I have seven hotel nights planned for Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in two weeks. Hotel rates are really expensive in the cities of Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. I filed three best rate guarantee claims for Aloft Jacksonville Airport, Jacksonville Marriott and Hampton Inn Charleston/Mt. Pleasant-Patriots Point.
Only the Jacksonville Marriott was approved, reducing the rate from $112.94 to $76.23.
Aloft Jacksonville best rate guarantee was denied due to getaroom.com website labeling the $64.41 rate an ‘Exclusive Membership Rate’, although anyone could book the rate through getaroom.com. Starwood site rate was $80.49. Details of the BRG claim here: Starwood Best Rate Guarantee denied when rate truly lower at getaroom.com.
Hilton denied my claim for Hampton Inn Charleston/Mt. Pleasant-Patriots Point when the Hilton rate is $189 and easyclicktravel.com is $121 for the same room.
Here is the Hilton Best Rate Guarantee rationale:
The website easyclicktravel.com requires a voucher at check-in and does not guarantee the booking at the property.
The Terms and Conditions of Our Best Rates Guaranteed program state:
Our Guarantee does not apply to the following:
o Rates available on “opaque” websites where the hotel brand and specific hotel are not known until the booking is made (e.g., Priceline.com, Hotwire.com).
o Discount or negotiated rates not available to the general public, including but not limited to the following rates: membership (e.g., AAA, AARP or Saga), corporate, government, promotional, unpublished, Senior HHonors®, employee, offline wholesale/FIT, pre-paid rates which may include a voucher (including electronic vouchers), group or other specially negotiated rates.
I regret to inform you that we are unable to honor your request due to the website requiring a voucher at check-in and not confirming the rate and booking immediately; thus, making the website opaque.
Does the average consumer really care about an electronic voucher?
Marriott International wins in this battle of the Best Rate Guarantee claims.
Two weeks ago I stayed at the Renaissance Blackstone in Chicago on a Marriott Best Rate Guarantee claim reducing the hotel rate from $300 per night to $122.
That claim was based on the lower rate from …. easyclicktravel.com, the online travel agency Hilton just refused to honor for a Best Rate Guarantee where the room rate difference was $68 less on easyclicktravel.com for the Hampton Inn Charleston compared to the Hilton website.
I filed another Best Rate Guarantee with Marriott for another Charleston hotel based on $129 Marriott rate and $104 rate on Booking.com. If approved the rate will drop 25% to $78. Sure beats $189 for the Hampton Inn.
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.