Hilton Worldwide is the second hotel chain evaluated for my series on Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) policies. In contrast to the mostly positive reviews on FlyerTalk for Marriott’s Look No Further Best Rate Guarantee program, the FlyerTalk member reviews in recent months are mixed on the Hilton BRG program, and several negative reactions.
All the major hotel chains claim the rates on their own websites are the lowest available. Find a publicly available lower rate at an Online Travel Agency (OTA) and you can file a Best Rate Guarantee to match the lower rate. Hilton lets a guest receive a $50 American Express Gift Cheque (U.S., Canada, Mexico hotels) or $50 hotel folio credit (international hotels) for an approved BRG claim.
The Basics of a Hilton Best Rate Guarantee claim
You must have a confirmed reservation made through one of the following official Hilton Worldwide booking channel:
- Any official Hilton Worldwide website
- Hilton Reservations & Customer Care,
- Directly at a hotel in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio; or
- Through an IATA accredited retail travel agent professional (“Travel Agent”) booking through a Hilton Worldwide channel or the following Global Distribution Systems: Amadeus, Apollo/Galileo, Worldspan and SABRE.
Hilton and Marriott are the two programs that clearly state travel agency rates and rates offered directly from a hotel apply for a Best Rate Guarantee. Most hotel loyalty programs only apply Best Rate Guarantee for online rate discrepancies between the hotel brand sites and other third-party online travel agencies (OTA) like Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity and other OTAs.
You must file a Best Rate Guarantee within 24 hours of booking your room through a Hilton channel.
This is the standard term in almost all hotel chain Best Rate Guarantee programs. Only Hyatt and Starwood allow a Best Rate Guarantee claim prior to booking the hotel room.
“Same Accommodations”means the same room type, at the same hotel, with the same dates and length of stay, same number of guests, same designation as either cancellable or non-cancellable, same advance purchase policies, and the same terms and conditions governing the room rate.
Hilton Best Rate Guarantee Claim Submission (online or phone)
You or your Travel Agent on your behalf must complete and submit a claim form to Hiltons guest assistance department in accordance with the claim forms instruction, or you must call 1-800- HILTONS (International: 00 800 888 44 888) and follow the telephone representatives instructions to process the claim.
Important Reminder: You must submit your claim within 24 hours of making your reservation through a Hilton channel and at least 24 hours prior to your arrival at the hotel.
Hilton Best Rate Guarantee Claim 24 Hours Response Time
“If we are able to verify your claim within 24 hours, we will not only match the lower rate but we will give you US $50.” Hilton BRG terms.
This phrase indicates response time is 24 hours. Reading the FlyerTalk thread on Hilton BRGindicates this response time is not consistently applied.
Hilton Best Rate Guarantee Benefit = Lower Rate + $50 USD
Rate comparisons will be made net of taxes, gratuities, service charges, early departure fees, or other fees and incidental charges.
If we verify the availability and eligibility of the lower rate, we’ll match the lower rate PLUS one of the following:
- For Hotels outside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will adjust your bill by US $50 (or local currency equivalent).
- For Hotels inside the USA, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, we will give you a US $50 American Express Gift Cheque. The Gift Cheque will be sent to you the next business day after your stay, as reserved, is completed.
BRG Prize or Rate Discount
There are two types of benefits for approved Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) claims across the major hotel loyalty programs. All programs match the lower rate from the competitor site. In addition some programs award a BRG prize and other programs offer an additional discount to the lower room rate.
Hilton is the type that matches the lower rate and offers the guest an additional benefit of $50.
Hotel Chain Best Rate Guarantee Programs matching lower rate and adding a prize:
- Hilton = $50 American Express cheque (US, Mexico, Canada) or $50 hotel credit (international)
- Best Western = $100 Travel Card
- Choice = one free night
- IHG = one free night
- Starwood = 2,000 bonus points ($50+ value)
The second type of benefit for a valid BRG claim is an additional discount off the lower rate from the competitor booking site.
Hotel Chain Best Rate Guarantee Programs discounting lower rate:
- Carlson = 25% off lower rate.
- Hyatt = 20% off lower rate
- Marriott = 25% off lower rate
- Starwood = 10% off lower rate (only if you do not choose 2,000 bonus points)
- Wyndham = 10% off lower rate.
Hilton vs. Marriott – Battle of the Best Rate Guarantee
Hilton and Marriott hotel chains battle it out for loyalty on several guest fronts. These are the two largest chains globally in the upper midscale to upper upscale/luxury hotel market. Hilton maintains a slight edge in number of hotels, yet both of these chains are pushing 4,000 hotels globally. The larger hotel chains of Best Western, Choice and Wyndham are far more economy to midscale hotel brands. InterContinental Hotels Group follows the beat of a different drummer.
Hilton and Marriott seem to chase the same demographic of hotel guest.
I think Marriott guests are happy with the Look No Further Best Rate Guarantee since the benefit of a valid claim is 25% off the lower price.
Any hotel stay over $200 that is approved for a Marriott Best Rate Guarantee will have a benefit of $50 or more in room rate savings. Hilton’s Best Rate Guarantee benefit becomes less advantageous as the number of nights in a hotel stay increases and the rate increases.
Example: Assume both hotel chains have a hotel brand property at $150 per night hotel night with a 4-night stay. The same hotel, room and dates are located for $140 per night on a competitor website and these guests file a Best Rate Guarantee at Marriott and Hilton for their respective hotels.
Marriott Look No Further hotel stay adjusted rate
- Booked room on Marriott = $600 + tax.
- Competitor Site Rate = $560 + tax.
- Marriott BRG adjusted rate = $420 + tax. ($560 – 25%)
Hilton Best Rate Guarantee adjust rate
- Booked room on Hilton = $600 + tax.
- Competitor Site Rate = $560 + tax.
- Hilton BRG adjusted rate = $560 + tax.
- Hilton guest receives American Express $50 gift cheque.
Marriott guest receives a rate reduction of $180 on a booked hotel stay originally at $600.
Hilton guest receives a rate reduction of $40 on a booked hotel stay originally at $600, and after the hotel stay the guest receives a $50 cheque.
$180 Marriott saved vs. $90 at Hilton.
Which policy makes a happier guest?
Best Rate Guarantee Links:
Related Loyalty Traveler posts:
Devilish Details of Best Rate Guarantee Claims (July 9, 2012)
Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.
Loyalty Traveler original post: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/07/11/hilton-worldwide-best-rate-guarantee-weaker-than-marriott/