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I wrote last week about the new Radisson promotion that I think is the only fall hotel promotion that is worthy of a potential mattress run (hotel stay just to earn points). After registering for the promotion, if you stay one night at a Radisson or Radisson Blu on an eligible rate (i.e., a points earning rate) through the end of the year, you earn a free night to use at a Radisson or Radisson Blu Hotel in the US, Canada, or the Caribbean through December 31, 2013. You do have to make your reservation by October 31st. There are some Radisson and Radisson Blu properties that are very nice and easily go for $300+, so I am very interested in participating in this promotion.
In my initial post on the promo, I mentioned I was trying to do a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) in order to keep my out -of-pocket costs for this promotion as low as possible. The gist of a BRG is that hotels want you to trust that their websites give you the best available rates so that you make your bookings there. In order to do this they often offer an incentive if you find that a different website offers a better price for the exact same room/reservation. In the case of Radisson, if you find a lower rate then the one you booked within 24 hours, you are not only matched to the lower rate, but you get 25% off of that rate. You must be at least 48 hours from check-in for a BRG. The “catch” is that there is a waiting period from when you find the lower rate and submit the BRG and when you get verification by email that it is honored. During that time the rate you found can change, and then you potentially lose out.
In my case I booked a night at the Radisson Chicago O’Hare Airport for one night next week. When I booked the hotel, the rate I booked on Radisson’s website was around $120, however I saw it on Expedia for $83. If honored under the BRG policy, that would mean I got the night for $62.25. That is almost 50% off for about 5-10 minutes worth of work. About half a day later I received a response that the lowest rate they saw was $93, but they would honor the BRG under that rate, so my price would be $69.75. It’s too bad the rate went up some after I submitted the claim, but that is still a great rate.
Searching for these rates does require a bit of work, but clearly the payoff can be worth it. While it isn’t what I used this time, one of my favorite tips is to use the Travelocity “Flexible Dates” option to see two months worth of rates at once. You can then easily compare those dates against what is available from Radisson. Interestingly enough, I can’t get that option to come up when using FireFox on my Mac, so use a different browser than that if you have trouble seeing the “Flexible Dates” option.
I have also had success with Best Rate Guarantees looking for non-standard room types. During a previous Club Carlson promotion, I had good luck looking for smoking or premium rooms and finding lower rates for those rooms on other sites like hotels.com.
You do have to actually have a reservation first before submitting a claim, but as long as you have a reservation that can be canceled, there is no risk in the event your BRG does not work out. Also remember to make your reservation through a portal in order to earn additional points or get cash back. During the last Radisson promotion, I made my reservations via Top Cash Back (currently providing 8% cash back – that is my referral link), and they paid out even with the BRG claim. I know some folks have had trouble with Top Cash Back, but personally I have been paid out with no issue. Other options include Fat Wallet, Ultimate Rewards, Big Crumbs, etc… Use the portal that makes the most sense for you.
If you still have questions on this process, check out this post that provides a step-by-step instruction. There is no magic way to find a BRG other than just doing some research and having some good luck, but often I have found that when I am willing to put in some time doing a bit of work, I am rewarded in the end with a great rate.
Good luck and happy deal hunting!