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.
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!
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!