How to find a cheap hotel deal

Ten ways to lower the cost of your stay

The long winter evenings are perfect for perusing hotel booking sites for the perfect room to book for your next getaway. But with so many comparison sites, booking sites and hotel sites to look at, where do you actually find the cheapest price for the hotel that you want?

Start with one site then compare prices

Price is important, but so are things like location, facilities and reviews. So first of all you just want to narrow your search down to a handful of options you like the look of. Tripadvisor is always a good option, despite some questionable reviews.

Once you’ve found your hotel at a price you like, you can use comparison sites like Trivago, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor and Kayak to see if anyone can beat it.

Check for member savings

Discounts given as part of site or hotel loyalty schemes are not usually included in the comparison site results, so you could end up saving even more money by checking out those prices too. offers a free to join loyalty scheme called Genius, which can get you up to an additional 20% off thousands of participating properties, free breakfasts and room upgrades, depending on what level you’re on. reward members get a 10% discount off bookings, plus for every ten nights booked, there’s a free reward night earned. 

Even if you think you’ve found a good price elsewhere, it’s worth checking both sites to see if the member price is lower or gives you extras that are worth the price difference.

It’s also worth checking the hotel chain website as there are often member prices and free upgrades for many of the hotel chains like Hilton Honours, Radisson Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy plus so many more.

Price up booking directly with the hotel

Sometimes booking directly with a hotel is the cheapest way to book. Even if their website price isn’t the lowest, contact the hotel directly with the price you have found online, to see if they can beat it. 

Pick the free cancellation option

If you book through a hotel, booking or a comparison site it can be wise to pick the price that includes free cancellation. This will allow you to cancel and rebook free of charge if you find the price cheaper. You can keep checking for a cheaper price right up to the free cancellation date, which with many is up to 48 hours before check-in.

Just be aware that you will need to check the terms and conditions to ensure there is no fee for cancelling, and if you have paid upfront, then you will have to wait for a refund. If you’ve paid in a foreign currency, there may be fluctuations in exchange rates, so be mindful of this also.

These flexible bookings will initially cost more, so it won’t always be worth it – especially if you know you won’t be making any changes to your plans.

Take advantage of price promises

Many sites offer price promises, so if you find the same hotel cheaper elsewhere they’ll refund the difference. will refund the difference up to 24 hours before check-in, will refund the difference if you claim the day before check-in and ebookers will refund the difference if you claim 48 hours before check-in. 

To submit a claim, the comparable hotel must be available with exactly the same terms as your original booking.

Book your hotel through a cashback site

Many of the booking sites are on Quidco and TopCashback, so once you’ve found your best price, log into your cashback site and book via them to receive money back on your booking. 

At the time of writing, TopCashback was offering a massive 11% cashback for and Quidco was offering 8%. Remember you can get up to £20 as a welcome bonus if you’ve not joined either site before.

It’s also worth looking at Metro’s offer for, where you’ll get a gift voucher to use at sites like Amazon, following your booking.

Take a gamble on a secret hotel

If you know the area you want to stay in but aren’t sure which hotel, there are sites like Priceline, Lastminute and Hotwire where you can select an area and pay less for not selecting a particular hotel. 

With Priceline for example, you can see the area, the star rating, the review score and the amenities before you book, but not knowing which hotel you’ll end up in could save you up to 60% on the cost. Once you’ve booked (and note this is non-refundable), they’ll tell you the hotel you will be staying at.

It is a bit of a gamble but if you know the area you want and the rating of the hotel you want to stay at, the money saved and the element of surprise will hopefully be worth it.

Sometimes you can copy and paste the mystery hotel description text from these sites into Google and find the same wording used on other booking sites, along with the hotel name.

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Check the small print when booking for a family

Some booking sites and hotel chain websites will give you two rooms when you request a price for more than four people. But if you read the small print or check the hotel details, it will often state that you can have more than four in a room and pay a small extra for a roll-away bed. 

I come across this problem on many hotel booking sites, since I have to book for a family of five. But a quick check in the hotel details will show me if there is a maximum room occupancy and if extra children are allowed in the room or if roll-away beds are available.

If you can’t find the information on room occupancy in the hotel details, then a quick call to the hotel should give you all the answers.

Pay with a fee-free credit card

Watch out for hotel bookings where the price is shown in pounds but you actually get charged in the local currency, since you could incur a fee on your credit card. The best way to avoid this is to use a specialist fee-free card, such as Chase’s debit card. Here are all our top options.

If your hotel booking is more than £100 and you pay by credit card, you’ll get extra protection under the Consumer Credit Act, though this can sometimes be a grey area when using a booking site.

Another way to protect your booking is to book the hotel and a flight from the same travel website in the same transaction, as this will give you full ATOL financial and legal protection.

Use ‘points’ to pay

You can turn every £5 in Tesco Clubcard vouchers into £10.00 to use with to use on eligible properties. The maximum amount of vouchers is £380. Just be aware that this site might not always be the cheapest option, so you’re best finding your hotel first before converting your Clubcard points to vouchers.

And if you have Avios or Virgin points, and you have no plans to use them for flights, there is an option to use them with partner hotels chains – though you’ll often get the best value swapping Avios into Nectar points to use at Sainsbury’s.

And don’t forget, if you’re booking directly with the hotel, rather than through a booking site, you can earn Avios and Virgin points with most of the larger chain hotels.


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