Hotel Mistake Rate Strategy – You Should Do This When the Next Mistake Hotel Rate Comes Around

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Hotel Mistake Rate Strategy
Hilton Los Cabos. I was looking forward to staying here, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Hotel Mistake Rate Strategy

Last week I wrote about an amazing mistake rate at the Hilton Los Cabos. For a brief period of time Hilton was offering Premier Suites at their Los Cabos property for only 279 points. Of course the deal was a little too amazing and they later cancelled all reservations.

When mistake rates come along it can be exciting, but also very stressful. Time is always a factor and you may find that you have to choose dates that you may or may not be able to make work later on. On one hand you don’t want to miss out, but on the other life’s realities may get in the way.

Many people in this hobby also rely on award travel as their primary way of getting around. I do everything possible to avoid actually paying for a flight, which means that I have to deal with the hassles of award availability.

The Strategy

So then the problem becomes actually choosing dates, because if you book a room at a mistake rate, if the hotel decides to honor it, they probably won’t let you make any changes at all. Forget about being able to change the dates!

Hotel Mistake Rate Strategy
The Palazzo in Las Vegas. I recently stayed here for $40 a night on a mistake rate.

Thankfully there is a solution to this problem. All you have to do is book your stays in one night increments. By doing this you can cancel any part of the reservation that doesn’t work while keeping the rest of the booking in tact.

For example, during the Cabo deal I knew a date range that would work, but not how many days we would stay or whether flights would be available. Since I wanted flexibility, I booked 14 separate one night reservations with the intention of staying most nights. This gave me the ability to start the trip later or end it earlier without affecting anything else.

What if I had booked two separate 7 day reservations instead? Well if I couldn’t make any of those dates, then my reservation would have to be cancelled or I may face other hassles. I could try to call the property, but the chances of them being helpful aren’t great.

A Major Drawback

There is one major drawback to this method though. It definitely takes time. I am pretty fast on the draw, but if you aren’t so quick, then you might miss out if the deal dies while you are trying to book the dates you want. A good solution to this is to book a full single reservation and then book the dates separately if the deal is still alive.

For example, I could have booked two 7 night reservations and then booked fourteen 1 night reservations afterwards. Of course inventory may come into play with this method, so YMMV. Another idea is to book in smaller chunks like 2 or 3 nights, so you don’t have so many reservations, but you still have flexibility.

Another small drawback for some people is having multiple reservations and worrying about being moved during your stay. Most hotels generally group together consecutive reservations under the same name, however you can always email the hotel ahead of time to make sure this happens so you don’t have to move rooms.


Mistake rates are a lot of fun, but unfortunately they require you to make a lot of decisions in a short period of time.  By utilizing the technique of making multiple bookings, you can ensure you still have the flexibility you need to enjoy that amazing deal without having to cancel everything!

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. Not related to mistake rates, but rather to the concept of making multiple 1 night reservations, I now ALWAYS make separate 1 night award reservations whenever I am staying at a Hyatt property. I didn’t used to do this until one time I made a 2 night award reservation, and had to leave early after only using the first night. When I checked out, I attempted to confirm with the front desk that I would receive a point refund for the unused second night, and they said NO that is not their policy. I had never experienced this before at any of the hotel chains. I ended up calling Hyatt Goldpoints and they referred me to some provision buried in their T&Cs that says award reservations are treated like stays, with the price for the whole stay equaling the per night rate times the number of nights. So what I thought were 2 nights at 8,000 points each was actually ONE stay for a price of 16,000 points. And since I did use the first night, I used the “stay”, and thus there was no point refund available! Eventually, the hotel manager made a discretionary point addition to my account for the 8,000 point cost of the second night. But from that day forward, all my Hyatt reservations are separate 1 night reservations. It is a big hassle to have to book that way just for the sake of flexibility, but it is better than getting caught in what is truly a “gotcha” provision of their program. And a gotcha that I don’t believe any of the other major hotel programs have.

  2. Don’t you find that booking 14 consecutive one day reservations is adding insult to injury? Hell, I’m strongly on the customer side rather than the hotel, and even I see it as abuse. I hate to see mistakes like this not honored because some people went out of their way to piss the chains off. There’s a reason IHG point breaks disallowed exactly this ploy.

    • What is the difference from booking two 7 night night stays? I was planning on staying about 10 nights and at worse 7 nights. I didn’t book every day for a month or every week for 6 months. I think that would have been abuse.


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