The Washington Times - October 23, 2008, 05:28PM

Is the room rate for your next hotel stay too high for your travel budget? No need to cancel that trip yet. There are creative ways to pay for your accommodation, and using your own money is just one of the options.

The creativity I have in mind involves more than just redeeming your hotel points with a loyalty program. In fact, let’s assume that you don’t have enough points for your intended stay.

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Mike Schlappig of Tampa, Fla., was recently in that position. He was planning a trip to Egypt next month and wanted to spend the last two nights at Le Meridien Pyramids in Cairo. However, he was unpleasantly surprised by the rate of $220 per day, which is relatively high for that market.

His younger brother Ben, a frequent traveler whom I’ve quoted in this column before, had what turned out to be a brilliant idea. He knew that the hotel was part of the Starwood chain and that its loyalty program allows its members to buy points. He found out that 5,000 points were required to book a two-night “award” stay. Since Starwood sells a point for 3.5 cents, all Mike had to pay was $175, saving $265.

Read my column on the subject:

KRALEV: Hotels can cost far less

Also read about Hilton HHonors’ recent changes:

KRALEV: Hilton changes rewards

And about recent travel deals and promotions:

KRALEV: Year-end travel deals trimmed

How are you coping with hotel bills? Have you discovered any creative ways to cover those costs?

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