Apr162009

San Francisco Hotel Rates and Best Rate Guarantees

Saturday is the 103rd anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. I plan to be in the city. My hotel stay plans were not based on the earthquake anniversary. That is just a coincidence.  

My parents are visiting and wanted to spend some time in San Francisco after several years away. My father is a San Francisco native who moved from the Monterey Peninsula in the mid 90s to Las Vegas. This weekend may indicate if he left his heart in San Francisco.

My task was to find two hotel rooms for this weekend.  The week became a study of hotel rates.

Hilton San Francisco was a deal at $95 per night.   The last time I stayed there I did not receive a room upgrade, even as an HHonors Diamond member.  I have no status with HHonors currently. I received a targeted  offer yesterday for Gold status with  4 stays between July 1 and September 30, 2009. I’ll be hoping for $95 rates at the Hilton San Francisco this summer.  

I actually prefer the Hilton Financial District hotel where Chinatown eateries are right outside the door and some of the room views are better. Rates there were $149.

The Fairmont San Francisco at $103 per night was a choice for a historic hotel at a bargain price in a great location.  My reluctance with the Fairmont is its location on the top of steep Nob Hill. My father recently had knee surgery and Nob Hill is a tough walk for the healthy.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco was my hotel preference due to the top floor circular Club lounge with its 360 degree views and food spread throughout the day. I haven’t had chocolate cake since my last visit. The location near the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero shops and restaurants is a prime tourist spot.  The Hyatt Regency has a WOW factor.  Unfortunately rates were oscillating between $199 and $239 per room all week.  This hotel has been $119 on many weekends recently, but not this one.

Calculating BRG Rates

I almost went for a Best Rate Guarantee with GTAHotels.com who had the Hyatt Regency San Francisco hotel at $147 per night last week and then upped the rate to $152 per night this week. 

Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee offers 20% off the competitor’s lower rate and you can make a claim before booking a room.  Hilton, Marriott, and IHG offer Best Rate Guarantees, but only after you book a room.  

$152 x 0.8 = $121.60 gives an estimate of the Best Rate Guarantee price, however, the BRG calculated rate will normally be slightly higher.  OTAs, online travel agencies, make money from both advertising and additional fees.

The fee charged by GTAHotels can be calculated by taking the room rate of $152 x 4 nights x 15.5565% tax and subtract from the total rate shown for the room.

$608 x 1.15565 = $702.64

The GTAHotels.com total rate was listed at $716. 

$716 – $702.64 = $13.36 for four room nights.

GTAHotels add-on fee per room night is$13.36/4 =  $3.34.

The Hyatt BRG 20% discount is not based on the $152 room rate shown. You have to add on the GTAHotels fee and the 20% discount is based on $155.34 per night.

Hyatt BRG for GTAHotels.com $152 rate at Hyatt Regency San Francisco would result in a room rate of $124.28 per night + 15.5565% tax = $143.63/night after tax. The Hyatt rate would be $230 after tax.

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco was available for $75 less than the room rate listed on Hyatt’s website. After tax that would be a $344 savings on four room nights.

I actually filed a BRG claim with Hyatt using ReserveTravel.com as a competitor rate at $137 per night compared to Hyatt at $199. The claim was denied due to ReserveTravel.com being an OTA that does not offer instant online confirmation.

The Palace Hotel, a Starwood Luxury Collection property, has been available as a BRG property for the entire week.  Orbitz had a rate of $119.20 for several days and on Tuesday dropped that rate to $108. Starwood Hotels had the rate at $135 all week.

I filed a BRG claim with Starwood Hotels for The Palace hotel citing Orbitz at $108 compared to $135 on StarwoodHotels.com.  The final rate came out to $100.73 per night. After tax the rate is $13 less per night than the Orbitz rate – a savings of $52 for our two night stay with two rooms.

A person booking the Orbitz rate of $108 without going through a BRG claim would still save $17 per night on the lowest available rate through Starwood Hotels using the Better Tomorrows offer of 50% off the second night.

The BRG claim saves money and qualifies for Starpoints and elite stay and night credit. This is the first time I have taken the 10% discount rather than 2,000 Starpoints.  I would have taken points if it was a one room night stay since 2,000 points are definitely a better value than a $13 savings. Four room nights made the 10% discount a more tangible savings of $52 now rather than 2,000 Starpoints for some future use.

My parents have never stayed in an upscale hotel in downtown San Francisco.  There was never a reason to spend the money. My grandmother owned a house in the city for over sixty years until she died in 1990. I think the historic Palace Hotel is an appropriate hotel for revisiting the city on the 103rd anniversary of the Great Quake.

 

Comparison of Various Room Rates on StarwoodHotels.com  for The Palace Hotel, San Francisco

 Orbitz rate was found through Kayak searches.

Hotel Stay: Fri April 17 – Sun Apr 19, two night stay

Mon April 12 rates

Room Category

Rate Plan

Room Rate

Total

Total after Tax

Orbitz

Superior Room (lowest category)

 

$119.19

$238.38

$275.48

 

$137.74/night

StarwoodHotels.com

Superior Room (lowest category)

Internet Rate nonrefundable

$135

$270

$312.03

 

$156.01/night

StarwoodHotels.com

Superior Room (lowest category)

Better Tomorrows

(50% off second night)

$169 Night 1 $84 Night 2

$253

$292.38

 

$146.19/night

StarwoodHotels.com

Superior Room (lowest category)

California Resident special rate offer

$152.10

$304.20

$351.55

 

$175.78/night

StarwoodHotels.com

Superior Room (lowest category)

AAA

$135.20

$270.40

$312.49

 

$156.25/night

StarwoodHotels.com

Superior Room (lowest category)

Z2H Promotion Code 20% off based on $169 rate

$135.00

$270

$312.03

 

$156.01/night

StarwoodHotels.com

Superior Room (lowest category)

Z3H Promotion Code 3rd night free based on $179 rate

$119.33

$358

$413.73 for 3 nights

 

$137.91/night

Wed April 14

 

 

 

 

 

Orbitz

Superior Room (lowest category)

 

$108  + Orbitz fees = $111.92

$223.87

$258.72

 

$129.36/night

Starwood Hotels

Superior Room (lowest category)

Best Rate Guarantee (10% less than Orbitz final room price after booking fee)

$100.73

$201.43

$232.82

 

$116.41/night

palace-hotel-courtyard-glass-ceiling

The Palace, San Francisco, a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel

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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »