Looking for ways to save on your next long weekend or vacation? Check out these easy ways to maximize your hotel savings!
Lodging is often one of the biggest travel expenses. Fortunately, there are ways to maximize your hotel savings, and they take minimal effort on your part! Here, we describe six tricks to help spend less on your lodging and keep more money in your pocket where it belongs.
1. Choose a cheap location and/or date
You are probably aware that the same hotel in one city will not cost you the same price as a similar room in a more expensive city. For example, a room at the Extended Stay will cost you $100 a night in San Diego. A similar room at the Extended Stay in Louisville, KY costs $71 a night. That is a trip savings of almost $30 a night (or $210 a week!) by choosing a cheaper location to visit.
Similarly, week nights and off-season rooms will cost you quite a bit less than weekend and prime season rooms. A perfect example of this is rooms on the Disney World resort in Florida. A room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort will cost $146 a night if you visit mid-week towards the end of January. The same rooms costs $213 a night over the Fourth of July weekend. That is a hotel savings of $469 over the course of a week! You can see how your trip becomes much more affordable by having flexible dates and touring during a certain location’s off-season.
Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is a website and app that partners with other companies to offer you a certain percentage back on your purchases when you access the merchant through the Rakuten website or app. Use this link to sign up and get an extra $30 back!
Once you sign up with Rakuten, you can do a search for a travel site, such as Orbitz or Expedia. Right now, Rakuten is offering 5% back on Orbitz purchases. That is $100 back on a $2,000 trip–not too bad for a minimal amount of work! There are plenty of other travel booking options on the site as well, such as Expedia, Priceline, Vbro, and Booking.com. Whichever booking site you prefer, be sure to go through Rakuten.com first in order to maximize your hotel savings.
Ibotta is another cash back website and app that is very similar to Rakuten. Use this link to get signed up. After signing up, open the app and select the “travel” category. From there, you can select your preferred booking site from options such as Orbitz, Expedia, and Hotwire. Orbitz currently has 5% back on all travel purchases. I will usually compare the current cash back offers on both Rakuten and Ibotta before choosing which one to book through. Ibotta has saved us up to 8% on trips in the past, simply by going to their site before connecting to a travel search engine. Once you reach $20 in cash back, you can transfer the money right back to your bank account. Ibotta also offers cash back when you book directly with the hotel through the Ibotta portal, but the savings is not usually as good as when a travel search engine is used.
4. Travel Search Engines
As brushed on earlier, travel search engines such as Hotels.com, Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, etc., are a great way to maximize your hotel savings. Hotels.com saved me a nice chunk of change on a past Disney trip by offering an additional 20% off code, which included my onsite Disney resort hotel! It is a great way to save additional money on rooms such as these that rarely go on sale.
I also frequently use Expedia, which offers special “member savings” on certain hotels, which provides a little discount. The best part of using these booking sites is that you earn points for each trip you book through them. These points add up and convert to cash that you can use on a future booking. When combine the member savings and earned points with the cash back from Rakuten or Ibotta, you can save a decent amount on your hotel stay. The only downside to booking sites is that it can make it more difficult to receive refunds or reschedule your room, so be certain about your vacation plans before booking.
5. Hotel Rewards
Program rewards are another great way to increase your hotel savings. For example, Redi Rewards is the rewards program for the Red Roof Inn. It is free to sign up, and it allows you to save up to 25% on your room. Extended Stay America has a similar program called Extended Perks. This program is also free and allows you to save 20% off a one to six night stay. Another free rewards program to check into is the IHG Rewards Club, which includes the Holiday Inn franchise. Their program offers up to 20% off as well. Be sure to compare the price of your room using rewards programs to the cost of using Rakuten/Ibotta and Expedia/Orbitz to receive the best deal.
6. Hotel Credit Card Offers
If you are into credit card churning, you may have taken advantage of some of the great hotel credit card intro offers. If you haven’t heard of credit card churning, check out this article to get started!
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card is one worth checking out, especially if you are planning on visiting Disney World in the next year or two. The reason for this is that the Walt Disney World Swan hotel is part of the Marriott franchise, meaning you can use your rewards and free nights to save on your Disney trip! With this card, you earn five free nights when you spend $5,000 in the first three months of having your card. Your significant other can open one as well during the following three months, and you can then combine points for up to a 10 day trip! There is a $95 annual fee, however, you receive a free night of stay each year on the anniversary of opening your card. Please note that the free nights expire one year after they are earned.
The World of Hyatt credit card is one you may want to consider as well. With this card, you receive 25,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three month of opening the card. You also receive an additional 25,000 bonus points when you spend $6,000 total in the first six months of opening the card. This equals about four nights at very high-end Hyatt locations, or more nights in less-expensive destinations.
Looking for other ways to save on your vacation? Check out these articles on the most affordable U.S. vacation destinations and road trip meals!
What are some of your tricks for saving on your hotel? Please share the wealth below!