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A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

hotels - All posts tagged hotels

  • Sep 29, 2011
    6:39 PM ET

    Priceline: Book at the 11th Hour, Save 35%

    iStockphoto

    Have you ever made one of those nerve-wracking “Name Your Own Price” blind bookings on Priceline.com and ended up in a drab hotel on the edge of town?

    I have. And it wasn’t pretty. But now some travelers using the site can avoid making a similar mistake.

    Priceline’s new “Tonight-Only Deals” app, released today for the iPhone and iPod Touch, offers rates of up to 35% off at three- and four-star properties and — wait for it – you can see the hotel name before you book. Normally on Priceline, if you want to see the name of the hotel, you don’t get a discount. USAToday.com reports that deals are currently available in 34 cities, including New York and Chicago.

  • Jul 7, 2011
    11:46 AM ET

    A Step Closer to the Elusive Free Airline Seat

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    Using a social networking app on your phone to announce your location can now earn you more loyalty points in your airline or hotel rewards program.

    In recent months, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Virgin America and Hilton have joined the growing ranks of travel companies offering reward point bonuses for consumers using apps like Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla that pull GPS data from your phone to let you virtually “check in” at nearby businesses. Companies are increasingly harnessing these apps as a way to better reward their best customers, says Jim Sullivan, a partner at loyalty research firm Colloquy. It’s free advertising, too, since the apps broadcast your location to friends and family in your network. Although many of the current deals have end dates, consumers are likely to see more permanent offers, and from a wider range of companies, as businesses look to connect on social media, he says.

  • Jul 5, 2011
    3:19 PM ET

    Can You Save By Taking a Gadget-Free Vacation?

    iStockphoto

    Hotels are starting to offer packages and specials targeted to travelers who want a vacation from their smartphones, laptop computers and other gadgets. But taking advantage could cost you — and we’re not just talking about the repercussions of a missed, urgent work email.

    “Digital detox” and “unplugged” offers that urge guests to turn off or turn in gadgets when they arrive are one of the latest hooks to reel in guests, reports The Wall Street Journal. In exchange for doing so, you might get a 15% discount, a massage or a kayaking lesson. Dig deeper, however, and the deals aren’t all that enticing.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.