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There is a lot of information online (including at InsideFlyer!) on how to maximise value when staying at chain hotels – whether that’s through bonus points, discount rates, status benefits or myriad other ways.
But what about those stays when there are no chain hotels, when you just fancy something a bit different, or maybe (like many people) you simply do not travel enough to make finding out about traditional hotel loyalty programmes worthwhile?
This series of posts is designed to show that you don’t have to miss out on extra value, just because you’re not staying with one of the big chains!
Part Four: Hotels.com – Save 20%+
For a complete beginner to ‘travel hacking’ Hotels.com is a relatively simple place to start. They offer a very extensive range of hotels all over the world, competitive rates, and you can save an extra 20% quite easily.
The first thing to know is that Hotels.com have a Rewards Programme, which gives you one free night for every ten that you book. The value of your free night is equal to the average rate you paid for the ten nights.
Your collected nights do not expire, so long as you have at least one stay booked through Hotels.com every 12 months.
Any stay booked through the site automatically gets counted towards your 10 nights (just make sure you are logged into your account!) and you can even book rooms for other people.
Redeeming free nights is also extremely simple. There are three key points to note:
- You can put the value of your free night towards a more expensive hotel (just pay the difference).
- If you redeem for a hotel that costs less than the value of your free night, you do not get any change.
- You still have to pay any taxes/fees.
Essentially then, this is a 10% rebate – so long as you stay at hotels fairly frequently and will collect ten nights.
The other 10%+ comes either from using a cashback portal like Topcashback or Quidco, or from using a discount code directly on the site (see further below). You (usually) won’t get the cashback if you use a discount code.
The cashback rates vary (check both sites regularly) but are generally between 8-15%. Remember that Topcashback promises to match whatever Quidco are offering, if you would rather collect your cashback there in order to transfer it to Tesco Clubcard.
If you prefer to save up-front rather than waiting for cashback, there’s almost always a 10% discount code available somewhere online (just Google “hotels.com discount code”). The current code is EMEAFEB, but it expires in a couple of weeks. Slightly higher discount codes are available for mobile bookings sometimes, so keep an eye out for those codes too.
Finally, Hotels.com have a pretty good Best Rate Guarantee, where they refund the difference if you find the same hotel with the same booking conditions cheaper on another site. Unlike some other ‘guarantees’, I’ve found Hotels.com customer service helpful and quite quick to resolve legitimate claims. This means that the ~ 20% total discount/rebate is a genuine saving.
Summary: Stacking a couple of Hotels.com offers is a relatively simple way to make a substantial saving on your hotel bookings. Personally, I usually try to get back at least 40% value from my bookings, so I don’t use Hotels.com much – but for a beginner to ‘travel hacking’ it’s a very solid and straightforward option.