This week our members share a clever strategy to save money on hotel bookings.
It’s often difficult to know when the cheapest time to book a hotel will be. But, unlike plane tickets, most hotel bookings allow for free changes. In fact, many hotel bookings allow you to cancel free of charge until the day before check-in.
With this in mind, the strategy to save money on hotel bookings is simple: Book a flexible rate at the earliest opportunity, then keep an eye on prices. If you find a cheaper price available between the time of booking and check-in, you can cancel the booking for free and re-book at the lower rate. Hotels often release cheaper rooms at the last-minute if booking numbers are below expectations, so this can be a worthwhile strategy.
Of course, it’s possible that a cheaper rate won’t become available in the future. But that just means you’ve booked at the best price. So it’s a win-win, either way.
It seems many AFF members employ this strategy to save money on hotel bookings…
I’ve done this many times, saved $300+ once on a Hilton.
Always book flexible rates and check regularly. The Hilton App on my iPhone makes this really easy. No need to cancel and rebook, just change to the newer rate. Have saved thousands in a couple years.
Several members note that it’s important to book a new room before cancelling the old booking. This minimises any risks.
I do it too. And sometimes move to a non-cancellable rate a few days out from the stay date. Just make sure you do it the other way around! Re-book first and then cancel.
This strategy can also work if you’re booking in a foreign currency and there is a favourable movement in exchange rates.
I have also done this a few times – where Fx movements bring prices down.
It probably comes as no surprise that many hotel chains are resistant to this strategy. Several years ago, there was a service that actively monitored subscribers’ hotel reservations and alerted them if a cheaper rate became available. This business became unviable and was eventually forced to close because hotels did not cooperate. But if you don’t mind putting in a little effort and monitoring prices yourself, it can save you hundreds of dollars on hotel bookings!
If you’re planning to use this method, ensure you’re booking a flexible room rate that allows free cancellation. Also check how far in advance you’ll need to cancel to avoid paying any fees.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Re-Booking Previously Booked Hotels