When you travel a lot, staying in hotels becomes a big part of your expenses. In the course of our travels, though, we’ve come across many ways to save money on hotels and I’m now going to share with you our killer combination to save up to 20% on every single stay!
I’ve run the numbers and apart from some deals that float around on sites like Agoda.com (mostly for Asian destinations) this particular method of saving on Hotels cannot be beaten! I’ve tried everything from coupons to hotel comparison engines and over the years, this method has come out to be my top go-to process for hotels savings.
To put it simply, when you book a hotel using this method, you will get a certain percentage of your cash back after a while, and you will be able to get the rest back as rewards.
So here’s how this works: we use a combination of Hotels.com, a cashback website, and two rewards programs. If you feel that Hotels.com are more expensive than other booking engines, my experience has been that they normally include all the relevant taxes, etc. in their prices and this is why their prices may seem higher at first. But if you look at prices on other websites (like Booking.com) carefully, the prices are usually the same across the board.
Given that this can be consistently done over a long period of time, it’s a no brainer for a long term traveler or even a frequent traveler of any type!
It’s free! They will give you one night free for every ten nights you stay through them. This immediately converts into a 10% reward since your reward night is an average of the 10 nights that you spend in a hotel through them.
It’s also free! PouringPounds, a UK based cash back website, will give you up to 7.5% in cash back for every booking you make through them on Hotels.com. The regular cash back rate is 6% but they often run specials every other month where they offer up to 7.5% cash back.
3. Use a rewards credit card
When you pay for your hotel bookings. Our cards give us about 2.5% on every purchase as a reward, but other cards can give you up to 3%!
In total, using the combination of the above three methods, we’re able to save up to 20% on every hotel booking we make. None of the programs above require any minimum stays or qualifying dates. You can also pay in any currency you like on Hotels.com and it will not matter! Your hotel would need to be a part of the Hotels.com Welcome Rewards program, but most hotels are a part of that program these days.
Let me explain how all of this comes together with an example. We’re going to Austin. So, I load up PouringPounds.com and go to their homepage. I log in, click on Travel, Hotels, and then on Hotels.com. That’s it. I’ve now clicked THROUGH to Hotels.com.
At this point, I do a regular search for a hotel in Austin on my dates. I get a number of results and filter them to my preferences. When I’ve finally narrowed it down to a hotel I want to book, I click on Book to complete my booking. Before I book, I make sure I log into my Hotels.com account so that I’m sure to rack up some Welcome Rewards for this stay.
Finally, I use my rewards credit card to pay for the hotel booking.
So here’s what happens next. When I pay with my credit card, I will immediately get 2.5% back as part of my credit cards rewards program. This will usually show up on my next statement.
Once I check out of the hotel, I will rack up Hotels.com Welcome Rewards for every night that I stayed. This amounts to a 10% value. So after 10 nights of $100 each, I’ll get one night of $100 for free, $100 back on a $1000 spend amounts to 10%.
After a few days, pouring pounds will send me an email saying that my cashback has tracked. This will then start reflecting in my Pouring Pounds account balance as Pending. It will take a few more weeks for Hotels.com to confirm the cash back with them but eventually, I’ll see the 7.5% balance as confirmed and ready to withdraw from my Pouring Pounds account. Whenever I want, I can request them to send a Paypal payment and I’ll get my money in 2-3 days.
And that’s all there is to it! When you break it down, this is a really simple way to save big! We’ve been consistently saving up to 20% on hotels by using the above method. There are no minimum spend requirements, blackout dates, or other limitations to this method. It’s been a pretty great way for us to keep traveling over the years without going over budget.