7 Warning Signs You Overpaid for Your Hotel

Audrey Fairbrother
May 5, 2014
7 Warning Signs You Overpaid for Your Hotel

At some point, we’ve all paid too much for travel: car rental company insurance policies, a taxi rather than the subway, and don’t even get me started on breakfast at a popular family-style restaurant chain in Niagara Falls, Ontario ($63 for three people—what? It wasn’t even that good!). We usually know when we overpay for things like food and transportation, but hotels are different: it’s easy to pay too much without even realizing there was a better deal available.

Here are 7 warning signs you overpaid for your hotel room.

You booked more than 3 months in advance


There is no perfect window for booking a hotel room, but if you book too early, you are likely paying the highest price out there. Unless you are booking a room for the March Madness finals, don’t make any firm commitments more than a month out. Hotel managers are optimistic and will usually keep the prices as high as possible as long as possible, until it looks like they might have trouble filling the rooms.

You booked a refundable rate

Unless you are afraid that your plans will change at the last minute, book a non-refundable rate, which can usually save you about 20%. You can book a refundable rate to start with while you keep looking for a better price, but then switch to a non-refundable one once you’ve made your decision. These rates usually need to be booked 3, 7, or 14 days in advance.

You paid for Internet service

Many hotels offer free Internet service, but some still charge up to $10/day for the privilege of accessing their network. You can usually get this fee waived by joining the hotel’s loyalty program.

You paid a resort fee

Some hotels charge resort fees that can reach $20 per person/per day. Unless you plan to make extensive use of the amenities (e.g., fitness center, in-room phone, etc.), choose a hotel that doesn’t charge this annoying fee.

You used loyalty points for an inexpensive room

This one is a bit counterintuitive—when you use points, you don’t pay for anything at all, right? Not quite. You paid for plenty of rooms to earn those points, so spend them wisely. I recommend paying for rooms in less expensive locations, like Albany, Oregon, and saving your points for higher-priced cities like New York.

You paid for a feature or view room


Here’s a little secret hotels don’t want you to know: You can often get a free upgrade just by asking at the front desk at check-in. I’m not talking suite-level upgrades—you usually have to pay for those. But if you want a room on a higher floor or one with a better view, most hotels will gladly accommodate you if there is a room available, especially if you belong to their loyalty program.

You didn’t book through Hotel Engine

Hotel Engine gives you access to great rates and a fabulous rewards program that lets you save even more. If you booked anywhere else, you most likely paid too much. Join Hotel Engine today and never overpay for your hotel again. Plus, as a special offer, you’ll get a $10 credit just for trying it out.

Image Credits: Featured image by 2bgr8 [CC-BY-3.0]; “Calendar” by Ollinatl [CC-BY-3.0]; “Wi-Fi” by Fuma Ren [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons; “Room with a View” by Janine [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Audrey Fairbrother
Article written by
Audrey Fairbrother
Audrey Fairbrother is the Content and SEO Manager at Hotel Engine. She spends her days writing about all things business travel, researching topics that are important to Hotel Engine's audience and cultivating the company's brand voice.
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