Best Rate Guarantee policies take all the guessing out of hotel bookings; just go to the hotel chain’s websites and get the lowest rate … guaranteed … right?
Park Inn Best Rate Guarantee Claim #1
On Friday, June 29 I booked a hotel reservation at $99 for Park Inn Fresno on the Carlson Rezidor Hotels Park Inn website. I had found the same hotel room for $89 on Hotels.com and I filed a Carlson Hotels Best Rate Guarantee immediately after completing the day of arrival, no penalty cancellation booking on the Park Inn site at around 11:30am Pacific time.
Park Inn website Fresno room rates.
Hotels.com rates for same night at Park Inn Fresno.
Hotels.com has a 10% off Summer Sale discounting the rates shown on the Park Inn site by 10%. An approved Best Rate Guarantee claim from Carlson Hotels reduces the room rate by 25% off the lower rate at Hotels.com.
Hotels.com $89 rate for Park Inn Fresno is reduced to $66.75 for an approved Best Rate Guarantee claim with Carlson Hotels.
On June 29 I debated booking the prepaid nonrefundable rate of $84.50 on the Park Inn site. Hotels.com had the prepaid rate listed as $76 and 25% off with a successful Carlson Hotels Best Rate Guarantee claim would bring the room rate down to $57.00 for the night.
Park Inn website offered a prepaid, nonrefundable room rate of $84.15 for the same night I booked. Hotels.com offered this room for $76.00.
I did not receive a reply from a Carlson Best Rate Guarantee representative on Saturday, June 30.
The Carlson Best Rate Guarantee T&C states:
We will verify the eligibility of the claim and notify guest via e-mail if the claim qualifies for the Best Rates Guarantee within 24 hours of our receipt of a completed claim form.
I did not receive a reply from a Carlson Best Rate Guarantee representative on Sunday, July 1.
Monday, July 2 I still had not heard from a Carlson Best Rate Guarantee representative. Searching my email I realized I had not even received a confirmation that my Best Rate Guarantee claim had been received by Carlson Hotels.
This was my first ever Carlson Hotels BRG claim. I wondered if the Best Rate Guarantee claim had been lost in a technical glitch since I had not received an email reply regarding my Best Rate Guarantee claim. Mostly I file BRG claims with Starwood Hotels and I always receive an immediate reply that my claim was received and an agent will be in contact within 48 hours.
Park Inn Reservation #1 cancelled.
I cancelled my no penalty cancellation reservation on Monday, July 2 and started the process over again. Also, I checked Hotels.com each day to verify the rate was still at $89 to validate my BRG claim.
On Monday morning, three days after my initial BRG claim, the $84.15 prepaid rate was no longer listed on the Park Inn site and the prepaid $76 rate was no longer showing on Hotels.com.
Thankfully I had not booked the prepaid nonrefundable rate since my claim would have been unsuccessful with the prepaid rate no longer available at Hotels.com. I figured this was even better for validating my BRG claim since there was no longer the possibility of being denied due to a lower nonrefundable rate on the Park Inn site $84.15 compared to the refundable $89 rate on Hotels.com.
Tuesday, July 3 some 96 hours or four days after filing the Carlson Hotels Best Rate Guarantee claim I finally received a response from the Carlson Hotels Best Rate Guarantee representative.
Dear Mr. Garrido,
We appreciate your recent message.
We have found this reservation has been canceled.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to assist you.
Park Inn Best Rate Guarantee Claim #2
Monday, July 2 after I cancelled the first Park Inn reservation, I then booked the exact same reservation for $99 and resubmitted my Carlson Best Rate Guarantee claim for Park Inn Fresno.
This time I carefully documented the Carlson Best Rate Guarantee claim submission procedure.
Sure enough there was no automated email reply stating my BRG claim had been received. I really appreciate this email when I file Starwood BRG claims.
On Tuesday, July 3 I replied to the Carlson Best Rate Guarantee email right away to state 96 hours was an unacceptable response time from Carlson and that I had booked the same reservation again. I provided the BRG agent with my new Park Inn reservation record locator.
This is now Saturday, July 7 – 120 hours or five days after submitting my Best Rate Guarantee claim for the Park Inn Fresno on Monday morning July 2. I have not received any response from a Carlson Best Rate Guarantee representative regarding this BRG claim.
Update July 7 : I received a reply from Carlson BRG after posting this article and 75 minutes after cancelling my Monday July 2 reservation this morning.
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Upon review, we are showing this reservation has been cancelled, per the
Best Online Rate Guarantee, we can only research reservations that are
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to assist you.
Corporate Customer Care Specialist
Park Inn Best Rate Guarantee Claim #3
Saturday, July 7 – Today I checked the rates for Park Inn Fresno and the rate has dropped $10 on the Park Inn site. The $99 room rate is listed at $89.
Park Inn website rate = $89.
Hotels.com is still running its 10% off Summer Sale.
Hotels.com website rate = $80.
I booked a new reservation for Park Inn Fresno at the lower $89 rate and immediately submitted a Best Rate Guarantee claim this morning with Carlson Hotels against the hotels.com $80 rate.
Now I guess I need to wait another 100 hours for a response.
Is all this hassle worth it for a $60 room rate? Not really, but the Club Carlson 44,000 bonus points will be nice.
Carlson Hotels Best Rate Guarantee Terms & Conditions
Next week I will post a series on Best Rate Guarantee terms and conditions for each of the major hotel chains. This is also the topic for my August 2012 InsideFlyer magazine column.
Carlson Hotels actually has some rather unfavorable terms for a Best Rate Guarantee. I generally book flexible cancellation rates to avoid getting stuck paying for hotel nights I can’t stay.
The issue with Carlson’s Best Rate Guarantee is an approved claim actually changes a booking with flexible cancellation terms to a 3-day advance cancellation policy.
My current Park Inn Fresno reservation can be cancelled with no penalty up to 6pm day of arrival.
If the Best Rate Guarantee is approved I will get 25% off the Hotels.com $80 per night lower rate for a $60 room rate.
A successful Best Rate Guarantee claim changes the reservation terms to include a $25.00 nonrefundable advance payment for the BRG reservation. This means I lose $25 if I cancel the reservation after the claim is approved.
Even more onerous is the 6pm day of arrival no penalty cancellation for this Park Inn reservation changes to a 3-Day before arrival cancellation penalty. If a reservation on an approved BRG claim is cancelled within 3 days of arrival the guest forfeits one night’s rate.
Carlson Hotels Worldwide
Q: What does Best Online Rate mean?
A: It means if you’re booking a room at a Park Inn hotel online, you will find the lowest available rate on Parkinn.com.
Q: What is the Best Online Rate Guarantee?
A: If you find a lower rate on another travel site – for the same location, for the same date(s), same room type, same number of guests and same rate terms or restrictions – Park Inn hotels will honor the lower rate AND discount that rate by 25%. Please visit the Terms and Conditionsfor more details.
Q: Who do I contact if I see a lower rate on another website?
A: Please submit a claimonline. You will be contacted via e-mail regarding your request. If the Best On-Line Rate Guarantee claim is approved, full prepayment will be billed to the credit card you provided on your reservation. Advance payment of $25.00 USD is non-refundable. Cancellations made within 3 days of arrival will be charged 1 night plus tax.
Q: What is the reward if I report a lower rate found on another site and it is the lowest online rate?
A: Park Inn hotels guarantee to give you 25% off the lower rate if Customer Service is able to confirm the rate is for the same date(s), the same room type, the same number of guests, the same hotel and same rate terms or restrictions (i.e. the rate guarantee and rate cancellation policies).
Q: Is there a time window that I need to call within to activate the Best Online Rate Guarantee?
A: You must submit a claimwithin 24 hours of the original booking, and at least 48 hours prior to your arrival. If the Best On-Line Rate Guarantee claim is approved, full prepayment will be billed to the credit card you provided on your reservation. Advance payment of $25.00 USD is non-refundable. Cancellations made within 3 days of arrival will be charged 1 night plus tax.
Q: Do I have to present anything to the hotel upon check-in?
A: Please present your reservation confirmation number at time of check-in.
Q: Does the Best Online Rate Guarantee apply to taxes and surcharges?
A: The guarantee applies to the room rate only.
Q: How is the Best Online Rate Guarantee verified?
A: When you contact Customer Service and inform them of the site where the lower rate was found, they will validate the availability of the lower rate and verify that rate meets the termsof the guarantee. If the lower rate is no longer available, the guarantee will not apply.
Q: Does the Best Online Rates Guarantee apply to all Parkinn.com reservations?
A: The Best Online Rate Guarantee applies to reservations made on Parkinn.com for all Park Inn hotel locations.
Recommendations for Carlson Hotels
- Send an auto email reply that a Best Rate Guarantee claim has been received.
- Improve your response time to at least the 48 hours given on the webpage when a claim is submitted.
- Drop the $25 approved BRG advance payment fee. Is this a hotel website Best Rate Guarantee program or a revenue source?
- Do not make the cancellation terms for an approved Best Rate Guarantee claim more restrictive than the cancellation terms for the original booking.
Update Monday, July 9: My Carlson Hotels Best Rate Guarantee claim approved at noon today, about 52 hours after submitting my third claim. My rate for Park Inn Fresno next week has been reduced to $60.00 per night.
Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.