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tingo.comWe all hate to pay more than we have to. So even when there’s nothing we can do about it, we might linger at the check-in desk in hopes of hearing the room rate that another customer is paying. If it’s less, we fume, sulk or worse. We want the best price possible!

The problem is that room rates go up and down every day. They may drop to fill last-minute vacancies. They may go up to reflect busier days or seasons. While trying to get the best deal you may find yourself walking the line between waiting to see if rates go down and wanting to book now to lock in a rate — or reserve the room.

How to Get the Best Hotel Rate

There’s a solution to this tightrope walk. Tingo, launched yesterday by our sister site Smarter Travel, makes certain that we don’t pay more than we should. The hotel booking site provides a worldwide hotel search powered by Expedia. When you book through Tingo, if the total price of your reservation drops by $1 or more, the site automatically rebooks you for free at the lower rate. After you check out, you’ll get a refund on your credit card within a few days — without having to lift a finger.

This may sound a bit like Orbitz’s policy of offering a refund if another customer books the same room on the same day at a lower price, but Tingo doesn’t require an actual booking at the lower rate in order for you to get a refund. The room must merely be offered at a lower rate.

According to the Web site, during the last 30 days prices have dropped on 467 hotels in Paris an average of $10.12, 270 hotels in London an average of $18.82 and 218 hotels in New York City an average of $49.44. We like the sound of that refund.

What Not to Do at Your Hotel

What we didn’t like:

-You must prepay the full cost of your stay when you book.

-The refund is offered only on select rooms and is limited by the hotel’s cancellation policy.

What we liked:

-We don’t have to do anything to get the refund.

– Web access will soon be complemented by an app for smartphones and tablets.

-We know we’re getting the best price.

-We’re not paying more than that other customer at the check-in desk.

— written by Jodi Thompson

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