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Flight Canceled or Delayed Overnight?  Here’s How to Find the Best Deal on Last-Minute Hotel Rooms

Flight Canceled or Delayed Overnight?  Here’s How to Find the Best Deal on Last-Minute Hotel Rooms

Million Mile SecretsFlight Canceled or Delayed Overnight?  Here’s How to Find the Best Deal on Last-Minute Hotel RoomsMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If you travel enough, eventually you’re going to be in a situation where your flight is delayed or canceled.  And when trouble hits, you won’t be the only one scrambling to figure things out.

The airline staff are likely to be stretched to the limit trying to handle everyone’s issues.  So what can you do to stay ahead of the crowds and find a last-minute hotel room?

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
When You Run Into Delays or Cancellations, You Won’t Be the Only One Looking for Help. So You Might Have to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  I recommend paying for your travel with a credit card that has travel insurance perks.  These benefits could reimburse you for everything from delayed luggage to canceled trips!

The trip delay insurance you get will vary depending on which credit card you used to pay for your travel.  And typically, delays caused by the weather are covered.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
When Your Flight Is Delayed or Canceled, Your Credit Card Might Have You Covered

With certain Chase cards, you can get up to $500 back if your flight is delayed 12 hours or more.  But with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your flight only needs to be delayed 6 hours before your coverage begins.  And the Citi Prestige has one of the best credit card flight delay policies because you’re covered after only 3 hours of delay!

If the weather or something else out of your control has caused a delay and you need a place to stay, the airline might offer you a hotel voucher.  But you probably won’t be the only one looking for help.

So if you’re in a situation where you aren’t getting any help finding a hotel room, here is what you can do to take care of yourself.

How to Find the Best Deal on Last-Minute Hotel Rooms

When you’re looking for a cheap last-minute hotel room, you’ll want to be quick.  Because most likely, you’re not the only one who is desperate for a place to stay.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
When You’re Booking a “Secret Deal,” You Won’t Know What Hotel You’ll Be Staying at, but You Should Get a Great Price!

So don’t waste time browsing individual hotel websites.  Instead, search a 3rd-party booking site, like Hotwire or Priceline.  This is will give you a general idea of what hotels are the in the area, and what the price range is for rooms.

I’ll show you how to find “secret deals” on Hotwire & Priceline.  When you book a “secret deal,” you won’t know which hotel you are staying at until after you complete the reservation.  But you will know the general area where the hotel is located and its rating.  Check out this video guide to learn how to find great deals using these sites!

 

 


Keep in mind, when you book through 3rd-party sites you will NOT earn points and your hotel elite status probably won’t be recognized.  But at this point, anything is better than sleeping in the airport!

1.   Hotwire Hot Rate Hotels

Link:   Hotwire Mobile App

Link:   Hotwire

You can search for hotels on Hotwire’s website or their mobile app.  To find Hotwire’s “secret deals” you’ll need to search for their “Hot Rate” prices.

These screenshots are taken from the Hotwire website.

Step 1.   Search for a Hotel in Your Area

Enter the airport or city where you want to stay, the dates of your stay, and the number of rooms you’ll need.  Then click the “Find a Hotel” button.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
Enter Your Information and Click “Find a Hotel”
Step 2.   Find the Hot Rate Hotels

To see the only best prices you’ll need to select “Hot Rate Hotels” from the “Hotel Rate Type” drop-down menu.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
Select “Hot Rate Hotels” to Find the Best Deals
Step 3.   Choose a Hotel

Next, you’ll want to find a hotel close to where you are.  When you hover your cursor over a hotel, the area of the map where the hotel is located will be highlighted in red.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
When Looking for Your Hotel You Can See a General Area of Where It Is

Or you can narrow your search to certain neighborhoods by selecting them on the map.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
If You Want to Stay in a Certain Neighborhood, Select That Area

From here, you can click on the hotel you want and make a booking.  Taxes and fees will be added to the final price.  Hotwire’s Hot Rate hotel bookings are non-refundable.

2.   Priceline Express Deals

Link:   Priceline Mobile App

Link:   Priceline

Priceline says their Express Deals are as cheap as if you used their Name Your Own Price bidding feature.  But I don’t know if that will be true for your situation or not.  So I suggest finding a price range for a hotel you want with Hotwire’s Hot Rate or Priceline’s Express Deals.  And then using the Name Your Own Price feature and bidding 15% to 25% below the price you already found to see if you can get a better deal.

These screenshots are taken from the Priceline website.

Step 1.   Find the Express Deals Link

To find Priceline’s Express Deals, you’ll need to click the “Searching Express Deals” link.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
On the Priceline Homepage, Find the “Searching Express Deals” Link
Step 2.   Search for Your Hotel Deal

Then enter the location, dates, and number of rooms for your stay before clicking “Find Your Deal.”

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
Fill out Where & When You Want to Stay
Step 3.   Narrow Your Search Results

Now you can browse through your Express Deals and limit your search by the rating and neighborhood of the hotel.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
If You Want to Stay in a Certain Area or at a Higher Quality Hotel, You Can Search for Those Specific Traits

I found Hotwire’s search to be easier because you can look at a map and select different neighborhoods to narrow your search.  But Priceline’s search only lets you limit the search area by neighborhood name.  And if you don’t know the area very well, this isn’t as helpful because you will only see a map after you choose the hotel.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
With Priceline, You Won’t Be Able to See a Map of the Neighborhood Until You Choose the Hotel

Now you can select your deal and complete your reservation!  Taxes and fees will be added to the final price.  Priceline’s Express Deals are non-refundable.

Before You Book Your Room

Link:   How to File for Flight Delay Compensation With Chase & Citi Cards

Once you’ve found a last-minute hotel deal with Hotwire, Priceline, or another site, you’ll usually want to book it right away.  Because if the weather is bad and a lot of flights are canceled or delayed, hotels rooms can fill up quickly.  But if you have a little extra time, you might be able to find a better deal.

You could try calling hotels directly (not the hotel chain’s reservation line) because hotel managers want to fill empty rooms and may be able to give you a better deal.  If you do this, try leading the conversation by mentioning the prices you found online and asking if they can give you a better rate.  Team member Jasmin has had luck with this in the past.

Flight Canceled Or Delayed Overnight Heres How To Find The Best Deal On Last Minute Hotel Rooms
You Might Be Able to Get a Better Deal by Calling the Hotel Directly and Speaking to Their Staff

If you paid for your flight with a credit card that has trip delay insurance, you’re in luck!  You could receive reimbursement for certain items needed to make yourself comfortable including, but not limited to:

  • Hotel for an overnight stay
  • Ground transportation
  • Meals
  • Medications
  • Toiletries
  • Rental car

So you can book a hotel room (at any rate) and be reimbursed later.  However, you’ll need to make sure you have documentation of the delay, your tickets, and receipts for your expenses.  And there will be a limit to how much you’ll get reimbursed.

If you can’t find a hotel, try searching on Airbnb.  Airbnb hosts may be willing to give you a last-minute discount if you ask.  And you could also consider Couchsurfing or you could stay at a hostel.  If all else fails, hopefully, you already have complimentary airport lounge access and the airport has a lounge that is open 24/7.

Can You Find a Last-Minute Award Night?

Link:   Hotel Hustle

Link:   My Review of Hotel Hustle

If you want to book a last-minute award stay, you can quickly search for hotel awards across multiple hotel chains with Hotel Hustle.  I like Hotel Hustle because it shows you what rooms are available and how many points they cost.  And you can limit your search to only the hotels you have points with.

But sometimes Hotel Hustle will show award nights that aren’t available when you go to book them.  So it isn’t perfect.  And if lots of folks are booking rooms, award nights will usually disappear much faster than other rooms.

Bottom Line

If your flight is delayed or canceled and you need a hotel, you’ve got options.  You could see if the airline will book you a room or provide you with a hotel voucher.  But airline staff can be stressed and busy if there are a lot of delays.  So you’ll want to be able to take care of things yourself.

You can search for “secret deals” on sites like Hotwire and Priceline.  With these deals, you won’t know what hotel you’re booking ahead of time.  But you will know the hotel’s rating and the general area that it’s in.

If you have the time, you could try calling individual hotels directly to see if they’ll give you a better deal than what you found online.  And if you can’t find a hotel, Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and hostels could be good last resort options.

Or you could book a free night with points.  Try searching Hotel Hustle to see what’s available in your area.  But award nights tend to disappear first, so this might not be the best option.

What do you do to find the best deals on last-minute hotels?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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If you have a credit card that offers a hotel in case of cancellation or delays, do you have to have booked the air travel using that credit card? And do you have to book the emergency hotel on that credit card?

Million Mile Secrets

Typically, you have to pay for the travel with the card to be covered. But you don’t have to pay for the hotel with the same card (save your receipt though).

I would read your card’s benefits guide because the fine print varies from card to card.

This post covers how to file a claim with Chase & Citi if you happen to have a card from those banks.

https://millionmilesecrets.com/2017/12/27/flight-delay-compensation-chase-citi/

I have the Chase Ritz Card. I had a flight delay of 24 hours and tried to get reimbursed for one night of my non-refundable hotel charge. which would have been about $120. After 6 months of going back and forth with them i just gave up as it wasnt worth my time anymore.

Million Mile Secrets

That’s so frustrating. But kudos to you for not giving up for that long!