Make the Reservation - Hotels
This is lesson c seventeen in week four amazing jet lag, you know, go the whole way around the world and back here way had to be away for the live second, the undisclosed location we got back so much is going on, okay? All week we've been talking about booking your hotel's, understanding where to stay, how to stay for free on today, we'll talk about how to make the reservation more fun stuff coming up, lots of lots of things going on, there's lots of different ways to get the best deal, so we'll show you what they are and how you can actually make them happen. Every lesson has three goals are goals for today are, first of all, to book the best cash deals and just a note about the word cash this came up the other day. It was a great question, I think, from lin so way, say cash in the world of miles and points and travel and make your dream a reality we don't actually mean like physical currency, cash, we just mean not ever pay with cash you don't ever play with. Actually, I don't know i...
f I have any cash ever, you just need taps for right shuttle drivers or something like that, right? But cash doesn't give me points. Cash does not get your points and you get the money in a town like you money and what value? What value is really say cash? We're just talking about not using point. So book the best cash deals, reserve your free nights and use discount codes to say if we might have a little black hat segment in this little lesson, I got my black cat over there, so let's just don't write in tips for booking with cash when you're not using your points. Um, the main point is the hotel's want you to use their sights to book if you're booking a star road property or fairmont property or in a core, whatever it is, they actually want you to use their sights, and they'll often incentivize you to do so they've actually put a lot of work over the years and ensuring that they're going to offer the lowest rate directly. Sometimes they will give you extra points for doing so. In some cases, if you have elite status, which is coming up tomorrow, you won't actually be eligible for release at its benefits unless you broke through the hotel website that's what the hotel wants you to do and it's not always a bad thing if it's the way that I broke a lot of my hotels, if not most of them, but you do want to take advantage of booking site award programs. If you're not going through the hotel, if you're using a third party service, we have a lot of different links to these available on the travel hacking dot org's dream trip site. We're adding stuff all the time and also in the facebook group on travel hacking dot org's slash fb dream trip love for you to join us, and we'll show some links for all that stuff. But just be aware that sometimes there's some bonuses for that different sites offer various cancellation policies. Eso if you're booking an unfamiliar sight, you do want to kind of take a close look and make sure you understand if you're booking a prepaid rate in particular, prepaid rate is almost never refundable, or never cancel for any place, something that you can use to your advantage, because not all sites have the same cancellation policies, so if you aren't exactly one hundred percent sure, but you still want to confirm something, so you're not, you know, you're not gonna be homeless? Um, one of the things to do is teo, shop around on different sites and check out the same hotel and what the cancellation policies are. I've done that a lot, I found a ah hotel that I couldn't pay for couldn't book through one of the big property groups, and so I found this budget boutique hotel and I don't remember exactly what site I booked but I looked at hotels dot com I looked at booking dot com I looked at a goto dot com and I picked the one that had the best cancellation policy that gave me the most flexibility to make the decision if I was going to stay there awesome so it's just another thing to look at when you're looking especially if you think your plans might change are you need more flexibility so I mentioned that the hotel's actually want you to book through their web sites one of the things that they've done to encourage that ast part of their competition against travelocity against orbits against all these different third party sites eyes that a lot of them have what's called a best rate guarantee and we won't get into all the details of this now we actually have a skype call with a couple who's been living in hotels full time they know a lot about best right guarantees but the short version of it is basically if you find a rate that is lower then what the hotel is offering directly then they will give you something they will even give you the night for free are they will credit to a certain amount of money or percentage each hotel property does it or a hotel group does it a little bit differently but for those rock star travelers out there or anyone who's out of control if you really look to kendrick of course if you really kind of want to work on this it is possible to get a lot of free nights just like finding discrepancies between what the price the hotel lists and what's offered somewhere else and I mentioned briefly that the third party sites often don't count towards status so if you are concerned about that then that's something you usually want to book directly through whatever the hotel site iss we just wanted to show you a couple different sites that a lot of people use for booking um hotels dot com is a very common one in our last creative live course become a travel hacker we interviewed a couple jen just al bro and josh red chalk and they told us they took a year long honeymoon around the world and they were traveling for a long time and they spent some nights at nice hotels with free nights but they couldn't spend every night so one of the things they did is they get a lot of there bookings through hotels dot com and hotels dot com has its own award program and like chris mentioned in the first bullet of our last point was a lot of these programs a lot of these booking sites do have their own awards program so if you're consistently booking through like to get the best deals through a site that you're going pay for the for your nights, then look for one that has some kind of benefit. So this one every ten nights you book through hotels, dot com you get a free night and so it's their own program. It's not a free night. You can't spend three dollars a night for ten nights and then spend three hundred dollars it's based on the cumulative value in this program. But it's still, if you're gonna be booking a lot of hotel nights, you know, find the site that works for you that's gonna give you the best bonuses. You know, I think a lot of times we always say like, oh, I have to book my hotels because, you know, my best friend tell me that this is the best way, but what's best for her might not be best for you, which is why we have our travel profiles. Hotel tonight is another one partner in the value back everybody purchasing the course. I think they're including some kind of discounter deal uninterested thing about hotel tonight is it's a last minute hotel booking sites, so they have nice higher end uh, bo take or brand hotels and you can book them up to seven days in advance and get some good deals that way one of my favorite sites, when I'm not looking through a property group that one of the first things I'll go to is this site called rocket miles on one of the reasons I like it is it isn't just you know, fun hotel deals but they pay you airline miles for your hotel bookings and so you can earn miles in any of these programs without samarra plan for our air plan earners here tons of different tons of different programs and this is also when we're thinking about I was telling jen the other day about my strategy to do surveys to keep my etihad miles relevant you know, if I need a quick way to go get a boost in any of the really random programs I have miles in I can select that my miles go there and another reason I really like rocket miles is they have a really great affiliate program so if you are the person who was always telling your friends how to trouble which after this course you might be I think we have what the evangelist travel of angela's he was telling this maybe you could just jump in for a moment and actually tell us the story about how you're you're constantly like referring your friends all the time oh sure so what I do is in my wallet I keep a lot of my credit cards my american express and married hotel and what I would do is I would lay them on the table so I would strike a conversation with a co worker or a friend or someone I meet and the moment the traveling conversation gets uh I started busting out all the credit cards there's a table and I tell them you know, with this card has no annual fee twenty five thousand points you know you could go to anywhere in the states for free imagine that even going peak season and I showed them I showed him a specific order to so I showed him that he makes gold first and an a mix business with those two has no annual fee and I'll show the one with animal fee at the end so it doesn't look it's bad that there's an animal and you the point is I think you get a referral bonus when they sign up ten thousand points per card so yeah, you know how many points of the earned so far I mean ninety thousand points from awesome awesome that's amazing. So I was going to say what you consider it if I was going to say that I actually earned twenty thousand miles last year solely from telling my friends about rocket miles because I'm always people are always asking me like how should I book my hotel and I I tell people all different options but rocket miles has an affiliate program where when someone signs up using your link and makes a booking they get a thousand miles and you get a thousand miles works for them and both of you and you don't have to get a credit card or anything like that nope it's it's a great deal and their hotel prices air comparable with any of the other sites you know I would say if there's a hotel on rocket miles that's a better deal on some other site you know I would get it from wherever it's a better deal but they have some really great deals on rocket miles and another interesting thing about rocky miles is they often have sign up bonus deals from other airlines as well so your first booking you might get three thousand miles they had just had a big alaska bonus for alaska credit cardholders there's lots of different deal so it's a really great site to check out we have um we posted our affiliate link in the my affiliate link I think in the links that are in the course but I don't need to hog all the miles so if you have a rocket miles affiliate link I invite you to post it in the facebook group and you know go there and pick somebody else's link and sign up sign up for rocket miles and try it with the hotel stay yeah kendrick they have a sign up bonus too so we have already used this with my with my girlfriend so what what? We did it she signed up with an account and there's a welcome bonus I think after five thousand points and then she sent the referral linked to me so then if I booked and she'll get the point and that's very I've actually done that with a friend I was traveling and I was gonna say if you have a partner espoused traveling partner, you know definitely for a lot of these things you should sign up twice I write for a lot of these things you can double your points in my life so you can also sign up with a different e mail address and have more than one block out look at that that's, right? Just a little black and I've got my own coming up here in a moment, okay? So stephanie's link there is there, but anyone else is more than welcome to share like that still find would love to know when we talk about the other day we talked about where do you like to stay would love to know what's your favorite way to book accommodations were talking all about how to actually make the reservation. So how do you in studio audience actually make those reservations usually better almost excuse exclusively online except for when you're china swindle something way started grated like disclaimers on this, but mainly yeah mainly online but I guess blackout it's pretend is like sometimes, uh, government employees, they don't ask for the government. I d s okay, it might be a foreshadowing to something. I talk about anybody else? How do you book accommodation? I actually texted me, asking if we were gonna talk about some of the major sites like expedia, etcetera, and I noticed that we've spent a lot of time stephanie talking about kayak in certain contexts, but the use that I'm using expedia for you could do that on, uh, what I'm using kayak for you could do that on expedia, you could do it on travel see any of those sites because mostly I'm just using it for research. It just happens to be the one I find easiest. Those are all very similar sites. They're all aggregators or online travel agencies you don't usually see much in the way of difference of pricing. The pricing comes from the airfare from the airlines, usually or the hotels, and they're just kind of putting it all together. It doesn't really matter which one you use for that, uh, favorite way to book a combination, anybody else? Other sites that you find? I mean, we mentioned a couple sites, but are their sights that usually look towards? I've done the bidding sites a swell bidding side, yeah, okay. That's why you brought that up I don't think we actually have much about that and of course but that's a good thing to talk about when you say bidding sites you mean priceline priceline priceline in particular yeah but now I'm thinking that I shouldn't be doing it then I don't get the point support right? Okay well depends on who you are what your goals are but I'm glad you mentioned it because I don't actually use priceline dot com very much myself anymore but when I was starting to travel I certainly used it a lot in particular the name your own price feature yes that's what I used to write great and so so just a quick side note this is important for some people how do you how do you know what to bid well after I did this when I found another blawg post that broke down everything that you should be doing you should be checking on their site first to figure out which hotels are in your area your category see what their prices are and then you can bid on according to those prices book lower and then there's also other websites that you can go to that people tell you what they got and what they paid yeah so I just want to explain this for anybody watching because if you use priceline dot com what they're known for is they have this like name your own price teacher and you can bid and say okay here's the you know the range of hotels in new york city or chicago or wherever and I'm going to choose my star level I'm on a three star hotel I want a four star hotel and here's what I'm going to bid for it who else has ever been on priceline okay so about about half of us so priceline you know is a business not a charity and priceline offers suggested amounts for bids when you're like how much should I bet pricing will be happy to tell you like here's a here's a great number you know it's a bid which has a consumer you should probably be skeptical of what businesses saying here's a great idea for how much to pay us right but it's a problem for consumers because you don't have information so when you go there you're like well I really don't know what today maybe that's right maybe I bid like twenty dollars less if I bit a little bit lower am I happy if I get a good deal so that's that's exactly how priceline kind of makes money on this spread between you know whatever they're paying the hotels for rooms that that aren't booked and what people are bidding and they make a lot of money doing it and so a number of websites have kind of sprung up to share this information transparently of what other people have been uh any given market and what bids were successful and what the properties where so it kind of provides all this information that you don't actually get from priceline so I believe a couple of those websites will update this if it's wrong and put it on the trouble hacking got or page I believe it better bidding dot com maybe bidding for travel dot com at least we're active pretty recently so you go there in this example if you're in new york city going to stay in midtown manhattan and you want the four star hotel, you're going to see everybody's posts saying, okay, here's, what I bid and this bid failed this build fail, but then this bid was successful you kind of figure out okay, this average dollar range of what I should exactly bid and in the second critical information you get is what the hotel actually is because you don't normally know that in priceline so that's how you kind of democratized travel using that experience he had a question domestic travel with most of these sites is I think they're putting cookies on your site and then if you go to another one when you come back then there were actually changing the information they gave us just like ninety seconds ago interesting and saying, you know, all those that room, whatever you no longer available on that challenges that as well make sure you clear all your cookies before you go back again, you know that your advertising campaigns will certainly follow you because of how we marketing works, but I don't exactly know how travel companies are changing pricing when you revisit, but stephanie had the answer right there. You just had your incognito browser is your friend. You know, if you open that in google chrome or in safari, they usually have a private window and, well, they will not display any of the history that you use before you went there. Incognito browser incognito window yeah, if you use chrome, you can just right click and where however you open a new window there's usually an option to open a new incognito window or open a hidden window depending on really depending on which browser you're using and if you can't figure it out just google I know how to open a private browser incognito browser, so I'm glad you brought that up. Thank you. Anything else on that? Yeah, I don't know if it still works, but, um what I used to do when we were budget traveling, I was using hot wire, but I didn't like not knowing what hotel it was, so I would search for hotel plus car and then for whatever reason they would tell me what the hotel was, but they would tell me with the car but the car was so then I kind of knew in this restricted area which hotels were there in what amenities they had then I go back to just hotel and I picked up it's awesome you can't keep saying you're an apprentice in a previous life you were talking about how you used him city ticketing nobody else me and my crew had ever done it besides scott but yeah I think that's great great okay we have a few other things talking out a couple of special things you want to take the first couple of underclassmen I like to say dose don't discount the discount on so you know, triple a discount I grew up with triple a discount I don't think that many people use tripoli discount anymore but a lot of times it's something I always check I actually figured out that I could join my sister's triple a she actually uses triple in case your car breaks down I don't but I discovered I could join her her membership for like fifteen dollars and I always check it what I'm paying somewhere I mean, after I got that I spent fifteen I saved fifteen dollars, probably at the first hotel that I went to, so I always check the option for triple a discount and I know there's a comparable option in canada it's a triple I can actually think sorry when we're talking thank you and then I also use the aarp discount now I, um, what is the thing? The american association of retired people I think right where you stand, interestingly enough, island easier that even though the benefits of aarp are for people over fifty, they will allow anyone, regardless of your age, to join aarp and they're happy to take your money cost sixteen dollars, a year and you get a membership card with your name on it and there's some there's some discounts within the aarp program overall that you can't take advantage of, but there are some that you can't take advantage of hotel discounts is one of them because you have the aarp card that's required to show on checkin if they ask you and, um, there's also an interesting discount for british airways through air p by the way, you say ten percent of booking something crazy. And so, you know, I first learned about that I could do this because I asked I asked one of my family members here you a member of the aarp, I think I can get a british airways discount if I could throw your name and they were like, I don't want to be an air p I'm in denial that I'm over fifty, and so I was like, okay, well, I'm going to sign up then, so it's a great discount yeah, I just had a thought for everybody watching who's not from the u s or canada I believe you can actually sign up for a trip away from anywhere, right? And one of the main benefits of triple a is the auto program but like you mentioned, you know you don't really use it for that I actually pay fifty dollars a year for triple a I don't have that special hook up. Yeah, and another thing I actually learned an interesting thing when I was making this slide and that is tripoli still has some really interesting trouble benefits like really cheap passport pictures you know, if you go to get your passport pictures taken there like twenty five dollars to get a little tiny picture thinks like six bucks if you have a triple a membership so it may be worth it to actually sign just for the hotel discount because like you said, you say fifteen dollars your first day so I pay fifty dollars a year. I know I'm saving, you know? Well, over fifty dollars sound for that so that could be for where everywhere from let's talk about this come coats gonna borrow that you may so matt was practicing putting this on you don't really figure that's the best way okay, okay, good. Its a little insecure about that um that may have actually alluded to this earlier you talked about discount codes, so just a couple of notes here like, you know, the reason we have the facebook group is partly because the world of miles and points is changing and it's always changing is always a new deal like every month there's something we want people to kind of engaged with us over the long term that's why we have the travel hacking cartel membership site I'm always happy to answer questions for free, so it stephanie but sometimes there are things that you know we may not talk about in great detail that's what we had the airline secrets you know what things? What the airlines don't want you to know so when it comes to hotels something that I'll just mentioned briefly and there's a lot more information online if you want to learn more is that a lot of major global companies on organizations and universities have partnerships with these major hotel groups like starwood like I it's like hilton like ishii and this part of those partnerships they negotiate kind of a corporate wide discount that can be used at any of those properties and the way that discount is applied is there is a code that's given out on day when you make the booking there's a place that says, you know, put in your corporate code reporting your discount code so you may kind of realized where I'm going with this there's. Actually, if you if you can discover some of these discount codes, you may actually be eligible, which is great, you may check and see if your company or your organization or your university has one of these discount codes, they can be quite substantial savings. It can also often be twenty percent savings or more at major major hotels, even like the grand hyatt in san francisco, some hotels in new york sometimes globally, I can see some really big savings on dh there's really not much process of actually checking up on it. The hotel's air pretty much happy to take your booking, and the other fun thing about these discount bookings is that they're almost always changeable up to the last minute, so they may actually be comparable to the prepaid rate, which is usually like fifteen, twenty percent off we have to book three weeks in advance if your plans change, you know, it's one hundred percent non refundable, so the discount code may actually give you the same savings, but be changeable all the way up to the time, and you arrive at the property something sense everybody get it, okay, so we'll share some more about that online for those who care, so, um, looking with points a few things to say about that and we'll take some more questions, all my bullets to hear it once awesome points, prices don't fluctuate like paid rates do think I mentioned this briefly in the last lesson. Some hotel points do like hilton has this dynamic pricing, which is not very favorable two travelers but aside from hilton, most of the time, the points price is whatever it cost in points, if it's five thousand points ten thousand points that's what it always costs. If there was availability and you can book it, that's the rate where is the price in cash fluctuates, as we all know, the price of a hotel one night's or one week, maybe totally different this's especially helpful for conventions or like when there's a big thing happening, like I saw this deal recently, where the super bowl was being played, I have no idea where the super boys played, but wherever it was, you know, there were there were hotels like the comfort inn or something where the room was like six hundred dollars a night, some crazy kind of thing. But people in the travel hacking world pointed out that those rooms were actually still available for points bookings for a very, very, very low rate, something like three thousand points. Andi you could transfer those points in from a variety of program so if you're actually going to super bowl you could have stayed at the six hundred dollars a night comfort in which probably wasn't that amazing but still you needed a room for a very low rate so keep that in mind used points when room rates are high we talked about that cash in points there good value we talked about that point stays air usually flexible inconsolable just like these discount codes we talked about just like a triple a in the air pius well book a placeholder reservation if you aren't sure all I mean by that is you know the converter but never disappoints eso when you're making your plans because points bookings are usually flexible inconsolable if I have a trip coming up like dream trip that I've been on for example, I knew I'm going to go around the world to all these different places and I don't want to spend a whole lot of time thinking through you know where I'm staying in each each place I might come back to it later, but I want to have something there so I'll use my points and I'll go online I'll say okay, this is a good option maybe I'll improve this later but I'm gonna just go ahead and book it for now because I know it's cancel it all and then later on if I get a better idea if something else happens all this cancel it so that's why you book a placeholder when you're planning your trip to paris you know you have your four nights you just booked those nights and maybe you can change or maybe not but you have something take advantage of hot deals and bonuses sometimes sometimes their sails on points redemptions just like their sails on monetary redemptions just wanted to quickly show you the hyatt points in cash awards chart since we have been talking a little bit about it but we didn't really delve into it if you look at hyatt dot com if you search high it points in cash on star word it has a different name you can kind of see here you know on the left and it's okay if you can't see it up close you can look at it later the hotel category as well as below that the points that are required for a standard room and then the points in cash required. So just to give you an example I usually stay at the grand hyatt dallas fort worth that's actually my favorite airport hotel in north america it's surprisingly nice for an airport hotel on it tends to be fairly expensive compared to a lot of properties that are off airport with a shuttle this one is actually like located right in the terminal so for many years I didn't actually stay there because I'm cheap and I'm like there's another hotel I'll just take the shuttle but then I ended up staying there once I really liked it and so I started trying to figure it out andi I learned that it was a category three hotel and so there are twelve thousand high points required for a night's stay or half of those points six thousand points plus seventy five dollars as a co pay, which I found to be very reasonable on so basically, every time I go to dallas, I haven't overnight, I'm usually staying in the grand hyatt I'm paying the points in cash rate and using those points that I transferred from my credit cards and I'm paying seventy five dollars the rack rate is usually between two hundred three hundred dollars so and sometimes that can be more, um how to book most awards days, which we were just talking about free stays with points can be booked online. Sometimes you have to call but not most the time I'd say eighty percent of the time it can be booked online sometimes if you don't see availability and you have elite status, which we'll talk about in the very next lesson it may be to your benefit to go ahead and call and check on it because sometimes they hold back some rooms for elite members uh, free night certificates and awards do often require calling those can't always be booked online. Your points can almost always be booked online, but not the certificates or the awards on dh. Some hotel groups only offer points in cash days by phone. This may change at some point, but high it's still in my example, I just used hi it's still requires you to call in and do it, and I think this is kind of a double edged sword because I actually hate calling to make my reservations. I would love to just book everything online, but at the same time adding the extra step. I think not everyone is aware of points in cash bookings, and if it were online, there would be a lot more people doing it so the availability might be lower. So just be aware that sometimes you have to do it online, and sometimes you have to do it on the phone. You can't jump in, and if your brand new and you're just looking at a hotel site, how do you find out about the awards? Booking that? How many points it cost normal? It's a little bit different for every hotel, so you'll have to look around the site a little bit, but a lot of times when you search when you search. For the room, it gives you the option to search by points. Sometimes it will search and it will tell you how much it costs. And then on the hyatt site there's a little box that says, see how many points it's gonna cost and so it's in part of the reservation process in star would you can only look at three different rates at a time and so I usually select the lowest standard rate or the lowest available rate the kachin points rate and then the free nights the free stays rate and it will show those side by side. So look for it in the just in the booking process. Great. So in your workbook you have an activity which hotel chains allow for points in cash booking it's just good to get familiar with that. And then the more you evaluate these bookings, you kind of understand, like when it's good value. So if you have the work work at home, you could do that along with us. So in studio audience what's the most important thing you learned today yes, bill money by not by ripping up those aarp letters for the last ten years weigh the magazine, but it's definitely could probably add you out, you know, in her account she has a referral ing for aarp, yes that third party sites don't count towards status because my go to would be to go there, but you know, now I'm thinking, oh, the hotel site itself is actually the smart place to book it often is yes, casey, probably the rocket mouse. So I've been doing a lot of like expedia, travelocity, hotels, dot com so it would be nice to actually get some somali my stays, I think I saw something over here. Uh, kendrick first I didn't know about the triple a discount. So that's some good information. Yes, I've had the occasion to talk with several small independent hotel operators who are just being crushed by the commissions they pay to expedia and orbits and so forth. So that is part of the back story about how the hotel yours we are doing everything they can to drive bookings to their own site. Yeah, and you know, if you are booking some of those small hotel properties, um, I think I mentioned this just kind of offhand, but one of the we're gonna talk more about cash back cards, and I know we've had a couple questions come in about what are the use of all these cash back cards, if if if the best value is for tow for points and miles teo, be an actual program that's really a good the thing that you can do with some of those dollars. You have the travel dollars on cash back cards. You could use them in book directly through those a small boutique hotels. That's. Great. You're going to say, I really appreciate the the reminder about the incognito browser. Absolutely. That's, always good.