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How I got a $365/night hotel for a third of the cost

I’m the first to admit I’m cheap. I’ll stay at bare-bones hotels boasting nothing more than a bed, a shower, and a lock on the door. I’ll choose the least expensive flight I can find (layovers be damned). I’ve even gotten used to tiny rental cars.

It’s not often the luxury and budget worlds overlap. Every once in awhile, though, the stars align for budget travelers. Here’s how I got (and you can, too) a $365 per night luxury hotel for a third of the cost.

  • Choose your destination wisely: I was traveling to Chicago on a summer weekend (where there is typically more availability in cities).
  • Travel on off-peak days: I added an extra day beyond the standard Friday and Sunday travel days, choosing to depart on Monday.
  • Be willing to book blindly: Opaque travel sites Hotwire and Priceline offered prices that undercut the competition, and for higher-class hotels to boot.
  • Compare, compare, compare: I monitored Hotwire’s offerings versus the competition for a few days to make sure there really were no cheaper hotels. After about a week of monitoring, I felt comfortable enough to book.

The one negative side effect? Once you’ve paid $129 a night for a four-star hotel with a flat-screen TV, turndown service, fluffy bathrobes and slippers, and free high-speed Internet access, you may never want to go back to a motel.

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