I never like spending more than I have to. I love getting deals and saving money! It is like a game to me.
Avoid Multiple Hotels
With that being said, there are times when I will not go for the “deal”. During our honeymoon to New England, my wife and I stayed at several hotels that I booked through Priceline and Hotwire. Almost every night we were staying at a different hotel. After all, this was the cheapest way to book. One hotel would be $100 for night #1 then $175 for night #2. Then the next hotel would be $130 for the night #1 and $99 for night #2. So I would book night #1 for $100 and night #2 for $99. I highly regret this method because throughout our short time in NYC we never felt settled. We were always having to pack up and leave. Now I try and book one hotel for our time in a specific place/area, even if it costs a little bit more.
Priceline and Hotwire
Like I said, I booked all of these hotels on Priceline or Hotwire. Priceline allows you to bid for hotels or use what they call “express deals”. These express deals are setup similar to Hotwire in that they tell you the area, amenities, and quality of the hotel, but don’t give you the name of the hotel. It becomes a sort of guessing game. There are several sites such as: www.betterbidding.com that allow you to look and see what actual hotels match the area, amenities, and quality of the mystery hotels on Priceline/Hotwire. For all the hotels, we booked I had figured out beforehand the couple of mystery hotels we might get. Booking the hotels through Priceline and Hotwire probably saved us about $25/night. However, looking back it was not worth the headache.
When you book with Priceline/Hotwire or any other discount hotel site, you’re not going to get any of the hotel loyalty benefits. Some of these benefits are small, but some of them are really nice. For instance, things like free WiFi and complimentary items. You also won’t earn any points for your stay.
Furthermore, Priceline/Hotwire hotel stays are rather inflexible. You won’t be able to cancel. You won’t be able to change anything. You won’t be able to request certain room features. For instance, when we first arrived at one of the hotels we were staying at they put us in a smoking room, which was not okay with my wife’s asthma. We had to go down and request a non-smoking room, which ended up having two queen beds instead of one king. In the end it was better than being in a smoking room, but was still a pain to deal with.
Booking Directly w/ a Hotel
Compare all this to when you pay a hotel directly or book with points. When I book with points or cash, there are tons of perks:
- Free cancellations
- Upgraded rooms
- Responsive to special requests
- Earn miles/points
The convenience of booking with a hotel directly is worth the extra $20/night. Plus now I have points, which give me more flexibility and options.