8 Guaranteed Ways to Get Amazing Discounts on Cheap Luxury Hotels
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After traveling to over 50 countries, it’s true that you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a luxury hotel for a budget price.
For the last 8 years, I’ve been travel blogging and working in travel tech. I’m going to be sharing my top tips to book a luxury hotel at a bargain price — and you won’t need to cut coupons for months in order to do it. Being smarter with your budget will help you travel further and farther for less and I’m so happy to help!
1. Start with Cashback and Coupon Websites
When looking for the best deals, I always start with my favorite cashback and coupon websites to see if there are any generous discounts being pushed. A few of my favorite websites include: TopCashback, Rakuten, Groupon, and of course Savings.com! These sites are affiliate marketing websites and receive a commission — at no extra cost to the consumer - in exchange for sales and traffic. Major travel companies like Expedia, Hilton, and Orbitz will often run seasonal sales with their affiliate marketing partners and that’s how I can regularly snap up a good deal. These promotional sales or cashback offers can range from 1% up to 12% so it’s well worth starting your search on these platforms first.
Here’s my favorite hack: use your cashback money to purchase a discounted gift card to your favorite travel website. This way, you can lower the cost of your hotel even more after applying the giftcard to an already discounted offer.
2. Always Ask for Price Matches
It’s always worth calling or emailing the hotel directly to see if they can give you a better price than what’s being advertised online. When you’re searching for hotels on OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), the price is likely the sum of two things: the cost of the hotel and the commission that the travel agency earns. That’s not to say you’re not receiving a good deal however; large agencies can often negotiate incredible prices that are unavailable anywhere else because of their marketing influence and brand recognition. Hotels are much better off paying agencies a small marketing commission than trying to market 100% on their own in such a competitive industry. Hotels are often open to giving you a better deal if you contact them directly because they won’t have to pay an additional commission to the travel agency and they get your direct business.
3. Book Your Accommodation 48 Hours Before Departure
If you enjoy flying by the seat of your pants, take advantage of last minute deals from online travel agencies that specialize in this style of travel. Lastminute.com and Hoteltonight.com exclusively cater to last minute bargain hunters and you can score a serious discount if you’re willing to wait it out. This is because hotels would rather have someone in the room versus an empty room all together.
4. Book a Package Deal
When you book your holiday transportation and accommodation into a single reservation, this is known as a ‘packaged holiday’ — and package deals can come with some serious benefits. Bundling your airfare with your hotel will not only save you money, but it could also provide you with financial protection or insurance automatically if the provider goes bankrupt or cancels your reservation.
For example, the United Kingdom has a program known as ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing), which gives financial protection to those who have purchased package holidays from a tour operator that’s a member of their program. The types of package holidays which have protection or insurance varies from country to country, so please do your research.
5. Look for Member-Only Deals
Whether you’re a long-time Costco card holder or you simply have a standard Expedia account (check out my writeup on Expedia Travel Hacks That You Need to Know for major savings), companies incentivize customers to join and stay active with exclusive deals that are not available to the public. These sales are known as ‘member-only deals’ and are often hidden behind a login wall, which requires interested parties to log in or sign up to a private portal in order to take advantage of the limited-time offers. This is an easy way to snag incredible deals on hotels because many member-only deals are partially subsidized by the advertising company to encourage customers to remain loyal to the brand.
6. Sign Up for Newsletters
I know it’s tempting to immediately archive promotional emails, but inside these emails are sale announcements and special offers. It’s definitely worth a skim if you’re thinking about booking a holiday in the next three months. More specifically, there are four times a year that companies typically give the most generous discounts in their marketing emails. These special times are: New Years, Black Friday, Christmas, and of course, your birthday.
During the major holidays, not only are the companies offering generous discounts, but many hotels are also reducing prices to be more competitive so it’s essentially a sale on top of a sale. The terms and conditions of these seasonal deals will be announced first via email so signing up for marketing alerts will ensure you’re the first to know about the best deals. Take advantage of this and treat yourself to something luxury for a budget price.
7. Hold Rates With Free Cancellation
If you’re unsure if you are getting the absolute best rate possible, be sure to book a room with a free cancellation policy. This way, if you’re able to find a better deal, you can always cancel your original booking and book the hotel with the better deal. However, don’t make it a habit to book, cancel, and rebook multiple times at the same residence because you could potentially get blocked from reserving that hotel in the future. Even if you’re making a reservation through a third party, hotels have a right to cancel and refund your money if they feel uncomfortable with your constant itinerary changes.
8. Be Patient
Snagging the best hotel deal possible won’t happen overnight. It’ll be tempting to immediately book the first good deal you see online, but remember that slow and steady wins the race. I personally recommend that you take at least two to three weeks to create a short list of amazing properties and then wait until a major holiday comes around to make your reservation.
Another option would be to wait for the first week of a new month to take advantage of new coupons and cashback offers. Either way, you’ll need time to compare and contrast, so don’t rush the process. You have all the time in the world to secure an incredible property for you and your loved ones.
One more thing — if you’re looking to pair hotel savings with great flight deals, check out my article on How to Save Money on Flights. Happy travel deals hunting!