How To Get The Most Out of A Hotel Stay


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Saving money on a hotel room is sometimes a question away. Just asking if  a better rate is available can in some cases save a significant amount of money. My brother in law wins the prize for the biggest discount, however, because with one question he saved over $200.

We had been planning a New Year’s Eve stay at a hotel with some family near the Mall Of America in the Minneapolis / St. Paul metropolitan area. The location would put us in walking distance of several restaurant options for dinner, along with the potential to go to a movie and a comedy club all found within, or near the mall.

We were also looking to get together with a larger group on New Year’s Day to have our annual family Christmas gathering on my wife’s side of the family. The thought was we could get a suite large enough to accommodate our Christmas gathering. Adults could hang out in the suite, and kids could go down to the pool. One hotel we checked with seemed perfect, as they offered a 5pm checkout on New Year’s Day. This would allow us to use the room for a few extra hours in the afternoon for our gathering.

There was just one problem; That hotel was not renting out it’s suites for New Year’s Eve.

Another hotel was found right across the street from the mall that was renting out it’s suites. Unfortunately, they did not offer a 5pm checkout. My brother in law can be very persuasive, and simply by mentioning that we were looking to book multiple rooms there instead of at a different hotel that did offer a 5pm checkout, he was able to get them to accommodate our needs.

Had we not been able to get the later checkout, we would have had several other alternatives:

  • Hold our gathering at someone’s home, but then we would not have the ability to use a pool.
  • Rent the suite for an extra night, at the cost of over $200.

Hotels have a wide range of flexibility allowing you to score a discount, or get them to bend their usual terms to fit your needs. Here are some tips to be successful when dealing with hotels:


  • Ask multiple questions regarding available discounts: Ask if they have a corporate rate, a AAA rate, or discounts for being a member of any kind of club. If you ask enough questions, you may be surprised to find that you qualify for one, OR, they may just get sick of you asking and give you a discount anyway.
  • Use Leverage: Using our experience as a guide, if one hotel doesn’t quite fit your needs, ask another hotel to match it. The worst they can say is no.
  • Late Arrival: If you walk into a hotel late at night needing a room, ask for a discount since you won’t get full use of the room or the facilities. We’ve done this several times, and have always been successful.

Early Check in

There have been times when we’ve either wanted, or needed an early check in. The standard answer is, “We cannot guarantee an early check in time.” I always find this interesting, since I see cleaning people readying rooms for the next guest as early as 8am. Call in advance and ask for an early check in. Then, arrive early and ask again. I’ve heard my wife say on more than one occasion, “You’re telling me there’s not one room in this entire hotel that’s ready for check in?” One always seems to magically become ready.

Late Check Out

10:55 is not the best time to call to request a late checkout when you’re supposed to be out by 11. I suggest always requesting a late checkout when you check in. If you don’t need it, no harm no foul. But if you need the extra time, you’ve got it.

A full hotel is an anomaly. Most nights there are open rooms, and getting someone in those rooms is their primary objective, even if they have to offer some perks to make it happen.

Have you ever asked a hotel to bend their policies, or asked for a discount? Did it work?

About Travis

24 Responses to “How To Get The Most Out of A Hotel Stay”

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  1. I’ve never had the need to, but it never hurts to ask. Happy New Year!

    • Travis says:

      Happy New Year to you as well, Brian! That’s right, it never ever hurts to ask. The worst they can say is, “No,” and it’s not like you’ll ever see that person again, so who cares what they think of your line of questioning?!? Thanks for reading!

  2. I find most hotels to be accommodating to reasonable requests, such as early or late checkouts, unless there so some sort of convention where it actually may be difficult for them to do so. They want and need your business and if you are a part of their hotel rewards program that can open doors too.

    • Travis says:

      That’s true, Shannon – I’ve seen hotel rewards programs that let you trade points for late checkouts, or just offer late checkouts as part of their program. You take perks however you can get them! Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Sassy Mamaw says:

    Many, (many! lol) years ago, I worked as a hotel desk clerk and auditor. It was a lot easier to get an early check in time than a later check out.

    A lot of smaller hotels and less expensive chains only have their cleaning staff on hand until early afternoon. If someone wants to check out at 4pm, for example, they would need to keep someone there to clean one room.

    • Travis says:

      Good information, Sassy Mamaw. *most* of the time if we need a late checkout it’s just an hour or so. But for those abnormal situations where someone wants to stay much later, this could certainly come into play. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mike says:

    Great example of good negotiation. People who simply ask for a discount tend to get them and to your point the worst that can happen is you get a “no” / you are no worse off.

  5. Kim says:

    I’ve never thought to ask for a discount when arriving in the middle of the night, but that’s a good idea. I have been upgraded on several late check ins, which is always a welcome surprise. I did have a stay booked last summer that we had to cancel without 24 hours notice due to stomach flu. They weren’t going to refund my money, but I nicely told the desk clerk that I would never stay in that chain of hotels again if they would not cancel without charging, and they waived the charge. It never hurts to speak up for what you want.

    • Travis says:

      I’d take a discount over a late night upgrade, Kim. After all, you’re likely just going to sleep, waking up and checking out. I’ve never been denied a late night checkin – try it out and let us know if it works! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  6. Michelle says:

    I don’t stay in hotels very often but I will definitely keep these tips in mind!!

  7. I always try to scheme for upgrades or perks. It is my job! =)

  8. Nice work on the discount Travis! We don’t travel as much now since we have the kiddos but we regularly will ask for something – either a discount or early check in/late check out. I’d obviously rather have the cash discount, but will take what I can get. I’ve found that if you’re nice about it and a member of their loyalty program you’ll most likely get something out of it.

    • Travis says:

      There’s all kinds of ways to save money on a hotel room via discount programs, John. I bet there some super secret ways, and I’m determined to figure out what they are. 🙂 Great to hear from you!

  9. Interesting….I never thought of asking for a discount for a late arrival. I’ll have to use that one when the time comes.

    As for booking, I always try out various rates – AAA and online pricing are my first two choices. Usually one of them is good to save us money off the price of the room.

    • Travis says:

      I wouldn’t have thought about it either, Jon. There was a time when we checked in late, and the desk clerk volunteered the discount. From then on, anytime we check in late we ask for it! You’re right about AAA – it seems to get the best discount of any club/membership. Thanks for your comment Jon!

  10. This post makes me realize how long it’s been since I’ve stayed in a hotel . . . I look forward to applying this advice once we’re debt-free : )

  11. Mackenzie says:

    I will definitely keep these tips in mind the next time I stay in a hotel!

    Hope you are having a good 2015 so far Travis! 🙂

  12. We almost always ask for early check-in and late check-out, because we’re usually staying at a Starwood property through their rewards system and they’re happy to extend great service to loyal customers. We’ve also found that we can almost always request a nicer room too. The key for us has been to stay with the same rewards point system. And, to always ask nicely 🙂

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