In case you had not noticed, Starwood and Hyatt mirror each other’s policies similarly to Hilton and Marriott. Starwood Hotels has had an increasingly uncompetitive best rate guarantee policy the past couple of years with a 10% discount option being far less of a discount compared to other major hotel chains.
Lucky has an image on his blog showing 20% discount. All the links I see at time of this post still show 10%, although the Terms & Conditions text states 20% discount. So, I punked the page to 20%.
Starwood Best Rate Guarantee now cuts 20% off lower rate for approved claims.
What is the Best Rate Guarantee?
Starwood makes available the best room rates on its branded Websites (www.sheraton.com, www.fourpoints.com,www.whotels.com, www.alofthotels.com, www.luxurycollection.com, www.lemeridien.com, www.elementhotels.com,www.westin.com, www.stregis.com, www.spg.com, www.starwoodhotels.com). In the unlikely event that a lower rate at a Starwood Hotel is made available on a non-Starwood website or mobile application (the “Competing Rate”), upon its receipt of a claim that satisfies Best Rate Guarantee terms and conditions, Starwood will honor that Competing Rate and provide the individual that submitted the valid claim one of the following rewards: (1) an additional 20% discount off the Competing Rate per room per night; or (2) 2000 Starwood Preferred Guest® Starpoints® per room per stay
Current Best Rate Guarantee discounts from major hotel chains
Marriott = 25% off lower rate from an online competitor
Club Carlson = 25% off lower rate from an online competitor
Hyatt = 20% off lower rate from an online competitor
Hilton = $50 American Express card
Best Western = $100 Best Western Travel card
IHG = first night free
Choice Hotels = first night free
Starwood = 20% off lower rate or 2,000 bonus Starpoints. (Effective January 5, 2015 the discount increased to 20% from 10%).
In the past decade I have had dozens of Starwood Hotels Best Rate Guarantee claims approved. Only once do I recall taking the 10% discount rather than 2,000 bonus points. That was on a four room nights stay where the 10% discount saved around $60.
Starwood Lurker confirmed on FlyerTalk that effective January 5, 2015 the approved Best Rate Guarantee claim offers a choice of 20% off the competing rate or 2,000 bonus points.
The weakness I found in Starwood Hotels Best Rate Guarantee was at hotels around $150 where 2,000 points starts to become negligible in value.
Old Starwood BRG 10% Discount Policy:
Assume I find a hotel for $150 on Expedia and $179 on Starwood.
I had a choice of 10% off $150 rate or 2,000 points.
2,000 points are definitely worth more than $15, but the hotel is still $135 per night + tax. This is a higher rate than I would pay with a Best Rate Guarantee approved in another hotel chain.
Approved BRG claim for $150 lower rate across different chains:
- Marriott $112.50 (25% discount)
- Club Carlson $112.50 (25% discount)
- Hyatt $120 (20% discount)
- Starwood $135 (10% discount) or $150 rate and 2,000 points.
- IHG = first night free and $150 per night for additional nights.
- Choice Hotels = free
On a one-night stay I am paying $150 and getting 2,000 points with Starwood Preferred Guest. But, if I had seen the same rate on other chains, my discounted rate for an approved BRG would be less than Starwood Hotels discount. Essentially the same rate discrepancy at a Marriott Hotel and a Starwood Hotel will have me paying $40 more per night for 2,000 points. Any stay more than one night makes Starwood BRG even more uncompetitive with other hotel chains.
3-night stay rate for approved BRG based on $150 rate found on Expedia
- IHG = $300 for second and third nights.
- Choice Hotels = $300 for second and third nights.
- Marriott $337.50 (25% discount)
- Club Carlson $337.50 (25% discount)
- Hyatt $360 (20% discount)
- Starwood $405 (10% discount) or $450 rate with 2,000 points. Effective Jan 5, 2015, Starwood’s 20% discount drops the rate to $120 per night and $360 for three nights, so no reason to bother giving up $90 in rate savings for 2,000 bonus points.
NEW Starwood Best Rate Guarantee 20% discount makes Starwood BRG more competitive with Hyatt. This makes taking 2,000 points really only a BRG value choice when spending less than $150 for a one night stay at a Starwood Hotel, in my opinion.