Over the years, I’ve tried out many hotel booking sites – HotelsCombined, Booking.com, Wotif, Agoda, Expedia, to name a few. I've also tried booking hotels directly through the hotels own website. But there is one site I keep coming back to time and again for booking hotels…
Hotels.com has long been one of my favourite sites for booking hotels. Why? Well for starters, I like variety.
Staying loyal to one hotel brand or chain can yield great benefits. But I find their hotels are all the same. This is great if you like consistency, but if you prefer to mix it up a little then there are other options on the market. Hotels.com offers a competitive alternative to hotel loyalty programs. It allows you to choose from a greater variety of accommodation options but still earn loyalty rewards.
Never used Hotels.com before? Click here to receive $50 off your first booking!
I recently travelled to Sydney and wanted to stay right on Sydney Harbour. By booking through the Hotels.com booking site I managed to get a night in a Deluxe Harbour View room at the Four Seasons and paid only $23!
So how did I manage to find such a great deal? Allow me to explain… but first things first…
Who is Hotels.com?
Hotels.com is an affiliate of Expedia. They are, as the name suggests, a hotel booking site. They offer the ability to book online; international chain hotels, luxury resorts, holiday rentals, apartments, boutique hotels, villas, cabins, hostels and bed and breakfasts, all over the world. I regularly use Hotels.com for booking hotels whenever I travel within Australia and overseas.
5 Reasons Why I Use Hotels.com
1) They Offer A Great Selection of Hotels
As I mentioned earlier, I like the variety of choice. Sometimes I want to spend a night at a high-end luxury hotel with all the bells and whistles. Other times I prefer the uniqueness and attention to detail offered by boutique hotels. But if I have an early flight in the morning and just need a place to rest my head, then I'm happy to go for something more low budget.
One of the reasons I love Hotels.com so much is the variety of accommodation options they have available. Their offering ranges from some of the best high-end luxury hotels in the world to small family-owned bed and breakfasts and even hostels. I used Hotels.com to book most of the hotels on my recent road trip around Iceland. As well as the boutique hotel I stayed at in Japan, whose own website was entirely in Japanese, making it impossible for me to book with them directly.
I use Hotels.com for booking hotels of all shapes and sizes and still get to experience the benefits of a rewards program. Which brings me to point two…
2) The Hotels.com Rewards Program
Another reason why you might consider using Hotels.com is their rewards program. The program is very simple, easy to use and free to join right here.
If you book more than 10 nights in one year, you’ll be upgraded to Silver status. The benefits of Silver status include; priority customer service, price guarantees and early access to special deals.
If you travel frequently enough and collect 30 or more nights in one year, you'll enjoy the benefits of Gold status. This includes everything offered to Silver members, plus exclusive access to promotions available only to Gold members.
3) Secret Prices
When you sign up as a Hotels.com Rewards member, you have will be given access to Secret Price deals that non-members cannot access. These deals can sometimes make it cheaper to book through Hotels.com than directly with the hotel. So it may be worth signing up and checking out their Secret Prices.
4) You Can Earn Free Nights!
By far the highlight of the Hotels.com rewards program is the free night offer. For every 10 nights you book, you'll get one free night. Hotels.com calculates the average value of the 10 nights you collected and offer you one free night to use on a booking of your choice.
This averages approximately 10% rebate for each night you book through Hotels.com.
However, be aware that the value of free night does not include taxes and fees. That aside, I still believe this program provides excellent value. If you’re booking a 5-night holiday, by signing up to Hotels.com rewards program, you’re already halfway to a free night after just one booking!
Do you ever find yourself booking hotels for other people?
By booking through the Hotels.com rewards program, you can also earn rewards nights for other people's stays. This is particularly useful if you are the designated travel booker for your family or travel companions. I was recently put in charge of booking hotels for 3 people travelling together for 3 nights. I made the booking through my own Hotels.com rewards program account, and after they all checked out, I collected 9 rewards nights.
One thing to be aware of – there are some niche hotels that do not offer rewards or redemptions through Hotels.com rewards program. But in general, given Hotels.com's massive inventory, I have always been able to find an alternative hotel that does.
5) Their Price Match Guarantee
If you are a Silver or Gold Hotels.com rewards program member, you’ll be able to take advantage of their Price Match Guarantee.
This essentially guarantees that you will receive the best price by booking hotels through Hotels.com.
The Price Match Guarantee is available right up until the day before you check-in. So if you make a booking and then find a cheaper price on the same hotel and room type, either through Hotels.com or another website, they will match the price. You can request a refund if the booking is refundable, or a coupon for the price difference if the booking is non-refundable.
How Hotels.com Compares on Price?
With Hotels.com you can save money by getting your 11th night for free, but how do their prices really compare to other booking websites?
I did a quick search for a hotel room in Sydney in June. Hotels.com was offering a room at The Shangri-La Hotel for $276 per night including fees and taxes. Booking.com and the hotel's own website offered the same room for the exact same price.
A second search for the same date at the Intercontinental Sydney, Hotels.com listed a room for $325 per night, whilst the hotels booking website offered the same room for $307 per night. In this case, you would save $18 a night by booking through the hotel's own website.
Whilst Hotels.com is pretty competitive on price, it always pays to double check the price offered on the hotel's website. If you are a Silver or Gold member and really want to book through Hotels.com so you can earn rewards nights, then you could utilise their Price Match Guarantee.
Why Hotels.com Might Not Be For You
I love to have a variety of choice when I travel, which is the reason why I am a big fan of Hotels.com. I don’t like being tied down to one hotel chain. If you also prefer ‘variety’, then you could really benefit from using Hotels.com as your regular hotel booking site.
However, there are some cons to booking with Hotels.com that you might want to consider:
- Sometimes you can find a cheaper deal if you book directly through the hotel. Although this is not always the case. But it pays to check.
- Redeeming a free night through Hotels.com is not actually completely free because you will have to pay taxes and fees on the booking.
- You won't be offered hotel loyalty rewards points when you book through a third-party booking site like Hotels.com. However, you may be eligible to earn points through direct spend at the hotel (e.g. at the restaurant or spa).
- You will not receive VIP benefits at the hotel when booking through Hotels.com. Even if you are a Gold or Silver member. International chain hotels will generally allocate the best rooms or offer upgrades to guests who are loyal to their brand and book directly with them. Booking through a third party booking site doesn’t always result in the same level of treatment.
There are some aspects of using Hotels.com that can offer great value. You need to decide whether these aspects work for you.
In my opinion, they offer the best value if you prefer to stay at boutique hotels that are not part of a large chain. However, if you happen to love, say the Marriott hotels for instance, and stay there a lot, then you might be better off remaining loyal to the Marriott brand and booking directly through their website instead of Hotels.com.
Hotels.com do in general appear to be relatively competitive on price when it comes to booking hotels around the world. Whilst they might not necessarily offer the best deal at the time of booking, I find 11th-night free offer more than makes up for this.
Never used Hotels.com before? Click here to receive $50 off your first booking!
We hope that this article has provided you with the information you are looking for about booking hotels. If you have any questions about how we maximise the benefits of the Hotels.com Rewards Program, please leave them in the comments below.
To receive our articles direct to your inbox subscribe to our monthly newsletter.