Mar262008

Hotel Best Rate Guarantees

All the major hotel chains have a “Best Rates Guarantee” advertised on their websites. Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, and Starwood all run ads on their websites stating the hotel guest need look no further than the corporate branded websites for the lowest online hotel rates.

And they are almost always correct in stating lower rates will not be found elsewhere (group rates like AAA, auction/bid sites and vacation packages are excluded from guarantee).

Hyatt Place Hotel, Fremont, California

Over the years I have tried to utilize the best rate guarantee with several hotel chains to no avail.

Three of the big five upscale hotel loyalty programs: Hilton, InterContinental, and Marriott have a precondition that is hard to justify for a hotel guest desiring the lowest hotel room rate.

The requirement states a reservation must be made with the hotel chain through a corporate-owned website (e.g. book a Marriott Courtyard through the Marriott Rewards website or book a Doubletree hotel on the Hilton Hotels website).

Only after you have booked your room, if you find a lower rate on a third party online travel agency site (like Expedia and Orbitz) for essentially the same room type then you can submit a request for a rate guarantee.  Special group rates like senior and AAA rates are excluded from rate guarantee claims.

Hyatt Place pool, Fremont, California

Hyatt Place pool,  Fremont, California

I have tried several times over the years to get a rate guarantee and my claim has always been rejected. The room type wasn’t considered the same.   Or even more commonly I was told that I must first book the higher rate on the hotel-branded website and then I can submit a request for the best rate guarantee.

A gamble I won’t take is to pay $180 for a room and then wait to see if my rate guarantee applies when there is a $120 room on Orbitz or Expdia or Travelocity. I will just book the $120 room.

Hyatt Place Fremont HDTV2

Hyatt Place HDTV image, Fremont, California

There is risk in trying to get a discount on a lower rate that you have found on an online travel agency.  There is too much risk in paying a $180 using the hotel branded website for making a reservation and then learn the competitor’s rate is considered ineligible for the Best Rates Guarantee.  This is why Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport have a competitive advantage in the hotel loyalty programs.

Hyatt and Starwood have the sensible “Best Rate Guarantee” policy of being able to submit your request to the hotel corporation prior to making your hotel booking.

Hyatt Place Hotel sign Fremont, California

Hyatt Place sign, Fremont, California

Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee Worked for a Last-Minute Rate Discount for Hyatt Place Fremont

This morning is the first time I have actually submitted a successful best rate guarantee.

FOr the past couple of weeks I have been trying to get my wife to come hang out in the Wine country and San Francisco this weekend and I waited until this morning to finalize my Hyatt “Stays Count Double” final hotel run. I checked all the rates again last night and there had been very little change in rates over the past three weeks.

Hyatt Place Hotel Fremont California couch

Hyatt Place couch, Fremont, California

This morning I went to make my reservations and the Hyatt Place Fremont went from $89 AAA rate to $113 Hyatt.com rate as the lowest available for my dates. The best available rate had increased from $99 to $119 on the Hyatt website. I happened to look on Orbitz and Expedia and the rates were still $99 for the same room type and dates.

I called up the Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee number 1-888-964-9288 and informed them I had found a lower rate on Expedia and Orbitz. The agent placed me on hold for several minutes and then returned to state the $99 rate was also available through Hyatt and I could make the reservation with him.

Hyatt Place bed, Fremont, California

Hyatt Place bed, Fremont, California

I asked the agent to hold while I rechecked and told him I still only saw the $119 rate on my computer and the $99 rate only shows as a government employee rate. He placed me back on hold for several more minutes and then came back to state I qualified for the Best Rate Guarantee and I could reserve the room at the Hyatt Place Fremont for $79.20 for my dates.

Hyatt Plac minibar, Fremont, California

Hyatt Place minibar, Fremont, California

An email confirmation within minutes showing my reservation confirmation and the $79.20 rate and I am so pleased to have finally have a hotel chain honor the best rates guarantee BEFORE I booked the room.

Hyatt Place bath mirror, Fremont, California

Hyatt Place bath mirror, Fremont, California

Another positive note for Hyatt.

And 10 days after starting my “Stays Count Double” Hyatt elite status hotel run, my Platinum status is reflected in my profile and I have earned enough points for one free hotel night at the low end hotels.

Hyatt Place gym, Fremont, California

Hotel Running is Quite a Workout !

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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