I Use This Simple Strategy For Booking Reservations at Hotels

“You have to decide if you’re willing to risk losing $435 if you need to cancel, in order to save $0 on your vacation. Remember, I’m looking for a vacation over six months away. Lots of things can change in six months”, according to this article written by Joe For me, I try to never book a non-refundable advance purchase rate. I’m not willing to risk the money just to save a few dollars.”

I Use This Simple Strategy For Booking Reservations at Hotels

Grand Hilton Seoul

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

When booking reservations at hotel and resort properties, you usually have two choices if you are not able to take advantage of a special lodging rate: the best available rate which you can usually wait until anywhere between 24 hours and 72 hours prior to checking in; and paying a restricted rate for your stay in its entirety at the time of booking your reservation and potentially saving a significant amount of money — but risking losing it all if your plans change, as refunds and changes are typically not permitted at all or without paying an extra charge as a penalty.

The first thing I do is read the rules of each rate. If the reservation is months in advance, I usually book the least expensive refundable rate. I then check the rates every few days. If the least expensive refundable rate becomes even less expensive, I change it…

…and if I check the reservation at a time in advance of my stay when I am as certain as possible that I will be staying at that hotel or resort property and the restricted rate is still significantly less expensive than the cheapest refundable rate, I will then convert my reservation to the restricted rate.

Sometimes the restrictive rate becomes even less expensive, which is a bonus because I saved even more money.


Hilton Nairobi

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Although not foolproof or perfect, this simple strategy has worked well for me overall over the years because it has saved me a significant amount of money — and it does not require much time or effort.

If you want the odds to be more in your favor while diminishing the risk of purchasing restrictive rates, you can consider purchasing travel insurance for those times when you may not be able to stay at a hotel or resort property after purchasing the restrictive rate — but then you have to consider whether the cost of travel insurance is worth decreasing your risk when purchasing restrictive lodging rates.

When you are completely unsure that you will be able to keep your reservation at a hotel or resort property, just purchase the least expensive refundable rate — especially if the risk of purchasing a restrictive rate is simply too great. The extra money you will be paying will be worth your peace of mind.

That is my experience, anyway…

…but if you have a better strategy to impart on how you balance the least expensive refundable rate with restrictive rates to get the best deal possible — without the benefit of a special rate — that you would like to share, I am interested in reading about it. Please post it in the Comments section below.

All photographs ©2014 and ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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