Use This Trick To Save Money On Hotel Stays

One thing that most frustrates consumers about airlines is how complicated and irrational their pricing is. While hotel pricing isn’t quite as confusing, it does leave me scratching my head as well sometimes.

I’ve written in the past about how I almost always book refundable hotel rates so that I can potentially “reprice” my stays closer to the arrival date. It’s pretty common for hotels to drop prices closer to the arrival date if they have a lot of empty rooms, and at times that can lead to huge savings.

But here’s something that’s a bit trickier and more inconsistent than that — when booking hotels, check the cost of individual nights for your hotel, and not just for the duration of your stay.

Take an upcoming stay at the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle, for example.

Hyatt-Olive-8-Seattle-12
Hyatt Olive 8 Seattle Luxury King Suite living room

Looking at Hyatt’s website, the nightly “Hyatt Daily Rate” for a three night stay is $179 per night.

Hyatt-Rate-1

However, let’s take a look at the cost of individual nights. That first night also costs $179:

Hyatt-Rate-2

However, the second and third nights are available for just $149 per night:

Hyatt-Rate-3

Now, this isn’t the norm. Typically if rates differ by night then the overall price shown will be the average nightly rate. In this case that should be $159 per night (which is the average of one night at $179 and two nights at $149). But in this case it just shows the highest rate of any of the nights.

And even the booking page charges you based on that, so this isn’t just an IT glitch:

Hyatt-Rate

Bottom line

Always remember to check the individual nightly rates when booking a hotel, as it can save you a lot of cash. While hotels are supposed to charge you based on the average nightly rate, that doesn’t always happen in practice. And that becomes even trickier when room type availability differs by night, whereby the rate difference might be even higher.

Have you experienced something similar, whereby hotels charge the rate for the most expensive night, as opposed to the average nightly rate?

Comments

  1. I’ve learnt this the hard way. Just booked 2 nights stay last week for $212/ night. I did the above out of curiosity a day after and to my surprise, the 1st night was $179 and the 2nd, $212.

  2. Is this just a Hyatt scam? I’ve seen most booking sites use the average rate in the display and if you click on a details link it shows the rate for each night. Pretty sure SPG does this for example.

  3. @ Ivan Y — I didn’t just learn this, but it has been a while since I’ve seen such a clear case of it. That’s why I figured I’d share, since this instance brought that to memory again.

  4. That has got to be done on purpose by Hyatt and is pretty shady, IMHO.

    FWIW, given the lack of MyElite Rate at Hyatt in 2015, I’m doing a ton of Best Rate Guarantee claims and usually even prior to booking try to compare Hyatt’s rates versus other sites (e.g. by using Trivago).

  5. Interesting, but Lucky, If you book the nights separately, you probably would have to check-out and check-in again for each day, wouldn’t you? Also considering that check-out time is usually 11am and check-in 4pm, you have no room between 11am and 4pm. Or once you have 3 separate reservations for days in a row, the hotel would automatically consider it as “one stay”? Does my thoughts make sense?

  6. @ Lucas — As a Diamond I get guaranteed 4PM late check-out. But even if you’re not Diamond, they should let you keep the same room and check-in and check-out at some point that day. Just explain the situation. I can’t imagine they’d make you switch rooms.

  7. Thx for sharing. I posted some more tips and tricks on my own blog to save (lots of) money when staying at a luxury hotel: http://theluxurytravelexpert.com/book-a-hotel/. While I used to make all my hotel booking directly on the hotel website (in order to get my status at Starwood and Hyatt), I changed my strategy the last couple of years to spend less on travel (while not affecting my travel behavior) and now only book hotels on other websites (Hotels.com, Jetsetter, Virtuoso, Virtuoso) when I can not make use a best rate guarantee. @Lucky: I love all your tips on loyalty program, but maybe you can also share more posts on third party websites that can offer tremendous advantages as well?

  8. I saw this last week with Hyatt as well. One night is oversold and it showed the elite guaranteed rate of $479/night for a 3 night stay. If booked separately the 1st and 3rd night are ~$249/night and the 2nd is $479/night.

  9. It depends on a number of factors on the hotel side of things, their Property Management System capabilities, how their rates have been set up, the yielding functionality etc. In Lucky’s example, the highest rate per night of his 3 night stay was $170, so therefore the PMS yielded the highest rate per night out of the 3 night stay to apply for the entire stay.

  10. This is common, and purposeful by the hotels. The potential loss to the hotel on a 5-night stay cancellation, over a 1 night stay cancellation is larger, and often times they’ll just price the entire stay off of the highest one night stay.

    ALSO, even if nightly rates are the same, I typically book two one-night stays rather than just one stay. Sometimes you will get 2-stay credit.

  11. In addition, booking each night in a separate reservation may give you more flexibility to depart early or otherwise change your stay. Some (many? most?) hotels have an official policy that, if you do not change or cancel your stay by the cancellation deadline for the first night, you cannot change or cancel any part of your stay. So, for example, if you have a five night stay planned, but might want to leave after four nights, it’s best to book the fifth night as a separate reservation, which can then be cancelled separately as needed.

    I’ve done this many times, and I’ve never been asked to check out or change rooms (though, occasionally, a reception clerk doesn’t know how to keep me in the same room on the computer system, and takes a long time to figure it out).

  12. @ Seattle Eric — I doubt it, they’re using the same system. They’d probably have to book it as separate stays as well. I could be mistaken, though.

  13. The reverse can often be true for Marriott or Hilton, saving money by booking everything in a batch based upon the price of the first night as opposed to night-by-night.

  14. Always do this.

    At the check-in I show all reservations to reception. In most case they are treated as a single reservation (as long as the same room cat). No “check-out and in”.

  15. Even more shady? Being forced to pay an extra $6 to Seattle for the privilege of being tourist in that city… Tourism fee? Seriously? Eff Seattle.

  16. Just did this with a trip to San Francisco and a stay at the Clift Hotel. Looking for 5 nights, the average cost was $275 a night but dropping the last night from the stay took the per night cost to $180. Stayed right across the street at The Warwick for the last night of my trip!

  17. this happens a lot w/ Marriott. case-in-point, booked 4 nights next week, it was $129 first night and $149 the next 3…it also says as much when booking. It doesn’t give the “blended rate”.

  18. Good for you to point this out, lucky. I have known about this at Hyatt for 2 years…I always check the daily rate and book separately if it is cheaper. When I check in at the hotel (staying for 1 night sir ?) I point out to the clerk that I have 3 separate reservations. They have never failed to adjust it so I have never had to switch rooms. Sometimes there is some funkiness where I get multiple nightly charges to my card, but who cares ?

    Before you ask…no, even with multiple reservations I have never gotten credit for multiple stays.

  19. Any advice on getting hotels to combine consecutive reservations booked separately? I always run into issues having to go have my cards deactivated and spend 10 min at the hotel front desk even if I tell them when I check in that I’m staying multiple nights booked as separate reservations.

  20. @ Rob — Some hotels can merge them if they’re the same types of reservations, but in those instances where they can’t there’s not much that can be done. šŸ™

  21. Another thing to consider is to visit the booking site using INCOGNITO mode. The booking site may use cookies to track how many times you visited and also your search queries. For example, I spent the last week searching for hotels in Malaysia using Hotels.com. With that said, I noticed the price kept going up. I switch the browser into INCOGNITO mode and all the sudden the price switched back to the price when I first did my search. I then use my regular browser, the price again, when right back up to where I left off (about $15/night more expensive). The practice is so deceiving, I decided that I will never book using Hotels.com again! Something that your reader may want to consider when searching for hotels.

  22. @Lucas @ Lucky If you are going to book following this method, you should mention to the Front desk upon check in that you have a second booking for the next day so they can accommodate you for both bookings in the same room without bothering you.
    This trick is not effective for all hotel chains as it depends on each capabilities and location. A hotel in a not busy areas will be less dynamic with their rates than a hotel in a very busy area. Also, their volume of business will require a more or less sophisticated team and tools.

  23. What if a package rate includes a meal for two per stay, for example? If you made separate reservations for consecutive nights, would you get a meal each day?

  24. This is helpful, although it would keep me from getting my 2x points during the Starwood promotion period. I know that my savings of $40 ($20/night) is greater than the cash value of the ~800 extra points I would get, but I’m still tempted to book at the higher rate for the points.

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