The anatomy of paying $150 for a $240 hotel using Hotels.com & Ebates

I’m psyched to be visiting Mexico soon for the first time, but I quickly realized there aren’t any good points options for hotels in Huatulco.

This is the only option:

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Since I don’t have very many IHG points, and the cash price is very cheap (~$60/night), I decided to use my Prestige card to purchase 4 nights at the Holiday Inn.

The fourth night is free, thanks to the Prestige card, and the elite status from my Chase IHG card could potentially provide a room upgrade.

But I still needed to find a place to stay for the last night of the trip.

That’s where Hotels.com comes in (I’ve mentioned the pros and cons of using Hotels.com in the past).

So I found a hotel on the beach I’d like to stay at.

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Photo from Hotels.com.

Here is the price of the hotel when I’m not signed in to my account on Hotels.com:

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Let’s start hacking away at that total.

Step 1: Sign in to your account for access to “Secret Prices.”

Same hotel, same room, same date:

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Step 2: Use the Ebates Cash Back Button on your browser to activate cash back & add discount codes.

You can add this button on to your web browser for free.

When activated, you’ll automatically start earning cash back from your Ebates account, and it will even offer to add any discount codes that are available:

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Ebates tries each coupon code that it has & applies the one with the best discount:

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Here is what it applied to my hotel checkout:

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A coupon code got me $14 off, and the 6% cash back could eventually get me $13 from Ebates.

One negative of using gift cards is that Ebates doesn’t officially offer cash back on those purchases.

Ebates has a list of exclusions for each of its vendors.

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With that said, I’ve had luck in the past getting cash back on these purchases, so I’m hoping that will happen again here.

Here are some other portal options for cash back at Hotels.com.

As a note, when you apply a discount code, that night doesn’t count towards the ten nights needed for your free night from Hotels.com.

If you value checking off one of your 10 nights over the $14 discount, then you can go the route of not applying a discount code.

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Here’s our new total with the discount code applied:

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Step 3: Use your discounted Hotels.com gift cards.

Amazon has $50 Hotels.com gift cards for $40 every once in a while, and Ebay has discounted gift cards even more often.

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I had a small stockpile of discounted gift cards from over the past year, so I combined those into one, and selected gift card for payment:

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Gift card payment isn’t available for all hotels, but you can filter out any hotels that don’t allow it:

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As a final step, I always check a few other booking sites to make sure I’m getting the best price: booking.com, Travelocity, Expedia and Hotwire all had the same $238 price tag.

Here’s the math:

Initial total: $238

Secret Price total: $214

Minus $14 discount code: $200

Using discounted gift cards: $165

Plus a possible $13 Ebates cash back: $152

Plus 240 JetBlue miles earned from Amazon portal GC purchases: $150

Add in at least 165 credit card points from GC purchases: $149

Too much work for ~38% savings on one night? Maybe, but I had fun doing it.

Let me know if I missed any other discounts that you know of!

5 thoughts on “The anatomy of paying $150 for a $240 hotel using Hotels.com & Ebates

  1. Pingback: Recap: Hotels.com Stacking, New LCC LEVEL & Much More - Doctor Of Credit

  2. I too always use stacking with my Hotels.com purchases. Per Ebates terms, you do not earn cashback on gift card redemptions. You will not receive the $13 from Ebates as you outline above.

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  3. Pingback: This credit card’s $450 annual fee is totally worth it–for the first year | easyjourneys

  4. Pingback: Marriott’s birthday offer lured me into paying money for a hotel stay | easyjourneys

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