As it’s been said before, IT is hard. Between human error, tech glitches, and unforeseen loopholes, travelers have learned over the years how to hack the system. Some of these methods are ethically questionable but others are so widely available that the only explanation for their existence is that the hotels, airlines and rental car companies allow them to exist.
When I accidentally found a corporate rate for a rental car, I had to decide whether to take my chances and tell the company that I made an innocent mistake if asked or pay many times over my originally quoted price.
However, I just found a deeply discounted rate for a Marriott Hotel and I didn’t do anything more than check all the prices available for our stay.
I was looking for a four-night stay at a Courtyard by Marriott. Here were the nightly rates and award prices per night.
- $197 – 35,000 points
- $224 – 35,000 points
- $246 – 40,000 points
- $265 – 40,000 points
Either way, that’s quite a bit of cash or 150,000 points for a 4-night stay at a Courtyard. Since I knew I would get the 5th night free with an award stay, I added a day to the beginning of our trip.
When I checked the points required, I saw the one-night free but another thing caught my attention under the “Deals and Packages” banner. While the best-prepaid rate was $277 per night, there is a rate of $139 per night listed. I clicked and found this.
Marriott’s website showed me the Long Term Stay rate of $139 a night. The terms clearly state it’s for stays of 7 nights or more.
But wait, there’s more! At the bottom of the rate details, there’s this gem.
“Your current rate may be available if your modified reservation still includes a stay of 5 night(s) or more.”
Note that I didn’t modify my stay. I merely searched for a 5-night stay and this rate showed up. Remember that’s a rate of $139 compared to $283 for the discounted AAA rate.
Of course, I booked us for a five-night stay and Marriott’s system confirmed it immediately. $139 a night is less than the cheap hotels are charging in the area.
It’s pretty well known that if you’re renting a car, it’s often less expensive to pay the weekly rate (which is often considered more than 5 nights) than it would be to pay for four days at the daily rate. You can even time your flights to save money on your rental car. However, I’ve never found a hotel that charged this much less for stays 5 nights or more. Just one more thing to consider when trying to save money when traveling.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary