Travel Hacking: hotel travel expenses

Highlighting the benefits of credit card spend in accumulating air line miles previously, I hope to list some examples focusing on travel expenses here.

Credit card spend on travel expenses can easily balloon.

Since we put a significant portion of it on credit card. Strategizing the spend to maximize the credit card rewards is crucial.

Those points we earn, we can leverage for the next trip!

There are many items but one of the biggest travel expenses is accommodations.

Travel expenses: why I don’t use major hotel chains

Besides the loyalty programs of airlines, hotels chains also have the equivalent.

But I usually steer clear of them. There are many reasons.

For one, it is hard to earn hotel chain points because there are no Singaporean hotel chain credit cards.

Points are therefore painstakingly earned via actual hotel stays or points purchase.

Second, whilst there is value redeeming hotel chain points for hotel stay. It is harder to coordinate redemption for hotel AND flight for a particular travel period.

If you find availability for the hotel, you can’t find available flights etc.

In addition, I can easily find cheaper accommodations than hotel chains anytime.

Some people may argue that hotels provide amenities which can make a stay more pleasant.

But this will involve taking time away from actually experiencing the city you are in.

Especially if you, like me like to go museum hopping. And museums like the Broad in Los Angeles below closes early! Plus you easily spend a few hours there easily.

If I am paying double or more for the hotel room that includes perks like lounge and food. I will ensure I use those perks.

But that will mean missing interesting and/or cheaper local options as well.

For example, the real matcha soft-serve ice-cream I discovered and enjoyed whilst walking through the streets in Tokyo.

Travel expenses: cheaper hotel options

There are numerous cheaper options and no they are not always dodgy, unclean, have any less amenities or out of the way.

In fact some of these smaller hotels may out-do the major hotel chains in one or other areas. And charge much lesser!

I know this is not an apples to apples comparison. But let’s try.

Since I am heading to Hong Kong for a short vacation. Let me compare the pricing of Conrad hotel, versus a comparably located Harbor Bay Hotel for 1 pax for 1 night. All in.

Here’s what Conrad is asking for:
travel expenses conrad hotel

Whilst Harbor Bay Hotel is only asking after choosing the most expensive option:
travel expenses habour bay hotel

Travel expenses: how to book hotels and earn points

Before you think about making the booking, there is actually a cheaper way to book the very same hotel.

Opening up Agoda, the exact hotel room listing is actually slightly cheaper!
travel expenses agoda

Booking with Agoda is great because it will qualify for 10X points using the DBS card that rewards online spend.

I mention this because some hotels process the payments offline and thus are not eligible for 10X points.

And I am not done yet actually. Let me show you how to double dip on this booking.

If you are to click through to Agoda from, you get a 6% cashback, on top on the points you earn.
travel expenses shopback

Well, is there anyway to go even cheaper?

Yes there is!

For the same night in AirBnb. I can able to find a nice apartment with positive reviews going at:
travel expenses airbnb

I like using AirBnb because these apartments comes with important amenities such as washers, kitchen etc. The hotels simply can’t match these without asking for more.

It is also immensely satisfying to know that in staying in such apartments, you are helping out the local community.

Rather than have your money go to a conglomerate, a faceless corporate entity.

And I have lived in AirBnbs in Tokyo and Hong Kong thus far.

What I usually do over a vacation is to live in a mixture of AirBnb apartments and hotels.

In the end, I know I am spending as little as I possibly can whilst still having comfort. And more importantly carve out the maximum credit card points for the expenditure.

Travel expenses: a word of caution

Agoda belong to a group of websites collectively known as OTAs (online travel agents).

Some of them also tell you that they can reward your booking by awarding you points for your spend.

Usually, you can opt for the airline FFPs of your choice where the points go to.

As tempting as that may be. When factoring that in, the asking price is almost always higher. And the amount of points is not worth the increase in asking price for the accommodations.

I will not go for these. And you can read more about it here.

Bottomline: hotel travel expenses

Now that one of the biggest travel expenses is out of the way. I will discuss other aspects of travel expenses tips and tricks in the future.

And I hope that you begin to benefit from the research and be well on your way to redeeming premium cabin travel in the near future.

Finally, tell me if this has been useful.


  • On August 14, 2018