Save an upfront 16% off hotel bookings with CheapTickets until 13 November

Guide to using promo codes with CheapTickets, Orbitz, Expedia and Hotels.com to secure upfront hotel discounts

You can always save between 8 – 20% off your hotel bookings by using promo codes on CheapTickets, Orbitz, Expedia and Hotels.com.

While these codes cannot be used on bookings with most of the major hotel chains, they can be used with thousands of independent hotels around the world.

In this guide, we’ll look at the different promotions on offer, the relevant terms / exclusions for each, and the credit cards you can use that have low international transaction fees (as CheapTickets and Orbitz charge in US Dollars).

We’ll republish this guide each time new promo codes are released.

It’s usually a prerequisite to have an account with these sites if you want to use their promo codes, so if you don’t already, you can join up via these links:

Orbitz

Beach Resort

If you frequently stay at independent hotels, use Orbitz for most of your bookings, and you’re happy to use their mobile app, this offer works out to be the best available (even taking into account any international transaction fees).

The Orbucks you earn can be used on future hotel bookings, and you don’t require any minimum amount to redeem (e.g. if you only have 2 Orbucks, you can redeem them for a $2 USD discount off a future stay).

  • Promo Code: HAPPYFALL
  • Discount: 15% + 5% back in ‘Orbucks’ if you use their mobile app
  • Valid until: 23 October 2017 4.59PM NZST
  • Travel finished by: 30 June 2018
  • You can see the full offer details and how to use the promo code through this link

You are limited to two redemptions of the promo code (they usually offer a new one each month), and up to a maximum saving of $150 USD per booking (excludes Orbucks earn). After those two bookings, this promo code will not be able to be used again, even if one or more of those bookings is cancelled.

Below is another Orbitz offer that we are aware of:

Save $25 USD on bookings via the Orbitz app

  • Promo Code: 25DOWNLOAD
  • Discount: $25 + 5% back in ‘Orbucks’ if you use their mobile app
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 31 December 2017
  • Only available on bookings that are $100 or more, and for 2 or more nights. Limit one discount per hotel room, and one promotion code per booking.
  • You can see the full offer details and how to use the promo code through this link

CheapTickets

Hammock on the beach

CheapTickets usually have the best offer available if you want an upfront discount, and will be best for those who don’t travel or stay at independent hotels regularly.

  • Promo Code: FALLPLAY
  • Discount: 16%
  • Valid until: 13 November 2017 4.59PM NZST
  • Travel finished by: 30 June 2018
  • You can see the full offer details and how to use the promo code through this link

You are limited to two redemptions of the promo code (they usually offer a new one each month), and up to a maximum saving of $150 USD per booking. After those two bookings, this promo code will not be able to be used again, even if one or more of those bookings is cancelled.

Expedia

Bagan Myanmar

The offer below is exclusive to New Zealand Mastercard credit card holders.

Although you won’t incur any international transaction fees when booking through Expedia, you’ll find that Orbitz and Cheaptickets still offer a greater discount overall. However like Orbitz, you can earn Expedia+ Points towards future bookings, once you have at least 140 points (which is equal to $1 NZD).

  • Promo Code: Randomly generated, visit this page
  • Discount: 12% + at least 2.85-5.7% back in ‘Expedia+ Points’ if you use their mobile app, depending on whether you end up redeeming your Expedia+ points for normal hotels, or VIP Access hotels
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 30 June 2018
  • No blackout dates, can be combined with special +VIP hotel offers, such as free nights, discounts, upgrades, and dining and spa credits (where available)
  • Only one Coupon per transaction may be used. In a multiple-room booking, the discount will be applied to only one room.
  • You don’t need an account to use the Mastercard code, but you must have an account to earn Expedia+ Points
  • You can see the full offer details, including excluded hotel chains, through this link

Hotels.com

Pool by the beach

Hotels.com generally offer the least appealing offers out of the booking sites in this article. Using any of these promo codes will also cause you to miss out on earning any Welcome Rewards nights, so if you book regularly with Hotels.com, you’re generally better off sticking to the free nights rather than using promo codes.

On the plus side, there are lots of offers available, and you won’t incur any international transaction fees when booking through Hotels.com.

Mastercard Offer

This offer is exclusive to Mastercard credit card holders.

  • Promo Code: MASTERCARD – must book via this page
  • Discount: 8%
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 31 March 2018
  • Only one Coupon per transaction may be used. In a multiple-room booking, the discount will be applied to only one room. Only for stays of up to 28 nights.

Visa Offer

This offer is exclusive to Visa credit card holders.

  • Promo Code: VISA8 – must book via this page
  • Discount: 8%
  • Valid until: 31 December 2017
  • Travel finished by: 31 March 2018
  • Only one Coupon per transaction may be used. In a multiple-room booking, the discount will be applied to only one room.

Key points that are common for all Hotels.com offers:

  • If you subscribe to their emails, you’ll receive an exclusive promo code every month or so.
  • Most major hotel chains are excluded, you can see the full list at this link.

Factors to consider when using these promo codes

As with any promotion, there are different factors you’ll need to consider before booking:

  • All of these offers are for stand-alone hotel bookings only, not in conjunction with any other product types (unless otherwise mentioned above).
  • The discounts will not apply to taxes/fees.
  • You must pay up front and not at the hotel (though the codes can still be used on refundable rates, it just means you’ll need to wait for a refund back to your credit card account if you choose to cancel).
  • CheapTickets and Orbitz charge in US Dollars, which means that you’ll incur international transaction fees with most credit cards, effectively reducing your ‘discount’ by up to 2.5% for the NZD amount, depending on your credit card (we have listed all the available rates in New Zealand below). Though in saying this, they still generally offer a better discount than the sites that don’t incur credit card fees.
  • Sometimes – and it’s less likely when the discounts are as large as some of those listed above – it can be better value to contact the hotel and enquire what deal they can offer, if you book direct. All hotels pay commission to these sites for each booking, and if you book direct instead, the hotel saves on these fees. While they may not offer a discount, they could offer a room upgrade or daily free breakfast (from my experience), and that could work out good value for longer stays. If they offer you something like this, make sure you get it in writing!

Minimising your international transaction fees

CheapTickets and Orbitz charge in US dollars, so you’ll more than likely incur an international transaction fee when booking through these sites with a credit card.

Most credit cards in New Zealand issued by the major banks charge on average about 2.5% on the NZD converted amount of international transactions. However, there are quite a few that are lower than this.

We have listed the different card providers below so you can compare. Remember that your credit card may have a reward program that provides a return on your spend (cashback, frequent flyer miles etc.), so make sure you factor this in when deciding which card to use.

E.g. the American Express Airpoints Platinum will see you earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $59 you spend on your Card, which will reduce the ‘currency fee’ to an effective 0.8%.

Note that we have not included the fees charged for any discontinued products.

Credit CardInternational Transaction Fee
Flight Centre Mastercard1.4%
Q Mastercard1.4%
Kiwibank1.85%
Countdown Onecard1.9%
Diners Club New Zealand2%
Gem Visa2%
Warehouse Money2%
ASB2.1%
BNZ2.25%
American Express2.5%
Westpac2.5%
TSB2.5%
The Cooperative Bank2.5%

Do you need help finding the best deals on hotels?

Hotel

While the offers above are simple to redeem, I do offer a service that helps you find the cheapest prices for hotel bookings, including liaising with hotels directly to see if they can offer better prices or stay offers when booking direct. This is especially useful for those who are short on time, but would still like to save money.

If you ever need help with a hotel booking, please feel free to contact me.

Summing Up

Saving money on your hotel stays isn’t hard – I’m always surprised to hear people say that they’ve paid full price for accommodation on their holidays.

CheapTickets is generally your best choice for up front discounts, and Orbitz is best where you make frequent bookings and can take advantage of the Orbucks earn. These sites however have a savings cap of $150 USD. If you’re booking expensive stays, it could be cheaper to use Expedia or Hotels.com.

Always do your comparisons and sums to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your booking. Prices can vary between sites, even in spite of promo code usage, and sometimes the best deal can be found by contacting the hotel directly.

Save an upfront 16% off hotel bookings with CheapTickets until 13 November was last modified: October 18th, 2017 by Daniel Kinnoch