When in Doubt - Booking.com

Updated: Jun 29


Before Tash and I take a trip that includes a hotel stay, there’s one website we turn to for every possible detail before we can trust the original information about the place. That website is Booking.com!


Booking.com is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces. It’s most known for hotel bookings, but it offers the possibility to book everything that includes travel like flights, rental cars, taxis, and even local attractions!


We’ve only used Booking.com for hotels and, on a couple of occasions, flights (well before travel hacking).

Today’s post will show Booking.com love, of course, but mainly you’ll see our use of Booking.com though we don’t book many stays through them.


Before we get into our primary use of Booking.com and why we visit their site almost daily, I would like to explain why we still use them when our loyalty programs aren’t available and why I highly recommend booking your stays with them.

Genius, Booking.com’s Loyalty Program

Most online travel agencies offer every type of hotel stay, five stars to motels. Very few offer a loyalty program made to enhance your stay and give discounts. Most OTA loyalty programs on the market offer points for award stays and discounts, priority customer service, premium WiFi, limited upgrades, and limited free breakfast credits.


Unlike other OTA’s, Booking.com (also Orbitz Rewards) offers value propositions with their Genius travel rewards. Genius rewards give you status that you keep for life.


Broken down into three levels, here’s how you qualify and what you’ll receive once you do:


Genius Level 1 (sign up)

  • 10% Discount


Genius Level 2 (5 stays in 2 years)

  • 10-15% Discount

  • Complimentary Breakfast (on select options)

  • Free Room Upgrade (on select options)

Genius Level 3 (15 stays in 2 years)

  • 10-20% Discount

  • Complimentary Breakfast (on select options)

  • Free Room Upgrade (on select options)

  • Priority Support on all bookings

The Genius loyalty program may not jump off the page like a few other OTA’s, but when looking at the ongoing benefits with no hassle, Booking.com (and Orbitz) stand alone because of ease and value!


Customer Service

We’ve had a few occasions when a hotel didn’t honor a booking, we’ve gotten charged more at the hotel than the listed price, and even a hotel didn’t answer the door on arrival though they stated that they had a 24/7 front desk. Every time we’ve needed to speak with customer service via phone, email, or app-chat, they’ve handled the issue immediately 100% of the time.

OTA’s aren’t known for excellent customer service, but Booking.com is not your typical OTA. The Genius Level 3 benefit gives “Priority Support on all bookings,” I can confirm that it’s a valid and beneficial perk.


Huge Footprint

The last reason we use Booking.com until this day is because of its large footprint. I’m all about using my main loyalty programs to gain Elite Status or use one of our travel credit card portals to use a credit or get a discount. Still, when my main loyalty program (Marriott Bonvoy) isn’t available, Booking.com’s Genius bookings outweigh the credits and discounts available.


I want to be clear, Booking.com’s Genius bookings are the difference-maker when choosing Booking.com over none Marriott properties. ***the GENIUS sign will be on the right side of the hotel ratings. That’s how you know you’ll have Genius benefits***

A Must Visit Before Booking Stays

Okay, now that we’ve been over why Booking.com is excellent if you have or don’t favorite loyalty program, let’s discuss why Tash and I visit Booking.com almost daily.


Hotel Information

Knowing the hotel’s details beforehand is crucial when searching for a stay. Things like airport shuttle service, pet fees, front desk hours, etc., can be why you chose one place over another. Unfortunately, most big chain hotels miss a lot of details or make them a hassle to figure out (Marriott Bonvoy excluded).


Booking.com’s “Hotel Information” section is outstanding and doesn’t miss a detail. If the hotel has the information online, Booking.com will have the details on its website. Here's an example of Hilton's hotel information section on the website versus Booking.com's information section:


Booking.com





Hilton





Pictures in Abundance

The most frustrating thing when booking with most major hotel chains is that they don’t give enough pictures to show everything about their property. Some hotels will provide tons of photos of the hotel’s grounds but give three pictures of each room like Marriott or give 12 photos of the hotel grounds and 3-5 pictures of the room like Hilton.


For this reason, Booking.com always comes in handy again. When we see a property we like, it’s automatic now that we look at the pictures for the property and rooms on Booking.com. Here is an example of the website pictures available on Hilton and Booking.com's:

Booking.com



Hilton




Customer Reviews

Tash believes this is the most critical thing before booking a hotel. Booking.com’s customer review section is another great feature offered by them. The detailed questionnaire given by Booking.com for customers to answer makes you feel confident about the published customer ratings.


Compared with other OTA’s and even hotels, Booking.com not only asked their customers for more detailed reviews, but customers seem to leave more reviews with Booking.com booked stays. I can say that every time we’ve stayed in a Booking.com property, good or bad, we’ve automatically said that we’re going to add that in the review.


On top of the details of customer reviews, Booking.com has a question section below just in case what you needed answered wasn’t in the details, pictures, or reviews. Small things like this don’t seem significant, but if you understand every detail of your next stay, there shouldn’t be any surprises.


Knowing what to expect before you arrive in new surroundings will make for a better trip, especially if you have any stress or anxiety when traveling. Because Hilton doesn't have a review section, we'll compare Booking.com and Hotels.com below:

Booking.com


Hotels.com



Conclusion

This post shows why Booking.com is an excellent choice for all types of travelers, travel hackers or not. And I let you in on some of our booking secrets by using Booking.com as our hotel information portal. You’ll understand when reading through www.PackYourPoints.com why you see Booking.com mentioned so often.


All travel hacking isn’t stressful or super detailed work. Sometimes it’s as simple as checking a few reviews or comparing pictures on an OTA website because that suite you thought had a stovetop burner only has a microwave!



Until next time, before you pack your bags, don’t forget to PACK YOUR POINTS!


I am not a financial advisor and highly recommend doing your own homework about the credit card you want to apply for! All of the content on my website, page and channel are for entertainment purposes only.

If you’d like my opinion or help in forming an idea of what works, I’m here to help.



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