Know The Jargon To Get A Great Hotel Rate

To get into speakeasies of yore, you had to knock and the door, waiting for the big guy to slide back the eye slot, and say the secret password. Likewise, in order to get into a hotel room at a great price, you gotta know the lingo to sling.

Consumer Reports Money Blog says that when you sidle up to that front desk, just asking for “the best available rate” might not be good enough. Instead, try asking for the “cheapest nonrefundable rate.” More so than asking for the “corporate rate” or “best available,” saying “the cheapest nonrefundable rate” is most likely to get you in like flynn to that nice-priced room. Since they don’t have to pad into the price a hedge against you cancelling, you can sometimes get a sweeter price.

Just don’t get too far into you head about the whole speakeasy thing; visit the room’s minibar too frequently and you could end up drinking away any discounts you snatched up.

For even more tips on getting a cheaper room, like haggling, locking in a rate and considering a suite, check out the Consumer Reports article.

How to get a great hotel rate [Consumer Reports Money Blog]


Edit Your Comment

  1. SalesGeek says:

    Hilton has these listed on their reservations systems. They have a “prepaid” rate that’s often 10% less than the cheapest I can get otherwise (usually corporate or AARP rates).

    You just have to be willing to pay then and it *is* nonrefundable.

    • Jerry Vandesic says:

      I have found that the pre-paid rates at Hilton are a bit more expensive than AAA rates (at least in the UK). AAA turns out to be a great deal.

  2. The Upright Man says:

    Who is this “Flynn” I keep hearing about?

  3. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    From the Red Green School of Ducking Hotel-Room Fees:

    “Prior to checking out, some pencil-necked hotel valet will enter your room and take stock of the alcohol in your mini-bar, making sure you haven’t consumed any of their 24-bucks-a-pop domestic beers. Now, what you do is you go down to your liquor store, and buy a 24-case of the same domestic beer, which will probably run you about the same price as one of Hotel-Guy’s beers. Before you check out, cram as many of those suckers as you can into the mini-bar.

    Now, when pencil-neck comes to check your room for missing beer, he’ll discover a surplus of alcohol where previously there wasn’t. Crediting you the 24 bucks a can, your 250-dollar overnight just became thirty-some dollars and change!”


  4. Straspey says:

    “In Like Flynn”


    To be quickly and/or emphatically successful, usually in a sexual or romantic context.


    in like flynnThis phrase is commonly said to be a reference to Errol Flynn, the Australian film actor. Flynn was famous for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and for his flamboyant private life. His reputation as a hard-drinking, hell-raising ladies’ man was apparently well justified, although it has doubtless been enhanced by his delight in playing up to his image. For instance, he entitled his autobiography – My Wicked, Wicked Ways and also did nothing to dispel the incredible but nonetheless widespread rumours as to the the size of his penis and the number of women who had shared his bed. Flynn was acquitted in February 1943 for the statutory rape of a teenage girl.

    The word in had been used with regard to success, good fortune or sexual conquest for some years prior to the 1940s.

    ALSO (Not to confused with)

    “In Like Flint”

    In Like Flint is a 1967 film directed by Gordon Douglas, the sequel to the parody spy film Our Man Flint (1966). It posits an international feminist conspiracy to depose the ruling American patriarchy with a feminist matriarchy. To achieve and establish it, they kidnap and replace the U.S. President, discredit the head of the Z.O.W.I.E. intelligence agency, and commandeer a nuclear-armed space platform, all directed from Fabulous Face, a women’s spa in the Virgin Islands. Circumstances compel ex-secret agent Derek Flint to help his ex-boss, and so uncover the conspiracy. Actors James Coburn and Lee J. Cobb reprise their roles as “Derek Flint” and spy chief “Lloyd C. Cramden”, Flint’s ex-boss. The movie poster for In Like Flint features a classic piece of movie poster artwork by the late Bob Peak.

  5. lotussix says:

    i work for a hotel company and these rates are very much so nonrefundable. people keep saying it’s in fine print and whatnot, but if you booked this on our website, it says so in RED lettering with the same font and size.

  6. Brie says:

    Now that our kids are teens, we love suites – after a day of traveling together it’s nice to each have our own space. I’ve noticed suite hotels becoming more popular with families. That said, Marriott’s SpringHill Suites line seems much better for parents with toddlers than with families who want privacy. The last suite we stayed in was so weirdly space-planned that our kids’ normal speaking voices in the bed area were AMPLIFIED into the outer living area.

    • bendee says:

      Most hotel chains are going to the ‘studio suite’ BS. Even Embassy Suites, the king of 100% 2 room suite hotels, started adding them to newer hotels.

      • MrEvil says:

        But Embassy Suites has free booze from 7PM to 9PM and that killer breakfast. I think my friends and I made back our hotel room money in the free drinks and food.

        Not sure how similar all Embassy Suites are, but the one in Grapevine Texas showed us a great time. Loved the large room (was plenty of space for 6 guys.)

        • Kate says:

          That raises all kinds of intriguing questions that I’m not sure I want to know the answer to.

          • AnthonyC says:

            Having gone on trips with my entire high school marching band (~100 people), with 4 guys in a normal hotel room, I expect it doesn’t need to raise very many questions at all.

  7. stevied says:

    One would think The Consumerist would want equal pricing for all people rather than this game playing crap that yields better pricing for select people.

  8. gman863 says:

    Excuse me stewardess, I speak hotel jive.

  9. JayBents says:

    Best available rate is always BS, Choice Hotels has even changed the name of their standard no discounts rack rate to Best Available Rate or BAR on their website and the systems at the hotels. And if you get a prepaid or a nonrefundable rate don’t complain to the hotel clerks, we can’t change this. If it’s prepaid through Hotwire or one of those we can’t even change the dates of your stay, you have to do that through the website you booked it at.

    As a front desk manager my best suggestion for cheap rates would be location specific discounts. For example we have a federal prison, and a few hospitals around that people travel to visit. Our regular rate can fluctuate between $59-$79 weekdays in winter but we generally have our Prison/Hospital rate set to $55 all winter. Some hotels will put rack cards in the local hospitals with discounts on them, just try calling a local hospital and see if they suggest one for visiting family members.

    On the same lines I’d say people really need to start researching events in the town for the dates they want to stay. If the whole area is full for 20+ miles for a yearly event, don’t get mad at the hotel clerks when the rate is high, they generally can’t discount and getting mad at them will stop them if they do have the option. Please don’t argue that you’re not coming to town for that event. For one we can’t charge you less just because you want to visit your great aunt Murial during the big air show weekend, it doesn’t matter if you promise not to look at the planes. And two we get so many people trying to use excuses that even if we could charge less we don’t believe you anyway.

    One last thing since we’re on the subject of discounts, if you come to my desk at check out with a list of problems that you didn’t tell us about at night or when they started I will assume that they didn’t bother you that much and you won’t get a big discount. It won’t matter how much you complain to me because most times this is just someone looking for money off. If you have an actual problem I will discount accordingly or if I’ve heard from my staff that you were having problems at night I might even discount without you asking depending on what happened to make up for our mistakes/problems. I’ve had people complain for 10 solid minutes about the 15 things wrong with their room that night, and when I ask if they called the desk so we could sort it out they’ve gotten quiet and told me that they didn’t want to bother us. These people get maybe 10% off if their problems are valid. If they had called and we couldn’t fix their problems in the room we’ll usually move them and discount more if need be.

    /Could go on for another day or so but I’ll stop this here.

    • tooluser says:

      I’ve found that, in the off seasons, showing up in person without a reservation gets a better rate about 50% of the time. Many places know the value of the marginal dollar (i.e. $50 for a $120 room is $50 more than they would get if no one shows up to rent that last room).

      • JayBents says:

        Sure off season slow nights will do that.

        Also if they have suites ask about upgrades if the hotel is empty, odds are we aren’t going to sell it for what we’d normally want it for anyway and we’ll drop quite a bit on them if there’s no demand.