Jul122012

IHG Best Rate Guarantee get one night free

In September 2011 InterContinental Hotels Group changed its Best rate Guarantee benefit from a 10% discount on a competitor Online Travel Agency rate to one free night for a successful Best rate Guarantee claim.

FlyerTalk member reviews in this 109-page thread are mixed on the new policy. Many guests claim the IHG agents look for any excuse to deny a claim. Some guests do score a free night and some guests book a nonrefundable rate in an attempt to get a free night and find their Best rate Guarantee claim is rejected.

InterContinental Hotels Group Best Rate Guarantee Terms

  • Room must be booked on IHG site using the lowest available rate.
Did you use the Best Available Price search?

When you search for a room on an IHG Web site and specify “Best Available” as your price preference, you will be presented with a variety of price types (e.g. Best Flexible, Advance Purchase). These are the best hotel room prices available currently that meet your search criteria.

Did you choose the lowest price from the Best Available Rate search results for your reservation?

A guest must book the lowest available hotel room price through the Best Available price search – for the type of accommodations sought – in order to qualify for the Best Price Guarantee.

IHG Best Rate Guarantee FAQ

This in effect requires booking an advance purchase rate, when available on the IHG site for the same room type. That is a huge deterrent in making hotel bookings primarily to try and score a free night.

You have a prepaid hotel stay even if your Best Rate Guarantee claim is approved and you need to wait for a credit card refund from IHG. And if your BRG claim is denied, then you have a prepaid room and no option but “Use it or lose it”.

Book. Complete a valid (meaning a complete booking with an approved credit card) room booking with the lowest available price (room rate) on any IHG website for any IHG branded hotel using the “Best Available Rate Search.”

IHG Best Rate T&C

  • Claim must be submitted within 24 hours of making a reservation on an IHG site.
  • The minimum difference between the two prices being compared must be 1% or $1, whichever is higher.

Matching Rooms. The Best Price Guarantee is available only for the exact same room type. For example, if you book a king bed with a sofa bed room type on an IHG website, and are comparing it to a non-IHG website, you must find a price with the same king bed with sofa bed room type on the other website.

IHG Best Rate T&C

Note: The posts on the FlyerTalk IHG Best Rate Guarantee thread indicate IHG strictly applies the room comparisons between IHG and the online travel agency. Anyone who has played around with BRG claims knows the room descriptions on OTA sites generally do not us the same room category designators as the hotel brand websites.

Matching Rooms is a tough circumstance to overcome in BRG claims when, for example, the OTA site says a Double Room and the brand website does not even list a double room, but a Standard Room with no further descriptors.

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Holiday Inn Express LAX has Sep 19, 2012 lowest rate at $126.00 for a King Executive or One Queen or 1 King Bed View or Standard Room.

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onhotels.com has Holiday Inn Express LAX Double Room for $101.55 for Sep 19, 2012.

Are these matching rooms?

There is no question that the onhotels.com reservation will put you into the HIX Los Angeles Airport for $25 less than the current IHG prepaid, nonrefundable Best Available Rate. You can gamble $25 extra payment with IHG on a successful BRG claim for a free night or take the $25 discount booking with third party OTA onhotels.com. If I really needed the hotel stay I would gamble with IHG for $25 since points earned on the stay with Priority Club promotion bonuses and regular points can be a $25+ value.

  • IHG does not have a stated policy restricting claims from being submitted 24 or 48 hours in advance of your hotel stay.
  • IHG does not provide a timeframe for responding to BRG claims.
  • Approved claim receives one free night. Regardless of the number of lower prices found, only one free night will be awarded per stay.
  • Example: the first night’s room price at the IHG hotel is free and IHG will match the lower average nightly price found for your entire stay for the rest of the nights of your stay after verification of the lower average nightly price.
  • Any taxes, tariffs or fees imposed by a governmental authority (e.g., federal, state or local) will not be considered as part of the Best Price Guarantee claim.
  • IHG Best Rate Guarantee T&C.

No Response Time Stated in IHG Best Rate Guarantee T&C

The fact that there is no stated response time for an IHG Best Rate Guarantee claim is troubling to me. The primary reason a Best Rate Guarantee claim is denied is due to rate changes on the third-party online travel agency (OTA) site.

IHG and Choice hotels are the only two major hotel loyalty programs that do not state a BRG response time for claims. These are also the two hotel loyalty programs that award one free night for successful claims.

IHG also has no stated deadline for submitting a claim prior to arrival. Hyatt Hotels is the only other major hotel loyalty program without a stated deadline. The advantage with Hyatt is Best Rate Guarantee claims are handled over the phone and you can get approval instantly or within a couple of hours.  IHG does not have a deadline for submitting BRG claims, however, will you get a response within 48 hours of your hotel stay?

More importantly for the IHG Best Rate Guarantee terms is the OTA lower rate can’t be verified once the hotel stay has commenced.

IHG has a high-value Best Rate Guarantee benefit of one free night. And if all your ducks are in a row you might just get your free night claim approved.

Related Loyalty Traveler posts:

Devilish Details of Best Rate Guarantee Claims(July 9)

Marriott Hotels Look No Further Best Rate Guarantee for 25% Discount(July 10)

Hilton Worldwide Best Rate Guarantee – Weaker than Marriott?(July 11)

Over 100 Hours for Carlson Best Rate Guarantee Reply(July 7)

Loyalty Traveler post link: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/07/12/ihg-best-rate-guarantee-get-one-night-free/

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.

 

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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Comments

  1. Aside from room type, ime, the other top reason for IHG’s denial of a BRG claim is both Cancelation Deadlines must be EXACT.

    I had to debate time conversions (GMT vs. local hotel) for a good 15 mins before the rep agreed to approve my claim.

    FYI, anyone attempting to submit a BRG claim over the phone should expect the process to take upwards of 1 hour. 5 mins for the rep to pull up the lower rate & then 30+ mins on hold while the rep attempts to find a reason for denial.

    Finally, unlike Carlson & Marriott where you can view your BRG rate on the ressie, IHG does not do this. Rather, IHG emails you a confirmation that can take over a week to receive. If approved by phone ASK for the BRG reference no.

  2. @bk3day – thanks for the IHG details.

    I was working on a Best Rate Guarantee California vacation yesterday. I made BRG claims with Choice and Best Western, and found a BRG rate with Marriott.

    I could not locate an IHG discrepancy. I am interested in testing the IHG BRG free night claim.

  3. Good luck but IHG certainly doesn’t make it easy!

    fwiw, another reason for denial, that also comes up often is that the other (lower rate) web site must book in the hotel’s local currency.

    The ability to display the lower rate in several currencies does not matter, the currency with which the lower rate would actually be charged rules.

    That’s a problem for many non-US OTA sites that are otherwise useful for SPG & Marriott.

  4. You wrote, “If I really needed the hotel stay I would gamble with IHG for $25 since points earned on the stay with Priority Club promotion bonuses and regular points can be a $25+ value.” Do promo bonuses apply to a one-night BRG stay if the room rate is zero?

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