I have a simple policy I live by when it comes to booking hotels — always book the flexible rate.
Hotels typically have an advance purchase rate that offers a discount on the flexible rate, but the “catch” is that it’s non-refundable. There are a couple of reasons I avoid them. The main reason is because I hate finalizing travel plans too far in advance, since it limits the flexibility to change dates, stay in other cities, etc. The other reason is because often times hotel rates drop as the check-in date approaches, and if you book a flexible rate you can continuously “reprice,” often bringing the rate substantially lower than what the advance purchase rate originally was.
In a few weeks I’ll be returning to my favorite place on earth, Berchtesgaden. It’s a 90 minute drive from Munich, and the most relaxing, beautiful place I’ve ever been. And I’ll be staying at the InterContinental Berchtesgaden, which is among my favorite hotels in the world. I visited last summer and it was simply the most relaxed I’ve ever been. Not only is the hotel stunning (and located up Germany’s steepest street no less), but it was the first time in recent memory I remember breathing truly fresh air. I’m so used to cities that I forgot what real fresh air felt like.
Anyway, I’m thrilled to return and spend a bit more time there this year, and I’m presently trying to decide between booking an advance purchase rate and flexible rate.
Usually I wouldn’t even consider it, but take a look at the rate difference:
Advance purchase rate:
So that’s a difference of 60.56 Euro (~$75) per night, or $375USD over five nights.
I’m reasonably certain my plans won’t change and that advance purchase rate seems really low for peak summer time in Germany, so for the first time in memory I’m thinking of booking the advance purchase rate.
Am I losing it? Should I not be so opposed to advance purchase rates? What percent discount do you need to book an advance purchase rate, or what metrics do you use when deciding? What would you do?