Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
One of the tools that some savvy travelers use to save money hotel stays that they aren’t paying for with points is a best rate guarantee. Many hotel chains advertize that you can find the lowest rates on their websites, and if you happen to find a lower rate on a different site then they will give you something ranging from a % off the lowest rate, bonus points, a food and drink credit, or even a night free. Hotel chains want you to book via their site so that they don’t have to pay a commission to anyone else, so it is in their best interest to have you trained to use their site when booking. I am trained already to book on their site as I want to be sure to earn hotel points and elite status credit.
Honestly much of the time I am simply in too much of a hurry to do the comparison shopping that I would like to do, but yesterday on a lazy and rainy Sunday I found myself needing to book a couple of Hyatt stays, and wanting to do it as inexpensively as possible. In order to do this, I went on a hunt for sites that were offering the nights lower than what Hyatt.com offered. People use all sorts of sites to try and find lower hotel rates, but there is no one surefire site that will always be best. Hotelscombined.com can be good to view prices from many sites at once, but just be aware that it will show some sites that probably won’t qualify for best rate guarantees. I personally like using Travelocity.com so that I can see a month’s worth of rates at one time, and it is a site that will count for all best rate guarantees I am familiar with. In fact, that is where I found all three of my Best Rate Guarantee claims today.
Also be aware that the rate you find will need to be for the same exact room time, for the same number of people, and have the same payment terms (pre-pay, non-refundable, etc). The details are very important on best rate guarantees!
The hotel chain I focused on today was Hyatt, so here are their specific best rate guarantee terms:
- We stand behind our guarantee. If you find a lower, published rate on another site, we’ll not only match it, we’ll discount it by 20% for your entire stay. Just call us at 1-888 96 HYATT (1-888-964-9288) or 402-593-5445
- Opaque or auction sites where the hotel brand and/or the specific hotel is not known until booking is finalized. Examples of these types of sites include but are not limited to, Priceline and Hotwire.
- Web sites that “package” travel, entertainment, hotel and/or food components such as airfare and hotel stay, hotel stay and car rental, hotel stay and restaurant voucher, etc. Examples of package websites include but are not limited to Site 59 and Delta Vacations.
- Packaged rates that include taxes, service charges, meals, coupons, parking, services, or other amenities.
- Qualified discount rates including, but not limited to, Government, AAA or Senior Citizen Discounts.
- Unpublished, negotiated rates with corporations, travel agencies, groups, associations or other rates that are specifically agreed upon by Hyatt and a specified and limited group, and are not publicly available.
- Hyatt Vacation Club properties or any residential or extended stay apartment properties (i.e. The Galleria Residences in Dubai).
From reading other Best Rate Guarantee reports online, Hyatt seems to usually not honor claims from hotel sites where you need to register to be a member. What is great about Hyatt’s policy is that you can make the claim before you even have a reservation, so it is risk free. You call them and they do the search right then and there before time elapses and the rate may change.
I had no problem getting them to immediately book the dates I wanted with 20% off the lowest rate that I found on Travelocity (that was lower than the rate on their site by $5 – $7 per night). This resulted in getting nights for about $53, which isn’t too shabby!
Best Rate Guarantee of Many Hotel Chains:
- With Choice Hotels that means you get a free night and the rest of your nights at the lower rate if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking
- With Starwood Preferred Guest you get 2,000 bonus points or 10% off the lower rate if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking or before you book
- Hyatt will give you 20% off of the rate within 24 hours or before booking
- Kimpton Hotels will match the lower rate and give you a $25 food and beverage credit on your stay
- Priority Club/Intercontinental Hotel Group will give you the first night free and the subsequent nights at the lower rate if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking.
- 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 within 24 hours of booking (but more than 48 hours before the stay).
Are best rate guarantees a part of your overall travel strategy? If you have any tips on sites you like to use, I’d love to hear them!