How to Have a Luxury Vacation for Less

Who doesn’t like the idea of a luxury vacation? Ponying up the money for an upscale getaway, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as appealing as going on one. Fortunately, says Joel Widzer, an expert on saving money on travel and the author of the book “The Penny Pincher’s Guide to Luxury Travel,” there are ways to cut the cost of a fancy trip. Here, he shares tips for a lavish getaway on a limited budget.

BE A HOTEL LOYALIST. Favoring one hotel brand, such as Marriott, Starwood, Hilton or Hyatt, has major saving benefits, according to Mr. Widzer. “Hotel brands reward frequent guests who sign up for their loyalty programs with room upgrades, free hotel nights and free breakfast, and they even waive annoying fees such as the cost of valet parking,” he said. Loyalty pays off at independently owned properties, too. If you’re a traveler who returns to the same destination often, say Paris or Lake Tahoe, it’s a good idea to keep staying at the same hotel there. Mr. Widzer, for example, used to stay at the same luxury boutique property on his frequent trips to Santiago, Chile, and by his third visit, he was treated to freebies such as a minifridge stocked with his favorite snacks, free airport transfers and upgrades to a one-bedroom suite — perks worth several thousand dollars over time.

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