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For travelers with an eye for details and the time for some online research, a Best Rate Guarantee can offer enormous value in the form of free and discounted hotel stays. IHG, for example, offers a free night on top of matching the lowest price across the rest of your stay, and Expedia will refund the difference in price plus give you a $50 coupon. Whereas Accor Hotels only offers to match the lower rate and discount it by 10%, and Hotels.com will simply refund you the difference without any added benefit.
Best Rate Guarantees, however, are also as varied as the hotel chains that offer them.
Take Advantage of Hotel Best Rate Guarantees and Save Money
How does a Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) work?
Claiming a Best Rate Guarantee, or Best Price Guarantee on some sites, is a straightforward process. Book a room either direct with the hotel or through an OTA (depending on who offers the better BRG), follow the BRG claim process with the lower rate you’ve found on another site, and wait to receive your free night, bonus points, or credit.
Why do hotels and travel sites offer BRG’s?
From the hotel’s perspective, offering a BRG is one of the easiest ways to encourage guests to book direct, saving the hotel from paying out a commission on the room, and keeping guests within the hotel's systems through the entire booking process. For the OTA’s, they want to make sure they are offering rooms at the same or lower rate than both the hotels and other OTA’s.
Before tearing off to book a hotel room in the hopes of hitting the jackpot when you find a lower price elsewhere, the terms and conditions surrounding BRG’s are often murky and always technical, so it’s essential you familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for the platform you use to book accommodation.
To qualify for a BRG, rooms need to be identical on the platform you’ve found, and numerous conditions must be satisfied before a BRG claim is approved.
Tips for Getting a Best Rate Guarantee Claim Approved
Getting a BRG claim approved is not always easy. Forums and blogs abound with horror stories of guests not having claims approved due to small differences in the cancellation policy or because the room has a different view.
To get a BRG claim approved, absolutely everything must match up between the rooms, policies, and conditions, and those conditions will change dependant on whether you are claiming directly from the hotel or through an OTA. Below are a few of the different conditions you’ll come across where claims will NOT be approved.
- When a website doesn't disclose the brand or hotel until the reservation is complete, for example, Hotwire or Priceline
- When the lower price is listed on auction websites
- As the hotel component of a package booking
- Bookings that don't provide an immediate confirmation
- Deals not available to the general public (for example member rates and contract rates) or require a login, credit card number or a code to see
- If price is on a website that doesn't have the ability to book a reservation, including meta-search sites like Kayak
- On websites or Apps that are in an unsupported language
- Reservations made within 24 hours of the hotel's standard check-in time on your day of arrival
- Promotional offers via coupon or email not intended for public sale
Other conditions can include the price being in the same currency, the claim being made within 24 hours of booking, and the website using the same language as the one being price-matched.
Hotel Best Rate Guarantees
|Hotel Chain||Best Rate Guarantee|
|Accor Hotels||Honor the lower rate and discount it by 10%|
|Choice Hotels||U.S. guests receive $50 Reward Card after your stay in the form of a Visa Debit Card, International guests receive the first night free|
|Club Carlson||Receive the lower rate and we will discount that rate by 25%|
|Fairmont Hotels||Honor the lower rate and discount it by 10%|
|Hilton Hotels & Resorts||Will honor the lower price and take an additional 25% off the room rate for each night of your stay|
|Hyatt Hotels & Resorts||Will match the lower rate and discount it by 20% for your entire stay|
|Intercontinental Hotel Group||Will provide your first night’s room price free and match the lower average nightly room price found for that stay for the rest of the nights of that stay|
|Marriott Hotels & The Ritz-Carlton||Will match the lower price and discount it by 25% (same BRG and claim form for Marriott and Ritz-Carlton)|
|Starwood Hotels & Resorts||Will match the lower price and give you a 20% discount or 2,000 Starpoints®
|Wyndham Hotels & Resorts||Will match the lower rate and give you 3,000 Wyndham Rewards bonus points|
Online Travel Agency Best Rate Guarantee
|Online Travel Agency||Best Rate Guarantee|
|Agoda||Will either match the lower rate or beat it|
|Booking.com||Will match the lower price
|Expedia||Will refund the difference plus give you a $50 coupon|
|Hotels.com||Will refund the difference as a coupon for the price difference if your booking is non-refundable or refund for the price difference if your booking is refundable
|Hotels Combined||Will refund you the difference, price must be on a website that is not part of Hotels Combined comparison process and not direct from the hotel
|Kayak||No best rate guarantee
|Orbitz||Will refund the difference and Orbitz Rewards members get $50 in bonus Orbucks to use towards future travel
|Priceline||Standard bookings Priceline will refund 100% of the difference, for Express Deal bookings they will refund you 200% of the difference
Of the hotel BRG’s, the standout is the free night from IHG. If it can be utilized for a stay at the Intercontinental, the value could potentially run into the hundreds of dollars. And the same could be said for Choice hotels when using the BRG overseas, although Choice hotel's don’t typically offer the same value as IHG.
The poorest performer in the hotel BRG’s is between Accor, with just a 10% discount, and Wyndham, which offers 3,000 bonus points worth roughly $20/25.
In the race for the top BRG for OTA’s, it’s a clean toss-up between Orbitz and Expedia, with both offering a $50 voucher towards future travel, although it’s worth noting that only Orbitz Rewards members receive the coupon in the first case.
The other OTA that can offer standout value on price-matches is Priceline, but it is dependant on how big the difference is between the price booked and the lower price you are trying to match, 200% of a $50 price difference is a top return if you can get it.
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