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Where to look for ‘hidden’ hotel specials

Reader Jean Kato of Torrance, California, knows finding a good deal sometimes requires a little digging. Often, you can find a special promotion, discounted rate, or other perks by going directly to the homepage of the hotel that interests you. “I usually go to the hotel website and check their specials, after checking AAA, AARP rates, etc.,” says Kato. “They frequently offer much better deals and often throw in extras such as free parking or breakfast.”

Many major hotels list their lowest rates through their own websites. Omni Hotels, for example, list online-only “Net Savvy” rates, typically the cheapest among all their rate categories; Choice Hotels offer “Internet User’s Rates,” which tend to undercut the rest. Be sure to see if your preferred hotel has a similar rate option—terms to look for on the website include “online-only rates,” “web special,” and the like.

And, like Kato, if you’re looking for a little something extra, a hotel’s homepage is a great place to look for packages. These promotions are often conveniently listed under a header such as “specials” or “packages,” and you probably won’t find them anywhere else (except, maybe, a brochure).

Like any purchase, however, make sure you read the fine print before you turn over your credit card. Sometimes these deals require prepayment, have a cancellation fee, or a similar requirement. It’s better to be fully aware before buying, rather than get surprised later.

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