Successful Club Carlson Best Rate Guarantee Claim

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Many hotel chains have a policy that if you find a better rate on a different website than their own (ie hotel.com, expedia.com, etc.) then you are entitled to a benefit such as bonus points, a discounted rate, or even a free night.  For years I have read about these types of policies, but I have to admit that I have never done one myself.  The main reason I have never done one is time.  I’ve about hit my limit with the amount of time I can devote to travel related issues, so I had never gone on a scavenger hunt for a lower price…..until now.

I did it this time in large part just so I could tell others about the process in can they had the time to go on a similar scavenger hunt.  However, it was actually kind of fun….though it was time-consuming.  While each company does it a little differently, the general premise is that you book a room with a hotel chain on their website (though not all require you to actually book the room beforehand), and then if you find the exact room and type of booking for sell on another website within 24 hours, you submit the claim and then if they are able to verify that you found a lower rate, you get your “prize”.

  • With Choice Hotels that means you get a free night and the rest of your nights at the lower rate
  • With Starwood Preferred Guest you get 2,000 bonus points or 10% off the lower rate
  • Hyatt will give you 20% off of the rate
  • Priority Club/Intercontinental Hotel Group will give you the first night free and the subsequent nights at the lower rate
  • Hilton gives you a $50 American Express for hotels within the U.S.A., Puerto Rico, Canada or Mexico or$50 off your bill for hotels located elsewhere.
  • Club Carlson knocks off 25% of the lower rate for your stay.

Some of these hotel chains require an online submission, and with some you can call in and have it verified right on the spot.  Of course, I am sure that some reps and some chains are more helpful with claims that others.  I can’t personally speak for the process with other chains, because I have not yet taken the time to try the BRG out.  I can speak to my recent experience with Club Carlson, and since so many of us are looking to maximize the current Big Night Giveaway promo, I think it makes since to highlight their process.  Before I outline the steps, I do want to throw in a word of warning that I have read a report or two from folks who have been told that BRG will not qualify for the “Big Night Bonus”.  I have not found anything written officially that would clearly exclude this type of rate, but I do want to include that caution.  You can follow this discussion on FT – it looks like someone recently successfully completed a stay for this promo using a BRG, but if you want to wait for a few more success stories before you do this, that isn’t a horrible idea.  That said, here are the steps I went through for my successful BRG claim.

1.  Research, research, research.  Find a day at a hotel you want where the rate is lower on a competing site than on the Club Carlson site.  I used hotels.com for this purpose, but you can certainly use other sites.  I had much better luck when I looked for “special” rooms like those that were smoking or those that were accessible rooms.  I’m sure you can find more standard rooms, but my luck was better with specialty types of rooms.  Also, if you can find a site specific sale on one of these third-party hotel booking sites, then that may be a good chance to find a BRG.  Just make sure that you have the exact dates, exact type of room, and exact type of rate.

Here is what I found on hotels.com.  The King Smoking room was showing for $62 on Hotels.com, but was going for $69 from Club Carlson (no, I don’t really smoke).

2.  Book the room through the Club Carlson website at the higher price.  Of course, go through TopCashBack.com to do so to get 10% cash back for Radisson stays (at least in theory – I am not 100% sure how this will work with a BRG).  I chose to book a refundable room in case the process BRG didn’t work.  I could have saved a tad more if I had done it with a non-refundable room, but I just didn’t want to gamble that much (and my rate was already awesome anyway).

3.  Submit a claim to Club Carlson.  This process was very easy online, but it did take them a bit longer than I expected to get back with me.  I submitted my claim around 4PM on a Sunday and assumed I would hear back the next day.  However, I did not get a response until mid-day on Tuesday.  Not a huge deal, but rates certainly could have changed in that 44 hour period.  I have read with some Park Inns you do have to send a fax.  Here is the response I received:

We appreciate your submission of a best online rate guarantee form. We have researched your claim and found you are correct in finding a lower
rate on another website.  We have confirmed the lower rate less 25% for you.  Your rate is now $39 per night plus tax. This email will serve as
your confirmation for the best online rate guarantee. Your confirmation number xxxx will remain the same. Please keep this information for
your records.

My reservation in my Club Carlson account does reflect the updated rate and amount.  Yes, I scored a room at a Country Inn & Suites that will cost me $39 plus tax, and will earn me over 44,000 points.  That is good math.  Had I been doing this all along for reservations the past 10+ years I am sure I could have saved a decent amount of money.  I doubt I will do it every time I have a reservation due to time constraints, but I will try to shop around when I have some spare time.  What worked in my favor this go round was that my dates were flexible, my hotels were flexible, and my room type was flexible.  I didn’t really care what I booked as long as it was a Club Carlson hotel in my area, and it was at a good rate.

Be aware that the Club Carlson policy regarding Best Rate Guarantee claims is that if your claim is approved, then full prepayment will be billed to the credit card you provided on your reservation, and an advance payment of $25.00 USD is non-refundable.  It also states that cancellations made within 3 days of arrival will be charged 1 night plus tax.  However, in my experience no pre-payment was required.  I have read other similar reports, so that likely varies somewhat.

I’d love to hear from those who have used this process before.  Like I said, this was my first time, so I am just outlining how the process worked for me thus far.  I won’t know the total outcome of this for several more weeks when I have my actual stay.

 

Disclosure: The TopCashBack link above is my own referral link that will get me $10 if you use it, and earn at least $10 in cash back yourself.  Feel free to leave your own link in the comments thread and use each others’ links!  Share the love.  😉

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  1. I have a sort of unrelated Club Carlson promo question. My family has an upcoming 3 night trip planned and we’ve decided to switch to a Country Inn to take advantage of the promo. My husband and I both signed up for Club Carlson and we’ll split the stay into two reservations–one for each of us. My question is, can I sign my (minor) son up and register in his name for the third night? I have no problem temporarily making him a authorized user on one of my credit cards if I need to.

    Maybe it’s crazy–I just have to ask! 🙂

  2. @SAM I have signed up both my minor kids and was wondering the same thing. I think it will be odd if they have to go to the counter to check in, so I haven’t decided to do it yet or not. Last go round, when I went inside to check in for me and my husband on two different reservations, they asked for him to come and check-in in person, has anyone heard of people doing this?

  3. I was booking a room at the Niagara Falls, ON Radisson and I stupidly submitted a hotels.com rate in USD when I booked it on the Radisson website in CAD. Today they got back to me and said they had to be in the same currency and therefore denied my BRG request. I even replied saying that given the USD is at parity with CAD, it should be very evident that the rate on hotels.com was much lower than my booked rate, but they wouldn’t budge on the decision. Oh well, lesson learned.

  4. MommyPoints-

    Please let us know if you find out your rate booked with Carlson’s BRG qualifies for getting the 44,000 Club Carlson points.

    Thanks!

  5. @Sam and worldtraveller2, technically you usually have to be at least 18 to check in to hotels, so technically I would think that shouldn’t work.
    @Kevin, good to know and that stinks!
    @Max M, I will. I would also follow that FT thread I linked to above since mine is several weeks off and we will likely get more reports before then.

  6. Not quite the same and they may have changed this with the new promotions but in the past tou assign any club Carlson account to a reservation. It is the person’s card that is paying that has to be there. Prepaid worked the same way. I signed up my wife’s cousin when he was visiting and I paid for the room and was there at check-in and he did get the credit but I paid. Yes, he was over 18 but the concept may be similar. Also did the other way of booking a prepaid and checked in but the CC number that was attached to reservation wasn’t there but the credit card numbers matched. AU cards. However, YMMV since they did put that new clause on check-in/out. This was at the Radisson on lex that deals we like found last year.

  7. You must be 18 just to have a Club Carlson account. From the T & C:

    “To enroll in the Program you must have a valid address and email address and be an individual who is at least 18 years of age or the age of majority in the place where you live, whichever is older. “

  8. I paid for a friends room a couple of days ago. I reserved in his name on my credit card, then called the hotel. They sent me a cc authorization form which I had to send back with copies of the card and my DL. He’ll get the points which will be transferred to my account.

    Thanks, MP, for the opportunity to post TopCashBack referral links! Mine is: http://www.topcashback.com/ref/upandaway

  9. Last time the promotion was around I did a BRG and also got the points so I can verify that it does work. I can’t find any rates that are cheaper than the ones I booked but I’ll keep looking.

  10. Saw the non-prepaid rate at $85 and saw it on Hotels.com for $64. I booked it and just submitted a claim. The prepaid rate was $68, but I didn’t know if they could do a BRG on a pre-paid rate like you said.

  11. For what it is worth – when I spoke with the BRG department yesterday they told me unequivocally that a successful BRG would not affect earning potential under the Big Night Giveaway and related programs. In fact the operator, after speaking with her supervisor, asked where I had read that the BRG might disqualify the stay because they wanted to look into it. She went so far as to suggest that such a rumor/claim was perhaps “maliciously” posted. She seemed legitimately concerned that this rumor be stamped out since it could potentially drive away potential business – the presumptive primary goal of the Big Night Giveaway.

    • That is great news! I didn’t really feel it would effect it since it worked last year, but I did want to include a warning since a reader had reportedly been told by a Club Carlson supervisor that it would not count. Great news though. I’ll try to confirm with a cc rep as soon as I can. 😉

  12. I did a claim for my stay but was rejected. The reason was I booked the room for 3 people but the rate I found was for one. However, I did select having 3 for the room on the other site with lower rate. Anyway, I did not bother to argue any further.

    Thanks to mommypoints for allowing us post referral link, mine is
    http://www.topcashback.com/ref/jraynorlxx

  13. Just submitted a BRG claim for a stay in Milan which should drop the price from 110 Euro to 80 Euro if approved.
    .
    Also, used your TopCashBack link to join.

  14. Christo, there is a BRG from Marriott and they called it te Marriott Best Rate Guarantee. I just did one. Awaiting their reply which they promised within 24 hours. If the price is proven to be lower, they will do the same like Carlson: match the price and further 25% discount.

  15. Yeah, sorry I didn’t include all hotel chains that have this, just a sampling. Thanks for the Marriott info!

  16. Thanks for the heads up. I tried hotels.com as well and found some slightly cheaper rates. I am just wondering, will it matter if the rate on hotels.com is cheaper because they are having a summer sale that gives 10% off? Or does the rate have to be non-sale/promo on hotels.com?

  17. Any updates if Carlson BRG affects or disqualifies for the 50000 as I was just approved for a brg but now unsure if it was a good choice. any info on this is appreciated and thanks mommypoints for informative blog .

  18. I found if you get BRG with Radission, you will not be able to get topcashback’s cashback.. is it correct? thanks.

    • @allen, I have read some reports of that working, but many reports of that not working. I have my own next weekend, so I will share what happens.

  19. TopCashBack still “pending” have you actually gotten cash back yet. I’m starting to think they should rename the site, “TopCashPending”.

  20. Just a note for people that come across this as I did. I just booked 28 nights in a hotel in europe with club carlson, submitted the hotels.com cheaper rate and they got back to me in about 24 hours saying my claim was successful and that I had been given the lower rate plus 25% off. Not bad $1400 for a 4 star hotel for a month so well worth it people.

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