Our Hotel Booking Strategy for New Zealand

Not surprisingly, when I travel I always like to travel cheap.  Smile

While I wish I could report back that I scored the best hotel deals for our  vacation in New Zealand, I was a little disappointed with the results. But they could be worse.

We had several thousand ThankYou Reward points from back when the Citi Premier Rewards was our go to card.  That card has since been replaced, and unfortunately, the travel related rewards associated with that card have been significantly devalued since Expedia and ThankYou Rewards have stopped working together.

We were, however, able to get four nights at a two bedroom hotel room in downtown Auckland.  The cost was an average of about $100 worth of points per night for a total of 40,000 points ($400 value).

From there, we were planning to spend a few nights in Rotorua, NZ.  We couldn’t get a decent priced place using ThankYou Rewards.

We looked into Starwood points, but there was no availability.  There was a Priority Clubs hotel, but I prefer saving those points for PointBreaks nights.

We ended up getting another five nights of hotel by the airport for $55 per night.  We’ll have a lot of bags with us, and the cost of the hotel was about the price of baggage storage.  Since we fly out at 9:30 p.m. for Los Angeles, we decided that we would go ahead and pay for a room for that day so we wouldn’t need to check out at 11 a.m. and figure out what to do with all our stuff.

We might not stay at the hotel the whole time, but we also don’t want to lug five big bags around with us.  We know the hotel won’t win any awards, but we’ll see how good or how shabby it is before deciding how many nights we’ll spend elsewhere (while we store our bags in the room we’ve paid for).

In a lot of ways, this is a different strategy for us:

  1. We’ve never left any of our nights to book last minute, but we’re just not sure yet how far out of Auckland we want to drive with the kids, so flexibility is valuable to us.
  2. Despite always trying to travel cheap, we’ve decided that the luxury of keeping our bags in one place and having an extra 9 hours in the hotel justifies the cost of $55 (NZ) per night.

We booked the rooms via Booking.com.

I had never used Booking.com before this trip, but I really liked the website.

I liked it for a few reasons:

  1. Their search includes some smaller and lesser known locations which typically also means some cheaper hotels.
  2. The prices were very competitive compared to other hotel websites.
  3. When you search, they know how many people are allowed in each room.  This makes it very easy to search when you are a family of five and are trying to be sure to get a room to accommodate your family.

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