Flights and accommodations can eat up a vasty majority of your travel budget.
There are tricks to ensure you book the cheapest flights possible. But with so many lodging options on the market from traditional hotels to Airbnb, saving on accommodations can feel daunting.
Luckily, there are a handful of websites, workarounds, and partnerships you can use to save hundreds of dollars on hotels, earn more points, or both.
Sometimes it pays to keep your plans flexible.
Recently acquired by Airbnb, Hoteltonight helps you save on hotel bookings. And while “tonight” is in its name – and the biggest savings are typically on same-day rates – you can often find savings farther in advance, too.
Let's look at the savings. Hotel rooms in Midtown Manhattan were available on a Friday night at hundreds of dollars less than when booked in advance. Hoteltonight’s user-friendly app makes booking on the go a breeze.
Stay at an Airbnb (and Earn Miles, too)
It seems like Airbnb is taking over the world, and it can't be ignored when discussing lodging.
This home rental platform can save you a bundle in cities big and small – especially when you're traveling with larger groups. Read up on all our hints to make sure you get the best Airbnb possible. Be sure to check out Airbnb Plus and Airbnb Luxe listings, too.
Thrifty Tip: New To Airbnb? Sign up using our link and you will receive $40 towards your first stay (we will get $20 as well).
A common frustration with Airbnb is its lack of a loyalty program. But that doesn’t mean you can’t earn points on Airbnb bookings.
Airbnb’s partnership with Delta’s SkyMiles program allows you to earn 1x SkyMiles on bookings made through deltaairbnb.com. Simply visit the website and enter your SkyMiles number before every booking – no advance sign up or linking of accounts is required. Then continue to Airbnb and book your stay just as you normally would.
But Delta's not alone. You can also now earn 3x miles with British Airways, after the airline launched a partnership with Airbnb last month.
The online travel agency Orbitz has a great rewards program that can be helpful for finding the best hotel deals.
If you book through the mobile app, you can get 5% back on hotel stays – or 3% on desktop bookings. These rewards are credited to your account instantly and can be immediately used to make another booking. Insider offers, which are only available to those signed up with the Orbucks program, can also be significantly cheaper than what you might find on other booking sites.
Thrifty Tip: If you use the Orbucks program for more than 12 hotel nights per year, Orbitz will reimburse you for TSA PreCheck or LoungeBuddy, along with free room upgrades when available.
Ibotta and Ebates
Cashback sites like Ibotta and Ebates are fantastic options to double-dip on rewards.
When you launch purchases through the app, you can earn cash back – not only on everyday purchases like groceries and Amazon.com, but hotels and travel as well. The app allows you to pay with any credit card so you will earn through your credit card of choice as well.
Cashback rates vary, but you can expect to earn anywhere from 4% to 12% back on hotel purchases made through these apps.
Thrifty Tip: Sign up for Ibotta and eBates using our links and you can earn an additional $10-$25 on each app after your first offer redemptions (full disclosure, we will get a bonus too – everyone wins).
If you love surprises, you can score great deals on hotels through Hotwire.
Hotwire's novel hotel booking system doesn't tell you exactly what hotel you're booking. Instead, it provides some basic information about hotels such as star rating and the neighborhood the property is located in. In exchange for playing hotel roulette, you can get a discount – and sometimes a big one.
Sometimes, Hotwire will also guarantee your hotel will be one of four or five examples listed. Once you complete the booking, the name of the hotel will be revealed. These “Hot Rates” are typically much lower than what you could book the same hotel for by name.
There are a number of great ways to save substantial money on hotels and earn additional points and rewards without being bound to a hotel chain loyalty program.