Starwood Hotels has moved to the forefront of the major hotel chains for convenience in comparing multiple hotel rates in different rate plans. Most hotel sites require you to search separately for AAA, senior rates, corporate discounts and promotions. Starwood Hotels has redesigned its search functions to allow you to compare up to three different rate types at once.
Here is what a default search returns when checking New York, New York for a three night stay this weekend Friday, Nov 26 through Monday, Nov 29, 2010. This is the same information found previously when searching rates for Starwood Hotels.
Click the Compare Rates tab and you will see the rates displayed in column format.
The Breakfast Package is the only new rate shown until you select your own rate preferences from the Compare New Rates option just above the first listed hotel.
There is a three rate limit for searches so adjust the picks to your desired rates:
I find this to be a high value enhancement for rate searches in terms of my time and ease in locating hotel discounts.
The variability in rates is apparent when you look at this sample from New York hotels.
W New York Times Square has the lowest standard rate in a general search at $319 per night compared to $386 for AAA or Senior rates.
Buy 2 nights, Get 1 Free was pulled up by typing promotion code Z3H in the promotion code box.
These rates still need to be searched by individual hotel, but the grid at least saves time by showing hotels where a 3rd night free rate is available.
Westin New York Times Square and Four Points Midtown Times Square provide an excellent example of the variability in AAA and Senior discounts. Westin Times Square shows AAA rate at $309 is $51 lower than Senior rate at $360 and $41 lower than an advance purchase rate at $350 per night.
Four Points Midtown Times Square has a senior rate at $255 and is $47 lower than AAA rate at $302 and $37 lower than an advance purchase rate of $292 per night.
Z3H rates Buy 2 Nights and get 1 free brings the rate at W New York Times Square down to $858 compared to $957 for the lowest rate shown.
The 3rd night free rate will not always be the best deal, even when it is available.
For example, Westin Times Square is $918 for three nights using Z3H rate, however, the rate in prepaid and nonrefundable. The AAA rate is $927 for three nights. For $9 more you have the flexibility of cancellation with no penalty up to day before arrival.