Posted by Ric Garrido

My Chicago hotel plans are set. Yesterday I filed two Marriott Look No Further best rate claims with Marriott and both claims were approved based on a far lower rate at getaroom.com with similar penalty free cancellation rules to the Marriott rates. My claims were approved about 10 hours after submission.

Stay 1: Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection

  • Marriott rate = $229 + $37.56 tax = $266.56
  • getaroom.com rate = $140.64 + $23.07 tax = $163.71
  • Adjusted Marriott LNF 25% off rate = $105.48 + $17.30 tax = $122.78
  • Savings = $143.78 for one hotel night.

Stay 2: Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection

  • Marriott rate = $269 + $44.12 tax = $313.12
  • getaroom.com rate = $140.64 + $23.07 tax = $163.71
  • Adjusted Marriott LNF 25% off rate = $105.48 + $17.30 tax = $122.78
  • Savings = $190.34 for one hotel night.

My total cost for Hotel Chicago Downtown for two nights = $245.56.

Marriott rates for these two hotel stays on nonconsecutive nights = $579.68.

Total savings with two Marriott LNF claims for two 1-night stays = $334.12.

My Marriott bookings were Best Flexible Rates with penalty free cancellation up to one day before arrival. The rates were $20 less per night on Marriott for prepaid, nonrefundable rates.

Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection hotel website.

TripAdvisor.com reviews for Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection

TripAdvisor ranking #58 of 166 Chicago hotels. 4 of 5 circles in 999 reviews for this 4-star hotel. 78% of reviews are very good and excellent.  The hotel received the TripAdvisor 2013 Certificate of Excellence.

I was at this hotel in 2010 when it was Hotel Sax and independent from any major hotel chain. The hotel had a very W and urban vibe.

Marriott Hotel Chicago AC

Marriott MegaBonus credit

The best part is my two stays at this Marriott Autograph Collection hotel will earn one free night at a category 1-4 hotel with the Marriott MegaBonus promotion running through April 30, 2014. The stays will also earn about 2,500 Marriott Rewards points with my 20% Silver elite bonus points.

The free night certificate will likely result in a $250 savings at some other Marriott hotel sometime over the next year.

Here are posts I have written about the MegaBonus promotion and another offer for a free night certificate to new members of Marriott Rewards.

Marriott Rewards MegaBonus February 1–April 30, 2014. Stay twice and get one free night certificate at a category 1-4 or 1-5 hotel. Loyalty Traveler post Dec 18. This is a great deal for one-night stays. Loyalty Traveler post Jan 15, 2014 shares how I called to switch from Category 1-4 to category 1-5 offer. These are targeted offers so login to your Marriott Rewards account or call Marriott Reward to register for MegaBonus or register online here. Registration required by March 31 for this offer.

Free Night offer for New Members of Marriott Rewards, Earn one free category 1-5 hotel night certificate after two stays within 90 days of enrollment. This offer is reported stackable with MegaBonus free night offer. Loyalty Traveler post: New Marriott Rewards members earn one category 5 free night certificate after two stays in 120 days (Feb 6, 2014). Category 5 hotels include several hotels around the world that will run $300+ per night.

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These two hotel nights with Marriott and two hotel nights with Choice Hotels Ascend Collection result in my total cost for four hotel nights during the U.S. Travel Association IPW convention in Chicago coming in at $355 after tax.

The final result is an average $89 per room night after tax and $500 less than the total room rates I booked through the Marriott and Choice chain websites prior to submitting three Best Rate Guarantee claims.

Best Rate Guarantee adjusted rates allow me to receive points and promotion credit for these hotel stays. I expect the promotion credit from these three hotel stays will be worth about $250 to $300 in future hotel nights with the points earned and the Marriott free night certificate.

These kinds of deals are what keep me booking at major hotel chains despite the popularity of hotel booking and alternative lodging sites like TravelPony and AirBnB. Major hotel loyalty programs still offer the best lodging deals for my travel style.

Related Posts:

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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7 Responses

  1. While I always like seeing how much I have saved with a BRG over the chain’s own advertised price for that property, I think it’s important for you to show readers how much you really saved (or didn’t) in the end between your total cost of $245, and the price of the next best hotel deal/price you were considering for Chicago.
    I think I read previously that you had made some speculative, fully cancellable bookings for CHI prior to this, just to cover your bases. You were also looking at BRGs for hotels a bit further away from your ideal neighborhood.

    Comment by Brazilflyer on March 1st, 2014 at 9:48 am
  2. what are your main sites that you use to compare prices when looking for BRG opportunities? thank you

  3. Yes, best sites for Expedia and orbitz claims. Not the meta sites like kayak etc, but sites that they accept for comparisons sakes, without issues of whether considered consolidators, or non us or US dollar based, tend to offer prepaid only or small deposit rates etf — those are the issues that I run into, so I am usually stuck comparing orbitz and expedia to each other, but they are two of the more expensive online Travel agencies, have limited hotel listings, sometimes use different wording etc.

    Also do you have an opinion on orbitz excluding all discounted competitor prices based on their special discounting wording which seems to suggest something else? Is this according to their contract terms , or are they breaching them? Thanks

    Comment by Christophe on March 1st, 2014 at 8:06 pm
  4. @BrazilFlyer – I definitely saved over the best rates I saw for the hotel category level I booked.

    The trip I will be taking to Iowa changed the hotel dates I needed and reduced my nights from 7 to 4 nights.

    My goal was 7 nights for $700. Then I needed only 4 nights and my goal changed to $400.

    Marriott was my number one choice for a hotel brand to earn MegaBonus credit and get a 25% reduced rate. I had seen the Hotel Chicago Downtown several times as a Best Rate Guarantee option, but primarily as a prepaid, nonrefundable rate and that is risky since I could have been stuck with $450 for two nights and a denied Best Rate Guarantee claim.

    Three hotels were consistently available as a Best Rate Guarantee with Tremont (Starwood 2,000 points or 10% off), Hotel Indigo (IHG = one free night and lower rate) and The Inn of Chicago (Choice = one free night and match lower rate).

    Fairfield Inn instead of the Choice hotel is an option at $105 rate (AAA). Fairfield Inn is likely a better quality hotel. I have been there before and it is one of the most upscale Fairfield Inn hotels I have seen.

    I would pay $135 more after tax for Fairfield Inn. Inn of Chicago is saving $135 over what I would consider my next best option for two hotel nights. Inn of Chicago is one block from Fairfield and closer to the shuttle bus location at an IPW delegate convention hotel to ride to McCormick Place.

    The two nights I am staying at Marriott’s Hotel Chicago Downtown were the two more expensive rate nights during my stay, especially as one-night stays. The rates were mostly $120 for 3-star hotels and $140 after tax. Most of the upper upscale hotels like Marriott, IHG, Hyatt and Starwood were $180+ per night.

    In real terms, assuming I paid a published rate like AAA for four hotel nights, I saved about $175 on my four hotel nights with the best rate guarantee claims. I could have likely scored similar rates on Priceline, but no Marriott MegaBonus credit ($100 value at Priceline rates) and no Choice 8,000 points after two stays credit ($40 value at Priceline rates). So maybe my real savings is more like $140.

    I count the Marriott MegaBonus free night I will earn from these two BRG claims as a huge $150 value. The Fairfield Inn I booked at $105 per night on AAA rate was only available for the two nights I booked. So even though I am actually only saving $40 staying at Marriott Hotel Chicago Downtown, formerly Hotel Sax, I am earning an additional $150 free night from these two stays.

    So how much I really saved is $175 over my alternative hotel choices in Chicago available through the hotel chain websites and I earn a Marriott free night certificate worth at least $100 in reasonable redemption value and probably $150 to $200 when I actually redeem it based on the likely Marriott room rate at the hotel. Marriott told me they put a note in my file and they will change my category 1-4 certificate to category 1-5 when I call back in May after the MegaBonus promotion ends.

  5. @Danny – I like the format of Kayak.com. It lists the different online travel agency (OTA) sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, hotels.com and several others. Usually the hotel brand site’s rate is also listed allowing easy search for rate discrepancies.

    I file a claim based on the rate at any OTA site that looks like the room can be booked without joining the OTA site.

    In the past three weeks, there was one day when olotels.com had many discounted rates. Another day it was Amoma.com. Another day it was booking.com. On this date for these BRG claims it was getaroom.com beating other OTA rates.

    It seems these OTA sites tend to run limited time discount rates. In fact, most of my approved best rate guarantee claims over the past few months have been due to OTA limited time sales reducing the rate to less than the hotel brand website rate. Several of my successful BRG claims in recent months have been based on Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.

    Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia and hotels.com are always approved. Most of my denied claims come from the small, unknown OTA sites when the hotel chain states these are membership only sites, sometimes even when they do not appear to be membership sites.

    HotelsCombined.com is a another good site for pulling up European hotel booking sites with lower rates.

  6. @Christophe – I will have to look into the Orbitz wording. I am not familiar with that issue.

  7. Hi,

    Does rates from Amoma.com qualifies for Marriott BRG claim?

    Thanks

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