This past week I made six best rate guarantee claims with five hotel chains for hotels in Vancouver and Victoria, Canada. A best rate guarantee claim simply cites a lower rate found on a competitor online travel agency website like Expedia.com or Booking.com to the hotel chain’s own website rates. Except for Hyatt and Starwood Hotels, where you can file a best rate guarantee claim without booking the room first, hotel chains have the common rule that after booking your reservation for a hotel, within the first 24 hours you can submit a best rate guarantee claim if you find the same room type for same dates on a competing hotel booking site at a lower price.
Who continues shopping for hotel rooms after booking?
Some trips I work hard to find best rate guarantee claims. Some trips I have hotel points plans for reward nights. When my wife is tagging along, my effort is to keep our room bookings to a minimum while maximizing value. When I travel alone and no meetings or appointments are necessary, then I don’t mind bouncing from hotel to hotel.
This past week I hit Vancouver, British Columbia hard with hotel rate analysis on Kayak.com, Expedia.com and Expedia.ca (Canada version) in search of good hotel value and potential hotel rate discrepancies for best rate guarantee claims.
After a couple days of that kind of work, I feel like a travel hacker jerk repeatedly filing best rate guarantee claims pointing out rate discrepancies found between the hotel chain site and the online travel agency site.
After I launch one or two best rate guarantee claims, or in the case of Vancouver and Victoria, Canada where six attacks were launched on hotel rate disparities, I sit around for hours and days waiting for hotel chain capitulation.
Most hotel chains do not surrender. Some accept defeat and give me a discount rate. The hotel chains make the rules. Players like Marriott are quite consumer friendly about acknowledging rate discrepancies between Marriott rates and hotel rates found on another online travel agency like expedia.com or booking.com. Other hotel chains like Best Western are anecdotally known for consumer unfriendly denials in cases that would almost certainly be approved by Marriott and most other hotel chains as a legitimate rate discrepancy that should be honored for a best rate guarantee.
I like to get a discount on hotel rates. Hotels are expensive. Seven nights in Vancouver can easily be a $1,500+ USD hotel expense to stay downtown in the Starwood Hotels I have stayed in before. This trip I am branching out to other hotel chains and other areas of Vancouver.
Two claims were approved, three claims denied and one claim not approved due to the lower rate no longer present when claim was processed 12 hours after submission.
Best rate guarantee claim 1: Choice Hotels BRG claim approved = Free night.
Choice Hotels – Comfort Inn Downtown Vancouver
- Comfort Inn rate = $119.00 CAD (rate I booked)
- Expedia.ca rate = $104.81 CAD
This was a slam dunk best rate guarantee with same room type, same date for cancellation and same currency comparison. Important to note that the hotel had a lower advance purchase rate, but the rate discrepancy was only for the flexible cancellation rate. I do not risk booking prepaid rates, then filing a best rate guarantee. At least 50% of my best rate guarantee claims are denied and I’d be stuck with a nonrefundable room rate that was higher than I could have paid booking the online travel agency lower rate.
Best rate guarantee claim 2: Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour = BRG claim denied.
This claim was legitimately denied as the lower room rate was not available 12 hours later when the claim was processed. This BRG claim was a test case for a website roomertravel.com. This website resells nonrefundable hotel rooms consumers booked and can’t use. If anyone would approve a roomertravel.com room, I figured it would be Marriott. But, Marriott simply replied the rate was no longer there for them to make a best rate guarantee decision. I checked minutes after getting the email. The rate was gone.
I’ll have to find another roomertravel.com rate discrepancy to test the Marriott BRG rules.
- Marriott rate = $199 CAD (standard room)
- roomertravel.com rate = $128 (rate gone when Marriott processed claim).
Best rate guarantee claim 3: Best Western Plus Uptown Hotel Vancouver = BRG claim denied.
I saw no reason for this claim to be denied. The reason given for denying the claim is the Best Western website no longer had the room type I reserved available. I booked a room with two double beds on Best Western.com for $129.99 CAD and filed a best rate guarantee claim based on Booking.com $125.00 CAD double beds room. Best Western denied my claim stating there were no double rooms listed on their own website at the time the claim was evaluated. Rather than dispute the lower room rate available on booking.com, Best Western apparently disputes their own website rate of $129.99 CAD as the part of the claim they cannot validate.
- Best Western rate = $129.99 CAD two double beds
- Booking.com rate = $125.00 CAD two double beds.
An approved Best Western best rate guarantee claim earns a $100 USD travel card.
Best rate guarantee claim 4: Carlson Rezidor Hotels Park Inn Vancouver = BRG claim denied.
Park Inn Vancouver rate = $112.50 CAD
Expedia.com = $86.83 USD
This claim was denied, but not for the reason it should have been. I filed a claim on Park Inn Vancouver room rate $112.50 CAD per night. Expedia.com had a rate $86.83 USD per night. After currency exchange, the rate was about $250 CAD for Expedia room compared $259 CAD on Park Inn. An approved best rate guarantee lowers the room rate by 25%. Park Inn would have been around $75USD all in per night, if claim approved.
Turns out that Carlson Rezidor is one of the hotel chains that require the best rate guarantee claim lower rate be displayed in same currency. Expedia.com displays rates in US Dollars and the rate I found was $86.83 USD per night. Interestingly, Expedia.ca, the Canada website where hotel rates are in CAD Canada Dollars, had no rate difference at $112.50 CAD.
The best rate guarantee response listed the reason for claim denial as Expedia.com rate had a better cancellation policy than the Park Inn rate. Can you believe that reason?
Expedia’s room rate had a better cancellation policy allowing a person to cancel up to day before arrival with no penalty compared to the penalty free cancellation policy on my Park Inn website reservation requiring two days before arrival cancellation. Carlson Rezidor denied my best rate guarantee claim due to Expedia.com having both a more flexible cancellation terms than the rates on the hotel chain’s Park Inn sites.
And also an overall lower room rate.
Best rate guarantee claim 5: Hyatt Regency Vancouver = BRG claim approved, rate drop from $239 CAD ($190.11 USD) to $102.14 CAD ($81.25 USD).
- Hyatt Regency Vancouver rate = $239 CAD double room
- Getaroom.com via Kayak.com rate = $101.45 USD double room (sole use).
I did not expect this claim to be approved. Unfortunately, in haste I wrote about this best rate guarantee on Loyalty Traveler about 36 hours after filing and prior to receiving a claim determination, so I have no way of knowing if the best rate guarantee approval went through normal channels.
I cut about $125 USD off the room rate with this successful best rate guarantee.
Best rate guarantee claim 6: Best Western Premier Prestige Oceanfront Resort, Sooke, British Columbia (Victoria area) = claim denied.
- Best Western rate = $119.99 CAD Queen bed, non water view
- Expedia.ca rate = $99.59 CAD Queen bed, non water view
The reason for this claim being denied is Best Western replied they had the same rate.
I checked rates on BestWestern.com and they had not changed, Best Flexible rate was $119.99 CAD. I called Best Western reservations and the agent listed the same rates I saw online.
Was Best Western lying?
I reread the email:
We have processed your Low Rate Guarantee Claim and the claim has been denied for the following reason(s):
“Rate not lower than Best Western; bestwestern.com has the same $99.59 per night rate under our Multi Night Stay Promotion as Expedia.ca for 1 queen bed nonsmoking with non-waterview”.
I went back to BestWestern.com.
And I learned an interesting feature of the website for finding lower rates.
Best Western Premier Prestige Oceanfront Resort
- Flexible Rate = $119.99 CAD
- Advance Purchase rate = $104.39 CAD
- AAA rate = $107.99 CAD
Where is this MultiNight Stay Promotion Rate?
The drop down menu for “View Additional Rates and Rewards” had two special rates I would not have expected to find there.
Best Western Multinight and 5 Nights Extended Stay Rates
Under the View Additional Rates were Multi Night Stay Promotion that provided a lower rate for any stay more than one night. Multi Night Stay and 5 Nights Extended Stay are special rate offers that do not appear when doing a general rate search. You have to specifically search these rates.
Multi Night Stay rate lowered the rate to $99.59 CAD with same flexible cancellation policy of the Flexible rate.
While I had felt like a travel hack jerk filing another Best Western claim just to be denied again, at least this was a legitimate reason for denial and I learned something about finding lower Best Western hotel rates.
Best Western 5 Nights Extended Stay rate
Why does Best Western hide these Multi Night Stay and 5 Nights Extended Stay rates?
These are great discounts on the Flexible Rate with the same flexible cancellation policies.
You only find these rates once you are on the specific hotel booking page, and then, only if you view additional rates and find the promotion type.
The best value I got out of my two Best Western best rate guarantee claim denial emails this week was learning how to find lower rates for Best Western hotels.
A couple of approved BRGs and a couple $100s saved
In the end, after a few hours work, I have one night free at Comfort Inn Downtown Vancouver and a $100 USD room stay at Hyatt Regency Vancouver due to best rate guarantee claims filed this past week. I’ll have a night at Radisson YVR and earn over 50,000 Club Carlson points for $132 USD. Best Western and Choice Hotels both have good bonuses for two stays and Club Carlson offers triple points for April hotel stays.
Between points, best rate guarantee claims and rebates in points for paid stays, I should be able to stay in Vancouver and Victoria seven nights for about $350 and about $100 worth of hotel points.
Assuming I don’t find any more best rate guarantee claims to file this week.