HostelWorld Gold Cards can be bought for $10 whenever you're making a booking. This waives the $2 booking fee that HostelWorld charges. (It will not, however, waive the 10% downpayment.) There are a couple of ways to get it for free though.
- Follow @hostelworld on Twitter. Every now and then, they send out Gold Card codes to new followers. I got one that was valid for six months!
- Sign up for a HostelWorld MyWorld account and make all your booking through it. Per night, per person you get 10 loyalty points on a booking. You also get 20 points for reviewing a hostel, and another 20 points for reviewing the city you stayed in. Now, the MyWorld Points page (n.b. you need to be logged in) says you need 1000 points to get a Gold Membership, but I get a goody bag instead whenever I hit 500 points which - surprise, surprise - also contains a Gold Card! If you travel around a fair bit and make most of your bookings through HostelWorld, 500 points is an easy target to hit.
Not related to the Gold Card, but every now and then HostelWorld runs contests on its homepage. Most of these contests are simple questionnaires for the purpose of signing you up for their newsletter. And in many of these contests, they offer no booking fees ($2 charge + downpayment waived). Keep a lookout for these too.