How to Ensure You Can Use Your Hotel Status on Your Next Booking

Jul 8, 2019

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There are numerous ways you can book a hotel these days. You might book with the hotel directly or use an online booking site, or perhaps a comparison site like Trivago.

Obviously you want to get the best price for the same product, regardless of how you book it, and you may find the exact same price shown for each booking method — or the prices may be different.

If you hold hotel status at the hotel with which you are booking, such as the numerous statuses provided by The Platinum Card from American Express UK, you will want to ensure you can use all the benefits of that status. But it is critical you know the correct way to book the hotel if you want to use that status.

Most hotel programmes have a policy that states that you can only use your status benefits if you book directly with the hotel or through its loyalty programme. For example, at a Hyatt property, these must be booked at Hyatt.com. The reason hotels programmes do this is because they have to pay commissions to online booking platforms like Booking.com, so it’s much cheaper for the hotel if you book with them directly, as commissions would not be payable.

Most hotels also offer a Best Rate Guarantee, meaning the price advertised on the hotel’s website is the best available price anywhere — or at least equal to the best price available anywhere. Hotels do this so you can be sure you are getting the best price available by booking with it directly. Its guarantee may offer some sort of compensation if, for some reason, its price is higher than the same room booked elsewhere, and this compensation can be as low as agreeing to match the lower price right through to giving you one night for free. But be aware that there are endless terms and conditions of these guarantees, which make it very difficult to successfully submit a successful claim. Hotels want to be able to advertise this price promise to customers but want to actually award as little compensation as possible.

Hotel pricing technology has improved greatly, so hotels have become much better at ensuring their own websites are displaying the lowest or equal lowest available price online, so it is less likely you need to double check prices elsewhere. If you are making a large booking and parting with some serious money, it always pays to check yourself.

Hilton Tel Aviv. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy)

You may miss out on some cash-back by booking directly with the hotel, but if you have status, the benefits like room upgrades, free breakfast, early check-in and late checkout may be worth far more than the incentive you are offered to book elsewhere. You will also usually not earn points in the hotel’s loyalty programme for the stay if you book it elsewhere.

Note that if your hotel status is provided complimentary as part of your credit card, you are not required to use that card to pay for the booking. You just have to ensure you have enrolled in the status benefit before making the booking and then ensure your hotel loyalty number is added to the booking. This will register it with the hotel as if you had earned the status by staying the number of required nights, rather than through the credit card.

If you have no status in a hotel programme and are not that concerned about earning the hotel points, the incentive offered by online booking platforms like Hotels.com and Booking.com may be more lucrative.

Featured photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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