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A few weeks ago I wrote about Club1Hotels – a 3rd party hotel booking site where you are able to access wholesale rates at luxurious hotels around the world. This is a membership only site where you’ll have to pay a $675 annual fee to have access to these rates, BUT… through the end of October you can sign up for a free 1-year membership. On top of the free membership, they are giving new and existing members $50 free credits to use at their site through October 30, 2016 (this Sunday). The one caveat is that the $50 credit can only be used towards booking fees and your stay has to be 2+ nights. Typically, an average night comes with a $35 booking fee, but it depends on the property. However, even with the booking fee, I’ve found this site to still have cheaper prices then booking with the hotel directly. My main gripe with this site is that it doesn’t tell you exactly the cost of the booking fees. They lump the taxes and booking fees into one line item so you are not able to see the exact breakdown. There is no promotion code, but I was told that the $50 will come off your credit card charge within 8-hours of booking your hotel reservation through the site.
Even if you are not going to take advantage of the $50 credits, you still might as well sign up for the site. The great thing about this site is that to sign up you do not need to enter any credit card information. That means you will NOT be automatically billed a year from now for another years worth of membership. At that time, you can select whether or not you received value from the site and extend your membership if you desire. Come November there will be a promotional offer in place for joining, but not nearly as good as FREE! You can sign up here.
Is Club1Hotels Actually Cheaper?
When I was first initially introduced to this site I did a cost comparison of a few hotels. I plugged in a random date in December for the Westin Copley in Boston. It is one of my preferred hotels in Boston since it is so centrally located and attached to Copley/Prudential. For the exact same room and cancellation policy, I did find the the Club1Hotels rate was significantly cheaper than booking directly with Starwood. However, if you are okay with a pre-paid rate that you cannot cancel, then booking through Starwood directly was slightly cheaper (Club1 Hotels did not have a fully prepaid rate to compare against for this particular hotel).
The Club1Hotels rate came out to a total of $430.63. Keep in mind that when you book with this site they add a booking fee in the “Tax Recovery/Booking Fee” line to cover credit card processing fees and costs related to processing members’ bookings.
Booking through Starwood directly comes out to $497.97. This is about $67 more than booking with Club1Hotels. The only benefit you have with booking directly with Starwood (or another major hotel chain) is that you’ll earn points/stays towards status and your status will be honored. When you book with most 3rd party hotel sites (this one included), you most likely will not earn points for your stay, receive nights/stays towards status, and any status you have with the chain will not be honored. Although sometimes those things do slip through the cracks and you get them anyways. So you have to determine whether or not saving money is worth not getting the perks. This cost analysis does not take into consideration the $50 credit towards booking fees.
Keep in mind that while this membership comes with Priority Pass, the free membership option does not. Come November if you sign up with a paid version, you will be able to receive a Priority Pass membership for the year. There will be a promotional sign up option. More on this membership option in November.
Has anyone used this site yet? Any discounted hotel options that you’ve come across?