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.
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
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
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.)
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.