I’ve recently had my second Starwood Best Rate Guarantee approved. This time for a mattress run a 15 minute walk from home that will help me reach the 5 nights I need for the two Starwood promotions running this autumn – and earning 2,000 Starpoints in the process makes this particular mattress run viable. I never put much thought until recently into those little logos that said “Best Rate Guarantee” – I simply took the hotel chains at their word and assumed I was getting the best rate or close enough.
But it’s now clear to me that this should be a new addition to my miles & points hobby – finding cheaper rates for hotels and claiming a Best Rate Guarantee. So I thought it would be a good idea to summarise the various Best Rate Guarantees, all of which involve a price match…
- Hilton HHonors – USD50 as a rate adjustment for hotels outside North America, or as an American Express gift cheque sent through the post for North American hotels.
- Starwood Preferred Guest – 10% discount, or 2,000 Starpoints
- IHG Rewards Club – first night free
- Marriott Rewards – 25% discount
- Hyatt – 20% discount
- Club Carlson – 25% discount
- Melia Rewards – 10% discount
- Accor Hotels – 10% discount
I’m definitely new to this game but I’ve been doing a bit of research. Starwood and Hyatt seem to be the most pro-active regarding their Best Rate Guarantee – you can wait until your claim is approved before booking the hotel! I did have one rejection from Starwood, but it doesn’t seem too difficult a process. But earning 2,000 Starpoints for each approval is very appealing, particularly on a 1 night stay.
In general though, if you don’t or can’t get the BRG approved ahead of time, you have about 24 hours after making a booking to subsequently claim a Best Rate Guarantee. All of the hotel chains have a claim form on their website.
I haven’t looked at IHG yet although one free night would also be amazing (but I don’t think it would help with the Big Win!), but obviously IHG are going to hide behind any number of terms & conditions to avoid giving away that free hotel night. Indeed, you must make sure to read the terms & conditions of each Best Rate Guarantee very carefully before making a non-refundable booking (unless you’re already happy with the price). Most annoyingly, the great rate you find might be gone by the time the hotel chain gets around to looking at your BRG claim, and unfortunately a screen shot isn’t likely to be enough proof (in case it is doctored).
What I don’t have… yet… is a magic hotel booking website that beats the prices listed on the hotel websites. It’s probably against the terms & conditions of the Best Rate Guarantee to publish my sources anyhow, but that probably wouldn’t stop you commenting on some of your favourite sites… 😉