Best Rate Guarantee Hurdles

Best Rate Guarantee Hurdles

Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) policies take all the guessing out of hotel bookings. Just go to the hotel chain’s website and get the lowest room rate–guaranteed! … right?

Marketing hotel chain BRG claims

Hotel chains want guests to book room reservations through their own proprietary websites. Online travel agency (OTA) websites like Expedia and Travelocity and others cost the hotel up to 10 times more than a hotel brand website booking. Hotel loyalty programs do not credit points on hotel rooms booked through online travel agencies. Publicly available room rates on OTA sites are usually equal to or higher than the hotel brand websites for most major chain hotels. Otherwise, we would all be filing BRG claims. Occasionally a lower hotel room rate is offered on a third-party website for the hotel’s same room and dates. Submit a BRG claim with the hotel chain. All major hotel chains match the lower rate for an approved BRG claim. Most hotel chain’s BRG policies even discount the lower rate an additional 10 to 25 percent. Choice and InterContinental Hotels Group give one free night for a successful BRG claim in addition to the lower room rate, but these programs limit claims to one free night per 30 days. Best Western gives a $100 hotel gift card.

Submitting a Best Rate Guarantee claim

Hyatt and Starwood Hotels are the only two hotel chains to allow Best Rate Guarantee claims prior to booking the hotel room on their branded websites. This is a consumer-friendly policy, particularly when the rates being compared for a Best Rate Guarantee claim are prepaid, nonrefundable rates. Most hotel chains including Best Western, Carlson, Choice, Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Wyndham require booking the hotel room on their proprietary sites prior to submitting a Best Rate Guarantee claim. Some BRG policies also cover travel agent and phone reservations. Only after making a confirmed booking with the hotel brand can you file a BRG claim within 24 hours after your reservation against a lower rate on a third-party site.

Time frame for submitting BRG claims

All hotel chains require BRG claims be submitted within 24 hours of making a confirmed booking on their websites.

Most hotel chains also restrict BRG claim submissions within 24 to 72 hours of date of arrival. Most hotels count 3pm to 6pm as arrival date time, but Carlson restricts BRG claims within 48 hours of 12:01am day of arrival; effectively three days before arrival.

  • Claims are not allowed within 24 hours of arrival: Hilton, Marriott, Starwood.
  • Claims are not allowed within 48 hours of arrival: Best Western, Wyndham.
  • Claims are not allowed within 48 to 72 hours of arrival: Carlson, Choice.

Hyatt handles BRG claims by phone and there is no published restriction against submitting a claim within 24 hours of hotel arrival. IHG also has no published time restriction on claim submission or claim response time.

Hotel response time

The primary roadblock to a successful BRG claim is the time lag between submitting a claim and the response time from the hotel’s BRG customer service. This time gap kills many valid claims. The hotel industry operates on fluctuating rates and online travel agencies adjust their rates as frequently as the hotel property to reflect real time rate changes. The OTA lower rate must be present when the BRG claim is verified. This makes quick response time vital in getting a BRG claim approved.

Published BRG response time by hotel chain

  • Within hours — Hyatt (BRG claims handled over phone).
  • Within 24 hours — Carlson, Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham.
  • Within 48 hours — Starwood, Best Western (phone BW if no response in 48 hours).
  • No response time stated — Choice, IHG.

Hotel chains with or without published BRG claim response times offer little recourse to the consumer if they do not respond within that time.

Approved best rate guarantee benefit

All hotel chains match the lower room rate for your stay. Additional discounts, cash and points are other benefits.

  • Best Western — $100 gift card.
  • Carlson — 25 percent off lower rate.
  • Choice — one free night.
  • Hilton — $50 gift card (U.S./Canada/Mexico) or $50 off hotel folio at checkout (international).
  • Hyatt — 25 percent off lower rate.
  • IHG — one free night.
  • Marriott — 25 percent off lower rate.
  • Starwood — 10 percent off lower rate or 2,000 bonus points.
  • Wyndham — 10 percent off lower rate.

Best Rate Guarantee claims are a valued rate discount for loyalty travelers. Bonus points, cash and even a free night are strong incentives for checking and comparing rates on your hotel stays for potential BRG claims. There is little consumer downside to a Best Rate Guarantee as long as you book rates with flexible cancellation in the event your BRG claim is denied.

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