I booked my Hyatt hotel stay next month with Booking.com. Hyatt Hotels rejected my Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) claim today. Hyatt Place Orlando Airport showed a prepaid Hyatt.com room rate $161 for the date of my stay ($152 for AAA rate). A quick trip to Kayak.com revealed a rate of $79 through Booking.com that allows cancellation up to one day before arrival.
I call up 1-888-96-HYATT and request a BRG claim. After several minutes the agent returns to tell me the Booking.com rate is not eligible because it does not show a breakdown of room rate and taxes for each day of the hotel stay.
Booking.com simply states $79 for the room rate.
My Booking.com confirmation policy states there will be a 12.5% tax not included in the $79 rate:
Here are the other relevant booking terms from Booking.com
“Booking.com will not charge you any reservation fees for making this booking, nor charge your credit card. You will simply pay for your stay at the hotel.
Cancellation is free of charge provided you adhere to the notification period stated in the hotel cancellation policy (see “Hotel Policies”).”
Hyatt .com had a $161 prepaid, nonrefundable rate for the same room type and date.
Hyatt Daily Rate is $169 and may be cancelled up to day of arrival.
Technically, I guess the cancellation policies are not actually addressed in Best Rate Guarantee Terms and Conditions so it may not be a factor that the $169 Hyatt Daily Rate has a more liberal cancellation policy (day of arrival) compared to the Booking.com rate (day before arrival) and the prepaid nonrefundable rate cannot be cancelled at all.
I think my claim falls through Hyatt loopholes. The spirit of a Best Rate Guarantee is that a Hyatt guest should not have to be concerned that a lower rate is easily bookable elsewhere. In this case I found a rate for 50% less than Hyatt showed for the same room on the same date.
A simple trip to Kayak.com showed me where to find a $79 rate for the Hyatt Place Orlando Airport with the same room type on the same date and an almost comparable cancellation policy to the $169 Hyatt Daily Rate found on Hyatt.com.
I am a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member, but I’ll forfeit one night loyalty credit and Hyatt Gold Passport points for a one night room rate after tax of $88.88 rather than paying more than double the rate that Hyatt is charging as their comparable rate for the same room.
$190.12 at Hyatt.com vs. $88.88 at Booking.com?
I booked the $79 rate on Booking.com, received an immediate email confirmation, and the hotel verified my reservation was in order when I called Hyatt Place Orlando Airport.
What is the purpose of a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) policy when a rate discrepancy as vast as this doesn’t qualify for a BRG claim?
Here are the full set of Hyatt BRG terms and conditions. I have addressed each part for my particular claim. I do not see anything in these terms that would disqualify the Booking.com $79 rate from qualifying for a Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee.
“Hyatt guarantees to provide the lowest on-line bookable rate for room reservations at Hyatt Hotels available to the general public on the Internet, subject to the following terms and conditions:
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.”
Loyalty Traveler: This portion of the T&Cs seem to have been met with Booking.com.
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.
Loyalty Traveler: This seems to be the clause used to reject my claim. The agent told me the total rate including tax was never displayed on Booking.com. True enough. I made my reservation on Booking.com immediately after my BRG claim was denied by Hyatt.
My confirmation shows 12.5% tax as pictured in this post. Taxes are the same rate charged for a Hyatt.com booking at this hotel.
This Guarantee does not apply to:
- Opaque or auction sites where the hotel brand and/or the specific hotel is not known until booking is finalized. Examples of these types of sites include but are not limited to, Priceline and Hotwire.
Loyalty Traveler: Booking.com clearly showed Hyatt Place Airport for $79.
- Web sites that “package” travel, entertainment, hotel and/or food components such as airfare and hotel stay, hotel stay and car rental, hotel stay and restaurant voucher, etc. Examples of package websites include but are not limited to Site 59 and Delta Vacations.
Loyalty Traveler: Booking.com only provided room.
- Packaged rates that include taxes, service charges, meals, coupons, parking, services, or other amenities.
Loyalty Traveler: Booking.com clearly stated taxes were not included in room rate.
- Qualified discount rates including, but not limited to, Government, AAA or Senior Citizen Discounts.
Loyalty Traveler: this term is not applicable to this BRG claim.
- Unpublished, negotiated rates with corporations, travel agencies, groups, associations or other rates that are specifically agreed upon by Hyatt and a specified and limited group, and are not publicly available.
Loyalty Traveler: Booking.com required no membership, rates are published for the public, and I did not require any kind of group membership. Just needed a credit card. Obviously there was a negotiated rate between Hyatt and Booking.com because the 5 rooms available dropped to 4 rooms available after I made my reservation, however, these are publicly available room rates on Booking.com.
- Hyatt Vacation Club properties or any residential or extended stay apartment properties (i.e. The Galleria Residences in Dubai).
Loyalty Traveler: not applicable to this situation.
This Guarantee applies only to the room rate for the duration of the reservation and does not apply to taxes, gratuities, guest incidental charges, food and beverage charges, resort fees, and any other fees or charges that you may incur during your stay.
If you have already booked a prepaid stay on Hyatt.com, and find a Competing Rate that meets the Guarantee terms and conditions set forth here, then Hyatt will refund the full amount originally charged to your credit card for the rate booked on Hyatt.com and charge the full stay based on the new rate to your credit card.
The number of Gold Passport points awarded to you if you are a Gold Passport member will be based on the room rate actually paid by you upon checkout.
This Guarantee is subject to change or revocation at anytime.”
Loyalty Traveler: I still do not believe there is a valid justification for denying this Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee claim.
Fortunately, this is a Hyatt Place reservation so it is not like I am missing out on an upgrade with my $79 rate through Booking.com.