If you ever use rental cars, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of AutoSlash. if you’re not familiar with it, AutoSlash is a service where you input details of your car rental reservation and they search for cheaper options all the way up to your day of rental. This can provide significant savings without you having to manually check the price yourself every day.
AutoSlash has recently launched a similar service for hotel bookings called HotelSlash. It looks like it’s a promising service that can provide some decent savings, but there are some very important aspects of the service that are worth bearing in mind.
How HotelSlash Works
You can find a list of FAQs here. As a brief summary, once you’ve made a hotel reservation, you forward the confirmation email to email@example.com. They’ll track the room rates at the hotel and notify you not only if your specific room type drops in price, but also if other room types become cheaper which could potentially get you an upgraded room for a similar or lower price than you originally booked.
HotelSlash won’t automatically rebook your reservation if they find something cheaper. Instead, they’ll email you with the cheaper options. Once you’ve made a new reservation, you’ll have to cancel the original reservation yourself.
Important Things To Note
HotelSlash sounds like a great service. It’s free, so it doesn’t cost you anything to forward your hotel reservations to them. If they don’t find a lower room rate, you’re no worse off. If they do find a cheaper room rate, it can save you money.
It’s not necessarily as great as it sounds though as there are all kinds of things that you need to take into account before rebooking your hotel through HotelSlash.
1) It won’t work on non-refundable reservations
Needless to say, if you’ve booked a rate that’s non-refundable, it’s not going to be worth using HotelSlash because even if they find a cheaper rate, you’d still be stuck paying for two rooms as you’d be paying for your original reservation regardless.
2) You might miss out on points, elite night credits, status benefits, etc.
When booking directly with a hotel chain, you’re eligible for earning points and elite night credits, receiving benefits from whatever kind of status you hold, etc. If you rebook through HotelSlash, it’s unlikely that you’ll be eligible for any of these.
HotelSlash addresses this concern in their FAQs, confirming that you can’t add your hotel loyalty membership number when making a new reservation with them. They suggest asking the hotel to add it to your reservation when checking in or out, but that’s certainly going to be a case of YMMV.
If the savings are large enough, it might be worth the risk of forgoing points-earning and benefits. However, if, for example you’re a Hyatt Globalist and HotelSlash finds you a room for $10 less per night at a Hyatt Regency, the relatively low savings are unlikely to be worth the risk of missing out on suite upgrades, free breakfast, lounge access, etc.
3) Miss out on portal cashback
With most hotel chains, you can click through from shopping portals to earn cashback on paid stays. That can go as high as 14%, so rebooking through HotelSlash could result in savings that aren’t quite as high when taking into the cashback you’d be forgoing.
4) Have to cancel reservations yourself
As mentioned earlier, if HotelSlash finds you a cheaper rate they’ll send an email for you to rebook it yourself rather than doing it automatically. This is good as it means you can check the terms of the new reservation in case anything important is different and/or it doesn’t meet your needs.
It does mean though that you have to cancel the original reservation yourself. If you’re not particularly organized, it could be easy to forget to do that and be on the hook for two rooms rather than one.
5) Limited use for Best Rate Guarantee policies
HotelSlash might have some element of usefulness with taking advantage of the Best Rate Guarantee policies of hotel chains. However, most (or all) BRG policies require that you submit the lower price within 24 hours, whereas it could be weeks or months before HotelSlash finds you a cheaper rate. It could still help if they immediately find a cheaper rate, but it’d also be worth manually checking sites like Trivago if you’re specifically looking to use a hotel chain’s BRG immediately after making a hotel reservation.
6) Can they search special rate types?
It’s not addressed in their FAQs, so it’s not clear whether or not HotelSlash will check special rates like AAA, AARP, corporate codes, etc. I suspect not, so there could be ways of reducing your hotel room rate in the future that HotelSlash won’t be able to track.
Potential Ethical Issues When Using HotelSlash
One of the biggest drawbacks of HotelSlash for me is the uncertainty of whether or not you’d earn points and receive status benefits. In most cases, I’d be highly unlikely to rebook through HotelSlash as the savings they’d find me probably wouldn’t outweigh the points and benefits I’d receive by maintaining the existing reservation. I also tend to book non-refundable rates seeing as they’re usually significantly cheaper when booking, so using HotelSlash would be rendered moot for most of our paid stays.
However, just because you don’t have any intention of rebooking your refundable reservations through HotelSlash doesn’t prevent you from using their price tracking service. You could still forward all your hotel reservations in case they can find a cheaper rate. If that rate can be booked directly with the hotel chain, you could click through from a shopping portal again (where applicable) and still receive points, elite night benefits, status benefits, etc. Even if that lower rate is found with an OTA like Hotels.com, you could click through from a portal to earn cashback while also earning Welcome Rewards with Hotels.com and paying with gift cards you’ve bought at a discount. You could then forward your new reservation to HotelSlash for them to track (this isn’t needed if rebooking with HotelSlash directly).
Some people will have an ethical issue with taking advantage of HotelSlash’s tracking capabilities for free with no intention of using their service beyond that. However, there’s no obligation to use their service and the whole point of using it is to save money on your hotel reservation, so for many people earning cashback and receiving points, status benefits, etc. will be part of that consideration.
Early Experiences Of HotelSlash
I’ve not used HotelSlash yet, but Joe in the Frequent Miler Insiders Facebook group shared his recent experience here.
Have you had a chance to use HotelSlash yet? If so, did you have a positive experience and were the savings worthwhile? Please let us know in the comments below.
h/t readers Susan & Larry