Ask 100 people who travel often for the best way to get a deal on hotel rooms, and be prepared to receive 100 different suggestions.
That's because booking rooms can feel like a game of chance. Hotels rapidly change their rates due to supply and demand, and with the average person booking a hotel 42 nights in advance, according to consumer advocate site Earny, travelers are constantly missing out on good prices.
But Earny hopes to change that trend with the launch of a new service called Earny Hotels.
Feel better when booking
Staying at hotels has never been more expensive. The price of hotel rooms has increased for six straight years, according to Statista.com. In 2018, the average cost of a one-night hotel stay was $124.22. It gets more expensive when traveling to major U.S. cities. According to TripAdvisor, staying at an upscale hotel in San Francisco, like Hotel Drisco, comes with a $580 per night price tag.
Those prices are enough to leave travelers squeamish. That's where Earny Hotels wants to step in. If a traveler books a room and the price drops during the 120 days after the purchase is made, Earny Hotels alerts the customer. The customer can then re-book at the lower rate, or have the difference deposited into a personal bank account.
How it works
Earny Hotels is easy to use. Customers simply purchase a refundable hotel room, provide Earny with an email, then sit back and wait. Earny will monitor the inbox for price drops based on the emailed receipt. If Earny Hotels finds that a room's price has declined since the initial booking, the user is alerted and given the option to book at the lower cost or receive the money.
» Learn more: Price protection: Which credit cards will refund a price drop?
Earny makes money by taking 25% of every refund provided. For example, a user books a hotel for $100 per night. They then log that info with Earny, which in turn begins monitoring the price of that hotel room. Fifteen days later, Earny finds that the hotel room's price has declined to $80. Earny then sends an email to the hotel or booking service requesting the refund. If it is granted, the Earny user gets $15, while Earny takes home $5.
Earny reports it saves users an average of $75 per hotel reservation. That quickly adds up for those who are constantly on the road.
Global hotel deals
This new Earny function is available for hotels all across the world. The company works via a partnership with the Priceline Partner Network, which operates Priceline.com. Through this agreement, Earny Hotels is able to provide consumers with discounts at hotel brands across the globe, including Marriott, Hilton and more. Travelers can also use Earny Hotels when booking through sites like Priceline, Booking, Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia.
Not just hotels
Earny Hotels is obviously enticing to frequent flyers and travelers. But the site and app aren't limited to just hotel deals. Anyone who shops online will want to try Earny for its other features.
» Learn more: Why credit card “side perks” are disappearing
The company works with dozens of retailers, most notably Amazon, to get consumers refunds on price drops. Just like with Earny Hotels, Earny scans users' email inbox for receipts and notifies the consumer when a product's price declines. Users can then have the difference — minus Earny's fee — deposited into their bank accounts.
There is one catch with Amazon: Because the company does not have its own price protection policy, consumers must make their purchase with a credit card that offers price protection. A Citibank, a Mastercard from Capital One, US Bank, Barclays, Bank of America and First Premier Bank or a Visa card will allow refunds to be processed.
Aside from Amazon, Earny users can get cash when prices drop on purchases made at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, J. Crew, Jet, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nike, Nordstrom, Overstock, Staples, Walmart, Zappos and Home Depot.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card