Reader Question: Is This the Lowest Price For My Hotel Stay?

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After I wrote about Starwood’s offer for up to 30% off at properties in the Middle East yesterday, reader Aleea emailed me with a question –

“I found a hotel I like for my trip, it is the Meridien Amman and on the page it says I get 20% off and with 3 nights the total is $647.90 I don’t know if that is the best price? Should I book?”

Aleea’s question is very common, and I wouldn’t unequivocally tell her to book it. When you see rates that say they offer savings of 20%, 40%, or even 50%, is it the lowest price? Maybe.

As a general rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to check multiple rates and sites before booking travel, and just because something sounds like a great deal there may be better options out there.

Generally, when booking directly through a hotel’s website you get some additional loyalty perks such as the stay counting towards elite status, breakfast, and other amenities. But if you are simply shopping on price alone, that can change the equation.

Let’s use Aleea’s chosen property as a scenario to find out if she should book using that rate.

The Le Méridien Amman is one of the properties with a discounted rate offered through the Emirates partnership promotion I mentioned yesterday. Although some properties offer up to 30% after three nights, the Le Méridien Amman offers 20% after one night, and no additional savings after that.

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Not knowing her dates of travel but assuming she would be traveling by herself or with one other person so not needing rollaway cots or extra rooms, I took a look at the Le Méridien Amman for the dates of June 17-20, 2016, checking in on a Friday and out on a Monday.

Using the Emirates Partnership offer from yesterday, the rate came back at $169 including daily breakfast and late check-out (based on availability), with penalties for changes/cancellations and deposit required.

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The total due matched that in Aleea’s email, once tax was added. We’ll use the $169 rate as the one to try to beat.

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The best available rate at the hotel not using the promotion was $184, with no penalty for changes/cancellations until the day prior to check-in.

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Keeping in mind that SPG’s Hot Escapes also offers savings for hotels worldwide, I checked there.

The Le Méridien Amman is on this week’s Hot Escapes list for $136 a night with penalties for changes/cancellations and deposit required.

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Many people have AAA membership which offers up to 15% discount at Starwood properties. Trying that, the rate came back at $174 with no penalty for changes/cancellations.

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Kayak, a hotel comparison website showed the rate of $136 at Hotels.com, and following the link it told me that the rate was nonrefundable and non-changeable.

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The Le Méridien Amman is not an AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts property, nor is it a Virtuoso one so even though the stay is three nights, there are no additional savings offered there.

At PointsHound, the rate displayed at $174 a night plus you’d earn 1,400 American AAdvantage Miles (you can choose your own loyalty program of choice for miles earning).

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If you have a Mastercard in your wallet there is currently an SPG promo where if you pay two nights (in advance) you get the third free, three nights (in advance) you get the fourth free, and buy four nights (in advance) you get two free.

The winner for price using these sample dates, rate and site checks was SPG’s Mastercard offer for the third night free, which came to just $122 a night, though it did require a deposit and came with penalties for changes/cancellation.

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Here’s a link to the Mastercard promotion. Use promo code M3D.

The difference in the rates saves at least $141. If Aleea doesn’t have a Mastercard, both the SPG Hot Escapes rate and the rate on Hotels.com are the same at $136 a night which is still less than the 20% off rate in the partner promotion ($169 a night).

Is the $122 average nightly rate the absolute lowest one out there for Aleea’s dates at this hotel? Maybe. There are so many rates available it is tough to know for sure, but I’d feel pretty confident about booking this one. If you don’t check any other rates or websites you wouldn’t know that though, and it may be tempting to just go with the first rate or site you find.

Do you check multiple rates or websites before booking hotels to make sure you pay the lowest price?

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  1. Jedi
    Reply

    Sounds like you could book that Mastercard rate with Citi Prestige and get the 3rd AND 4th night free……

    • Melinda
      Reply

      That’s interesting @Jedi. I didn’t mention the Citi Prestige benefit (which reimburses the cost of the 4th night on paid stays) because she only needed 3 nights. With the Mastercard rate if it spreads the cost over three nights the booking theoretically be used that way, but if the Citi Travel Concierge sees it as the third night being free it might not qualify. If you successfully combine the two let me know, and I’m sure readers would be curious too!

  2. Jedi
    Reply

    @ Melinda

    Based upon what I read, people have successfully combined the two. I think One Mile at a Time has a posting on this.

    it should be 3rd and 4th night free. Citi Prestige looks specifically at cost of 4th night. So even if she does not need the 4th night, she could book it and get the 1 night credit and loyalty points….or change her plans.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      That’s great news Jedi, and I’ll send an email to Aleea in case she doesn’t see this here.

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