There are many ways to save money on hotels and make the most of the money you want to spend on your trips. You could scour the web for coupons, discount codes and deals—scanning and comparing to your heart's content. There's also a variety of credit cards and loyalty programs to choose from. Let's break down the strategies that you can use to save money on hotels.
Use your credit card to book your stay
The credit card in your wallet might be your best ally to a budget-friendly hotel stay. Consider these two types of credit cards:
- Co-branded hotel credit cards: These are associated with specific hotel companies like Marriott or Hyatt, so they can offer you exclusive deals on stays at those particular chains. One account holder benefit might be a free night stay after the anniversary of opening your account. Hotel credit cards might also offer you entry into the co-branded hotel's loyalty program, which lets you access discounts and benefits for your hotel stays as you earn higher status in the program.
- General travel credit card: These provide flexible rewards that you can use for travel purchases at hotels. Not only can you use your rewards, but general travel cards may also reward you with bonus points for booking your stay through the credit card rewards portal. Finally, your card's benefits might include travel credits, reimbursements and opportunities to redeem your rewards with partner hotel brands.
Transfer your credit card reward points
Many credit card rewards programs allow you to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners. Chase, for instance, has a partner network that includes multiple airlines and hotel chains. You can transfer points you've earned at a 1:1 rate. This may be more valuable than redeeming your points for cash back and putting it toward your hotel stay. If affordable flights, nights at luxury hotels or all-inclusive vacation packages are what you're looking for, Chase Ultimate Rewards® may be the program for you.
Sign up for a loyalty program
Many hotels offer loyalty programs that you can join, even if you don't have a credit card that is co-branded with that hotel chain. After completing a certain number of stays or accumulating points through purchases, you could earn free nights and perks for your stays. If you already have a co-branded hotel credit card, you may be able to use it along with the hotel loyalty program to increase the rewards you earn as you book or pay for the hotel.
Compare deals then book direct
We've talked a lot about leveraging credit cards, but you have other options. Start by searching third-party websites and comparing their hotel rates and deals. Include promotion codes that are valid for the dates you want to book your stay. Booking with hotels directly might also make you eligible for hotel perks like early check-in and complimentary breakfast, even without being a member of the hotel's loyalty program.
Book early or during the destination's off season
You might be able to pay a lower price when you book your hotel room far in advance. When you attempt to book a stay without much notice, especially during busy seasons, prices are often higher. Prices increase closer to the dates of your vacation because that's when the demand for rooms usually grows.
Another way you may save on hotels is to book during the off season, when the demand is lower. For example, a place that's known for great skiing and snowboarding isn't very busy during the summer months. Try booking then to save on hotels, as companies tend to drop their rates in times of lower demand.
Credit cards provide many ways to save money on hotel rooms and travel. Hotel loyalty programs and redeeming credit card rewards are particularly good, especially if you're thinking of earning over time to maximize your long-term savings. You might already have a credit card with features that give you options for how to save money on hotels. Whatever your preference, we hope you'll use some of these strategies to take your next trip your way.