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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013

Get paid for non-refundable hotel reservations you can't use

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Ever lost money on a non-refundable hotel reservation? Now there's a way you may be able to get some of your money back!

Picture this: You book a non-refundable hotel room and then you get sick, or your plans change, or whatever. In the past, you'd have to eat the money you paid for that room. (Priceline and Hotwire will sell you a cheap insurance policy for about $5 a night to deal with accident and illness, though I never buy it.)

But losing all your money may no longer be the problem it once was. Now there's a secondary marketplace for the resale of non-refundable hotel rooms rolling out across the country. It's called RoomerTravel.com.

The service is completely FREE for you to use as a buyer or seller of an existing reservation. "Having said that, please note that most methods of payment transfer, including PayPal, charge a small fee," the company writes on its website. "Roomer is neither responsible for, nor do we receive any sort of cut from these charges."

RoomerTravel handles switching the name on the reservation once a sale is made. It's that easy! And unlike booking on a mystery site such as Priceline, you know exactly where you're staying upfront.

I've been watching this roll out in different markets. Some of the deals are real steals and others are real yawners. You have to know the pricing to know if you're getting a real deal or not.

Meanwhile, the calendar can be your ally when you're planning travel in an era when hotel prices are expected to be high for the foreseeable future.

People love to go to New York City in the fall, but they're appalled by the hotel rates. However, there are certain times in NY that are cheap, according to a new study from Hotwire.com and USA Today. Try going after the first of the year in January or February. Few tourists go then and the rates are at the lowest. The Fourth of July is another great time to go.

When it comes to Las Vegas, the cheapest prices are found through the summer when it's boiling hot -- barring a giant convention being in town. My wife and I go during the summer and have gotten good rooms for under $40 a night.

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