In a few weeks, a group of my friends are getting together in Seattle for the weekend, and I want to go! The trip is a little spontaneous, but I just might be able to make it work.
They’ve all booked rooms at a Kimpton property, which I’m excited about (because I love Kimpton), but also a little constrained by (because I can’t just get a free award stay by using some hotel points). So, I decided to put my travel hacking skills to the test to find a discounted room. If there was a deal out there, I was determined to find it.
Spoiler alert: I was successful. 🙂
However, I ended up spending a lot more time and effort than I needed to. The silver lining was that during my search, I discovered HotelEngine, which turns out to be a valuable tool for saving money on hotel rooms – even when it seems like there isn’t a deal to be had. The weird thing is that for some reason, this site seems to be a secret. I’m excited to share it with you, because I think you’ll like it, too – but first let me explain why I think it’s a hidden gem.
1. HotelEngine gives you cash back. This reduces your cost on every hotel.
What I’ve found is that while all of the big travel sites do offer savings, they all offer similar savings.
It gets a little frustrating to spend a chunk of time clicking around for the “best deal” on five different sites, only to discover that they all have the same deal. To see what I’m talking about, check out this column of $249’s I found on Kayak:
With HotelEngine, while the deal offered may be the same price, you get a 5-10% rebate of the cost of each stay. For example, this same Hotel Monaco booking would earn you a $12.45 rebate. Granted, that’s not huge, but it’s certainly better than $0.
2. The ONLY prices displayed on HotelEngine are the same as the BEST prices offered on Kayak.
The fact that I don’t have to click through on multiple sites to find the best deal makes me very happy. As I mentioned before, I don’t really want to spend a lot of time wandering around on the internet – I would really prefer to go to one site and be done with it. I love that HotelEngine simply features the best price for each hotel. Easy and efficient!
3. They make it easy to see what you’re getting.
You can search by map view, distance, price, star rating, reviews…even by walk score! When you select a hotel, a description, reviews, and other details are displayed.
They even provide the weather forecast for your trip. What a great idea.
4. It’s clutter-free.
LOVE THIS. No ads, just your search results. The experience of searching for a hotel becomes a lot more relaxing and less stressful when you aren’t being bombarded with tons of flashy, splashy ads.
5. Right now, you can stack even more savings onto a stay.
Currently, you can apply a $25 referral code to your first booking. (if you do not use a referral link, the credit is only $5). Here is my link if you’d like to use it – thanks!
When you combine this immediate savings with the 5-10% rebate, plus the 2.2% rebate you get for using your Barclaycard Arrival (you are using a points-or-cash-earning credit card, right?), then you get a nice little discount now, and another chunk of change for later.
This is especially nice when there just aren’t any other deals to be had. I really love feeling like at least I got a little something!
6. Did I mention that it’s easy?
That’s the best part. HotelEngine is a snap.
And for me, it was all that I wanted in the first place: I saved money, I knew I was getting the best deal possible, and I had an enjoyable shopping experience. Done and done!
The only potential downside I see to using HotelEngine is that you will probably NOT get elite stay credit and/or recognition when you book a room through the site. However, if you are simply looking for the least expensive room option when all the other sites are showing the same price, I think it’s a great way to go.
Have you used HotelEngine yet? What did you think?