Travel Tips: Dealing With Minimum Length Requirements For Car Rentals And Hotels

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Andaz Maui

Andaz Maui, via Trip Notes: Maui No Ka ‘Oi

 

Several people thanked me for some of the tips they learned about my recent trip report, so I figured I’d continue on that theme and perhaps make travel tips a recurring topic.

When making hotel reservations I’ll sometimes encounter an unpublished minimum stay requirement.

In other words if you search for a room using points at the Park Hyatt NYC from December 5-6, you’ll get the message that there are no point rooms available. The same message occurs from December 5-7.

But if you search from December 5-8 you can use points for a room. That’s because there is an unpublished 3 night minimum stay for that time.

The same thing applies if you wanted to stay there on 12/31 for 1 night, but if you search from December 31-January 2 it is bookable with points.

Hotels can’t block base rooms that are for sale from being used for points, so they just add a restriction from selling the base room, in this case the Park King, if you don’t stay for the minimum amount of nights.

If you search for a points room at the Andaz Maui checking in on November 12 and checking out on November 13, 14, 15, or 16, you will get the no point rooms available message. However if you checkout on November 17 or later you can use points as there is an unpublished 5 night minimum stay requirement for that time.

I’ve gotten around this by booking the longer stay and then calling up Hyatt to remove the extra nights. Of course this is always a YMMV (Your mileage may vary) situation and it’s entirely up to the rep, but just keep in mind that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. The same rule applies with any situation where a rep has leverage, from credit card reconsideration to clearing standby for a flight. Note that with some chains, like SPG, this is a bigger YMMV than with others.

 

Recently I was looking for award tickets and a car rental for somewhere that will be in the line of the total eclipse. While I currently have 4 round-trip business class awards on United’s 77W from Newark to Tel Aviv for that time period, it doesn’t look like that trip is going to happen.

How I managed to book saver awards for Tel Aviv and for the eclipse this late in the game is a story for another time, but the car rental situation is applicable in this post.

I wanted to use Avis Daily Getaways vouchers, but the location was showing that they were sold out of everything besides SUVs, which aren’t valid for the vouchers. I started playing around with the dates though and noticed that I was able to reserve a Premium vehicle if I took the car for 6 days.

You can probably figure out what I did by this point. I made a 6 day reservation and then called back to remove the extra days. Worked like a charm 😀

 

Have a travel topic you’d like to see covered in a future post? Hit the comments!

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19 Comments on "Travel Tips: Dealing With Minimum Length Requirements For Car Rentals And Hotels"

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David

Hi Dan,
Anyway to coordinate to get 1 of your seats?

Anonymous

Is there any way to bypass the minimum night requirements for the hyatt suite by points redemption?

Avid Follower

Thanks for the write up. Great Idea.
For suggestion bin: How about more tips on how to best utilize Hotel rewards. Most of your travel tips relate to Air travel.
Question I had now: When trying to book an upgraded room with awards (IHG) they said there are only basic rooms available for rewards. Can I book a basic room and then pay the difference( Either in cash or points) to upgrade?

Sola

I’d like to hear more about this, too. I tried upgrading on an IHG points stay last year in Tel Aviv, but no luck, even HUCAing.

Flying Jew Moshe

Dan,

As always good stuff!
Regarding other topics…first class travel on points to Israel. You teased about it in your post…nothing like flying to the Holy Land while horizontal!

hi

“Hotels can’t block base rooms that are for sale from being used for points” why cant they?im just curious. And if i could point out i think waldorf succos has this problem as well if im not mistaken

shmuels2

Speaking of eclipse shenanigans, I was trying to book a Hyatt Andaz close to the line of eclipse on August 20th and saw a standard room available but not available for points. Phone rep said that that’s a special “advance purchase” rate, not regular rate. I reminded her of the “No blackout dates” policy and pointed out that if the room is available it should be available for awards.

She said she’s see what she could do, called the hotel and booked it for me.

pray

dan what do u suggest i rented a car from thrifty in israel and went into a driveway that the curb was reg. not slanty down and blew out my tire the agent i rented from told me rather fix yourself b/c the rental place will make a hassle so i called chase first to ok it and they said i dont have to tell the rental place and now they dont want to cover b.c have to tell the rental place what do i do i have recording of the conversation that they oked it actually 2 agents by chase [they ordered the conversation from within but still dont want to pay] any suggestions thanx a million

Yosef

Be careful doing this, smart hotels will charge you an early cancel fee!

Yossi

Dan- is there any way to buy or spend your way to united 1K & Glbal? (Obv without traveling)

Anonymous

No

Usher

What about getting around minimum stays that airlines require, that’s really a bummer… (obviously you can do awards, but I’m talking about purchased tickets)

Eli

Dan,
If your trying to rent at at avis in MCI (overland park & St. Jo, MO) I’ve been going there twice a month for the last few months and they are always out of cars. What I’ve been doing is book a few hours or a day earlier which usually has more availability and call that you’ll be late…

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