Ever noticed how much emphasis hotel sites put on the fact that they guarantee the lowest price? Chains do this to ensure customers book direct instead of using sites such as hotels.com & booking.com, for example.
OTAs (online travel agents) charge commissions to the hotels, so of course, the hotel’s prefer if you book direct instead. OTAs generally expect to get the same price as hotels, and this is usually the case. However, big brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Accor and the likes get around this by offering “members only” pricing. This allows them to go a few dollars cheaper compared to the OTA and offer perks such as status and points to customers who book direct.
In this post:
Best Rate Guarantee or BRG
Hotels these days are very good at undercutting the OTAs by a few dollars these days, so it’s incredibly hard to find a better rate and start playing the BRG game.
BRG (Best Rate Guarantee) claims can be submitted when you find the same room on the same date at a lower price. Once you find one (has to be within 24h of booking) you can submit your claim and depending on the conditions you will get the rate matched + an additional discount. When you find the better price, it’s crucial to screenshot this info as it will help you win when/if the hotel doesn’t want to award you the claim.
Major Hotel Best Rate Guarantee Policies
Marriott Best Rate Guarantee
Marriott will match the lowest price and discount it by 25%. Marriott also offers guests the options to receive a price match and 5,000 bonus Bonvoy points. This could be a good option if your total hotel rate were low to start with (since in that case, 5,000 points might be more valuable). Claims need to be made within 24h of booking.
Click here to learn more about Marriott Price Match Guarantee
Hilton Best Rate Guarantee
Hilton now offers a match as well as a 25% discount. Just make sure that your claim is “apples for apples”, Hilton can sometimes play hard to get, so my strategy (which has worked 100% so far) is to keep replying to their emails even if they deny your claim. Just email them screenshots of the lower price and eventually they will give in. Claims need to be made within 24h of booking.
Click here to learn more about Hilton Price Match Guarantee
Accor Best Rate Guarantee
Accor offers a best price guarantee of a match + 10% discount. Accor is another brand that might make it difficult for you to win a BRG, so come prepared for battle. Take screenshots of the pricing and stick to it. As always, you need to match apples with apples, so make sure the room/date/ and other room features match. You will also need to submit your claim within 24h of making the reservation.
Click here to learn more about Accor Price Match Guarantee
IHG Best Rate Guarantee
IHG’s best rate guarantee used to be amazing but these days its a rather sorry situation. They will match the lowest fare and give you 5X the Rewards Club points up to 40,000 points maximum. Just like the other hotels, you need to submit your claim within 24h.
Click here to learn more about IHG Price Match Guarantee
Hyatt Best Rate Guarantee
Hyatt hotels will also match the best rate you found + give you a 20% discount or 5,000 World Of Hyatt Points. Make sure you submit the claim within 24h and depending on your rates either go for the 20% discount or 5,000 bonus points.
Click here to learn more about Hyatt Price Match Guarantee
How to win a BRG in 2019
Now comes the hardest part, finding a lower rate! It’s improbable that you will beat the big hotel chains at their own game. They are pretty switched on and make sure that member pricing is a few dollars cheaper to what you find on your everyday online aggregators such as hotels combined and OTAs such as hotels.com (still my go-to if there’s no hotel loyalty program available).
However, I have good news! I have a new “secret weapon” which will help you submit and win more claims!
Introducing Travala, a relatively new OTA which is a cryptocurrency turned actual product. For some reason, the rates they offer on hotels are incredibly cheap. I’m not sure how they get these rates, and maybe it’s just a Ponzi scheme that will eventually collapse (I have a feeling they are paying the undercutting hotels and paying the difference as a means to advertise and grown their customer base).
While this is excellent news for us (and a safe option since you’re just using their pricing to get a BRG at your favourite hotel), I wonder how this is sustainable in the long term. They do have glowing reviews, so you may want to try them out next time you’re booking a hotel that isn’t part of a big chain.
They also have a referral program which gives both the parties $75 worth of AVA token (that’s their cryptocurrency) which you can then sell or use for future bookings. The $75 credit is awarded when you book a stay of $150 or more within 90 days of signing up.
I think it sounds too good to be true, but it could just be an aggressive marketing tactic. In any case, proceed with caution for all it’s worth companies could go belly up at a later stage and your bookings with it. If you want to sign up with my referral link and get $75 in credit you can do so if you click here.
Travala BRG Case Study With Marriott
I recently booked a stay at the Marriott Momi Bay Fiji. The Travala website was showing the same room including taxes and fees for $524.8 (combined for two nights). Marriott’s lowest members-only rate was 880 FJD which works out to 585 Australian dollars. I quickly submitted my BRG claim and took screenshots just in case.
10 or so hours later I got an email back, my claim was approved!
Dear Mr. Debeer, Thank you for choosing Marriott and submitting a Best Rate Guarantee claim. I am happy to share that I was able to approve your claim. I was able to verify the following rate on the comparison site listed on your claim: Travala.com: 417.82 AUD (627.98 FJD) total, plus taxes and fees; 314.00 FJD per night The confirmation number for your reservation will remain the same, as well as the cancellation policy under which you originally booked. I have modified your reservation to reflect the following rate: Rate: 235.50 FJD plus taxes and fees Reservation Confirmation Number: XX XX XX Your room rate now reflects an additional 25% discount for submitting a successful claim according to the terms of Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee. Please be aware, any modifications made to your reservation are not allowed and will invalidate this approval. If you are viewing your reservation through a mobile device please allow time for the update to show based on your service provider. I have sent you an updated email confirmation to the email address on your reservation. We look forward to welcoming you soon! Safe Travels! Marriott Best Rate Guarantee
I opted for the 25% discount which should bring my stay total down to AU$393 for 2 nights. Not a bad saving for 5 minutes of work!