Tips for Saving on Hotel Reservations
Whether you’re a frequent traveller or not, it’s useful to know how to save on the price of your hotel stay both in Spain and abroad. With our tips you can avoid having to opt for a hotel that’s out of the way, or with a lower rating, just to pay less.
Knowing what type of traveller you are will help you to choose the option that’s right for you. Ask yourself whether you:
- travel frequently
- like to use the same hotel chain or group
- travel as a couple or a family
- want to collect points, rewards or airmiles for your stays
When using an online comparison site, bear in mind that many belong to the same group. For example, Renfe’s hotel website is part of Booking.com, whereas Expedia brands include Hotels.com, Trivago, EBookers and many more. A concentrated market is not great for price competition and as a result prices will often be very similar across different sites.
Dealing directly with a hotel over the phone can be cheaper in 8 out of 10 cases according to a report by Which? UK. Even if a hotel quotes the same price as an online comparison site, booking direct could give you access to upgrades, free Wi-Fi or other perks. Many independent hotels would prefer to offer you a perk than pay commission to a comparison site.
Where to look for discounts
Several Spanish banks, some credit card suppliers and insurance companies have a client portal that offers discounts to users. Eligibility for the discount is either:
- you pay the full price with a specific debit or credit card: your account will be credited with the discount
- click through the special link on the website and the discount will be automatically applied (then pay with any card)
If you belong to an airline loyalty programme, these also have agreements with major international hotel chains. Check the details online, some will offer a direct discount and others will provide a way to collect additional airmiles.
Hotel chain rewards & points
For frequent travellers it may make sense to try and use the same hotel chain. Many have a membership programme where you will get free nights after a number of stays.
As well as international hotel groups such as Marriott (includes AC hotels), InterContinental Hotel Group (includes Holiday Inn) and Hilton, for stays in Spain you might be more interested in:
- Paradores: Amigos de Paradores offers personalised promos, free breakfast on your first stay after signing up, welcome drink.
- Meliá: Meliá Rewards allows you to collect points to use for stays or transfer to over 40 partners.
- NH Hotel Group: NH Rewards offers 5% off your bookings, extra points when you book via the app, rewards for hotel services (eg meals)
However, don’t join one of these reward programmes if you don’t travel often as in many cases points will expire after 12 or 24 months if they’re not used.
Price comparison websites
These can often be the best option for infrequent travellers or those that prefer independent hotels. If you’re travelling with pets, comparison sites will also allow you to filter for hotels that are pet friendly. Sometimes access is limited to small dogs only and there may be an additional charge to pay.
- Hotels.com Rewards Secret prices for members only.
- Stay 10 nights and get 1 night free. The free night is equivalent to the average of the 10 nights (less taxes and fees). Note: to book your free night you’ll have to pay taxes and a 4€ fee, however the fee is waived when you book via the app. You’ll get the free night when you book and stay within 12 months of your last completed booking.
Genius loyalty programme: Sign up and complete two stays within two years to be eligible for benefits. Level 1 membership lasts for life and offers a 10% discount on select properties. Level 2 membership is awarded after five stays completed in two years, comes with a 15% discount on select properties, free upgrades and breakfast for some hotels.
Other hotel comparison sites also offer rewards and airmiles.
What to do if you only need to book a room for a few hours
If you have to catch a flight at an odd hour, arrive really early or have a long stopover, there are many reasons for wanting to book a hotel during the day for a few hours.