The other day, I finally got around and used my American Express Offer to become a new Sam’s Club member. I’m not sure exactly how much I will use it, but for at least 1 year, I will have it for nothing out of pocket.
For some reason, I decided to download their mobile app, and during that process I found their Sam’s Club Travel App. Since I enjoy looking at different third party sites, I downloaded it, but eventually took a look online at what they offer.
What is Sam’s Club Travel:
This is similar to Hotels.com, Orbitz, or any other third party sites, where you can book rental cars, hotel rooms, airfare, etc. In order to even begin looking at what they offer, you have to enroll with your Sam’s Club membership. Once you enter all the information needed, you are free to roam their travel website.
But with all these third party sites, offering best rates, extra amenities, and even with hotels now trying to entice you to book directly through them, could Sam’s Club Travel be better than all of those?
Triple Dip Points:
As with most sites, they want to give you more incentives to book through them. Booking directly with the hotels, will allow you to use your benefits (if you have status), you’ll earn points for a future stay, not to mention you can even use a shopping portal to earn extra cash back or points.
The third party sites also have their own reward programs, some are better than others, but they reward you in some form.
Sam’s Club Travel offers “Triple Dip Points,” where you’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you spend and every 100 points is equal to a dollar. You can only use these points for hotel stays,nothing else. Essentially, you are earning 1% toward your future hotel stays. It’s nothing to get excited, and there are not portal bonuses if you were to book through Sam’s Club Travel.
Should you use Sam’s Club Travel?
There are many people out there who don’t want to deal with the issue of award charts, finding award availability, and the possibility of devaluations. I can’t say I blame them, because it can be time consuming and frustrating at times. For those people who like to shop around for the best price, this could be something to look into. It’s always best to cross reference a few sites to make sure you are finding the best price.
Let’s take a look at a few examples:
For each example, I used the same hotel, room and dates. You should always do your own homework to make sure you are receiving the best price/redemption for your travel needs.
Example 1: Miami from 12/9/16-12/12/16 Staying at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami
Site 1: Hotels.com
Hotels.com has this room listed at $299 per night before taxes. The total cost after taxes for the 3 nights will be $1,013.63, then for some reason the hotel adds a $45 resort fee at check in or check out, totaling $1,058.63.
On this booking you will earn 3 nights toward your free stay at $299 per night (your free stay is an average of the amounts you paid during your 10 nights). Worth roughly $89.70.
Using BeFrugal, you’ll earn an extra 7% cashback, which is around $62.79.
Total cost for 3 nights: $995.84 and $89.70 in Hotels.com rewards for future stay
Site 2: Sam’s Club Travel
Sam’s Club Travel has this listed at $202.54 per night before taxes. The total cost after taxes for the 3 nights will be $710.88. They also have the $45 “resort fee” listed as well
You will earn 710 Triple Dip Points, worth $7.10 for a future hotel stay.
Total cost for 3 nights: $755.88 and $7.10 in Triple Dip Points for a future stay
Site 3: Orbitz
Orbitz has this room listed at the same rate as Hotels.com at $299 per night. The total amount for 3 nights is 1014, then you’ll add on $45 for a resort fee, bringing the total to $1059.
You will also earn $30.42 in Orbucks,which you can use for a future hotel stay
Through the Giving Assistant Portal, you will earn 7% cash back, which is about $71.
Total cost: $988 for 3 nights, plus $30.42 in Orbucks for future hotel stay
Site 4: Marriott
With hotels being more aggressive in having a person book through their site, I would assume this would be better than Sam’s Club Travel.
The rate per night is $307, except on December 11th, where it drops to $246. Its a little humorous the they list “$860” total, but taxes and fees (including resort fee) bring the total to $1022.65.
Through TopCashBack, you will earn 7% cash back on this stay as well.
You’ll also earn Marriott points for this stay, the amount will depend on your status.
Total cost: $962.45, plus Marriott points for a future stay.
Winner: Sam’s Club Travel is by far the cheapest option, saving you over $200 compared when booking through other sites, or directly thought Marriott.
I find it a little crazy that the rate through Sam’s Club Travel is around $100 cheaper than other sites! You can try for Best Rate Guaranteed with Marriott, but that’s not the point of the post.
Example 2: Rome from 7/1/17- 7/8/17, staying at Boscolo Exedra Rome
Site 1: Sam’s Club Travel
Sam’s Club has this room listed at $349.92 per night before taxes. There is a city tax, which will add on $110.18 for the week. The total cost for the week trip would be $2559.62, plus you will receive the breakfast buffet as part of your reservations.
You will also earn 2,449 Triple Dip Points, worth $24.49 for a future hotel stay.
Total cost for 7 nights: $2,559.62, plus $24.49 to use for a future hotel stay.
Site 2: Hotels.com
Hotels.com has the room listed at $390 per night, and after taxes and fees the room total is $3001.81. Then you’ll add on the city tax, which brings the total to $3,111.01. This stay does not include the free breakfast as you would receive if booking with Sam’s Club Travel.
You will also earn 7 stamps toward your free night, the value you’ll earn toward your free nights is roughly $273.
You’ll also earn 7% cash back when using BeFrugal, earning around $191.10.
Total cost for 7 nights: $2919.91, plus $273 to use for a future hotel stay.
If you were to book the room that also included “free” breakfast, that room would cost $477 per night before taxes and fees!! The total after taxes and fees would be $3676.54, and when you include the city tax, the price increases to $3786.64 for 7 nights! I’m very confident, none of you would actually spend $87 more per night for “free” breakfast.
Site 3: Orbitz
Orbitz, has this listed the same as Hotels.com at $390 per night, after taxes and fees the room total is $3002.30. When you add in the city tax, the total becomes $3112.40. This stay does not include breakfast as well.
If you were to look at the room that did have breakfast, it cost the same as Hotels.com
In booking this room you’ll earn $90.07 in Orbucks for a future hotel stay.
When using Giving Assistant Portal, you’ll earn 7% cash back, so you’ll earn $191.10
Total Cost for 7 nights: $2921.30, plus $90.07 in Orbucks to use for a future stay.
Site 4: Boscolo Exedra Roma
Booking the room directly with the hotel, will cost $413.38 per night before taxes. After adding in taxes, the cost is $2893.69, when you add in the city tax, the price total becomes $3183.06. Making this the most expensive option out of the 4 sites!
I could not find any portal bonus for booking this hotel and I also didn’t see any reward program for the Boscolo Hotels.
Total Cost for 7 nights: $3183.06
You can see the option for breakfast is 40 euros more per night!
Winner: Sam’s Club Travel. Even beyond just the price for the room, which was around $360 less than the next best option. It was the only option which gave breakfast as part of your stay, which can be a real money saver.
These were just 2 examples of hotel rooms between multiple third party sites and booking directly with the hotel. I’m sure not every room will be cheaper using Sam’s Club Travel, but it does show some significant savings at some higher end properties when using Sam’s Club Travel. Not to mention the fact that one location gave the extra benefit of breakfast as well.
The Triple Dip Points program, is nice to have, but at earning 1% for future stays, it’s nothing to get to excited about.
It’s always important to do your homework and shop around for the best price. Although hotels are trying to have you book directly through them, they aren’t always the best option, especially if you are looking to save money on paid bookings.
Overall, I think having more options to pick from when deciding on reservations is great. The more options, the better it is for consumers. To make this deal even better, if you were able to get your free Sam’s Club membership with your American Express Offers, this travel portal can help you save even more money!
Have you used Sam’s Club Travel before? What’s your favorite way to book hotel reservations?