With so many travel booking websites out there nowadays, booking a hotel room can be quite challenging and feel like an overwhelming experience. I have a few quick steps I always take before booking a hotel and they have proven to be successful. First, I go to a general search engine like Trivago. I like Trivago because they search all the travel websites out there including many that websites like Kayak don't pick up. On more than one occasion, I've saved by booking through Trivago vs. Orbitz or Kayak. Second, I always go to the hotels main website to see what deal they have going on. Sometimes, hotels offer better deals that they don't publish publicly so websites like Trivago won't be able to pick them up. Always remember to log into your rewards account for the hotel website as often times there are better discounts for reward members.
After you have compared the two, pick which rate best suits your travels while keeping in mind conditions such as non-refundable rates or if resort fees are included or not.
When Ross and I went to the Philippines, our first stop was in Manila and I booked us a regular room rate at The Peninsula. I saw that other room rate options included their buffet breakfast and club lounge levels but decided to opt out of the additional cost of those as I knew you can usually upgrade at a decreased price upon check-in. When we arrived at The Peninsula, it was 5:30 AM and we just got off of a 12 hour flight from Los Angeles. We were both excited to check-in and grab a fresh shower and nap before heading out to explore for the day. To my surprise, I didn't even have to inquire about a room upgrade as the front desk associate offered us a club lounge level room which included an option to eat at their daily buffet breakfast in the main dining room complimentary and all for a measly $40 USD extra per night. Keep in mind that this room would have cost an additional $200 USD per night had I booked it earlier. Upgrading at check-in saved us at least a few hundred dollars since we ate breakfast for free each morning, had access to their club lounge which had complimentary snacks and drinks (including alcohol!) all day long and even offered tea service (from 3 PM - 5 PM) and happy hour (from 6 PM - 8 PM). They called it happy hour just because they had fresh appetizers put out but alcoholic drinks were always available. The club lounge was also private so only people staying on the floor had access.
Money Saver Tip: Ross and I would eat a VERY large breakfast (the buffet breakfast in the main dining room was exquisite), usually skip lunch, and head back from our day of exploring in time to freshen up for happy hour. Some nights, we ate just their appetizers as it was equivalent to dinner options and we would always have a few glasses of wine and relax while figuring out what to do for the evening.
Credit Card: I used my Citi Prestige credit card and earned 3 points per dollar spent at this hotel and received my 4th night free benefit.