An Introduction to Hotel Hustle (My Favorite Hotel Award Search Tool)

It seems to me in the travel world of my dreams, the best possible world would be the one where we make a choice, set an alert either for availability or price, and then technology kicks in and does the rest. I don’t have coding or software design skills, so for me, it’s still like living in the world of the Jetsons that my travel dream world has been here for some time already. But in my dream world, of course, this all goes off without a hitch :)

I’ve found that Hotel Hustle is the best and easiest hitch-less hotel tool to use, and I was reminded of this just yesterday. Grant hasn’t written about Hotel Hustle, so I wanted to make sure that the TWG posse is aware of just how great Hotel Hustle is. Hotel Hustle is the brainchild of Seth Miller, The Wandering Aramean. Seth writes code to relax, and I’m sure glad he does! The basic idea is that it’s a hotel award search tool.

Hotel Hustle Searching for Hotels

Hotel Hustle does many things besides just searching an area for hotels. It gives you comparisons between the award price, the cash price, and even the cash and points price. I like this because maybe I start out looking for award availability, but then I see that maybe this isn’t the best use of my points. It’s all about choice, isn’t it?

Hotel Hustle Sample Results

Sample Hotel Hustle results for a 1 night stay in Sacramento, CA

It also allows you to pick and choose which hotel chains you’re interested in and set a mile radius. Other cool information you can see besides award availability is a redemption value, and what Seth calls hot award/cash rates in the region.

Hotel Hustle Chain Hotels Radius Hotness

As I mentioned, in my dream world being able to set alerts is the icing on the cake, and that’s my favorite feature of Hotel Hustle. When you search for a specific hotel on a specific date and there is no award availability, you can set an alert and when availability opens up, you receive an email or text message.

In January 2015, Seth added another feature to Hotel Hustle, which I thought was brilliant. It’s called the Enough Points Function. Registered users can now integrate Hotel Hustle with Tripit Pro, TRAXO, and Award Wallet. When you link your accounts, you can use an extra filter option and you’ll see the hotel chains where you have enough points to book the awards. After all, what’s the use of looking for a Park Hyatt when you only have enough points to book a Hyatt Place :)

Besides setting hotel availability alerts, you can also manage them. After you create an account, the free version includes 5 free email alerts. The paid version ($2.99 a month), comes with 30 alerts and text message alerts. All bookings are handled directly by the hotel websites, so there are no issues with elite status credit earnings.

You might wonder how responsive Seth is when you experience a glitch with Hotel Hustle. Just yesterday, I got one of my favorite emails saying “Hotel Hustle Award Alert!” It was for a Westin in Venice. It said an award night had opened up for 1,494 POINTS. Amazing rate, right? I’m thinking I’ll spend the whole month in Venice at this rate :)

Dear Shelli,

Your Hotel Hustle alert for a room at the The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice from 8/9/2017 to 8/10/2017 has triggered. An award room is available for 1,494 points per night. Other rates may also be available.

Click here to book directly at the hotel’s website.

Have a great trip!

Results as of 4/19/2017 9:18:35 AM Central Time

But I knew something smelled fishy. After clicking through to the SPG site, I saw that it was 1,494 Euros a night, not points. Gave me a good laugh. I emailed Seth and within a few hours he had fixed the glitch and was glad I had let him know about it.

Seth: I’ll take a look and see if SPG changed things up on the site. Sometimes the system gets confused between cash and points rates and it needs a tweak.

Shelli: OK, thanks. I thought it was too good to be true. If 1494 points per night, I’ll stay all year :)

Seth: This should be fixed now. Thanks for letting me know!

The bottom line is that Hotel Hustle is easy to use, set it and forget it, and save yourself a HUGE amount of time. Before tools like this, we’d have to check and check and check each hotel website over and over again. If you’re like me and you prefer the fun side of travel planning and would rather hand off the arduous tasks to others, give Hotel Hustle a try and see what you think!

Have you used Hotel Hustle? Please let us know in the comments!

16 thoughts on “An Introduction to Hotel Hustle (My Favorite Hotel Award Search Tool)

  1. Kim

    Hi – Thanks for writing about Hotel Hustle. I wasn’t aware of the tool and am excited about its possibilities. Maybe I should be directing this question to Seth, but I couldn’t find a way to contact him on the Hotel Hustle website. I am interested in redeeming a standard room at the Grand Wailea in Maui anytime there is low level space in 2018 – which under Hilton’s new system may be like chasing a unicorn. However, on the alerts I only see a way to check specific dates. Is there a way to set an alert where you are notified when any standard room (or low level award space) becomes available?

    Reply
    1. shelli

      HI Kim, I sure understand your frustration with Hilton. I’d start by signing up for a Hotel Hustle account and getting behind the scenes to see how it all works. I don’t search for general dates, so I’m not sure if that’s possible. I’m sure you can reach out to Seth and find out, though. http://blog.wandr.me

      Reply
    1. shelli

      Good question, Hoang. Certainly worth a try. Since those IHG properties just came out a few days ago, sign up for a Hotel Hustle account and see what you can find. I imagine if they are still available for 5000 points they’d be listed. Let us know what you find! Thanks.

      Reply
  2. Christian

    Hotel Hustle is my go to award search tool. Particularly for being free, it works great. I agree with you that the alert feature is wonderful. That said, it’s not without some glitches. Searches can often time out after a minute or two, which means that you have to start over. Also, for some strange reason, Hyatt and Starwood hotels often show as either unavailable on points or unavailable at all for a given city. If you see no availability in a city for every hotel in either chain, you may want to log in to your account to verify the accuracy.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Thanks for taking the time to reply, Christian! I encourage you to contact Seth when you feel there’s a glitch. He really is responsive to getting Hotel Hustle to work as well as it can. Users like us often see things he might not catch. Glad you feel as I do about HH :)

      Reply
  3. MSer

    Points are easy to gin up. That should never be a problem for any hacker worth their salt.

    But agree, HH is a great site – gives you all available options (at least most of the time – several places I’ve checked had some properties missing). It’s also great place to determine fair value of trades btw various hotel programs thanks to his value comparison charts.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      I agree, MSer, on the points and gin :) Seth’s a smart guy and knows how to work the numbers. HH is a rich, free resource. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  4. iahphx

    HH is a good site. I wish it were better — aka, a little more accurate and more regularly updated — but since I’m not paying for it, I guess I shouldn’t complain.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Agreed, free is a good price. I do think it’s the best out there for what it does, and I like the one stop shopping aspect of it. I can always double check the info it provides, but I always go there first. And those alerts really do work!

      Reply
  5. calwatch

    Unfortunately the linking with IHG is kind of buggy but it is a great tool to search for rooms for conferences and similar events. Another useful feature of the site is hot award rates/hot cash rates which flag good deals other people have found.

    Reply
    1. shelli

      Thanks for mentioning the hot award/hot cash rates! I haven’t taken advantage of those yet, so good reminder for everyone to check those, too.

      Reply

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