Slash your hotel costs: flash your NRMA, RACV or RACQ card
Aussie business travellers with a paid-up auto club membership with the likes of the NRMA, RACV and RACQ can enjoy discounts of up to 15% on hotel room rates in Australia and abroad, which could save frequent jetsetters thousands of dollars each year.
Membership cards of these motoring bodies come with a small AAA ‘show your card & save’ logo, unlocking cheaper room rates at hotels such as Hilton, Conrad, Four Points by Sheraton and W Hotels.
You just need to hunt down the ‘AAA’ or ‘automobile association’ rates when making your reservation, but you’ll wind up paying less than the hotel’s normal ‘best available rate’ for the same level of flexibility.
Here’s how it’s done.
Booking the AAA rate with Hilton, Conrad
AAA rates are easy to find at Hilton and Conrad hotels – just head to the Hilton HHonors website and check the AAA box:
On the following screen, you’ll be presented with only the AAA rate – but to make sure you’re getting the best deal we’d suggest comparing it with the easy cancellation and advance purchase rates, which you can activate on the left-hand side of the page:
At the Hilton Brisbane hotel, we’re given the following three prices for the same basic room:
Advance Purchase is the cheapest rate at $303, yet provides no flexibility for changes and cancellations – while Easy Cancellation sets you back nearly $350. Filling the middle ground is the AAA rate, which is just as flexible as Easy Cancellation yet comes in at $328.
AAA rates aren’t limited only to base-level rooms: you can even snag a cheaper rate for rooms on the Executive floors:
It’s a similar story at the new Conrad London St. James hotel, where you’ll save £20 per night (A$36) on a Deluxe room by booking it under the AAA code:
At the higher end of the scale, a Hilton HHonors Diamond member staying 60 nights each year and paying $36 less each night would save $2,160 over 12 months, which is nothing to be sniffed at.
Better yet, AAA rates still come with the usual status perks such as free upgrades, breakfast and Internet access while accruing HHonors points, so business travellers won’t see their HHonors status take a dive by opting for the cheaper AAA rates.
Booking the AAA rate with Starwood
On the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) website, browse for a room as you normally would – but then navigate to the ‘by rate’ tab and select ‘automobile association’, as we’ve done here for the Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane hotel:
Surprisingly, the $314 AAA rate is cheaper than even the $320 prepaid rate, yet comes with the same change and cancellation rules as the $370 flexible rate.
All up, you’re paying 15% less for the same room in the same hotel, while still earning Starpoints in the SPG loyalty program and enjoying your usual status perks.
As with Hilton, Starwood offers the discounted rates internationally. Using dates in October, we were able to find a ‘Wonderful Room’ at the W Hong Kong hotel for HK$3,630 (A$520) including taxes and charges:
With the AAA rate, that drops to HK$3,449 (A$494) – again, for exactly the same room:
At those rates, an SPG Ambassador staying 100 nights a year and paying A$26 less each night would save $2,600 over 12 months – or would save $5,600 when forking out $56 less each night at the Four Points.
No vehicle? No problem.
While motoring membership is normally the domain of car owners, non-drivers can join the NRMA, RACV and RACQ at discounted rates.
In NSW and the ACT, just head to the NRMA website and join as a ‘Club Care’ member for $81.70 in the first year and only $26.70 in subsequent years.
In Victoria, register for a ‘Personal Membership’ with the RACV for just $31/year, or in Queensland, sign up as an RACQ ‘Lifestyle member’ for $42 each year.
That doesn’t get you any towing or roadside benefits, but does get you a motoring membership card that bears the AAA logo, giving you access to those great hotel room rates.
Whatever your membership type, you’ll just need to locate either of these logos on the front or back of your card:
Printed underneath, you’ll find a three-digit ‘international club code’, which you’ll need to enter when prompted on either the Hilton or Starwood websites to finalise your reduced-rate booking.
One last tip: if you’ve booked a discounted room rate, don’t forget to pack your NRMA, RACV or RACQ membership card in your passport wallet to present on check-in – else you’ll have to pay full price at the hotel!
More on hotels from the AusBT team:
- New AusBT review: Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai hotel
- Earn up to triple Starpoints with Starwood Preferred Guest
- Now open: Hilton Garden Inn New York/Midtown Park Avenue hotel
- Conrad London St. James becomes the UK’s first Conrad hotel
- Parmelia Hilton Perth hotel completes guest room revamps
- Qantas Frequent Flyers get 20% off food, drinks at IHG hotels
- Starwood: W Hotel Brisbane set to open in 2018
For the latest information for business travellers and frequent flyers, follow @AusBT on Twitter.
Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Slash your hotel costs: flash your NRMA, RACV or RACQ card
04 Oct 2011
Total posts 25
You forgot to mention the RAA. The South Australian version!
Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
02 Jul 2011
Total posts 1381
For NSW residents wanting to join the Classic NRMA they also have an intro offer at the moment that I heard on the radio.
14 Sep 2013
Total posts 14
The RAC in WA's card also had that, never really noticed it before on the card but thought about when booking rooms but usually don't bother... Will do from now... Smart trick about taking out the membership without the car... ;)
United Airlines - Mileage Plus
29 Jan 2011
Total posts 161
I hadn't really noticed that tiny logo on the back of my NRMA card. I always thought when I saw the tick-box for AAA members that it only applied in the US for USA members.
I'll try and remember next time when booking a hotel.
Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
12 Sep 2014
Total posts 8
Also at RACV resorts like royal pines in the Gold Coast membership gets you access into the executive lounge during the day even when booking cheapest room