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Merchant Hotel Deals Around the Web

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Find online hotel deals around the world

Like airfares, lodging rates run the gamut from rack rates (full price) to rock bottom. Use these 5 strategies from former flight attendant and leisure travel expert, Lynne Christen, to find online hotel deals around the world.

1.  Maximize timing and location. Cut rates by 40% or more with off-season or shoulder seasons stays. Experiment with rates for different days of the week, such as arriving a day earlier or leaving a day later. Check online hotel maps. Lodging located a few miles away from major theme parks and city centers almost always costs less.

2.  Factor in hotel pluses and minuses. Look for value-added amenities like free breakfasts, free internet access, free shuttle service and kitchen/grilling facilities. Consider add-on costs like parking fees, room service surcharges and local taxes.

3. Membership has rewards. Join complimentary loyalty programs of several leading hotel chains for perks and points for future free stays. AAA and AARP membership typically takes at least 10% off rates. Check online rates for military, corporate and emergency service providers.

4.  Don't accept so-called "best rates" without comparisons. For instance, convention group rates are sometimes higher than online hotel discounts. Look for web-only rates. And, compare rates at comprehensive travel web sites.

5.  Shop around. Use our proprietary, travel comparison tool which displays results from the most relevant hotel travel sites based on your itinerary and location