How I Saved Almost 50% by Booking a Hotel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Booking Deal

My Awesome Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Booking Deal

In less than 48 hours my son and I are off to Scandinavia for a fun week of roller coasters and hopefully a little culture as well. For our time in Stockholm and Copenhagen we are booked in Radisson Blu properties, but hotels for Gothenberg had been left open, because I was deciding on our final travel schedule.

Today I was searching for a hotel to book in Gothenberg and discovered that prices for Saturday night are expensive. Very expensive. I have some Orbitz credit I was hoping to use, but with every single hotel costing north of $200, I wasn’t sure what to do.

Using Various Tools

Naturally I started going through my tools. I checked Hotel Tonight, but they don’t have anything available for Saturday. Kayak and Hipmunk pretty much returned the same prices as Orbitz for Saturday. Then I decided to search through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou. Why would I do this? Often their prices are actually lower. Not always, but often enough that I always want to check.

My first stop was Chase where I searched and sorted hotels by price and then by distance. I noticed that the Hotel Arena was pricing out at about $96 for the night in a twin room. I quickly wondered why I hadn’t seen this price elsewhere and went back to Orbitz, Hipmunk and Kayak. All of them were pricing the hotel much much higher. Hotels Combined showed a promising $139 price, but that wasn’t bookable when I clicked through.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Booking Deal
The price through Chase. I verified this description on other sites and it says two twin beds. Lets hope we don’t get stuck with only one tiny bed!

Lets take a look at the prices quotes for Hotel Arena:

  • Orbitz: $242
  • Kayak $239
  • Hipmunk $241 (with $142 for Otel showing once your clicked through)
  • Hotels Combined said $139, but it wasn’t available. Next lowest was $232.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards $96.38
  • Citi ThankYou: $104.28
Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Booking Deal
Here is what Kayak wants to charge.

As you can see, both Citi and Chase were significantly cheaper than all of the hotel sites. Better yet, I had the option to pay with either cash or to use points. For both Citi and Chase, the points would be used at a value of 1.25 cents each. Not the best redemption value, but it has the added benefit of keeping cash in my pocket.

Why are Chase & Citi Lower

Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Booking Deal
The hotel is located very close to the train station which works well for us.

Whether it be car rental searches or hotels, I have found that Citi and Chase tend to use different booking engines some of the time. This isn’t the first time I have seen signficantly lower prices through the banks, although sometimes it works in reverse where their prices are much higher than the other sites.

As with anything, it pays to have a good system that covers all of your bases. Mine involves using hotel comparison sites like Kayak, Hotels Combined & Hipmunk along with the bank websites and last minute services like Hotel Tonight. It can take a little practice, but once you get used to searching multiple sites, then it is pretty easy. Lets put it this way. I can perform my search of all sites in about the time it takes the average person to type in e-x-p-e-d-i-a-.-c-o-m.

1.25 Cent Per Point Value

As a quick disclaimer, I receive the 1.25 cents per point valuation at Citi because I am a Prestige cardholder and at Chase because I am a Sapphire Preferred (Ink Plus or Bold work too) cardholder. Even so, regular cards (ThankYou Preferred at Citi and Freedom/Sapphire/Ink Cash at Chase have access to perform searches.)

Conclusion

I love being able to share real world deals that demonstrate how a little due diligience can go a long way in saving. There really is no single best way to find the lowest prices or single site that will give them to you every time. The key is having a diverse set of tools in your box to pull out when you need them. By practicing that mantra, I seem to keep winning when it comes to finding decent and cheap hotels.


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18 COMMENTS

    • Yeah good point on the elite stuff. Some chains will give elite benefits, especially if you email the hotel ahead of time to have your number added to the reservation, but it isn’t guaranteed.

  1. Is that generally true that you forfeit elite benefits with hotels if you book through Chase or Citi.? Would those sites be available to use for best rate guarantee purposes?

    • It varies by chain. You almost never earn elite credit or points when booking through a third party, but most chains will honor elite status. (Not all though.)

      If you are an elite, then it can pay to book directly, but not at double the price.

  2. If you find a lower price at a third party website, and have elite status or really want/need the points, can you call and ask them to match so that you can book directly?

    • Every chain has a price match guarantee policy. The problem with bank sites like Chase and Citi ThankYou is that they won’t match them since they aren’t publicly available to everyone. If you find a lower rate on Expedia, Orbitz or a similar public site, they will often match and even give you a better deal depending on the chain. Of course you could always call the hotel directly and ask as well, but that rarely works in my experience.

  3. Marriott absolutely honors elite status benefits if you have elite status regardless of the booking portal — be it opaque bookings via Hotwire or Priceline to 3rd party bookings via Orbitz (though that generally would be not effective points wise as you would be giving up earning points when you could easily price-match that rate to ?Marriott.

    With respect to booking site aggregators, here is another one that you should keep in your arsenal: http://www.alltherrooms.com

    It sometimes picks up sites the others miss, such as when Groupon actually acts as a travel agency!

    I was able to price match a Groupon rate to an Embassy Suites and it was accepted by Hilton and I found it thru the above site.

    The above was really helpful as the total rate was a little over $102.00 and therefore qualified for the $100 rebate that Citi was offering for the first stay at a Hilton property when using the newly acquired Cit HHonors Reserve card.

    What’s more, is that shortly after the stay — as promised — Citi sent me the $50.00 AMEX gift card that they advertise, should you beat an advertised public rate.

    In sum, the stay was essentially free because of the Citi card rebate, and the non-waivable $95.00 annual fee was cut by $50.00 to only $45.00, and I was $100 nearer by $2,500 threshold spend towards earning the 2 Free weekend nights at almost any Hilton family property.

  4. Keep these types of posts coming man! Really good info.

    However, during my tests, almost ALWAYS hotels are more expensive with the UR portal. By A LOT.
    Flights are very competitive though.

    So I guess I will always check just in case.

    Also, do you have posts on exactly what you mentioned about doing price shopping in your sleep?
    Would be cool to get a rough guide on everything you do to check for best hotel rates.

    Matter of fact, maybe you could even do a PRO SERIES! Would be cool.

    So part 1 would be: How to Ninja search best hotel and masixmize points etc etc.
    And Part 2 would be rental car.. etc.

    Just a thought.

      • Yes please do man! Especially because I feel so stupid when I am not savvy enough and miss great opportunities or make fatal mistakes. Such as not using Best Rate Guarantees or not looking into RocketMiles. Even worse is that you dont get elite hotel credit or points when booking through a third party (but airlines you mostly do) so I really hate using travel booking websites and want to book direct when I can.

  5. Have fun on your trip. On a different topic, I wrote last night of some interest rates for Bank Accounts…well, this AM EverBank checking (100K Max) and EverBank money market (50K Max) increased their rates to 1.6% APY for next 6 months and guarantee post 6 mos to be within few percent of top rates in the nation if not top…very nice people to deal with, up to date web site with all the bells and whistles for convenience and personalization. And I’m in Florida and they are in New York.

  6. Terrible experience using Chase UR for the first time today. I am using all of my points from my CSR sign up bonus for a Marriott reservation. Chase UR booked me in a room two categories below what they advertised on their site – a partial ocean view room instead of an oceanfront room – a big difference at the property I am staying at. Now I have spent over two hours being bounced around on the telephone trying to resolve. BUYER BEWARE. Chase UR admitted that it was a problem on their end, yet the same room is still posted on the UR site. Now they are telling me that I will need to pay for the upgrade myself and they are promising to refund it later. Apparently Chase doesn’t have a credit card they can use for this. A very short lived relationship between myself and Chase UR.

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