How I Saved $200 on a Hotel Stay — Reader Success Story

Dec 14, 2018

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader John, who made a new hotel reservation when the nightly rate went down:

I booked a stay at the newly opened Hotel Julian in Chicago one month in advance. The hotel’s website quoted a rate of $189 per night, while the Citi Prestige concierge could only offer $212 per night for the same room type. Even though the rate was higher, l would save $121 using the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit (not including taxes), and I’d get free cancellation up to 72 hours before check-in.

My plans later changed, and I needed to shorten the booking from four nights to three. Had I modified the original booking through Citi, I would have just lost the free night and paid the same amount ($782) minus $36 for the taxes on the fourth night. I then remembered reading an article on TPG about rebooking hotel awards at lower redemption rates. That gave me the idea to check the price on the hotel’s website again, which showed the average rate for those three nights had dropped to $125.

I rebooked the same room type at the new rate, and booking through the hotel’s website got me a rebate of $15 in gift cards (which I split between Starbucks, Amazon and Uber). Once the new booking was confirmed, I canceled the original through Citi two days before the cancellation window closed. The final total for my room was $446, saving me over $300 compared to the original booking with Citi, or over $200 compared to the original rate quoted by the hotel’s website. From now on, I will make a point to check if prices dropped before the cancellation deadline.

I’ve previously shared success stories from readers who saved on flights by rebooking an award and taking advantage of a 24-hour cancellation policy. It’s a simple but effective strategy, and since hotels tend to have more flexible booking policies than airlines, it tends to be even easier to use on hotel stays. When the cost of your stay goes down, you only have to make a new reservation at the lower price. So long as there’s no cancellation penalty, the difference should go right back in your pocket.

Whether you’re booking an award or a paid stay, I recommend following John’s example and confirming the new (less expensive) reservation before canceling the original. Prices are always subject to change, and the last thing you want is to lose a room at a price you’re content with in case the lower rate turns out to be a mistake or inventory suddenly dries up. Some properties won’t let you make duplicate bookings; in that case, try calling customer service to see if they’ll honor your original reservation at the advertised lower price.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending John a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes, or to contribute to our new award redemption series. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured image courtesy of Hotel Julian Chicago.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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