Like some of you know, I work for the government. I enjoy what I do, and I’ve got no plans on moving jobs anytime soon. I know that I get a lot of great perks, but there’s one that I probably enjoy a lot and am unsure about how to use it (or if I should at all). Now, this applies to all government workers (in the US at least) and for those of you in this category, I’d like to know what you think/what you do.
I noticed this during my travel heavy summer and even before that, but I’ve never actually used it. See, whenever you’re booking a hotel, you can choose what type of rate you’d like, and they (typically) offer discounts. One of those discounts is a government rate, and usually it’s quite substantial. When I travel for work I always make sure to request this rate, and I have only been asked to show a government ID once. Clearly, this got me thinking: Could I use this for personal travel as well?
On the one hand, I am a government employee and the rate is for government employees. I can use it whenever I need it, and that should be that. The hotel chain is the one not checking to see if I’m actually a government employee, and they have no way of knowing wether or not I’m there on official business. Even in when I was in alaska and checking in and out at odd times then returning a few days later, I got the government rate. I was on government business, and got the good rate.
On the other hand, is it unethical to take advantage of the system in this way? Sure, the hotels make it easy for you to do so, but then again, just because it’s easy, should you? This discount is nothing to scoff at – typically like 33% of the regular room price in some spaces, so it’s not like you’re only saving 8 bucks by doing this. The hotel room will sit empty if you elect to do go to another hotel that is cheaper without the government rate, so they’d be making some money instead of none.
They say that no one cares about your personal finance situation more than you, and I firmly believe that to be the truth. If you’re able to get a 30% discount, then you should take it. That saved money can be used for debt repayment, to save extra money, or spent in an area that aligns with your priorities more than the hotel you’re staying at for the time being. Why should you pay 30% over whatever price that they are asking just because?
Readers: What do you think? Would you use the discount to your advantage every chance you got, or would you use another discount method (such as AAA) or just pay the full price?