Here are 7 ways Singaporeans can save money on hotel rooms without downgrading to budget hotels.
Sure, we all know you can save on hotels by getting the cheapest room available. But for those of us who like the luxury of working toilets and have issues with bedbugs, it’s about getting a good hotel for less. Therein lies a true challenge.
Here’s how you can sleep well, and have enough left over to shop, dine, and sightsee:
1. Use Dreamcheaper After You Book Your Room
After you book a refundable room, check out DreamCheaper.com. This website tracks the price of the hotel room – when the room price falls, it will rebook the room at the cheaper price, and cancel your old reservation. You don’t need to do anything besides wait for the site to capture the lowest price point.
The potential discount is highly variable – you might end up saving just $30, or you might save $300. It depends on how low the price happens to fall. Still, it does mean you can nab a discount on even a five-star hotel.
2. Experiment with Different Travel Dates
If possible, plan to travel during a range of different dates (or just plan so far ahead that you can experiment with different times). Hotel prices in each city follow their own price cycles. In New York City for example, the cheaper rates tend to be available in July, whereas Paris tends to have cheaper rates in January. December tends to be expensive everywhere, plus there are hordes of tourists; avoid this month if you can.
Don’t take our word for it – experiment with various booking sites and see for yourself.
You should also sign up for notifications from sites like The Luxe Nomad. This will update you on flash discounts from top hotels when they occur.
3. Use Your Air Miles or Credit Card’s Hotel Discounts
Some hotels accept frequent flyer miles just like airlines do. If you have a lot of miles to let go of, you can use them to book overnight stays.
For example, Citi Miles earned from the Citi PremierMiles Visa Signature Card can be redeemed for Asia Miles, which you can then use to book accommodations anywhere in the world. According to the Asia Miles website, an overnight stay at a Bali resort in July starts at 17,750 Asia Miles.
Citi Miles can also be converted to IHG Rewards Points and Hilton HHonors Points. If you can’t wait til you’ve earned enough points for a free room, you can use still use your points for free WiFi, free breakfast, or free additional guests. Either way, you save quite a bit of money.
You should also check if your air miles credit card offers hotel discounts. For instance, ANZ Travel Visa cardmembers get access to the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection, which grants them preferential rates, VIP status, and free room upgrades at over 900 luxury hotels.
As an alternative, check if you have a concierge service on your existing credit card. The American Express Platinum is one credit card that has such services. Call the concierge ask them to help you find a good luxury hotel rate. The concierge service has significant bargaining power, as they may refer hundreds to guests to the hotel on a regular basis.
You can use SingSaver.com.sg’s free comparison tools to find the right travel credit card for hotel bookings.
4. Check for Bundled Packages
If you are already booking a flight on sites like Expedia, check out how much it would cost to add a hotel. When accommodations or rental cars are added, the site may “bundle” them and give you a discount. This may be cheaper than booking the hotels on other travel sites.
5. Do Not Use the Room Phone Except to Call Reception
If you must use the telephone in the room, check the prices first. The rates for your room’s landline can easily go up to $12 a minute. You really can be charged $180 for a 15-minute call to your friend. Yes, it’s more expensive than even the wi-fi, and there’s no logical reason for the pricing and no good reason to be using it.
6. Buy a Prepaid Unlimited-Data SIM Card Instead of Using Hotel WiFi
Most luxury hotels still charge for WiFi unlike their cheaper counterparts. It’s just a frustrating fact of higher-end accommodations. Before you pay for it, check the prices of prepaid sim cards, particularly those with unlimited data. If you can tether your laptop to your mobile (or you have a tablet that can use a sim card), it may be cheaper than paying the hotel rate.
If you don’t need to be online much, consider ducking into a WiFi-enabled cafe or mall when you need to send the occasional e-mail. The prices for hotel wi-fi can be exorbitant: in North America and many parts of Asia, fees can be up to $50 a day, and in Europe high-end hotels may charge up to $30 a day.
7. Join the Loyalty Programme
Most four and five-star hotels will have loyalty programmes. In the case of chain hotels, these programmes will extend to many different countries. You can get a better deal from these than even online bookings – the key is to ensure you use the same hotel(s), and often.
On top of the stated benefits, many hotels will give you little bonuses when they become available. For example, if there is a corner room that’s a little more spacious, or a room with a better view, you are more likely to get it.
The biggest benefit is, of course, savings. If you are part of the loyalty program, you will often get the lowest rates right off the bat.
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By Ryan Ong
Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.