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The agent couldn't tell me just how many hotel chains do this, but she said it was a "fairly common practice" and that it sweetens the deal for travelers who book at regular rates. When reserving your hotel, most booking engines will allow you to make requests or add comments regarding your stay.: Joining hotel loyalty programs is often free (we rounded up the top loyalty programs for you), and being a member can guarantee better room placement, free nights, or helpful amenities like complimentary breakfast or Wi-Fi. However, in the teeny-tiny fine print, most hotels also say that your requests aren't guaranteed.But upon arrival, that infinity pool could really be the size of a postage stamp, and those sumptuous linens could feel like sandpaper. You want to read as many reviews as you can without suffering from information overload. The best way to get an accurate picture of the resort is to choose your review sites wisely.Take anything a hotel says about itself with a grain of salt (or sand). Trip Advisor and Oyster (which, like us, is owned by Trip Advisor) offer pretty accurate previews of what your hotel has to offer; Oyster's room photos are a great resource if you wonder how your room stacks up to the hotel's own slick—and possibly Photoshopped—images.Read on to find out what you must avoid when booking that hotel room. Always Expecting the Best Room I was recently chatting with a front-desk agent about how her hotel chain distributes rooms at check-in.Curious, I asked what method her staff uses to determine who gets the best-located rooms.You would be surprised how often travelers see the name of the hotel and reserve it quickly without checking to see if it's located in the right place. Always enter the hotel's address and see how far it is from popular attractions and restaurants by foot, by car, or by public transport.After all, some hotels may call themselves "located near the heart of downtown," but a quick search could reveal that it's located at the airport … Try entering the addresses of some attractions you'd like to see while in your destination and map the route.
From booking on the wrong sites to forgetting to check some vital information, these mistakes could easily make or break your trip.
Also make sure to scope out Tim Winship's Miles & Points column, which we run each week.
In it, Winship lists current credit card promotions. Making Reservations for the Wrong Hotel Travelers, beware: A misleading hotel name or location description could lead you to book an airport hotel when you think you're getting centrally located accommodations.
Not only do credit cards offer rewards like airline miles, free night stays, or cash-back bonuses, but they also offer certain guarantees that debit cards and cash do not (such as fraud protection or immediate refunds for mischarges). Most hotels will require an incidental deposit if you use a debit card to protect themselves against overdraft fees if your account has insufficient funds.
These additional deposits can add up: I once paid a 0 deposit in Las Vegas that wasn't refunded to my account for two weeks.If having the best possible room is key to happy travel, then book directly through the hotel's website. : The old adage "Expect nothing and you'll never be disappointed" holds true here, but it's cold comfort when you really wanted a certain amenity.But when those low, low OTA prices can't be beat—we know the feeling—you can always make a request for a certain type of room or location. Expecting Requests to Be Guaranteed King bed or two doubles? First, know that hotels will generally try to honor your requests.: If you are wise with money management and choose the right type of credit card, you could see plenty of benefits when booking accommodations.