In September 2011 InterContinental Hotels Group changed its Best rate Guarantee benefit from a 10% discount on a competitor Online Travel Agency rate to one free night for a successful Best rate Guarantee claim.
FlyerTalk member reviews in this 109-page thread are mixed on the new policy. Many guests claim the IHG agents look for any excuse to deny a claim. Some guests do score a free night and some guests book a nonrefundable rate in an attempt to get a free night and find their Best rate Guarantee claim is rejected.
InterContinental Hotels Group Best Rate Guarantee Terms
- Room must be booked on IHG site using the lowest available rate.
When you search for a room on an IHG Web site and specify “Best Available” as your price preference, you will be presented with a variety of price types (e.g. Best Flexible, Advance Purchase). These are the best hotel room prices available currently that meet your search criteria.
A guest must book the lowest available hotel room price through the Best Available price search – for the type of accommodations sought – in order to qualify for the Best Price Guarantee.
This in effect requires booking an advance purchase rate, when available on the IHG site for the same room type. That is a huge deterrent in making hotel bookings primarily to try and score a free night.
You have a prepaid hotel stay even if your Best Rate Guarantee claim is approved and you need to wait for a credit card refund from IHG. And if your BRG claim is denied, then you have a prepaid room and no option but “Use it or lose it”.
Book. Complete a valid (meaning a complete booking with an approved credit card) room booking with the lowest available price (room rate) on any IHG website for any IHG branded hotel using the “Best Available Rate Search.”
- Claim must be submitted within 24 hours of making a reservation on an IHG site.
- The minimum difference between the two prices being compared must be 1% or $1, whichever is higher.
Matching Rooms. The Best Price Guarantee is available only for the exact same room type. For example, if you book a king bed with a sofa bed room type on an IHG website, and are comparing it to a non-IHG website, you must find a price with the same king bed with sofa bed room type on the other website.
Note: The posts on the FlyerTalk IHG Best Rate Guarantee thread indicate IHG strictly applies the room comparisons between IHG and the online travel agency. Anyone who has played around with BRG claims knows the room descriptions on OTA sites generally do not us the same room category designators as the hotel brand websites.
Matching Rooms is a tough circumstance to overcome in BRG claims when, for example, the OTA site says a Double Room and the brand website does not even list a double room, but a Standard Room with no further descriptors.
Holiday Inn Express LAX has Sep 19, 2012 lowest rate at $126.00 for a King Executive or One Queen or 1 King Bed View or Standard Room.
onhotels.com has Holiday Inn Express LAX Double Room for $101.55 for Sep 19, 2012.
Are these matching rooms?
There is no question that the onhotels.com reservation will put you into the HIX Los Angeles Airport for $25 less than the current IHG prepaid, nonrefundable Best Available Rate. You can gamble $25 extra payment with IHG on a successful BRG claim for a free night or take the $25 discount booking with third party OTA onhotels.com. If I really needed the hotel stay I would gamble with IHG for $25 since points earned on the stay with Priority Club promotion bonuses and regular points can be a $25+ value.
- IHG does not have a stated policy restricting claims from being submitted 24 or 48 hours in advance of your hotel stay.
- IHG does not provide a timeframe for responding to BRG claims.
- Approved claim receives one free night. Regardless of the number of lower prices found, only one free night will be awarded per stay.
- Example: the first night’s room price at the IHG hotel is free and IHG will match the lower average nightly price found for your entire stay for the rest of the nights of your stay after verification of the lower average nightly price.
- Any taxes, tariffs or fees imposed by a governmental authority (e.g., federal, state or local) will not be considered as part of the Best Price Guarantee claim.
- IHG Best Rate Guarantee T&C.
No Response Time Stated in IHG Best Rate Guarantee T&C
The fact that there is no stated response time for an IHG Best Rate Guarantee claim is troubling to me. The primary reason a Best Rate Guarantee claim is denied is due to rate changes on the third-party online travel agency (OTA) site.
IHG and Choice hotels are the only two major hotel loyalty programs that do not state a BRG response time for claims. These are also the two hotel loyalty programs that award one free night for successful claims.
IHG also has no stated deadline for submitting a claim prior to arrival. Hyatt Hotels is the only other major hotel loyalty program without a stated deadline. The advantage with Hyatt is Best Rate Guarantee claims are handled over the phone and you can get approval instantly or within a couple of hours. IHG does not have a deadline for submitting BRG claims, however, will you get a response within 48 hours of your hotel stay?
More importantly for the IHG Best Rate Guarantee terms is the OTA lower rate can’t be verified once the hotel stay has commenced.
IHG has a high-value Best Rate Guarantee benefit of one free night. And if all your ducks are in a row you might just get your free night claim approved.
Related Loyalty Traveler posts:
Loyalty Traveler post link: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/07/12/ihg-best-rate-guarantee-get-one-night-free/
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.