Reader Wins $500 Hotel Credit Giveaway

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Club1 Hotels Free 1-Year Membership

Last week I ran a contest to give away a $500 credit for new discount hotel booking site Club1 Hotels.

Club1 Hotels is a membership site, and that lets them sell rooms at a discount, offering lower rates to consumers instead of taking their booking commission. They report that they make money on membership fees rather than individual bookings. (Since they’re a membership site hotel best rate guarantees for direct booking on a hotel chain’s website don’t apply.)

Their membership normally costs $675 for a year, but they’re giving away one year memberships that provide access to discounts (but don’t come with a Priority Pass for airport lounge access) now. It’s worth signing up just to check out pricing.

When writing about the site I gave an example of hotel savings in New York and London.

I plugged October 26-28 in New York at random. They offered a savings of hundreds of dollars at the Andaz Wall Street.

Andaz Wall Street

Hyatt wanted $1143 all-in for those two nights:

Club1 Hotels was offering them for $861:

November 10-15 at the Shangri-La The Shard in London priced at $2200 through Club1 hotels vs $2950 direct – a savings of about $750.

Chain hotels don’t generally give points or elite night credit for third party bookings, and as a general matter Starwood, Hilton and IHG don’t honor elite benefits on third party bookings while Marriott and Hyatt will. For a big enough savings, giving up points is fine. And for bookings with Four Seasons and other luxury chain properties it wouldn’t much matter anyway.

Club1Hotels offered $500 to spend on any hotel through their site to a reader, for bookings made by May 2017. I asked readers to leave a comment with which hotel available at Club1Hotels they’d spend their $500 at.

I drew a winner via

And reader Kawai takes ‘home’ the prize. Congratulations!

Club1 Hotels Free 1-Year Membership

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Honest feedback, if that is what they are looking for, after playing with the beta for a couple weeks Guess I can let loose with my feelings now that I didn’t win the $500 🙂

    – Site is really clunky and buggy. Often searches will not list the hotels until you click back and forth from map to list.
    – Interface is unappealing and bare bones. I guess they are going for the warehouse club effect but it just makes it ugly and confusing.
    – They add a booking fee and they are not very transparent about it. It is buried in with the taxes, and it is not clear whether it is a percentage of the room cost, a fixed amount or a variable amount.
    – I did various searches for upcoming travel and the prices ranged from no discount at all to slightly higher to a small discount- but by the time you factor in the booking fee (which no other major site charges) and the loss of discount codes and possible cashback portal earnings, I could not find one deal worth booking.
    – For free, I am willing to keep them in mind, but I would NEVER consider paying $675 a year, nor even $67.50 unless there are some crazy hot deals there I haven’t found yet. I would say– if they got rid of the booking fees, improved the website, and offered more consistently lower-than-market rates when factoring in all discounts, I might sign up for a membership for about $10 or $20 if I could convince myself they offer some value I can’t find elsewhere.

    Just my two cents so far and thanks for sharing the promo anyway.

  2. I tried to drill deeper into the booking fee thing on a test booking. On an inexpensive ($106) property in Malta for example, they were charging an $18.11 additional booking fee lumped in with the taxes. There is a 7% VAT and $1 a night environmental fee as far as real taxes and fees go on normal booking sites. They say “** The majority of the tax recovery/booking fee is the hotel tax, that we pay to the hotel, and they remit to the local taxing authority. Since we do not mark up our wholesale rates, we do charge a booking fee to cover credit card processing fees and costs related to processing members’ bookings.” but this is clearly not the case in the test bookings I looked at. In this case two thirds of the “taxes and fees” were comprised of their markup– they were adding 17%! So clearly this is their de facto commission, if indeed the rates advertised are their “wholesale” cost. No way do credit card processing fees approach anywhere near 17%. Well I’m sure what matters to most of us in the bottom line so if overall it works for some properties then great but caveat emptor. I don’t see how this business model (and the crazy high annual subscription fees they plan to charge) could possibly work but I’m sure there are certain deals to be had if you look hard enough during the free subscription period.

  3. As the others have said, the site is a piece of work….in progress. I seem to find that if I look at rates and then wait 24, 48 hours and then go back, rates will appear to have gone down. Haven’t done a booking yet, so not sure if this is the case. But, I think that is strange as these are supposed to be wholesale, contract rates. Contract rates usually change around the first of the year, not in October.

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