Has anyone experienced an increasing amount of hotels only offering Pre-Payment options. For example I have been traveling to the Boston area 3-4 times a year (roughly the same time each year) for the past 4 years to visit my daughter in college. This year almost every time I go to book a hotel room the only option is pre-payment. I try to book my hotels a good month or so in advance and to pay out $400 - $600 for a weekend stay a month in advance is frustrating. Not too mention hotel costs have dramatically gone up. Why all of sudden are these hotels demanding payment upfront? Add to the frustration if you for some reason you need to change your reservation you loose all of your money. I am a Platinum member, Marriott Visa card holder and have supported Marriott for many many years but I am finding it harder and harder to continue to support Marriott when they have these strict rules.
Typically the advance payment rates are discounted rates. Normally you would see those in addition to the regular rates when you make reservations. On some occassions the AAA rate is the same as the advanced payment rate. Of course the AAA rate would allow you to cancel the reservation and not have to pay for the room until your stay.
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I am in the travel/tour business and i confirm that more hotels are offering the upfront pay option for reduced rate. I ran into this in the UK I was booking 8 rooms and managed to get in on the prepay rate for a savings of 20%. I've seen it more in the US as well. Well worth it, if you're sure you're going.