smart spending

5 ways to score cheap hotel deals

Use membership programs and special offers
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Members of groups such as AAA and AARP often qualify for reduced hotel rates.

The same holds true for people in certain professions, such as educators and military personnel, says Nancy Dunnan, editor and publisher of TravelSmart, one of the nation's oldest consumer travel newsletters.

"If you work for a nonprofit or are an educator, mention the fact when making reservations," Dunnan says. "You may get a discount or an upgrade."

Many hotel chains and individually operated hotels give discounts to military personnel. For example, Choice Hotels offers a 10 percent discount plus 10 percent bonus points on future lodging. Marriott offers 15 percent off while Days Inn has a 10 percent discount.

"Through 2010, the elegant Warwick International Hotels is giving a 25 percent discount to active military personnel who are on R&R," says Dunnan. The discounts are available at hotels in Dallas, Denver, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle.

Discounts may also be extended to returning guests, she says.

"If you have been a guest of the hotel previously, mention the fact," she says. "Or, if your company uses the hotel or chain, again state the fact, even if you're not on a business trip."




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