How to Save Money on Hotels AND Know Where You Will Stay

You may or may not be familiar with Priceline's "Express Deals". Express Deals are discounted hotel rooms that come with a slight catch: you don't know exactly which hotel you're booking until after you've already paid, and they're non-refundable and non-cancellable.

What most people don't realize is that it's actually very easy to figure out which hotel you're booking with a few simple steps:

  1. Calculate the hotel's non-discounted rate
    • NonDiscountedRate ~= Discounted_Rate / (100 - Discount_Percentage) * 100
    • $297 ~= $232 / (100 - 22) * 100
  2. Compare ratings
  3. Compare amenities

For example, I was looking for a 4-star hotel in the Riverwalk Area of San Antonio for this weekend. Priceline had two Express Deals that matched my requirements:

  • Hotel 1
    • Discounted_Rate = $94
    • Discount_Percentage = 20%
    • NonDiscountedRate = $117
    • Stars = 4
    • Rating = 8+
    • Amenities: Pool, Restaurant, Gym, Internet, Business Center
  • Hotel 2
    • Discounted_Rate = $232
    • Discount_Percentage = 22%
    • NonDiscountedRate = $297
    • Stars = 4.5
    • Rating = 9+
    • Amenities: Pool, Pet-Friendly, Restaurant, Gym

Hotel 2 was easy to figure out. When I calculated the non-discounted price, >$297, there was only one match: Mokara Hotel & Spa San Antonio.

Hotel 1 was a little harder. There were two hotels that matched the non-discounted price of >$117: Grand Hyatt San Antonio Riverwalk and Hyatt Regency San Antonio.

I clicked the "Details" tab for each hotel to see a list of their amenities to compare with the Express Deals hotel.

Hotel 1 has a restaurant. Only one of the two hotels, the Hyatt Regency San Antonio, has a restaurant.

After just a couple minutes I knew exactly which hotels I could expect to get if I bought an Express Deal. This was handy because I could locate it on the map before deciding to stay at one or the other.

Here's a calculator that will calculate the NonDiscountedRate for an Express Deals hotel for you: