Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Juan Ruiz
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Everyone wants to save money, whether it’s by scoring a dream hotel stay using points and miles or taking advantage of promo codes or rates.
But beyond these savings, some travelers can save money using a corporate or special offer code. Today, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about booking travel with special offer codes.
First, it’s important to distinguish between special offer codes, corporate rates, and discounts for specific travelers like AAA members or government employees. We’ll take a look at each category.
Special offer codes, which we’ll discuss below, include limited-time promotions. You’ll see these types of promotions on online travel agencies (OTAs) and some hotel chains like Hyatt.
Corporate or group code rates are static codes that eligible travelers can use. Corporate rates differ a little from a regular promo code in that, for the most part, anyone can use a promo code. To get a corporate or group rate or to use a special offer code, you must be eligible and prove your eligibility.
Membership in programs such as AAA or AARP comes with discounts on travel reservations. You’ll get these discounts simply for being a member of the program.
The same is true for most U.S. government and military travel, in that the hotel programs offer discount codes or rates for these travelers. For instance, Hilton offers U.S. government and military per diem rates to guests with valid government IDs and discounted military rates for personal stays.
Now that you’re familiar with the difference between special offer codes and corporate rates, we’ll take a look at the different types of rates for travelers.
Many companies offer corporate rates to their employees, including Verizon, Apple, Morgan Stanley, and others. And unless you work for a particular company, it’ll be difficult (if not impossible) to use that company’s rate.
Even if you successfully book a rate using a corporate code you don’t have access to, you may have to prove your eligibility at check-in — and pay the standard rate if the hotel finds out you’re ineligible. That may seem restrictive, but hotels put these policies in place to ensure availability for eligible travelers to take advantage of the rates.Hot Tip:
Consider researching and/or becoming a member of specific professional or alumni organizations that may utilize a corporate rate. As a full-time freelancer, one of the first things I did after starting my business was join the Freelancers Union; membership is free and comes with many perks for personal and business travel, including discounts at Hertz, Hyatt, and Zipcar.
Below, we’ll go over how to use a corporate code at several hotel brands (if eligible).
There are 2 ways to add a corporate discount rate when booking directly with Hilton:
Using a corporate code for Hyatt is pretty simple. You’ll simply input your destination and dates as you would normally and then add your code where it says Corporate or Group Code.
To book a room using a corporate or group code, you only need to choose your destination and travel dates and then add your code where it says Corporate Special Rate.
If you are eligible to use a corporate code (more on that below), making a reservation on the Marriott Bonvoy website or app is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Marriott says you must contact your human resources or corporate travel department to use a corporate code. The hotel chain says corporate identification or proof of eligibility is required at check-in. Even if you find a corporate rate and can book a stay using it, you’ll have to prove you’re eligible to use it once you get to the hotel.
Additionally, Marriott has several stipulations regarding the use of corporate codes:
Even if you don’t qualify for a corporate rate, there are still several ways to save money on your hotel stays. Let’s take a look at a few below.
AAA offers 3 membership packages: Classic, Plus, and Premier.
Once you’re an AAA member, you’ll get immediate access to a slew of travel discounts and full access to AAA travel agents for in-person service if you’re a driver. Membership can range between $40 to $160, depending on your location and the roadside assistance services you would like. You can pay for your membership monthly or annually.
AAA Travel’s hotel partners include Best Western, Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott. You’ll need to use your AAA membership when booking and may be asked to show your card at check-in. Deals have included 10% off MGM Resorts bookings, 10% off Park Hyatt bookings, and 5% off Ritz Carlton bookings.
You’re probably familiar with AARP, the influential lobbying group founded in the late 1950s focusing on issues that impact aging Americans. AARP sells paid memberships and markets insurance products and other services to its members.
There’s a misconception that you have to be retired or elderly to apply for an AARP membership, but that’s not the case. AARP has 1 membership option, and it’s a steal, particularly if you’re looking to save on travel. Membership costs just $16 a year (or $12 if you opt for the auto-renew plan), and you can add a spouse or partner for free.
Once you’re a member, you’ll be able to take advantage of a ton of travel deals, which includes up to 10% back at Curio Collection by Hilton (plus late checkout when available) and 10% (or more) off the best available rate at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.
Amex Offers are deals that are linked to your American Express cards which can save you money or allow you to earn extra points on shopping, dining, and travel. Most Amex Offers will give you bonus American Express Membership Rewards points or cash-back after you meet the qualifications on your purchases. These offers are always available, and new offers are added often, but you must individually add each offer to your card prior to purchase. Offers are only available for a limited time — you will notice that each has an expiration date.
All U.S. personal and business American Express cards can use the Amex Offers program. These include some traveler favorites such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, and American Express® Business Gold Card.
Similarly, Chase has a program called Chase Offers which offers deals and discounts with popular merchants that you can add to your Chase card to help save some cash. You’ll typically see offers for merchants like IHG and Hyatt, but occasionally, you can find others. Chase Offers are usually capped at 10% cash-back and have a limit on how much cash-back you can get. For instance, a recent Chase Offer for Hilton offered 10% back on your stay when you spent $100 or more — but there’s a maximum of $56 cash-back.
If you want to use Chase Offers, you’ll need an eligible Chase debit or credit card. Luckily, you have a myriad of options, from premium cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to cash-back cards such as the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and small business cards such as the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.Hot Tip:
Hotels often run promotions or flash sales to get travelers into rooms, particularly during peak travel seasons. But as you’ll see, many of the best discounts are for hotel stays booked well in advance.
For instance, one way to save on Hyatt stays includes booking at least 7 days in advance. You can save up to 15% with the Member Rate Advance Purchase rate, but reservations must be made at least 7 days before your stay at participating hotels and often come with strict change and cancellation rules.
Hilton offers up to 17% off the Best Available Rate when you make your reservation at least 7 days in advance.
Finally, Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) is a shopping portal that allows you to earn cash-back (or Amex Membership Rewards points for eligible cardholders) for shopping at your favorite merchants — which can sometimes include hotels.
Here’s how it works: when you click from Rakuten’s website to an online merchant, Rakuten earns a commission from that purchase. Then Rakuten uses a portion of that commission to pay you.
Rakuten offers cash-back on many travel sites, which you can find by navigating to the Travel & Vacations tab. You can earn up to 10% cash-back with hotel brands such as ALL – Accor Live Limitless, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Choice Hotels, and IHG Hotels & Resorts.
While it may seem tedious, booking travel using a corporate code is a great way to save money, especially if traveling on business. If you’re interested in using a corporate rate to book travel, check with your company’s HR or finance department to check if you’re eligible.
We hope this guide was helpful as you navigate using offer codes to book travel!
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
Special offer codes can include limited-time promotions. In contrast, corporate or group code rates are static codes that eligible travelers can use.
No. While a website may allow you to make a reservation, you may be asked to prove your connection to the company whose rate you’re using. If you don’t do that, the hotel can cancel your reservation or make you pay the public rate.
Even if you don’t work for a large company, there are several tricks to get access to discounted rates, such as joining membership-based organizations like AAA or the Freelancers Union that offer big deals.
Many hotels, such as Hilton, Marriott, IHG, and Hyatt, run temporary promotions where you can save a specific amount of money for booking in advance, for example. Some hotels also offer discount codes, typically tied to a promotion.
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