Submitting a Best Rate Guarantee claim is a great way to ensure that you are paying the lowest rate possible when booking directly with a hotel chain without sacrificing the ability to earn points or miss out on valuable elite benefits.
A few years ago, I spoke extensively about BRG policies at the Chicago Seminars, and of course many of the policies have changed since then. It’s a common misconception that BRG claims are “dead” and not worth pursuing anymore; however, every time I book a hotel, my routine is to look for a lower rate so that I could further reduce what I am paying out of pocket. In my most recent claim with Hilton, I was able to slash 50% on a 4-night stay!
Hilton.com advertised the room I wanted for $299 a night; however, using HotelsCombined.com, I saw the same room type offered for $181.00 a night. I booked the room with Hilton and immediately submitted a claim.
I heard back from Hilton within 24 hours and was able to have my room rate adjusted to just $147 a night with my successful BRG claim.BRGs work as a two way street between you and the hotel. Some benefits to you include: the lowest price, the ability to earn stay credits/points/credit towards promos, no hidden fees or a middleman, status recognition and perks, the ability to set personal room preferences, and your booking usually comes with a better cancellation policy if plans should change.
The hotels also benefit because they don’t have to pay out a commission to the 3rd party booking site, and they hope to gain loyalty by training you to “look no further” in the future.
Below is a comprehensive guide of best rate guarantee polices for 10 major hotel chains:
Kimpton will match to the lower rate + give you a $25 food & beverage credit for your stay. You can make your BRG claim by calling 877-536-0508. After speaking with an agent, your price will be adjusted within minutes, and it’s a rather quick and painless experience.
Marriott will take 25% off the lower eligible 3rd-party rate if you submit your claim via their online form within 24 hours of booking your room at Marriott.com. Though it’s not an instant match (they will respond within 24 hours), for the most part, they are pretty generous in honoring claims. As always, a general tip to minimize risk: book a “refundable” room at Marriott.com.
Starwood gives you 2,000 bonus points or 20% off the lower rate if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking (or before booking). As a general rule of thumb, I always find that choosing the points over the 20% discount is a better deal because I value 2,000 Starpoints at at least $40 and free nights start at just 3,000 points. In
Hyatt has continuously made changes to their BRG policy over the last few years. While they will still discount 20% off the competing rate if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking, the terms of their BRG policy has changed a bit for the worse over the years. It used to be that you could call up when a lower rate was found, and you would be matched (and discounted) to the lower rate right there on the spot. Now they require all claims to be submitted via an online form, which will generate a response within 24 hours. Additionally, in the Spring of 2016, the terms have changed so that only the lowest rates shown on Hyatt.com (which means non-refundable, prepaid rates) are eligible for the BRG claim. Hyatt’s BRG policy is super risky since you may be stuck with inflexible hotel plans if the claim is not approved.
IHG will give you the first night free (yes, one night stays count!) and the remaining nights of your stay will be matched to the lower rate if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking. This is one of the most generous policies out there. To be eligible for a BRG claim, you must submit your claim online for stays outside of 24 hours You’re only allowed 1 free night every 7 days at the same hotel or any other hotel within 50 miles. The Best Price Guarantee is not applicable to hotels in Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Hilton’s best rate guarantee policy will match and further discount the lower rate by 25%. If you find a lower rate for the same room you booked directly at Hilton.com, you can submit your claim online and you will hear a response back within 24-hours. Hilton only honors elite benefits (such as free breakfasts, upgrades, etc.) on reservations booked directly at Hilton.com
Club Carlson will give you 25% off the lower rate if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking (for stays 48 hours or more away). You must submit your claim online.
Best Western will match the lower rate & award a $100 Best Western travel card if you find a lower rate within 24 hours of booking. You can submit your claim by printing (PITA) and emailing your form to firstname.lastname@example.org. A quick tip to keep in mind: book the “Flexible Rate” to minimize risk. If claim is approved, $100 travel card will be emailed to you 2-3 weeks after you complete your stay. Oh, and the lower competing price must be greater than $1 difference.
In addition to matching the lower rate, Choice Hotels will give U.S. residents a $50 Reward Card after completing their stay, and International guests will receive their first night free. To submit a claim, you must complete the Claim Form within 24 hours of your booking.
Wyndham will match the lower rate (of $1 or more) and give you 3,000 points (all free nights are 15,000 points, without any blackout dates). Fill out and submit the online claim form within 24 hours of booking .
Have you submitted a successful BRG claim recently? Feel free to share your experience!