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There’s no doubt that traveling can be expensive, especially if you’re not into the miles and points world (like I suppose most of the people reading this post are). I know I am always on the lookout for a good deal, and I know I’m not alone in that. So it’s probably not a surprise that there are plenty of people out dispensing advice on how to save money at hotels. I guess that applies to me too :-). But recently I saw a post advertising a TikTok talking about how to save money at hotels that I thought was particularly not likely to ever work.

Bad advice on how to save at hotels

I saw a TikTok from a user named danibeeating who said that she had just left a job as a hotel front-desk clerk. Dani started the video by talking about how you can often save money by booking directly from the hotel rather than booking through third-party booking sites (Expedia, Travelocity, etc). So far, so good – that is definitely true. She didn’t mention that often you won’t get elite benefits or credit when you book a hotel room through a third-party booking site, but that’s another reason booking direct is often a good idea.

But where things start to go south is that she says that one way to save money on hotels is if you first book a third-party hotel, and then CALL the front desk of the hotel and ask for a discount. She suggests that because the hotel wouldn’t have to pay 17% commission to Expedia, that they would sell you a room for $10 less than they otherwise would.

You can see the full video below

The comments were in 2 main camps:

  • I tried this and it doesn’t work
  • $10 isn’t enough to make me actually make a phone a call 🙂

I tend to agree with the first part in that I think this strategy is very unlikely to actually work. She seems to have experience with this and perhaps this was a thing at the hotel where she worked. I watched her 2nd (follow up) video as well where she gave a bit more details. So I don’t think that she is ignorant or doesn’t know what she’s talking about. It seems clear to me that this is something that perhaps her hotel did or allowed. I just don’t think that it’s something that will work in most cases.

But IDK – anyone else with actual experience want to chime in if this is likely to work?

a large building with a sign

How to actually save on hotels

One point that she made in her TikTok video that I definitely agree with was that the rates you book with Expedia or other 3rd-party websites are usually nonrefundable, meaning your credit card is charged right away and if your plans change, then too bad. Compare that to most hotel rates which are refundable and cancellable, and your card is usually not charged until you check out. That means you can cancel if your plans change, AND if the rate goes down you can cancel and rebook

(SEE ALSO: This Is Why You Should Always Check Your Hotel Bill)

(SEE ALSO: Now you have to constantly check your HILTON reservations too?!?)

Using credit card points

I think the best way to save money on hotels is through judicious use of credit card signup bonuses. Nearly all major hotel chains have at least one hotel credit card, and they usually have signup bonuses that can get you multiple nights free. Many hotel credit cards also offer valuable perks and benefits when staying with that hotel.

You can find the top hotel credit cards on our top credit cards page.

The Bottom Line

A recently viral TikTok is dishing out some advice on how to save money at hotels that… is just not going to work. The suggestion was that you could call up the front desk of a hotel and ask for a discount so that the hotel wouldn’t have to pay commission to the third-party booking site (Expedia, etc). While it seems to have been a thing at the hotel where the original poster previously worked, I can’t imagine that this is a thing that will work in most cases.

Have you ever had success calling up a hotel and asking for a discount instead of using a third-party booking site? Leave your experience in the comments

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