Hotel Best Rate Guarantee Claims
In a recent Loyalty Traveler post I titled “Why Kayak is Not Your Best Friend for Hotel Rates” I showed a lower rate found on Kayak.com than appeared on the Marriott site for the Renaissance Eden Roc Hotel in South Beach Miami. GTAHotels.com was the online travel agency with the lower hotel rate ($330) than Marriott ($369). I commented a Best Rate Guarantee claim could probably be made with Marriott Hotels and, if successful, the $330 rate would be reduced by 25% to $247.50. The Marriott Best Rate Guarantee would have reduced the Marriott.com rate from $369 to $247.50, however, I went on to show an even lower rate found on Marriott.com through a hotel special offers link for a rate of $129 per night.
This week I was planning travel to Vancouver, British Columbia. I checked hotel rates on the Starwood website. I then checked Kayak.com and found the Sheraton Wall Centre had a lower rate listed on Kayak.com with the same GTAHotels.com online travel agency. The hotel rate listed as $169 Canadian Dollars on the Starwood site and $98USD on the GTAHotels.com site. This was about a $32USD difference.
On Monday I submitted a Best Rate Guarantee claim with Starwood Hotels. My claim was successful and I will be receiving 2,000 bonus Starpoints in addition to the lower $129CAD rate.
The process for submitting a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) is different across the hotel chains. Starwood and Hyatt have the most consumer-friendly processes for Best Rate Guarantee claims. A Starwood Hotels customer seeking a Best Rate Guarantee fills out an online claim showing the hotel rate on the third-party site and a Starwood representative validates the room rate offered on the third-party site to the Starwood Hotels rate for the same type of room for the dates of your hotel stay.
A Hyatt Hotels customer can call to validate a claim over the phone before making a reservation.
I received an email reply from Starwood Hotels about 10 hours after submitting my Best Rate Guarantee claim. The email stated my claim was valid and I had 24 hours in which to book the hotel room at the listed $169CAD rate on a Starwood website. After booking the higher rate through Starwood Hotels and sending an email reply to the BRG email from Starwood Hotels with my new reservation confirmation number, my rate was adjusted within a couple of hours to $129CAD to match the GTAHotels.com $98USD rate.
How do other hotel chains handle Best Rate Guarantee Claims?
Hilton requires a reservation be made on a Hilton website or directly with the hotel. Then, if a lower rate is found within 24 hours for the same room type, Hilton will match the lower room rate and give you a $50 American Express gift certificate for hotel stays in USA, Canada, and Mexico. International hotel rates will be adjusted to the lower rate and a $50 credit applied at check-out.
Hyatt will discount a competing lower rate by 20%. You do not have to make your reservation first.
If you find a publicly available and immediately bookable room-only rate on the Internet for a Hyatt Hotel (“Competing Rate”) that is lower than the room rate available for the same reservation on http://www.hyatt.com/ (i.e., same hotel, same type of room, same number of guests, same dates of stay and same length of stay), then prior to or within 24 hours of booking the reservation on http://www.hyatt.com, please call Hyatt Hotels & Resorts at 1-888-96 HYATT (1-888-964-9288) or 402-593-5445.
Once Hyatt confirms the availability of the Competing Rate on the Internet, subject to room availability at the applicable Hyatt Hotel, Hyatt agrees to match the Competing Rate for the same reservation, plus discount an additional twenty percent (20%) off the room rate for the duration of the stay being so reserved.
Must book hotel rate through Marriott channel first and then within 24 hours if a lower rate is found on a competing website, Marriott will adjust your rate to the lower rate and will give you a 25% discount off lower rate.
Starwood Hotels will discount a competing lower rate by 10% or award you 2,000 Starpoints. The choice is yours. You do not need to make the reservation with Starwood first.
Starwood Hotels and Hyatt Hotels do not require you to make a reservation before making your Best Rate Guarantee claim. The advantage of this for the consumer is you will not have booked the higher rate through the hotel chain’s reservations if the BRG claim is unsuccessful.
Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Marriott require you to make a reservation through them before you can file your Best Rate Guarantee Claim. Additionally, you must make your claim within 24 hours of your initial reservation.
I have found lower hotel rates on third-party websites for Hilton and Marriott in the past, but making a reservation with Hilton or Marriott first at the higher room rate and then filing a claim is too restrictive a condition for me. I search rates until I make a reservation and I am unlikely to continue searching for a lower rate during the 24 hours after booking a room. I also am reluctant to book a more expensive room than I need to book in case the Best Rate Guarantee claim is unsuccessful.
I have had good luck this year with several successful BRG claims. And I have seen several more that would have likely been successful if I had decided to stay at those hotels. It pays to compare rates on a couple of third-party sites when searching for better hotel rates than the hotel chain listed rates. The Best Rate Guarantee keeps most hotel rates on third-party sites from being lower, but when they are lower on a competing site, the loyalty traveler knows an even better deal awaits through the hotel’s Best Rate Guarantee process.