A few friends of mine have been bugging me to join them in South Beach, Miami for July 4 weekend for some time now, and I never bit the bullet because I had forever been under the impression that Miami is SUPER expensive in general, and would be ridiculously-priced, especially during the holiday weekend.
Well out of curiosity, I decided to play around with flight prices just for fun, and I was super surprised and thrilled that I was able to find a round trip non-stop flight from EWR-MIA for just $264. But before officially booking the flight, I needed to scope out hotels. In my head, I was expecting South Beach hotels to be in the $500 range per night (which I’d never pay). Yeah…
I first started off by searching availability at Kimpton properties since I am on the road to maximizing my new Inner Circle status with them (related post). I was surprised to find out that their South Beach location, the Surfcomber Hotel, had open availability at the AAA rate of $350 for the date I had in mind. Mind you, that was a bit more (OK wayyy more) than I was looking to spend, but I booked it anyway “just in case”.
I’m naturally deal-hungry so I immediately went on HotelsCombined.com to see if any other booking engine was offering the same room at a cheaper price for the same room type and date I had just booked.
good excellent news was this:
Olotels.com was offering the same room for $227 including all taxes and fees! This excited me. Since Kimpton’s reservation phone systems were down last night, I sent them a tweet asking if they could contact me so that I could submit a BRG claim with them and rebook the room. Within two minutes or so, I received a phone call from the Kimpton Twitter team and they went ahead and matched the $227 all inclusive rate and also threw in a $25 food and beverage credit. Awesome!
Feeling like I was on a roll and using the same technique, I went ahead and searched for more hotel nights for the time I’d be in South Beach. I searched on Olotels and found an incredible rate for $203 with all taxes included for the Marriott South Beach. Based on the range of prices I was seeing at other nearby properties, I knew that I’d have a good shot at qualifying for a best rate guarantee at Marriott.com. The same room was being offered at $405 at Marriott.com, so I immediately booked it and submitted a claim.
When I woke up this morning, I saw that I had received an email from Marriott saying that they would be honoring the claim and rebooked me at the rate of $125.38. The room rate reflects the nightly room rate, before tax, and an additional 25% discount for submitting a successful claim according to the terms of Marriott’s “Look No Further(SM) Best Rate Guarantee.” Not only did I feel I lucked out with an amazing rate, but I can also stack this stay with Marriott’s new MegaBonus promotion, allowing me to earn a free night certificate after completing two stays.
Best Rate Guarantee Tips and Policies
Many hotel chains offer an attractive best rate guarantee (BRG) policy as a way to promote direct bookings instead of bookings through a travel agency where they will likely have to pay a commission. As a general rule of thumb, it’s also always best to book directly with the hotel when it comes to earning points and miles because most 3rd-party bookings will not count towards stay credits and promotions.
Here are some tips to finding a lower rate that you can use when submitting a BRG claim:
- Check the Hotel Deals forum over at FlyerTalk.com
- Follow the Best Rate Gaurantee blog. (note: I have never submitted a claim based on information I’ve found on this site, but I do know of those who have).
- Compare rates across the board using a site like HotelsCombined.com
Here’s a summary of best rate guarantee policies within the major hotel chains:
- Kimpton: Will match the lower rate and throw in a $25 food and beverage certificate
- Marriott: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 25%
- Hyatt: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 20% (related post about my experience).
- Club Carlson: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 25%
- Starwood: Will match the lower rate and give you a 10% discount or 2,000 Starpoints
- IHG: Will give you the first night free if you find a lower rate than what they offer directly through them.
- Hilton: Will match the lower rate and give you a $50 American Express gift cheque or $50 off your bill for reservations outside of the US.
- Choice Hotels: Will give you the first night free if you find a lower rate than what they offer directly through them.
- Wyndham Hotels: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 10%.
- Best Western: Will match the lower rate and further discount it by 10%.
What other best rate guarantee tips can you share? Feel free to share your own personal stories in the comments as well!