“Secret” steps to bigger hotel discounts – why isn’t everyone doing this?


I am a frequent traveler. I travel for business, I travel for pleasure. I go on girlfriend getaways, fly off to family vacations, and get out of town solo. Last year, I stayed a total of 55 nights in hotels.

I travel a lot.

So, when I learned about TravelPony, a new hotel booking site that could save me 10-70% more than the “big” travel sites, I was excited (I love to get a great deal!), but I was also a little skeptical. I’ve booked a lot of hotels, and I’ve seen a lot of hype about “deep discounts” and “huge savings” from sites that claim to have the best prices.

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. With this in mind, I decided to give TravelPony a try. At worst, I would be out 15 minutes or so…but at best, I could actually save some major cash.

Here is a little video from TravelPony that gives you a good overview of their business model:

This all sounded great, but I also wanted to make sure that TravelPony could come through with discounts on different types of hotels – budget, luxury, boutique, and business – because if I was going to get excited about their site, they were going to have to be more than a one-trick pony (sorry, couldn’t resist).

What I learned was that TravelPony saved me money – a LOT of money – on hotels that I was excited to stay in, for prices that I was excited to pay. I got huge discounts on a luxury hotel in Vegas, a boutique hotel in San Francisco, and a business hotel in Denver. I also saved on a budget hotel outside of Boston. Clearly, TravelPony is stocked with something for everyone.

If you’d like to learn how to snap up these kinds of bargains for yourself, read on.

First of all, you can arm yourself with two very useful coupon codes:

  • PONYPOINTS10, which will save you 10% off any booking (code is useable through March 31, 2014)
  • A friend’s referral code, which will stack $35 on top of that. My referral code is here, in case you would like to use it.

First booking: luxury hotel in Las Vegas. Spoiler alert: I saved 50%!

The first booking I made on TravelPony was in Las Vegas.

I was going for glitz, glam, and luxury. I had saved up for this vacation and was willing to splurge a little – but I didn’t want to break the bank. My budget was $200 (or less) per night. Initially, when I had searched for “luxury bargains,” I had hoped for the Four Seasons – the ultimate in luxury – but the prices were way out of my league.

So imagine my surprise when I found a TravelPony rate at the Four Seasons for $178.50 per night! Note that this is not a price I would normally be excited about, but like I said, it was a special weekend, and I was looking for true luxury.

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travel pony four seasons las vegas

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For comparison purposes, I checked prices on Kayak.com, which is usually my go-to site for finding deals. TravelPony’s initial rate of $178 priced out at 23% less than the already-deeply-discounted Olotels price ($228).

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Screenshot of Kayak price list for the Four Seasons.

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Since I had an additional $85 in credits (an older coupon code worth $50 + a friend’s referral code for another $35), my final price was $116.50, which is a 49% discount off the already-discounted price!

If you booked this hotel today using the PONYPOINTS10 discount plus the $35 new user code, you could bring this down to $146, which is a 37% discount.

Wow.

You can read my detailed review of the Four Seasons Las Vegas here.

Second booking: 9% savings on a budget hotel outside of Boston.

Now I was definitely interested. I decided to try again. This time I was just looking for an inexpensive place to sleep for the night. I didn’t need glitz and glam – and I also didn’t want to spend a lot.

Here is what I found. TravelPony seemed to price out similarly to GetARoom.com.

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I did my own comparison to double-check, and what I found is that TravelPony was simply being modest!

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Booking with TravelPony would save me $10. Not a lot, but when you stay in as many hotels as I do, these little amounts add up. The point is that TravelPony saved me 9% more than I would have spent if I went through one of the bigger discount sites.

Tip: the PONYPOINTS10 code is good on multiple bookings, so if you used it on this booking, you could save an additional $10.

Another tip: if you find a TravelPony price that is very similar to another site, double-check prices. I’ve noticed that sometimes there is a short lag time as their site updates, so it is definitely worth it to click the lowest-priced option and see what the final cost really is.

 

Third booking: boutique hotel in San Francisco. Cha-ching! I saved 17%!

Next, I looked for a boutique property in San Francisco…and found that the Argonaut, a Kimpton property, was going for $279 a night (including taxes and fees).

With the 10% off deal, this prices out at $252.

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The lowest price I could find on any other site was $335 a night. This meant that TravelPony would save me 17% off the discounted price…or 25% if I used the 10% off code.

So nice. You can read my review of the Argonaut here.

 

Fourth booking: 13% off a business hotel in Denver.

The last hotel I booked was for a business trip to Denver. I like staying at Hyatt properties, so I found this option on the Hyatt site:

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And I found this on TravelPony:

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Guess which one I booked?

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The verdict.

TravelPony saved me a lot of money. By using their site instead of one of the “big guys,” I saved between 9-49% ON TOP OF the discount that I would have received on a bigger site such as Expedia or Hotels.com…on every booking, in many different types of hotels.

I call this a huge score.

Using TravelPony was easy. The reason they are able to offer such significant discounts is that it’s a members-only site. Legally, they can’t show you the amazing deals if you don’t log in. Luckily this process takes about three seconds.

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So I have to wonder – why is TravelPony still a “secret”? Why isn’t everyone doing this?

I’m spreading the word.

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