In today’s online marketplace of searching for hotel rooms, there is fierce competition between the hotel chains themselves and online vendors such as Expedia, Travelocity and the like. Hotel companies want you to book directly with them, and they’ll entice you to do so with things such as free wifi, and allowing you to earn elite status. For all major chains, they want the rates they publish to be the best available, and have “Best Rate Guarantees” in place to encourage you to always book with them, even if someone else has a lower price.
I’ll admit that it’s not often that I find a lower price somewhere else, but for a pricey room, I tend to check, just to be sure. Since many rely directly off of Expedia, and others, it’s always worth comparing with the hotel chain directly, and booking with them. I never book outside of the chain, as a rule of thumb.
If you happen to find a price discrepancy, this is where the Best Rate Guarantee can become your best friend — you’ll end up saving money on your room, and often times incur extra bonuses such as an additional discount, free food/beverage or other perks.
Things to be careful of when trying to initiate a Best Rate Guarantee:
- Room types need to be exactly the same. The hotel will win if they can prove that the “Courtyard King” is different than the “Lake View King.” Rates also need to be the same, too, including cancellation policies. A non-refundable room at booking is going to be cheaper than a refundable room, and won’t qualify for the guarantee.
- Currencies need to be the same. I’ve been tripped up several times before due to currency exchange. Foreign hotels may price out in the local currency, and that exchange needs to match what the US shows in the foreign currency. Long story short, if something doesn’t match, you’ll get denied.
- You may be required to initiate the guarantee claim within a certain time limit. Many are within 24 hours, and unfortunately, many of you will find the lower rates after that.
- There may be an online-only form you need to fill out, which may cause a lag in the response time. Because of this, the price may change. Often, the hotel representative needs to view the competing rate in real-time, but make sure to take screenshots, just in case.
There are people that make a hobby out of finding best rate guarantees in order to save money on travel, so make sure you take advantage when you find a legitimate discrepancy in price.
Here are the major hotel chains here in the US, and their respective guarantees.
Kimpton – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a $25 food and beverage credit.
Hyatt – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a 20% discount.
Mandarin Oriental – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a 10% discount.
Omni Hotels – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a 25% discount.
Wyndham – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a 10% discount.
Fairmont – They’ll only match to the lower rate (there’s no website proving this).
Ritz Carlton – They currently do not have a best rate guarantee (and do not match Marriott’s policy, either)
La Quinta – They’ll only match to the lower rate.
IHG – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide the first night free for your stay.
Marriott – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a 25% discount.
Hilton – They’ll match to the lower rate and give you $50 back per stay.
Shangri-La – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a 10% discount.
Choice Hotels – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide the first night free for your stay.
Club Carlson – They’ll match t the lower rate and provide a 25% discount.
Accor – They’ll match to the lower rate and provide a 10% discount.
Starwood – They’ll match to the lower rate and either provide a 20% discount or 2,000 Starpoints
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