Last Minute Travel Club & Last Minute Travel


Last week, I wrote a piece about Last Minute Travel Club (LMTC) that appeared to offer very nice discounts on chain hotels. The only drawback was that it requires you to join their club that normally sells for $49.99, but you can get it for free most of the time. They have another promotion for a free membership going on again.


Their pricing really intrigues  me as it is so low at times compared to branded websites that it borderline makes no sense.

Here are examples from Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott & Starwood

Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood are for one night arriving on November 16. The Marriott property is for arriving on 20th for one night.

Hilton New Orleans Riverside $72.64 VS $224



Hyatt Regency New Orleans $72.96 VS $146.30



W New Orleans $164.08 VS $219



Ritz-Carlton New Orleans $128.79 VS $249



LMTC also has a “conventional” non-members website They do have some of these deals there as well, but they cannot display the name of the hotel and the price is bit higher. The hotels that they name are about the same price that you can find on other websites.


For the hotels that they cannot show the name, they give the above explanation.

They must have access to opaque prices for these hotels, but they are not allowed to display the name of the hotel.  It seems that they can get around this limitation by advertising their own club that requires a membership fee, but is essentially free to join. Once you have joined the club, they can display the lower prices and names of the hotels.

If you look at the prices for the hotels above and compare what they are going for on Priceline (betterbidding and biddingfortravel), LMTC is very close to the Priceline pricing. But why would you go the Priceline route if you can get the same price and confirmation about the hotel instantaneously?

Why hotels offer “opaque” pricing?

Hotels want to maximize the revenue they get in. It is difficult to offer much differentiated pricing on the branded website i.e. If you have a higher price first and then start lowering it a lot, people who booked and maybe prepaid may get dissatisfied.

Also, if you would see Ritz-Carlton on for $129 it might “cheapen” the brand. People would expect to get it at the same price in the future.

Hotels can dump excess inventory and at the same time not lower their headline pricing by going the Priceline/Hotwire route.


The Last Minute Travel Club appears to work best in the markets that have excess inventory at times like New Orleans. I have always had very good luck with Priceline for booking hotels in the city even when the prices are “high”. Now, I can also check the prices on LMTC and be sure about the hotel that I will get as you can get instant confirmation.

Note that LMTC has some hotels that are on request i.e. the opaque inventory has been exhausted/not available, but they can send a request to the hotel.

Last Minute Travel Club – Significant Savings at Times?


There are lots of options for booking hotels online. Most of the travel sites are selling the same inventory and prices are quite uniform. Sometimes opaque sites likes Hotwire and Priceline can offer significant savings, but you cannot be sure about the property.


Last Minute Travel Club requires you to become their member in order to search for prices. Luckily, they have continuous promotions for free membership that would otherwise cost $49.99. You can access the current free sign up offer here.

Some of the prices that the Last Minute Travel Club (LMTC) offers are truly low. On the Burbank Marriott example below, their price is about half of the AAA rate that you can find on and third of the best flexible rate on the same site.

Note that some of the prices are “on request” meaning that they are not able to confirm your reservation online. According to the information on LMTC, they will get back to you in 48 hours during which the hotel should have either accepted or rejected the reservation.


All their prices are prepaid and you cannot access them unless you become a member. Some of these prices would have offered a great BRG opportunity (Best Rate Guarantee) with hotel chains, but you cannot use LMTC for that purpose as you need to become a member first.

Here are three examples about their pricing.

Burbank Marriott


The lowest price on is AAA rate of $169.


The price on LMTC is $101.24

InterContinental Bali


The price with breakfast is $267 on brand website.


LMTC “On Request” price is $224.40.

W Montreal


The price on is 359 CAD.


LMTC has an instant confirmation price of $221.63.


Some of the prices on LMTC are really low. I am not sure what inventory they have access to that would enable them to offer some of the hotels at such a low prices.

Lot of the inventory that is displayed are Travelodges etc. but there are quite a few Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Starwood properties as well.

I can see myself checking out the prices on LMTC once in a while when I don’t otherwise have access to an acceptable price. Some of the chains do honor the elite benefits even on third party stays like the ones booked through LMTC.  It is unfortunate that you cannot price match to LMTC due to their “membership” set up.

Would You Stay at “Ikea” Budget Designer Hotel?


Ikea has been hugely successful discount furniture chain. I go to Ikea few times a year to eat at their food court the Swedish meatballs and to visit the small Scandinavian food selection to pick up some knäckebröd or näkkileipä as we call this bread in Finland.

IKEA Opening Budget Designer Hotel Chain
IKEA Opening Budget Designer Hotel Chain

Now, Ikea is pushing into budget designer hotels and planning to open 100 locations in Europe in the next few years according to the Financial Times. They are looking for an established hotel operator to manage the chain for them. These hotels would neither carry the Ikea name nor furniture, but would rather be a financial real estate investment for them.

It is interesting to see how this is going to develop. The only discount “designer” hotel chain that comes to my mind is the Starwood’s Aloft, which is the “vision of W hotels” according to their branding.

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