Wednesday 20 November 2019
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todayonline - 11 days ago

Hacks for travellers who want cheaper stays at premium hotels

Travelling abroad is enjoyable, and it’s even better when you can stay in a fancy hotel on the cheap. To help you get more for less, there are some hacks you can use. Staying in a high-end hotel can give you some of the luxury you would like to have — from superb service and views to amenities in the room and chocolates on your pillow at night. These can be expensive. By making a little extra effort, though, you can get more at a lower cost. The place to start is online travel sites such as Booking.com or Expedia.com. Regardless of which one you use, it is important to compare rates between different sites because offers can vary greatly. An easy way to compare offers is to use aggregator websites such as WeGo, Trivago or Hotelscombined. They will check numerous websites and show you the best rates. Once you find a hotel on a travel website, also check the hotel’s website to see if you can get an even better rate if you book directly. Some hotels even guarantee that their rates will be better than what you find elsewhere. For example, Hilton’s Price Match Guarantee offers to take another 25 per cent off the price if you find a cheaper rate somewhere other than Hilton’s website. Joining a hotel’s loyalty programme or signing up for a hotel’s newsletter, even temporarily, can sometimes get you coupons for lower rates or notifications about a sale. If you are willing to take a risk, sites such as Agoda.com offer special deals without telling you the name of the hotel until you make a non-refundable booking. While there is uncertainty, top-name hotels want to sell extra rooms while not publicising that a high-end brand is offering discounts, so you could end up with an inexpensive night at a St Regis or another high-priced hotel. You can also snag deals at top hotels through sites such as Secret Escapes, which negotiate deals with some of the best hotels. TIMING YOUR TRAVEL AND YOUR SEARCH Hotel rates change all the time, so it might seem hard to know when to book. Travel website Kayak has done the research, though, and says that hotel prices peak Monday through Wednesday. Prices tend to drop towards the weekend, so you can often save if you book on Fridays and Saturdays. If you are willing to make a reservation last-minute, Kayak also found that booking your hotel one to three days before your stay can save you US$15 to US$20 (about S$20 to S$27) a night when you are staying in the United States. Booking six days ahead when you are travelling elsewhere can save US$6 a night. Sunday nights are cheaper than Fridays, so if you want a three-day weekend getaway, you can save by staying Saturday through Monday rather than Friday through Sunday. Do check HotelTonight or Hotwire for last-minute reservations, since hotels looking to sell rooms at the last minute may offer special deals. And if you check in to a hotel towards the end of the day, you can sometimes get an upgrade if the hotel is full and runs out of rooms in the category you have selected. If you start planning earlier and want to watch prices, you may use TripBam and get an alert when prices drop. The site provides recommendations on cheaper hotel bookings and if you make a refundable reservation, it can even automatically cancel and rebook your stay. SAVING EVEN MORE There are a few hacks that can help you get more savings. If you find a great deal online, check for a coupon for the hotel chain or booking site. RetailMeNot, for example, offers coupons. You can also use the Roomer app to buy someone’s non-refundable reservation. It offers a way for people whose plans change to get some of their money back. Along with getting a great deal, Roomer can handle the booking changes and issue confirmations so that you have a reservation in your name when you check in. If you have time to do a little research online, check to see whether any new hotels are opening and have opening deals at special rates. Credit cards offer special deals as well. The Citi Prestige Card, for example, offers a fourth night free when you book a hotel for three days through the Citi concierge. If you have flexibility in your travel plans, there are ways to bring down the total cost of your trip. If you want a stopover, for example, you may use travel website Skyscanner to look at ways to spend an extra couple days on your way to your destination. To make it even easier, try AirWander, a flight search site that specialises in stopovers. Input the details of your departure city, where you are heading and how many days you want to stop along the way. AirWander will give you a list of destinations where you can stop as well as how much you will spend compared to a direct flight, and you can use the hotel hacks to find a great place to stay. While luxury accommodation might seem expensive, you can stay in a fabulous hotel for less than you might expect if you are willing to put in a little time to find a great deal.


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