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"Advanced purchase" hotel rooms... a good idea?

"Advanced purchase" hotel rooms... a good idea?

Feb 13th, 2008, 12:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,055
"Advanced purchase" hotel rooms... a good idea?

I'm looking for hotel rooms in Berlin this summer, and am finding that many hotels offer a reduced rate for "advanced purchase." Typically, next to the price it says something like "full credit card purchase required; no cancellations accepted."

Has anyone ever done an advanced purchase like this? If so, is it true that you make the full payment now with no possibility of getting that money back if you cancel? I don't anticipate cancelling, but it also seems pretty risky to pay everything now with no possible recourse.
msteacher is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 12:34 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,227
Yes, exactly the same as Priceline "name your own price" feature works. No money return if you cancel.
What I do in this case is booking a hotel which doesn't require money in advance...and looking to that hotel you like again when the time of travel has come. If they still have the offer, I book it and cancel the other.
kenderina is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 12:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,607
I have done the advance purchase before, but only when I got a *very) goode deal and I was completely certain (or close to it) that I would not have to cancel. It might be wise to get trip insurance if you are shelling out a lot of money in advance.
cheryllj is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,172
Do you have travel insurance? If so, that may cover this instance if you have to cancel.

I have done numerous advanced purchases, through Priceline, Hotwire, and directly on the hotel web site, and all have worked out fine.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
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I have also pre-paid a number of times with no problems.

One time we had a change in schedule and were totally prepared to just 'eat' the money we had paid.

But I decided to call the hotel directly just to see if anything could be done.

They did not want to refund my money; however, they let me change my dates at no extra charge. Very nice of them!
swisshiker is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 01:03 PM
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I'll take your experience one step further.

Few years ago I made a pre-paid res on hilton.com for one of the London Hiltons.

Fortunately they did not charge my card at the time of the reservation (more common practice for European Hiltons as US Hiltons do charge the CC) but the reservation confirmation was very clear about the charges if I didn't show up. I would have been charged the full amount.

Couple of months later my plans have changed, so just like you, I called the hotel directly.

I made sure it was in the middle of the night in London when I called.

I explained to the front desk clerk that I made a mistake with the dates and that I will be in London a month later.

He looked up the res, changed it to the new dates. I thanked him and hung up. I did not expect what happened next.

Although there was a possibility that I would be in London the following month, there was no guarantee.

I went on line and saw that my non-refundable res was changed to a fully flexible res for the following month. I just cancelled it on line and that was that.

That said, I would strongly advice anybody against making pre-paid reses unless they are willing to eat the cost if they need to cancel for ANY reason. Once they make that res, they are stuck with it. Your or mine story only works on 1 or 2 occasions but it's far from a guarantee that it will work everytime.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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AAFF, I totally agree! You must be prepared to forfeit the money should your plans change. Our stories had a happy ending, but for every "happy ending" I'm sure there are 20x that number who have lost their deposits.

swisshiker is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sure, I've done it, if the discount was significant. I'm sure it varies by hotel, but yes you do make the payment in full by credit card.

It's just a hotel room, if that seems too risky to you, don't do it. The reason it is nonrefundable is, of course, that the hotel gains better control of bookings and room management, and you get a cheaper rate.

I don't cancel hotels, ever, so didn't perceive it as that risky. I would have to be seriously ill and not make the trip or dead -- in which case, I wouldn't care. I just don't worry about things like that so much, they are too unlikely to worry about them (for me). I am not one of those people who likes to book and cancel hotel rooms, though. I suppose there could be a slight risk if it were your first night and your plane were drastically delayed. As I said, I don't worry about these things and if it happened, I wouldn't get that upset over a hotel fee. That has never happened to me in all the many years I've traveled (missed my first night), so I don't perceive it as that risky.

I would never do it for no reason, like some folks do -- I'd have to get a big discount.
Christina is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 02:13 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,711
You may want to check if your Berlin hotel is also listed with hrs.com, which is Germany's biggest reseller of hotel rooms.
Most hotels there have a rather liberal cancellation policy (1 night in advance), and you do not have to pay in advance.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 491
I know Priceline has a no-refund cancellation policy and I'm sure there are others. I booked a room on Hotels.com and the cancellation policy is to give a refund if it's more than 24 hours ahead of time (except for a small cancellation fee).
GaryCA is offline  
Feb 13th, 2008, 05:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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If the hotel says clearly that a particular price is completely non-refundable - why would you think that it means anything else?

Of course you're giving up the freedom to make changes for the lower rates. If you're not sure - pay the higher rate.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 14th, 2008, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,360
I book advance purchase rooms if my air ticket is also non changeable/non ref etc. They usually do not charge the credit card until arrival but they do check that the card is valid.

Odin is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 05:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Advance Purchase hotels are very strict about not refunding your money even if you have some sort of Act of God that prohibits you from making your trip. Hilton Hotel, whom I frequented a lot as I travel 52 weeks out of the year, would not refund an advance purchase even though I had a doctors excuse for a back injury I incurred. And when I tried to get a refund, they put me through a merry go round of actions and nasty customer service people that got me nowhere. I recommend NEVER doing advance purchase. It is not worth it. AND I am extremely disappointed in Hilton Hotel's treatment of a customer who has spent thousands with them yearly.
sbgregory45 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,008
When we do advance purchase on hotels, I just make sure that I have trip cancellation insurance that will cover the amount of prepaid expenses.

Due to our age and my MIL's age, we usually purchase trip insurance now anyway.
bettyk is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Do not buy random trip insurance hoping it will cover this charge if you just change your mind. Typically there are very strict criteria you must meet for them to cover non-refundable rooms - such as serious illness of traveler or death of close relative.
nytraveler is offline  

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