Hyatt Hotels changed their Best Rate Guarantee procedure last week discontinuing instantaneous phone claims. The best news is the BRG policy still allows a claim to be made prior to booking a hotel room with Hyatt.com. Starwood Hotels and Kimpton Hotels are the only other two hotel chains I know that allow a best rate guarantee claim to be filed prior to booking a room through the hotel brand’s websites.
Hyatt Hotels Best Rate Guarantee reduces the hotel rate for your stay by 20% of the lower approved rate found on an online travel agency site like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and others.
Hyatt’s new Best Rate Guarantee procedure:
1. Find a lower rate for the same room type on another site and Hyatt will reduce the rate by 20% of the competitor’s lower rate.
2. Fill out the best rate guarantee claim form. A claim can be filed prior to making a reservation on the Hyatt website or within 24 hours of making a reservation.
3. Include a screenshot of the lower rate found.
4. Hyatt customer service will respond within 24 hours to approve or deny your claim.
Why the new procedure is more restrictive than the old procedure of phone approvals.
I had my most recent Hyatt Hotels best rate guarantee claim approved 2-1/2 weeks ago in ten minutes over the phone. I blogged about the process in this May 11 post: OTA LTO sale and Hyatt BRG comes through. My claim approved on May 10 over the phone would not likely get approved under the new procedure that gives Hyatt 24 hours to respond.
Many of my best rate guarantee claims approved in the past two months were due to limited time offer sales from the major online travel agencies. When I filed my most recent best rate guarantee claim with Hyatt, the competing rate was on Travelocity offering 30% off during a sale that was set to expire in less than 5 hours. The claim processed over the phone in real time allowed me to book a reduced room rate.
Checking the Room Rate Terms
Hyatt rate = $129 for King bed.
Travelocity rate = $90.30 for King bed. (30% off $129)
Hyatt adjusted rate for my approved BRG claim = $72.24 per night for a 44% discount on the Hyatt rate.
Why ask for a screenshot?
The perplexing aspect of the changes to Hyatt’s best rate guarantee procedure is the claim form requesting a screenshot of the lower rate. No other hotel chain asks for a screenshot, and in fact, no other hotel chain will accept a screenshot of the lower rate as evidence for approving a best rate guarantee claim.
My only hope is Hyatt’s generally consumer-friendly attitude will approve some best rate guarantee claims based on the screenshot, even if the rate is not still available at the time the claim is processed. Otherwise, the submission of a screenshot is simply an added inconvenience to the consumer filing a Hyatt best rate guarantee.
For example, what good is a screenshot from my last Hyatt approved best rate guarantee claim when the rate showed it was expiring in 4 hours 43 minutes?
Unless Hyatt approves claims like that even after the rate discrepancy is gone, then a screenshot has little value as evidence in support of a claim. Either the rate discrepancy is there or it is not when the Hyatt representative verifies the best rate guarantee claim.
Hyatt’s T&C for best rate guarantee claims state the rate discrepancy must be available at the time the Hyatt representative verifies the claim.
7. What is acceptable evidence of a lower rate?
When you submit an online claim form, you will be asked to provide the URL where the lower rate was found, and a screenshot showing the lower rate on the competing website. A Hyatt.com representative will attempt to validate availability of the lower rate, and verify that it complies with the Terms and Conditions of the guarantee. If the rate is no longer available, the guarantee will not apply.
As someone who has had multiple Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee claims approved over the phone with no hassle, the change to a 24-hour response time is not a change I find favorable.
I’ll be interested to see how the screenshot attachment for the lower competitive rate plays out in Hyatt’s Best Rate Guarantee process. Unless I find the online travel agency lower rate screenshot helps the consumer in the approval process in some way, the requirement to submit a screenshot is just a pain in the ass when filing a BRG claim.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.