Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash & Save Money On Hotel Bookings

Some of the links on my blog help me earn free credits and/or compensation for products I support.  I appreciate your support if you choose to use one of my links.  If you’re a frequent reader of these pages you’ll know that most of my posts contain no referral links.  Those that do are only for products I use/carry myself.

I’m frequently skeptical of the “next best booking engine” when it comes to websites that offer better/cheaper rates.  As a general rule, the OTA (online travel agency) market has streamlined over the years, so there isn’t a ton of difference in rates.

I was recently introduced to a new site, Club1Hotels.  They truly offer lower rates than other channels out there, including Expedia and the hotel’s website.  They approached me with two cool offers for my readers that I’m onboard with:

  1. They’ve given me $250 to give away to one lucky reader to spend on a reservation at any Club1Hotel property.  That’s any hotel listed on their booking engine.
  2. They’ve set up a page where folks can register for a free 1-year Beta membership.  They currently sell membership for $675, but you can sign up with no credit card on file for the first year for free.

When I’m approached with offers like this to feature for readers, I want to know what the underlying business model is.  I’m an investor in my “day job”, so I evaluate whether things are likely to succeed or fail on a daily basis.  The business model is right up the alley with one of my all-time favorite retail stores.  To me, this is the “Costco of OTAs”.  They plan to pass on wholesale booking rates to customers and charge a membership fee, similar to Costco.

I have no way to verify if these are actually wholesale rates, but my initial searches saw plenty of savings.  I spent a couple of hours plugging away on the site and almost always found that Club1Hotel’s rates were the lowest.  I took a look at rooms in NYC, Miami and Denver for a random weekend for purposes of this comparison.

In Denver,for a one-night stay on the weekend in October, the Hyatt website listed the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center at $339:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

That’s the same price Expedia had it for:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

But, Club1Hotels had it for $305.26:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

In Miami, I checked on the Confidante, a hotel Hyatt recently added to the Unbound collection:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

They featured it for $306.  Club1Hotels had it for $181.  That’s just stunning:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

In NYC (and definitely out of my price range), Hyatt showed the Park Hyatt NYC for $1100 a night:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

Club1Hotels was $740:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

They weren’t all cheaper.  I did find rates at the Hyatt Place Laguardia were higher on Club1Hotels than on Hyatt’s website for my member rate.  But, those sorts of finds were few and far between.

How Do You Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash?

I know everyone wants the answer to that.  🙂

  1. Go to Club1Hotels website and register for the site (I have a couple of notes on that below)
  2. Pick out your favorite hotel on the Club1Hotels website (not all hotels are on there, for example Fairmont Monte Carlo is being added next week).
  3. Share in the comments of this post which hotel you’d use the $250 at if you win.
  4. I’ll pick a winner from the registered users who list their hotel in the comments below on Friday, so you have until 11:59 pm Thursday, September 22nd to register and comment.

I took a few snapshots of the registration process:

Navigate to the registration page:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

Fill in name, e-mail address and confirm you’re not a robot.  Click submit and the system will take you to a page where you can key in the rest of your information.

IMPORTANT: Choose “-E- Beta Explorer”

Once you have confirmation that your account has been created, click on Members Login at the top of the page.

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

Fill in your e-mail and password in the “Agent Login” panel and click Login.  That will take you to the main search page:

Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash

It’s pretty similar to other OTA interfaces I’ve used.  There were a few things I liked right off the bat:

  • Ability to put in a general hotel name (Hyatt, for example) in the Hotel Name field, narrowing the search to all Hyatt hotels in an area.
  • A button to show me Available Hotels Only.  Big annoyance for me from other OTAs.
  • Ability to select what quality property I’m looking for.  I rarely stay at a 1-star hotel, so I prefer not to see those sorts of listings in major cities.

Everything Is Perfect, Right?  Sunshine and Roses!

Well, no.  For those looking to get elite credit and benefits, these rates appear to perform like those from other OTAs.  While there will be some degree of YMMV (your mileage may vary, for those who don’t like acronyms), you won’t get elite credit booking through this channel for the major chains.

You should get elite benefits at Hyatt and Marriott, meaning access to club lounges, etc.  And, in many cases the cost savings here far outweigh the elite benefits/credit you receive.

I’m still clarifying information on the other benefits the membership contains:

  • Access to over 900 airport lounges worldwide
  • Unpublished rates with United Airlines and American Airlines
  • Up to 40% off international first & business class airfare.
  • Concierge service

As soon as I have tested these features I’ll provide a write-up on the value of the membership overall.  For now, register for free and enter the contest to win $250.

The post Win $250 In Free Hotel Cash & Save Money On Hotel Bookings was published first on Pizza in Motion

74 Comments

  1. I can’t get it to work. Tried to register, but it won’t let me hit the “submit” button (Yes, I checked the terms box). I tried using a new window, incognito, new browser, different email addresses….it just keeps saying :

    There was a problem with your submission.
    Sorry, but this form is limited to one submission per user.

    I was intrigued, but whatever IT they’ve got going on is frustrating. I tried logging in and it tells me either my login or password is incorrect. I tried clicking forgot password and it says it is unable to find me in the system (because I couldn’t complete registration). But it won’t let me register now as it says once per user no matter what I use for an email address.

    As a very frequent traveler who spends his entire days at the computer (splitting attention between video conferences as booking travel), I was excited at the possibility of checking this out…..now it’s kind of frustrated me enough not to be very interested. Thanks anyway for sharing.

    1. Ok, so in reality, I am a moron. All ^^ that frustration for my own stupid mistake (repeated again and again). I’m so used to Google filling in form data, and it filled in name and email address and zip code and phone number….I assumed it had filled in all of those fields and neglected to realize that I had to pick the town from a drop-down menu. Interestingly enough, my town wasn’t in the drop-down of towns in my state. In fact, the closest town I could find was 30 miles away — it was missing a ton of towns in my state…..

      1. Nico, thank you for this feedback! We have received similar feedback and are in the process of removing the drop-down list of towns and cities. Instead, we fill be inserting a simple text box for town/city user input. While we wait for this change, if you’d like, we can add your town to our drop-down list so you can register as a Beta Explorer Member. You can contact me directly at jessica@club1hotels.com. Thank you!

  2. Here’s a aspirational yet affordable place: Yavapai Lodge, inside Grand Canyon NP. Club1 offers a single night for only $145. It’s a few bucks cheaper than Expedia. $250 is almost enough to cover 2 nights. Send me?

  3. Rivers Edge Hotel in PDX

    Not sure if I’m doing something wrong but the price was actually higher on Club1. Going to fiddle with it more though…

    1. Hi Sybloc,
      Glad to see you’re enjoying Club1Hotels.com We are currently updating our global inventory which is why our Beta-Explorers are the first to have access to our service. We should have our complete inventory up shortly. In the meantime, if you find a better rate elsewhere please contact MemberServices@club1hotels.com immediately to have our staff personally look into it and to provide you with the additional wholesale rates that may not be in our online system yet.

  4. Ok seems kinda fishy… I checked some rates…and it looked like a deal…but when you go to book it adds on taxes and a recovery fee….when I compared that to the actual true taxes it came out to be $100! so while the first look sees like a BIG savings it wasn’t that much once you added in their “recovery fee”

      1. Kelly,

        Thank you for your feedback! The tax recovery and booking fee is comprised of hotel tax + costs related to processing members’ bookings (such as the credit card processing fee). Since we do not mark-up our wholesale rates, we charge the booking fee. In addition, the tax recovery is paid directly to the hotel for the hotel to remit to the local taxing authority.

        We’re interested to see which property you were checking. We are in the process of adding additional hotels and resorts, as well as more exclusive rates. Please give us an email at MemberServices@Club1Hotels.com.

        Thank you!

          1. Edward, great question! The booking fee is a set percentage of the room rate – meaning the actual cost will vary per unique booking. We’ve added an explanation of the tax recovery and booking fee on our site directly under the breakdown of total cost (room rate, tax recovery and booking fee, and total). As for the exact booking fee on the rates page, you do have to choose a room type to access the tax recovery and booking fee. This is something our IT team will definitely take a look at as we move out of our Beta phase.

    1. Kelly, I’ve done some more exploring. I’d still love to know what property you were looking at. What I’m generally finding the more I search is that on lower rates, Club1 is generally only a few bucks cheaper than booking with the hotel once you add in the booking fee. On more expensive rates, I’m seeing big gaps. And, on a few occasions, I’ve found member pricing (Hyatt specifically ) that was $2 cheaper all-in.

  5. As I’ll be leaving for Brussels this December, I’ll choose Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. It’s weird how it’s displayed twice (once as a 4 star and once as a 5 star) during my search. Different prices and description, too.

    1. Hi Teddy! We’ve done some troubleshooting; there are two unique Radisson Blu Hotels, one in the heart of Brussels (5-star) and another in European Quarters (4-star). Hope this helps!

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