Saving Money or Earning Points/Miles at Non-Chain Hotels Part Four: – Save 20%+

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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. reward scheme

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: – Save 20%+

If you don’t collect Frequent Flyer Miles (if you do, check out Parts OneTwo and Three!), and chain-hotel loyalty programmes don’t appeal, you could do a lot worse than booking through

For a complete beginner to ‘travel hacking’ 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 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. reward scheme

Your collected nights do not expire, so long as you have at least one stay booked through 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:

  1. You can put the value of your free night towards a more expensive hotel (just pay the difference).
  2. If you redeem for a hotel that costs less than the value of your free night, you do not get any change.
  3. 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 “ 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, 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 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 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 much – but for a beginner to ‘travel hacking’ it’s a very solid and straightforward option.


    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Brendan – thanks for the comment!

      At the risk of sounding horrendously smug, ~ 40% is about what I consider an acceptable minimum, my average saving would actually work out substantially higher than that. I should emphasise that I’m talking about value, not necessarily a straight-up cash saving, so I’m including Points/Miles earned too.

      The trick is basically to have as wide a variety of techniques in your toolkit as possible, and to stack them whenever you can.

      Best Rate Guarantees are a great place to start, particularly for 1 night stays (focus on IHG for expensive places, and Hilton too for cheap ones).

      Taking advantage of hotel promotions is hugely important. I’ll have a post up soon about a very nice IHG hotel which only cost £15.00 per night, and I stayed when IHG had a great promotion on, so I was earning free night certificates (which I value at ~ £100) for £30.00, at the same time as having a nice holiday! By my maths,I was getting about 330% value back. It’s an extreme example, but you can see the principle. Some of the promotions are so good that booking stays you don’t even need (mattress running) can make sense, if you can find a cheap option nearby.

      In the Accor series I showed how you can get ridiculous value by stacking cashback, promotions, and the Happy Mondays rates all together:

      Cashback really can play a big part – I’m not sure if you saw my post a while ago when it was possible to get 38%+ back from Hilton stays, by going through Topcashback and then transferring to Tesco Clubcard: . Stack that with Hilton’s own promotions and you’re getting back at least 50% in value.

      In parts 1-3 of this series I wrote about the booking sites where you earn frequent flyer Miles, and the generous offers they sometimes have. As a concrete example, I booked a non-chain hotel for £50.00 recently through RocketMiles and ended up with 5,000 United MileagePlus Miles – which I value at about £75.00.

      I’ve been considering putting together a sort of ‘toolkit’ for the site actually, sharing what I do and how I do it – do you think that would be a good idea?

      • Brendan says

        Yeah I suppose its just about knowing the options and being creative when the promotions pop up. My best one in terms of value was probably last year when Carlson were doing a stay 3 nights, get 30k points promotion, I booked a ‘4 nights for 2’ rate as a Carlson Gold (through Amex Plat) in the Park Inn Prague for the grand total of £90 and got £8 back through Topcashback and received 44k club carlson points in total!

        • Joe Deeney says

          Exactly – being aware of what’s available and thinking a bit outside the box to stack offers is definitely the key. In fact, I’ve got a post out tomorrow about doing just that, in order to get Marriott nights for less than £25!

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