
- Some of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands (e.g. Aman resorts) will only display the best rates on their official hotel website (so do 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 top luxury hotel, it is sometimes advised not to book it directly on the hotel website, but rather through a Virtuoso travel advisor. Not only will they create unique journeys and explorations in every corner of the globe, but more importantly, you will also get free access to special amenities and receive complimentary perks (e.g. upgrades, dinners, etc …) which is not the case when you book the same rate via the hotel direcly. All hotels were you can enjoy the Virtuoso extra perks are listed on their website. If you are an Aman junkie, like me, then Virtuoso is the only way to book your stay. Read here why I love Virtuoso so much.
- Holders of an American Express premium or Visa Signature credit card can also 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 3 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 travel agent, or via your credit card travel office.
- Complimentary stay: subscribe to of a (hotel) loyalty program.