Saving Money on Hotels Stays with Best Rate Guarantee Claims

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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.

Travelocity Flexible Date

Flexible date search on Travelocity.com

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 GuaranteeDifferent hotel chains have their own versions of a best rate guarantee, so here are some quick summaries of how it works with some various chains.

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!

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Comments

  1. It can be quite complicated to do these claims, or at least seem like it if you read some people’s reports of all they had to go through. So, I don’t do them much. But it is one of those things that is great to be aware of.
    I once booked a stay at a Kimpton property the day before we were going. Then a couple of hours later I got an email from snique away advertising a lower rate. My first thought was, “darn, I just booked that hotel for $15 more”. My second thought was “wait, best rate guarantee, I just booked it so this probably counts”. I called them and since it was only the day before they had to do some fancy manual stuff, but they were friendly and helpful and I got the lower rate plus a $25 dining credit.
    So, I haven’t yet gone looking for one, but I certainly am glad that I was familiar with the concept when the opportunity came up to take advantage of it.

  2. My family and I have a “free” night coming up in NYC Holiday for Thanksgiving due to my first “Best Rate Guarantee”. I have received emails advising me that I must pay the $415.65 rate upon check-in and will eventually get reimbursed by Inter Continental Hotel Group. Below is one of their email responses…

    “Rest assured that you will be refunded the whole amount since the reimbursement process is our way of holding up our promise to you of giving the first night free. Since the method that you chose is the check we will be mailing you a check of the total amount that you will pay at your check out to your mailing address that you have provided”

    What is you opinion on the pay first, reimbursement later ? Legit ?

  3. IMO, the best of these is the Marriott group of hotels. They beat the price by 25% and kayak frequently shows sites that beat their prices. In the past year, I’ve nailed over 15 of these and stayed in some very nice properties for great discounts.

  4. I just learned about the BRG program a month ago and soon I was able to file a claim with Starwood for Westin DC city center for two rooms six nights each next summer. The approved lower rate of $114 per night was $40 cheaper than the rate on SPG website! The taste of first success let me to hunt for BRG rate for a friend who is going to Kyoto next month, and I found a rate for 24000 JPY at Westin vs 40000 JPY on their website, and the claim was approved! I am now totally hooked to this! 🙂

  5. I have started checking the “Hotel Tonight” app, before I stay at a hotel. They only let you book the day of the stay, but if you book a rate that can be cancelled you can still save a lot. You can’t BRG claim this, but you can save up to 50% and still get your elite benefits. I have seen properties from most of the major chains, Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt etc.

  6. This past summer I got a free night at a Choice hotel in Hollywood, CA (kind of a seedy hotel though) and one night free at Holiday Inn Express – Zurich.

  7. DanR you should be fine. I have had it fall this way several times and always got the check. Ask for the BRG in writing and save a copy of the email. The good news is you get the points and CC spend this way. I have a night and my wife had a night at a 500 per night hotel worked out great, check arrived in 7-10 days. Nice BRG

  8. I have just started trying to find BRG hotels with IHG and Expedia. It sounds like everyone finds them so easy!!! I have searched and searched for IHG hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and Phuket (Thailand) and I can’t find any better rates when I search the sites in the local currency. Am I missing something? Am I just unlucky?

  9. Any luck with BRG with membership required OTAs?

    I have been looking at TravelPony and I have seen a lot of far better prices for DoubleTrees for example than the hilton website. The sticking point is that you need to be a TravelPony Member to see the price.

  10. I once found a rate of USD 169 at Hyatt.com vs $121 at pointshound.com. Booking through pointshound will also earn me 1300 Best Buy points.
    The BRG claim was not honored at that time on the ground that because a BestBuy membership number will be required to book the reservation so ther rate is really open for public.
    This is just something I find interesting when i tried to take advantage of Best Rate Guarantee. I think it’s a hit and miss, with more miss in my experience. Maybe mroe practice will turn the odds in my favor. lol.

    • Bari, I have heard that recently PointsHound doesn’t work, though often you can find their rate elsewhere. It is hit or miss in terms of what sites are accepted. Don’t give up on it though as it can result in huge savings!

  11. When it comes to hotels and finding a good offer…if I can’t get one during a good promotion/sale I go to Hotwire and THEN use betterbidding.com which shows you which hotels are which BEFORE you book via Hotwire. In all the times I have used hotwire…betterbidding was correct so I know which before I booked 😀 Example: We got the Hyatt Ft. Lauderdale for $75 a night (including tax) while for weeks and weeks they showing rates of $200 and up so that was a massive savings for us 🙂
    Dealing with the claims can be confusing and not easy as they can sometimes come back with excuses not to match so before I even try to make a claim I try with what I have mentioned above 😀

  12. Has anybody used this strategy to just claim the free nights specifically? In other words, instead of using this strategy to save money on a hotel you were booking anyway, use this to get a free hotel stay at a hotel that you are going out of your way to book because you’re trying to get the free room guarantee (ChoiceHotels)?

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