AARP Eye Center
Hidden fees and fluctuating prices can make it difficult (and frustrating) to find an affordable hotel room. Whatever your destination or budget, these simple strategies can help.
1. Use a short-notice booking app or website.
Hotels would rather offer bargain rates than have empty beds, so if your itinerary is flexible or you’re booking at the last minute, use an app like HotelTonight (which also has a website) or One Night to score serious savings. HotelTonight lets you choose from unclaimed rooms in more than 40 countries, which you can book that day or up to a week — sometimes even 100 days in advance — depending on the city. Need a room on short notice? One Night offers discounted same-night stays in select hotels across the country, starting at 3 p.m. daily.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
2. Take advantage of rewards.
According to Bankrate, an estimated 31 percent of credit cardholders have never redeemed their points — leaving a lot of potential travel savings untouched. Check to see if your credit card rewards program offers discounts on lodging or other hotel perks, like late checkouts or spa activities. And if you’re part of an organization that offers discounted hotel stays (including AARP and AAA), take advantage of membership savings. You usually can get a discount of about 10 percent.
3. Avoid the middlemen.
Sites such as KAYAK, Google Hotels and Momondo can help you compare hotel deals side-by-side, but many hotels now offer a low-price guarantee for booking directly through their website. If you find a lower rate on another site, ask the hotel to match it. And hotels generally only grant loyalty points for direct bookings — so if you’re a hotel rewards member, it pays to avoid third parties.