The value of an IHG Best Price Guarantee approval is first night free at the hotel. This post looks at the difficulty of getting best rate guarantee claim approval for international hotels.
I have had great success with hotel best rate guarantee claims for getting lower room rates. I estimate more than half of my hotel stays the past couple of years were discount rates after successful best rate guarantee claims. In the past year I have had free room nights in the USA with successful best rate guarantee claims through Choice Hotels and IHG hotels.
There is no denying that the InterContinental Athenauem in Athens, Greece is selling the same rooms for more than $100 per night on the IHG website compared to online travel agency rates, but getting an approval for a Best Price Guarantee rate discrepancy is a challenge.
IHG Best Price Guarantee
We’re so sure the best prices for our hotels are found on our websites that we were the first to offer the most powerful price guarantee ever by a global travel company. Every hotel reservation booked through an IHG web site is guaranteed to have the lowest room price (room rate) or total room cost (including all taxes and fees) publicly available on the internet or IHG will provide the first night’s room price free and match the lower average nightly room price found for that stay for the rest of the nights of that stay (subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Guarantee). That’s our Best Price Guarantee and just one of many benefits you get with the Book With Us Advantage.
The section above is the main page for the IHG Best Price Guarantee, however, there is an additional page of IHG Best Price Guarantee Terms & Conditions with a slightly different version listing 15 detailed sections for Best Price Guarantee claims.
IHG Best Price Guarantee Terms and Conditions
Best Price Guarantee is our promise to guests who book directly on our branded websites. We have made additional adjustments to the Guarantee and to the Terms and Conditions to further define what claims will qualify and to further help identify and support valid claims
Best Price Guarantee: We guarantee that every hotel reservation booked through an IHG web site will have the lowest room price (room rate) or total room cost (including all taxes and fees) publicly available on the Internet. If you find a lower room price (room rate) and total room cost (including all taxes and fees) publicly available on the Internet on a non-IHG Website within 24 hours of booking, IHG will provide your first night’s room price free and match the lower average nightly room price found for that stay for the rest of the nights of that stay, subject to the following terms and conditions:
This post looks at some of the 15 details for IHG Best Price Guarantee claims that make it far more difficult to get an approved claim for a free night at hotels outside the USA.
IHG Best Price Guarantee Term #3
Reporting to IHG of a Claim. You must contact us using the online claim form within twenty-four (24) hours after completing your valid room booking on any IHG website to make a claim under the Best Price Guarantee. The average nightly lower room price and lower total room cost must be available for booking at the time of claim verification and both must be lower than those found on an IHG website, as determined by IHG customer service representatives, and in IHG’s sole discretion.
IHG.com hotel search for Athens pulls up this rate for the InterContinental Athenauem Athens for October 2014 dates I searched.
A quick check of any meta-search hotel booking site shows far lower rates.
The lowest rate shown on Kayak.com is $138 per night at getaroom.com. There is no denying that $138 USD per night is significantly lower than the 197 EUR ($263.95 USD) rate shown on IHG. The rate on getaroom.com is about $125 less per night.
How can this rate difference between IHG website price and getaroom.com price not be a best price guarantee claim with a high potential for approval?
Four reasons why IHG can avoid awarding Best Price Guarantee free night
Reason 1. IHG ignores or loses your Best Price Guarantee claim and simply does not respond.
A week ago Saturday I booked a hotel room at InterContinental Athens for 269 EUR. Best Flexible Rate allowed cancellation up to day before arrival for this hotel. There was a prepaid nonrefundable rate for 197 EUR per night on the IHG website.
I submitted an IHG Best Price Guarantee a few minutes after booking the Best Flexible Rate Deluxe room reservation on IHG. The online travel agency getaroom.com showed the same room type with breakfast included for $196.46. This booking allowed cancelation without penalty up to midnight two days before arrival. There was a 16 hour more favorable cancellation without penalty difference for IHG compared to getaroom.com.
I received this response on the IHG website after submitting my claim at 2:28pm August 9, 2014.
After no response for six days, I resubmitted my IHG Best Price Guarantee on August 15, 6:28am.
This time I received a response in 13 hours:
Thank you for contacting our office regarding the Best Price Guarantee in reference to rates at the InterContinental Athenaeum Athens. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you with this matter.
To use the Guarantee, you must advise IHG within 24 hours of booking your room on the IHG website by filling out the online Best Price Guarantee Form with your booking details.
Please know that we cannot find any claim under your name sent last 09 Aug 2014.
As your reservation was booked more than 24 hours prior, it does not qualify for the Best Price Guarantee.
IHG Best Price Guarantee response (August 15, 2014)
The first reason given for denying my Best Price Guarantee claim is the IHG representative states my original claim was never received and since my follow-up is more than 24 hours after booking, my claim does not qualify.
This is why you need to book room rates that can be cancelled. I would be stuck with a 200 EUR nonrefundable room if I had filed a Best Price Guarantee based on the nonrefundable rates at the competing website considering IHG lost my original claim.
Reason 2. Matching Rooms.
InterContinental Athenaeum Athens shows their lowest room category Superior Rooms only available for reward nights. There is no paid rate option shown on the IHG website for a Superior Room. Paid rates on the IHG website start with Deluxe Room category at 197 EUR per night.
How can you file an IHG Best Price Guarantee when IHG does not offer the lower cost Superior room category through its own website? Guests can only book Superior Room on IHG using IHG Rewards Club points.
Reason 3. Matching Terms
Getaroom.com rates all include breakfast. IHG website offers breakfast only as a separate surcharge of 25 EUR. Despite the getaroom.com rate inclusive of breakfast being $125 less per night than the IHG website, the terms do not match of the room bookings since IHG room does not offer breakfast as part of the base rate.
Like a Supreme Court case, this issue was not addressed for my room claim, since the case was invalidated for other reasons. I do not know if a resubmitted claim on a new booking could be denied due to breakfast inclusive of the rate on the lower priced OTA sites for the IC Athens.
4. Matching Prices.
This is the catch that invalidates many claims when booking hotels outside the USA and the lower rates are listed on USA online travel agency sites in US dollars.
6. b. Matching Prices – Currency Requirements. The currency of the hotel controls the comparison with the room price and the total room cost on the non-IHG website, and the room price and the total room cost on the non-IHG website must be available, viewable, quoted, booked, and paid for in the currency of the hotel.
Despite the getaroom.com rate being a far lower rate, the fact that it is a USA based website and room rates are quoted in dollars invalidated my IHG Best Price Guarantee claim.
Getaroom.com allows the room rate shown to be priced in euros, but that does not count.
I booked the same room single deluxe room category on IHG.com including adding the 25 EUR breakfast supplement at a total price 269 EUR. This same Deluxe room with breakfast is 109 EUR less per night through getaroom.com.
Here is the IHG Best Price Guarantee representative’s response:
We understand that getaroom may display rates in EUR. However, the converted version is an estimated amount shown only as a reference for international guests. Please be advised that the actual charge in getaroom can only be made in USD. The room price must be quoted, booked, and paid for in EUR to meet the Matching Prices clause.
IHG Best Price Guarantee response to my claim
The way to get around the Matching Prices term is to find a European online travel agency with default rates shown in Euros.
German and Spanish websites are an option for comparing hotel rooms in Euros.
Kayak.de (German Kayak) The rates can be searched using Kayak USA version and once you have found the rate discrepancy, then go to kayak.de and find the same hotel rate. It helps to read another language, but matching hotel rates is not that hard when going back and forth between English and German.
There are seven websites listed on Kayak.de with lower room rates for Intercontinental Athenaeum Athens than the IHG website.
Do any of these lower rates available for room bookings at InterContinental Athenaeum Athens have a high potential for success?
Perhaps if they meet the terms for
- matching rooms
- matching terms
- matching prices
The free breakfast offered with all the other low rate prices through online travel agency bookings may negate the matching terms.
In the end, if I really want to stay at Intercontinental Athenaeum Athens, the best rate available for my stay is probably the rate not booked through the IHG website.
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. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.