Hotels.com is our choice for the best hotel booking service. It combines all the things we look for, including a thorough search that finds low prices, a multitude of options, and a rewards program that lets frequent travelers earn back some of what they spend on traveling. Hotels.com is ideal for travelers of all levels. Whether you’re looking for an affordable room for your once-a-year trip, or you’re a business traveler who goes to conferences and meetings all over the country, Hotels.com can find accommodations that fit your needs.
Searching through Hotels.com is a simple process. Enter the city and the dates you’re going, and it will find you all the available listings. Hotels.com has all the sorting and filter options we’ve come to expect from a booking site. You can sort by star rating and by guest ratings provided through Hotels.com and TripAdvisor. You can also sort by price, or distance from a variety of landmarks. One thing we liked about this site is that instead of offering to sort by distance from downtown, it offers a drop-down listing all the relevant landmarks you might want to stay near.
You can also sort by Hotel.com favorites, which presents you with the deal of the day and other discounts, including Secret Deals that are tailored specifically for you. If you’re interested in getting the best deal, this is the place to start.
You can filter your results to only show hotels that meet your specific actions. So if you only want hotels that have certain amenities or have accessibility requirements, you can browse just those options. You can also choose to look at only rooms that add to your rewards.
Hotels.com includes options for accommodations beyond the standard hotels and motels. One such category is hostels, which are a good low-cost option for single travelers who don’t mind sharing rooms with other travelers.
One of the drawbacks of Hotels.com is that it doesn’t let you book cars. You can book flights and combine them with hotels to save money on your trip. We did notice that when booking a package, the hotel options aren’t as robust as when you look for hotels without pairing with a flight. Still, by booking together you’ll be able to realize more savings than if you would if you booked separately. We noticed that the price will often change after you complete your booking, so the savings might not be as large as the quote.
You can also purchase tickets for attractions, tours and museums. Orbitz and Travelocity also offer this feature. This is a good way to plan in advance, especially if you’re travellinging in peak season and are worried about some of the sights being sold out.
Hotels.com offers a rewards program. Signing up is free and gives you the option to earn free nights. Unlike some of the other services we reviewed, Hotels.com’s rewards program is easy: simply stay 10 nights and get one free. It’s a very straightforward program that can be accumulated in a single stay or across multiple trips. There are no blackout dates or other restrictions, but you’ll have to redeem your free night at a participating hotel.
Members also receive special pricing offers. These are usually denoted with a secret price icon and offer lower rates than what are usually displayed.
Frequent travelers can move up into the Silver or Gold levels of the rewards program. To become a silver member, you just need to stay 10 nights a year. Silver membership gives you priority customer service and early access to special deals and offers. Gold membership requires you to stay 30 nights a year. As a gold member, you’ll get all the benefits of the standard and Silver plans plus special deals reserved exclusively for Gold members.
Hotels.com is our pick for the best hotel booking service. This site is easy to use and brings up a wide variety of results. We were able to find extremely low-cost hostel rooms and bargains at mid- to high-priced hotels. It also has a simple rewards program that gives you one free night for every 10 nights you stay.